Marjorie Dean's Romanceñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
“That settles things for me, Jeremiah. For the first time since I entered Hamilton I’m not going home for the Easter vacation. General can’t come home for a month from that Canadian trip. So Captain’s coming here for Easter. Oh, joy! Tra, la, la, la, too, roo, re, lay!” Marjorie whisked up and down her’s and Jerry’s quarters at the Arms in frisky delight. A letter from her captain had furnished impetus for the dance.
“It’s a good thing for us that Irma has changed the date of her wedding from Easter until the last week in June. That lets us completely out of going home. Not that I don’t want to see the Macy family. I do; I do. But I must stick to you, Bean, till all is over. Then the Macys will have the pleasure of seeing Jeremiah for the rest of their lives. I feel a jingle beginning to sprout. Aha!” Jerry turned an imaginary crank on one side of her head and recited:
“Oh, let us sing, like anything,
And warble, too, re, lay.
No Feejee queen compares with Bean;
With Bean I choose to stay.”
“You are a loyal Jeremiah as I’ve told you in the past, seven thousand times, more or less.” Marjorie stopped her frisky prance to pat Jerry on the head. “Have you stopped to consider the feelings of the Macy family? They may strongly object to an Easter without Jeremiah.”
“They’ll have to bear it. It’ll be the first long vacation for Jeremiah away from Macyville.”
“And my first one away from Castle Dean. I promised Captain all the long Hamilton vacations before ever I entered college. I’ve kept my word. I would have this one, too,” Marjorie declared earnestly. “Now Captain’s coming to the Arms, and everything is more celostrous than ever.”
“So it is, Bean; so it is,” Jerry assured in what she liked to term her “most middle-aged, gentlemanly” voice.
“I should have felt like a shirker about going home at Easter. Leila, Vera, Robin, Ronny and Lucy say they can’t spare the time away from the campus. It would have broken up my work on the biography a little, and I’d have hated to leave Miss Susanna. Still I would have gone. Captain first, you know.” Marjorie lovingly patted her mother’s letter.
“I’d have gone home with you and risked being called a shirker by the gang. I’d have borne it. I’m as noble as you are, noble Bean. Here is a copy of my latest jingle.” Jerry tendered Marjorie a sheet of paper. “I caught it while you were busy praising me.”
“Thoughtful bard,” Marjorie commended, flourishingly accepting the paper. “May I inquire what you intend to do today?”
“I’m going over to the campus right after breakfast. Leila and I are going to make Norse helmets for Norse warriors of buckram and silver paper. With the help of our fertile brains and a little invincible glue we shall win. What are you going to do to while the day away?” Jerry inquired innocently.
“Oh, nothing special,” Marjorie waved an airy hand.
“That’s the way it seems sometimes,” she added, her face sobering, “when I write all day and then find at evening that I haven’t done more than a page of good work. I’ve divided the material for the biography into two parts. I wish to call the first part ‘Inspiration.’ The second part will be ‘Realization.’”
“It sounds good to me.” Jerry waited breathlessly to hear more. It was the first time Marjorie had volunteered her any information on the subject of her own writing. Jerry watched her as she might have a rare song bird, which had poised itself near her and was ready to take flight at the tiniest movement on her part.
“‘Inspiration’ is to be the story of his youth, hopes and dreams. ‘Realization’ is to be the story of the man, Brooke Hamilton, and his achievement.”
“Does Miss Susanna know what you’ve just told me? You have such clam-like tendencies, Bean.” Jerry smirked at her chum.
“Yes, I told her about it several days ago. I only thought of it one day last week. I like the idea.” Marjorie’s accompanying smile was utterly without vanity. “If I could write as well as Kathie, or Leila, or you, Jeremiah, I’d be happy. Really, I have to dig out almost every sentence I write.”
“Hooh!” derided Jerry. “I can’t write. You’re simply trying to be polite to present company. So deceitful!” She raised a hand in shocked reproach.
“I never allow anyone to call me deceitful.” Marjorie charged upon Jerry, who nimbly eluded her and ran for the door. She whisked out into the hall and down the broad staircase with her vengeful pursuer close behind her.
The pair breezed around the corner of the newel post just in time to crash into Jonas, who was coming through the hall with a large feather duster which one of the maids had accidentally left on the hall rack.
“Mercy on us!” Jonas raised a startled arm. He poked the duster full into Jerry’s face, to Marjorie’s noisy delight.
“Ker-choo! I’m not the hall rack, Jonas, and I don’t think I resemble the newel post, either,” Jerry reproved.
