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missed! There may be an ordinance tho', a vein that indicates he found the oldthat all saloon-keepers be killed when found fashioned Sunday at home by no means without muzzles.
as inspiriting as roving: ... I“stand in” with the best men of the town, and am rapidly growing in public need them most. Sunday—of all days—is
Your letters always come to me when I favor-I'll be out in book form yet. I wish you were here at the nobbiest little boarding the most unsatisfactory in all respects—and house in the world everything is perfect mark-should I ever clip my jugular, or even to the old girl, “the hostess." She
puncture my heart with a pistol-ball
, it will wears a crutch, but I don't know how many be on that holy unbearable day—when even of her legs are off. She capers under the the chickens cackle and crow in their most jocund patronym
melancholy tones, ic of “Aunt
and the skies look Jane” – Every
haggard and faded body calls her that,
for all the paint so if she isn't Aunt
and powder of sunJane who is she? I
shine and snowy think of you often,
clouds, and that and of the rare old
emblem of peace times we had, and
and tranquillity, I still nurse a hope
the dove, will drive that we may have
me to it. a grand rehearsal
And the brown owl of them again. Say
calls to his mate to A- that she
in the wood haunts me. I saw
man lies her in a dream the
dead in the road. other night and
This, however, she had wings
shall seven feet long, and I was just go
your letter has ing to ask her to
come to me, for fly some when the
that protects me breakfast bell rang
from all harm and and
shields my heart “She vanished as
like an amulet.... slick
You should be As a sleight-o'
at Sunday School hand trick.”
with us again-it ... Yours truly,
is so jolly stupid JIM.
there! and so moOIL,” AND LOOKED LIKE GENERAL GRANT notonous it seems Among the ex
to me a nightmare periences of this
self-inflicted and trip were those which awoke young Riley stoically indulged in from mere force of to his poetical ambitions. His recitations habit. caught the fancy not only of the crowd I am glad to see by the general tone of about the wagon, but, as suggested in your letter that your life is a pleasanter one the above letter, were heard by some now than your surroundings made it for you people of discrimination in their homes,
a while back. That's right, for after all we where thoughtful encouragement was
make or mar our own happiness ourselvesWith the son of the old
don't you think so? and the world's a show given him.
we pay to see and we're fools if we don't take doctor, young Townsend, Riley had long
front seats and enjoy the performance! ... talks through the night, dreaming of the So live, and love, and be happy while you future. To be and to do something worth may! and while in life impelled these youthful “For fear
die tomorrow dreamers to give themselves over to “Let today pass flower-crowned and singing." many a heart-to-heart talk, in which
... Think of me kindly, and as often as they resolved big things. Upon Riley's
you can without interfering with higher return to Greenfield, he wrote to the duties, and believe me, I am yours most girl mentioned in the previous letter in affectionately,
Riley was back in his father's law- productions of others, I cannot enter into office now, writing verses more indus any minute discussion of the merits of the triously than ever. He was glad when poems you send me. his father was away, for there was one
“I can only say in general terms, that I
have read them with great pleasure, and manuscript concealed in the old table
think they show the true poetic faculty and drawer that insistently called him. “The
insight. poem wrote itself,” said Riley. And so, with "An Old Sweetheart of Mine" “The only criticism I shall make is on written, but all unconscious of its uni your use of the word prone in the thirteenth versal worth, the young man groped line of Destiny.' Prone means face downtoward an appointed goal. In one of the ward. You mean to say supine as the context
shows. many moments of deep discouragement
“I return the printed pieces as you may at this time, he wrote that “all the
want them for future use, and am, My Dear world was dead to him."
Sir, From Captain Lee 0. Harris, his old With all good wishes, schoolmaster, Riley had literary com
Yours very truly panionship and encouragement in those
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW." trying days. The editor of the New
To Riley, in his hunger for sympaCastle Mercury, Benj. S. Parker, a dear friend of Riley to the very last, gave Longfellow, though simple and reserved,
thetic appreciation, the letter from him heart by sympathetic and appreciative letters. But the way was dark
was a turning-point in his life. After
the master had seen in his verse indicafor him. Between poems he took up his brush. In a letter to Parker he
tions of “the true poetic faculty and
insight,” Riley felt that faith in his wrote: I am very busy-sign painting—I wonder ability had some reason for being and
that there was an eventual pathway am I destined to succeed T. Buchanan Reid
to success. in that title “The Painter Poet?” Ha! Ha!
He was finding himself. Ha!
