A Postlude by Annie Eliot Trumbull
IT was almost time for the train to leave
the station, and the seats were filling
rapidly. The Irishwoman, with four children
so near of a size that they seemed to
be distinguished only by the variety of eatable
each one was consuming, had entered
the car and deposited her large newspaper
bundle just inside the door, and driven her
flock all into the little end seat, where they
were stowed uncomfortably, one on top
of another, gazing stolidly about the car.
The young girl from the country who had
been spending Sunday in town, and who
was, consequently, somewhat overdressed
for Monday morning, was wandering elegantly
up and down the aisle, losing each
possible place for a prospective better one,
which became impossible before she reached
it. The woman with a bag too large for
her to carry, rested it on the arm of an occupied
seat while she gazed vaguely about,
indifferent to the fact that a crowd of
impatient travellers of more concrete intentions
were being delayed by her indecision.
Meanwhile, among these disturbers
of travel the man with a large bag passed
rapidly along, found a place, put the bag in
the rack, seated himself, and took out his
newspaper. There is something in a man's
management of a large travelling-bag in a
railway train that leads the most unwilling
to grudgingly yield him a certain superiority
An exchange of good-bys, low-voiced
but with a decided note of hilarity, took
place at the door, and two women entered
the car, one looking back and nodding a
final smiling farewell before she gave her
mind to the matter in hand. They were
attractive women, of late middle age, perhaps,
not yet to be called old. One was
large, with fine curves, gray bands of hair
under her autumnal bonnet, and a dignity
of bearing which suited her ample figure
and melodious, rather deep voice; the other
was paler, more fragile, her light hair only
streaked with gray, and her blue eyes still
shaded with a half-wistful uncertainty of
what might be before her, which the years
had not been able to turn altogether into
"You go on, Lucy," said the former, in
her full, decided tones, pausing at the first
vacant seat, "and see if there's a place for
us to sit together farther down. I'll hold
this for one of us. You take up less room
than I do, you know, and it's easier for
you to slip about;" and she laughed a little.
There was a suggestion of laughter in the
eyes and around the mouth of each of them.
It indicated a subdued exhilaration unusual
in the setting forth of women of their years
and dignity. Lucy hesitated a moment,
and then moved on somewhat timidly; but
she had taken only a step when the man
near whom they stood rose, and, lifting his
hat, said: "Allow me, madam, to give
you this seat for yourself and your friend.
I can easily find another."
"Thank you; you are very good,"
replied the larger of the two women, her
kindly gray eyes meeting his with an expression
that led him to pause and put their
umbrellas in the rack and depart, wondering
what it was about some women that
made a man always glad to do anything
for them,—and it didn't make any difference
how old they were, either.
"How nice people are!" said the one
who had already spoken as they settled
themselves. "That man, now—there
wasn't any need of his doing that."
"He seemed to really want to," rejoined
Lucy. "People always like to do things
for you, Mary Leonard, I believe," she
added, looking at her companion with
"I like to hear you talk," returned
Mary Leonard, laughing. "If there ever
was anybody that just went through the
world having people do things for 'em,
it's you, Lucy Eastman, and you know
"Oh, but I know so few people," said
the other, hastily. "I'm not ungrateful—I'm
sure I've no call to be; but I know
so few people, and they've known me all
my life; it's not like strangers."
"That hasn't anything to do with it,"
affirmed Mary Leonard, stoutly; "if there
were more, it would be the same way.
But I will say," she went on, "that I never
could see why a woman travelling alone
should ever have any trouble—officials
and everybody are so polite about telling
you the same thing over. I don't know
why it is, but I always seem to expect the
next one I ask to tell me something different
about a train; and then everybody you
meet seems just as pleasant as can be."
"Yes," assented Lucy Eastman, "like
that baggageman. Did you notice how
polite the baggageman was?"
"Notice it! Why, of course I did.
And our trunks were late, and it was my
fault, and so I told him, and he just hurried
to pull them around and check them,
and I was so confused, you know, that I
made him check the wrong ones twice."
"Well, they were just like ours," said
Lucy Eastman, sympathetically.
"Well, they were, weren't they? But
of course I ought to have known. And
he never swore at all. I was dreadfully
afraid he'd swear, Lucy."
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Lucy Eastman,
distressed, "what would you have done if
"I'm sure I don't know," asserted
Mary Leonard, with conviction, "but
fortunately he didn't."
"He got very warm," said Lucy, reminiscently.