“No, you don’t quite look like either of ’em,” Jonas agreed, chuckling. “Excuse me for dusting you,” taking a leaf from Jerry’s own book of etiquette he slyly added, “and blame yourself.”
“Fine, Jonas, you’re learning,” Jerry heartily encouraged.
The frolicsome pair lingered in the hall for a little exchanging of merry repartee with Jonas. He now looked forward to such lively encounters as a part of his day’s program.
At breakfast that morning Mrs. Dean’s letter formed the main topic of conversation. Marjorie was bubbling over with happiness at the highly agreeable way in which her affairs had worked out.
“I’m the person fortune has singled out for attention,” Miss Susanna crisply asserted. “All I need do is stay quietly at home and watch my friends gravitate to the Arms. Last Easter you girls all went away from Hamilton and left poor Susanna without a single playmate. This year Susanna has them all, and with one more to come from another land.”
“It’s wonderful to know that Captain will soon be here.” Marjorie’s voice was full of tender expectation. “Her presence will furnish me with oceans of fresh literary impetus. I shall need it for ‘Realization,’ the second part of the biography. It will be a good deal longer than the first part. I wish they might have been of equal length.”
“The inspiration to build Hamilton College was his life. At least he made it that,” Miss Susanna said rather absently. She appeared to be immersed in thought far remote from her spoken words.
“That’s precisely why the first part of the biography will be so much shorter than the second,” Marjorie cried, her forehead puckering in faint disapproval. “His very interesting years in China, the building of Hamilton, all his work belongs in ‘Realization.’ He had begun to work, then, you see, entirely toward realizing his splendid plans. I’d love to have more data about his youth. There is a great deal of the China data which would have been lost if you hadn’t written down the stories he told you of his life in the Orient,” she nodded gratefully to Miss Susanna.
“There may be some earlier data that I can let you have for that first part,” was Miss Hamilton’s vague promise. “I’ll see what I can find for you.”
Marjorie presently went to the study wondering not a little as to what the data might be which Miss Hamilton had promised. She surmised from the old lady’s preoccupied air during the remainder of the meal that Miss Susanna was mentally trying to decide whether or not to give her for the biography certain incidents in the life of Brooke Hamilton which she had thus far withheld.
“I wish you could really speak and tell me something about yourself,” she said fancifully to Brooke Hamilton’s portrait. “What were your favorite sports when you were a very young man? Riding, of course, and probably swimming. Did you – let me think” – she stared reflectively at the portrait – “did you ever win a hundred yard dash, or – a yacht race?” She colored self-consciously at her own question. Her thoughts had veered suddenly from Brooke Hamilton to Hal Macy.
Thought of Hal next reminded her that she would not see Hal at Easter. That would be best for them both. Still she visualized Hal’s disappointment, not only at not seeing her – he would miss Jerry’s comradely companionship. It would be of no use to tell Jerry she ought to go to Sanford for Easter on Hal’s account. Jerry would hoot at the idea. Marjorie decided that she would write Hal a particularly cordial Easter letter to try to make up for her absence.
She brought her mind summarily back to the subject of Brooke Hamilton. What was it Miss Susanna had once said of him concerning love? And when was it she had said it? An instant, and Marjorie recalled the occasion. It was the only time the mistress of the Arms had ever mentioned Brooke Hamilton as having loved. She had said on the occasion of Marjorie’s introduction to the portrait of her kinsman in the study that Brooke Hamilton had believed in the romance of deeds; not the romance of love. She had also said that he had “found after all that love was love. That the romance of men and women – ”
Miss Susanna had stopped at this juncture and had never again renewed the subject. Marjorie grew inwardly vexed with herself for having permitted her thoughts to run toward love. Because, unfortunately, Hal had fallen in love with her, the thought of Hal must ever bring reminder of the unwelcome fact. She was glad that Brooke Hamilton’s history was one of deeds. In the mass of data she had handled there had been personal mention made of only his mother, Faith Gretney Hamilton, and Miss Susanna.
“I’ve been mooning,” she informed the handsome, blue-eyed man in the gilt frame. “Now I am going to work hard. I must leave you in July for two whole months. I wish you would come down from the wall and finish writing your own story before I come back. Wouldn’t that be a lovely magic surprise for Marjorie?”
A light tap on the study door sent her scurrying to open it. Miss Susanna walked into the study an odd look on her small shrewd features. In her hands she carried a rosewood box. It was perhaps eight by ten inches and not more than three inches deep. It was a lock box with a beautifully executed leaf border and a simple, artistically carved monogram on the shining surface of the lid.
