The Great Air-Engine

THESE is an odd collection of houses, and a stretch of green, with half a dozen old elms, raspberry-bushes, and pruned oaks growing on it, opening out from this window where I work; this morning, they blended curiously with this old story that I want to tell you, helping me to understand it better. And the story, too, explained to me one reason why people. always choose to look at those trees rather than the houses: at any trees before any houses. Because, you see, whatever grows out of Nature is itself, and says so : has its own especial little soul-sap, and leafs that out intact, borrows no trait or trick or habit from its neighbor. The sunshine is sunshine, and the pine-burr a pine-burr, obstinately, through and through. So Nature rests us. But whatever grows out of a man’s brain is like the brain, patched, uncertain: a perverse streak in it somewhere, to spoil its thorough good or ill meaning.

There is a little Grecian temple yonder, back of the evergreens, with a triangular stove-funnel revolving at its top ; and next door a Dutch-built stable, with a Turk’s turban for a cupola; and just beyond that, a chalet-roof, sprouting without any provocation whatever out of an engine-house. I do not think they are caricatures of some characters. I knew a politician once, very low down in even that scale; Quilp they nicknamed him ; the crudest husband; quarter-dollarish in his views and principles, and greedy for bribes even as low as that: yet I have seen that man work with a rose-bush as long and tenderly as a mother with her baby, and í is eyes glow and grow wet at the sight of a new and delicate plant. Near him lived a woman,— a relative of his, I believe: one of those women who absorb so much of the world’s room and air, and have a right to do it: a nature made up of grand, good pieces, with no mean bits mortared in : fresh and child-like, too, with heat or tears ready for any tale of wrong, or strongly spoken, true word. But strike against one prejudice that-woman had, her religious sect - feeling, and she was hard and cruel as Nero. It was the stove-funnel in that temple.

Human nature is full of such unaccountable warts and birth-marks and sixth fingers; and the best reason that I know of why all practical schemes for a perfect social system have failed is, that they are so perfect, so compact, that they ignore all these excrescences, these untied ends, in making up their whole. Yet it is a wonderful bit of mosaic, this Communist system : a place for every man, and every man in his place; “to insure to each human being the freest development of his faculties ”: there is a grand fragment of absolute truth in that, a going back to primal Nature, to a like life with that of sunshine and pines, a Utopia more Christ-like than the heaven (which Christ never taught) of eternal harp-playing and golden streets. But as for making it real, every man’s life should have the integrity of meaning of that of a tree. A. statesman, B. seer, C. scavenger: pines, raspberries, oaks. Impossible, as we know. And then, a thistle at the beginning knows it is a thistle, and cannot be anything else, so there is the end of it; but when Pratt, by nature knife-grinder, asserts himself poet, what then? How many men know their vocation ? Who is going about to tie on the labels ? Who would you be willing should tie on yours ? Then, again, there is your neighbor Brownson, with a yeasty brain, fermenting too fast through every phase of creed or party to accept a healthful “settling”; so it is left to work itself out, and it will settle itself by-and-by, in a life or two it may be. You know other brains which, if you will but consider, prove this life to be only one stage of a many-yeared era: they are lying fallow from birth until death; they have powers latent in them, that next time, perhaps, will bear golden grain or fruit. Now they are resting, they lie fallow. Communism allows no time for fermentation, or lying fallow; God does : for brains, I mean, not souls. But "what are we going to do with this blindness of human beings as to what they are fit for, — when they go, or are forced to go, stumbling along the wrong path all their lives ? Why, the bitterest prayers that God hears are from men who think they have lost time in the world. The lowest matter alive, the sponges, fungi, know what they have to do, and are blessed in the doing, while we - Did you think the Socialists helped the matter ? Men needed a thousand years’ education to make their schemes practicable; they ignored all this blindness, all selfishness, and overgrowth of the passions: no wonder these facts knobbed themselves up against their system, and so, in every instance, it crumbled to pieces. The things are facts, and here; there is no use in denying that; and it is a fact, too, that almost every life seems a wasted failure, compared with what it might have been. Such hard, grimy problems there are in life ! They weaken the eyes that look long at them: stories hard to understand, like that of this old machinist, Joe Starke.

But over yonder, how cool and shady it is on that sweep of green ! that rests one so thoroughly, in eyes and brain ! The quiet shadows ebb and flow over the uncut grass ; every hazy form or color is beyond art, true and beautiful, being fresh from God ; there are countless purpled vines creeping out from the earth under that grass; the air trembles with the pure spring health and light; the gray-barked old elms wrestle, anti knot their roots underground, clutching down at the very thews and sinews of the earth, and overhead unfold their shivering delicate leaves fresh in the sunlight to catch the patter of the summer rain when it comes. It is sure to come. Winter and summer, spring and autumn, shall not fail. God always stays there, in the great Fatherland of Nature. One knows now why Jesus went back there when these hard riddles of the world made his soul sorrowful even unto death, and he needed a word from Home to refresh him.

Do you know the meaning to-day of the beds of rock and pregnant loam, of the woods, and water-courses, and live growths and colors on these thousand hills near us ? Is it that God has room for all thing in this Life of His? for all these problems, all Evil as it seems to us ? that nothing in any man’s life is wasted? every hunger, loss, effort, held underneath and above in some infinite Order, suffered to live out its purpose, give up its uttermost uses? If, after all, the end of science, of fact and fiction, of watching those raspberry - bushes growing, or of watching the phases of these terrible years in which we live, were only to give us glimpses of that eternal Order, so that we could lie down in it, grow out of it, like that ground-ivy in the earth and sunshine yonder, sure, as it is, that there is no chance nor waste in our own lives? It would be something to know that sentence in which all the world's words are ordered, and to find that the war, and the Devil, and even your own life’s pain, had its use, and was an accord there, — would it not? Thinking of that, even this bit of a history of Joe Starke might have its meaning, the more if there should he trouble and a cold wind blowing in it; because any idiot can know what God means by happy lives, but to find His thought behind the hunger and intolerable loss that wring the world’s heart is a harder thing to do, — a better, a great, healthful thing. And one may be sure that the man, be he Christian or Pagan, who does believe in this under Order and Love, and tries to see and clear his way down to it, through every day’s circumstance, will have come very near to the real soul of good and humanity,—to the Christ,— before the time comes for him to rest, and stand in his lot, at the end of the days.

But to our story. It was in Philadelphia the old machinist lived; he had been born and had grown old there; but there are only one or two days in his life you would care to hear about: August days, in the summer of ’59, the culmination and end of all the years gone before for him. You know what a quiet place Philadelphia is ? One might fancy that the first old Quaker, sitting down among its low, flattish hills, had left a spell of thoughtful reticence behind him. The hills never dare to rise into abrupt earnestness ; the two broad, bright-faced rivers that hold it in lapse with a calm consciousness into the sleepy, oyster-bedded bay ; even the accretion of human life there never has been able to utter itself in the myriad rebellious phases of a great city, but falls gravely into the drilled monotony of its streets. Brick and mortar will not yield themselves there to express any whim in the mind of their owner : the house-fronts turn the same impassive, show-hating faces on the sidewalks from the Delaware to the Schuylkill. Give the busiest street a moment’s chance and it broods down into a solitary reverie, saying,— “ You may force me into hotels and market-places, if you will, but I know the business of this town is to hold its tongue.” Even the curiously beautiful women wrap themselves in the uniform of gray, silent color ; the cast of thought of the people is critical, attentive, self-controlled. When a covered, leaden day shuts the sun out, and the meaning of the place in, hills and city and human life, one might fancy, utter the old answer of the woman accused of witchcraft: — “ While I hold my thought, it is my own ; when I speak it, it is my master.” Out in the near hills the quietude deepens, loosening and tailing back out of the rigid reserve of the city into the unconscious silence of a fresh Nature : no solitudes near a large town are so solitary as those. There is one little river in especial, that empties into the Schuylkill, which comes from some water-bed under the shady hills in Montgomery County, —some pool far underground, which never in all these ages has heard a sound, or seen the sun, nor ever shall ; therefore the water flowing from it carries to the upper air a deeper silence than the spell left by the old Quaker on the hills, or even the ghostly memory of the Indian tribes, who, ages long ago, hunted and slowly faded away in these forests on its shores.

When they came to the New World, at a time so far gone from us that no dead nation even has left of it any record, they found the river flowing as strangely silent and pure as now, and the name they gave it, Wissahickon, it bears to-day. The hills are there as when they first saw them, wrapping themselves every year in heavier mantles of hemlocks and cedars; but a shaded road winds now gravely by the river-side, and along it the city sends out those who are tired, worn out, and need to hear that message of the river. No matter how dull their heads or hearts may be, they never fail to catch something of its meaning. So quiet it is there, so pure, it is like being born again, they say. So, all the time, in the cool autumn-mornings, in the heavy lull of noon, or with the low harvestmoon slanting blue and white shadows, sharp and uncanny, across its surface, the water flows steadily from its dark birthplace, clear, cheerful, bright. The hills crouch attentive on its edge, shaggy with shadows ; from the grim rocks ferns and mosses sleep out delicate color unmolested, the red-bearded grass drops its seed unshaken. The sweetbrier trails its pink fingers through the water. They know what the bright little river means, as well as the mill-boy fishing by the bank: how He sent it near the city, just as He brought that child into the midst of the hackneyed, doubting old taxgatherers and publicans long ago, with the same message. Such a curious calm and clearness rest in it, one is almost persuaded, that, in some day gone by, some sick, thirsty soul has in truth gone into its dewy solitude in a gray summer dawn, and, finding there the fabled fountain of eternal life, has left behind a blessing from all those stronger redeemed years to come.

There is a narrow road which leaves the main one, and penetrates behind the river-hills, only to find others, lower and more heavily wooded, with now and then odd-shaped bits of pasture-land wedged in between their sides, or else low brick farm-houses set in a field of corn and potatoes, with a dripping pump-trough at the door. It is a thorough country-road, lazy, choking itself up with mud even in summer, to keep city-carriages out, bordering itself with slow-growing maples and banks of lush maiden’s-hair, bloodred partridge-berries, and thistles. You can find dandelions growing in the very middle of it, there is so little travel out there.

