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   Chapter 40 No.40

The Trumpeter Swan By Temple Bailey Characters: 5154

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


If Randy's train had not missed a connection, he would have caught the same boat that took the Admiral and his party back to the island. They motored down to Wood's Hole, and boarded the Sankaty, while Randy, stranded at New Bedford, was told there would not be another steamer out until the next day.

The Admiral was the only gay and apparently care-free member of his quartette. Becky felt unaccountably depressed. Louise sat in the cabin and worked on her green bag. There was a heavy sky and signs of a storm. It was not pleasant outside.

Archibald was nursing a grievance. "If your grandfather had only stayed over another day."

"He had written Tristram that we would come. He is very exact in his engagements."

"And he feels that fifty years in 'Sconset is better than a cycle anywhere else."

"Yes. It will be nice to get back to our little gray house, and the moor, don't you think?"

"Yes. But I wanted to show you Boston as if you had never seen it, and now I shall never show it."

They were on deck, wrapped up to their chins. "Tell me what you would have shown me," Becky said; "play that I am Olga and that you are telling me about it."

He looked down at her. "Well, you've just arrived. You aren't dressed in a silver-toned cloak with gray furs and a blue turban with a silver edge. That's a heavenly outfit, Becky. But what made you wear it on a day like this?"

"It is the silver lining to my-cloud," demurely; "dull clothes are dreadful when the sky is dark."

"I am not sure but I liked you better in your brown-in the rain with your hand on my arm-- That is-unforgettable--"

She brought him back to Olga. "I have just arrived--"

"Yes, and you have a shawl over your head, and a queer old coat and funny shoes. I should have to speak to you through an interpreter, and you would look at me with eager eyes or perhaps frightened ones."

"And first we should have gone to Bunker Hill, and I should have said, 'Here we fought. Not of hatred of our enemy, but for love of liberty. The thing had to be done, and we did it. We had a just cause.' And then I should have taken you to Concord and Lexington, and I would have said, 'These farmers were clean-hearted men. They believed in law and order, they hated anarchy, and upon that belief and upon that hatred they built up a great nation.' And thus ends the first lesson."

He paused. "Lesson the second would have to do with the old churches."

They had stopped by the rail; the wind buffeted them, but they did not heed it. "It was in the churches that the ideals of the ne

w nation were crystallized. No country prospers which forgets its God."

"Lesson number three," he went on, "would have had to do with the bookshops."

"The bookshops?"

He nodded. "The old bookshops and the new of Boston. I would have taken you to them, and I would have said, 'Here, Olga, is the voice of the nation speaking to you through the printed page. Learn to read in the language of your new country.' Oh, Becky," he broke off, "I wanted to show you the bookshops. It's a perfect pilgrimage--"

The Admiral, swaying to the wind, came up to them. "Hadn't you better go inside?" he shouted. "Becky will freeze out here."

They followed him. The cabin was comparatively quiet after the tumult. Louise was still working on the green bag. "What have you two been doing?" she asked.

"Playing Olga of Petrograd," said Archibald, moodily, "but Becky was cold and came in."

"Grandfather brought me in," said Becky.

"If you had cared to stay, you would have stayed," he told her, rather unreasonably. "Perhaps, after all, Boston to Olga simply means baked beans which she doesn't like, and codfish which she prefers-raw--"

"Now you have spoiled it all," said Becky. "I loved the things that you said about the churches and the bookshops and Bunker Hill."

"Did you? Well, it is all true, Becky, the part they have played in making us a nation. And it is all going to be true again. We Americans aren't going to sell our birthright for a mess of pottage."

And now the island once more rose out of the sea. The little steamer had some difficulty in making a landing. But at last they were on shore, and the 'bus was waiting, and it was after dark when they reached "The Whistling Sally."

The storm was by that time upon them-the wind blew a wild gale, but the little gray cottage was snug and warm. Jane in her white apron went unruffled about her pleasant tasks-storms might come and storms might go-she had no fear of them now, since none of her men went down to the sea in ships.

Tristram in shining oilskins brought up their bags. He stood in the hall and talked to them, and before he went away, he said casually over his shoulder, "There's a gentleman at the hotel that has asked for you once or twice."

"For me?" the Admiral questioned.

"You and Miss Becky."

"Do you know his name?"

"It's Dalton. George Dalton--"

"I don't know any Daltons. Do you, Becky?"

Becky stood by the table with her back to them. She did not turn. "Yes," she said in a steady voice. "There was a George Dalton whom I met this summer-in Virginia."

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