“Marjorie, I have brought you Uncle Brooke’s journal,” Miss Susanna began without preamble. “I hadn’t intended to let you or anyone else ever see it, much less permit a line of it to be published. Since you have been at the Arms I have wondered several times whether I was doing right in keeping it from you. How can you acquire a true conception of him unless you know him as his journal reveals him?”
As she talked Miss Susanna busied herself with the turning of a tiny key in the lock. She set the box on the study table, opened it. Inside it lay an oblong notebook bound in black leather. It was not very thick. Around it was a wide black rubber band.
“Here it is.” The old lady lifted it from the box with a sadly reverent air; handed it to Marjorie. She accepted it, saying nothing. “It is a love story you are going to read in this old black book, Marvelous Manager; the love story of your friend, Brooke Hamilton. He was a marvelous manager, too, child. There was only one thing he did not know how to manage. That was his heart.”
BROOKE HAMILTON’S ANGELA
Marjorie looked from Miss Susanna to the portrait and back again. The mistress of the Arms was eyeing the portrait, too, with an expression of dark melancholy.
“There’s no use in my staying here to talk with you about this journal, child. I’ve read it several times and almost cried my eyes out over it. In fact, I don’t want to talk about it at all. I’m going. After you have read it, I’ll have something else to say. Not until then.”
“Thank you, Miss Susanna,” Marjorie had only time to call after the sturdy little woman as the latter hurried from the room, furtively wiping her eyes with her hem-stitched handkerchief.
The young girl, who stood on the threshold of life and love, even as Brooke Hamilton had once stood, was equally the stranger to love that he had been. Marjorie regarded the black leather book with a glance of timid fascination. Between the loose black covers, broken apart from much handling, in that small space, was the record of a love which had not been a happy one. Over a happy love idyl Miss Susanna would never have “almost cried her eyes out.”
She understood that her remark at the breakfast table concerning her lack of material for ‘Inspiration’ had set the question of the giving of the journal to her going again in Miss Susanna’s mind. Marjorie felt as though she stood on the brink of the unknown. The love story of Brooke Hamilton could not but be different from that of any of which she had read or heard.
She swept aside the pad of paper on which she had been writing and carefully laid the journal on the table before her. Slowly she removed the wide rubber band and opened the book to the first page. There in his clear handwriting stood a foreword:
“May 1,” it began. “This is my birthday, though not even the servants know it. Well, I have purchased myself a gift; this black book. It shall not be a black book in an evil sense. It shall only record my doings which I shall hope to make ever of purpose and right. Should I live to be a very old man this journal will preserve for me facts which memory will have long grown weary of holding. I shall call this book a present from my mother. I do not approve of making presents to myself.”
Marjorie smiled at the final sentence of the foreword. It sounded so like Miss Susanna. The little preamble was distinctly boyish, she thought. It had the dignity, however, belonging to one brought up in loneliness.
She turned the page. The next item was brief and dated three years later, but again May 1, it stated:
“My birthday again. I found this book today in my desk. I had forgotten its use until I opened it. I shall try once more to keep a record of personal events. Three years between the two entries. How time passes.”
To her surprise the next entry was dated July tenth, eight years later. It was humorously rueful.
“I appear to be most unsuccessful as a journalist. I have the will to record my doings but not the execution. Tonight I am in an oddly pleasant state of mind over the day’s events. The Vernons, of Vernon Lodge, gave an archery meet this afternoon. They held the meet in honor of a cousin, Miss Angela Vernon, who has come to make her home with them. Miss Vernon is an orphan with a pleasing girlish face and soft chestnut curls. Her voice is low and sweet and she has a merry fashion of showing her small white teeth in laughing which is captivating. I enjoyed her company, which I cannot state to be the truth of the majority of young women whom I have met. I have no fault to find with these except that they seem to be possessed of so little depth. What a pretty name Angela is. I like it far better than Rachel, Maria, Abagail, Betsy or other feminine names similarly plain and ugly.”
The Vernons’ archery meet had staged the opening incidents in Brooke Hamilton’s love affair. After the entry of July tenth, followed others, in somewhat scattered dating of the same year. Hardly one of these but that made mention of Angela Vernon. The young, attentive Brooke Hamilton had been horseback riding with Angela. He had escorted her to a lawn party. He had danced repeatedly with her at the Hamilton country-side ball. He wrote at some length in his journal of the pleasure he derived from her company. Yet into his writing never crept the word love.