Through a great variety of experiences But the laugh was often simulated at
he had groped his way—through the this time when the future was most un
works of Dickens, Longfellow, and the certain. At length Riley gathered to
poets, through the humdrum experigether the poems, “In the Dark,” “The
ences of country life, through making
the most of such pitifully poor opporIron Horse," "The Dreamer," "If I Knew What Poets Know," and perhaps tunities as amateur theatricals in the “An Old Sweetheart of Mine," and sent
town hall, and through the intimate them to Longfellow. The result, which
contact with life that was possible to he awaited as anxiously as though a ver
the half-hopeful, half-despairing signdict in some high court, is recorded in a
painter. Always, with an inquisitive eye letter to Parker:
and open heart, he was learning, from
books one thing, from a never-failGREENFIELD, IND., Nov. 4, '76. DEAR PARKER:
ing interest in the people back home I'm in a perfect hurricane of delight, and another. Through all these years, howmust erupt to you,“O gentlest of my ever confused the design of hopes and friends." I sent you a postal recently stating discouragements and tangled purposes, my intention of addressing Longfellow
a thread of gold runs. No matter what well—his response to my letter lies open
Riley tried, there was only one satisfacbefore me, and as it is brief, I will quote it verbatim:
tion, one dream unfolding despite disCAMBRIDGE, Nov. 3d, 1876. couragement, poverty, and lack of op“MY DEAR Sir:
portunity. At length it shone out as an Not being in the habit of criticising the
BY MARY HEATON VORSE
HAVE never been able manner, and that rag-playing lubber of to decide whether a boy of his—dapper was the name for Huntington was a him. How could he like children like brave man or a coward, that—wistful, poetic type of man that a quitter or a man who he was?
had the courage to ful There are people enough like him and le fil himself.
to spare who find themselves with midIn either case, neither his cowardice dle-age at their heels and several unconnor his courage would be of the obvious genial adults for whom they are responsisort; his courage would be in doing what ble, but that have to be paid for, and he felt like, in terminating a situation paid for again. which had got the better of him, and Maybe some day there will come which he knew had sapped his manhood. along a psychologist of the derelicts—a
That he acted as he did was certainly man who will analyze for us how many Mrs. Huntington's fault. There are people there are whose mediocrity has some things which must not be said out been embittered by the fetish of success. loud, some facts that one must never Our families don't let us be unsuccessful face openly, if one wishes life to proceed in peace. They didn't Huntington. on its old terms. The putting into words Now, wistful and poetic may seem odd of a thought is a strange and dynamic terms to apply to a country storekeeper, thing; it is like the lighting of powder. but that was what he was; rare, if you That she did to him what she did was
like, a person
of unusual sweetness. He bad enough; she shouldn't have under- was-though it is rather an absurd term scored it.
to apply to a grown man-lovely. PeoI fancy there are a great many men
ple had enthusiasms about him; you who would, if they could, have acted as couldn't mention his name without Huntington did with the coming of the smiles of kindliness coming on people's war. It is the older men, I notice, who faces, or without some one having a look most wistfully toward war's in story to tell about him that matched my tensity. It would be for many a man in first encounter with him. his forties such a magnificent adventure, He did some vague real-estate business such a fine way of getting out of it all. along with his store, and I went there to
You know when you're forty-odd inquire about summer cottages. pretty much what you're going to be, He was sitting reading before his desk, and in which of those dreadful little and as he read an expression swept over tables of success or failure you belong- his face that was like the sun traveling those tables which tell you that if you over the sea on a dark day, for he was hold your own you're doing well, that dark-rather a shy, veiled person but most people fail, and that to be “de for the flash of his smile and the intellipendent' along toward fifty-five is gence of his eyes; though his hair was pretty much the normal thing.
thinning a little, he had a young, interThen there's something about most
ested air. growing families—we keep up the polite He put the book down, and I saw it fiction about parents and children. We was Lord Jim-odd reading for the love our children—but there are plenty keeper of a country store. of us who don't like them. Huntington When I told him that I wanted a cotdidn't like his. How could he have tage he looked me over. I had a feeling been expected to! That pretty girl with as though a sort of spiritual measure her smart clothes and her“
father" was being taken of me.
"I've got a cottage,” he said, finally, “I got lots of other houves more “that I think you'd like. It isn't what comfortable" you asked for-it hasn't
got conven “Yes, I'll take it," I told him. The iences
view had got me; I was lost. It seemed “Haven't you
conven sacrilegious to weigh plumbing in the iences?" I asked.
balance with the desolate charm. “Oh yes," he responded. “Yes, I've And even as I looked the face of the got 'em with conveniences, too; but this landscape changed. High clouds threw cottage, it's got a view. I'd like to off shadows on the moorlands and softlive in that cottage myself.”. He didn't ened the cruel glittering dunes with a underscore the view, but there was a veil of lavender. It had been as swift as tenderness in his tone, an inflection that that change of expression over Huntingmade me feel as though I was being let ton's face. He smiled at me. into a secret of a peculiarly gracious “One sits and watches for it,” he said. sort.
