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Old book Benefits forgot

  1. 1. IT M iiNEFITS 1 FORGOT < v: ESTIER •
  2. 2. Class Book. Goipgtit^ . COPYRIGHT DEPOSIT.
  3. 3. BENEFITS FORGOT WOLCOTT BALESTIER AUTHOR OF REFFEY, A COMMON STORY, CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN, ETC. W 0K C0 * ' D. NEW YORK APPLETON AND COMPANY 1894 // ^
  4. 4. Copyright, By D. 1893, APPLETON AND COMPANY. Electrotyped and Printed AT THE APPLETON PRESS, U. S. A.
  5. 5. : Freeze, freeze, thou bitter shy, That dost not bite so As benefits Though thou Thy nigh forgot the waters warp, sting is not so sharp As friend remembered AC' not. 1
  6. 6. BENEFITS FOEGOT. James Deed's wedding-morning, and the town Deed himself was so full of the knowledge of it It was knew it. that his face would break from time to time, without his will, into a as fond and incommunicable smile of happiness he rode along towards Maverick on his horse. His eye measured the crisp and sparkling Colorado morning he took the sun upon his large, with the pleasant feeling that The ; and wholesome, likable face, its shining was for him. him in thought, and handsome thing by his weddingthings, the blizzards and sand-storms, agreeable world seemed to have to be minded And day. to do the the evil and the winds that will be howling at all hours in Colshunned the face of this thrice-blessed day. The cattle pony which Deed was riding had got the news of the kindling morning air, though he lacked word of the wedding; but it was enough that he also knew orado, what it was of a mind Deed patted his flank affectown together and he was good morrow to the herd that came to to be happy. swung tionately, as they to give into ; the barbed-wire fence to observe his happiness with impassive eyes. It was too early to see Margaret ; but when he had waked at the ranch house on his cattle-range,
  7. 7. ; BENEFITS FORGOT. 2 where he had spent the last few days, he had found it impossible to remain quietly within doors, and since he must ride, it was the nearest thing to seeing her to ride in her direction. The curtains were down still windows at the of the house where Margaret had been staying with Beatrice The Vertners occupied Vertner for a month. dwelling in Mayerick the largest the brick house which except made his strike at Aspen journeyman carpenter Queen Snell had built since he had its architecture was in the Anne-manner common Western towns which have to The pony, accustomed towards the gate, and Deed was reached their second stage. to stop- ping, swerved in obliged to restrain mind There was no one him, unwillingly. that he should kiss his hand in sight to to a certain curtain in the second story; but he was obliged to content himself with this. He gave the pony the rein, and went swinging into Maverick by way of Mesa street. His eye roved anxiously, with another thought, as he galloped along, over the circle of snow-peaks that separated Lone Creek Valley from the world a cleft in the white hills through Philip, should at the Pinon on horseback, moment outside, which and rested on his younger son, be making his way from to be present at the wedding in the afternoon. Zacatecas Pass, which found its way through this breach in the Sangre de Cristo Range, led down, at a point thirty miles above Maverick, to the railway by which Philip should be taking a train within a few hours. dusty cloud, of which Deed feared he hung above the trail. It snowing in the mountains. knew seemed probable that If it was, Philip A the meaning, it was would almost
  8. 8. BENEFITS FORGOT. certainly fail to arrive in time he would : 3 was equally certain that it be in danger. There had been a thaw, succeeded by freezing weather, and the crusted snow clung to the huge mountain shapes as if it were moulded on them. It was charming to follow the modelling of their mighty bulks under the conforming vesture of white, swelling and dying away in divine suggestions of hidden grace, with the effect of a maiden's raiment. which the hills mounted to the on one another, buried in the hollows most secret ; The snow plumped softness. and pursued fold. The edged lines by summits lay crumpled their climbing sides to the The angles were curves, and the curves glistering reaches of satin; for at every point the sunlight meshed itself in a gleam of white, and the whole snow shone with a blinding glitter. In radiance of the fact, the polished hills field of gave off a which the eye could not meet with patience, and Deed, withdrawing his glance from the mountains, fixed glare it on the scattered town into which knew every building in up. He remembered when Maverick had stood the post-office — if it ; a tent now reared [he was coming. He he had seen most of them go its the general supply-store of may be said to stand —where ugly splendour of brick, stone- trimmed and mansard-roofed. In the road over which he was riding there was a familiar spot where an embattled squatter had held his own against the town for a twelvemonth, refusing to move the log cabin which he Mesa street before there was a Deed had contributed to the building of the Episcopal church, past which he was riding at the moment; and as he glanced at its roof and front, he was had built in the centre of Mesa street.
  9. 9. BENEFITS FORGOT. 4 sorry that he had not put aside more profitable business long enough to get himself appointed a member of the committee on its architecture. He tried to excuse himself by remembering that he had insisted on the simple and genuine Gothic made it interior, carried out in pine, a very tolerable He had had little which church within. nothing to do with the roller skating-rink, nor with the Grand Opera House, which depressed the observer by its resemblance to Libby Prison, though it was an achievement of wood, and clapboarded up to the summit The ingenuousness of the predown the spectator West would be almost a thing to of its false front. tence with which the false front faces in the new towns disarm criticism ful ; certainly to humiliate if it it of the if the front, in were less itself, were more beauti- hideous one would hardly like by going around behind and spying out the nakedness of the device. As Deed's eye ranged over the roofs of the main street behind the fronts, he smiled at the disproportion between the actual height of the squat buildings and the height which the fronts alleged for them. an edge for the to his observation; first time. On His happiness gave he saw familiar things as if the treeless plain over which Maverick was dispersed nothing obstructed the vision for and from so slight an elevation as that along which Deed was cantering one commanded a panoramic view The hotel at the station, the public of the entire place. miles, school with its high central tower, the post-office, and the railway hospital, were the only structures, besides the church, which lifted themselves about the level of the prevailing onestreet, and two-storied buildings. Except in the main the dwelling-houses lay isolated from one another
  10. 10. BENEFITS FORGOT. in archipelagoes, marking the push 5 of the real-estate boom to one and another corner of the young city. As Deed came into the business centre of the place, distinguished as such by the board sidewalk that went loftily along the thoroughfare on each side of the way, by the blazonries in red, black, and chrome-yellow on the muslin signs tacked upon the fronts of the shops, and by the tethered cattle-ponies, burros, and Studebaker waggons of the ranchmen who began to come into town, he was hailed by a loitering group gathered about a telegraphpole in front of the post-office. " Goin' the wrong way round, ain't you, Mayor ? " in- quired one of the group. Deed had served the unexpired term of a mayor of Maverick who had suffered the inconvenience of being shot in the early days of the town ; and the usual mili- tary titles refusing to fasten themselves readily to a cer- which the town recognised in him, it had compromised upon " Mayor," as being a fortunate comtain dignity bination of the respectful and the jocular. Deed's answering smile owned the impeachment of the humorous reference ; but the etiquette of Western chaff not to sanction such an understanding with speech. rather, de rigueur to It is is, meet such references with a heavenly unconsciousness of innocence, and to own them only deep within the understanding eye, which admits both parties to such amenities into the " Well, yes ; way I'm going for open secret of the no-secret. Aspen and some places up Eagle River a good ways around, Burke," said Deed, with twinkling eyes, as he checked the pony headed right for the telegraph-office, taken my observations wrong." ; " but I'm I think, unless I've
  11. 11. BENEFITS FORGOT. 6 He was giving his pony the rein as some one said, " There was some about town here, Mr. Mayor, of tell your having asked unanimous consent to make another The matter a special order of business for to-day." master, who had had learned of the phrases he " Yes post- served a term in the legislature, was fond at Denver. anything we can do for you, you know," dark- ; whom young fellow on ly intimated the the town's repute for the possession of the hardest drinker in the county de- On Sundays Sandy was pended. the sexton of the Epis- copal church; other days he divided between Ira's and certain " odd To jobs. be sure ; that reminds you can do for me, Sandy. him " this evening, Make —there my is something orders. Call on and take the camp." a dozen, Mayor," wheedled Sandy. it " Couldn't," responded He me Ira has Sandy guffawed smiled at the group. of the prospect. The " I've Deed. rest coiled their made his it two." enjoyment tongues deep in their cheeks, shifted the pain of sustaining their bodies from one leg to the other, and gazed at the " Mayor " with a broad smile. " Denver ? " asked Deed shook " Bottles ? some one. his head. " Y. and Z.'s." " « Kegs." He surveyed the grinning group with a smile, as he caught up the reins. The points at which he differed from them were perhaps rather more obvious ment than those by which he was place and of the West. at the mo- allied to the life of the In spite of eight years spent in the West, broken only by occasional visits to his old home
  12. 12. BENEFITS FORGOT. in New 7 York, and, while Margaret was by a single visit to still in question, Europe, his bearing retained a sort of which no measure of consent to a civilization that surveys life with its hands in its pockets, and its trousers in its boots, was likely to vitiate. distinction In being unaggressive, this bearing escaped the condemnation under which all forms of aloofness from the common lot properly lie in the West and in being on ; humorous terms with itself, it rather commended than otherwise to a people who must see life as they would escape seeing It it as a tragedy. itself a joke if was far from being his manner of distinction that gave Deed his place in the regard of Maverick, course ; and it and was scarcely by practice before the of it Lone Creek County, Supreme Court at Denver, or in his fights for mineral claims at Leadville. every one does in the West who of that he prevailed in his He counts at counted, as all, by pure force. Deed liked the West as men like what serves their and for something more. There was a kind of obligation of gratitude upon him to like it, for it had been his rescue from lethargy after the death of his wife in New York ten years before. He had had no wish to live when he came West, and his friends were surprised to hear after six months that he was still alive. He was what is called " a very sick man " when he reached Maverick and as he was also a very miserable one, the chances that he would ends, ; presently be borne to the desolate mesa ter just outside the limits of little graveyard on the Maverick were rather bet- than the chances of his pulling through to find a new life. In the event he not only " came around," as the neighbours said, but, strength with his reviving interest in
