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tagonist, her pride in his achievement was chilled by the question-"Why wasn't he in the war? When she saw him, in the street, give a coin to a crossing-sweeper, or lift his hat ceremoniously to one of Mrs. Hayne's maid-servants (he was always considerate of poor people and servants) her approval winced under the reminder-" Why wasn't he in the war?" And when they were alone together, all through the spell of his talk and the exquisite pervasion of his presence ran the embittering undercurrent, "Why wasn't he in the war?"
At times she hated herself for the thought; it seemed a disloyalty to life's best gift. After all, what did it matter now? The war was over and forgotten; it was what the newspapers call "a dead issue." And why should any act of her husband's youth affect their present happiness together? Whatever he might once have been, he was perfect now; admirable in every relation of life; kind, generous, upright; a loyal friend, an accomplished gentleman, and, above all, the man she loved. Yes-but why had he not been in the war? And so began again the reiterant torment of the question. It rose up and lay down with her; it watched with her through sleepless nights, and followed her into the street; it mocked her from the eyes of strangers, and she dreaded lest her husband should read it in her own. In her saner moments she told herself that she was under the influence of a passing mood, which would vanish at the contact of her wonted life in Paris. She had become over-strung in the high air of Mrs. Hayne's moral enthusiasms; all she needed was to descend again to regions of more temperate virtue. This thought increased her impatience to be gone; and the days seemed interminable which divided her from departure.
The return to Paris, however, did not yield the hoped-for alleviation. The question was still with her, clamoring for a reply, and reinforced, with separation, by the increasing fear of her aunt's unspoken verdict. That shrewd woman had never again alluded to the subject of her brief colloquy with Delia; up to the moment of his farewell she had been unreservedly cordial to
Corbett; but she was not the woman to palter with her convictions.
Delia knew what she must think; she knew what name, in the old days, Corbett would have gone by in her aunt's uncompromising circle.
Then came a flash of resistance--the heart's instinct of self-preservation. After all, what did she herself know of her husband's reasons for not being in the war? What right had she to set down to cowardice a course which might have been enforced by necessity, or dictated by unimpeachable motives? Why should she not put to him the question which she was perpetually asking herself? And not having done so, how dared she condemn him unheard?
A month or more passed in this torturing indecision. Corbett had returned with fresh zest to his accustomed way of life, weaned, by his first glimpse of the Champs Elysées, from his factitious enthusiasm for Boston. He and his wife entertained their friends delightfully, and frequented all the "first nights and "private views" of the season, and Corbett continued to bring back knowing "bits" from the Hôtel Drouot, and rare books from the quays; never had he appeared more cultivated, more decorative and enviable; people agreed that Delia Benson had been uncommonly clever to catch him.
"By the way," he said presently, as he set down his tea-cup, “I had almost forgotten that I've brought you a present-something I picked up in a little shop in the Rue Bonaparte. Oh, don't look too expectant; it's not a chefd'œuvre; on the contrary, it's about as bad as it can be. But you'll see presently why I bought it."
As he spoke he drew a small, flat parcel from the breast-pocket of his impec
cable frock-coat and handed it to his wife.
Delia, loosening the paper which wrapped it, discovered within an oval frame studded with pearls and containing the crudely executed miniature of an unknown young man in the uniform of a United States cavalry officer. She glanced inquiringly at Corbett. "Turn it over," he said.
She did so, and on the back, beneath two unfamiliar initials, read the brief inscription:
"Fell at Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863." The blood rushed to her face as she stood gazing at the words.
'You see now why I bought it?" Corbett continued. "All the pieties of one's youth seemed to protest against leaving it in the clutches of a Jew pawnbroker in the Rue Bonaparte. It's awfully bad, isn't it?-but some poor soul might be glad to think that it had passed again into the possession of fellow-countrymen." He took it back from her, bending to examine it critically. What a daub!" he murmured. "I wonder who he was? Do you suppose that by taking a little trouble one might find out and restore it to his people?"
"I don't know-I dare say," she murmured, absently.
He looked up at the sound of her voice. "What's the matter, Delia? Don't feel well?" he asked.
Oh, yes. I was only thinking "
she took the miniature from his hand.
'It was kind of you, Laurence, to buy this-it was like you."
"Thanks for the latter clause," he returned, smiling.
Delia stood staring at the vivid fleshtints of the young man who had fallen at Chancellorsville.
"You weren't very strong at his age, were you, Laurence? Weren't you of ten ill?" she asked.
Corbett gave her a surprised glance. "Not that I'm aware of," he said; "I had the measles at twelve, but since then I've been unromantically robust." "And you-you were in America until you came abroad to be with your sister?"
"Yes-barring a trip of a few weeks in Europe."
"You don't know?" she repeated, the question leaping out like an electric shock. What do you mean when you say that you don't know?"
"Well-it all happened some time ago," he answered, still smiling, “and the truth is that I've completely forgotten the excellent reasons that I doubtless had at the time for remaining at home."