"I saw him wiping his brow
as we came away."
"I don't blame him the least in the
world. I think he was a wonderfully
nice baggageman, for men of that class
are so apt to swear when they get very
warm,—at least, so I've heard. And did
"Tickets, ma'am," observed the conductor.
"There, I didn't mean to keep you
waiting a minute;" and Mary Leonard
opened her pocketbook, "but I forgot
all about the tickets. Oh, Lucy, I gave
you the tickets, and I took the checks."
"Yes, to be sure," said Lucy, opening
"I'll put them in the seat for you,
ladies, like this," said the conductor, smiling,
"and then you won't have any more
"Oh, yes, thank you," said Lucy
"What a nice conductor!" observed
"Did I hear what, Mary?—you were
telling me something."
"Oh, about the baggageman. I heard
him say to his assistant, 'Don't you ever
git mad with women, Bobby. It ain't no
use. If it was always the same woman
and the same trunk, perhaps you could
learn her sometime; but it ain't, and
you've got to take 'em just as they come,
and get rid of 'em the best way you can—they
don't bear instruction.'"
Mary Leonard and Lucy Eastman threw
back their heads and laughed; it was
genuine, low, fresh laughter, and a good
thing to hear. After that there was silence
for a few moments as the train sped on its
"I declare," said Mary Leonard, at
last, "I don't know when I've been in
the cars before."
"I was just thinking I haven't been in
the cars since Sister Eliza died, and we all
went to the funeral," said Lucy Eastman.
"Why, that's—let me see—eight
years ago, isn't it?"
"Eight and a half."
"Well, I'm glad you'll have a pleasanter
trip to look back on after this."
"So am I; and I am enjoying this—every
minute of it. Only there's so
much to see. Just look at the people
looking out of the windows of that manufactory!
Shouldn't you think they'd
"Yes, they must be hotter than a
fritter such a day as this."
"How long is it since you've been to
Englefield, Mary?" asked Lucy Eastman,
after another pause.
"Why, that's what I meant to tell
you. Do you know, after I saw you, and
we decided to go there for our holiday, I
began to think it over, and I haven't been
there since we went together the last
"Why, Mary Leonard! I had an idea
you'd been there time and again, though
you said you hadn't seen the old place for
a long time."
"Well, I was surprised myself when I
realized it. But the next year my cousins
all moved away, and I've thought of it
over and over, but I haven't been. I dare
say if we'd lived in the same town we'd
have gone together before this, but we
haven't, and there it is."
"That's thirty-five years ago, Mary,"
said Lucy Eastman, thoughtfully.
"Thirty-five years! I declare, it still
makes me jump to hear about thirty-five
years—just as if I hadn't known all
about 'em!" and Mary Leonard laughed
her comfortable laugh again. "You don't
say it's thirty-five years, Lucy! I guess
you're right, though."
There was a moment's pause, and the
laugh died away into a little sigh.
think then—we didn't
really think—we'd ever be talking about
thirty-five years ago, did
we, Lucy? We didn't think we'd
have interest enough to care."
"No," said Lucy, soberly, "we didn't."
"And I care just as much as I ever did
about things," went on the other, thoughtfully,
"only there seem more doors for
satisfaction to come in at nowadays. It
isn't quite the same sort of satisfaction,
perhaps, that it used to be, not so pressed
down and running over, but there's more
of it, after all, and it doesn't slip out so
"No, the bottom of things doesn't fall
out at once, as it used to, and leave nothing
in our empty hands."
"That sounds almost sad. Don't you
be melancholy, Lucy Eastman."
"I'm not, Mary—I'm not a bit. I'm
only remembering that I used to be."
"We used to go to the well with a sieve
instead of a pitcher; that's really the difference,"
said Mary Leonard. "We've
learned not to be wasteful, that's all."
"What fun we used to have," said
Lucy, her eyes shining, "visiting your
"It was fun!" said the other. "Do
you remember the husking party at the
"Of course I do, and the red ears that
that Chickering girl was always finding!
I think she picked them out on purpose, so
that Tom Endover would kiss her. It was
just like those Chickerings!" There was
a gentle venom in Lucy Eastman's tones
that made Mary Leonard laugh till the
tears came into her eyes.
"Minnie Chickering wasn't the only
girl that Tom Endover kissed, if I remember
right," she said, with covert intention.