  13. 13. BENEFITS FORGOT. 8 in laying hold upon the practice of his profession again, discovered a pleasure in pursuing the application of principles to He new chaffed the West, now, like himself, tonian ; its conditions. when he met man who, a had once been a New-Yorker or a Bos- but this was by way of reminding himself to member how absurd the whole affair was, after real fact was, that, absorbed in his work all. re- The in creating a future for his boys, and finally in accumulating the for- tune which he had seen might be his one day for the use had forgotten of the needful energy, he to philosophize the West, as he had been used to do while from his sick- bed he lay staring idly on a range of mountains which he remembered thinking too big. Consciously or unconsciously, he had cast in his lot with this huge, crudely prosperous, blundering, untutored land; and if he had still reserves, there cattle, and He was never time left from his mines, his his law to think of them. was putting spurs to his horse as Snell, the lead- who had just joined the group, The young men will hardly arrive the ceremony, I take it, Mr. Deed?" ing merchant of the place, inquired suggestively, " in time for " I don't know, Mr. Snell," said Deed, restraining the pony, which was chafing to be Philip. He's dropped his Pinon, at my suggestion, two-thirty train, I hope, I don't know whether Valley City or not. office to inquire." to " I hope to off again. mining experiment up and he if he gets over the Pass my way at through by the hope that he has I'm just on He will get see to left all right. Laughing the telegraph- cast a doubtful look towards Zaca- tecas Pass. " Looks some like snow up around the Pass," com-
  14. 14. BENEFITS FORGOT. 9 mented one of those young men of middle age who, in somehow keep the sap of youth jogging lustily the West, in their veins at an age down into the roots, of when that the speculative fancy of new scheme with every it has dried out, or soaked New England moon " It does look like snow," man men. for nothing. owned Deed, as he glanced and some one anxiously again towards the mountains ventured to ask him about Jasper. business in New York," he It is possible does not engender a said, at " ; He was detained by which Snell exchanged a significant glance with his neighbour. He hardly ex- him for the wedding, Deed added. It was pretty known in Maverick that Jasper wasted no approval pected well on his father's second marriage who saw dubious ; and there were persons things beneath the peremptory which he had given out a fortnight ago New summons him to as calling York. As Deed, to cut short the embarrassment of of questioning, definitively caught up the reins, this line and gave the pony a cut with the quirt, the group gathered about him their lifted sombreros, or such rakish or merely slovenly caps as they wore, and swung them about their heads in the burlesque by which Western manners express their condescension to the customs of a superseded civilization. It was not a bow, nor precisely a ceremony of farewell, but a mixed expression of thanks for the " irri- gation " to be offered at Ira's in the evening, and of an embarrassed sentiment of congratulation on the event of the day, which did not quite conveying know the smartest way of itself. When some one inquired, "What's the matter with James Deed, Esquire ? " and the crowd gave the f oreor-
  15. 15. BENEFITS FORGOT. 10 dained answer with a single voice, they had really done him all that one sovereign can do for another in the way of expression of good will it was frankincense and myrrh, and oil and wine and precious stones, offered him on a tray of gold, if you like. It was meant for the same He turned in his thing, and Deed did not like it less. saddle, and waved his own wide-brimmed hat to them in for : acknowledgment, his fine smile on his The Colorado sunshine was lips. flooding the room in from his coming, without let which Margaret awaited She stood in the big patch of radiance upon a rag carpet past fear of fading, and looked blinds or shades. flung wistfully out of the Mesa The house window. apart, at the head of street, stood a little the chief thoroughfare of Maverick, near the outskirts of the town, and, in the clear mountain air she could see for a long distance down the road. Breakfast was over, and Beatrice Vertner had to attend to some household parently do not dwarfing A all make less duties, left her which weddings ap- important in their process of other concerns. quarrel between father and son, Margaret was say- ing to herself, as she stood by the window, come to that yet, — it had not but that Jasper's opposition to his father's second marriage had been saved from that only by the moderation and temperance of her husband who was to ness ; be, she felt sure, —seemed, at but this was, she felt, best, a wretched busi- unbearably sad. In the when she was saying Deed nay because she did not yet know herself, and he was following her from New York to Paris, and from Paris to Geneva, and from foolish days
  16. 16. H BENEFITS FORGOT. Geneva to Naples, patient, decently doubtful of himself, but persistent, she had seen what separated from his sons. stand how it cost him merely had come Later, she to be to under- the obligation he had felt to find something within himself to replace the tender care of the mother his boys had lost before they were old enough to know must have reacted upon and enShe remembered how, seeing riched his feeling for them. that his concern for their welfare was the substance and texture of his life, she had warned him it was at Naples the meaning of such a loss, — —that such affection as his played with high how his face had darkened almost angrily stakes ; and at her hint of the possibility that sons might disappoint one's faith in them. Just before their first meeting Deed had bought and stocked for his boys the cattle-range from which she hoped he was riding in at this hour, lished there in undivided the first estab- year of one of his foolish boy's experiments in Chile, should be ready to the management. come back and take his share in She recalled well enough how she had rallied their father's how and Jasper was charge until Philip, then in unwitting boasts of Jasper's success, she had assisted with inward amusement at the pre- tence that he kept his fatherly fondness covert by banter- ing it with her, and how, seemed to when that was his mood, she had consent to his transparent vainglory in the shrewdness of his clever young men of twenty-four as a natural enthusiasm about a successful venture of his own. But constantly she had the sense of his loving pride in and she liked it. Deed could not have told her, even if his knowledge of it had got out of the region of half-perceptions in both his boys ;
  17. 17. BENEFITS FORGOT. 12 which we keep our reluctances about the we love, that who have cent, —a happy provision arrang- own way their ing that no one shall find When oppose such ways. self, she had only to put Deed faults of those Jasper belonged to the Race of the Magnifi- to understand it worth quite what Margaret discovered it how it costs to it for her- with familiar characteristics of the partnership papers in the range, which were the origin of the present difficulty, had got themselves signed. When successful Deed, in good-humoured recognition of Jasper's management of the range, from half-share in the profits it had offered a until Philip should be ready to claim the third already belonging in was him all but form was very good of his father, and that they ought to " put the thing to each of the boys, on a business it like Jasper to say that it But basis." it was rather more like Deed, whose pride in Jasper's business shrewdness commonly man took shape before the young ridiculing him indulgently about And him, and consented. their usual relation that way about giving his himself in a habit of it, was not it to have laughed at less of he should have let a tenor with Jasper have this profit-sharing, for a limited term, the form of a partnership. About his own way Margaret knew he would have no conceit, while regarding the symmetry of his act in giving Jasper something like the reward his faithfulness and sagacity in the management would have a certain own part, had ever pride. of the ranch had earned he For Margaret, who, for her frugalities and cautions to be satisfied before she could be about a matter, both understood and admired the recklessness with which Deed was accustomed to do a nice thing thoroughly. To her it was an
  18. 18. BENEFITS FORGOT. 13 inevitable touch of character that he should have glanced over the papers of partnership which Jasper had drawn up, should have signed with a smile for his gratification in doing an entirely gratifying thing, and then should have had the boy to supper with him at the only restaurant in town, where they drank to the success of the range in the champagne which had been left over from the previous night's supper of the Order of the Occidental Star. Deed had not meant to marry again, then, of course, and the cattle-range was then an incident of his fortune, instead of one of the main facts of it, as it presently became. When he first thought of Margaret he congratulated himself that there was little past he found himself through the scoundrelly trick of a forty, man he had as the ranch, for, at a still trusted, almost as entirely he had been at twenty on his own hands —with a fortune to be won again, life to be begun pretty much afresh. When this came on him he thought of the boys remembered and with trouble ; with satisfaction that they were provided came ; shrugged his shoulders for, whatever took a look at himself in ; the glass, measured himself thoughtfully against the future, brushed the black lock down over the fringe of gray in front ; smiled ; went out and had a good dinner A began again that afternoon. offered himself to Margaret, the ranch was stocks were would still now not it quite doing better) ; remain to him all but the third when And and first that (some of his mining Philip claimed his share in the range had not lost to him. ; when he was pleasant to know year later, interest, that should have its importance Jasper had done wonderf ul things with the
  19. 19. BENEFITS FORGOT. 14 enterprise since they had pledged each other in the bad wine of the " Delmonico of the West." It was a little later that there began to be discoverable manner the in Jasper's hints of opposition to his father's second marriage which had lately come near ending in an The estrangement between father and son. difference between them was, after all, but scantily patched up on the head of it Jasper had set out for New ; and York, know- ing that he could not be back in time for the wedding, and leaving word that he would write his father regarding another matter which Deed had broached to him just before his departure. The other matter was the reorgani- zation of the arrangement at the ranch to include Philip, who had given over mining, after a twelvemonth in the mountains. He had gone to Piflon on his return from Chile, with young man's interest in anything rather than the usual and appointed thing lying ready to his hand but he was now willing enough to accept his father's advice of a year before, and to join Jasper in looking after the ranch, where an assured income awaited him. Deed had his ; wished to see this wandering, impulsive, hot-blooded, unsettled son of his actually established on the range before Unexpected events at Piflon but when he should come down for his marriage to Margaret. had prevented this the wedding was arranged that he was not to return, it ; but was to take up his residence at the ranch immediately. If this provision for Philip's future been made when Margaret first Deed could not have asked her in a degree which it would be began to had not already to be in question, marry him. difficult to He felt, represent, his