One August morning, in one of its quietest curves among the hills, there was a fat old horse, standing on it, sniffing up the cool air: pure air, it is there, so cool and rare that you can detect even the faint scent of the wild-grape blossoms or the buttercups in it in spring. The wagon to which the horse was fastened had no business there in the cedar-hills or slow-going road ; it belonged to town, every inch, from hub to cover, — was square-built, shiningly clean, clear-lettered as Philadelphia itself.

“ That completes the practical whole,” said Andy Fawcett, polishing a tin measure, and putting it on the front seat of the wagon, and then surveying the final effect.

Andy was part-owner of it: the yellow letters on the sides were, “A. Fawcett & Co. It was very early,—gray, soggy clouds keeping back the dawn,— but light enough for Andy to see that his shoes, which he had blacked late last night, were bright, and his waistcoat, etc., “ all taut.”

“I like the sailor lingo,” he said, curling his moustache, and turning over his pink shirt-collar. “ They’ve a loose dash about ’em. It must go far with the girls.”

Then he looked at the wagon again, and at a pinchbeck watch he carried. “ Five. No matter how neat an’ easy a fellow's dress is, it’s wasted this time in the mornin'. Them street-car conductors hev a chance for it all day, dang ’em ! ”

He went back to the house as softly as possible, and brought out a lantern, which was silver-mounted and of cut glass. He hung it carefully in the wagon.

“ There’s no knowin’ what use I may have for it,”—shaking his head, and rubbing it tenderly.

Andy had owned that lantern for several years, and carried it with him always. “ You cannot know, Jane,” he used to say to the woman whom he worked for, “ what a comfort I find in it. It”He al-

ways stopped there, and she never replied, but immediately talked of something else. Their customers (for they kept half a dozen cows on the place, and Andy took the milk into town) — their customers, when they found out about the lantern, used to look oddly at Andy, and one or two of them had tried in consequence to overreach him in the bills. But no thimble-rigger had a keener eye for the cents than Fawcett. So their milk-speculation had prospered, until, this spring, they had added to their stock of cows. It was the only business in which Andy was partner ; after he brought the wagon back at noon, he put on his flannel shirt, and worked as a hired hand for the woman ; the other produce she sold herself.

The house was low, built of lichencovered stone, an old buttonwood-tree tenting it over ; in the sunny back-yard you could see fat pullets and glossy-backed Muscovy ducks wabbling in and out through the lilac - bushes. Comfortable and quaint the old place looked, with no bald white paint about it, no unseemly trig new fences to jar against the ashen and green tones of color in house and woods. The gate by which you passed through the stone wall was made of t wisted boughs; and wherever a tree had been cut down, the stump still stood, covered with crimson-leaved ivy. “ I’d like things nattier,” Andy used to say; “ but it’s Jane’s way.” The Quaker woman herself, as she stood in the gateway in her gray clothes, the hair pushed back from her sallow face, her brown, muscular arms bare, suited the quiet, earnest look of the place.

“ Thee ’ll take neighbor Wart into town, Andrew ? ” she said.

“ More noosances ? ” he growled.

“ Thee ’d best take her in, Andrew. It costs thee nothing,” with a dry, quizzical smile.

Andy’s face grew redder than his shirt, as he climbed up on the wagon-wheel.

“ Hist me up her basket here, then. Ant I kind to her ? I drink my coffee every noon at her stall, though’t’s the worst in t the market. If’t was a man had sech a bamboozlin phiz as hers, I’d bat him over th’ head, that’s all.”

“ She’s a widow, and thee’s afraid of thy weak point,” said Jane.

“ Take yer joke, Jane.” The lad looked down on thewoman’s bony face kindly. They don’t hurt, yer words. It’s different when some folks pokes fun at me, askin’ for the lantern, an’” -

“ What odds ? ” said the woman hurriedly, a quick change coming over her face. “ They mean well. Have n’t I told thee since the night thee comed here first for a meal’s victuals, an’ all the years since, how as all the world moaned well to thee, Andrew ? Not only sun an’ air an’ growth, an’ God behind ; but folks, ef thee takes them by the palm of the hand first, an’ not raps them with the knuckles, or go about seekin’ to make summat off of each.”

Andy was in no mood for moralizing.

“ Ye 'r'V hard on old Wart in that last remark, I’m thinkin’,”—glancing at the dumpy bunch of a woman seated at their breakfast-table within, her greedy blue eyes and snub-nose close to her plate.

The Quaker turned away, trying to hide a smile, and began tugging at some dock-weeds. Her arms were tougher and stronger than Fawcett’s, He used to say Jane was a better worker than he, though she did it by fits and starts, going at it sometimes as if every limb was iron and was moved by a steam-engine, and then for days doing nothing, playing with a neighbor's baby, sitting by the window, humming some old tune to herself, in a way that even Andy thought idle and childish. For the rest, he had thought little about her, except that she was a strangely clean and silent woman, and kind, even to tenderness, — to him; but to the very bats in the barn, or old Wart, or any other vermin, as well.

Perhaps an artist would have found more record in the brawny frame and the tanned, chronicled face of the woman, as she bent over her work in her gray dress in the fresh morning light. Forty years of hard, healthy labor,—you could read that in the knotted muscles and burnt skin : and no lack of strength in the face, with its high Indian cheekbones and firm-set jaws. But there was a curious flickering shadow of grace and beauty over all this coarse hardness. The eyes were large, like the cow’s under yonder tree, slow-moving, absorbing, a soft brown in color, and unreasoning ; if pain came to this woman, she would not struggle, nor try to understand it: bear it dumbly, that was all. The nervous lips were not heavy, but delicately, even archly cut, with dimples waiting the slightest moving of the mouth ; you would be sure that naturally the laughter and fun and cheery warmth of the world lay as close to her as to a child. But something — some loss or uncertainty in her life — had given to her smile a quick, pitiful meaning, like that of a mother watching her baby at her breast.

Andy climbed into the wagon, and cracked his whip impatiently.

“ Time ! ” he shouted.

Neighbor Wart scuffed down the path, wiping her month.

“I 'm glad I dropped in to breakfast, an’ for company to friend Andrew here. Does thee frequent the prize - fighters’ ring, that thee 's got their slang so pat, lad ? ” as she scrambled in behind him. “ Don’t jerk at thy gallowses so fiercely. It ’s only my way. ‘ Sarah has a playful way with her ’: my father used to say that, an’ it’s kept by me. I don’t feel a day older than whenAn-

drew ! ” sharply, “ did thee bring thy lunch, to eat at my stall ? The coffee ’ll be strong as lye this morning.”

The Quaker, Jane, had a small white basket in her hand, into which she was looking.

“ It’s here,” she said, putting it by the young man’s feet, “ There’s ham an’ bread an' pie, — plum, — enough for two. Thee’ll not want to eat alone?” anxiously.

“ I never do,” he said, gruffly. “ The old buster ’s savage on pie, — gettin’ fat on it, I tell you, Jane, though his jaws are like nut - crackers yet.”

Andy had dropped into one of the few ruts of talk in which his brain could jog easily along; he began, as usual, to rub the knees of his trousers smooth, and to turn the quid of tobacco in his mouth.

Jane, oddly enough, did not remind him that it was time to go, but stood, not heeding him, leaning on the wheel, drawing a buckle in the harness tighter.

“ He ! he ! ” giggled Andy, “ if you’d seen him munch the pastry an’ biscuit, an’ our biggest cuts of tenderloin, an’ then plank down his pennies to Mis’ Wart here, thinkin’ he ’d paid for all! Innocent as a staggerin’ calf, that old chap! Says I to him last week, when we were leavin’ the market, havin’ my joke, says I,—

“ ‘ Pervisions is goin’ down, Mr. Starke.’

“ ‘ It had n’t occurred to me, Andrew,’ he says, in his dazed way. ' But you know, doubtless,’ says he, with one of his queer bows, touchin’ the banged old felt he sticks on the back of his head.

“ ‘ Yes, I know,’ says I. An’ I took his hand an’ pulled it through my arm, an’ we walked down to Arch. Dunno what the girls thought, seein’ me in sech ragged company. Don’t care. He’s a brick, old Joe.

“ Saysh he, ' Ef I hed hed your practical knowledge, at your age, Andrew, it might hev been better for the cause of science this day,’ an’ buttons up his coat.

“ Pears as if he was n’t used to wearin’ shirts, an’ so hed got that trick o’ buttonin’ up. But he has a appreciatin’ eye, he has, — more than th' common,—much more.” And Andy crossed his legs, and looked down, and coughed in a modest, deprecating way.

“ Well,” finding no one spoke, “ I’ve found that meal, sure enough, is his breakfast, dinner, an’ supper. I calls it luncheon to him, in a easy, gentlemanly sort of way. I believe I never mentioned to you,” looking at Jane, “how I smuggled him into the pants you made, you thinkin’ him a friend of mine ? As he is.”

No,” said the woman.

“ As with the pants, so with coat, an’ shirt; likewise boots,”—checking off each with a rub on his trousers.

Andy’s tongue was oiled, and ran glibly.

Mrs. Wart, on the back seat, shuffled her feet and hemmed in vain.

Jane pulled away at the dock and mullein, in one of her old fits of silent musing.

“ Says I, 'See my ducks an’ Sack, Mr. Starke? Latest cut,’says I. ‘Wish you knew my tailor. Man of enterprise, an’ science, Sir. Knows mechanics, an’ acoustics, an’ the rest.—at his finger-ends, — well as his needle,’ said I.

“ The old chap’s watery eyes began to open at that.

“ ‘ Heard of yer engine, by George ! ’ I goes on.

“ ‘ What’s he think of the chances ? ’ he says. 'Hes he influence ? ’

“ ‘ No,—but he’s pants an’ sech, which is more to the purpose,’ I says. ‘An’ without a decent suit to yer back, how kin you carry the tiling before Congress ? ’ says I. Put it to him strong, that way. ‘How kin ye?’ I says. ‘Now look here, Mr. Starke. Ye 'r' no runner in debt, I know : not willin’ to let other people fill yer stomach an’ cover yer back, because you ’ve got genius into ye, which they have n’t. All right! ’ says I. ‘ American pluck. But ye see, facts is facts, an’ yer coat, not to mince matters, is nothin’ but rags. An’ yer shirt’-

“ His old wizened phiz got quite red at that, an’ he caught his breath a minute.

