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that don't taste good to yours, and keep and then what did Reuben do but go still about it."
down to Zoar, where his wife come from, His companion admitted the truth of and git her half-sister-both of 'em young, this statement.
scart little things, and no kin to one an“ Sometimes I think,” went on Monroe, other—and they can't do nothin' even if musingly, " that if they'd begun by eatin' they wanted 10. Bad-tempered ? Wal, separate they might have got along, 'cause I wouldn't say the Granger twins it's only His saints that the Lord has was bad-tempered," and the biographer made peasant-tempered enough to stand dexterously removed a fly from his horse's bein' pestered with three meals a day, patient back. They're sot, of course, unless they're busy enough not to have but they ain't what they used to be-I time to think about anythin' but swallerin'. guess it's been a sort of discipline to 'emHayin'-time most men is kinder pleasant livin' next door and never takin' no kind 'bout their food—so long's it's ready. Wal, of notice. They're pleasant folks to have however it was, after they eat separate dealin's with, and I've had both of 'em there was other things. There was the ask me if I calc'lated it was goin' to rain, weather. They always read the weather when I've been goin' by-different times, signs different. And each of 'em had o' course—but it ’most knocked the wind that way of speakin' 'bout the weather as out of me when they done it, 'stead of givin’ if it was a little contrivance of his own, me p'inters. Yes, you never can speak to and he was the only person who could 'em both at once, 'cause the other one never give a hint how 'twas run, or had any hears if ye do; but there! it ain't much natural means of findin' out if 'twas hot, trouble to say a thing over twice-most of or cold, or middlin', 'less he took hold and us say it more’n that 'fore we can git it told 'em. It's a powerful tryin' sort of 'tended to; and," he added, as he leaned way, and finally it come so that, if Reuben forward and dropped the whip into its said we was in for a wet spell, Stephen 'd socket preparatory to turning into his own start right off and begin to mow his med yard, “ most of us hear; it more’n once." der grass, and if Stephen 'lowed there “Monroe,” called a voice from the was a sharp thunder-shower comin' up, porch, "did you bring them calves?” inside of ten minutes, Reuben 'd go and Vare," said Monroe. git his waterin’-pot and water every “ I told you if you stopped to bring 'em, blamed thing he had in his garden. I you wouldn't ba home till after dark." dunno when it was they stopped speakin', Wal?" but that was about all there was to it “ I told you 'twould be dark and you'd little things like that. They didn't either
be late to supper.” of 'em have any children; sometimes I've “Wal?” and Monroe took down the thought if they had, the kids might sort end of the wagon, and persuaded out the of brought 'em together--they couldn't calves. have kep' 'em apart without they moved The person who was Monroe's comaway, and of course they wouldn't either panion and the recipient of his confiof 'em give in to the other enough to move dences was a young woman who was also away from the old farm. Then their wives an inmate of his hous; for the present died 'bout a year from each other. They month of September, kep' kind o’ friendly to the last, but they Confident and somewhat audacious in couldn't stir their husbands no more’n if her conduct of life, Cynthia Gardner had they was safes—it seems, sometimes, as felt that this September existence lacked if husbands and wives was sort o' too a motive for energy before it brought her near one another, when it comes to movin', into contact with the Granger twins. to git any kind of a purchase. When
“ They are so interesting,” she said to Reuben's wise died, folks said they'd have Monroe, a day or two later, to git reconciled now; and when Stephen's “Wal, 1
guess they be," answered died, there didn't seem anythin' else for Monroe, amiably. The quality of being 'em to do; but folks didn't know 'em. interesting did not assume to his vision Stephen went up country where his wife the proportions it presented to Cynthia come from and brought home a little gal, Gardner's, but he saw no reason to deny that was her niece, to keep house for him; its existence. Cynthia cast a backward
glance from the wagon as she spoke, and ing for a crisis-came, after all, unexpectsaw Reuben slowly and stiffly gather- edly. She had been for the mail, and as ing up dry stalks in his garden, while she drove the amenable horse over the Stephen propped up the declining side of homeward road she strained her eyes to a water-butt in his adjoining domain, one read the last page of an unusually absorbman's back carefully turned to the other. ing letter, for it was again sundown, and