  20. 20. BENEFITS FORGOT. responsibilities to his boys ; 15 and the long habit of making must have prevailed if they had needed anything done for them. But the ranch was a property which, conducted with any skill, must yield them both a handsome revenue, when both should be them the concern of his first life with him, whatever his feeling for Margaret, established on it. Margaret liked the faithfulness to the future of his sons, which would not common suffer him to it. He was happiness, before at the ranch, as if withhold — as if determined to and he was even awaiting Jasper's assent to the new arrangement leave nothing at loose ends the formality of put even her, or their it all ; were an assent which he was free to property of his boys in the ranch were not derived from his generosity, and as if Jasper's present tenure were not peculiarly by grace of his father's but Margaret knew It was only a form Deed regarded it as a sacred preliminary to their marriage and when she saw him riding up to the door, waving a letter in his hand, she knew what letter it good humour. ; that ; must be. She ran out into the frosty air to meet him. Standing on the porch, under the shadow of the scroll-saw work, which was as much in the Queen Anne manner as anything about the house, she waited for him to horse, cuddling her an edge. arms about her waist. She gathered herself together cold to keep out ; and there was a which she was willing to keep in. It was hard not to be afraid of : The tie his air had there was the soft, interior content some of her feelings lately. " Watch your horse " she adjured, with a ! little nerv-
  21. 21. BENEFITS FORGOT. 16 He ous shiver. was trying to tie the pony while he kept his eyes on her, and the tying was on the way to He had taken the ience. They both began it mouth letter in his failure. for greater conven- to laugh, so that he had to take out. " Dearest " he whispered, as he caught her to ! But she would not give him the porch. him in his kiss until they were in the hallway. " It's .come letter in his which was ! " she said, with a joyous nod towards the hand, as they went into the sitting-room, as discreetly empty as the whole house seemed suddenly to have become in the hush of their happiness. " Yes," he said, alternately offering her, as he held her away same Margaret with for the last time, to make whom he had and who was and refusing it to certain that she was the parted the night before to give herself to him in a few hours. She sniffed at the flowers he had slipped into her hand in the hallway and, to make sure she did not cry, laughed at the smile of love on his face, which often op; pressed her with the obligation keep it always there. and laughed again And it seemed to lay on her to then she clapped her hands to perceive in herself a kind of girlish pride in his being handsome and manly, and altogether very fine and impressive this morning. It was true that he was a striking figure holding her at arm's-length and not less so as he stood when he left her side and went over to the mantel, where he leaned his head upon his hand and watched her for a moment in silence, as he struck at his riding-boots with the quirt he had brought in with him. His hair was a bit grey where his large round head had begun to grow bald on each
  22. 22. BENEFITS FORGOT. brow but ; this, marked strongly man would 17 with his grizzling eyebrows, and the lines about his mouth, which in a younger haye seemed merely the outward sign of reso- were the only tokens by which one would have lution, known him to be more than His thirty-five. hair, like which was the only adornment of his face, and this, coupled with was worn clipped rather short his mustache, ; his rather careful habit of dress, gave of trimness him a and well-being uncommon certain effect He in the West. had the habit of resting his weight firmly upon the and the dignity and ease of his bearing were ground not lost in the most impetuous of his habitually rapid ; movements. but His eyes had a tinge of blue in some lights, was the indefinable grey in them which gave the it look of power and firmness to his face. It is doubtful if moments but That which dis- these eyes were really bluer in his kindly it is not doubtful that they seemed so. ; tinguished his look and his manner, however, after the force which no one could fail to feel in of unconquerable youthfulness him, was an and buoyancy. effect His eager, mildly searching glance, his manner of unceasing alertness and energy, gave one the man much sense of a alive. He glanced with keen liking about a room which he had known for a long time, but which, been as interesting a room as was almost in a mood sulted the remnant it somehow, had never was this of Eastern taste in He morning. to forgive the wall-paper, him ; which and as in- he turned and, with his hands in his pockets, stared into the fire, not knowing what to say in his happiness, him a warm feeling it gave about the heart to see what a gay time the combustible pifton-wood of the mountains was having
  23. 23. " BENEFITS FORGOT. 18 of it There was even a certain in the little grate. light- headedness about the what-not in the corner, on which the collection of mineral specimens of Colorado housekeeping — was —part of the sunshine from unexpected facets of ore pyrites winked in the sun mistaking it at ; religion Colorado reflecting the while the iron some possible tenderfoot for gold. Beatrice Vertner's taste had contrived to give a homelike expression to such furniture as there was ; but the room was rather bare. The big photograph of Yeta Pass, in which a train had stopped to be taken, hung in frameless, fly-spotted solitude above the tennis-rackets and riding-crops in one corner. above the fireplace, There was a good engraving framed in unplaned scantling, and two clever oil-paintings by some of Beatrice's Eastern friends brightened one corner of the room, which was further lighted hung made rag up by a brilliant-hued Navajo blanket, as a portiere at one of the doorways. carpet, in its The home- modest propriety of colouring, caused the Western villainy in wall paper to wear a conscious smirk. of colour, At the side window self- there was a burst where the lower sash pretended, not very seri- ously, to be stained glass. " Such a spick-span conscience as I've got this morning, Margaret," he said, coming over to her and taking her hands again, while he looked down into her eyes, which " There isn't an unswept she straightway dropped. corner nor an undusted piece of furniture in it. I've had out all the couches, and had all the pictures down, and gone in for a general house-cleaning. and settled, The boys both of them, and in seven hours — are safe " Seven and a half," she corrected smilingly, with the
  24. 24. " BENEFITS FORGOT. 19 woman who precision which seems never to leave a has once taught school. " Half, To be is it ? sure But half-past four. ; every- thing must be whole this morning, Margaret, like our happiness. Have you noticed how every one feels responsible and —interested about this — and I had to morning caller on my way But they saw through me. behind the curtains They were affair ? the windows as I rode up the street — or rather they pay a to call. My my at were try to look the disin- terested through all sort of duty foolish joy leaks Margaret dear," he asked, eyes, I suppose. taking her doubtful and feebly reluctant form in his arms (for, even on the eve of her wedding, the indomitable Puritan in her must have will), " tell You it ? me, does are so much Come, you are "not its it distress you that I can't conceal me see your eyes. Look up!" And then, as she better at fair. shamefaced way with her it. Let tremulously took his glance for a moment, he put back his big head, thinking it : and laughed that it is laughing over our happiness Am I ? " ; —indecorous—um—unseemly. Margaret, you are great fun " " I see you tvere unbecoming that they should be greatly. ! she asked, with a shy smile, keeping her eyes on the button she was twisting on his coat. " Yes, yes," he cried through his laughter, as he drew her to the sofa ; " you don't know what you miss being able to enjoy yourself." and she hid her head on And " Isn't and. He his broad breast for happiness. with his arm about her he opened the it done we need not fear for know letter. down we begin with each other, and that him ? Otherwise I should have felt fine, dear, to for, before in not caught her to him, that Philip is settled
  25. 25. BENEFITS FORGOT. 20 as if I were running away from him. letter from Jasper but it just at this time. makes everything quite I like to get this It's only a form, I'm afraid we are sure. too happy," he sighed, as he glanced over the the letter daze, and ; as first lines of he turned the page he looked up in a and could not believe that there had ever been such He a thing as happiness in the world. bit his lips, not to cry out. Margaret watched him in A pallor deepened over his to regain himself. seemed suddenly to silent fright as It went, face. he read on. and he appeared But the thought, whatever it was, clutch him at the throat, and he buried his face in his hands with a groan. Margaret's arm, for the about him. stole gently first And time of their own motion, so they sat for a long time in silence. Once she said softly, " tions, she saw, how I'm so could not help him, and she did not to say her sympathy. had that Jasper Ques- sorry, dearest." in some way played man who she yearned over the know She understood without words his father false, and in a few hours was to be her husband, with an awed sense of what such a falsity must mean to him. The letter shocked her when she read it, but it could not sharpen her pain for him. Jasper explained that he could not hold himself bound by the understanding under which his father apparently supposed him to have taken a half share in the profits of the range, and that he any share in it. He must " stood decline to surrender to Philip upon the him the rights of an The rest was made up articles of partner- ship, giving equal partner, for a term of years." of phrases. He would be
