Susan Warner.

Stephen, M. D. online

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from what they had been in Cowslip; Mrs. Har-
denbrook was a trifle more lively as to her dress,
and her husband perhaps a little less lively in the
expression of his face. Having nothing to do did
not agree with hita.

There was a little time of silence and crack
ling and rustling of paper, as letters were un
folded and the newspaper was turned; and then
the lady broke out, with a climax of emphasis
and most urgent demand upon her husband's
attention.

"Mr. Hardenbrook! Mr. Hardenbrook! MR.
HARDENBROOK ! "

Mr. Hardenbrook withdrew his mind from his
paper and lifted his head; patient, not expectant.

" Here is news ! Guess. Just guess once what
it is. But you cannot."

" Then why should I try ? "

" Guess, Mr. Hardenbrook ! "

"I cannot possibly guess your secrets, my
dear."

" It's not my secret. It's not a secret at all by
this time. Of course it's all over. It's about Ste
phen Kay."

" I know about Stephen."

" How do you know ? What do you know? "

"Stephen writes to me. I suppose I know all
that you have got there."

"Do you know" (impressively) "that Stephen



iNEWS. 041

Kay has set himself up to be Governor of the
State?"

The lady's accent implied indignant incredulity
and strong disapproval. Mr. Hardenbrook laid his
newspaper down.

"He has not 'set himself up' at all; that is not
Stephen's way; never was. He has not done it, nor
sought it; and don't care for it."

" You believe that ? " said the lady severely.

"I know it."

"Who told you so, Mr. Hardenbrook?"

" Stephen told me himself."

" Well you know that means nothing. They all
say that."

" You ought to know by this time that Stephen
Kay never says anything that is not as true aa
gold."

" Stephen Kay ! Governor ! "

" I told you that boy would stand in high places.
He'll make a first-rate governor; as he has made
a first-rate doctor."

" / wouldn't want to trust myself in his hands,
though ! "

" You couldn't be in better. Massachusetts will
be well off for the term of one governor ! "

"You always were absurd about Stephen ! "

" You see I have company. Yes, Stephen Kay
is one bright spot in my life.

A silence fell, and lasted several minutes. Mr.
Hardenbrook took up his paper again ; his wife sat
thinking, with a raised eyebrow, and her foot patting



642 STEPHEN, M.D.

the floor. Then she began again, in a hesitating
way.

"Mr. Hardenbrook "

He looked up again. " Well ? "

" Did you ever think, in old times, that Stephen
had a fancy for Posie ? "

Some sound between a grunt and a groan came
from Mr. Hardenbrook.

"I was dreadfully afraid of something of that
kind."

" Well, I can tell you, it was true."

"Did he ever speak?" said Mr. Hardenbrook,
suddenly lifting his head which had sunk.

"No. Don't look at me so, Mr. Hardenbrook!
No; he never got so far as that. He didn't say
anything."

" I hope you are mistaken, then."

" I am not mistaken. I know how it was. I
knew at the time. Erick came along, you know,
just at the right minute."

" Did Posie tell you anything ? "

"Not a word. She didn't know. Posie waa
as simple as Stephen was. She didn't under
stand anything. But if Erick had not come, just
at the right time, I know what would have hap
pened."

Mr. Hardenbrook meditated moodily, and then
took up his paper again.

" I was afraid of it ! " he said. " I don't want to
say a word against Erick "

" No, Mr. Hardenbrook, you had better not" said



NEWS. 643

his wife, tapping her foot vigorously against her
stool, as was her manner when disturbed. " You
had better not, seeing he is the husband of your
daughter. But how queer things have come out !
Your Stephen, governor of Massachusetts ! If we
had known "

" Known ! " echoed her husband. " It would
have made no difference with Posie. She pre
ferred the other, and there's an end of it."

"It might have made- a difference with me,
though. Erick don't seem to get along so aston
ishingly well, as I see. Just think, Mr. Harden-
brook ! it wouldn't have been so bad. We might
have lived in Boston."

" She has made her choice," said Mr. Harden-
brook with a sigh. " Not my choice ; but we can
not manage these things."

Wherewith the good man tried to go back to his
paper ; but the lady was still busy with her thoughts,
and could not let him alone.

"And he has got Jonto too," she observed.
"Jonto, I really think, might have staid with
us."

"Jonto is suited," said Mr. Hardenbrook shortly.
He had paid a visit to Stephen, it may be noted,
and in his secret heart was meditating another, the
first had been so good.

" Suited ! I'll warrant it. And now, you may
depend, she is as proud as a peacock."

" She isn't the only one. Proud ? yes, I have no
doubt she is; and so am I ! I am proud of my boy,



STEPHEN, M D

for he is my boy yet. He hasn't changed a jot. ex
cept lor the better."

"I should think it was a little change, to be
Governor Kay. I pity Massachusetts ! "



THE END.



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Online LibrarySusan WarnerStephen, M. D. → online text (page 34 of 34)