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As he went slowly out into the hallway and down the noisy wooden stairs, his wife and daughter leaned over the banisters, looking at him anxiously.
At last he turned the corner into the avenue. As he looked, he saw a little group of laughing men going up the steps; then he squared his shoulders, and walked briskly across the street and up the steps into the lobby.
The clerk leaned over the desk toward him. “Seventy-six ?" Clews nodded. “Yes, my class-seventy-six.”
"Just down at the end of that corridor.”
There were others standing with him at the check-room who nodded to him.
“Did you go to the game?” asked one. “No, how did it come out?”! .
“Great guns! don't you know how it came out? Why, we beat 'em! My boy plays first base. I go to all the games.”
"I wish I could—I wish I had gone to-day; but my work is rather confining. I have a daughter, and of course, if I had a son, he'd be out there at the university too."
“There are several prominent members of the class here tonight. Drowson is here, and Crane is toast-master. We're late, I think.”
With his new acquaintance Clews followed a knot of men who opened the door, exposing two large tables filled with diners. The noise within burst out and drew the attention of several guests of the hotel, who peered down the corridor with mild curiosity.
When the man who was with Clews hesitated for a moment, a dozen voices rose up to greet him, and several men stood up to shout, “Oh, Billy, here's a seat!” or “Here you are, Lawton!”
Clews was lonely. Of the men who sat near him he remembered only two as acquaintances of undergraduate days, and the old associations recalled by their faces were so hazy that he was convinced that he had never known either of them well. They certainly did not recognize him. He determined grimly never to suffer another experience like this.
“The world likes success and sunlight,” he said to himself. “I'll fight it out alone after this, and in my own little corner.”
A waiter finally thrust a demitasse of coffee deftly over Clews's elbow. Crane had introduced Drowson with an accompaniment of cheers and hand-clapping, and Drowson had made a speech which had impressed every one, and Collingwood had been cajoled into singing an old song. Chairs were gradually moved back. a little from the table, and the room became foggy with the smoke that curled from the cigars; and a contented fulness and laughter tugged at nearly a hundred waistcoats.
Crane, the toast-master, was rapping for silence.
“Before we break up,” he said, “I want you to drink one more toast with me. We have toasted ourselves and each other, but this toast is to a man who is not here."
The interest and curiosity of every one was aroused. Even Clews leaned back in his chair to listen; it was plainly going to be a eulogy of some classman who had died.
“Twenty-five years ago, after our last college-dinner, there were six men in our class sitting together under a tree in the yard and talking about what we would do. We said we would all be successful at forty-five. If not, we were going to jump into the river. I was one of those men-Billy Drowson was another; Wright was there—he died the next year. Then there were Lapham and Riggs. But there was another. He was a prominent figure in our class—the smartest one of the six-very honorable and goodhearted. I will not name him. He is not here. We all thought he would have a brilliant career. He came out of college and was married, and his father died and left him a mother and two sisters and an inheritance of debts. That cut him off from the professional schools and he went West, and I have found out that he went into a business where there was no chance in the world of advancement. But it had to be done because that offered a way of bearing the burdens and obligations that were on him. It was just like him. Then he had to take care of a wife and three others besides.
"His health became very bad-he used to work sixteen hours a day sometimes, and when he was forty years old he found himself very much out of order. Then he came back East. Part of his burdens had been removed, but it was too late to start life as he might have started it once. He had burned out in the service like a faithful, honest, well-made candle. His light had been dim, but it had also been steady. I suppose he is alive, although I don't know. But all of us who knew him best are sure that wherever he is, he is still putting up a good fight, and though he hasn't got the cheers and the lime-light, he's pulling mighty well! I know it !”
The room was very still while Crane paused.
“We've tried to locate him, but we lost the scent after we found he had come back from Iowa. We had planned to go back to-night, Drowson and Lapham and Riggs and myself and this other man, and sit under the tree in the yard where twenty-five years ago we'd promised to reach success, before we came back to attend this dinner. I feel sure that this missing man—this lost member of the class, I might say, for I can't find any one who knows where he is—ought to be there. We think he comes as near success as any one of us.
“We learned years ago at the university, that faithful duty really counted; the kind of success we are looking for isn't always gilt-edged; the band isn't always playing for it to march by! When I looked up this man I found a good, clean, honest storya story of devotion and loyalty, and the kind of courage that holds out when nobody is looking on or waving hats! I think we all ought to be glad he is a 'Seventy-six' man, and that we are not so narrow or ignorant as to count him a lost cause and a failure. I' want you to drink a toast to him with me-gentlemen, to the man who does his job in a shadow !”
The whole class came to its feet together! Clews realized that toast was to him. Had his head been cool he would have arisen with the rest, unmarked and unknown-it was the old custom of remaining seated when so honored that betrayed him. It left him a second behind the rest, and the speaker's big blue eyes were upon him at once. Crane lowered his glass and exclaimed: "Good God!”
Clews stumbled back into his chair. "Seventy-six" raised its voice in a great, generous roar. Clews looked up with wet cheeks and smiled like a pleased boy. This was his class, cheering--and for him!
Later in the night Clews returned to his wife and daughter. Governor William Drowson was with him.
‘Alice,” said Carter Clews, "this is Billy. I roomed with him when I was a Freshman. He's going to spend the night with me."
COMEDY IRISH-DIALECT VERSE MONOLOGUE FOR A WOMAN.
ELIZABETH FLINT WADE.
CHARACTERS: Mrs. McCARTY, speaker present; Mrs. FLYNN,
a neighbor, supposed to be present. COSTUME: Everyday costume. SCENE: Outdoor scene. Across stage center in oblique position
—that is from L. front toward R. back, is a low fence, just high enough so that Mrs. McCarty may lean upon it as she talks. Grass, etc., to make it more real. As curtain rises, Mrs. McCARTY is discovered leaning on fence looking toward stage L. as if talking to Mrs. FLYNN, who is standing near L. side of stage.
As Mrs. McCARTY continues to talk, MRS.
Y so ,
I can't sthand them ony longer, though I've suffered mony a day. So now I'm goin' to lave the sthreet and move tin miles away; And whin ye hear their lasht shwell scheme, it's not blamin' me
ye'll be, Fer ye'll see no wan could bear it, not even a saint loike me.
Why, indade, I moind the toime, an' it's not so long gon' by,
too, About all of the shtuck-up things thot they were goin' to do. Dinnis, jist home from noight shchool, was shoutin' loike a burrd Of fixins he'd bought fer the pig, I heard him, every wurrd. Now I'd shtood their baby's patent milk, their shtove hid wid a
screen, Their trowin' all their dishwather down thrue a patent dhreen; The rag they call a tablecloth, their schrubbin's ivery day; The whitewash upon their fince; but whin it comes, I say, To puttin' shtyle on hogs, for me thim Rooneys is too big, Fer Dinnis has bought a fountain-pin--an' av coorse, it's fer the