"Well, he put the red ear into my
hands himself, and I just husked it without
thinking anything about it," retorted Lucy
Eastman, with spirit.
"Of course you did, of course you did,"
asseverated Mary Leonard, whereupon the
other laughed too, but with reservation.
"And do you remember old Miss
Pinsett's, where we used to go to act
"Yes, indeed, in the old white house at
the foot of the hill, with a cupola. She
seemed so old; I wonder how old she
"Perhaps we shouldn't think her so old
to-day. People used to wear caps earlier
then than they do now. I think when they
were disappointed in love they put on
caps! Miss Pinsett had been disappointed
in love, so they said."
"They will have old maids disappointed
in love," said Lucy, with some asperity.
"They will have me—some people—and
I never was."
"I know you weren't. But I don't
think it's as usual as it was to say that
about old maids. It's more the fashion
now to be disappointed in marriage."
There had been several stops at the
stations along the road. The day was
wearing on. Suddenly Lucy Eastman
turned to her companion.
"Mary," she said, "let's play we were
girls again, and going to Englefield just as
we used to go—thirty-five years ago.
Let's pretend that we're going to do the
same things and see the same people and
have the same fun. We're off by ourselves,
just you and I, and why shouldn't
we? We're the same girls, after all,"
and she smiled apologetically.
"Of course we are. We'll do it,"
said Mary Leonard, decidedly; "let's
But, having made the agreement, it was
not so easy to begin. The stream of
reminiscence had been checked, and a
chasm of thirty-five years is not instantly
bridged, even in thought.
"I hope they won't meet us at the station,"
said Mary Leonard, after a while,
in a matter-of-fact voice. "We know
the way so well there is no need of it."
"I hope not. I feel just like walking
up myself," answered Lucy. "We can
send our trunks by the man that comes
from the hotel, just as usual, and it'll be
cool walking toward evening."
"I'm glad we put off coming till the
fall. The country's beautiful, and there
isn't so much dust in case we"—she
hesitated a moment—"in case we go on
"Yes," replied Lucy, readily; "to the
old fort. I hope we'll have a picnic to
the old fort. I guess all the girls will
like to go. It's just the time to take that
drive over the hill."
"If we go," said Mary Leonard, slowly
and impressively, "you'll have to drive
with Samuel Hatt."
"Oh, I went with him last time,"
broke in Lucy, apprehensively. "It's
"But you know I just won't," said
Mary Leonard, her eyes sparkling, and the
dimples that, like Miss Jessie Brown, she
had not left off, appearing and disappearing.
"And somebody has to go with him."
"Perhaps they won't ask him."
"Oh, but they will. They always do,
on account of his horses. It wouldn't be
a picnic without Samuel Hatt."
Just then the train drew up at a small
station. Lucy Eastman started as she
read the name of the place as it passed
before her eyes.
"Mary," said she, "this is where Mr.
Hatt always used to get on the train.
There are the Hatt Mills, and he goes up
and down every day,—don't you remember?
And how we were—we are—always
afraid we'll meet him on the
"Of course," said Mary Leonard, leaning
forward and scanning the platform
with its row of idlers and its few travellers.
"Well, he isn't here now. We
are going to escape him this time. But
my heart was in my mouth! I don't
want Samuel Hatt to be the first Englefield
person we meet."
They looked up with careless curiosity
at the people who entered the train.
There was a little girl with a bunch of
common garden flowers following close
behind a tired-looking woman, who had
been, obviously, "spending the day;" a
florid old gentleman with gold spectacles,
who revealed a bald head as he removed
his hat and used it for a fan,—they had
seen him hurrying to the platform just
before the train moved out; a commercial
traveller, and a schoolboy.
"No," said Mary Leonard, "he isn't
here this time."
The florid old gentleman took a seat in
front of them and continued to fan himself.
The conductor came through the car.
"Warm spell we're having for October,
Mr. Hatt," he said, as he punched
the commutation-ticket that was offered
Mary Leonard and Lucy Eastman gazed
spellbound at the back of Mr. Hatt's bald
head. They were too amazed to look
away from it at each other.
"It—it must be his father," gasped
Lucy Eastman. "He looks—a little—like
"Then it's his father come back!"
returned Mary in an impatient whisper.
"His father died before we ever went to
Englefield; and, don't you remember, he
was always fanning himself?"
Their fascinated gaze left the shiny
pink surface of Samuel Hatt's head, and
their eyes met.