  26. 26. ; BENEFITS FORGOT. 21 very glad to offer his brother employment on the range would be " most happy to afford him every that " such an arrangement between tually "... spirit in this " hoped that which " that " business . is . . ; "... trusted them might be mu- would be accepted in the was sure that his father must always business " ; feel and, disclaiming any motive of greed or animosity, begged him to believe that he remained his " most affectionate son." Margaret did not dare look at the stricken her when had only died " he moaned. ! " Oh, I know, James an uncertain ; I know ! " she you, dear appalled her. ? He " looked up dully. She shrank from " No, no," he said glance. murmured, with caress. seemed to have gone out of him. vital beside she had finished this. " If he "Do man should be glad you can't. child in sickness ; it Something His haggard look with a fluttering You " you don't know. You must have cared for a and in health, and done things for his and been through all sorts of weather with him, and scolded his badness, and loved his lovableness, to know." sake, " Of course, of course," whispered Margaret, mechan- ically, because she could not find the right words, if, in truth, there were any. You can guess, dear," he said, " and to know you ought to have watched " but its the touching likeness to your own growth little armful of flesh, it's good of you ; his growth, with ; and have seen with the tiny, beating heart, that you were once afraid you would stop with a rough man, with a man's comfortable power over the world into which he came so unknowingly and clasp, grow to be a — with a man's awful capacity for right and wrong." He
  27. 27. BENEFITS FORGOT. 22 " Yes, yes," he sighed. ness ; went on with a note to a place in the you ought really you stood in the place you were in fact his of his father, to " don't know, Margaret The him world,"—his voice broke,—" and perhaps to have been both father and mother to him," he added, with the ghost of his smile as of bitter- " you must have done what you could to help mother ; " his friend, : his comrade, as Thank know. heaven, you ! patient desolation of his tone touched her inex- She took his hand in both of hers, studying it absently a moment, and one might have thought she pressibly. meant to raise it to her lips ; but, struggling against the James and She think." tears in her voice, she said, " Ingratitude, though, — isn't it much from of a piece wherever you find it, can understand that, I paused, biting her lip for self-control. " Oh, suffer ardly!" it? I "Doesn't she broke out. ! Cowardly and brutal " Her arm it seem and it — cow- is dear? so, him slipped about again, as she searched for these blundering words of helpfulness. She would have given the world to reach and soothe the pang which she seemed to herself to be merely moving about in a helpless circle. The unyielding tradi- had been nurtured, and which possessed since she had let herself love him, but which still tion in which she her less was mistress of her, At the moment sunnier land, the how had never been so irksome. she longed to be the creature of some women of which do not have they shall comfort those they love, to who have wonder a nat- But the honesty in her would not suffer her to express more than she could feel " Who instinctively. who but a coward," she went on " could wrong so unanswerably as ingratitude chokingly, ural language for affection. —
  28. 28. " " BENEFITS FORGOT. wrongs —so far past help, so 23 deep beyond protest so deep, ; deep down that the mere thought of lifting a voice against a misery, a nausea, a degradation He leaped up. " Yes, yes," he cried, with impatient ! it is energy " but one can act, ; Where talk. did I leave must my act hat, when the thing's past He Margaret ? " took her by both shoulders, with a sudden impulse, and looked for a moment face, in She took fright into her eyes. at his set which, save the tenderness for her, there was scarce anything of sanity. " What —what are you going to do ? " she asked, under her breath. He clenched his hands, as he turned from her, and caught up his hat, which lay on the know, my girl He was know My ! " Oh, I don't sofa. worst, I suppose." flinging himself out of the door. murmured she I don't ! reproachfully. He " James ! turned and kissed her. " In an hour," he whispered, and was gone before she could utter one of lips. all the pleadings that hung upon her She tremblingly watched him untie Every movement of his horse. his hands was charged with an angry Her energy that terrified her. heart leaped in fear at the wrathful twitch with which he loosed the knot that they had been laughing at together twenty minutes back ; and she cowered at the ugly cut under which the pony shrank, as Deed Was set off at a gallop. this the good, the gentle man she loved ory of the look on his face, as he parted with her. like the look of unreason —such She ? put her hands to her eyes to shield them from the memIt was a look as one recalls in explanation of a terrible event, after it has befallen.
  29. 29. ; BENEFITS FORGOT. 24 II. It was rather more than an hour before he returned, and Margaret had time to think of many things. She trembled at the thought of what he might be doing at any of her watching, and waiting, and poking of the moment She recalled fire. temper less ; all that she knew she told over to herself heard from others of the relentless carried out a thing on which he was She knew sadly the quality of her experiences of it of his hot all and reck- that she had ever fixity with which he resolved. his temper, of course could hardly have failed to be numer- ous and bitter, in the time which had elapsed since she had known him. It accounting for was the chief flaw in his character. to herself, she said, it fresh from suffering no doubt it about men In she was not from some manifestation went along inevitably with impulsive heart. when of it, that and She was ignorant about such things, and in general, but she his generous had never known any one so entirely good, and kind, and open-hearted, and she told herself it was not for her that. to measure or question the cor- must always go with a great relative fault that She had moments of grave virtue like doubt about this, of and her doubt had been a minor reason among the controlling ones which had caused her to refuse him at course, first. When didn't" matter she finally discovered that she loved him, ; nothing seemed to matter then. thought of his temper as one of the things she would herself to — modify or, rather, to help him about set —when What was marriage for, if not some such mutual strengthening and improvement ? they were married. it She now for
  30. 30. BENEFITS FORGOT. 25 Something Yertner had told her when she and at which she had laughed made her It still had heard smile, but in a frightened way. in Leadville. it came, first at the time, recurred to her. Vertner was apropos of the grim It Some strength of purpose which every one felt in Deed. one had come to a young lawyer there, to him offer a case in which Deed was engaged on the other side, and had been asked to " come off " " Ain't you got more sense," ! inquired the practitioner, expressively, " than to take half a day out of a ten-dollar-a-day job to Deed to where in a case Never saw him grip his Thought not. did you ? young man. I've There In been there. Beaten ? No, sir ain't Must must about that is no two ways fact, I to a burro's kick. my ' I boots, was cyclonized. of the prettiest rotary motions No Peak, out there. I did it time to try and ; it I again. you Uncompaghre one but myself would have thought worth while to pick up what was But I and swung round ever saw, and banged against the top of it time, was there day before yesterday. was taken up by the toes of and round with one me on show ? set like that, in a court of law, fist, I wasn't beaten. ; come and he's got the ghost of a picked up too Why, left of much me, I suppose. same more knowland hang on, and stick sense at the that man's got edge of the law, and more raw grit, —" he questioned the with uplifted arm for a comparison— " well," he ended hopelessly. " you what to'n air I'll tell it is," he went on, with renewed grip of language them that likes nothing like berries monkeying with the buzz-saw, there short of breaking a faro-bank. and cream citizens like all, it, ; to that sort. But It's " for ain't straw- to peaceably disposed you and me, Charlie, there ain't nothing at anywhere, like staying pleasantly and sociably to home,
  31. 31. ; BENEFITS FORGOT. 26 and letting the hum saw its merry little way through the other fellow's fingers." From time to time Margaret would go to the window, and look wistfully down the road. The expression on her round, shrewd, suggestive, wise face at these times little would have helped an observer understand the look to which made her seem older than her twenty-nine years it The look was the authoritative look of experience. over-experience that sometimes fixes of the beholder, down on the face itself, woman who of a into the fight for bread with has been men, had passed by Margaret's inextinguishable womanliness not led an easy life ; and one saw it ; but she had in her face —a proportioned with a harmony that strangely failed to it of to the sadness face make beautiful. Her eyes, which were small and bright, were deeply set under a high and well-modelled brow, from which the hair was brushed straight back in a way that must have been unbecoming to another type of face, but little ears, ant to the silky see. which was ad- In falling over her shapely mirably suited to her own. brown hair waved in a fashion pleas- Her mouth, which was small and daintily made, wore an expression of unusual firmness. In conversation she would fix her animated hazel eyes in absorbed attention on the face of the person with she spoke, and when whom the talk was of serious things, a deep, She had far-away look would suddenly possess these eyes. an extraordinarily sweet smile, and there was a gentle kindly soberness in her expression. compactly made, yet her seemed short and in her dress slight. effect She was well and was unimposing. She had a well-kept and the appointments and She little effect of her person ; but no
  32. 32. BENEFITS FORGOT. 27 one would have accused Margaret of knowing anything about dress. She was rather discreetly clothed than dressed She wore white in the sense of adornment. wrists and a narrow cuffs at her collar at her throat, fastened by a brooch of gold wrought in an old-fashioned pattern. Margaret was not smiling when Beatrice came some time after She turned her tearful head pressed against the pane. face away in, Deed had gone, and found her with her as Beatrice drew her to her. Mrs. Vertner, one saw, had been quite recently a — woman, and she was still young a year or two younger than Margaret. The brilliant expression which pretty had distinguished her among young girl she was days in still Newton remembered all her acquaintance in her (the Boston Newton), where as a clever girl who had made an inexplicable marriage, was overlaid, for the most part, by a look of anxiety and harassment, due to the conShe made her housekeeping as little ditions of her life. a sordid, crude, and ugly business as she could, and took its difficulties light-heartedly; still a soul-wearing Just affair. but housekeeping in a to " get its Western town that has now rule of a Swedish maid-servant and whose knowledge growth " is at best she suffered under the who knew no English, of cooking was limited skill in broiling steak insupportably, to a fine and a vain address in the brewing of undrinkable coffee. " Crying, one little ? " she asked affectionately. " Won't you do something a wee bit like some one else, dear, one of these days, and let me be by to see it? She kissed her, with a laugh. That's a good girl." " But stay odd all the rest of the time, Margaret. I shouldn't like you if you weren't odd, you know —not