“ 'Go on, Andrew,’ says he, puttin’ his hand on my arm, ‘ you mean well. I don’t mind it. Indeed, no.’ Smilin’ kind, to let me see as he was n’t hurt. However, I dropped the shirt.

“ ‘ It can’t bo otherwise,’ says I, soothin’, you know, 'so long’s you’ve to sleep in the markets, an’ so forth,’ moanin’ Hayes’s stable. ‘ Now look o’ here. My tailor, wishin’ to help on the cause of science, as you say, wants to advance you a suit of clothes. On the engine. Of course, on the engine. You to pay when the thing’s through. Congress or patents or what not. What d’ ye Say ? ’ An’ so ”-

“ He wears them. You told me that,” said the Quaker, in a dry, mechanical tone.

“ You don’t care to hear the ins an’ outs of it? Well, there’s one thing I ’ll mention,” sulkily gathering up the reins: “ to-morrow it ’ll be all up with the old chap, one way or t’ other: him an’ his engine’sgoin’ on trial. Come up, Jerry'” jerking the horse’s head; “ ye ought to be in Broad Street this minute. An’ if it’s worsted he is, it ’ll be a case of manslaughter agin the judges. That old follow ’s built his soul into them wheels an’ pipes. An’ his skin an’ bone too, for that matter. There's little enough of ’em left, God knows ! Come up, Jerry ! ”

But Jane was leaning on the shafts again. Perhaps the story of the starving old machinist had touched her; even Andy guessed how big and childish the heart was in her woman’s body, and how she always choked it down. She had taken out the basket now that held the old man’s lunch, and was rearranging the slices of bread and ham, her fingers trembling, and lingering curiously over each. Her lips moved, but she said nothing.

“ Thy bread is amazin’ soft - crusted,” said Mrs. Wart. “ Thee scalds the raisin’, don’t thee, now ? ” “ To-morrow, thee said, Andrew ? ”

“ Yes, that ’ll be the end of the engine, for good or bad. Ten years he’s been at it, he says.”

“ Ten years, last spring,” to herself.

She had put the basket down, and was stooping over the weeds.

“ Did I tell ye that ? I forgot. Well, Mis’ Wart, we ’ll be off. Don’t fret, it’s not late. Jerry’s blooded. He ’ll not let the grass grow under his feet.”

And the milk-wagon, with its yellow letters, went trundling down the road, the sun beginning to shine pleasantly in on the cool tin vessels within, and the crisp red curls and blue eyes of the driver, — on the lantern, too, swinging from the roof inside, as Andy glanced back. He chuckled ; even Mrs. Wart looked tidy and clean in the morning air ; his lunch smelt savory in the basket. Then suddenly recalling the old machinist, and the history in which he was himself part actor, he abruptly altered his expression, drawing down his red eyebrows to a tragic scowl, and glaring out into the pleasant light as one who insults fate.

“ Whatever is thee glowerin’ thataway about?” snapped his companion.

Andy took out his handkerchief, and wiped his forehead deliberately.

“ Men see passages in human life that women suspect nothing about, Mem. Darn this wagon, how it jolts ! There's lots of genius trampled underfoot by yer purse-proud tyrants, Mem.”

“ Theeself, for instance. Thee -d best mind thy horse, boy.”

But she patted her basket comfortably. It is so easy to think people cruel and coarse who have more money than ourselves ! Not for Andy, however. His agrarian proclivities were shallow and transient enough. So presently, as they bowled along the level road, he forgot Joe Starke, and began drumming on the foot-board and humming a tune,—touching now and then the stuffed breast-pocket of his coat with an inward chuckle of mystery. And when little Ann Mipps, at the toll-gate, came out with her chubby cheeks burning, and her shy eyes down, he took no notice at all. Nice little midge of a thing ; but what did she know of the thrilling “Personals ” of the “ Ledger ” and their mysterious meaning, beginning at the matrimonial advertisements last May? or of these letters in his breastpocket from the widow of an affectionate and generous disposition and easy income on Callowhill, or from the confiding Estelle, whose maiden aunt dragouized her on Ridge Road above Parrish ? When he saw them once, fate would speak out. Something in him was made for better things than this flat life: “ instincts of chivalry and kindred souls,” — quoting Estelle’s last letter. Poor Ann! he wondered if they had toffy-pullings at Mipps’s now. He had n’t been there since April. Such a dog-trot sort of love-making that used to be ! And Andy stopped to give a quart of milk to a seamstress who came out of Poole’s cheap boardinghouse, and who, by the bye, had just been imbibing the fashion - book literature on which he had been living lately. A sort of weak wine-whey, that gives to the brains of that class a perpetual tipsiness.

Ann Mipps, meanwhile, who had been at her scrubbing since four o’clock, so that she should be through and have on her pink calico before the milk-cart rolled by, went in and cried herself sick: tasting the tears now and then to see how bitter they were,—what a hard time she had in the world ; and then remembering she had not said her prayers last night, and so comprehending this judgment on her. For the Mippses were Calvinists, and pain was punishment and not a test. So Ann got up comforted ; said her prayers twice with a will, and went out to milk. It might be different tomorrow. So as she had always thought how he needed somebody to make him happy, poor Andy ! And she thought she understood him. She knew how brave and noble he was! And she always thought, if he could get the toll-gate, now that her father was so old, how snug that would be ! “ Oh, if that should happen, and—— there would n’t be a house in the world so happy, if ”-

And then her cheeks began to burn again, and the light came back in her eyes, until, by the time the day had grown into the hot August noon, she went laughing and buzzing in and out of the shady little toll-house as contented as any bee in the clover yonder. Andy would call again soon,—maybe to-night! While Andy, in the hot streets, was looking at every closed shutter, wondering if Estelle was behind it.

“ Poor little Ann ! she ”-

No ! not even to himself would he say, “ She likes me”; but his face grew suddenly fiery red, and he lashed Jerry spitefully.

A damp, sharp air was blowing up from the bay that evening, when the milk-wagon rumbled up the lane towards home. Only on the high tree-tops the sun lingered ; beneath were broad sweeps of brown shadows cooling into night. The lindens shook out fresh perfume into the dew and quiet. The few half-tamed goats that browse on the hills hunted some dark corner under the pines to dampen out in the wet grass the remembrance of the scorching day. Here and there passed some laborer going home in his shirt-sleeves, fanning off the hot dust with his straw hat, glad of the chance to stop at the cart - wheel and gossip with Andy.

“Ye 'r' late, Fawcett. What news from town ? ”

So that it was nearly dark before he came under the shadow of the great oak by his own gate. The Quaker was walking backwards and forwards along the lane. Andy stopped to look at her, therefore; for she was usually so quiet and reticent in her motion.

“ What kept thee all day, Andrew ? ” catching the shaft. “Wassummat wrong? One ill, maybe ? her lips parched and stiff.

“ What ails ye, Jane ? ”—holding out his hand, as was their custom when they met. “No. No one ailin’; only near baked with th’ heat. I was wi’ old Joe,” — lowering his voice. “ He took me home, — to his hole, that is; I stayed there, ye see. Well, God help us all! Come up, Jerry ! D' ye smell yer oats ? Eh ! the basket ye’ve got? No, he 'd touch none of it. It’s not victual he’s livin’ on, this day. I wish ’n this matter wms done with.”

He drove on slowly : something had sobered the Will-o’-the-wisp in Andy’s brain, and all that was manly in him looked out, solemn and pitying. The woman was standing by the barn-door when he reached it, watching his lips for a stray word as a flog might, but not speaking. He unhitched the horse, put him in his stall, and pushed the wagon undercover, — then stopped, looking at her uncertainly.

“I — I don’t like to talk of this, I hardly know why. But I 'm goin’ to stay with him to-morrow,—till th’ trial’s done with.”

“ Yes, Andrew.”

“ I wish ’n he hed a friend,” he said, after a pause, breaking off bits of the sunken wall. “Not like me, Jane,” raising his voice, and trying to speak carelessly. “ Like himself. I ’m so poor learned, I can’t do anything for sech as them. Like him. Jane,” after another silence, “ Ive seen IT.”

She looked at him.

“ The engine. Jane”-

“ I know.”

She turned sharply and walked away, the bluish light of the first moonbeams lighting up her face and shoulders suddenly as she went off down the wall. Was it that which brought out from the face of the middle-aged working woman such a strange meaning of latent youth, beauty, and passion ? God only knows when the real childhood comes into a life, how early or late ; but one might fancy this woman had waited long for hers, and it was coming to-night, the coarse hardness of look was swept away so suddenly. The great thought and hope of her life surged up quick, uncontrollably; her limbs shook, the big, mournful animal eyes were wet with tears, her very horny hands worked together uncertainly and helpless as a child’sOn the face, too, especially about the mouth, such a terror of pain, such a hungry wish to smile, to be tender, that I think a baby would have liked to put up its lips then to be kissed, and have hid its face on her neck.

“ Summat ails her, sure,” said Andy, stupidly watching her a moment or two, and then going in to kick off his boots and eat his supper, warm on the range.

The moonlight was cold; he shut it out, and sat meditating over his cigar for an hour or two before the Quaker came in. When she did, he went to light her night-lamp for her, — for he had an odd, old-fashioned courtesy about him to women or the aged. He noticed, as he did it, that her hair had fallen from the close, thin cap, and how singularly soft and fine it was. She stood by the window, drawing her fingers through the long, damp folds, in a silly, childish way.

“ Good night, Andrew,” as he gave it to her.

“ Good night.”

She looked at him gravely.

“I wish, ladWould thee say,

' God bless thee, Jane ’ ? It’s long since as I've heard that, an’ there ’s no one but thee t’ ’ll say it.”

The boy was touched.

“ Often I thinks it, Jane, — often. Ye’ve been good to me these six years. I was nothin’ but a beggar’s brat when ye took me in. I mind that, though ye think I forget, when I’m newly rigged out sometimes. God bless ye ! yes, I ’ll say it; God knows I will.”