"I hope he won't see us," giggled
"I hope not. Let's look the other
In a few minutes Mr. Hatt rose slowly
and portentously, and, turning, made a
solemn but wavering way down the car to
greet a man who sat just across the aisle
from Mary Leonard. Both the women
avoided his eyes, blushing a little and with
the fear of untimely mirth about their lips.
As he talked with their neighbor, however,
they ventured to look at him, and as
he turned to go back his slow, deliberate
glance fell upon them, rested a moment,
and, without a flicker of recognition,
passed on, and he resumed his place.
There was almost a shadow in the
eyes that met again, as the women turned
towards one another.
"I—I know it's funny," said Lucy, a
little tremulously, "but I don't quite like
it that we look to him just as he does to us."
"We have hair on our heads," said
Mary Leonard. "But," she added, less
aggressively, "we needn't have worried
about his speaking to us."
"Englefield," shouted the brakeman,
and the train rumbled into a covered station.
Mary Leonard started to her feet, and then
paused and looked down at her companion.
This Englefield! This the quiet little place
where the man from the hotel consented to
look after their trunks while their cousins
drove them up in the wagon—this noisy
station with two or three hotel stages and
shouting drivers of public carriages!
"Lucy," said she, sitting down again
in momentary despair, "we've gone back
thirty-five years, but we forgot to take
Englefield with us!"
It did not take long, however, to adapt
themselves to the new conditions. They
arranged to stay at the inn that was farthest
from the centre of things, and the
drive out restored some of the former look
of the place. It was near sunset; the
road looked pink before them as they left
the city. The boys had set fire to little
piles of early fallen leaves along the sides
of the streets, and a faint, pungent smoke
hung about and melted into the twilight,
and the flame leaped forth vividly now
and then from the dusky heaps. As they
left the paved city for the old inn which
modern travel and enterprise had left on
the outskirts, the sky showed lavender
through a mistiness that was hardly palpable
enough for haze. The browns and
reds of the patches of woods in the near
distance seemed the paler, steadier reproduction
of the flames behind them. Low on
the horizon the clouds lay in purple waves,
deepening and darkening into brown.
"Mary," said Lucy Eastman, in a low
tone, laying her hand on her companion's
arm, "it's just the way it looked when
we came the first time of all; do you
"Remember? It's as if it were yesterday!
Oh, Lucy, I don't know about
a new heaven, but I'm glad, I'm glad it
isn't a 'new earth' quite yet!" There
was a mistiness in the eyes of the women
that none of the changes they had marked
had brought there. They were moved by
the sudden sweet recognition that seemed
sadder than any change.
The next morning they left the house
early, that they might have long hours in
which to hunt up old haunts and renew
former associations. Again the familiar
look of things departed as they wandered
about the wider, gayer streets. The house
in which Mary Leonard's cousins had
lived had been long in other hands, and
the occupants had cut down the finest of
the old trees to make room for an addition,
and a woman whose face seemed
provokingly foreign to the scene came out
with the air of a proprietor and entered
her carriage as they passed.
At another place which they used to
visit on summer afternoons, and which had
been approached by a little lane, making
it seem isolated and distant, the beautiful
turf had been removed to prepare a bald
and barren tennis court, and they reached
it by an electric car. Even the little
candy-shop had become a hardware store.
"Of course, when one thinks of the
Gibraltars and Jackson balls, it does not
seem such a revolution," said Mary
Leonard; but she spoke forlornly, and
did not care much for her own joke. It
looked almost as if their holiday was to be
turned into a day of mourning; there was
depression in the air of the busy, bustling
active streets, through which the gray-haired
women wandered, handsome, alert,
attentive, but haunted by the sense of
familiarity that made things unfamiliar
and the knowledge of every turn and
direction that yet was not knowledge, but
"Look here, Lucy Eastman," said
Mary Leonard at last, stopping decisively
in front of what used to be the Baptist
Church, but which was now a business
block and a drug-store where you could
get peach phosphate, "we can't stand this
any longer. Let's get into a carriage
right away and go to the old fort; that
can't have changed much; it used to be
dismantled, and I don't believe they've
had time, with all they've done here, to—to
mantle it again."
They moved towards a cab-stand—of
course it was an added grievance that
there was a cab-stand—but the wisdom
of the prudent is to understand his way.
