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Through stained glass By George Agnew Chamberlain Characters: 17062

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

Spring was in the very act of birth when Lewis found himself once more in the old carryall threading the River Road. This time he sat beside Old William, and the horses plodded along slowly, tamed by the slack reins lying neglected on their backs. Old William was not driving. His hands, loosely holding the lines, lay on his knees. Down his pink cheeks and into his white beard crawled tears from his wide blue eyes.

"Glen dead! Little Glen Leighton dead!" he said aloud from time to time, and Lewis knew himself forgotten. He forgave the old man for the sake of the picture he conjured-a picture of that other boyhood when "little Glen Leighton" and the wood-cutter had hunted and fished and roamed these crowding hills together.

The next day was one of pouring showers. Twice Lewis left the house, only to be turned back by the rain. He was not afraid of getting wet, but he was afraid of having to talk to Natalie indoors. He could not remember ever having talked to her hemmed in by four walls.

But on the morrow he awoke to clean-washed skies and a fuzzy pale-green carpet that spread across the fields and rose in bumps and mounds over trees and budding shrubs. He left the homestead early, and struck out for Aunt Jed's. As he approached the house, a strange diffidence fell upon him. He was afraid to go in. For an hour he sat on the top rail of a fence and watched.

At last Natalie came out. She started to walk toward him, but presently turned to the right. Lewis followed her. At first she walked fast, but soon she began to pause beside some burst of green or tempting downy mass of pussy-willow, as though she were in two minds whether to fill her arms and rush back, carrying spring into the house or to go on. She went on slowly until she reached the barrier of rails that closed the entrance to Leighton's land of dreams. Here Lewis came up with her.

"Nat," he said, "shall I help you over?"

Natalie whirled round at the sound of his voice. Just for a second there was fright in her eyes; then color mounted swiftly into her pale cheeks, and her lips opened to speak, but she said nothing. There was something in Lewis's face that stopped her-a look of age and of hunger. She wanted to ask him why he had come back, but her heart was beating so fast that she dared not trust her voice.

Lewis was frightened, too. He was frightened lest he should find the strange woman when he needed just the oldest pal he had in the world.

"Nat," he blurted out, "dad is dead."

When a man thinks he is being clumsy and tactless with a woman, he is generally making a master stroke. At Lewis's words, so simple, so child-like, the conscious flush died from Natalie's cheeks, her heart steadied down, and her eyes filled with the sudden tears of sympathy.

"Dead, Lew? Your dad dead?"

She put her arms around him and kissed him softly; then she drew him to a low rock. They sat down side by side.

"Tell Natalie," she said.

Lewis could never remember that hour with Natalie except as a whole. Between the bursting of a dam and the moment when the pent-up waters stretch to their utmost level and peace there is no division of time. He knew only that it was like that with him. He had come in oppression, he had found peace.

Then he looked up into Natalie's speaking face and knew that he had found more. He had found again his old pal. "A pal is one who can't do wrong who can't go wrong, who can't grow wrong." Who had said that? H lne-H lne, who, never having seen Natalie save with the inner vision, knew her for a friend. To Folly his body had cried, "Let us stay young together!" To Natalie his blood, his body, and his soul were ready to cry out, "Let us grow old together!"

Natalie had not followed the turn of his emotion. She broke in upon his thought and brought him back.

"I never talked to your dad, but-we knew each other, we liked each other."

Lewis started.

"That's funny," he said.

"Is it?" said Natalie. "I suppose it sounds odd, but-"

"No," interrupted Lewis, "that's not what I mean. It's odd because H lne said just the same thing about you. She said you were great friends-that women didn't have to know each other to be friends."

"They don't have to know men to be friends, either," said Natalie, "unless-"

"Unless what?"

"Unless they love them. If they love them, they've got to know them through and through to be friends. Love twists a woman's vision. Lots of women are ruined because they can't wait to see through and through."

"Why, Nat," said Lewis, "you're talking like dad. Dad never talks-talked-without turning on the light."

"Doesn't he?" said Natalie.

Lewis nodded.

