The Anatomy of Love
Author of “The Prairie Wife,” The Counterfeiters,” etc.
SYNOPSIS.—Professor John Herrin Macraven. Dean of Amboro University, who has selected as his life work the preparation of a series of volumes on love, is asked by a former associate, who is going away on a trip, to spend part of his vacation on his farm to look after his daughter Sybil. Macraven has been working hard on his last book, “The Anatomy of Love,” and welcomes the chance, especially as he is apprehensive that Anne Appleby, a very attractive young Amboro woman, to whom years before he had rashly proposed, has designs now on his freedom. He remembers Sybil as a little girl but, walking to the Shotivell Farm from the station, he stumbles across a very beautiful young girl combing out her hair by the side of a pool—and so learns that Sybil has grown. He finds her pleasure-loving, poetical and scornful of science, but decides that at last he has found a girl who might be persuaded to discuss the psychology of love. Sybil initiates the Prof essor into the delights of country life, even to the extent of making him go barefoot, but rather perturbs him with the intelligence that Anne is coming down also. The girl and the Professor put in the interval enjoyably, although Macraven’s enjoyment is still further dampened by the announcement that a youthful admirer of Sybil’s, one Richard Ford Sewell, is also to visit the farm. On the last day of their solitiide Sybil takes the Professor out hunting pond lilies and he has the misfortune to tumble into the water at the moment when Anne appears. Macraven decides that he must exercise his guardianship in keeping Sewell away from Sybil and so he contrives to get Anne and Sewell away for a day. Sybil seizes the opportunity to hold a moonlight picnic for two and works so potent a spell on the professor that he feels his resistance to feminine influence slipping.
ANNE AND AN INTERLUDE
IT was not until the clear and coldly penetrating light of the following morning that Macraven fully realized how ignominiously he had failed in his efforts toward a disciplining of the airy and unchastened Sybil. It had been his intention to make no direct allusion to this failure, and the reasons thereof, but he felt that Anne would not be satisfied with silence. It was accordingly, with a more or less troubled and apprehensive mind that he confronted his fellow conspirator, that morning, on the wistaria-screened verandah.
“You haven’t given me one crumb of Amboro news, as yet,” he told her, temporizingly, as he took a wicker chair at her side. And if he seemed a little over-eager to know if it was hot and dull in town and whither this family had gone and whither that, and if the walls of the new college laboratory were up, and indeed, a hundred and one different trifling bits of news and gossip, Anne betrayed no sign that she even dimly apprehended the reason for this feverish flow of interrogation. From Amboro he glided easily off into the avenues of science, and was suffused with an unexpectedly genial glow when he discovered that she had read his lectures on “Visual Illusions” and his recent defense of Shotwell’s Occipital Condyles idea quoted in “The Mating of Mammals.” And then he solemnly asked Anne if she believed, at heart, that the dissipation of elements was an actually irreversible process, like the dissipation of heat, and what influence the newer radium discoveries would have on the old problem of the transmutation of matter. He even astounded her with the declaration that in the disintegration of one gram of radium there were liberated just one billion great calories, and then very gracefully reminded her that even helium would be much less known to-day, had it not been for the work of a woman.
In fact, even though a sense of subterfuge had first prompted Macraven’s excursion into this familiar old field of science, it was not long before he had forgotten all motive for that movement in the sober delights which the mere browsing along such well-known paths brought
He even somewhat poignantly regretted that he had not written to Anne, beforehand, asking her to pick out certain of his text books and bring them along with her. Yet, he told himself, he hated to be under obligations to her. She had so many persons already depending on her—down at Amboro, in fact, she had always been imposed on. It came home to him, as seldom before, how nearly all her life had been devoted to giving and doing for others. Even while they had been chattering and debating on the wide cool verandah, that very morning, he had been amazed to find that he had gained at least three new ideas from her.
It was true, as he had once said, that Anne always talked in solid prose. But often, when that prose chanced to be a continuation of one’s own unuttered thought, one could relent a little towards its mo9t unimaginative solidities. Not that he dared to claim that Anne did not talk fluently and eagerly—for she had the habit of awaiting one’s answers with her sober grey eyes fixed steadfastly on her companion’s face, a trick that was always flattering, though sometimes disconcerting.
