Page images

“Of Walker, Post & Wright?” Hart had fallen upon a commercial age, and asked, naming one of the best known had not been large enough to sway it. firms of architects in the country. He made decent compromises between his

“Yes. They've been doing something taste and that of his clients, and prided for me in Chicago. If you have n't made himself on the honesty of construction in any plans, you might start in their office. his buildings. That 'll teach you the ropes over here." Wright had hurt Hart's susceptibilities

Nothing was said about an allowance almost at the start, when he remarked or a continuation of those generous and about a sketch that the


architect gratefully acknowledged cheques which had made for a new telephone exchange: had made life at Cornell and at Paris so “ All you want, my boy, is the figure of joyous.

a good fat woman flopping around above And nothing more was ever said about the third story to make the Prix de them! Jackson Hart had taken the posi- Rome.tion that Wright had made for him in For the next few months Hart had his Chicago office, and within a fortnight been kept busy drawing spandrels. From of the day he landed at New York he this he was promoted to designing stables was making his daily pilgrimage to the for rich clients. He resented the imtwelfth floor of the Maramanoc Building, plied criticism of his judgment, and he where under the bulkheads worked a put Wright down as a mere Philistine, company of young gentlemen in their who had got his training in an American shirt-sleeves.

office. That was two years ago, and by this Now, he said to himself, as he took time he was ready for almost any kind of down his street coat and adjusted his change.

cuffs before going over to his cousin's

office to hear the will, he should leave III.

Wright's “ department store,” and show

“the old man " what he thought of the The morning after the funeral Francis kind of building the firm was putting up Jackson Hart was working on the eleva- for rich and common people. He, at least, tion of a large hotel that Walker, Post would not be obliged to be mercenary. & Wright were to build in Denver. This His two years' experience in Chicago had was in all probability the last piece of taught him something about the fiercework that he should be called upon to do ness of the struggle to exist in one of the for that firm, and the thought was plea- professions, especially in a profession sant to him. He had not spent an al where there is an element of fine art. together happy two years in that office. And his appetite to succeed, to be some It was a large firm, with other offices in one in the hurly-burly of Chicago, had St. Paul and New York, and work under grown very fast. For he had found himconstruction in a dozen different states. self less of a person in his native city Wright was the only member of the firm than he had thought it possible over in who ever thought of coming to Chicago; Paris, — even with the help of his rich he dropped into the office nearly every uncle, with whom he had continued to month, coming from somewhere north or live. east and bound for somewhere south or So, as the elevator of the Dearborn west, with only a few days to spare. He Building bore him upwards that afterwas a tall, thin man, with harassed, near noon, his heart beat exultantly: he was sighted eyes, – a gentleman, and well to hear in a few moments what advantrained in his profession according to the tage he had been given over all the toilstandards of a generation ago. But he ing, sweating fraternity here in the ele


vator, out there on the street! By the The gray-bearded mar ceased talking right of fortunate birth he was to be for a moment and looked at the two spared the common lot of man, to be younger men. Everett was paring his placed high up on the long, long ladder nails, very neatly, with the air of attenof human fate...

tion he wore when he was engaged in takWhen he entered Everett Wheeler's ing a deposition. The architect looked private office, Hollister was talking with blankly mystified. Judge Phillips. The latter nodded plea “ He wanted to help men,” Hollister santly to the young man, and gave him resumed less demonstratively. “Espehis hand.

cially workingmen, the kind he had known “How do you do, sir?” he askedall his life. He never forgot that he with great emphasis.

worked at the forge the first five years The judge, who had not sat in a court he lived in Chicago. And no matter for more than a generation, was a vigor what the labor unions say, or the cheap ous, elderly man, with a sweeping gray newspaper writers, there was n't a man mustache. He was an old resident of in this city who cared for the best interChicago, and had made much money, ests of laboring men more than Powers most of it in Powers Jackson's enter Jackson." prises.

Across the judge's handsome face flitHollister nodded briskly to the archi- ted the glimmer of a smile, as if other tect, and motioned him to a seat. Pre- memories, slightly contradictory, would sently Everett came in from the safe intrude themselves on this eulogy. Everwhere he had gone to get some papers, ett, having finished cutting his nails, was and Hollister, who seemed to be spokes- examining his shoes. He might be thinkman for the executors, clearing his throat, ing of the price of steel billets in Liverbegan :

pool, or he might be thinking that Hol“Well, gentlemen, we all know what lister was an ass, no one could tell. we are here for, I presume.”

