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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesKennedy Square - Chapter 31
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Kennedy Square - Chapter 31 Post by :beetee Category :Long Stories Author :Francis Hopkinson Smith Date :May 2012 Read :1963

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Kennedy Square - Chapter 31

CHAPTER XXXI

It would be delightful to describe the happy days at Moorlands during St. George's convalescence, when the love-life of Harry and Kate was one long, uninterrupted, joyous dream. When mother, father, and son were again united--what a meeting was that, once she got her arms around her son's neck and held him close and wept her heart out in thankfulness!--and the life of the old-time past was revived--a life softened and made restful and kept glad by the lessons all had learned. And it would be more delightful still to carry the record of these charming hours far into the summer had not St. George, eager to be under his own roof in Kennedy Square, declared he could stay no longer.

Not that his welcome had grown less warm. He and his host had long since unravelled all their difficulties, the last knot having been cut the afternoon the colonel, urged on by Harry's mother--his disappointment over his sons's coldness set at rest by her pleadings--had driven into town for Harry in his coach, as has been said, and swept the whole party, including St. George, out to Moorlands.

Various unrelated causes had brought about this much-to-be-desired result, the most important being the news of the bank's revival, which Harry, in his mad haste to overtake Kate, had forgotten to tell his uncle, and which St. George learned half an hour later from Pawson, together with a full account of what the colonel had done to bring about the happy result--a bit of information which so affected Temple that, when the coach with the colonel on the box had whirled up, he, weak as he was, had struggled to the front door, both hands held out, in welcome.

"Talbot--old fellow," he had said with a tear in his voice, "I have misunderstood you and I beg your pardon. You've behaved like a man, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!"

At which the stern old aristocrat had replied, as he took St. George's two hands in his: "Let us forget all about it, St. George. I made a damned fool of myself. We all get too cocky sometimes."

Then there had followed--the colonel listening with bated breath--St. George's account of Kate's confession and Harry's sudden exit, Rutter's face brightening as it had not done for years when he learned that Harry had not yet returned from the Seymours', the day's joy being capped by the arrival of Dr. Teackle, who had given his permission with an "All right--the afternoon is fine and the air will do Mr. Temple a world of good," and so St. George was bundled up and the reader knows the rest.

Later on--at Moorlands of course--the colonel, whose eyes were getting better by the day and Gorsuch whose face was now one round continuous smile, got to work, and had a heart-to-heart--or rather a pocket-to-pocket talk--which was quite different in those days from what it would be now--after which both Kate and Harry threw to the winds all thoughts of Rio and the country contiguous thereto, and determined instead to settle down at Moorlands. And then a great big iron door sunk in a brick vault was swung wide and certain leather-bound books were brought out--and particularly a sum of money which Harry duly handed over to Pawson the next time he drove to town--(twice a week now)--and which, when recounted, balanced to a cent the total of the bills which Pawson had paid three years before, with interest added, a list of which the attorney still kept in his private drawer with certain other valuable papers tied with red tape, marked "St. G. W. T." And still later on--within a week--there had come the news of the final settlement of the long-disputed lawsuit with St. George as principal residuary legatee--and so our long-suffering hero was once more placed upon his financial legs: the only way he could have been placed upon them or would have been placed upon them--a fact very well known to every one who had tried to help him, his philosophy being that one dollar borrowed is two dollars owed--the difference being a man's self-respect.

And it is truly marvellous what this change in his fortunes accomplished. His slack body rounded out; his sunken cheeks plumped up until every crease and crack were gone, his color regained its freshness, his eyes their brilliancy; his legs took on their old-time spring and lightness--and a wonderful pair of stand-bys, or stand-ups, or stand-arounds they were as legs go--that is legs of a man of fifty-five.

And they were never idle, these legs: there was no sitting cross-legged in a chair for St. George: he was not constructed along those lines. Hardly a week had passed before he had them across Spitfire's mate; had ridden to hounds; danced a minuet with Harry and Kate; walked half-way to Kennedy Square and back--they thought he was going to walk all the way and headed him off just in time; and best of all--(and this is worthy of special mention)--had slipped them into the lower section of a suit of clothes--and these his own, although he had not yet paid for them--the colonel having liquidated their cost. These trousers, it is just as well to state, had arrived months before from Poole, along with a suit of Rutter's and the colonel had forwarded a draft for the whole amount without examining the contents, until Alec had called his attention to the absurd width of the legs--and the ridiculous spread of the seat. My Lord of Moorlands, after the scene in the Temple Mansion, dared not send them in to St. George, and they had accordingly lain ever since on top of his wardrobe with Alec as chief of the Moth Department. St. George, on his arrival, found them folded carefully and placed on a chair--Todd chief valet. Whereupon there had been a good-natured row when our man of fashion appeared at breakfast rigged out in all his finery, everybody clapping their hands and saying how handsome he looked --St. George in reply denouncing Talbot as a brigand of a Brummel who had stolen his clothes, tried to wear them, and then when out of fashion thrown them back on his hands.

All these, and a thousand other delightful things, it would, I say, be eminently worth while to dilate upon--(including a series of whoops and hand-springs which Todd threw against the rear wall of the big kitchen five seconds after Alec had told him of the discomfiture of "dat red-haided gemman," and of Marse Harry's good fortune)--were it not that certain mysterious happenings are taking place inside and out of the Temple house in Kennedy Square--happenings exciting universal comment, and of such transcendent importance that the Scribe is compelled, much against his will--for the present installment is entirely too short--to confine their telling to a special chapter.

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CHAPTER XXXBen let him in. He came as an apparition, the old butler balancing the door in his hand, as if undecided what to do, trying to account for the change in the young man's appearance--the width of shoulders, the rough clothes, and the determined glance of his eye. "Fo' Gawd, it's Marse Harry!" was all he said when he could get his mouth open. "Yes, Ben--go and tell your mistress I am here," and he brushed past him and pushed back the drawing-room door. Once inside he crossed to the mantel and stood with his back to the hearth, his
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