"Mary," said Lucy Eastman, detaining
her, "wait a minute. Do you think we
might—it's a lovely day—and—there's
a grocer right there—and dinner is late
at the hotel"—She checked her incoherence
and looked wistfully at Mary
"Lucy, I think we might do anything,
if you don't lose your mind first. What
is it, for pity's sake, that you want to do?"
"Take our luncheon; we always used
to, you know. And we can have a hot
dinner at the hotel when we come back."
Without replying, Mary Leonard led
the way to the grocer's, and they bought
lavish supplies there and at the bakery
opposite. Then they called the cab.
"Do you remember, Lucy, we used to
have to think twice about calling a cab,
when we used to travel together, on account
of the expense," said Mary Leonard,
as they waited for it to draw up at the
"Yes," answered Lucy; "we don't
have to now." And then they both
sighed a little.
But their smiles returned as they drove
into the enclosure of the old fort. There
they lay in the peaceful sun—the gray
stones, the few cannon-balls, sunk in the
caressing grass, with here and there a rusty
gun, like a once grim, sharp-tongued,
cruel man who has fallen somehow into
an amiable senility.
"I read an article in one of the magazines
about our coast defences," said Lucy
Eastman, breathlessly; "how they ought
to be strengthened and repaired and all,
and I was quite excited about it and
wanted to give a little money towards it,
but I wouldn't for anything now, enemy
or no enemy."
"Nor I, either," said Mary Leonard,
after she had dismissed the driver with
orders to call for them later in the day.
They walked on over the crisp dry grass,
and seated themselves on a bit of the
fallen masonry. The reaches of the
placid river lay before them, and the hum
of the alert cricket was in their ears.
Now and then a bird flew surreptitiously
from one bush to another, with the stealthy,
swift motion of flight in autumn, so different
from the heedless, fluttering, hither-and-yon
vagaries of the spring and early
summer. The time for frivolity is over;
the flashes of wings have a purpose now;
the possibility of cold is in the air,
and what is to be done must be done
"We almost always used to come in
summer," said Lucy Eastman, "but I
think it's every bit as pretty in the fall."
"So do I," assented Mary Leonard, as
she looked down into a hollow where the
purple asters grew so thick that in the
half-dusk of the shadow they looked like
magnified snowflakes powdered thickly on
the sward. "And it hasn't changed an
atom," she went on, as her eyes roamed
over the unevenness of this combination
of man's and nature's handiwork. "It's
just as quiet and disorderly and upset and
peaceful as it was then."
"Yes, look up there;" and Lucy Eastman
pointed to the higher ramparts, on
the edge of which the long grass wavered
in the wind with the glancing uncertainty
of a conflagration. "The last time I was
here I remember saying that that looked
like a fire."
After they had eaten their luncheon,
which brought with it echoes of the
laughter which had accompanied the picnic
supper eaten in that very corner years
ago, they seated themselves in a sheltered
spot to wait. It really seemed as if the
old gray walls retained some of the spirit
of those earlier days, so gentle, so mirth-inspiring
was the sunshine that warmed
"I'm so glad we came," said Mary,—they
had both said it before,—as the sunny
peace penetrated their very souls.
Four o'clock brought the cab, and they
drove down the long hills, looking back
often for a final glimpse of the waving
grass and the gray stones. As they turned
a sharp corner and lost sight of the old
fort, Mary Leonard glanced furtively at
her companion. Her own eyes for the
second time that day were not quite clear,
and she was not sorry to detect an added
wistfulness in Lucy Eastman's gaze.
"Lucy," said she, and her voice shook
a little, "I'm tired."
"So am I," murmured Lucy.
"And I don't ever remember to have
been tired after a picnic at the old fort
"No more do I," said Lucy; and it
was a moment before their sadness, as
usual, trembled into laughter.
"Lucy Eastman," said Mary Leonard,
suddenly, "this is the street that old Miss
Pinsett used to live on—lives on, I mean.
What do you say? Shall we stop and see
Miss Pinsett?" The dimples had come
back again, and her eyes danced.
Lucy caught her breath.
"Oh, Mary, if only she—" her sentence
was left unfinished.
"I'll find out," said Mary Leonard, and
put her head out of the window. "Driver,"
she called out, "stop at Miss Pinsett's."
The driver nodded and drove on, and
she sank back pleased with her own
The cab stopped in front of the same
square white house, with the cupola, and
the same great trees in the front yard.
Mary Leonard and Lucy Eastman clasped
each other's hands in silent delight as they
walked up the box-bordered path.