Macraven, as they sat there talking together, could catch occasional glimpses of Sybil and young Sewel, through the shrubbery, busily engaged in marking out a tennis court. For once, for some undiscovered reason, he could look down at them calmly and disinterestedly. He even tried to tell Anne what a will-of-the-wisp Sybil was, what an elflike spirit she had always seemed to him, fluttering about the old orchard and singing about the old gardens, a dreamyhearted epicurean', drifting down her gay life like a butterfly floating through a world of flowers. And she always seemed to strike such a vivid note against the landscape, her very choice of color was always so artless and yet so effective.
The listening Anne, being a woman of the world, acquiesced in this, and held her peace. But after luncheon she reappeared on the verandah in a sailorsuit of white lawn, with a soft wide collar and with three moss-roses pinned at her waist, and a vivid bud or two in her
'T'HE Professor of Anthropology, looking up from his book, gazed at her with startled and almost unbelieving eyes, as she sat there with her head bent over a magazine, oblivious of his pre9-
It seemed, as he gazed, that he had always before looked on a chrysalis of Anne—on an Anne in fact, not as a bright and winged Psyche but on an Anne in the pupa-state.
“What have you been doing to yourself?” he demanded, sitting up, a little jealous of that lost and sombre Anne who had now passed, he felt, forever beyond his world and his reach.
Anne laughed a little-
“Sybil’s been telling me not to part my hair in the middle.”
“Of course, always,—until to-day. We’ve just been struggling to mar celle it!”
“Do you know,” confessed the honest Macraven, “I never once thought of the fact that you had hair, until this mo-
“But I had, you see, all the time,” said Anne, in her solemn manner.
A/T ACRAVEN continued to gaze at the moss-roses, absently, as they stood out so appealingly against their background of white. Terence, far off somewhere, down in the garden among the syringas, was singing slowly and brokenly as he worked:
Can she make a cherry pie?
Baby mine, baby mine;
Yes, she can make a cherry pie,
Wid a soft look in her eye—
But she’s a young thing and cannot leave her m-o-o-other! !
Macraven listened to the croon of the distant gardener, absently. A song-sparrow alit on a Japanese almond-tree and trebled out its sweet five-note run and call, like a tiny fountain of sound. The bees droned and hummed about the quiet house-gardenThe wind stirred and died in the tree-tops. A sense of peace after unrest stole over the young Professor of Anthropology.
111 E sighed, audibly. Anne looked up
-*■ quickly, at the sound. Then she, too, gazed out over the gardens and the treetops, and, as her companion had done, found herself surrendering to the spirit of peace that brooded over the tranquil landscape.
“Don’t you sometimes think,” said Anne, at last, “that we’re always working and fretting too much, down at Am-
“There’s always so much to do, so much to be done,” sighed the man of science.
“But I wonder if it pays, to crowd beauty and peace like this out of life?” asked Anne, dreamily, her eyes on the swaying tree-tops from which the songsparrow was calling-
“But life is so short—something must be surrendered, don’t you think,” he argued. Macraven, too, was looking out over the world of sun and shadow and waving trees.
“But should we crowd out the things that make life best worth living?” Anne was asking him. “After all, shouldn’t the appeal of beauty be as strong as the appeal of work? It always seemed to me that it was only when work was touched with beauty, in some way or another, that it was worth while.”
A/T ACRA VEN looked at her, searchingly. Here was Anne talking poetry! Anne, of all persons, transformed into an apostle of the ethereal issues of life! It was like finding an accidental poppy in a field of level wheat. A poppy in a wheat-field—that was the very phrase that Sybil had used when she was describing to him her days of idle dreaming, her empty and indolent life, when everybody around her seemed so absurdly busy-
“Life was not made for work, but work was rc^ade for life!” quoted the Professor. “But it’s worth remembering that the poor old philosopher who first said that had given the best of his life to drudgery, before he found it out,” retorted Anne.
“I suppose really it ought to be a happy mixture of the two, for it’s only by labor that thought can be made healthy, and only by thought that labor can be made happy.”