I went back to the store with Hunting"Not everybody would care for that ton, a victim of his dim charm, and in view," he said, reflectively. There was some way The Store—I had time then flattery of the most poignant sort in to notice its quality expressed his perthose words, and all the more that he sonality. It was at once ship-chandler's did not mean it as flattery.
and grocery, real estate and hardware. When I saw the view I knew exactly There were odds and ends of secondwhat he meant. It hit me as he had hand furniture, too, as though to be known it would.
obliging he had got in a small line of From the little house one looked down anything he had ever been asked for. over a wide moorland, which fought with A pathetic sign hung in the middle of the encroaching sand dunes; one could
It read, Please Loaf in the see them beyond in their shining desola Back Room.” In that one had the key tion. Below us lay the tops of gray to Huntington's nature. He couldn't houses with the odd perspective of a have put up a sign, "No Loafing." He Japanese print, and the painted bay liked loafers and the people who sit all with ships upon it; that was the obvi- day on wharfs. ous view—the view for everybody to like; Just as I was savoring this store with but I knew it was for this desolate and its smell of fruit and marlin a woman remote aspect of the back country that came in. She was small and vivid. She he had brought me. It was not a reas seemed rather like an angry robin with suring view, for not far off and tucked
her tempestuous, suffused face. away between what had been two dunes “I've got to have some money!" she was an abandoned cemetery whose gray announced. slate stones scarcely differentiated them I could see Huntington shrink into selves from the encroaching clumps of himself. There was a softness in his bayberry. Here and there a grayish- glance as it met hers that played some white stone of a later epoch flagged one's witchery with her-she loved him. attention, and there was a procession of She repeated, in a softer tone: “I've distracted cypress-trees which on the got to have some money.
You stillest day waved their branches as must be able," she went on, “to collect though to some hidden wind.
some.” She was oblivious of me and of "Queer view, ain't it?” he said, gently. his mood, rendered obtuse by her in“This house is hard to rent on account tensity. "You must collect those old of it—that and its inconveniences.” bills!”
Far off, apparently above the horizon, “I don't see as how there's anything was a line of silver-the outer shore, and I could collect this afternoon,” he gave along it, as though sailing in the sky, back. was a distant fleet of fishing-vessels “When you sell so much and you run bound to South Channel. It was beau a business like this, it's mean to the tiful and desolate. It had the charm family to keep us so short. Why should of a strange woman.
we be so short-all of us —all the time “Are you going to take it?” he asked just so people can loaf! I don't call it
fair—I don't!". She had included me in “The view! The view!” she cried. her look, as though expecting my ap
“A view that would give you the creeps! proval. Now she cried out, including I bet you never took him to Bay End everybody, “You know how he does it at all-that's a view for you! Sweeps -credit-credit to everybody, and I both ends of the harbor—that view—and have to beg to get something new! I'm a rose-arbor! Why, there aren't any short all the time!”
improvements! What 'll his wife say?" With her lack of reticence and her anger she should have been intolerable, He looked at her curiously, a little but she was so honest with it all that if expression of wonder in his face. He had Huntington had been a shade different a gesture which included me I had she would have had one's sympathy. been included enough already, Heaven
Again their eyes crossed, and again it knew—which asked mutely what ailed came to me that they cared for each her and indicated that one must be other.
patient with women. "One would think," he said, smiling I went away certain of two things at her, “that you went hungry. Didn't I that somehow she would get her money, hear you say you wouldn't change your and that he would never in the world house for any in town?"
collect one of those bills whose existence One could fairly see her resisting the infuriated her so. charm he had for her. “There's got to be That was how I first saw him, when money!” she insisted. “I've got to get he was still intact, but I realized later the children fitted for school, and you that he was intact only because she perknow I've got to. It would serve you
mitted him so to be; because she still right if I made debts and sent you the loved him the most, though she loved bill!” One knew she never would do him ardently, passionately, to the end. that. "I bet you anything that Morris How could she have helped it? Even owes you a big bill.”
when she despised him for a fool she He looked away; he didn't answer her loved him, though she wasn't intellidirectly. When her indignation had gent enough to see that he couldn't spent itself, “Folks pay when they can, have had his perfection and not be he said, pacifically.
what she considered a fool at the same “Folks pay when they're made to," time. she gave back. She shut her mouth like I got the habit of dropping in often a trap.
The moment when she ap at The Store. There were plenty of peared sympathetic had passed; she other stores in town, but The Store seemed like the dark shadow of this meant Huntington's. It had a peculiar luminous man.
atmosphere-a cross between a club and It came across me that he paid heavily a private house and something else for all his kindness.
which made it The Store, a sort of instiTo turn the subject, "I just rented a tution, with its pleasant disorder, its cottage this afternoon,” he said.
curious mixture of things that smelled “What cottage did you rent?” of the sea, its trickle of children after
“I rented it to Mr. Grey—the one on their perpetual candy, the youngsters Tom Nevers's hill."
loafing in the back room and the old She looked at me with the swift look fellows sitting around swapping yarns of an angry little bird. She turned from with Huntington. me to Huntington.
It was when I, too, was loafing around “You didn't!" she cried. “Why on The Store one day that I stumbled on earth didn't you rent him one of the the answer as to what had been the matgood cottages?" She sized me up in a ter with Mrs. Huntington, and what it moment. I might have paid so much was that had inflamed her habitual immore. “Why, he's the one with a car! patience with her husband to fury. How'll he ever stand it there?”
Maida, Huntington's thirteen-year“How'll you ever stand it up
there?" old girl, was sitting gravely at his desk, she cried to me.
when she burst out with, "Why haven't “I like the view," I explained.
we got a motor?” VOL, CXXXVI.-No. 813.-42