"Tell Miss Pinsett that Lucy Eastman
and—and Mary Greenleaf have come to
see her," they said to the elderly respectable
maid. Then they went into the dim
shaded parlor and waited. There were
the old piano and the Japanese vases, and
the picture of Washington which they had
always laughed at because he looked as if
he were on stilts and could step right
across the Delaware, and they could hear
their hearts beat, for there was a rustle
outside the door—old Miss Pinsett's
gowns always rustled—and it opened.
"Why, girls!" exclaimed old Miss
Pinsett as she glided into the room.
Mary Leonard and Lucy Eastman declared,
then and afterward, that she wasn't
a day older than when they said good-by
to her thirty-five years ago. She wore
the same gray curls and the same kind
of cap. Also, they both declared that this
was the climax, and that they should have
wept aloud if it had not been so evident that
to Miss Pinsett there was nothing in the
meeting but happiness and good fortune,
so they did not.
"Why, girls," said old Miss Pinsett
again, clasping both their hands, "how
glad I am to see you, and how well you
are both looking!"
Then she insisted on their laying off
their things, and they laid them off because
they always had when she asked them.
"You've grown stout, Mary Greenleaf,"
said old Miss Pinsett.
"I know I have," she answered, "and
I'm not Mary Greenleaf, though I sent
that name up to you—I'm Mary Leonard."
"I wondered if neither of you were
"I'm a widow, Miss Pinsett," said
Mary Leonard, soberly. "My husband
only lived three years."
"Poor girl, poor girl!" said Miss Pinsett,
patting her hand, and then she looked
at the other.
"I'm Lucy Eastman still," she said;
"just the same Lucy Eastman."
"And a very good thing to be, too,"
said Miss Pinsett, nodding her delicate old
head kindly. "But," and she scanned
her face, "but, now that I look at you,
not quite the same Lucy Eastman—not
quite the same."
"Older and plainer," she sighed.
"Of all the nonsense!" exclaimed
old Miss Pinsett. "You're not quite so
shy, that's all, my dear."
"I'm shy now," asserted Lucy.
"Very likely, but not quite so shy as
you were, for all that. Don't tell me!
I've a quick eye for changes, and so I
can see changes in you two when it may
be another wouldn't."
Before the excitement of her welcome
had been subdued into mere gladness,
there was a discreet tap at the door, and
the respectable maid came in with a tray
of sherry-glasses and cake. Mary Leonard
and Lucy Eastman looked at each
other brimming over with smiles. It was
the same kind of cake, and might have
been cut off the same loaf.
"Never any cake like yours," said
"I remember you like my cake," said
old Miss Pinsett, smiling; "take a bigger
They wanted to know many things
about the people and the town, all of
which Miss Pinsett could tell them.
The shadows grew longer, the room
dimmer, and Miss Pinsett had the maid
throw open the blinds to let in the western
sunlight. A shaft of illumination fell
across one of the Japanese vases, and a
dragon blinked, and the smooth round
head of a mandarin gleamed. There was
an old-fashioned trumpet-creeper outside
"But we must go," exclaimed Mary
Leonard at last, rising and taking up her
bonnet. "Oh, no, thank you, we must
not stay. Miss Pinsett; we are going to-morrow,
and we are tired with all the
pleasure of to-day, and we have so much—so
much to talk over. We shall
talk all night, as we used to, I am
"But before you go, girls," said Miss
Pinsett, laying a fragile, white slender
hand on each, "you must sing for me
some of the songs you used to sing—you
know some very pretty duets."
Mary Leonard and Lucy Eastman
paused, amazed, and looked into each
other's faces in dismay. Sing?—had
they ever sung duets? They had not
sung a note for years, except in church.
"But I don't know any songs, Miss
Pinsett," stammered Mary Leonard.
"I have forgotten all I ever knew,"
echoed Lucy Eastman.
"No excuses, now—no excuses!
You were always great for excuses, but
you would always sing for me. I want
'County Guy,' to begin with."
By a common impulse the visitors
moved slowly towards the piano; they
would try, at least, since Miss Pinsett
wanted them to. Lucy seated herself
and struck a few uncertain chords. Possibly
the once familiar room, Mary Leonard
at her side, Miss Pinsett listening in
her own high-backed chair, the scent of
the mignonette in the blue bowl—possibly
one or all of these things brought back
the old tune.
"Ah, County Guy,
The hour is nigh,
The sun has left the lea."