“I like that better than your Spencer,” assented AnneA soft rustle of skirts cut short any answer Macraven might have essayed. It was Sybil, pink and glowing, with a tennis racket in her hand.
“Still talking of poor old Spencer?” cried the girl, leaning on the back of Anne’s wicker chair. “Or what new and world-moving metaphysical hypothesis are you two wiseacres propounding?”
“Anne has simply been pleading your cause!” explained Macraven, making an inward mental note of the quick telepathic glance that passed between the two women, and yet sorely puzzled as to its meaning.
“Then that’s why you’re sitting there contemplating me with such sternly speculative eyes ! But I wish you wouldn’t! I’m not a bug!”
“We weren’t breathing a word about bugs, were we?” asked Macraven of the silent Anne.
“We were talking about beauty, Sybil dear, so it must have been a little about you.”
“Ill never believe it,” mocked Sybil, giving Anne an ecstatic squeeze. “You two old dears are continually digging and burrowing under a mountain of some kind of learning or other, or struggling over some awful 'ology! You’re both like two ants—no, like two moles, burying yourselves in books and abstractions, when there’s such a lovely world just outside! And you think I’m silly and empty, just because I go along like a bee, only looking for honey!”
“The bee, Dear, deserves every flower that it finds,” said the older woman, though even Macraven noticed that she had winced at the “two old dears.” It was the first time that Sybil had ever come before him with a sense of intrusionIt 'was the first time that he had been able to study her with a feeling of detach-
He reopened his book, and sought for his place once more, abstractedly.
“No more reading to-day., sir!” cried the girl, placing her two small, sun-browned hands over the open pages, with a show of mock sternness.
“We’ve all got to go and gather fresh strawberries, for we’re going to have one of the far-famed Shotwell strawberry short-cakes!”
“Let’s!” said Anne, jubilantly.
A ND on the way to the patch the young Professor of Anthropology came face to face with a new and strangely disconcerting truth. He found that it was almost as delightful to lift Anne, for all her solemn eyes, down from a rail fence, as it was to help the ebullient Sybil. Only Anne frightened him a little, she was so astonishingly sober through it all-
“Do you know,” said Sybil, a few minutes later, looking up from her strawberry row, at the stooping Professor of Anthropology, “I used to wonder what you’d be like, before you came up. I used to imagine you’d be all forehead and that I’d hear your think wheels go click-click, and that you’d no more think of climbing a fence or going barefoot, than Dickie here would dream of doing an honest day’s work!”
The two men thus alluded to stood upright above their berry rows.
“Oh, I say!” dissented Macraven.
“I say!” echoed young Sewell.
And the two men, standing there in the berry-patch, for one silent moment looked at each other, cryptically, yet understanding^.
MOONLIGHT AND MYSTERY T T was early the next afternoon that A Sybil and Dickie Sewell made ready for half a day of trout fishing. Sybil knew of mysterious pools and basins, along the upper streams on the eastern stretches of the farm, where her father had often made wonderful catchesTheir flies were worn and faded, their ancient willow creel showed several gaping wounds and had to be carefully lined before it would hold even their luncheon, and the antique landing net had to be restrung before it was fit for the crudest of active service.
But nothing seemed able to dampen Sybil’s enthusiasm.
“If we’re not back for dinner,” she announced, “don’t think of waiting. We’ll cook our own supper, if we have to, down on the river bank!”
She noticed the look of disapprobation that flitted across Macraven’s face.
—“The same as you and I did that d^y up at Anona Island,” she added, turning to Macraven with what was a bewitching but almost a mocking smile.
“And if we have good luck, both you and Anne shall have a trout for breakfast—and if we don’t have good luck, I’m going to duck Dickie, just to get even!”
A ND she was off, with Dickie carrying the creel and rods at her heel, waving a merry goodbye to them as she passed out of sight beyond the syringa bushes, making her way out across the shadowy apple orchard.
“Happy youngsters!” said Anne, in her motherly croon, as she stood looking after them, without moving-
“It’s astonishing, the emancipation of the modern woman !” was Macraven’s answer to her croon, as Anne went back to her novel.
