« PreviousContinue »
silence while the carriage bumped at a was done by a fellow named Roly, and it rapid pace over the uneven streets of was considered a very fine piece of work. Chicago. Hollister, so Hart reflected, It was built the time aunt Frankie died.” must know what was in the will. He had “It's a spooky sort of place to put a been the old man's confidential business man into!” man for a good many years, and was one “I think the funeral was what your of the executors. Everett Wheeler, who uncle would have liked,” Hollister rewas a lawyer with a large and very high- marked. “ He hated to be eccentric, ly paid practice, was another.
and yet he despised pretentious cerePerhaps this cousin was to get the bulk monies. Everything was simple and of the property after all, though their dignified. The parson was good, too, in uncle had never displayed any great fond
what he said. And the old men turned ness for Everett. The lawyer had al- out in great numbers. I was glad of ways done the best that was expected of that! But I was surprised. It's nearly him. He had entered a law office from two years since he gave up the Works, the high school, preferring to skip the and memories are short between master intermediate years of college training, and man." which Powers Jackson had offered him, “ That 's a fact. But he knew every and he never ceased referring to his suc- man-jack about the place in the old cess in his profession as partly due to the days,” Everett observed, removing his fact he had “ fooled no time away at col- silk hat as if it were an ornamental inlege.” So far as his business went, which cumbrance. was to patch together crazy corporations, “Yes,” said Hollister, taking up the he had no particular use for a liberal edu- theme. “I remember how he would cation. He had no tastes whatsoever out- come into the front office on pay days, side of this business and a certain mild and stand behind the grating while the interest in politics. His dull white fea- men were signing off. He could call tures, sharpened to a vulpine point, and every one by a first name. It was Pete his large nose betrayed his temperament. and Dave and Jerry and Steve, there He was a silent, cool-blooded, unpassion- were n't so many of those Hungarians and ate American man of affairs, and it would Slavs, the European garbage, then." be safe to say that he would die rich. “ But he was stiff with 'em in the Thus far he had not had enough emotion strike, though,” the lawyer put in, to get married. No! his cousin reflected, smile wrinkling his thin, pallid lips. Everett was not a man after old Powers “He fired every one who went with the Jackson's heart! Their uncle was not a union, -never 'd let 'em back, no matter cold, passionless man.
what they did. Those there to-day were Those two men opposite him knew what mostly old ones.” was the fact in this matter so momentous The two older men began to exchange to him. They smoked, wrapped in their stories about the dead man, of things they own thoughts.
had seen while they were working for “I wonder who was the joker who him, — his tricks of temper, whims of put up that monstrous Greek temple out mind. The older man spoke gently, althere in the cemetery!” Jackson finally most tenderly, of the one he had worked observed, in a nervous desire to say with, as of one whose faults were flaws something.
in a great stone. The lawyer spoke “You mean the family mausoleum ?” literally, impassively, as of some phenomEverett asked severely, removing his enon of nature which he had seen often cigar from his lips, and spitting carefully and had thoroughly observed. out of the half-opened window. “That Young Hart lit another cigarette, and
he thought of the girl's face as he had nical school, he found that he had stumseen it that day, utterly moved and trans- bled into something which really interfixed with a strange emotion of tender ested him. For the first time in his life sorrow that was half happiness. She was he worked. religious, he believed, meaning by that At the Beaux Arts he worked, also, word that she was moved by certain feel though he did not forget the amenities of ings other than those which affected him life. The two years, first talked of, exor Everett or Hollister, And this panded into two and a half, then roundnew thought of her made her more pre- ed to three. Meanwhile the generous cious in his eyes. He looked for her cheques from the office of the Bridge when they reached the sombre old house Works came with pleasant regularity. on Ohio Street, but she had already driven His mother wrote, “ Powers hopes that home.
you are deriving benefit from your studAs Hollister was leaving, he said to ies in Paris.” What the old man had the young man :
said was, “How's Jackie doing these “Can you come over to Everett's office days, Amelia ?” And young Hart was to-morrow about four ? Judge Phillips“ doing ” well. There were many benewill be there, the other executor. We are fits, not always orthodox, which the young to open the will. They have suggested American, established cosily on the Rue that I ask you to join us,” he added has- de l'Université, derived from Paris. tily, with an effort to be matter-of-fact. The day of preparation came to an
“ All right, Hollister,” the young man end, however. Those last weeks of his answered, with an equal effort to appear stay in Europe he was joined by his unconcerned. “I'll be over!”
mother and Helen Spellman. Powers But his heart thumped strangely. Jackson had taken this occasion to send
them both abroad. Mrs. Spellman being
too much of an invalid to take the jourII.
ney, Mrs. Amelia Hart had been very
glad to have the girl's companionship. “Get all ready before you start,” Pow- Jackson met them in Naples. After he ers Jackson had said, when his nephew, had kissed his mother and taken her after four years at Cornell and three handbag, to which she was clinging in years at a famous technical school in the miserable suspicion of the entire foreign East, had suggested the propriety of fin- world, he turned to the girl, whose presishing his training in architecture byence he had been conscious of all the study in Paris. “Get all ready, — then time. Helen was not noticeably pretty let us have results."