  33. 33. BENEFITS FORGOT. 28 even you were ever if be conventional, ! want you If I only for a moment, to see Come! would seem. smile so little less odd. is it And at Margaret's helpless which defined air, moment a itself in it amuse- humming ment, she snatched her from the window, and, a vague to Try one Other brides smile. " she pleaded. how as one of the Waldteufel waltzes, she beat time for a second, laugh- ing in bewildered, tear-stained Margaret's and face, caught her away into a romping dance. " There less ! sofa, breath- " I've shaken you into with laughing and dancing. sorts, I upon the " she cried, as she sank hope, and you're ready for the ceremony dressed, to wear that grey — or will Not that I call it mean that, Maggie be, if you'll ever get yourself dressed. —oh, I don't dear," she exclaimed at a pained look on Margaret's face. She crushed Margaret to her in a devouring embrace. " Or, rather, I do," she added honestly mean at to say ~No it. some sign you'd better wear ; the all it," from Margaret. of hesitation beautifully with " but I didn't ; rest of it. she went on, " It will go Margaret Der- wenter," she cried, with an affectation of seriousness, "shall I ried." all tell " Literal " ! things less hard ? effect, As if I meant it. will be it I don't believe the going to marry you as and you needn't tell by yourself fell ; me it yes, I at Margaret's never take I did like that. But ! mean may I marriage ceremony is does other women, Margaret; it is. process of consent to the upon her with What it mar- will never be " Will you she cried. sounds foolish after you've taken as well say but woman's peace-making the armoury of start. You you something? She retired for the If mean affair. you are ever married, — it it by a kind of slow Of course you will have
  34. 34. BENEFITS FORGOT. 29 a proper respect for the ceremony, and you will think But women has married you. that there are any, I — are not married was married when I knew left Maggie, like you, it —not Now, in that way. the church, and everybody it." Margaret laughed, not on compulsion this time, and, catching her arm about Beatrice's waist, drew her to the window down look to the road with her for Deed's coming. Almost any part when of Margaret's history, before the time she began to teach, and, by a curious arrangement of her own, to see the world, must wrong, or at speak, in the telling the gentle least mis- and sweet-natured woman she had become. From the she had ideas first ; and it would be hard to say what one must call the ambition which gave purpose and meaning young to her days. of her grandmother's farm-house hill, From the point of view on a bleak New England the pursuit of what she called culture represented to Margaret during these days an inspiration, an intellectual stimulus, person and a rule of who would not might out dear sake ; life. suffer It would be a quarrelsome any one to get what fun he of the idea of culture for culture's angular and an alternative as to the apples and cider, the mite-societies, the " socials," and the lectures which in winter stand for mental diversion in the back country of New But England, if has advantages. it some one said that the theory of life which it implies lacks ease, atmosphere, curves, lacks even, to say the worst of it at once, the sense of had a great many such ought to say a word. humour, only one who New England winters in him
  35. 35. BENEFITS FORGOT. 30 Margaret, in her pursuit of this mystic culture, conceived education to he, until her education was done, an affair possessing length, breadth, and thickness. It is to be feared that she even " improved " her opportunities. They were not many, poor girl, until she left the New Hampshire village for her first stay in New York, where she studied at a school in which she spent a year learning who regarded its advantages Then she left it for Vassar, which that she was the only pupil as precious privileges. was, at least, not touched with sham. She found here other girls with her thought about education; and she went about the erection of her structure of intelligence with an energy which presently sent her home to her grand- mother ill. The return, however inhabit, structure remained her point after her and the reader who knows anything of thought should not need to be told that she this habit of looked upon ; it, much not as a dwelling that she should one day less as a temple which should one day inhabit her, but as a shrine the graceful proportions of which it was the blessed sight. final privilege to set forever within one's At nineteen Margaret was more in the becoming that distressing product of our felicitous way new ways of thinking about women and about education to —the female prig—than a friendly biographer would like to record. Her escape from such a fate was due to circumstances outside her control. vacations she took up In the midst of one of the summer a copy of the " Springfield lican," to learn that the little competence left Eepub- her by her had been embezzled, with more important trust Soon after, her funds, by an unscrupulous executor. grandmother died. Every Sunday morning, from the father
  36. 36. : BENEFITS FORGOT. 31 time when Margaret had come to her as a child, she had how lain in bed, this estimable lady, thinking she would change on Monday in Margaret's favour the will which bequeathed all she had to a charity. On Sunday morning a late breakfast gave time for reflection on such subjects ; but on And on Monday there was never any time at all. one of the Mondays which was to have wit- nessed the fulfilment of her resolve, she died in Margaret's arms. The double catastrophe had many lessons for Margaret. She sorrowed for her grandmother bitterly out of the simple and loving heart which no system of cultivation could have educated out of her and she never thought of blam- ; ing the neglect which had left her with the problem of earning her living close upon The money her. through the executor's rascality troubled her educated girl —a girl It would be putting to say that she grieved for the loss of the one might have bought such a is, and the leisure for study, But it is all too crudely money because it and the sight of the " cultivated " only the expression that idea hovered very near this thought. it culture with lot of good pictures, and the knowledge of things. an with duties, with responsibilities to her self-development. travel, that lost solely as is at fault : her As she could not have the thing in one shape, she determined to buy it for herself in another. It was necessary that she should provide for herself, and she conceived the enterprising notion of making this She " taught " but she gave meaning of her own by procur- necessity serve her purpose. the heavy-hearted word a ing, ; through a friend of her father in Boston (after a year spent in school- teaching), a position as travelling governess
  37. 37. BENEFITS FORGOT. 32 with a family which put several of her favourite novels to shame by treating her as one of the species. She made the tour of Europe with these people, with what she called, in her letters to one of her college friends, " most satisfying results." She did not mean to the business man's children whom she was teaching, but to what she might have called her own " mental progress." The business man, when he called the results " satisfactory," meant something separated by the distance between any two of the planets from the idea contained in Margaret's word but his word was at least as much reward as she ; had expected, outside her salary, to decant some of her knowledge for her faithful efforts into the minds of the business man's children. When sat she was back in America again, she recklessly down and waited engagement looking to for another This time she wanted to go to Japan, the same ends. and she kept the advertisement in which her wishes were succinctly stated in the " Nation " and in the " Tribune " until a family discovered itself intending towards Japan, and desiring a governess ment, and terms. of Margaret's capacity, tempera- It will be seen that this surface. To make it at all woman was a dependence, and of original ideas clear ; but so how of energy, of in- much lies on the she contrived to rec- oncile these rather aggressive qualities to the softest and womanhood there need be, one must have known her. To be sweetly firm to be gifted with the kind of lucidity that does not roil one's own commonplace muddle of a mind by its mere existence to know, and not to know you know to hold immoderate opinions in a modgentlest ; ; ; erate way ; to be transfigured by energy, and yet consent
  38. 38. BENEFITS FORGOT. 33 neighbour lying on his sofa to the propriety of your perceive that the boundaries of the State of or even —though good deal this is asking a New ; to York, —the confines of the British Isles, do not limit the imaginable, not to say ladylike, regions of our globe ant — these are great matters. : It in a word, to be toler- can hardly discredit Margaret with any reasonable soul to own that she for the most failed, part, to realize all these excellences; but they had become the tormenting measure of her ideal some time before she met Deed, on a visit to Vertner (the one friend she had made at her home school) at her It Beatrice New York in Colorado. was mainly the travel which she had sought as gratifying her aspirations towards culture which disabused her of her young feeling about that ignis fatuus ; the sight of the various, the populous, the instructive world furnished her with an altogether new point of view, from which she grew to pity the provincial Diana who had set out with such a fine courage to hunt down culture with her little bow and arrow. And yet the Diana remained ; and the Margaret of ten years after the Vassar days was at least as remarkable for her likeness, in remote, illusive ways, to the Margaret science for the Temple who had one and of Culture, the same con- and for the Temple of Pure Eight, as she was remarkable for her admirable, and her surprising difference. The new notions of life seeing things had led the exquisite, her begotten of going about and way ; but no one who knew her well could have been at a loss to perceive the moulding force which had done the real work of change. It was her womanliness coming in upon her, at the same time, with its incomparable enrichment, which had taught her
  39. 39. ; BENEFITS FORGOT. 34 old vagaries the it way to the graces of the new Margaret was what one might almost have called her natural which for womanliness finally which, in shaping her young strenuousness to softer none of the lost for it gift chastened her edges, and validity lines, and justness and simple strength which had gone with her maidenly ways of thinking. And yet Hampshire it is certain that one for nothing is years at Vassar without bearing the Vassar mark be that no one can teach for an hour —and above ; — it may live to hide clear that no one can teach for ten years all, it is New not reared in that one does not spend four ; the fact. It was Beatrice who figures of the first pony and caught sight of the familiar his rider, coming np the road a gallop, pursued by a swirl of dust. at She could not be persuaded that she did not hear the baby crying, and descended upon the sound before Deed could reach the porch. Margaret would rather he had not tried to find a smile for her. He her They side. looked a year older than when he had stood for a left moment, when she opened the door to him, looking into each other's eyes. Then she arms about him, and drew him to her with an impulse of protection, the kind of refuge against the cast her — vexations of the world that a who is dear to her, as them on the planet, if woman he were the —and offers to the sole sufferer man from whispered some words in his ear. "I am so sorry," she said simply, as she took his arm, and led him into the room, where she had made up a brighter fire against his return.