She walked back from the Center, and the Granger twins again sat in their doorstopped to talk with the twins in a casual ways. There was a decided chill in the
But no careful inadvertence air, this late afternoon. The old men, drew them, at this or any later time when though they were sturdy still, had put on their social relations had become firmly their coats, and from behind them the established, into a triangular conversation. comfortable glow of two stove doors They greeted her with cordiality, re- promised a later hour of warmth and sponded to her advances, talked to her comfort. Their aspect was more melanwith the tolerantand humorous shrewdness choly than usual, whether it were that that lurked in their dim eyes, but it was the bleakness of winter seemed pressing always one at a time. If, with disarming close upon the bleakness of lonely age, naïveté, she appealed to Stephen, Reuben or that there was an added weariness in turned into a graven image; and if she the droop of the thin shoulders and the chaffed with Reuben, Stephen became as fixed eyes—it was certain that the picture one who having eyes seeth not, and hav- had gained a shadow of depression. ing ears heareth not. But she persisted For once, Cynthia was not thinking of with a zeal which, if not according to
them as she drew near. The reins were knowledge, was the result of a firm belief loose in her hand, and as she bent to in the possibility of a final adjustment of catch the waning light, an open newsdifferences. She did not know, herself, paper, which she bad laid carelessly on what led her into such earnestness-a the seat beside her, was lifted by a trancaprice, or the lingering pathos of two sient gust of wind and tossed almost over lonely, barren lives.
her horse's head. No horse, of whatever Monroe watched her proceedings with serenity, can be thus treated without retolerant kindliness. It was not his busi sentment. He jerked the reins from her ness to discourage her. He knew what heedless hands, made a sharp turn to it was to be discouraged, and he felt that avoid the white, wavering, inconsequent there was quite enough discouragement thing at his feet, a wheel caught in a going about in life without his adding neighboring boulder, and Cynthia was to it.
spilled out just in front of the Granger “I tell you they would like to be recon house and midway between the twins. In ciled, Mr. Monroe,” said Cynthia. “They a common impulse of fright the two old don't know they would like it, but they men started to their feet. For an instant would.”
they paused to judge of the situation, but “Wal, mebbe they wou!d. They're it was no time for fine distinctions. The gittin' to be old men. And when you git accident had, to all appearances, hap. along as far as that, you don't, perhaps, pened as near one as the other, and worry so much about bein' reconciled, but meanwhile a young and pretty woman lay neither does it seem as worth while not unsuccored upon the ground. It became to. There's a good deal that's sort of a point of honor to yield nothing to an instructive about gittin' old,” he rumi- ignored companion. As speedily as their nated.
years allowed, Stephen and Reuben “It's very lonely for them both, I marched to the rescue. The horse, meanthink," and Cynthia's voice fell into the while, had dragged the overturned wagon ready accents of youthful pity.
but a few yards, and had stopped of his "Their quarrel's been kinder comp’ny own
reasonable accord. As Cynthia for 'em," suggested Monroe.
raised herself rather confusedly and quite "It's overstayed its time,” asserted convinced that she was killed, her first Cynthia.
impression was that the angels were older * Mebbe," answered Monroe.
than she had fancied, and looked very The crisis—for Cynthia had been look much like the Granger twins.
But in a
few seconds her balance of mind was re hysterically, for her nerves were a little
forgotten moment he stepped inside his
moment; she must not give the intruder "I declare, 'twas too bad,” said Reuben. an opportunity to escape. She knew the N'Twas too bad,” said Stephen. intruder by that impulse of desertion, and
“Is the horse all right?" asked Cyn- she clung the tighter to his arm when she thia, feebly.
you could get me Yes, Johnny Allen got him," said some water, Mr. Granger.” Stephen.
Stephen hastened towards the kitchen Johnny Allen came along,” said Reu: pump—the sight of Reuben in his side of ben, as if Stephen had not spoken, “and the house, after thirty years, set old chords he's got him.”
vibrating with a suddenness that threat“I can walk,” she said, with not un ened to snap some disused string, and his conscious pathos, “ if you will walk with perceptions were not as clear as usual. me, but I must go in and rest a moment,” He seized the dipper, filled it, and looked and the three moved slowly straight for about him. ward.