“He took advice ; he consulted many The young architect never remem men, among them the president of a bered clearly how it all came about. At great Eastern university. And here in first he wondered why old Hollister this document” — Hollister took up

the should open the proceedings with such will —“ he embodied the results, — his elaborate eulogies of the dead man. Hol purposes." lister kept saying that few men had un In the architect's confused memory of derstood the real man in Powers Jack- the fateful scene there was at this point son, the warm, man's heart that beat a red spot of consciousness. The man beneath the rude and silent manner. of affairs, looking straight at him, seem

“I want to say,” Hollister exclaimed ingly, announced : in a burst of unwonted emotion, “ that “ Powers Jackson left the bulk of his it was more than mutual interest which large fortune in trust with the purpose allied the judge and me to Mr. Jackson. of founding a great school for the chilIt was admiration! Admiration for the dren of workingmen!”

There ensued a brief pause. Hart did The judge punctuated this opinion not comprehend at once the full signifiwith a grave nod.

cance of what had been said. But the “ Especially these latter years, when others made no remark, and so Hollister your uncle was searching for a way in asked the lawyer to read the will, clause which he might most benefit the world by clause. with the fortune that he had earned by It was a very brief document. There his ability and hard work."

was an item, Jackson recalled afterward,


“ He

on :

leaving the old family farm at Vernon men selected to carry out the design, in Falls in Vermont to “my dear young their will and intelligence. Doubtless friend, Helen Powers Spellman, because the old man had taken Hollister, at least, she will love it for my sake as well as into his confidence, and had contented for itself.” And to this bequest was himself with leaving verbal and general added a few thousand dollars as a main- directions, knowing full well the fate tenance fund.

of elaborately conceived bequests. The He might have treated her more gen wise old man seemed to have contented erously, it occurred to the architect vague- himself with outlining broadly and plainly, valuing in his own mind the old place ly his large intention. as naught.

“That's a pretty bad piece of work, “And to my nephews, Everett Wheeler that instrument,” Everett observed, narand Francis Jackson Hart, ten thousand rowing his eyes to a thin slit. dollars each in the following securities." did n't get me to draw it up. I can't

This he understood immediately. So, see how the old man could trust his stuff that was his figure! He scarcely noted to such a loosely worded document.” the next clause, which gave to his mother “Fortunately," Hollister hastened to the Ohio Street house and a liberal income say, “in this case we may hope that will for her life. He did not fully recover make no difference.” himself until Hollister remarked with a There was an awkward pause, and little upward inflection of satisfaction: then the lawyer replied drawlingly:

“Now we come to the core of the ap “No, I don't suppose there 'll be any ple!”

trouble. I don't see why there should Slowly, deliberately, Everett read be.”

Jackson felt dimly that here was his “ Being desirous that the larger part chance to protest, to object to Everett's of whatever wealth I may die possessed calm acceptance of the will.

But a cerof may be made of immediate and wide tain shame, or diffidence, restrained him benefit to mankind, I do give and be at the moment from showing these men queath the residue of my estate to Judge that he felt injured by his uncle's will. Harrison Phillips, Everett Wheeler, and He said nothing, and Hollister began to Mark Kingsford Hollister, in trust, for talk of the projected school. It was to the following described purposes. be something new, not exactly like any Said fund and its accumulations to be other attempt in education in our coundevoted to the founding and maintenance try, and it would take time to perfect the of a school or institution for the purpose details of the plan. There was no need of providing an education, industrial and for haste. technical, for the children of working “We must build for generations when men, of the city of Chicago.”

we do start,” Hollister said. “ And the That,” exclaimed Hollister trium other trustees agree with me that this phantly, “is to be Powers Jackson's gift is not the most opportune time for conto mankind!”

verting the estate into ready money." There were a few more sentences to “ It will pretty nearly double the next the will, elaborating slightly the donor’s five years,” the judge observed authoridesign and providing for a partition of tatively. the estate into building and endowment “At the present, as closely as we can funds. Yet, as a whole, the document estimate it, there is available for the purwas singularly simple, almost bare in its poses of the trust a little over three mildisposition of a very large amount of lions of dollars.” money. It reposed a great trust in the Over three millions ! Jackson Hart

[ocr errors]

started in his chair. He had had no thing of pity and contempt before his idea that his uncle was worth anything friends! like that amount. And these shrewd He resented the old man's kindness, men thought it would probably double now that he knew where it led. Very during the next five years! Well, so swiftly he began to realize what it would far as he was concerned it might be three mean to be without fortune. He had incents. Possibly Everett would get a few tended to move to New York, where some dollars out of it as trustee. He had al

He had al- of his friends had started prosperously, ready shared in some of the old man's and had invited him to join them. And plums, Hart reflected bitterly. While there was Helen, whom he had come to the trustees were discussing some detail love! Marriage was now out of the among themselves, the young architect question. For Helen no more than he made an excuse of a business engage had been favored by his uncle. Even ment and slipped away. Just as he Helen, whom he had pretended to love, reached the door, Everett called out: had been left with only a stony farm. ...

“ We'll send the will over for probate Thus he ploughed his way down the to-morrow. If there's no bitch, the lega- murky street in the direction of the North cies will be paid at once.

