"My soul!" said Mr. Davey. "It seems to know some of us!" "Yes," agreed Mr. Arp, his voice recovered, "and I know IT." "You do?" exclaimed the Colonel. "I do, and so do you. It's Fanny Louden's boy, 'Gene, come home for his Christmas holidays." "By George! you're right," cried Flitcroft; "I recognize him now." "But what's the matter with him?" asked Mr. Bradbury, eagerly.
Bantry's house was run for him, like Louden's is now." "And look," exclaimed Mr. Arp, with satisfaction, "at the way he's turned out!" "He ain't turned out at all yet; he's too young," said Buckalew. "Besides, clothes don't make the man." "Wasn't he smokin' a cigareet!" cried Eskew, triumphantly. This was final. "It's a pity Henry Louden can't do something for his own son," said Mr. Bradbury.
The last time I spoke to her was a year and a half ago, and I don't reckon I'll ever trouble to again." "How was that, Jonas?" quickly inquired Mr. Davey, who, being the eldest of the party, was the most curious. "What happened?" "She was out in the street, up on that high bicycle of Joe Louden's. He was teachin' her to ride, and she was sittin' on it like a man does.
Louden's " She paused, removed her spectacles, examined them dubiously, restored them to place, and continued: "'Louden's Masterly Conduct and Well-Deserved " she paused again, incredulous "'Well-Deserved Triumph " "Go on," said the Colonel, softly. "Indeed I will!" the old lady replied. "Do you think I don't know sarcasm when I see it? Ha, ha!" She laughed with great heartiness.
Louden's long wait at the window was tragically rewarded, and she became an unhappy actor in Canaan's drama of that day. Other ladies attended at other windows, or near their front doors, throughout the afternoon: the families of the three patriarchs awaiting their return, as the time drew on, with something akin to frenzy. Mrs.
She heard a match struck in the next room, and the voices of the two men: Joe's, then the other's, the latter at first broken and protestive, but soon rising shrilly. She could hear only fragments. Once she heard the client cry, almost scream: "By God! Joe, I thought Claudine had chased him around there to DO me!" And, instantly, followed Louden's voice: "STEADY, HAPPY, STEADY!"
The Squire had him; and paused, and stroked his chin, to make the ruin complete. "Then I reckon you'll have to admit," he murmured, "that, while I ain't defendin' Joe Louden's character, it was kind of proper for him to stand by a feller that wouldn't hear nothin' against him, and fought for him as soon as he DID hear it!" Eskew Arp rose from his chair and left the hotel.
The mother, a red-faced matron whom Joe recognized as a sister of Mrs. Louden's, consequently his step-aunt, swooped at the child with a rush and rustle of silk, and bore her on violently to her duty.
He has distinguished himself so greatly that we frankly assert that our citizens may point with pride to " Mrs. Flitcroft's voice, at the beginning pitched to a high exultation, had gradually lowered in key and dropped down the scale till it disappeared altogether. "It's a wonder to me," the Colonel began, "that the Tocsin doesn't go and hold Joe Louden's hand."
"Ain't that him?" Steps sounded upon the pavement below; paused for a second at the foot of the stairs; there was the snap of a match; then the steps sounded again, retreating. She sank back in her chair limply. "It was only some one stoppin' to light his cigar in the entry. It wasn't Joe Louden's step, anyway." "You know his step?" Ariel's eyes were bent upon the woman wonderingly.