She went out into the little passage, He heard her hesitate there a minute. It was a double house : the kitchen and sitting-room at one side of the narrow hall; at the other, Jane’s chamber, and a room which she usually kept locked. He had heard her there at night sometimes, for he slept above it, and once or twice had seen the door open in the daytime, and looked in. It held, he saw, better furniture than the rest of the house : a homespun carpet of soft, grave colors, thick drab curtains, a bedstead, one or two bookcases, filled and locked, of which Jane made as little use, he was sure, as she could of the fowling-piece and patent fishing-rod which he saw in one corner. There were no shams, no cheap makeshifts in the Quaker’s little house, in any part of it; but this room was the essence of cleanness and comfort, Andy thought. He never asked questions, however: some ingredient in his poor hodge-podge of a brain keeping him always true to this hard test of good breeding. So to-night, though he heard her until near eleven o’clock moving restlessly about in this room, he hesitated until then, before he went to speak to her.

“ She’s surely sick,” he said, with a worried look, lighting his candle. “ Women are the Devil for nerves.”

Coming to the open door, however, he found her only busy in rubbing the furniture with a bit of chamois-skin. She looked up at him, her face very red, and the look in her face that children have when going out for a holiday.

“ How does thee think it looks, Andy ? ” her voice strangely low and rapid.

lie looked at her curiously.

“ I’m makin’ it ready, thee knows. Pull to this shutter for me, lad. A good many years I’ve been makin’ it ready ” ——

“ You shiver so, ye’d better go to bed, Jane.”

“ Yes. Only the white valance is to put to the bed ; I’m done then,”—going on silently for a while.

“ I’ve been so long at it,” — catching her breath. “ Hard scrapin’, the first years. We’d only a lease on the place at first. It’s ours now, an’ it’s stocked, an’Don’t thee think the house

is snug itself, Andrew ? Thee sees other houses. Is’t home-like lookin’ ? Good for rest ”-

“ Yes, surely. What are you so anxious an’ wild about, Jane ? It’s yer own house.”

“I ’m not anxious,” — trying to calm herself. “Mine, is it, lad? All mine; nobody sharin’ in it.” She laughed. In all these years he had never heard her laugh before ; it was low and full - hearted, — a live, real laugh. Somehow, all comfort, home, and frolic in the coming years were promised in it.

“Mine?” folding up her duster. “Well, lad, thee says so. Daily savin' of the cents got it. Maybe thee thought me a hard woman ? ”—with an anxious look. “ I kept all the accounts of it in that blue book I burned to-night. Nobody must know what it cost. No. Thee 'd best go to sleep, lad. I 've an hour’s more work, I think. There ’ll be no time for it to-morrow, bein’ the last day.”

He did not like to leave her so feverish and unlike herself.

“ Well, good night, then.”

“ Good night, Andrew. Mine, eh ? ” — her face flushing. “ Thee ’ll know tomorrow. Thee thinks it looks comfortable ? ” — holding his hand anxiously. “ Heartsome ? Mis’ Hale called the place that the other day. I was so glad to hear that! Well, good night. I think it does.”

And she went back to her work, while Andy made his way up - stairs, puzzled and sleepy.

The next day was cool and grave for intemperate August. Very seldom a stream of fresh sunshine broke through the gray, mottling the pavements with uncertain lights. Summer was evidently tired of its own lusty life, and had a mind to put on a cowl of hodden-gray, and call itself November. The pale, pleasant light toned in precisely, however, to the meaning of Arch and Walnut Streets, where the old Quaker familylife has rooted itself into the city, and looks out on the passers-by in such a sober, cheerful fashion. There was one house, low down in Arch, that would have impressed you as having grown more sincerely than the others out of the character of its owner. There was nothing bigoted or purse-proud or bawbling in the habit of the man who built it; from the massive blocks in the foundation, to the great horse-chestnuts in front, and the creeping ivy over pictures and bookshelves, there was the same constant hint of a life liberal, solid, graceful. It had its whim of expression, too, in the man himself, — a small man, lean, stoopshouldered, with gray hair and whiskers, wearing a clergyman's black suit and white cravat: his every motion was quiet, self-poised, intelligent; a quizzical, kind smile on the mouth, listening eyes, a grave forehead ; a man who had heard other stories than any in your life, — of different range, yet who waited, helpful, for yours, knowing it to be something new and full of an eternal meaning. It was Dr. Bowdler, rector of an Episcopal church, a man of more influence out of the Church than any in it. He was in the breakfast-room now, trimming the hanging-baskets in the window, while his niece finished her coffee : he “ usually saved his appetite for dinner, English fashion ; cigars until then,”—poohing at all preaching of hygiene, as usual, as “ stuff.”

There were several other gentlemen in the room, — waiting, apparently, for something, — reading the morning papers, playing with the Newfoundland dog that had curled himself up in the patch of sunshine by the window, or chatting with Miss Defourchet. None of them, she saw, were men of cultured leisure-, one or two miliionnaires, burly, stubbynosed fellows, with practised eyes and Port-hinting faces : the class of men whose money was made thirty years back, who wear slouched clothes, and wield the coarser power in the States. They came out to the talk fit for a lady, on the open general field, in a lumbering, soggy way, the bank-note smell on every thought. The others, more unused to society, caught its habit better, she thought, belonging as they did to a higher order : they were practical mechanicians, and their profession called, she knew, for tolerably powerful and facile faculties of brain. The young lady, who was waiting too, though not so patiently as the others, amused herself in drawing them out and foiling them against each other, with a good deal of youthful tact, and want of charity, for a while. She grew tired at last.

“ They are long coming, uncle,” she said, rising from her chair.

“ They are here, Mary: putting up the model in the back lobby for the last hour. Did you think it would be brought in here ? ”

“ I don’t know. Mr. Ailcens is not here,” — glancing at the timepiece uneasily.

“ He ’s always slow,” said one of the machinists, patting the dog’s head. “ But I will rely more on his judgment of the engine than on my own. He ’ll not risk a dollar on it, either, if there’s a chance of its proving a failure.”

“ It cannot be a failure,” she said, impatiently, her peremptory brown eyes lighting.

“ It has been tried before,” Said her uncle, cautiously,—“or the same basis of experiment,—substitution of compressed air for steam, — and it did not succeed. But it is the man you reason from, Mary, not the machine.”

“ I don’t understand anything about the machine,” in a lower voice, addressing the man she knew to possess most influence in the party. “ But this Starke has given his life to it, and a life worth living, too. All the strength of soul and body that God gave him has gone into that model out yonder. He has been dragging it from place to place for years, half starving, to get it a chance of trial ”-'

“ All which says nothing for the wheels and pulleys,” dryly interrupted the man, with a critical look at her flushing and paling face.

People of standfast habit were always shy of this young person, because, having an acute brain and generous impulses, and being a New-Englander by birth, she had believed herself called to be a reformer, and had lectured in public last winter. Her lightest remarks had, somehow, an oratorical twang. The man might have seen what a true, grand face hers would be, when time had taken off the acrid, aggressive heat which the, to her, novel wrongs in the world provoked in it.

“ When you see the man,” interposed her uncle, “ you will understand why Miss Defourchet espouses his cause so hotly. Nobody is proof against his intense, fierce belief in this thing he has made. It reminds me of the old cases of possession by a demon.”

The young girl looked up quickly.

“ Demon ? It was the spirit of God, the Bible says, that filled Bezaleel and that other, I forget his name, with wisdom to work in gold and silver and fine linen. It 's the Spirit of God that you call genius,—anything that reveals truth : in pictures, or actions, or— machines.”

Friend Turner, who was there, took her fingers in his wrinkled hand.

“ Thee feels strongly, Mary.”

“ I wish you could see the man,” in a lower voice. “ Your old favorite, Fichte,” with a smile, “ says that 'thorough integrity of purpose is our nearest approach to the Divine idea.’ There never was such integrity of purpose as his, I believe. Men don't often fight through hunger and want like death, for a pure aim. And I tell you, if fate thwarts him at this last chance, it is unjust and cruel.”

“ Thee means God, thee knows ? ”

She was silent, then looked up.

“ I do know.”

The old Quaker put his hand kindly on her hair.

“He will find His own teachers for thee, dear,” was all the reproof he gave.

There was a noise in the hall, and a servant, opening the door, ushered in Andy, and behind him the machinist, Starke. A younger man than Friend Turner had expected to see, —about fifty, his hair prematurely white, in coarse, but decent brown clothes, bearing in his emaciated limbs and face marks of privation, it was true, but with none of the fierce enthusiasm of expression or nervousness he had looked for. A quiet, grave, preoccupied manner. While Dr. Bowdler and some of the others crowded about him, he stood, speaking seldom, his hands clasped behind him and his head bent forward, the gray hair brushed straight up from his forehead. Miss Defourchet was disappointed a little : the best of women like to patronize, and she had meant to meet him as an equal, recognize him in this new atmosphere of refinement into which he was brought, set him at his ease, as she did Andy, by a few quiet words. But he was her equal: more master of this or any occasion than she, because so thoroughly unconscious, standing on something higher. She suspected, too, he had been used to a life as cultivated as this, long ago, by the low, instructed voice, the intangible simplicity of look and word belonging to the bred gentleman.

“ They may fuss as they please about him now,” chuckled Andy to himself, “ but darn a one of ’em would have smuggled him into them clothes. Spruce they look, too; baggy about the knees, maybe, No, thank you, Miss; I’ve had sufficient,” putting dowm the wine he had barely sipped,—groaning inwardly ; but he knew what was genteel, I hope, and that: comforted him afterwards.

“ The model is ready,” said Starke to Dr. Bowdler. “ We are keeping your friends waiting.”

“ No. It is Aikens who is not here. You know him ? If the thing satisfies him, he ’ll bring it into his factories over the Delaware, and make Johns push it through at Washington. He ’s a thorough-goer, Aikens. Then it will be a success. That’s Johns,—that burly fellow in the frock-coat. You have had the model at Washington, I think you told me, Mr. Starke ? ”

“ Three years ago. I exhibited it before a committee. On the Capitol grounds it was.”

“ Well ? ”

“ Oh, with success, certainly. They brought in a bill to introduce it into the public works, but it fell through. Woods brought it in. He was a young man: not strong, maybe. That was the reason they laughed, I suppose. He tried it for two or three sessions, until it. got to be a sort of joke. I had no influence. That has been the cause of its failure, always.”

His eyes dropped; then he suddenly lifted his hand to his mouth, putting it behind him again, to turn with a smile when Miss Defourchet addressed him. Dr. Bowdler started.

“ Look at the blood,” he whispered to Friend Turner. “ He bit his finger to the bone.”