“Where's the tumbler, Jenny ?" he A few steps brought them to the point called impatiently. at which they must turn aside to reach " It's right there," answered the girl, either entrance. Before them rose the with the explicitness of agitation. old boarded up, dismal doorway, weather “Whar?' he demanded with asperity. beaten, stained, repellent as bitterness. "Settin' on the side--right back of the There was another fateful pause. Cynthia molasses jug.” felt the quiver that ran through the frames “ Molasses jug!” he exclaimed. “Nice of the old men as for the first time in long place for the molasses jug!" years they stood side by side before the
“We was goin' to have baked beans doorway about which as children they had for supper," said the trembling Jenny, played, and through which as boys they feeling that it was best to be tentative had rushed together. In Cynthia's droop- about even a trifling matter within the ing head plans were rapidly forming area of this convulsion, “and you always themselves, but she had time to be thank
want it handy." ful that she did not know which was Reu
It was a simple statement, but it laid a ben and which was Stephen—it saved finger upon the past and upon the future. her the anxiety of decision; instinctively Cynthia, through her half-closed eyes, saw she turned to the right, a small brown one old man with disturbed features, hand clutching impartially either rough standing with his hand upon her chair, and shabby sleeve.
while another old man shuffled toward The man on her right swerved in an her with a glass of water, which spilled a impulse of desertion, but her grasp did little in his shaking hand as he came not relax.
across the humble kitchen. Most inad“Is the judgment of Solomon to be equate dramatic elements, yet they held pronounced ?" she said to herself, half the tragedy of nearly a lifetime, and the
comedy, though more evident, was cast turned sociably towards one another, by it in the shade, and she neither laughed now and then, as they exchanged a syllanor cried.
ble or two, and there was a mild lumiWithin a few moments more she was on nousness of pleasure in the recesses of her homeward way, a trifling break in the their pale-blue eyes. The evening darkharness tied up with twine,and Johnny Allen ened fast into night. The plaintive halfin the seat beside her as guard of honor. chirp, half-whistle of a tree-toad fell in
The next evening the people, driving monotonous repetition upon the ear. home from the Center, were saved from “ Hear them little fellers !” said Stesome active demonstration only by the phen, ruminantly. “I reckon they think repression of the New England tempera- it's goin' to rain. ment. Some of them even, after driving “ Yare,” said Reuben.“ And,” he went past, invented an errand to drive back on, pushing back his straw hat and lookagain, so as to make sure. Forthe Granger ing up into the sky, “I wouldn't wonder twins sat side by side in front of the dis- if they was right.” used doorway, and their straw hats were “ Mostly are,” said Stephen.
James Lane Allen'
By Hamilton W. Mabie
bedded his stories in Nature as guage.
has James Lane Allen; and His earlier style had a suggestion of among English novels one recalls only the flute in it; his later style has the Mr. Hardy's three classics of pastoral richer melody and larger compass of the England, and among French novelists violin. In the earlier romances Nature George Sand and Pierre Loti. Nature was everywhere present in delicately sugfurnishes the background of many charm-. gested landscape, in the daily record of ing American stories, and finds delicate flower and leaf and bird. In such stoor effective remembrance in the hands of ries as “The White Cowl” and “ Sister writers like Miss Jewett and Miss Mur- Dolorosa ” one looks through the winfree; but in Mr. Allen's romances Nature dow of human life upon a landscape of is not behind the action ; she is involved exquisite beauty, and through that winin it. Her presence is everywhere; her dow liquid bird-notes are always floatinfluence streams through the story; the ing. In “A Kentucky Cardinal” and deep and prodigal beauty which she wears " Aftermath"-two out-of-door classicsin rural Kentucky shines on every page; it is not easy to decide whether the emthe tremendous forces which sweep phasis of the story is under the roof or through her disclose their potency in under the sky, so deeply interfused is the human passion and impulse. There was life of the heart with the life of the world. a fine note in Mr. Allen's earliest work ; “A Kentucky Cardinal ” is the most a prelusive note with the quality of the finely conceived calendar of the year Aute. It is evident that Mr. Allen has which the imagination has yet fashioned thought much about music, and that this in this country: a calendar with sounds, study has brought into his consciousness sights, and fragrance for the senses, and the inner connection between two of the with spiritual suggestion and hint of great arts of expression. It is also clear deeper correspondences for the soul. that he knows and loves the flute. In “Summer in Arcady” a deeper note was a deep instinct which prompted him in the treatment of Nature was struck, to entitle a volume of short stories “ Flute and Mr. Allen's style took on, not only and Violin ;” so kindred, in many ways, greater freedom, but a richer beauty. are the tones of those instruments with The story is a kind of incarnation of the
tremendous vitality of Nature, the unconThe Choir Invisible. By James Allen. The Macmillan Company, New York. $1.50.