"Reasons for remaining at home? But there were none; every man of your age went to the war; no one stayed at home who wasn't lame, or blind, or deaf, or ill, or Her face blazed, her voice broke passionately. Corbett looked at her with rising amazement.
Or?" he said.
"Or a coward," she flashed out. The miniature dropped from her hands, falling loudly on the polished floor.
The two confronted each other in silence; Corbett was very pale.
"I've told you," he said, at length, "that I was neither lame, deaf, blind, nor ill. Your classification is so simple that it will be easy for you to draw your own conclusion."
And very quietly, with that admirable air which always put him in the right, he walked out of the room. lia, left alone, bent down and picked up the miniature; its protecting crystal had been broken by the fall. She pressed it close to her and burst into tears.
An hour later, of course, she went to ask her husband's forgiveness. As a woman of sense she could do no less; and her conduct had been so absurd that it was the more obviously pardonable. Corbett, as he kissed her hand, assured her that he had known it was only nervousness; and after dinner, during which he made himself excep
tionally agreeable, he proposed their ending the evening at the Palais Royal, where a new play was being given.
Delia had undoubtedly behaved like a fool, and was prepared to do meet penance for her folly by submitting to the gentle sarcasm of her husband's pardon; but when the episode was over, and she realized that she had asked her question and received her answer, she knew that she had passed a milestone in her existence. Corbett was perfectly charming; it was inevitable that he should go on being charming to the end of the chapter. It was equally inevitable that she should go on being in love with him; but her love had undergone a modification which the years were not to efface.
Formerly he had been to her like an unexplored country, full of bewitching surprises and recurrent revelations of
wonder and beauty; now she had measured and mapped him, and knew beforehand the direction of every path she trod. His answer to her question had given her the clue to the labyrinth; knowing what he had once done, it seemed quite simple to forecast his future conduct. For that long-past action was still a part of his actual being; he had not outlived or disowned it; he had not even seen that it needed defending.
Her ideal of him was shivered like the crystal above the miniature of the warrior of Chancellorsville. She had the crystal replaced by a piece of clear glass which (as the jeweller pointed out to her) cost much less and looked equally well; and for the passionate worship which she had paid her husband she substituted a tolerant affection which pos sessed precisely the same advantages.
By Martha Gilbert Dickinson
THESE are the clauses of Summer's will-
Where willows murmur their stories old-
To the witnessing winds 'twas all but tossed
"My love to the road-side under the hill.”
The craving to look at pictures, or even decorative lettering or pure decoration itself, seems to be natural to all types and classes of Americans. Any kind of picture attracts the untutored taste; but of course the preference is generally given to such as, according to the code of the art for art's sake people, should be consigned to eternal perdition as "distinctly literary." But in default of the picture that tells its own direct and indirect comprehensible story, the untaught native taste will accept pretty nearly anything in the general line of graphic art. It is the same in country and in town. The indifference of the New York street crowds to strange
Drawn by Matt Morgan for the Strobridge Lithograph Company in 1881.
sights, odd people, fantastic costumes, and the like has often been noted. Yet
Drawn by Joseph Baker for the Forbes Lithograph Company in 1877.
Types of Early Lithographic Posters.
the hurrying workers who will not give a second glance to an Oriental garbed in dazzling gorgeousness, or even to a dime-museum giant off duty, will stop short at the sight of a sign-painter, and, putting all business or occupation aside, will gaze on him in seemingly helpless fascination while he letters "Eisenstein, Einstein, Ehrenstein, Johnstone & Co." And if by chance he illuminates his handiwork with a design of the garment known as "pants," and bearing a distant and painful resemblance to trousers, the crowd will stay faithfully by him till the last stroke of
his brush-silent, eager, intentlooking upon him as upon one who performs a miracle.
It is, of course, the process of production more than the thing produced that holds the attention of the admiring townsman; but the attraction is not at all unlike that which fills the spirit of the back country boy with wondering rapture when he sees the swift and dexterous pioneers of the circus arrive with pastepots and brushes and ladders and ponderous burdens of huge sheets of paper laid in thick folds like cloth, and with an almost superhuman speed transform old Squire Calkins's long board-fence into a picture gallery that is not only an orgy in the primary colors, but a most marvellous illumination of the
Designed and printed by the Strobridge Lithograph Company. Ar Example of the primitive and confused theatrical posters.
Do you wonder that he loves it? Do you wonder that his soul prostrates itself before the elephant whose ears are so big that the ends of the flaps have to be supported by two attendant Nubians? Do you wonder that he loves the dromedary with four humps? No dromedary in his "jogafy-book" has any such holiday allowance of humps. Of course he will not see these marvellous features, and, in a certain sense, he knows it. They were not visible in last year's circus; and his cynical elder brother has openly and blasphemously denied their existence. But as he watches the great pictured sheets drying out in the sun, and smells the smell of paste-always pleasant in his nostrils, because of its association with many sticky achievements in the way of malicious mischief- why, the boy sees those animals, and those assorted colored people in regal clothes, just as if they were really there for he sees them with the eye of faith. He would be ungrateful, indeed, if he did not love the circus-poster. All mankind loves the circus, and what circus