  40. 40. " BENEFITS FORGOT. He sat heavily on the sofa, piiion sticks with the look of a He he ding-days " " how am I I of. going to get it my you rather have borne to be " What, down — dear ? " to him, done. it," forgiveness that this should alone it ? " side. Do you begrudge ? " she asked. I sharing your trouble, James meant is musn't talk of has." She came and stood by his it We at the blazing fight moment. " It's no stuff to make weddon't know," he went on, biting his lip, have happened as my and stared man whose looked away from her. said, after a 35 thought that was what he asked tenderly. and put his arm about " Would He drew her She sank on her. the floor beside him. "A wife," she said, blushing faintly, and looking down. Their romance was not if they less valiant. : her hand affectionately. erie that dear to them than it was more sober, but not commented Deed, with a wan smile, patting had been younger " Urn," less She sat for a moment in a rev- took no account of their trouble, and was almost happy. But catching sight of his tense and stricken face, " Something has happened," she said tremulously. " Yes ; the law can't help me," he answered wearily. " If there were nothing else, I must have let him go with and have found heart somehow to tell Philip his plunder, that I had let myself be done out of his future, with a fool's trust." "Nothing but the law? There is a remedy ? " Then there is something else ? He did not respond to the joy in her tone. answered gravely. " Yes," he
  41. 41. BENEFITS FORGOT. 36 She started back, and rose from his her fears side, all alive in her face. " James " she He cried incriminatingly. ! sat silent, with his head in his hands. She regarded him for a mo- ment Then in anxious perplexity. hand, and laid it on softly quite sure you are doing right He withdrew " proachfully. "You ? Yon—you " are " she asked gently. " Margaret " himself. How she reached forth her his shoulder. he cried ! You can do a wrong to yourself. re- him ? " could I do a wrong to can let a longing to right yourself carry you too far," she said bravely. " Don't talk in that way, Margaret. one right and one wrong in the world. right. What " Oh, I He many I have done hope was so ! moment. He He " My " Would you dear James, I give " —for me do for You know I me?" —" began Margaret, up all that I have hers, and he asked at startled. meant to make ? His intense gaze was unbearable. " was thinking of took her hands in an eager "What would you last abruptly. yours for have that to just." Suddenly he turned his eyes to regarded her piercingly. pressure. had " she cried. silent for a things. is There, was but I She turned away. would," she murmured. "Don't think that because right to take away. " Rights, dear ? It's I am giving I have the not so." Must we talk of them ? Don't you think—" " Well less ? " he asked, trying to be gentle anxiety got into his voice. ; but his rest-
  42. 42. BENEFITS FORGOT. " That they stop, I was going to But, James, you seem so far gins. laid a said a thing like that my " Did I? where love be- say, off —so strange." hand doubtfully upon him, and looked ? " into his face Would it reach you, asked. Her smile was she dearest, of course I don't care. And I ever care ? She " with a questioning glance. ful. 37 now, if if I piti- How should would make you it happy—" " Must 'l Would make me happy ? " he it be worth while to you it " Ah, well asked. did not ? " if it " he exclaimed inconclusively, and for some minutes they did not speak. Margaret watched his absorbed face and knitted brows with a thousand rising ! doubts. He may face, for have seen the pained look of inquiry on her he took her clasped hands and stroked her hair With her elbow on the thoughtfully. sofa, and her head and in her upturned hand, she coiled herself on the floor, regarded the crackling fire for a long time in wistful silence. She was glad when he spoke, though out against what he might say. all her fears cried As he bent over her, speaking in a low voice, she kept her eyes on the " Tell garet. me again It is meanings. of course ; it would not pain you not merely money. It to lose it many has all, fire. Mar- sides and It is all worldly comfort, advantage, leisure, but, besides, it is freedom —freedom to do the things you have wished to do, Margaret have not been able to do. you have tested it. You It's don't ; the things you not fair to ask you until know how much you would be giving up." She smiled. "I know how much I shall be gaining if
  43. 43. — BENEFITS FORGOT. 38 — if can serve you," she said it softly, her head turned from him. He observed her with keen, grave eyes, which, as he He looked, filled with tenderness. rose and took her in his arms. my " Is this the quiet scarcely reserved Margaret little own woman who, ? " he asked. a few months " Is this since, would she loved me, and only the other day was protesting that her training had not taught her the lan" guage of affection ? She hid her James?" " face, What is she asked anxiously, it that you wish to do, when she could raise it again. He released her without answering. After a moment he took a turn up and down the room. " You won't believe it ! " he said suddenly. He went back, and flung himself upon the sofa, with a half groan. The had blazed up, and in fire its play upon his face Margaret read the torture that was going on in him. was beside him again in a moment. as She " Margaret," he said, he caught her hand once more, " do you remember the story of Samson ? " " Surely," she answered in wonder. "His locks were which was all " traitorously shaven. Why ? " His strength, his riches, was basely taken from him by Then enemies believed they had con- one he trusted. his quered him, for his power was gone, and they had put out two eyes. But in Gaza when they were gathered to his one last, mighty their heads and ring to me, I don't you remember, dear see his ? shame, he put forth and pulled down the temple over The story has always had a noble know why. To-day it comes back effort, his. —do
  44. 44. " " BENEFITS FORGOT. 39 Would you mind reading with special meaning. it over " to me, dear ? Margaret gazed at him in trouble and uncertainty; but she went for the Bible which was her single inheritance from her mother. the table near her bed. When up-stairs. ume At home she always kept it on Just now it was in the trunk, she had found knee and her face to the it, where she could blaze, by turning her head, opened quickly " ' But the eyes,' " bound him with " No ; a to the place. and brought him down fetters of brass little eyes closed. " ' And it ' — came to pass,' " she when ' and began again, towards the their hearts were merry, may make that they said, Call for Samson, that he And to Gaza, ' further on, please," said he, keeping his the end of the chapter, " sport. see his him took him, and put out his Philistines she began, " she brought the vol- down with her arm on to him, and, kneeling us they called for Samson out of the prison him be- And Samson said unto the lad that held him by hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house ; and he made them sport tween the ; and they set pillars. " ' house standeth, that I "'And Samson may called Lord God, remember me, I I lean God, that my two and paced the the . said, stood, I may be at once eyes.' floor. on, fearful of she knew not what. " ' And Samson took hold of the upon which the house . pray thee, and strengthen me, pray thee, only this once, abruptly, . unto the Lord, and avenged of the Philistines for Deed rose upon them. Margaret read two middle and on which it pillars was borne
  45. 45. " BENEFITS FORGOT. 40 up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. " And Samson ' And upon fell Let said, he bowed himself with the lords, me die with the Philistines. might all his and upon all ; and the house the people that were therein.' He Margaret dropped the book, and looked at Deed. was standing quite " Was garet ? it still, listening in absorption. Was not great ? it not well done, Mar- " " I don't know," she said, with a touch of preciseness which, without her She question. many so for revenge only His way its into of propriety or morality were in moment. reflected a " It was just. his would often make will, when matters her tone ? was not a loss " Was it right to kill " common It was dear ? It one. two eyes." " But barbarous would be better justice, don't to suffer you think so, under the sense of the worst wrong." "JSTo, it no," said he, earnestly, almost eagerly; "to He seems nobly done. perished of his own Margaret had but now, terrified James, what has did not try to save himself. me He will in the general ruin." watching him anxiously; long been beyond control, she burst forth, Samson's story to do with "0 you or me?" " Everything ! ! Everything " he my strength taken my eyes per taken in teaching he not in robbing Philip's future, at a stroke He paced the ? cried. " Has not Jas- me to know him ? Has me of himself, and of " floor impatiently. She put forth her
  46. 46. " BENEFITS FORGOT. hand with an His hag- instinctive gesture of deprecation. gard face, with When 41 look its determination, awed her. of she tried to cry out her voice failed her. " Margaret," he cried, pausing suddenly in his walk at some look in her face, " you would not have me bear it!" " James," she answered, " know ; but would bear yes, I it hard, very hard, I is What it. else is there for it?" " What else ? " can you ask back ? he Do you ? " All else cried. think I could Why, Margaret, ! live, and not Am I so weak a thing ? Am I cheated of strike all my —" he drew her to him, as she rose, with a tremulous motion, and surveyed Why, power, even in your eyes ? her face dearest —" why, dearest," he repeated, " I have still Sam- son's power." " Still Samson's power ? " She repeated the words helplessly. " The power to make him suffer with me," he said " The power to pull down the temple over his sternly. head." " And yours ? " " Surely. Did you think courage for Samson's remedy " But you will not ! I could not find Samson's ? " Surely you will not ! " I have," he said, as he turned away. Margaret bowed her head. " Oh," she cried, " you She kept her face in her hands, catching her breath with the sobs that shook said well that I could not believe it." her. " Margaret did not heed. ! ! Margaret " he besought her. He turned away in desperation. But she
  47. 47. BENEFITS FORGOT. 42 " Is — it command is it irrevocable " she asked, " There she could Samson have built the temple again?" must be some retreat." my " I have given can buy word." back again." it " So Jasper might say," returned His face hardened. " Listen, Margaret," he entreated he. when herself. " Could "You ? —my legal ; " I am within my not do what I will What would you have ? May I with my own ? In his letter he says that he reckons his half interest,' as he calls rights and that he 000, An like that.' rights. ' ' at $75,- it, up a thing range and cattle can't be expected to give hour ago I sold the entire He for $25,000, without inquiring his preferences. given it lias up," he said grimly. She looked into his eyes for a moment in silence. At she said, " Is this sale completed?" last No but I am morally bound You shall not." "What?" " ; to complete it." " " My it is " Oh, how can dear James you shall not. such a thing, if you don't see it ? It is cruel, it is I argue wrong, wicked " ! You must let me be the judge of that, Margaret," said Deed, gravely. " O James, why am be your conscience, know —has She came left you ? I what I when yours You am to you, if I —under may not frightful trial, I have no right to do this thing." close to his side. " Oh, there comes your teacher's theory of life," he cried, in unbearable irritation, " your hidebound JSTew England conscience, that will not see circumstances, that