scious, unmoral sweep of the force which
makes for life. So completely enveloped were gentlemen and they were farmers : is the reader in the atmosphere of the a combination of temper and occupation opulent world about him, so deeply does which breeds the finest type of man. On he realize the primeval forces rushing both sides of the house they were enlisted tumultuous through that world, that at heart and soul in the Revolutionary strugtimes the human figures seem as subordi- gle; on both sides they crossed the Allenate as those which appear in Corot's land- ghanies when that mountain wall marked scapes. And yet these human struggles the limits of civilization and safety, and are intensely real, this human drama took brave share in the perils and hardis intensely genuine. Whatever may be ships of the new order fast spreading tothought of the wisdom of presenting the ward the Mississippi. The family history sex problem sofrankly, Mr. Allen's in later times has the pathetic monotony sharpest critic must confess that in no of fate which overtook so many such other American book is atmosphere so families in the tempest of thirty-five years pervasive, so potential, so charged with ago. Prosperity, ease, high spirits, gentle passion and beauty. It is quite as much manners, then the storm of war, a broken a story of Nature as of life ; and among circle, ruined fortunes : a familiar story, recent works of fiction Loti's “Iceland but never robbed of its tragedy by its Fisherman ” is perhaps the only instance familiarity. of a kindred suffusion of the human drama During the war Mr. Allen was at school with the effluence of earth and sky. in the good old-fashioned way; but he
In “The Choir Invisible" a still deeper was also learning in the still oldernote is struck; the moral insight, always fashioned way in woods and fields. No clear, is more penetrating ; the feeling one can read his books without becoming for life is at once more restrained and aware that his education afield was of the more passionate ; the constructive skill is heart as well as of the senses. One can moie marked; the style surer and more imagine the rapture of those days in the entirely molded to its theme. This story unfolding of an imagination of rare sensiis so steeped in beauty, both of the world tiveness. For Mr. Allen must early have and of the spirit, that it is not easy to passed through the stage of pupilship write of it dispassionately. It has a rich into that of comradeship; he was not long ness of texture which American fiction, poring over primers of the fields; he was as a rule, has lacked; there are depths in his teacher's heart. He knew also the in it which American fiction has not, as rapture of reading which comes to such a a rule, brought to the consciousness of boy in that first revelation of thought which readers; depths of life below the region precedes the revelation of experience; of observation. There is in it the uncon then came studious years at the Transylsciousness and abandon which are the vania University; followed by other years very substance of art, and which are so of teaching in country schools in Missouri constantly missed in the fiction of extreme and Kentucky. Advancement came in sophistication.
the form of a position in the faculty of his It is Mr. Allen's good fortune, as a Alma Mater, and, later, a professorship novelist, to be a Southerner; to have the in Bethany College, West Virginia. quick imagination, the courage of emo But Mr. Allen's genius steadily pointed tion, the warmth of temperament, the in a different direction, and ten years ago deep feeling for life as contrasted with he finally committed himself to its guidkeen observation of it, which are giving ance, and, declining invitations to prothe Southern writer great place in our fessorial positions, gave himself entirely literature. Mr. Allen is so plainly a Ken to literary work. The years of his aptuckian that it seems an impertinence not prenticeship were hard, as such years to take the fact for granted. He was always are and ought to be; for no man born in the very heart of the blue-grass has a right to expect excellence in any art country; of that fine stock which came unless he is willing to pay the price of from England through Virginia into Ken- education which every art imposes on all tucky; a stock which, in its best strain, who become its masters. Those years, has had no superior on this continent. by no means without great delights and The Kentucky forebears of Mr. Allen rewards, are passed, and Mr. Allen stands