All that afternoon, in fact, he felt listless and irritable. It was too hot for walking, and reading seemed out of the question. When Anne went indoors to write letters, he idled about the garden, essayed a profitless excursion into the clovermeadow with his butterfly net, and then returned and paced the verandahs once more, abstracted and preoccupied.
The dinner hour came and went, without the return of Sybil. Anne went to the orchard gate, at Macraven’s suggestion, for one last look. But there was no one in sight, so they sat down and ate aloneEvening came on, warm and soft and grey. A silvery brown dusk crept over the field. The twilight deepened, and, at last, with the coming of darkness, Macraven sent for Anne.
She could see by the knit brows and the familiar old Dean of Amboro look that he was worried, even before he spoke.
“What are we to do about this?” he asked her, shortly.
“About the fact that it is nine o’clock, and night, and Sybil and young Sewell not yet home!”
“But what difference should it make?”
He looked at her in astonishment.
“It makes the difference,” he solemnly asseverated, “that my presence in this house practically constitutes a guardianship over this child!”
“She is not such a child as you may think,” ventured Anne-
“Child or no child, it is my duty to exercise that discretion which her own father might. Naturally, in this respect, I looked for your co-operation.”
A NNE remained silent. The feeling took possession of him that there was something guarded and disingenuous in her position towards him. He felt that she was repressing something.
“Anne Appleby, do you know where these young people are?” he suddenly demanded.
She studied his face, for a moment, in silence-
“Yes,” said Anne, at last. “I do.”
“Then I insist on knowing!”
“Why should you?” she in turn demanded. “What good would it do?”
“Then I am to regard you as—as circuitous as they are?” he flashed back at her.
“Just as you choose, 0 King of Knowledge!” she told him, mockingly as she took up her novel.
Never before had he seen Anne guilty of a gesture of dismissal. It amazed him, for a moment, but the mingled pride and dignity of a career crowned with authority saved him, in the end. He turned on his heel, procured his wide-awake, and then his rubbers, crossed the verandah, went down the steps, hurried over the dark lawn, out through the gloomy bushes, and made his resolute way to the eastern end of the great farm, in search of the fugitives.
Anne, from the verandah railing, called to him twice. She had evidently relented; but he gave no sign that he had overheard her call.
'T'HE first fierce fires of his rage had somewhat burned away, by the time he reached the pasture-field. His alleviated indignation, however, brought with it no slightest weakening of his resolution. Then, as busy thought suggested contingency after contingency, as he imagined possible accidents, and sought and advanced not improbable excuses, his earlier personal resentment paled down into a vague and teasing apprehension. Yet he told himself, again and again, that there would be some good plain speaking when he came upon that truant couple. It was not that he resented their love-making, if love-making it wasBut duplicity and double-dealing, this secretive and artful way of going about things, was more than he was able to endurePerhaps that was why, when he became Dean of Amboro Residence, he had made the discipline so close and strict that “it interfered with the circulation of the blood,” as Waggles had once described it.
The full dull golden moon, by this time, was well up above the quiet hills and tree tops. Once, across the luminous golden disk, he saw pass the black shadow of a bat. A night-jar started up from the shrubbery beside him and flew off heavily into the gloom. There was scarcely a breeze stirringThe air was warm, yet fresh and odorous with the heavy dews that made the grass lush and glimmered like seed-pearls on the clover leaves and shimmered even on the cob-webs between the fence-rails, until, in the increasing light, they looked like little fish-nets of silver swung in a sea of floating opal.
No soul, however preoccupied or indurated, could withstand the charm of such a night. Macraven walked on, less feverishly, stopping now and then to breathe in the many-odored, misty air along the meadow bottoms. Once he came to a sudden stand-still, startled by the sound of heavy breathing. He found, as he peered about him, that he had wandered in beside a herd of sleeping cattle, and he could plainly see the little mist that came and went above their nostrils, in their tranquil breathing.
T T E pushed on more irresolutely now, * A with scarcely a sense of space or direction. He felt, vaguely that he was trending towards the River, but each lane and path and field that he had traversed so often in open daylight seemed to take on ever new and puzzling unrealitiesA sea of Alsace clover, made whiter by the white moonlight, its liberated perfumes made heavier by the heavy dews, unrolled before him mystically, bewilderingly. The very earth on which he walked seemed etherealized, insubstantial. It turned his thoughts back to days and moods of passing exaltation in his own life, and almost unconsciously he found himself quoting Sybil’s poem of love and moonlight.