“ I know,” said the old Quaker. “ The man is quiet from inanition and nervous tension. This trial means more to him than we guess. Get him out of this crowd.”

“ Come, Mr. Starke,” and the Doctor touched his arm, “ into my library. There are some curious plates there which ”-

Andy had been gulping for courage to speak for some time.

“ Don’t let him go without a glass of wine,” he muttered to the young lady. “ I give you my honor I have n’t got food across his lips for ”-

She started away from him, and made the machinist drink to the success of “ our engine,” as she called it; but he only touched the glass to his lips and smiled at her faintly : then left the room with her uncle.

The dog followed him : he had kept by Starke since the moment he came into the breakfast-room, cuddling down across his feet when he was called away. The man had only patted him absently, saying that all dogs did so with him, he dal n’t know why. Thor followed him now. Friend Turner beckoned the clergyman back a moment.

“ Make him talk, Richard. Be rough, hurt him, if thee chooses; it will be a safety-valve. Look in his eyes ! I tell thee we have no idea of all that has brought this poor creature into this state, — such rigid strain. But if it is broken in on first by the failure of his pump, if it be a pump, I will not answer for the result, Richard.”

Dr. Bowdler nodded abruptly, and hurried after Starke. When he entered the cozy south room which he called the library, he found Starke standing before an oil-painting of a baby, one the Doctor had lost years ago.

“ Such a bright little thing! ” the man said, patting the chubby bare foot as if it were alive.

“You have children?” Dr. Bowdler asked eagerly.

“No, but I know almost all I meet in the street, or they know me. ‘ Uncle Joe ’ they call me,” — with a boyish laugh.

It was gone in a moment.

“ Are they ready ? ”

“ No.”

The Doctor hesitated. The man beside him was gray-haired as himself, a man of power, with a high, sincere purpose looking out of the haggard scraggy face and mild blue eyes,—how could he presume to advise him ? Yet this Starke, he saw, had narrowed his life down to a point beyond which lay madness ; and that baby had not been in life more helpless or solitary or unable than he was now, when the trial had come. The Doctor caught the bony hands in his own fat healthy ones.

“ I wish I could help you,” he said impetuously.

Starke looked in his face keenly.

“For what? How?”

“This engine — have you nothing to care for in life but that ? ”

“ Nothing,—nothing but that and what it will gain me.”

There was a pause.

“ If it fails?”

The dark blood dyed the man’s face and throat; he choked, waited a moment before he spoke.

“ It would not hurt me. No. I ’m nearly tired out, Sir. I hardly look for success.”

“ Will you try again?”

“ No, I ’ll not try again.”

He had drawn away and stood by the window, his face hidden by the curtain. The Doctor was baffled.

“ You have yourself lost faith in your invention ? ”

Something of the old fierceness flashed into the man’s eye, but died out. “ No matter,” he said under his breath, shaking his head, and putting his hand in a feeble way to his mouth.

“ Inanition of soul as well as body,” thought the Doctor. “ I ’ll rouse him, cruel or not.”

“ Have you anything to which to turn, if this disappoints you ? Home or friends ? ”

He waited for an answer. When it came, he felt like an intruder, the man was so quiet, far-off.

“ I have nothing,—no friends,—unless I count that boy in the next room. Eh ? He has fragments of the old knightly spirit, if his brain be cracked. No others.”

“ Well, well! You ’ll forgive me ? ” said the Doctor. “ I did not mean to be coarse. Only IThe matter will succeed, I know. You will find happiness in that. Money and fame will come after.”

The old man looked up and came towards him with a certain impressive dignity, though the snuff-colored clothes were bagging about his limbs, and his eyes were heavy and unsteady.

“ You ’re not coarse. No. I ’m glad you spoke to me in that way. It is as if you stopped my life short, and made me look before and behind. But you don’t understand. I ”-

He put his hand to his head, then began buttoning his coat uncertainly, with a deprecating, weak smile.

“ I don’t know what the matter is. I 'm not strong as I used to be.”

“ You need success.”

How strong and breezy the Doctor’s voice sounded !

“ Cheer up, Mr. Starke. You 're a stronger-brained man than I, and twenty years younger. It 's something to have lived for a single high purpose like yours, if you succeed. And if not, God’s life is broad, and needs other things than air - engines. Perhaps you ’ve been ‘in training,’ as the street-talk goes, getting your muscles and nerves well grown, and your real work and fight are yet to come.” “ I don’t know,” said Ike man, dully.

Dr. Bowdler, perhaps, with well-breathed body and soul, did not quite comprehend how vacant and well worn out both heart and lungs were under poor Starke’s bony chest.

“ You don’t seem to comprehend what this engine is to me. — You said the world was broad. I had a mind, even when I was a boy, to do something in it. My father was a small farmmer over there in the Jerseys. Well, I used to sit, thinking there, after the day’s work was done, until my head ached, of how I might do something, — to help, you understand ? ”

“ I understand.”

“ To make people glad I had lived. I was lazy, too. I’d have liked to settle down and grub like the rest, but this notion kept driving me like a sting. I can understand why missionaries cross the seas when their hearts stay behind. It grew with me, kept me restless, like a devil inside of me. I ’m not strongbrained, as you said. I had only one talent, — for mechanism. They bred me a lawyer, but I was a machinist born. Well, — it’s the old story. What’s the use of telling it ? ”

He stopped abruptly, his eyes on the floor.

“ Go on. It will be good for both of us. Aikens has not come.”

“ There ’s nothing to tell. If it was God or the Devil that led me on to this thing I don’t know. I sold myself to it, soul and body. The idea of this invention was not new, but my application was. So it got possession of me. Whatever I made by the law went into it. I tried experiments in a costly way then, had laboratories there, and workshops in the city. My father left me a fortune ; that was swallowed up. I worked on with hard struggle then. I was forty years old. I thought success lay just within my reach. God ! You don’t know how I had fought for it, day by day, all that long life ! I was near mad, I think. And then ”-

He stopped again, biting his under lip, standing motionless. The Doctor waited until he was controlled.

“ Never mind,” gently. “ Don’t go on.”

“ Yes, I ’ll tell you all. I was married. A little Quaker girl she was, uneducated, but the gentlest, truest woman God ever made, I think. It rested one to look at her. There were two children. They died. Maybe, if they had lived, it would have been different with me, — I’m so fond of children. I was of her, — God knows I was ! But after the children were gone, and the property sunk, and the experiments all stopped just short of success, for want of means, I grew irritable and cross, — used to her. It ’s the way with husbands and wives, sometimes. Well ”-

He swallowed some choking in his throat, and hurried on.

“ She had some money, — not much, but her own. I wanted it. Then I stopped to think. This engine seemed like a greedy devil swallowing everything. Another step, and she was penniless, ruined : common sense told me that. And I loved her, — well enough to see how my work came between us every hour, made me cruel to her, kept her wretched. If I were gone, she would be better off. I said that to myself day after day. I used to linger the bonds of that money, thinking how it would enable me to finish all I had to do. She wanted me to take it. I knew some day I should do it.”

“ Did you ? ”

“ No,”— his face clearing. “I was not altogether lost, I think. I left her, settling it on herself. Then I was out of temptation. But I deceived her : I said I was tired of married life, wished to give myself to my work. Then I left her.”

“ What did she say ? ”

“ She ? Nothing that I remember. ‘ As thee will, Joseph,’ that was all, if anything. She had suspected it a long time. If I had stayed with her, I should have used that money,” — his fingers working with his white whiskers. “ I ’ve been near starving sometimes since. So I saved her from that,” — looking steadily at the Doctor, when he had finished speaking, but as if he did not see him. What a long time they were waiting

“ But your wife ? Have you never seen her since ? ”

“ Once.” He spoke with difficulty now, but the clergyman suffered him to go on, “ I don’t know where she is now. I saw her once in the Fulton ferry-boat at New York; she had grown suddenly old and hard. She did not see me. I never thought she could grow so old as that. But I did what I could. I saved her from my life.”

Dr. Bowdler looked Into the man’s eyes as a physician might look at a cancer.

“ Since then you have not seen her, I understand you ? Not wished to see her ? ”

There was a moment's pause.

“ I have told you the facts of my life, Sir,” said the old machinist, with a bow, his stubbly gray hair seeming to#dand more erect; “ the rest is of trilling interest.”

Dr. Bowdler colored.

“ Don’t be unjust to me, my friend,” he said, kindly. “ I meant well.”

There had been some shuffling noises in the next room in the half-hour just past, which the Doctor had heard uneasily, raising his voice each time to stifle the sound. A servant came to the door now, beckoning him out. As he went, Starke watched him from under his bushy brows, smiling, when he turned and apologized for leaving him.

That man was a thorough man, of good steel. What an infinite patience there was in his voice ! He was glad he had told him so much ; he breathed freer himself for it. But he was not going to whine. Whatever pain had been in his life he had left out of that account. What right had any man to know what his wife was to him? Other men had given up home and friends and wife for the truth’s sake, and not whimpered over it.

to examine the engine ! He began his walk up and down the room, with the habitual stoop of the shoulders, and an occasional feeble wandering of the hand to his mouth, wondering a little at himself, at his coolness. For this was the last throw of the dice. After to-day, no second chance. If it succeededWell, he washed his hands of the world’s work then. His share was finished, surely. Then for happiness ! What would she say when he came back ? He had earned his reward in life by this time; his work was done, well done, — repeating that to himself again and again. But would she care ? His long-jawed, gaunt face was all aglow now, and he rubbed his hands softly together, his thought sliding back evidently into some accustomed track, one that gave him fresh pleasure, though it had been the same these many years, through days of hammering and moulding and nights of sleeping in cheap taverns or under market-stalls. When they were first married, he used to bring her a peculiar sort of white shawl, — quite outside of the Quaker dress, to be sure, but he liked it. She used to look like a bride, freshly, every time she put one on. One of those should be the first thing he bought her. Dr. Bowdler was not wrong: he was a young man yet; they could enjoy life strongly and heartily, both of them. But no more work : with a dull perception of the fact that his strength was sapped out beyond the power of recuperation. That baby (stopping before the picture) was like Rob, about the forehead. But Rob was fairer, and had brown eyes and a snubnose, like his mother. Remembering how, down in the farm-house, she used to sit on the front-porch step nursing the baby, while he smoked or read, in the evenings : where they could see the salt marshes. Jane liked them, for their color : a dead flat of brown salt grass with patches of brilliant emerald, and the black, snaky lines up which the tide crept, the white-sailed boats looking as if they were wedged in the grass. She liked that. Her tastes were all good. How long did they mean to wait ? He went to the window and looked out. Just then a horse neighed, and the sound oddly recalled the country-town where they had lived after they came into this State. On market-days it was one perpetual whinny along the streets from the colts trotting along-side of the wagons. He and Jane used to keep open table for their country-friends then, and on courtor fair-days. What a hard-fisted, shrewd people they were ! talking bad English (like Jane herself) ; but there was more refinement and softness of feeling among them than among city-bred men. He should relish that life again ; it suited him. To die like a grub ? But he had done his work. Thank God !