or well dressed; but she had an air of He had been getting ready. He had race, a fineness of feature, a certain perchosen to go to Cornell rather than to a sonal delicacy, to which the young man larger university, because some of the had long been unaccustomed. Perhaps boys of his high school class were going three years of student life in Paris had there. With us in America such mat- prepared him to think very well of a ters are often settled in this childish way. young American woman. The reason why he chose the profession So their six weeks in Italy had been of architecture was, in the first place, very happy ones for all three, — six scarcely less frivolous. A "fraternity golden weeks of May and early June. brother” at Cornell, just home from The beautiful land smiled at them from Paris, fired the college boy's imagination every field and wall. Each fresh landfor “the Quarter.” But, once started scape in the panorama of their little in the course of architecture at the tech- journeys was another joy, a new excite
ment that burned in a flush of heightened “It might be different, if one were color on the girl's face. One of their an artist; but even then I should think last days they spent at the little village a man would want to carry back what of Ravello, on a hilltop above Amalfi, and he had received here to the place he was there in the clear twilight of a warm
born in, should n't you ? ” June day, with gold-tipped clouds brood “Well, perhaps," he admitted, "if it ing over the Bay of Salerno, they came were n't just - Chicago!” for the first time upon the personal note. And these simple words of the girl They were leaning over the railing of spoken in the garden of Ravello were a the terrace in the Palumbo, listening to tonic for other moments of regret. the bells in the churches of Vetri beneath They made the long voyage homewards them.
- his past,
through the Mediterranean, touching at “Would n't this be good for always ?” Gibraltar for a last, faint glimpse of rohe murmured.
mance. It was a placid journey in a slow He was touched with sentimental self steamer, with a small company of dull, pity at the thought of leaving all this, – middle - aged Americans, and the two the beauty, the wonder, the joy of Eu were left much to themselves. In the isorope! In another short month instead of lation of the sunny, windless sea, their this there would be Chicago, whose harsh acquaintance took on imperceptibly a perpicture three years had not softened. sonal character. After the fashion of the
"I don't know,” the girl replied, with egotistic male, he told her, bit by bit, all a long sigh for remembered joy. “One that he knew about himself, - his college could not be as happy as this for months days, his friends, and his work at the and years."
Beaux Arts. From the past, “I'd like to try!” he said lightly. they slid to the future that lay before
“No! Not you,” she retorted with him on the other shore of the Atlantic. sudden warmth. “ What could a man He sketched for her in colored words the do here?”
ideals of his majestic art. Tucked up on “ There are a lot of fellows in Europe deck those long, cloudless nights, they who manage to answer that question touched the higher themes,
what a man somehow. Most of the men I knew in could do, as Richardson and Atwood had Paris don't expect to go back yet, and shown the glorious way, toward expressnot to Chicago anyway."
ing the character and spirit of his race Her lips compressed quickly. Evi- in brick and stone and steel ! dently they were not the kind of men Such thoughts as these touched the she thought well of.
girl's imagination, just as the sweet frag“ Why!' she stammered, words ments of a civilization finer than ours crowding tempestuously to her tongue. had stirred her heart in Italy. All these “How could you stay, and not work out ideas she took to be the architect's your own life, not make
your way in the
original possessions, not being familiar world like uncle Powers? How it would with the froth of Paris studios, the wistrouble him to hear you say that !” dom of long déjeuners. And she was He was a trifle ashamed of his desire
eager over his plans for the future. For to keep out of the fight any longer something earnest and large was the first Hers, he judged, was a militant, am- craving of her soul, something that had bitious nature, and he was quick to feel in it service and beauty in life. ... what she expected of him.
At the time of the great exposition in After they had sat there a long time Chicago she had had these matters without speaking, she said gently, as if brought to her attention. Powers Jackshe wished to be just to him:
son, as one of the directors of the enter
prise, had entertained many of the artists Mansard brick menagerie on Ohio Street, and distinguished men who came to the where he has lived since the fire. All city, and at his dinner-table she had his friends have moved away from the heard men talk whose vital ideals were neighborhood. But he thinks the blackbeing worked into the beautiful buildings walnut rooms, the stamped leather on the beside the lake. Their words she had walls, and the rest of it, is the best going hoarded in her schoolgirl's memory, and yet. That buffet, as he calls it! It's now in her sympathy for the young early Victorian, a regular chef-d'oeuvre architect she began to see what could be of ugliness. That house !” done with an awakened feeling for art, “It's always been his home," she profor social life, to make our strong young tested, finding something trivial in putcities memorable. This, she dreamed ting this comic emphasis on sideboards shyly, would be the work of the man be- and bookcases. “ He cares about good side her!