O sad and golden summer moon, Where are the lovers thou hast known, Where are their sighs and kisses strewn ?
'T'HE young scholar walked on, engrossed in his sudden memory of that last night in Amboro when he had gazed so disconsolately out of his little Deanery window, poignantly conscious of the beauty and romance of the world beneath him. Then he thought of the summer night that he and a fellow-student of Magda'en had walked out over the dusk Oxfordshire hills to hear an English nightingale sing. And then he thought of a certain window in Heidelberg, from which he had watched all the soft German hillside bathed in its wash of pallid light, from Otto Heinrich’s Bau to the banks of the Rhine itself, when his spirit had been heavy with that strange worldloneliness peculiar to the heart when it is idle and adolescent.
Macraven stood still, ankle-deep in the wet, heavy grasses, looking up at the moon, a spirit of soft exaltation creeping through him at the beauty of the nightWhile he stood there, looking and listening, the faintest lap and ripple of water filled the quiet air. A tree-toad shrilled and was silent. Far off, from a sheltered upland somewhere, belated crickets droned. A little hush fell on the leaves, and the sound of water crept to his ears again.
Macraven realized that he was close to the River, and he moved forward peerinely, looking for some path or outlet.
Then he drew up suddenly, with a start. For before him, not two hundred feet away, outlined against the stretch of open water that lay beyond them like a winding ribbon of silver, sat the runaways for whom he was seeking.
T-TE noticed Sybil first. She was sitting beside young Sewell, on the smooth bark of an old overturned buttonwood tree, facing the river. In one hand, supported by her knee, resting her chin; she was gazing in silence out at the moonlight and rippling water. Her other hand rested on the shoulder of the youth at her side. She turned, at last. Macraven could see her profile clear-cut against the light, and through that lucid yet muffled luminosity, strangely enough, both her own face and that of the boy at her side seemed suddenly statuesque, as impersonal and beautiful as Praxitelian marble. It was perhaps, due to the refracted light and the dampness of the river air, but round each youthful head hung an opalized circle of lightIt crowned them, as a halo might. For causes that he could not fathom, the watching Macraven was touched and awed into a mood of hesitation, trying to fight down the sense of intrusion that oppressed him.
Then he turned his head away, quickly, warned by some movement from the silent lovers. He knew, in that moment that he had looked away, that their lips had met.
A sudden and overmastering torrent of indignation swept through him. It angered him to think that even unconsciously they had betrayed him into this mean and unlovely figure of the eavesdropper. It outraged his sense of reticence to think that they could thus unmask their emotions to the world,' even though it had been a world of moonlight and silence-
All his old-time resoluteness of purpose came back to him, and he moved forward to make his presence known.
A She did so he was conscious of some newer and second presence in his neighborhood. It was neither movement nor sound, he felt, that had betrayed that presence, but some mysterious aura irradiated out through the quiet gloom that enfolded the landscape. He turned quickly, and as he did so, he found Anne at his side. One hand held her flimsy white skirts high above the grass, but he could see that already they were wet. She was bare-headed, too, and as she lifted her face to him, unusually pale in the pale moonlight, he could see the little diamonds of dew in her thick hair, and still others on her eyelashes. She reached out a detaining hand and caught him by the arm.
“Don’t!” she whispered.
“Don’t what?” he asked, not yet recovered from his start.
“Shhhh !” she whispered again, with her forefinger lifted to her lips.
She too, Macraven saw, looked ethereal and unearthly and sylph-like in the pale glow of that spiritualizing moonlight.
“Why shouldn’t I?” he asked, gazing at the unconscious and happy couple on the fallen buttonwood tree.
“Oh, don’t!” pleaded Anne, and something in the solemnity of her voice overawed him.
“But why not?” he persisted, hesitatingly, though this time he did not shake her hand from his arm-
“Because—can’t you see,” she murmured, without looking at him, “it is—it is
He looked toward the moonlit water and the lovers once more, and for a moment or two remained there, silent. Then he turned to Anne, mystified by the rapt softness of her voice, amazed by the indefinable transformation of her face.