He opened the window to catch the damp air, as Dr. Bowdler came in and touched him on the arm.

“ Shall we stay here ? Mr. Aikens has come, and they have been testing the machine for some time, I find. Go? Certainly, butYou ’re a little nervous, Mr. Starke, and-Would n’t it be better if you were not present ? They would be freer in deciding, and — suppose you and I stay here ? ”

“ Eh ? How ? At it for some time ? ” hurrying out. “At it? '’ as the Doctor tried to keep pace with him. “ Why, God bless my soul, Sir, what can they do ? Nobody understands the valves but myself. A set of ignoramuses, Sir. I saw that at a glance. But it’s my last chance,”—panting and wheezing before he reached the back lobby, and holding his hand to his side.

Dr. Bowdler stopped outside.

“ What are you waiting here for, Mary ? ”

“ I want to hear. What chance has it ? I think I ’d give something off my

own life, if that man had succeeded in doing a great thing.”

“ Not much of a chance, Aikens says. The theory is good, but they are afraid the expense will make it of no practical use. However, they have not decided. It is well it is his last chance, though, as he says. I never saw a man who had dragged himself so near to insanity in pursuit of a hobby. Nothing but a great reaction can save him.”

“ Success, you mean ? I think that man’s life is worth a thousand aimless ones, Sir. If it fails, where’s your ‘justice on earth ’ ? I ”-

She pushed her curls back hotly. The Doctor did not answer.

The trial lasted until late in the afternoon. One or two of the gentlemen came out at odd times to luncheon, which was spread in the adjoining room. They looked grave, and talked earnestly in low tones : the man had infected them with his own feeling in a measure.

“ I don’t know when I was more concerned for the success of anything not my own,” said Mr. Aikens to Miss Defourchet, as he rose to go back to the lobby, putting down his glass. “ It is such a daring innovation ; it would be worth thousands per annum to me, if I could make it practicable. And then that poor devil himself, — I feel as if we were trying him for his life to-day. It 's pitiful.”

She went in herself once, when the door was open, and saw Starke: he was in his shirt-sleeves, driving in a wedge that had come out; his face was parched, looked contracted, his eyes glazed. She spoke to him, but he made no answer, went from side to side of the engine, working with it, glancing furtively at the men, who stood gravely talking. The girl was nervous, and felt she should cry, if she stayed there. She called the dog, but he would not come; he was crouched with his bead on his fore-paws, watching Starke.

“It is curious how the dog follows him, she said, after she had gone out, to Andy, who was in the back porch, watching the rain come up.

“ I ’ve noticed animals did it to him. My Jerry knows him as well as me. What chances has he, Miss ? ”

“ I cannot tell.”

There was a pause.

“ You heard Dr. Bowdler say he was married. Do you know his wife ? ” she asked. Some strange doubts had been in Andy’s brain for the last hour, but he never told a secret.

“ It was in the market I come to know Mr. Starke,” he said, confusedly. “ At the eatin’-stalls. He never said to me as he hed a wife.”

The rain was heavy and constant whin it came, a muddy murkiness in the air that bade fair to last for a day or more. Evening closed in rapidly. Andy sat still on the porch ; he could shuffle his heels as he pleased there, and take a sly bit of tobacco, watching, through a crack between the houses, the drip, drip, of rain on the umbrellas going by, the lamps beginning to glow here and there in the darkness, listening to the soggy footfalls anti the rumble of the streetcars.

“ This is tiresome,” — putting one finger carefully under the rungs of his chair, where he had the lantern. “ I wonder ef Jane is waiting for me, — an’ for any one else.”

He trotted one foot, and chewed more vehemently. On the verge of some mystery, it seemed to him.

Ef it isWhat ef he misses, an' won’t go back with me ? God help the woman ! What kin I do ? ”

After a while, taking out the lantern, and rubbing it where the damp had dimmed it, —

“ I ’ll need it to-night, that’s sure ! ”

Now and then he bent his head, trying to catch a sound from the lobby, but to no purpose. _ About live o’clock, however, there was a sudden sound, shoving of chairs, treading, half-laughs, as of people departing. The door opened, and the gentlemen came out into the lighted hall, in groups of two or three, — some who were to dine with the Doctor passing up the staircase, the others chatting by the door. The Doctor was not with them, nor Starke. Andy stood up, trying to hear, holding his felt hat over his mouth. "If he’s hed a chance ! ” But he could catch only broken sentences.

“A long session.”

“I knew it from the first.” “ I asked Starke to call on me tomorrow,” etc.

And so they put on their hats, and went out, leaving the hall vacant.

“ I can’t stand this,” said Andy, after a pause.

He wiped his wet feet, and went into the hall. The door out of which the men came opened into a reception-room ; beyond that was the lobby. It was dimly lighted as yet, when he entered it; the engine-model, a mass of miniature wheels and cylinders, was In the middle of the bare floor ; the Doctor and Starke at the other end of the apartment. The Doctor was talking, — a few words now and then, earnestly spoken. Andy could not hear them; but Starke sat, saying nothing. Miss Defourehet took a pair Of India-rubber boots from the servant in the hall, and went to him.

“ You must wear them, and take an umbrella, if you will not stay,” she said, stooping down, as if she would like to have put them on his feet, her voice a little unsteady. “ It rains very heavily, and your shoes are not strong. Indeed, you must.”

“ Shoes, eh ? ” said the old machinist, lifting one foot and then the other on his knee, and looking vacantly at the holes through which the hare skin showed. “ Oh, yes, yes,” — rising and going past her, as if he did not see her.

“ But you ’ll take them ? ”

“ Hush, Mary ! Mr. Starke, I may come and see you to-morrow, you said ? We ’ll arrange matters,”— with a hearty, tone.

Starke touched his hat with the air of an old-school gentleman.

“I shall be happy to see you, Sir,— very happy. You will allow me to wish you good evening ? ” — smiling. “ I am not well,” — with the same meaningless look.

“ Certainly,”—shaking hands earnestly. “ I wish I could induce you to stay and have a talk over your future prospects, eh ? But to-morrowI will he down early to-morrow. Your young friend gave me the address. The model — we ’ll have that sent down to-morrow, too.”

Starke stopped.

“ The model,” without, however, looking at it. “ Yes. It can go to-night. I should prefer that. Andrew will bring an express-wagon for it,” —fumbling in his pocket.

“ I have the exact change,” said Miss Defourchet, eagerly; “ let me pay the express.”

Starke’s face colored and grew pale again.

“ You mistake me,” he said, smiling.

“ He ’s no beggar. You hurt him,” Andy had whispered, pushing back her hand. Some women had no sense, if they were ladies. Ann Mipps would never have done that!

Starke drew out a tattered leather purse : there was a dime in it, which Andy took. He lighted his lantern, and followed Starke out of the house, noticing how the Doctor hesitated before he closed the door after them. They stood a moment on the pavement; the rain was dark and drenching, with sudden gusts of wind coming down the street. The machinist stood, his old cap stuck on the back of his head, his arms fallen nerveless at his sides, hair and coat and trousers flapping and wet: the very picture of a man whom the world had tried, and in whom it had found no possible savor of use but to be trodden under foot of men.

“ God help him! ” thought Andy, “ he's far gone! He don’t even button an’ unbutton his coat as allus.”

But he asked no questions, excepting where should he take it. Some young men came up, three abreast; Starke drew humbly out of their way before he replied.

“I — I do not know, Andrew. But I’d rather not see it again. You ”-

His voice went down into a low mumbling, and he turned and went slowly off up the street. Andy stood puzzled a moment, then hurried after him.

“ Let me go home with you.”

“ What use, boy ? ” “ To-morrow, then ? ”

Starke said nothing, thrust his hands into his pockets, his head falling on his breast with an unchanged vacancy of expression. Andy looked after him, coughing, gazing about him uncertainly.

“ He’s clean given up ! What kin I do ? ”

Then overtook him again, forcing the lantern into his hand, — not without a gulp for breath.

“ Here ! take this ! I like to. It ’s yours now, Mr. Starke, d’ y’ understand ? Yours. But you ’ll take care of it, won’t you ? ”

“I do not need anything, my good boy. Let me go.”

But Andy held on desperately to his coat.

“ Come home. She’s there. Maybe I ought not to say it. It’s Jane. For God’s sake, come to Jane ! ”

It was so dark that Andy could not see the expression of the man’s face when he heard this. Starke did not speak for some minutes ; when he did, his voice was firm and conscious, as it had not been before to-night.

“Let go my coat, Andrew: I feel choking. You know my wife, then ? ”

“ Yes, this many a year. She’s waited for you. Come home. Come ! ”

But Starke drew his arm away.

“ Tell her I would have gone, if I had succeeded. But not now. I ’m tired. I’m going to rest.”

With both hands he pushed the lank, wet hair off his face. Somehow, all his tired life showed itself in the gesture.

“ I don’t think I ever did care as much for her as I do to-night. Is she always well, Andrew ? ”

“ Yes, well. Come ! ”

“No; goodnight. Bid her good night.” As he turned away, he stopped and looked back.

“ Ask her if she ever thinks of our Rob. I do.” And so was gone.

As he went down the street, turning into an alley, something black jumped over the low gate beside Andy and followed him. “ It ’s the dog ! Well, dumb creatures are curious, beyond me Now for Jane”; and with his head muddled and aching, he went to find an express-stand.

