Page images
PDF
EPUB

sures.

[ocr errors]

way back six

ican château was so different from what thinking it might be the very thing for she had always dreamed her lover would us to do. There's such a lot of building build, this caravansary for the rich, this in these places now. Mrs. Phillips has toy where they could hide themselves in asked me several times why I did n't aristocratic seclusion and take their plea- move out here on the shore. Just before

And the thought stole into her she left she asked me if I did n't want mind that he liked it, this existence of to build a lodge for her and take it for the rich and prosperous, their sports a year or so. Of course that 's a joke. and their luxuries, - and would want to But I know she's bought a lot of proearn with his life their pleasures, their perty on the bluff here, and might be housing, their automobiles, and hunters. willing to let me have a small bit on reaIt was all strange to her experience, to sonable terms. She's been so friendly her dreams!

all along !” From the second floor there came the He was still in the flush of his triumph, sound of voices :

and talked rapidly of all that opened out “ I tells you, Muster Hart, you got to before his fervent ambition. Suddenly rip the whoal dam piping out from roof he took note of her mood and said sharpto basement if you wants to have a good ly, “ Nell, you don't like her.” yob of it. tole you that

“Why do you say that ? ” she exweeks ago. It ware n't specified right claimed, surprised in her inner thoughts. from the beginning."

"I don't really know." “I'll speak to Rollings about it to- “Why, it's plain enough. You don't morrow and see what can be done.” talk to her. You are so cold! And the

“ That's what you say every time,” same way with Mrs. Rainbow.” the Swede growled.

“O Francis ! I did n't mean to be “ See here, Anderson! Who's run- cold. Ought I to like them if you are ning this job ?”

to do work for them ? " The girl strolled away from the voices The architect laughed at her simplitoward the bluff, where she could see the city. gray bosom of the lake. The twilight “Rich people always puzzle me," she trees, the waveless lake soothed her: continued apologetically. “They always they were real, her world. The house have, except uncle Powers, and you never back there, the men and women of it, thought of him as rich! I don't feel as were shadows on the marge.

if I knew what they liked. They are so “Nell!” her lover called.

much preoccupied with their own affairs. “Coming, Francis."

That other time when I met Mrs. Phil. When he came up to her she rested lips she was so much worried over the her head on his shoulder, looking at him breakfast room and the underbutler's with vague longing, desiring to keep him pantry! What is an underbutler's panfrom something not clearly defined in try, Francis ?” her own mind.

This raillery over the needs of the “We must hurry to get that train. rich seemed almost anarchistic to the When we live out here we 'll have to architect. They walked to the station sport a motor car, won't we?” he said silently in the gathering darkness. But buoyantly.

after a time, on the train, he returned to She answered slowly, “I don't know the events of the afternoon. that I should want to live just here, after “She can do anything she likes with all.”

Raymond. It would be a big stroke to Why, I thought you were crazy get that C. R. & N. business!” about the country! And I've been Helen made no reply to this observation, and they relapsed again into silent town and liked weddings, and ought to thought.

send the pair a goodly gift. Of the pre

sence of all these and some others the The night before their marriage the young architect was pleasantly conscious architect told her exultantly that he had that October morning. been sent for by Raymond's private sec- Only that morning, on the way to the retary to talk over work for the railroad house, Everett had referred to the great corporation.

school, a monumental affair, which the “That's Mrs. Phillips's doing," he trustees would have to build some day. told Helen. “ You must remember to It was in the aroma of this new prospect, say something to her about it to-mor- and of all the other good fortune that row, if you get the chance. It's likely had been his since he had taken

up

his to be the biggest wedding present we'll burden of poverty, that Jackson Hart have!”

was married. “I am glad,” Helen replied simply, But the girl walked up to him to be without further comment.

married, in a dream, unconscious of the He thought that she did not compre- whole world, with a mystery of love in hend what this good fortune meant. her heart. When the ceremony was And he was quite mystified when she re- over, she looked up into her husband's fused to see him again before the cere- resolute face, which was slightly flushed mony of the following day. He could with excitement. Venetia, standing by not realize that in some matters a few her uncle's side a few steps away, could small matters he had bruised the wo- see tears in the bride's eyes, and the girl man's ideal of him; he could not under wondered. stand why these last hours, before she Did Helen know now that the man took him to her arms forever, she wished who stood there face to face with her, her to spend alone with her own soul in a husband, was yet a stranger to her soul ? kind of prayer.