Through the silence she could hear his sudden heavy sigh. And then they turned, and walked homeward together, side by side, in silence
THE LIGHT IN THE FOG
\A7 HATEVER may have been Macrav-
’ * en’s true feelings, during that silent walk with Anne, and during the night that followed, he made no effort to give them utterance. About him, however, the next morning, Anne was able to detect a sense of repression, a feeling of careful and studious self-control. She even secretly admitted that she liked him better with that air of mingled humility and bewilderment, as though some sudden inner shock had shaken the dust of pedagogic contentment from the shelves of consciousness.
She made note of his look of wistfulness as he took his seat on the deep-shaded verandah. He confessed to her that he had not rested well. He thought perhaps it was getting his ankles wet in the heavy dew or, perhaps, the closeness of the night that had made his sleep so broken.
Anne, sniffing the morning air, said she was glad she wasn’t in town on such a day. She was sorely troubled as to how the Birdwell’s babies, who should be teething that month, would stand the
“We’re so fine and lazy and comfortable up here that we keep forgetting about the sufferings of other people,” she went on, leaning back in her capacious wicker rocker.
“But, after all, isn’t it just as harrowing to watch.other people being so supremely happy—especially when you don’t happen to be unusually happy yourself?”
ANNE thought she knew the particular people to whom the Professor was referring. There were several moments of silence, accordingly, before she spoke again.
“I think we ought to study happiness just as carefully as we study sorrow,” she said at last, with her habitual solemn headshake.
“But it’s so hard to swallow—some one else’s happiness,” pursued Macraven. “We get envious of it—we’re always thinking, then, of how much we’re missing ourselves.”
“Then it ought to teach us the trick, for our own use,” said Anne. “That’s why I feel, so often, that Sybil—yes, and even young Dickie Sewell—is doing me such a lot of good !”
Macraven had never thought of Sybil, much less of young Sewell, as an instrument of inward reorganization. And ho told Anne so, with no mincing of words.
“I think you’re wrong there," said truthful Anne. “She’s really influencing you, even you, more than you imagineShe’s showing you a side of life you never really saw before.”
MACRAVEN, at times, had himself felt that his man’s due proportion of happiness could only come to him through some falling back and surrender to a life involving a play of the primal instincts. This feeling had even mocked his most intellectual hours. It had, too, often enough touched with ironic bitterness what should have been his most exalted moments of scientific ardor.
Continued on page 84
The Anatomy of Love
Continued from page 38
But he allowed Anne to go on, without interrupting her with this mood which she might find it so hard to understand.
“Sybil is a butterfly!” was all he said, though he said it with a bit of a sigh.
“Yes, she is,” said Anne, “if you mean by that that she’s free and unrestrained and natural. She has all youth’s real love for color and movement and the lightness of life. She’s opening our eyes to the fact that the decorative side of existence is more enduring and more important than we really thought it was. For, in a way, I think it’s possible to get too wise, in this world. Don’t you?”
Macraven was doubtful as to that point.
“Sybil, you see,” Anne went on, “has never been sobered down by discipline, and hemmed in by conventionalities, and devitalized by defeat! And her side is as much right as oursShe’s merely Youth, Eternal Youth. She is the cry of the Young, looking for its own in life. She’s been a blessed little egoist all her life, as. artless an egoist as a honey-bee, going from flower to flower of sensuous impression. We’ve been penned up in grey walls with little windows, with a lot of old frumps who’ve frightened the joy of life out of us and a lot of old bookworms who’ve lectured the wickedness of laughter out of us—and we’ll both wake up, some day, and wonder what it is we’ve been missing.”
“Oh, I say!” said the Professor of Anthropology with his habitual exclamation of mild dissent. Yet it startled him a little to think that Anne had put her finger on the very thing that had so often puzzled his own heart.
“Why, we’d almost forgotten there was ever anything but neutral tints in clothes, and in life as well,” pursued Anne, with the persistency of a person long silent but at last determined to say, once for all everything that had been groping for utterance. “And look at Sybil there just beyond the syringas, by the tennis-court! Just look at her in that morning gown of sea-green with white ruffles. She looks as cool and fresh as a bit of the ocean. And lock at the great bunch of Jaeque roses she’s holding! And that rose stuck in her hair! See what an eye for color and harmony she instinctively has. She almost sings to the sight! And she has the same instinct for the bright and warm feelings of life!”