The examination of the model took place on Tuesday. On the Saturday following, Dr. Bowdler was summoned to his back parlor to see a man and woman who had called. Going in, he found Andy, clad as before in his dresssuit of blue coat and marvellously plaid trousers, balancing himself uneasily on the edge of his chair, and a woman in Quaker dress beside him. Her face and presence attracted the Doctor at once, strongly, though they were evidently those of an uneducated working-woman. The quietude in her motions and expression, the repressed power, the delicacy, had worked out, from within, to carve her sad face into those line lines he saw. No outside culture could do that. She spoke, too, with that simple directness that belongs to people who are sure of what they have to do in the world.

“ I came to see if thee knew anything or my husband: thee was so kind to him some days ago. I am Jane Starke,”

The Doctor comprehended in a moment. He watched the deserted wife curiously, as he answered her.

“ No, my dear Madam. Is it possible he is not with you? I went to his lodging twice with my niece, and, finding it vacant, concluded that he had returned to you, or gone with our young friend Andrew here.”

“ He is not with me.”

She rose, her fingers twitching nervously at her bonnet-strings.

“ She was so dead sure you would know,” said Andy, rising also. “ We’ve been on the search for four days. We thought you would know. Where will you go now, Jane ?”

The woman lost every trace of color when Dr. Bowdler answered her, but she showed no other sign of her disappointment.

“We will find him somewhere, Andrew.”

“ Stop, stop,” interrupted the Doctor. “ Tell me what you have done. You must not go in this way.”

The woman began to answer, but Andy took the word from her.

“ You keep yerself quiet, Jane. She’s dreadful worn out, Sir. There 's not much to tell. Jane had come into town that night to meet him,—gone to his lodgins— she was so sure he 'd come home. She’s been waitin’ these ten years,” — in a whisper. “ But he did n’t come. Nor the next day, nor any day since. An’ the last I saw of him was goin’ down the street in the rain, with the dog followin’. We’ve been lookin’ every way we could, but I don’t know the town much, out of my streets for milk, an’ Jane knows nothin’ of it at all, so”--

“It is as I told you! ” broke in Miss Defourehet, who had entered, unperceived, with a blaze of enthusiasm that made Jane start, bewildered. “ He is at work, — some new effort. Madam, you have reason to thank God for making you the wife of such a man. It makes my blood glow,” turning to her uncle, “ to find this dauntless heroism in the rank and file of the people.”

She was sincere in her own heroic sympathy for the rank and file: her slender form dilated, her eyes flashed, and there was a rich color mounting to her fine aquiline features.

“ I like a man to fight fate to the death as this one, — never to give up, — to sacrifice life to his idea.”

“ If thee means the engine by the idea,” said Jane, dully, “ we ’ve given up a good deal to it. He has. It don’t matter for me.”

Miss Defourehet glanced indignantly at the lumbering figure, the big slow eyes, following her with a puzzled pain in them. For all mischances or sinister fates in the world she had compassion, except for one, — stupidity.

“ I knew,” to Dr. Bowdler, “he would not be content with the decision the other day. It is his destiny to help the world. And if this woman will come between him and his work, I hope she may never find him.” Jane put a coarse hand up to her breast as if something hurt her; after moment, she said, with her heavy, sad face looking full down on the young girl, —

“ Thee is young yet. It may be God meant my old man to do this work: it may be not. He knows. Myself, I do not think He keeps the world waitin' for this air-engine. Others 'll be found to do it when it ’s needed; what matter if he fails ? An’ when a man gives up all little works for himself, an’ his child, or — his wife,” with a gasp, “for some great work ”-

She stopped.

“It ’s more likely that the Devil is driving him than God leading, said the Doctor, hastily.

“ Come, Andrew,” said Jane, gravely.

“ We have no time to lose.”

She moved to the door,— unsteadily, however.

She’s fagged out ” said Andy, lingering behind her. “ Since Tuesday night I’ve followed her through streets an’ alleys, night an’ day. Jest as prim an’ sober as you see. Cryin’ softly to herself at times. It ’s a sore heart-break,

Sir. Waitin’ these ten years ”-

Dr. Bowdler offered his help, earnestly, as did his niece, with a certain reserve. The dog Thor had disappeared with Starke, and they hoped that would afford some clue.

“ But the woman is a mere clog,” said Miss Defourchet, impatiently, after they were gone. “ Her eyes are as sad, unreasonable as Thor’s. Nothing in them but instinct. Rut it is so with most women,”— with a sigh.

“ But somehow, Mary, those women never mistake their errand in the world any more than Thor, and do it as unconsciously and completely as he,” said the Doctor, with a quizzical smile. “ If Starke had followed his ‘ instincts,’ he would have been a snug farmer to-day in the Jerseys.”

Miss Defourchet vouchsafed no answer. Dr. Bowdler gave his help, as he had promised, but to no purpose. A week passed in the search without success, until at last Thor brought it. The dog was discovered one night in the kitchen, waiting for his supper, as he had been used to do: his affection for his new master, I suppose, not having overcome his recollection of the flesh-pots of Egypt. They followed him (Jane, the Doctor, and Andy) out to that maze of narrow streets, near Fairmount, called, I think, Francisville. He stopped at a low house, used in front as a cake-shop, the usual young girl with high cheekbones and oily curls waiting within.

“ The dog’s owner? ” the trading look going out of her eyes suddenly. “ Oh, are you his friends ? He’s low to-night; mother’s up with him since supper; mother ’s kept him since last Tuesday,”—fussing out from behind the counter. “ Take chairs, Ma’am. I ’ll call her. Go out, you Stevy,” — driving out two or three urchins in their bed-gowns who were jamming up the door-way.

Miserably poor the whole place was; the woman, when she came down, a hard skinflint—in Andy’s phrase—in the face: just home from her day’s washing, her gown pinned up, her arms flabby and red.

“ Good evenin’, Sir ! evenin’, Ma’am ! See the man? Of course, Ma’am; but you ’d best be keerful,” — standing between Jane and the door. “He’s very poorly.”

“ What ails him ? ”

“ Well, I ’ll say it out, — if you ’re his friends, as you say,” stammering. “I d not like to accuse any one rashly, but—I think he’d a notion of starvin’ to death, an’ got himself so low. Come to me las' week, an’ pawned his coat for my back room to sleep in. He eat nothin' then : I seen that. An’ he used to go out an look at the dam for hours: but he never throwed himself in. Since he took to bed, we keep him up with broth and sech as we have, —Sally an’ me. Sir ? Afford it? Hum! We ’re not as well off as we have been,” dryly; “ but I’m not a beast to see a man starvin’ under my roof. Oh, certingly, Ma’am; go up.”

And while Jane mounted the rickety back-stairs, she turned to the door to meet two or three women with shawls pinned about their heads.

“ He ’s very poorly, Mis’ Crawford, thank ye, Mem. No, you can’t do nothin’,” in a sepulchral whisper, which continued in a lower tone, with a nod back to the Doctor and Andy.

Starke’s affair was a godsend to the neighborhood, Dr. Bowdler saw. Untrained people enjoy a sickness with more keenness and hearty good-feeling than you do the opera. The Doctor had providently brought a flask of brandy in his pocket. He went on tiptoe up the creaking stairs and gave it to Jane. She was standing, holding the handle of the door, not turning it.

“ What is it, Jane ? ” cheerfully. What do you tremble for, eh ? ”

“Nothin’,”—chewing her lips and openingthe door. “ It’s ten years since,” — to herself, as she went in.

Not when she was a shy girl had he been to her what these ten years of desertion had made him.

It was half an hour before the Doctor and Andy went up softly into the upper room and sat quietly down out of sight in the corner. Jane was sitting on the low cot-bed, holding Starke’s head on her breast. They could not see her face in the feeble light. She had some brandy and water in a glass, and gave him a spoonful of it now and then ; and when she had done that, smoothed the yellow face incessantly with her hard fingers. The Doctor fancied that such dumb pain and affection as there was in even that little action ought to bring him to life, if he were dead. There was some color on his cheeks, and occasionally he opened his eyes and tried to speak, but closed them wearily. They watched by him until midnight; his pulse grew stronger by that time, and he lay wistfully looking at his wife like one who had wakened out of a long death, and tried to collect his thought. She did not speak nor stir, knowing on how slight a thread his sense hung.

“ Jane ! ” he said, at last. They bent forward eagerly.

“ Jane, I wish thee 'd take me home.”

“ To be sure, Joseph,” cheerfully. “ In the morning. It is too chilly to-night. Is thee comfortable ? ” drawing his head closer to her breast. “ O God ! He ’ll live ! ” silently clutching at the bed-rail until her hand ached. “ Go to sleep, dear.”

Whatever sobs or tears choked her voice just then, she forced them back : they might disturb him. He closed his eyes a moment.

“ I have something to say to thee, Jane.”

“ No. Thee must rest.”

“ I’d sleep better, if I tell thee first.”

There was a moment’s silence. The woman’s face was pale, her eyes burning, but she only smiled softly, holding him steadily.

“It has been so long!” — passing his hand over his forehead vaguely.

“ Yes.”

She could not command a smile now.

“ It was all wasted. I ’ve been worth nothing.”

How close she held him then to her breast! How tender the touches grew on his face !

“ I was not strong enough to kill myself even, the other day, when I was so tired. So cowardly! Not worth much, Jane ! ”

She bent forward over him, to keep the others from hearing this.

“ Thee’s tired too, Jane ? ” looking np dully.

“ A little, Joseph.”

Another silence.

“ To-morrow, did thee say, we would go home ? ”

“ Yes, to-morrow.”

He shut his eyes to sleep.

“ Kiss him,” said the Doctor to her.

“ It will make him more certain.”

Her face grew crimson.

“ He has not asked me yet,” she said.

Sometime early in the summer, nearly four years after, Miss Defourchet came down to make her uncle another visit,— a little thinned and jaded with her winter’s work, and glad of the daily ride into the fresh country-air. One morning, the Doctor, jumping into the barouche beside her, said,—

“ We ’ll make a day of it, Mary, — spend it with some old friends of ours. They are such wholesome, natural people, it refreshes me to be with them when I am tired.”

“ Starke and his wife ? ” she asked, arranging her scarf. “ I never desire to be with him, or with any man recreant to his work.”

“ Recreant, eh ? Starke ? Well, no ; he works hard, digs and ditches, and is happy. I think he takes his work more humbly and healthily than any man I know.”