  48. 48. " BENEFITS FORGOT. refuses the idea of palliation as finds the if were a snare, that it same wrong in an act under 43 conditions, as all if killing were always murder." "James, James," begged Margaret, quite calm and brave now, " don't talk of me. am I anything you say. Consider the life of remorse you Think of yourself. condemning yourself to. Distrust the false passion You are and pride that tell you you are right now. are wrong. ing you came Listen to me, You so. who have nothing by to gain tell- She spoke the words that are wrong." to her. " Have I not the right to make him suffer as I suf- fer?" he asked coldly. You " I don't know. rights. am I have not the right to use sure of that. It is telling us, but is it the less true tolerable if every You must —are and —the world would one demanded your all he be in- entitled to? is Self-surrender, self-denial, all that feel that. they only phrases in the books ? fine for all what they are always our every-day world ? Are they too big " She paused for a thoughtful moment, and with a glance of infinite tenderness regarded him, where he stood restlessly gnawing at his mustache, and snapping his fingers. " As if I need ask " she exclaimed. ! " As if you had ever needed anything better than just ordinary Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for your goodness, dear I know it? and kindli " — Who ever used Hush, hush, Margaret " he done. I The ! tell fire, ! Don't more every-day generosity insisted. " The thing's you." which had been dying down, leaped up, and
  49. 49. " BENEFITS FORGOT. 44 glowed upon his patience. sudden He The look face. she saw on it taught her " Listen, James," she begged, fighting back the tears, which, somehow, had slipped by her guard. shook himself free from her hand with a kind of courteous impatience, and walked to the other side of the room. " Don't preach, Margaret, of She gazed him at morrow morning "I things." we wait Deed ; but his evil spirit I don't She tried to smile. am quite myself," he said almost stiffly. not I who was wounded, and in the best part of love for him answers it ? as if until to- to speak of this, dear," she said gently. " I can talk to James know." all " Suppose sadly. Why ? " He should it " Was it me —my not be the best part which spoke with a kind of fierce calmness, he were endeavouring to be gentle and reasonable with her, and found " Is it hard. the best part which tempts to vengeance ? it she asked wearily. " I fancied you were calling " said with bitterness. call And on heaven for vengeance that in your heart," he it if it Did not Samson were ? —that was his word— ' venge- ance on the Philistines,' and was he not richly answered ? Was he " not given strength for James," sire it ? cried in despair, " " against such frightful sophistries They were both in the tense word snaps the bond "You " We " how can mood in which the added of friendship, of blood, of love itself. need not," he said, as he turned from her. have had more than enough of argument. not change my the morning." I argue ? intention. I shall It does complete the sale in
  50. 50. — " BENEFITS FORGOT. He 45 was about to leave the room, but she called : "James!" "Well?" "You must not." She caught her breath, and upon the sofa. hastily " Pshaw " I tell you you must not. I I will not have it. sat ! have wife who property rights, as well as to be. is you ; my not have your property I will Her Do you toward her quickly. face was white mean that ? " She nodded I rights as your —thrown away for a whim." He came tarily. " — my—my my She shrank involun- she set her teeth. ; painfully. " It would have been simpler to say so in the begin- ning " —not to You might say honester," he said with slow bitterness. me have spared you could promise to give yourself secure the pain of it all up, from being held to knowing that when you thought You your word. might have saved your sermons." It was like the agony of death to hear these things from him and bore ; but she shut her lips, it. If she spoke now, she knew that her tone must belie her words. " A moment ago you said," he went on coldly, "that you had nothing to gain. seem to have had much. to-night, He up if I tell Pardon me It if I may make you you that you have gained say that you sleep easier it." put his hands to his head in bewilderment, caught his hat, and, without a glance at her, left the room. Margaret rose, and closed the door behind him. stood a long time at the window, trying not to cry. She
  51. 51. ; BENEFITS FORGOT. 46 III. Eleven thousand above sea-level the dry feet air reaches the point of saturation with a kind of gasp and shiver. Deed was Philip sure of the storm, in the air half an hour before the clouds began to gather. It was the day on which he was to meet his father at Maverick and he had set forth in the morning from Pinon, where he had spent his unprofitable year in mining, planning to reach Bayles's Park by one o'clock, and to take the railway there for Maverick, where he expected to arrive in time for the wedding. Cutter, who also had failed in the mountains, and whose arrangements for the future were indefinite, was going to the wedding with Philip. His family had always known the Deeds in and he and Philip were The air New York, friends. grew moist, and the sky darkened as they put Laughing Valley, into which they had just come down from the other side. A mile up the trail they stopped on an eminence commandtheir horses at the ascent out of iug the valley, to look about. half-hearted A above the way they were to take. swallowed up ray of sunshine shot a glance from behind the clouds ; The brooding ray was instantly but the valley was swept by a momentary which it started dazzlingly fresh and and took, the sudden gold on its face with a dancing quiver which almost excused its foolish name. The range of hills over which they had just come rose radiance, under green, To the south Eed Rock Caflon, behind Laughing Valley City to the north. the exit from the valley was through between the narrow walls of which the Chepita fled roar-
  52. 52. — BENEFITS FORGOT. 47 The sound reached them where they ing. stood on their height at the edge of the caflon, above the scattered noises of the town, which hour at this (just before the three- and almost o'clock shift at the mines) was as peaceful, noiseless, as if it Where had not been a city the Ohepita cast itself on all as the maps. down out of the hills over Moshier's Rock, at the other end of the valley, they could vaguely see its white leap ; and then could follow serene course through the town. they watched it its it Laughing Valley slipped through a certain effect of life to green lawn at their buildings at its Down at their feet go brawling into the canon. feet, centre, Quietly as City, the river gave the valley, which spread a vast unbroken save by the huddle and by the dumps of of green or grey marked the mines outside the town. The close-ranked mountains looked down from every side upon the young city; and the only apparent points of egress to the world without were those by which the river or red that — entered and left the valley the cleft in the which the Chepita hurled itself upon the canon by which it swept away. Philip Deed was giving up his mining cause his father wished prospect of a it, hills through fall, and the at Pinon be- not because he liked the easy home and a bank-account held out to him The thing for which he actually cared from Maverick. was a not responsible to life its next minute —a life that should leave him altogether free to speculate with himself. At twenty-three subject for prophecy. knew him if and this it. He had Philip It interesting would surprise no one who he should turn out to be a great success was Cutter's faith 4 Deed was an a fine, —but straggling the betting was against army of talents, and for
  53. 53. BENEFITS FORGOT. 48 commander of them in the hours The sound a gusty temper. that would often bless him was for the when he did not need it, sense most part present and when he would not have been anything but sensible upon any temptation. He was wise upon impulse, and the propriety of his ments in he was senti- shame him when a permanent state his best hours merely served to less wise : it did not establish wisdom in him. He made mistakes as other men are from instinct. He often had occasion to denounce himself passionately. He had a noble and unthinking generosity, a warm heart, and a habit of taking people at their own valuation, and of owing more than of respectable, he could pay. There was a generous touch even in Philip's incapacity —for it ment at — amounted to that to perceive the delicate mowhich meum melts into tuum. It was a kind of incapacity to infect an entire character, and it infected Philip's; at strange times and upon odd occasions the fibre for which one instinctively looked as the accompaniment of other fine traits in him was missing it was like : a lacking sense, rather than a vice, as excellent people are absent-minded. —Jasper said it It tvas might nevertheless have been odious — had not been seen to be merely what was his was yours, and it followed, as the kind of if it the obverse side of his generosity if you were his friend corollary to ; : which no open-handed man would give a thought, that what was yours was was like that ; it his. Good-fellowship was one of the things that one did not One did not compel one's friend to ask for one's second coat when one's friend was shivering; one gave it, and asked no questions when the friend forgot to question. return it : that was the way of coats and friends. And
  54. 54. : BENEFITS FORGOT. 49 the need for a coat was one's own, when compliment to one's friend for as was a poor it one conld not trust him if good an understanding of the transaction as one's own. Philip had never reasoned of thing to reason about out— it was not the sort this was, in general terms, whole business of give and take. his instinct about the He had it —but an entirely good conscience about his money dealHe knew that he of every sort. and obligations ings, borrowed more than he lent, borrowers did not come to but that was because the him When early enough. he sum of money there were always a dozen tedious people who wanted it people to whom he owed it received a — they got hold of it often before he could lend the half-dozen borrowers About man. who certain obligations of sitive a pride as that of his father, body a penny ; it to any of hang about such a honour he had as sen- usually who never owed any- but he would have postponed any ordinary debt to lend ten dollars to a friend in need, and he would have had no more scruple in putting the gratification of some wish of his own race between the wish that it before It was, in fact, often a : the kind of wish took some time and trouble to gratify was an ad- vantage to the creditor. able, it. and the creditor When the he would often arrive first. conditions were favour- In fine, upon principle and in practice, Philip was always generous before he was just. He would have found it difficult to explain his theory about the propriety of being generous to himself. It was involved in the foolish pride, not unlike a sense of caste, which had given him a from his belief, cherished in a careless way boyhood and now become an instinctive feeling
  55. 55. BENEFITS FORGOT. 50 in him, like a religion, that certain things were proper to Reduced him. to its obvious terms, it would have be- come, like a number of our more obstinate inner religions, an absurdity. reducing upon it, Philip got along with his religion by not by not Was it. it so much as thinking of it. He acted that certain insignia, a certain cere- monial, a peculiar dignity were an hereditary appanage But what was his station? If he had he would have urged that his station was to be Philip Deed, which might not be much, but was what it was. He could not pretend to explain. One of the more immediate results of this theory of the pre-eminence of the debt he owed permanently to of his station? been brought to this, himself above the accidental obligations incurred in pay- was that his unpaid ing it, the money amounted debts his father regularly sent to a trifle making up was glad Pinon, over and above bills in him to run his mine, The several small more than $400. this sum began to be pressing, and he to be leaving Pinon, not merely because the mines he had been working for himself and Jasper offered no prospect of yielding ore in paying quantities, but be- cause he saw no present means of paying these debts by his own exertions, and they had reached a point where was inconvenient, and occasionally a little He meant to ask his father to lend him He would be able to pay him in six months add to them. money. knew where he could make twice $400 by that time meanwhile he would pay him interest. it humiliating, to He ; the ; he and disliked to be borrowing from his father in the loose way he had used They would make it a business transaction, and he should have his note. " Isn't that Pinon Mountain to the right of the big hitherto.