"There are people that think of dad as a bad man. He has told me so. But he wasn't bad to me or to H lne or Nelton or Old William, and we're the ones that knew him best."

For a time they were silent, then Natalie said: "Lew, you're older than you ever were before. Is it just losing your dad?"

Lewis shook his head.

"No," he said, "it wasn't that. I finished growing up just after I got back to London. I'm not the only thing that has grown. My work-sometime I'll show you my work before and after. I wish I could have shown it to dad,-I wish I could have told him that I've said good-by to Folly."

"Good-by to Folly?" cried Natalie, with a leap of the heart. Then her heart sank back. "You mean you've said good-by to foolishness, to childish things?"

"Both," said Lewis. "Folly Delaires and childish things."

"Why?" asked Natalie, shortly.

"Because," said Lewis, "it was given me to see her through and through."

"And now?" breathed Natalie, drawing slightly away from him lest he hear the thumping of her heart.

Lewis turned his head and looked at her. The flush was back in her cheeks, her eyes were wide and staring far away, her moist lips were half open, and her bosom rose and fell in the long, halting swell of tremulous breath.

There is a beauty that transcends the fixed bounds of flesh, that leaps to the eye of love when all the world is blind. The flower that opens slowly, the face grown dear through half of life, needs no tenure in memory. It lives. Tears can not dim its beauty nor age destroy its grace, for the vision is part of him who sees.

The vision came to Lewis. His arms trembled to grip Natalie, to outrage her trust, and seize too lightly the promise of the years.

"Now, Nat?" he said hoarsely. He raised his hands slowly, took off her hat, and tossed it aside. Then with trembling fingers he let down her hair. It tumbled about her shoulders in a gold and copper glory of light and shade. Natalie did not stir. Lewis caught up a handful of her hair and held it against his cheek. "Now," he said, "I stay here. Since long before the day you said that you and I would sail together to the biggest island you've held my hand, and I've held yours. Sometimes I've forgotten, but-but I've never really let go. I'll not let go now. I'll cling to you, walk beside you, live with you, hand in hand, until the day you know me through and through.

"And then?" whispered Natalie.

"Then I'll love you," said Lewis, gravely. "For me you hold all the seven worlds of women. I've-I've been walking with my back to the light."

Natalie laughed-the soft laughter with which women choke back tears.

She put up her hands and drew Lewis's head against her breast.




+May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset and Dunlap's list.+

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The "lonesome pine" from which the story takes its name was a tall tree that stood in solitary splendor on a mountain top. The fame of the pine lured a young engineer through Kentucky to catch the trail, and when he finally climbed to its shelter he found not only the pine but the footprints of a girl. And the girl proved to be lovely, piquant, and the trail of these girlish foot-prints led the young engineer a madder chase than "the trail of the lonesome pine."


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The scenes are laid along the waters of the Cumberland, the lair of moonshiner and feudsman. The knight is a moonshiner's son, and the heroine a beautiful girl perversely christened "The Blight." Two impetuous young Southerners' fall under the spell of "The Blight's" charms and she learns what a large part jealousy and pistols have in the love making of the mountaineers.

Included in this volume is "Hell fer-Sartain" and other stories, some of

Mr. Fox's most entertaining Cumberland valley narratives.

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THE INSIDE OF THE CUP. Illustrated by Howard Giles.

The Reverend John Hodder is called to a fashionable church in a middle-western city. He knows little of modern problems and in his theology is as orthodox as the rich men who control his church could desire. But the facts of modern life are thrust upon him; an awakening follows and in the end he works out a solution.

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A MODERN CHRONICLE. Illustrated by J. H. Gardner Soper.

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THE CELEBRITY. An episode.

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May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list

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THE LIGHT OF WESTERN STARS Colored frontispiece by W. Herbert Dunton.

Most of the action of this story takes place near the turbulent Mexican border of the present day. A New York society girl buys a ranch which becomes the center of frontier warfare. Her loyal cowboys defend her property from bandits, and her superintendent rescues her when she is captured by them. A surprising climax brings the story to a delightful close.

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May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list.

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