Miss Defonrchet looked absently out at the gleaming river. Her interest had always been languid in the man since he had declined either to fight fate or drown himself. The Doctor jerked his hat down into the bottom of the carriage and pulled open his cravat.

“ Hah! do you catch that river-breeze ? Don’t that expand your lungs ? And the whiff of the fresh clover - blossoms ? I come out here to study my sermons, did you know ? Nature is so simple and grand here, a man could not well say a mean or unbrotherly thing while he stays. It forces you to be ‘ a faithful witness ’ to the eternal truth. There is good fishing hereabouts, eh, Jim ? ” — calling to the driver. “ Do you see that black pool under the sycamore ? ”

I could not call it ' faithful witnessing ’ to delight in taking even a fish’s life,” dryly said his niece.

The Doctor winced.

“ It’s the old Adam in me, I suppose. You ’ll have to be charitable to the different making-up of people, Mary.”

However, he was silent for a while after that, with rather an extinguished feeling, bursting out again when they reached the gate of a little snug place by the road-side.

“ Here is where my little friend Ann lives. There ’s a wife for you ! ‘ And though she rules him, never shows she rules.’ They’ve a dairy-farm, you know, back of the hills; but they live here because it was her father’s toll-house then, and they won’t give up the old place. I like such notions. Andy’s full of them. There he is ! Hillo, Fawcett! ”

Andy came out from the kitchen-garden, his freckled face redder than his hair, his eyes showing his welcome. Dr. Bowdler was an cld tried friend now of his and Ann’s. “ He took a heap of nonsense out of me,” he used to say.

“ No, no, we ’ll not stop now,” said the Doctor; “we are going on to Starke’s, and Ann is not in, I see. I will stop in the evening for my glass of buttermilk, though, and a bunch of country-grown flowers.”

But they waited long enough to discuss the price of poultry, etc., in market, before they drove on. Miss Defourchet looked wearied.

“ Such things seem so paltry while the country is in the state it is,” she said.

“ Well, my dear, so it is. But it. ’s ‘ the work by which Andy thrives,’ you know. And I like it, somehow.”

The lady had worked nobly in the hospitals last winter, and naturally she wanted to see every head and hand at work on some noble scheme or task for the world’s good. The hearty, comfortable quiet of the Starkes’ little farm-house tired her. It was such a sluggish life of nothings, she thought,—even when Jane had brought her chair close to the window where the sunshine came in broadest and clearest through the buttonwoodleaves. Jane saw the look, and it troubled her. She was not much of a talker, only when with her husband, so there was no use of trying that. She put a little table beside the window and a white cloth on it, and then brought a saucer of crimson strawberries and yellow cream ; but the lady was no eater, she was sorry to see. She stood a moment timidly, but Miss Defourchet did not put her at her ease. It was the hungry poor she cared for, with stifled brains and souring feeling. This woman was at ease, stupidly at peace with God and herself. “ Perhaps thee 'd be amused to look over Joseph’s case of books? ” handing her the key, and then sitting down with her knitting, contented in having finished her duty. “After a while thee ’ll have a pleasant time,”—smiling consciously. “ Richard ’ll he awake. Richard ’s our boy, thee knows ? I wish he was awake, but it is his mornin’ nap, an’ I never disturb him in his mornin’ nap.”

“ You lead a very quiet life, apparently,” said Miss Defourchet; for she meant to see what was in all these dull trifles.

“ Yes, thee might call it so. My old man farms ; he has more skill that way than me. He bought land in Iowa, an’ has been out seem’ it, an’ that freshened him up this spring. But we ’ll never leave the old place.”

“ So he farms, and you ”-

“ Well, I oversee the house,” glancing at the word into the kitchen to see how Bessy was getting on with the state dinner in progress. “It keeps me busy, an’ Bessy, (she’s an orphan we’ve taken to raise,) an’ the dairy, an’ Richard most of all. I let nobody touch Richard but myself. That’s my work.”

“ You have little time for reading?”

Jane colored.

“ I’m not fond of it. A book always put me to sleep quicker than a hop pillow. But lately I read some things,” hesitating,—“ the first books Richard ’ll have to know. I want to keep him with ourselves as long as I can. I 'd like,”—her eyes with a new outlook in them, as she raised them, something beyond Miss Defourchet’s experience, — “I’d like to make my boy a good, healthy, honest boy before I ’m done with him. I wish I could teach him his Latin an' th’ others. But there’s no use to try for that.” *

“ How goes it, Mary ? ” said the Doctor heartily, coming in, all in a heat, and sun-burnt, with Starke.

Both men were past the prime of life, thin, and stooped, but Starke’s frame was tough and weather-cured. He was good for ten years longer in the world than Dr. Bowdler.

“ I ’ve just been looking at the stock. Full and plenty, in every corner, as I say to Joseph. It, warms me up to come here, Starke. I don’t know a healthier, more cheerful farm on these hills than just this one.”

Starke’s face brightened.

“ The ground ’s not overly rich, Sir. Tough work, tough work ; but I like it. I’m saving off it, too. We put by a hundred or two last year; same next, God willing. For Richard, Dr. Bowdler. We want enough to give him a thorough education, and then let him rough it with the others. That will be the best way to bring out the stuff that’s in him. It’s good stuff,” in an under-tone.

“ How old is he ? ” said Miss Defourchet.

“ Two years last February,” said Jane, eagerly.

“ Two years; yes. He ’s my namesake, Mary, did you know ? Where is the young lion ? ”

“ Why, yes, mother. Why is n’t Richard down ? Morning nap ? Hoot, toot! bring the boy down ! ”

Miss Defourchet, while Jane went for the boy, noticed how heavy the scent of the syringas grew, how the bees droned down into a luxurious delight in the hot noon. One might dream out life very pleasantly there, she thought. The two men talked polities, but glanced constantly at the stairs. She did not wonder that Starke’s worn, yellow face should grow so curiously bright at the sight of his boy; but her uncle did not care for children, —unless, indeed, there was something in them. Jane came down and put the boy on the floor.

“ He has pulled all my hair down,” she said, trying to look grave, to hide the proud smile in her face.

Miss Defourchet had taken Richard up with an involuntary kiss, which he resisted, looking her full in the face. There was something in this child.

“ He won’t kiss you, unless he likes you,” said Starke, chafing his hands delightedly.

“ What do you think of that fellow, Mary ? ” said the Doctor, coming over. “ He’s my young lion, Richard is. Look at this square forehead. You don't believe in Phrenology, eh ? W ell, I do. Feel his jaws. Look at that lady, Sir! Do you see the big, brave eyes of him ? ”

“ His mouth is like his mother’s,” said .Starke, jealously.

“ Oh, yes, yes ! So. You think that is the best part of his face, I know. It is; as tender as a woman’s.”

“ It is a real hero-face,” said the young lady, frankly; “not a mean line in it.”

Starke had drawn the boy between his knees, and was playing roughly with him.

“ There never shall be one, with God’s help,” he thought, but said nothing.

Richard was “ a hobby ” of Dr. Bowdler’s, his niece perceived.

“ His very hair is like a mane,” he said; “ he’s as uncouth as a young giant that don’t feel his strength. I say this, Mary: that the boy will never be goodish and weak: he ’ll be greatly good or greatly bad.”

The young lady noticed how intently Starke listened ; she wondered if he had forgotten entirely his own God-sent mission, and turned baby-tender altogether.

“ What has become of your model, Mr. Starke ? ” she asked.

Dr. Dowdier looked up uneasily ; it was a subject he never had dared to touch.

“Andrew keeps it,” said Starke, with a smile, “ for the sake of old times, side by side with his lantern, I believe.”

“ You never work with it ? ”

“ No ; why should I ? The principle has since been made practical, as you know, better than I could have done it. My idea was too crude, I can see now. So I just grazed success, as one may say.”

“ Have you given up all hope of serving your fellows?” persisted the lady. “ You seemed to me to be the very man to lead a forlorn hope against ignorance : are you quite content to settle down here and do nothing ? ”

His color changed, but he said quietly,— “ I ’ve learned to be humbler, maybe. It was hard learning. But,” trying to speak lightly, “ when I found I was not fit to be an officer, I tried to be as good a private as I could. Your uncle will tell you the cause is the same.”

There was a painful silence.

“ I think sometimes, though,” said Starke, “ that God meant Jane and I should not be useless in the world.”

He put his hand almost reverently on the boy’s head.

“ Richard is ours, you know, to make what we will of. He will do a different work in life from any engine. I try to think we have strength enough saved out of our life to make him what we ought.”

“ You ’re right, Starke,” said the Doctor, emphatically. “ Some day, when you and I have done with this long fight, we shall find that as many privates as captains will have earned the cross of the Legion of Honor.”

Miss Defourchet said nothing; the day did not please her. Jane, she noticed, when evening came on, slipped up-stairs to brush her hair, and put on a soft white shawl.

“ Joseph likes to see me dress a little for the evenings,” she said, with quite a flush in her cheek.

And the young lady noticed that Starke smiled tenderly as his wife passed him. It was so weak ! in ugly, large - boned people, too.

“ It does one good to go there,” said the Doctor, drawing a long breath as they drove off in the cool evening, the shadowed red of the sun lighting up the little porch where the machinist stood with his wife and child. “ The unity among them is so healthy and beautiful.”

“ I did not feel it as you do,” said Miss Defourchet, drawing her shawl closer, and shivering.

Starke came down on the grass to play with the boy, throwing him down on the heaps of hay there to see him jump and rush back undaunted. Yet in all his rude romps the solemn quiet of the hour was creeping over him. He sat down by Jane on the wooden steps at last, while, the boy, after an impetuous kiss or two. curled up at their feet and went to sleep The question about the model had stirred an old doubt in Jane’s heart. She watched her husband keenly. Was he thinking of that old dream ? Would he go back to it ? the long dull pain of those dead years creeping through her brain. He looked up from the boy, stroking his gray beard, — his eyes, she saw, full of tears.

“ I was thinking, Jane, how much of our lives was lost before we found our true work.” “ Yes, Joseph.”

He gathered up the boy, holding him close to his bony chest.

“I ’d like to think,” he said, “I could atone for that waste, Jane. It was my fault. I 'd like to think I 'd earn up yonder that cross of the Legion of Honor— through him.”

“ God knows,” she said.

After that they were silent a long while. They were thinking of Him who had brought the little child to them.