“But how long would that childish sort of life appeal to you or me?” demanded Macraven, in defense of his ultimate dignities of existence.
“It might help to keep our hearts from getting macadamized,” responded Anne, with her eyes on the distant tree-tops.
“I suppose a life of effort does make us hard !” conceded the Professor of Anthropology.
“That’s the blessing of children,” said ingenuous Anne. “They kind of keep the dust off the heart!”
Macraven had the feeling of a skater on exceedingly thin ice, and decided that a retreat to side-issues would not be untimely.
“Surely she is a light and airy creature,” he exclaimed, as they caught a glimpse of the rose-burdened Sybil, in her gown of sea-green breaking into a foam of white at the edges, loitering about the shrubbery of the lower garden.
“She’s waiting for Dickie,” asseverated intuitive Anne. She leaned forward, with her chin on her hand. “I envy that child her sense of color!”
Macraven looked at her with widened eyes, a little impatient, apparently, of the mood of gloomy self-disapprobation that had taken possession of them.
“Fine feathers don’t always make fine —Anne Appleby, I’m going down into that garden and get you a bunch of those old Jaeque roses!’’
A ND this he promptly did. Anne took them in and pinned them on, with a little blush. That was one nice thing about Anne, remembered Macraven, she was always so grateful for trifling things. It was a delight to please her, just to see the tumultuous gratitude in her sober grey eyes. She gazed at her own broken reflection in the long French window behind her. He almost excused her look of content. And yet, he remembered, he had once described her as “that odious Anne.”
“I believe you’re getting vain,” declared the Professor of Anthropology, “as vain as Sybil!”
“Perhaps I am,” admitted Anne.
He recalled her meek and sombre “Woman Recrudescent” days and felt vaguely troubled at the change-
“And I’m going to get a great deal vainer, too!” declared Anne, with an even more disturbing conviction of tone.
And although the young Professor of Anthropology scowled darkly at this evidence of growing frivolity in the old-time sober Anne, it was noticeable that all that morning, instead of carrying Doctor Shotwell’s huge green umbrella, as usual, he swung airily about with one of his host’s slenderest walking-sticks. And when he went up and down the bright parterres of color in the lower flower-garden he carried neither pocket-microscope nor bugnet, but from time to time stooped over the flowers, and studied them intently.
y ET the habit of a life-time reasserted itself, a few hours later, when he overheard the nervous cluck and chatter of two mating chipmunks, in the tangled grape-vines east of Sybil’s Arbor. He crept noiselessly in through the underbrush, pausing from time to time, the better to observe the strange advances and retreats, the strange allurements and evasions, flights and pursuits, of the tiny amative animals amid the tangled grape-
As he halted, for the tenth time, in his stealthy advance, he suddenly realized that he had crept upon more than two innocently mating chipmunks. For there, plain to his eye, yet quite unconscious of his presence sat Sybil and young Sewell, in a little sheltered coign of' the garden between a clump of cedar and a cluster of flowering sumach.
He hesitated, scarcely knowing whether to advance or retreat, when the sound of their voices arrested all motion.
“He’s really not such a bad sort, old Macraven,” the youth at Sybil's side was saying. “If we could only get him to help me along with the faculty a bit—then, Angel, it would be November at the latest.”
Macraven closed his eyes to the demonstration that followed. Then he heard the youth dolorously add: “Bit Macraven’s not the helping sort!”
What Sybil said to this he did not hear —did not care to hear; his only thoughts now were those of 9ome opportune and silent escape.
“But not with him?” asked the unguarded voice of Sewell, almost disgustedly.
“And why not with him?” responded the rising voice of Sybil“I think he’s very nice—I don’t know what mightn’t have happened—if —well, if something else hadn’t happened!”
“But he’s so tall and thin—and—and threadbare. He’s so con-founded grinding and self-centred ! Why he’s—he’s as coldblooded as a toad!” ejaculated Sewell.
To be Continued.