  56. 56. " BENEFITS FORGOT. dome Ute Chief ? " he asked, of 51 on their as they stood height, looking out over the hills. " Yes I ; make it " Melancholy out so," said Cutter. sight." " Yes —oh, " I've been yes," agreed Philip, heavily. thinking of our year up there : what an made ass I of myself dropping three or four hundred days into those holes in the ground on Mineral Hill « Ugh " They weren't much ! ! " grunted Cutter. as days, of course, but they were They might have brought ten thousand or so if I had set them to the best I had at the time. me in a clear — work bank-presidenting, or something. Why think of it a fellow might have married on the earnings of those ! — And days. pher there they and the ' ' Pay lie at Ore.' the bottom of the ' Pay Ore "Happy thought scornfully. of its ' ! " ' Little Ci- he exclaimed fairy godmother, that name." " Well, I'm not banking heavily But ' Little Cipher.' was luck enough for one day to locate the Pay The Eyan outfit are going to have those days out ' it Ore.' of the on the ' Pay Ore,' you know, Deed. There's stuff in that claim." ; " low- it would " Yes, I know," assented Philip, indifferently grade pay I don't see stuff. to ship if it how it helps me that assayed three dollars better. It might as well be a thousand." " Wait a —a thousand a contemptuous sound, but his contempt while. It will be a thousand better than pay dirt." Philip made was outward only. Ore," now that He believed in the future of the " Pay money enough was to be put into it to
  57. 57. BENEFITS FORGOT. 52 men sink the shaft to the proper depth, as woman believe in the —the woman whom they shall of their secret ideal one day meet and love, but whose virtues it is unprofitable to discuss meanwhile. " That's all Eyan's going to make a big stake been down in the mine. out of his lease of the Pay l Watch him and Ore.' He might even take something out He and Buckham know what they posed there was anything in the took hold of " I've right," returned Cutter, unshakenly. it on a of the see. Little Cipher.' Who are about. * Celestina And now lease ? i ' sup- until they look at Why, it. they were saying in Pinon yesterday that the last assay gave a thousand dollars to the ton." " Pshaw, Cutter I ! am ashamed of that bargain with Eyan." His companion permitted himself ought to be Man alive, —the other way. You to smile, " Well, didn't get enough. you don't suppose he and Buckham are here How many for their health. Cipher,' ' ' Celestina,' anyway, and perhaps the Ore,' ' his voice, but Deed ; I'll tell he lowered you what to say: it I'll do : I'll and Little a straight continuation of their lead?" is had raised look here, Pay do you think pairs of eyes they need to see that you are next the that the you He "Why, stake my reputation as a mining engineer that they have struck a true fissure vein in the ' Celestina,' and that it dips your way." Philip laughed. ter —charming. If " Your confidence you will give tion to the person you have in furnish me me is charming, Cut- a note of introduc- mind who is prepared to with board and lodging in exchange for such confidence as that, I don't see what more I can ask."
  58. 58. " ; BENEFITS FORGOT. The 53 between them recognized the silence that fell existence of the subject they were shying away from. It was an hour since Philip had been handed his father's long telegram as they passed through Laughing Valley City. He had bit his lip, and turned it over to Cutter. They had found no words for it since, and were still try- ing to talk of other things. " I wonder if you'd mind, Deed, into the valley last, from I were to say what of yours seems to be," Cutter an awful cad that brother broke forth at if while they still stood looking down Oh," he cried, their eminence. Philip ground his teeth. " Hardly ; it me saves the trouble. venting the feeling he had been choking back in a helpless shout of rage, " to think of his coming and me like that Confound ! stood being swindled out of managed my But small, so sneaking this Why, ! — ! over father could have whole future, and have to pull a decent face about like a gentleman. it I believe I it, it, if The Cutter, he had done it thing's so dirty, so it's the grade of mid- Fancy father The favourite son He gave a scornful little laugh, and dashed his hand to his eyes. " D the fellow, anyway " he cried. " I night assassination. ! ! ! swear, when I think of one who has a drop of done. I wasn't old know her it, it my seems too low a thing for any father's blood in enough when my him to have mother died to intimately, but I don't believe she was like that. And to think that I have spent a year in those cursed mountains up at Pinon, working that mine for him right alongside my own ; rising early and going to bed late giving up every Christian habit; denying myself every kind of decency of living — yes, forgetting how it might
  59. 59. " BENEFITS FORGOT. 54 feel to live like a gentleman ; and all of it and I get this for you sour. The I tell you, Cutter, it. left in it, me. I believe And makes me I haven't I am any kick cooler about to think that he is my brother — yes, and my ! father's son " some day, when ; be sorry for the fellow for being such a devil of I shall a cad. it. my own some things turn beastly ingratitude of the thing so sick that I can't kick against much, just as every ounce as much, for his infernal mine as for Pshaw He'll never stick to that point, Deed. ! It's too indecent." "Won't he!" cried learn about Jasper. And prove that he's right. lot to but he'll what's more, he will think so He'll think it right if done the right thing, and done since I can A man it, Jasper wouldn't do anything he didn't think himself. right. "You've got a Philip. He'll not only stick to remember ; and it it I've always admired can't help admiring a quality so remote self as that, you know," he said He chokes him. has at the right time, ever bitterly. it in him. from him- " Jasper isn't the kind of fool to chuck away a year in a place like Pinon. He knows discretion His better, and I respect him for it. and propriety, that habit of his of doing the wise and sensible thing while I was lucklessly going to some new style of my dogs every six months or so, and disap- — you can't think, Cutter, what an immakes on a younger brother. Jasper's very schoolmasters used to praise him, and even then I knew they were right, and that I had earned my stool in a corner for shirked lessons. As early as that he had a sort of instinct for the buttered side of life, and you see he hasn't pointing father pression that forgotten it. You ought to have played marbles with a
  60. 60. ! BENEFITS FORGOT. boy for * keeps 55 to really understand a ' man, you know, Cutter." " Oh, come " " His habit of being right said Cutter. ! going to help him to hold that ranch against your isn't claim. Your him out father will have Jasper get to Maverick. of that before the only isn't we man who knows law." Humph " " a cigarette. afraid. Poor father " sighed Philip. He won't have His way much to Jasper father instead of writing I can't if think what he had told that to Like him to use a it. lighted heart left for law, I'm a quicker way. is would have happened it He ! ! letter for They Father doesn't bear things well, you know. ! make him wild, just at knew tion that he such a thing. tell him would have had to kill up and better than to stand believe father I part of Jasper's discre- It's first. him." " And that the kind of is down under such an " Hardly. He raging about. But injury .and twirl his it ; law can't touch him, about ; I'll is may the strongest kind of fortress, is He will if character comes it wager. ; and if to that. The Jasper always knows he's got his earthworks piled sky high. to the sheer lift of rock opposite them. would be a pity, as well try to I'm storm that sure, if a cliff him over there." " It man's going to abuse a he shouldn't make a good job of That's what cuts you be sure that he's behind You might He pointed trust, if be We've only but you can figure out a good deal Jasper's character you what he sit thumbs?" won't do him any good. one of your known quantities know think likely to won't be sitting down. got the barest facts if man you up, I know. He it. Poor father trusted the fellow,

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