She raised her lips swiftly to him, and There were only a few people present he bowed his head to kiss her, there beat the marriage in the little Maple Street fore all. house the next day. Many of their fashionable friends were still

away
from

X. the city. Mrs. Phillips had made a point of coming to the wedding, and after After a winter in the city the Harts much insistence she had been made to went to live at Shoreham, taking rooms bring Venetia, who had discovered a for the season at the club. The new sudden enthusiasm for weddings. Pem- station which the railroad was building berton, an old friend of the Spellmans at Eversley Heights, and the Rainbows' who had recently been added to the Jack- cottage on the ridge just west of the son trustees, was there, and also little club, had brought the architect considCook, who was the backbone of the new erable reputation. His acquaintance was office. Everett Wheeler was the best growing rapidly among the men who rode man. He and Hollister had put off their to and fro each day on the suburban yearly fishing trip to do honor to Jack- trains of the C. R. & N. It was the son Hart, who had earned their approval, kind of acquaintance which he realized because the young man had swallowed might be very valuable to him in his his disappointment about the will and profession. was going to marry a poor girl. Hollis- Between Chicago and Shoreham, the ter and Pemberton had brought Judge northernmost of the long line of prosPhillips with them, because he was in perous suburbs, there lay a considerable

more

variety of American society. As the any invitation, to go wherever they were train got away from the sprawling out- asked, to have himself and his wife in skirts of the city, each stop marked a the eyes of their little public as much as pause in social progress. Each town possible. His agreeable manners, his gathered to itself its own class, which keen desire to please, his instinct for the differed subtly, but positively, from that conventional, the suitable, made him attracted by its neighbor. Shoreham much more popular than his wife, who was the home of the hunting set, its so- was considered shy, if not positively ciety centring in the large club. At countrified. As the season progressed, Popover Plains there was a large sum- Hart was sure that they had made a wise mer hotel, and therefore the society of choice of a place to settle in, and they Popover Plains was considered by her began to look for a house. neighbors as or less “ mixed.” In spite of all the apparent prosperity Eversley Heights was still undeveloped, which the little office enjoyed from the the home of a number of young people, start, the profit for the first year was who were considered very pleasant, even startlingly small. The commission from incipiently smart. But of all the more the Phillips house had long since been 'distant and desirable settlements Forest eaten; also as much of the fee from Park had the greatest pride in itself, be- Graves as that close contractor could be ing comparatively old, and having large induced to pay over before the building places and old-fashioned ugly houses in had been finished. The insatiable office which lived some people of permanent was now devouring the profits from the wealth. All these suburban towns had railroad business. When Cook saw the one common characteristic: they were figures, he spoke to the point:—“It's the homes of the prosperous, who had just self-indulgence to build houses. We emerged from the close struggle in the must quit.” If they were to succeed, city with ideals of rest and refreshment they must do a larger business, -facand an instinct for the society of their tories, mills, hotels, - work that could own kind. Except for a street of shops be handled on a large scale, roughly and near the stations, to which was relegated rapidly. the service element of life, the inhabit- The Harts were living beyond their ants got exclusively the society of their means, not extravagantly, but with a kind.

constant deficit, which from the earliest The architect went to the city by one weeks of their marriage had troubled of the earlier trains and came back very Helen. Reared in the tradition of thrift, late. He had all the labor of superin

she held it to be a crime to spend money tending the construction of his buildings, not actually earned. But she found that for the work in the office did not warrant her husband had another theory of doengaging a superintendent. He emerged mestic economy. To attract money, he from the city, after a day spent in run- said, one must spend it. He insisted on ning about here and there, with a kind her dressing as well as the other women of speechless listlessness, which the wife who used the club, although they were of a man in business soon becomes ac- for the most part wives and daughters customed to. The dinner in the lively of men who had many times his income. dining-room of the clubhouse, with the At the close of the first six months of chatter about sport and the gossip, the their marriage venture Helen spoke aucigar afterwards on the veranda over- thoritatively :looking the green, turfy valley golden in 6 At this rate we shall run behind at the afterglow of sunset, refreshed him least two thousand dollars. We must go quickly. He was always eager to accept back to the city to live !”

They had been talking of renting a Begin as soon as we can get the plans house in Forest Park. But she knew done," Lane replied laconically. that in the city she could control the ex- It shot into the architect's mind that penditure, the manner of living. The here was the opportunity which would architect laughed at her scruples. go far to wipe out the deficit he and

“I'll see Bushfield to-day and find out Helen had been talking about. With when they are to get at the Popover sta- this idea in view he got into the smoking tion.”

car with Lane, and the two men talked She still looked grave, having in mind all the way to town. Hart did not like a precept that young married people, bar. Stephen Lane ; few at the club cared ring sickness, should save a fifth of their for the rich bachelor, whose manners income.

carried a self-consciousness of wealth. “And if that is n't enough,” her hus- But this morning the architect looked at band added, “ why, we must pull out him from a different angle, and condoned something else. There's lots doing!” his tone of patronage. As the train