I'll be over Side Bridge. The gloom of a foggy to see your mother very soon and ar spring evening was added to the smoke range for the payment of her annuity." and grime of the careless city. The ar

Jackson nodded. He did not like to chitect felt dirty and uncomfortable, and try his voice. He knew that it was very

he knew now that he was condemned to dry. Somehow he found himself in the struggle on in this unlovely metropolis, elevator herded in a cage of office boys where even the baked meats of life were and clerks, sweating and dirty from a flung at one ungarnished. long day's work. At the street level he bought a newspaper, and the first thing When the architect entered the house, that caught his eye in its damp folds his uncle's old home, his mother was were the headlines :

sitting by the library table reading, just

as she had sat and read for the past JACKSON'S MILLIONS GO TO EDUCA- twenty years. Powers Jackson had seen TION

to it that she could continue this habit as


“ You 're late, son. Supper 's on the Hart crumpled up the sheet and threw table.” it into the gutter. The first intelligible “ Don't wait for me. I must wash feeling that he had over his situation was up,” he answered dully. a sort of shame that his uncle should When he joined his mother at the have held him so cheap. For so he in- supper-table, his mustache was brushed terpreted the gift of ten thousand dol- upwards in a confident wave, and his lars! And he began to try in his mind face, though serious, was not blackened the case between himself and his uncle. by soot and care. He had always been led to believe that “Did you see Everett ? ” Mrs. Hart he was the most favored of all the old asked suggestively. man's dependents. Surely he had been Jackson told her in a few words the treated like a son, and he was not con chief provisions of the will as he rememscious that he had ever been ungrateful bered them. For some moments she or unworthy. Now, without having com said nothing. Then she remarked, with mitted any public folly, he was made a a note of annoyance in her voice :

her son :

supper. Then

“Powers was always bound I sh’d abhorred, while he lit a cigarette, one of never leave this house except to follow those vices despised by the old man. He him to Rose Hill. He's fixed it so now felt that he was taking his injury in a I can't! I could never make him see manly way, although he still reserved to how sooty it was here. We hafe to wash himself the right to seek relief from the the curtains and things once a fortnight, courts. And in the deeper reaches of his and then they ain't fit to be seen.” being there was a bitter sense of resent

Her son, who thought that he had his ment, a desire to make the world pay own grievances against his uncle, made him in some manner for his disappointno reply to this complaint. Before they ment. If he had to, he would show had finished their meal, Mrs. Hart people that he could make his own way; added :

that he was more than the weakling his “ He might have done more for you, uncle had contemptuously overlooked in too, seeing what a sight of money he left.” the disposal of his property. He should “Yes, he might have done it, but


rise in his profession, make money, and see he did n't choose to. And I

guess show the world how he could swim withthe best thing we can do is to say as out Powers Jackson's millions. little as possible about the money. That “ What kind of a school are they gois, unless we decide to fight the will.” ing to start with all that money ?” Mrs.

He threw this out tentatively. It had Hart asked, as she seated herself for the not occurred to him to contest the will evening. until he began to wash for

“Oh, something technical. For sons he had thought suddenly :

of mechanics, a kind of mechanics' in“Why should I stand it?”

stitute.” But Mrs. Hart, who had never opposed He thought of some of the old man's her brother in all her life, exclaimed: caustic remarks about charities.

“You would n't do that, Jackson! I · Wanted to make good before he am sure Powers would n't like it.”

quit, I suppose,” he mused. “Perhaps not,” the young man replied “Will you stay on with that firm? ironically. “It is n't his money, now, Mrs. Hart asked, taking up Lanciani's though."

Pagan and Christian Rome. It occurred to him soon, however, that I suppose I 'll have to,” her son anby this act he would endanger his mo swered after a time. ... ther's comfortable inheritance, besides es Thus these two accepted the dead tranging bis cousin Everett and all the old man's will. Powers Jackson had come man's friends. To contest the will would to his decision after long deliberation, be a risk. It was a matter upon which judging that toward all who might have he should have to take advice at once. claims of


upon him he had acted When he spoke again at the end of their justly and generously. He had studied sapper, he said judicially :

these people about him for a long time. “I am glad you are comfortably With Everett he had acquitted himself looked out for, though I hope I should al- years before, when he had put it in the ways be able to give you a home anyway. young man's way to make money in his And we must remember that uncle gave profession, to kill his prey for himself. me my education and my three years in Jackson, he deemed, would get most out Paris, and I suppose that after that he of the fight of life by making the strugthought ten thousand dollars was all that gle, as he had made it himself, unaided. I was worth, or could take care of !” As for Helen, he had given the girl what

He said this, standing in front of the was most intimately his, and what would heavy black-walnut bookcases, which he do her the least harm by attracting to her



« PreviousContinue »