The sweet, slender voice floated through
the room, and Mary Leonard's deeper
contralto joined and strengthened it.
"Now, I will have 'Flow Gently,
Sweet Afton,'" said Miss Pinsett, quite as
if it were a matter of course. And they
sang "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton." It
was during the last verse that the parlor
door opened softly, and a tall, fine-looking
man, erect, with beautiful silver curling
hair, and firm lines about the handsome,
clean-shaven mouth, appeared on the threshold
and stood waiting. As the singing
finished, Miss Pinsett shook her head at
"You were always coming in and
breaking up the singing, Tom Endover,"
The two women left the piano and
"You used to know Mary Greenleaf,—she's
Mrs. Leonard now,—and Lucy
Eastman, Tom," she went on.
Apparently Mr. Endover was not heeding
the introduction, but was coming
towards them with instant recognition and
outstretched hand. They often discussed
afterward if he would have known them
without Miss Pinsett. Mary Leonard
thought he would, but Lucy Eastman did
not always agree with her.
"You don't have to tell me who they
are," he said, grasping their hands cordially.
"Telling Tom Endover who
Mary Greenleaf and Lucy Eastman are,
indeed!" There was a mingling of courteous
deference and frank, not to be repressed,
good comradeship in his manner
which was delightful. Mary Leonard's
dimples came and went, and delicate waves
of color flowed and ebbed in Lucy Eastman's
"I'm too old always to remember that
there's no telling a United States senator
anything," retorted Miss Pinsett, with a
keen glance from her dimmed but penetrating
"As to that, I don't believe I'd ever
have been a United States senator if it
wasn't for what you've told me, Miss Pinsett,"
laughed Endover. "I'm always
coming here to be taken down, Mary," he
went on; "she does it just as she used
Mary Leonard caught her breath a little
at the sound of her Christian name, but
"I didn't know there was any taking you
down, Tom Endover," she retorted before
she thought; and they all laughed.
They found many things to say in the
few minutes longer that
Mr. Endover took them out and put them
in their cab. He insisted upon coming the
next morning to take them to the station
in his own carriage, and regretted very
much that his wife was out of town, so
that she could not have the pleasure of
meeting his old friends.
"He's just the same, isn't he?" exclaimed
Mary Leonard, delightedly, as
they drove away.
"Yes," assented Lucy Eastman, slowly;
"I think he is; and yet he's different."
"Oh, yes, he's different," replied Mary
Leonard, readily. Both were quite unconscious
of any discrepancy in their statements
as they silently thought over the
impression he had made. He was the
same handsome, confident Tom Endover,
but there was something gone,—and was
there not something in its place? Had
that gay courtesy, that debonair good fellowship,
changed into something more
finished, but harder and more conscious?
Was there a suggestion that his old careless
charm had become a calculated and a
clearly appreciated facility? Lucy Eastman
did not formulate the question, and
it did not even vaguely present itself to
Mary Leonard, so it troubled the pleasure
"What a day we have had!" they
sighed in concert as they drove up again to
the entrance of the inn.
"Lucy," called Mary Leonard, a little
later, from one of their connecting rooms
to the other, "I'm going to put on my
best black net, because Tom Endover
may call to-night." Then she paused to
catch Lucy Eastman's prompt reply.
"And I shall put on my lavender
lawn, but it'll be just our luck to have
it Samuel Hatt."
The next morning Mr. Endover called
for them, and they were driven to the station
in his brougham.
He put them on the train, and bought
the magazines for them, and waved his
hand to the car window.
"You know, Lucy," said Mary Leonard,
as the train pulled out, "Tom Endover
always used to come to see us off."
"Of course he did," said Lucy.
"Do you know, I'm rather glad his
wife was out of town," went on Mary
Leonard, after a pause. "I should like
to have seen her well enough, but you
know she wasn't an Englefield girl."
"What can she know about old Englefield!"
said Lucy, with mild contempt.
"I'm very glad she was out of town."
As they left the city behind them, the
early morning sun shone forth with vivid
brilliancy. Against the western sky the
buildings stood out with a peculiar distinctness,
as if the yellow light shining
upon them was an illumination inherent
in themselves, singling them out of the
landscape, and leaving untouched the cold
gray behind them. The lines of brick
and stone had the clearness and precision
of a photograph, and yet were idealized,
so that in the yellow, mellow, transparent
light a tall, smoke-begrimed chimney of a
distant furnace looked airy and delicate as
an Italian tower.