things too. Lately he's taken to buying He was handsome and strong, vigor- engravings. Mr. Hollister interested him ously built, though inclined to heaviness in them. And I think he would like to of body. His brown hair waved under buy pictures, if he was n't afraid of being his straw hat, and a thick mustache cheated, of making a fool of himself.” turned stiffly upwards in the style of the 6 You'll make him out a patron of German Emperor, which was then just the fine arts." coming into fashion. This method of Jackson laughed long at the picture wearing the mustache, and also a habit of his uncle as a connoisseur in art. of dressing rather too well, troubled the Perhaps he will be yet!” she regirl; for she knew that uncle Powers torted stoutly. “At any rate, he is a would at once note such trivial aspects of very dear old man.” his nephew. The keen old man might He would not have described his uncle say nothing, but he would think con- Powers in the same simple words. Still temptuous thoughts. The young archi- he had the kindest feelings toward him, tect's complexion was ruddy, healthily mixed with a latent anxiety over what bronzed ; his features were regular and the old man would do about his allowlarge, as a man's should be. Altogether ance, now that his schooldays had come he was a handsome, alert, modern Amer- definitely to a close. ican. Too handsome! She thought ap- Thus in the long hours of that voyage, prehensively of the rough-looking, rude with the sound of the gurgling, dripping old man at home, his face tanned and water all about them, soothed with the beaten, knobby and hard like the gnarled rhythm of pounding engines, the man stump of an oak !
and the woman came to a sort of knowShe was very anxious that the archi- ledge of each other. There was created tect should make a good impression on in the heart of each a vision of the other. his uncle, not simply for his own sake, The girl's vision was glorified by the but for the lonely old man's comfort. warmth of her imagination, which transShe felt that she knew Powers Jackson formed all her simple experiences. In better than his nephew did ; knew what her heart, if she had looked there, she he liked and what he despised. She would have seen an image of youth and wanted him to love this nephew. Sev- power, very handsome, with great maseral times she talked to Jackson about culine hopes, and aspirations after unhis uncle. The young man listened with wrought deeds. Unconsciously she had an amused smile, as if he had already a given to that image something which she good formula for the old man.
could never take back all the years of her “ Mother can't get him out of that life, let her marry whom she might!
ways as this.
And he could remember her, if here- Jackson said, continuing his joke. “I after he should coine to love her, as she hoped you'd pay your respects to the was these last days. The shadow of the Pope. Why, he's the smartest one of end of the romance was upon her, and it the whole bunch over there, I guess.” left her subdued. To the artist in the He looked to Helen for sympathy. It architect her head was too large, the brow should be said that Powers Jackson renot smooth enough, the hair two shades garded his sister Amelia as a fool, but too dark, the full face too broad. The that he never allowed himself to take adblue eyes and the trembling, small mouth vantage of the fact except in such trifling gave a certain childishness to her expression that the young man could not When the two men were alone in the understand. It was only when she spoke private parlor at the hotel, the uncle that he was much moved; for her voice said :was very sweet, uncertain in its accents, “So you ’ve finished up now? You 're tremulous. She seemed to breathe into all through over there?” commonplace words some revelation of “Yes, sir,” Hart answered, not feelherself. ...
ing at all at his ease with this calm old In the morning of their arrival the lofty “I guess I am ready to begin buildings of the great city loomed through building, as soon as any one will have the mist. The architect said :
“There are the hills of the New World ! “I see there's plenty doing in your Here endeth the first chapter.”
line, all over.” “I cannot believe it has ended," she The architect fidgeted before he could replied slowly. “Nothing ends !” think what to say. Then he expressed
his sense of gratitude for the great opPowers Jackson and Mrs. Spellman portunities his uncle had given him in met the travelers in New York. It was Paris. Jackson listened but said nothing. just at the time that Jackson was nego- The architect was conscious that the old tiating with the promoters of a large man had taken in with one sweep of his trust for the sale of his Bridge Works. sharp little eyes his complete appearance. This fact his nephew did not learn for He suspected that the part in the middle some months, for the old man made it a of his brown hair, the pert lift to the ends rule to tell nothing about his deeds and of his mustache, the soft stock about his intentions. At any rate, he did sell the neck, the lavender colored silk shirt in Works one morning in the lobby of his which he had prepared to meet the pitihotel and for his own price, which was less glare of the June sun in the city, — an outrageous one as the stockholders that all these items had been noted and of the new trust came to know to their disapproved. He reflected somewhat rechagrin.
sentfully that he was not obliged to make He shook hands with his sister, kissed a guy of himself to please his uncle. He Helen on the forehead, and nodded to found his uncle's clothes very bad. Powhis nephew.
ers Jackson was a large man, and his “How's the Pope, Amelia ?” he clothes, though made by one of the best asked gravely.
tailors in Chicago, had a draggled ap“ You need n't ask me! Did you pearance, as if he had forgotten to take think, Powers, I'd be one to go over to them off when he went to bed. However, the Vatican and kiss that old man's when the old man next spoke, he made hand ? I hope I'm too good a Chris- no reference to his nephew's attire. tian to do that!”
“I was talking to Wright about you “Oh, don't be too hard on the feller," the other day. Ever heard of him?”