He laughed again, and kissed her be- neared the tangled network of the city fore going downstairs to take the club terminal, he ventured to say, 6. What 'bus. His light-hearted philosophy did architects do your work ?” not reassure her. If one's income was He hated the sound of his voice as he not enough for one's wants, he said, - said it, though he tried to make it imwhy, expand the income! This hopeful, personal and indifferent. Lane's voice gambling American spirit was natural to seemed to change its tone, something of him. He was too young to realize that suspicion creeping in. the point of expansion for professional “I have always had the Stearns bromen was definitely limited. A lawyer, thers. They do that sort of thing pretty a doctor, an architect, had but his one well.” brain, his one pair of hands, his own As they mounted the station stairs, eyes, — and the scope of these organs Lane asked casually, “Do you ever do was fixed by nature.

that kind of work? It is n't much in “And we give so little !” she protested your line.” in her heart that morning. Her mother “I've never tried it. But of course had given to their church and to certain I should like the chance !" charities always a tenth of their small Then Lane, one hand on the door of income. That might be a mechanical, a waiting cab, remarked slowly, “Well, old-fashioned method of estimating one's we'll talk it over, perhaps. Where do dues to mankind, but it was better than you lunch ?” and gave the architect two the careless way of giving when it oc- fingers of his gloved hand. curred to one, or when some friend who He was thinking that Mrs. Hart was could not be denied demanded help. . . a pleasant woman, who always listened

The architect, as he rode to the early to him with a certain deference. And morning train in the club 'bus, was talk- these Harts must be hard put to it, withing to Stephen Lane, a rich bachelor, who out old Jackson's pile. had a large house and was the chief pro- Hart went his way on foot, a taste of moter of the Hunt Club. Lane grum- something little agreeable in his mouth. bled rather ostentatiously because he was He had to stop at the railroad offices to obliged to take the early train, having see the purchasing agent. had news that a mill he was interested The railroad did its own contracting, in had burned down overnight.

naturally, and it was through this man “You are going to rebuild ? ” the ar- Bushfield that the specifications for the chitect asked.

buildings had to pass. The architect had

had many dealings with the purchasing work, and in the section on the cement agent, and had found him always friends work he inserted neatly in ink the words, ly. This morning Bushfield was already “Or a cement of equal quality approved in his office, perspiring from the July by the architect." heat, his coat off, a stenographer at his Not many days later the purchasing elbow. When Hart came in he looked agent telephoned to him : up slowly, and nodded. After he had fin “Say, Hart, the Buckeye Hardware ished with the stenographer, he asked, - people have just had a man in here see

Why do you specify Star cement at ing me about the hardware for that buildEversley, Hart ?

ing. I see you have specified the ForOh, it's about the best. We always rest makes. Are n't the Buckeye people specify Star for outside work."

first-class ?“How's it any better than the Cli The architect, who knew what was max?” the purchasing agent asked in- coming this time, waited a moment besistently.

fore replying. Then he answered coolly, “I don't know anything about the “I think they are, Bushfield.” Climax. What's the matter with Star ?" "Well, the Buckeye people have al

Bushfield scratched his chin thought- ways done our business, and they could fully for a moment.

n't understand why they were shut out “ I have n't got anything against Star. by your specifying the Forrest makes. What I want to know is what you have You 'll make that all right? So long." got against Climax ?”

As Hart hung up his telephone, he The smooth guttural tones of the pur would have liked to write Raymond, the chasing agent gave the architect no cause general manager, that he wanted nothing for suspicion, and he was dull enough not more to do with the railroad business. to see what was in the air.

Some weeks later when he happened “ It would take time to try a new ce to glance over the Buckeye Company's ment properly,” he answered.

memoranda of sales for the Eversley staThe purchasing agent picked up his tion, and saw what the railroad had paid morning cigar, rolled it around in his for its hardware, he knew that Horace mouth, and puffed before he replied: - Bushfield was a thief. But they were

“I don't mind telling you that it means talking of the Popover station then. something to me to have Climax used at Eversley. It's just as good as any ce Something similar had been his expement on the market. I give you my rience with the contractor Graves. word for that. I take it you're a good “Put me up a good, showy building," friend of mine. I wish

you

would the contractor had said, when they disif you can't use the Climax."

cussed the design. ** That's the kind Then they talked of other matters. that will take in that park neighborhood. When Hart got back to the office he People nowadays want a stylish home looked

up

the Climax cement in a trade with elevator boys in uniform. ... That catalogue. There were hundreds of court you've got there between the wings, brands on the market, and the Climax was and the little fountain, and the grand one of the newest. Horace Bushfield, he entrance, all just right. But they reflected, was Colonel Raymond's son-in- don't want to pay nothin' for their style. law. If he wished to do the Popover Flats don't rent for anything near what station, he should remain on good terms they do in New York. Out here they with the purchasing agent of the road. want the earth for fifty, sixty dollars a Some time that day he got out the type- month ; and we got to give 'em the nearwritten specifications for the railroad est thing to it for their money.”

see

« PreviousContinue »