Marjorie read on and on, forgetful of all but the world the journal conjured for her in which the author and Angela Vernon had once lived and played their parts. Thus far she had experienced no desire toward tears. Instead she was inclined to signal annoyance at Brooke Hamilton for his attitude of complacency toward charming Angela Vernon. At first she had been amused by his naive admissions to his journal, so utterly devoid of sentimentality. She had not then specially sympathized with Angela. From his written comments she could guess nothing of the young girl’s mind toward him. An entry dated almost two years later than the fateful archery meet brought an odd aching sadness to Marjorie’s heart.
“May 10. Life has moved very agreeably for me in my ancestral home during the years of my adolescence. Since my meeting with the Marquis de Lafayette, however, all within me is changed. There was a time to dance, to play, to be irresponsibly youthful. That time has past. I am facing the great problem of how one day to carry out my dream of founding a democratic college for young women in loving memory of my mother. In order to do this I shall require great riches. These I have not, though my father is not counted less than rich. I have a plan by which I may attain wealth in time. It must needs carry me far from home. So be it. I am a free spirit. I am bound by no pledge of love or duty.
“I am well satisfied that Angela and I are not more than friends. Sometimes I wonder if we are even such. She seems often cold, restrained in my presence where formerly she was invariably light and cordially gay. I confess I do not always understand young women. I shall soon be without her comradely company. She is going to Philadelphia to visit the Vernons there and dance at the Assembly Ball. She is very charming. She says she will never marry. Such a statement is not to be taken seriously. I have frequently assured her that she will no doubt wed a man high in the affairs of the United States. She is fitted for diplomatic society.”
Followed other entries of a similar nature. Marjorie could not but marvel at the blindness of young Brooke Hamilton to Angela Vernon’s love for him. Unversed in the ways of young women the very comments he wrote concerning her variable moods toward him Marjorie translated as the attempts of a girl in love to hide her unrequited affection from its indifferent object of worship.
Then came an entry made on shipboard on the day when the founder of Hamilton had embarked from New York on his first voyage to China. Her eyes misted with sudden tears as she read:
“Out at sea, the world before me! When I wonder shall I see the Arms again? Not, I am resolved until the battle’s won, my fortune made, my dream become a reality. I have brought with me my black book, a link between me and my younger, lighter hours of life. ‘When I became a man, I put away childish things.’ So it is with me now. I must strive and accomplish in the world of deeds. Its only creed is action, and still more action. I shall keep my book now as the path back to youth’s pleasant orchard.
“Angela gave me a utility case of dark blue silk which she herself made. She also gave me a small daguerrotype of herself. I was greatly touched by her remembrance of me. She rode down to the little station on her pony to wish me ‘bon voyage.’ It was hardly more than dawn. Hers was the last face I saw among the home friends. She had been crying. She said so quite frankly. I had no idea she cared for me so fondly. She has flouted me roundly at times. God knows when we shall meet again. It appears strange that my friendliest comrade should have been a young woman rather than a young man. Angela has been such to me. I said to her in jest: ‘You will have perhaps married and forgotten me, Angela, by the time I return to my country and the Arms.’ She said: ‘I shall never forget you, and I shall never marry.’ So she thinks, but time creates many changes. I am weary of the pitching of the ship. I have not yet felt any indication of seasickness. I shall close you, black book, and seek my rest. You must be my comrade hereafter.”
The part of the journal immediately following Brooke Hamilton’s embarkation to the Orient continued with brief notes on the voyage. From that point on the entries dealt with the young fortune-seeker’s life in China. These entries in themselves Marjorie found valuable as aids in completing the somewhat sparse data she already had regarding the young man’s Oriental enterprise. Among them she found odd bits of Chinese wisdom which he quoted as the sayings of the several Chinese philosophers who had become his intimate friends. These original twists of mind, together with the numerous stories of her kinsman’s life in China which Miss Susanna had dictated to her would beautifully round out the earlier chapters of “Realization.”
Marjorie was presently surprised to find that the China entries covered a period of over ten years. Brooke Hamilton had evidently proved himself as irregular a journalist abroad as at home. While the entries were fuller than the earlier vaguer comments of youth, a year in time was often covered by three or four entries.
She read steadily through the record of commercial achievement which had brought him not only immense wealth but honor and distinction among a philosophical, far-seeing race rarely understood by Europeans or Americans. The Chinese had liked him for his truth and honesty. Because they had liked him they had helped him to his goal of attainment.ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
ñòðàíèöû: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13