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When age comes on ’tis sad to know
Where there's no schism.
Life's last baptism.
OVERHEARD AT THE TELEPHONE.
FLORENCE KIMBALL RUSSELL.
Miss VAN DE VEER, speaker present.
SCENE: Young lady's fashionable boudoir.' Telephone on desk
at one side of room. Near it is a chair.
[Young lady enters hurriedly, walks across room to desk,
takes up receiver, sits down and speaks into 'phone.] Hello, Central! 918, please. Hello! Is Mr. Edward Peyton in the office?"
Oh [very cordially], is that you, Mr. Peyton? This is Miss Van de VeerYou knew
voice? Thanks; but kindly refrain from such flattering remarks before
Oh, you have a private office?
No, I hadn't thought of asking you to dinner, Sir Impudence; but, since you seem to be hungry, I've several meal-tickets for the [mockingly) Rosemary One-Cent Lurch-Ccunter, and if you can prove yourself deserving of charity
No, it doesn't spell love, Mr. Peyton. Your early education must have been sadly neglected.
Have I called you up just to quarrel? Yes, and incidentally to ask if you won't come around to-night about half after ten for
Welsh rabbits. [Disappointed.] You can't come? Why not?
Oh! You're going to the theater, are you? I'm very sorry. Some other time, perhaps. Good-bye
[Bewildered.] You'll come up after the theater? But I haven't asked you for then. I said half after ten, and it's not customary, I've been told, to change the hour set by one's hostess,
At what are you laughing?
Because I can't guess whom you hope to take to the theater? [Haughtily.] I'm sure, Mr. Peyton, it's a matter of utmost indifference to me, though I suppose it's that awful Miss Dwyer
Yes, I said awful. Of course, you know I meant awe-inspiring—“faultily, faultless, icily regular”.
No, I didn't say "splendidly null.” You said it yourself, and, moreover
But it's not Miss Dwyer? I'm sure I don't know who it is, then ; somebody equally uninteresting, I'd venture
What? You don't think I'd call her more uninteresting?
[Angrily.] Mr. Peyton, I don't care in the least to know about your friends. I withdraw my invitation and —
It isn't polite to withdraw an invitation without adequate reason? [Coldly.] Certainly not. But I have a reason, Mr. Peyton.
Pardon me. Did you ask if I am vexed at your going to the theater? How perfectly delicious. [Laughs in a forced manner.] And pray, why should I care with whom you go? I have told you repeatedly it is a matter of utmost indifference to me, and— and
[Astonished.] You hope I will go with you? Miss Dwyer
You never asked her? And you meant me all the time?
Well, I must say, Mr. Peyton, your assurance is prodigious. No, don't try to persuade me. You should have asked me at the very beginning and not made fun. You trapped me purposely into showing ill-temper. I can't go with anybody who shows such lack of consideration.
But I didn't show it! Oh!
The idea ! Now you're going to the other extreme. You mustn't say such things.
Well, come to dinner this evening at seven, and I'll tell you whether I'll go or not
You want to ask me another question? You'd better wait until dinner.
No, I sha'n't listen to you now. Come up early. In fact, you might as well take five-o'clock tea with me: I shall be all alone, and
Oh, don't, Mr. Peyton, somebody'll hear you-
MY BOYS WOULD DO LIKEWISE !
GRACE DENIO LITCHFIELD.
ODNEY DENNIS, you are declared guilty. Is there
anything you wish to say before sentence shall be passed upon you ?"
For the first time since the trial began the prisoner raised his iron-gray head. His eyes rested on the Judge's bench, thence passed slowly to the jury-box, and to the dull-green tables where the lawyers sat, and so to the space reserved for spectators.
The question was repeated, and from the last row of seats the Judge's son shook back a mop of yellow hair and craned his slender neck for a better view.
The prisoner drew in his breath harshly. Beads of sweat broke out on his drawn forehead. He brushed them away with a blueveined, delicate hand. Then suddenly he lifted his eyes, and the people held their breath. A naked soul looked out at them from an immeasurable abyss of torture.
“It was for my boys' sake. They were all I had left—the two of them. Their mother died when the youngest came. They were as much cleverer than I as a burin is finer than the fingers guiding it. And my pride in them even outran my love for them, though I could have been crucified daily with joy to save the semblance of pain. Waking or sleeping, I thought of nothing else. I must give my sons an education worthy of them. And how was I to provide it? I had no money—no kin. Food and clothes my boys could do without. But an education of the best they must have. Do you understand now why I did it? bill that I counterfeited was for their education—for that only. In everything they remained a poor man's sons. They lived as I lived. They went shabbily clad, badly housed, niggardly fedeven the youngest-hungry often. Only every scrap of knowledge that was to be had in exchange for coin I hunted out and lavished on my two boys at cost of my
soul's blood. “But I paid for it--oh, I paid for it! with a life of double toil and hardship.. All the interminable days through I .slaved at a public desk to earn the pittance that we starved by. And through the longer and the deadlier nights, I slaved on still, behind barred doors and locked shutters, dropping with fatigue and fear, benumbed by the cold, famishing for food, bolted in alone with the one goading ambition that had me by the throat. The commonest sound—a rain-drop on the pane--the whir of a striking clock -the creaking of the chair leather- just the glimpse of my own frightened shadow-shocked my blood to ice, and undid a whole month's labor with one ungovernable shudder. Oh, those vam
pire nights! They sucked from me my youth, my strength, my manhood, my last glimmer of self-respect.
, "I meant, when my boys' education was completed, never under any stress again to engrave the smallest note. I meant to die honest, as I had taught them to live. I was only borrowing this money from the government. It was a loan that I was investing in the safest of securities—in tools that my sons might do earth’s best work among the world's best workers. There are different ways of settling a debt. My boys' lives were to pay back strength for my weakness, truth for my falsehood, honor for my disgrace. They were to be everything that I failed to beeverything that I hadn't it in me to be. I was making of them men that their country should be proud of.”
A sob forced its convulsive way up, shaking him from head to foot. In his ashen face his eyes were devastating flames.
“Two for one it was to be! My two sons' lives for mine, their brains for mine, their souls for mine. Were they not to redeem my worst past with their future? Were they not? O God !- !God!
“You who are fathers—who have sons—like mine—sons whom you love with every particle of your being—sons to mould after your highest ideals, your noblest aspirations—to pattern into yourselves perfected—to become your best ambitions realized—your atonement to the world-listen !—Say what conceivable punishment of my sin could outdo this? My boys—the sons for whom I gave myself to the devil--discovered my secret-long ago. While I was teaching them to pray for deliverance from evil, they have grown up knowing it. And not only they do not despise me —that I could bear! could exult in !—but they approve of it ! More! More! They begged me to teach them my trade—make it theirs—let them live by it—my boys, I tell you! my two boys ! Both—the youngest, too-undone-soul-wrecked for life and by the sin that I sinned—for their sakes!”
The broken, sobbing words died away. The prisoner stood as if turning to stone before their eyes, his features hardening into