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12 THE SATURDAY EVENING POST October 2, 1915 And, with a longing that passeth the understanding, he wanted to go back to bed. A suspicion of abominations and treachery chilled him still more. Down the row of cottages came Professor Tonson in a bathing suit, his lanky shanks of a gristly bareness beyond any ordinary white and rounded nudity. And the colonists were falling in behind him. Packard tried to present an impersonation of an influential and cheery broker as he called: " Guess it's too foggy for a swim this morning—eh, professor?" The professor retorted: "Certainly not ! I have a Revelation that, no matter what the weather is, we must not give up our communion with the strength of the sea. Quit ye like men; be strong! Into your bathing suit at once, brother !" The stringy-necked men and women who followed the professor, like a string of broken-down horses with the springhalt, all sniffed at William Packard's towering beef as though they did not really care so very much for quitting them like men, but, anyway, they were stronger than this lump. The flapping scarecrows disappeared into the fog like a fantastic chorus recruited from soggy November cornfields. The fog hid the shore, hid even the dunes; but Packard could fairly feel the sea. He was sure that it had never been so wet as it was that morning. He turned back into his house, looking for sympathy from Beulah. He was going to encourage her to stay in her comfortable nest and defy the professor; but he found her already struggling with the canonical Colony bathing robe for women—her ivory shoulders, like those of a priceless statue, partly covered with snuff-colored denim. "Why, Billy, you must hurry ! Didn't you hear the professor?" she said wonderingly. Finally, his bathing suit had not dried properly overnight. It was probably the clammiest thing in the fogswathed unhappy universe. On the shore, gray, weary waves rolled from under the gloomy curtain of fog, and nearer now was the foghorn's yawping warning that perils innumerous were lurking out there. He plunged into the breakers like a whale and splashed a good deal to show that he was not afraid; but he was afraid, and when he came dripping out his heart was no longer God's little garden, but weedy with resentment against Beulah and hatred for the professor. It was as he sat at a breakfast of corn chips, milk of a faint lavender hue, oat cakes, and nice sugared hot water to take off the chill of the swim, that Packard realized he almost hated Beulah, too, as she absorbed the long droning observations on the Symbolism of Mist with which the professor made breakfast jolly and gay. Her devotion to the professor threatened to destroy the sacred tenderness and respect for her that was his religion. He had to get her away from here if love was to survive. . . . And incidentally he wanted a breakfast table with a silver coffeepot and fatly sentimental buttery muffins, and a Beulah who, just risen, would praise her big brave boy for having dared to go out and swim in the fog. Clearly though Packard saw the danger to their love, he forgot it in the early afternoon, during the affair of the cow. He was sent out to fetch a cow, which had been grazing in an upland pasture. As he crossed the rolling moors; as he saw the colored hillsides with their patches of lichengreen and rose, and a yellow like the essence of sunlight; as he gazed over a sea that was clear of fog now and shone in dark blue waves, with a schooner on the far sky line—Packard was happy. He trotted uphill without a trace of the smoker's feeble panting. He felt as strong as a locomotive; his blood ran gloriously; he laughed with well-being. Then he realized that a curious itching between his fingers had been bothering him more and more all day. He stopped and spread his fingers wide, and his massive face puckered with childish discontent. He was poisoned with poison ivy. Occasionally scratching one hand with the other, he trudged up the next hill. In his eyes the ocean now shone no more than a pile of musty hay. His trusting heart had been deceived again. So he came like sulky Achilles to where the cow grazed; and, flourishing a rope halter, he growled at the animal: "Come here, you son of a mush-faced rabbit!" The cow turned and slumped gently away. It seemed to suppose that it was a colt in a pasture. It stopped now and then, and with its ludicrous hoofs coyly patted the earth before humping itself on again. Packard was too much engaged in paddling after it, in shaking his big red fist and bellowing illimitable curses, to see a silent-running motor car stop on the State Road, at the farther side of the field. His name was called. He stopped. In the car were two brokers he had known in Boston. They were smoking large cigars; they were wearing hats like chorus men in a Palm Beach musical comedy; they looked insultingly well-fed; and they were accompanied by two girls of the sort who had always sighed "Oh, Mr. Packard!" at him. He turned away in dignity. He paid no attention to their shouts. He—William Packard, who had stalked down Tremont Street looking every man in the face—hid in a patch of weeds until the motor car had driven away. And for hours he fancied he could still smell the incense of those large Olympian cigars, still catch some aroma of the biggest steak in the world, simply wallowing in onions. And he still had a cow to catch; in fact, any time during the next half hour it might truthfully have been noted that he still had a cow to catch. When he reached home, expecting Beulah to comfort him, she was in tears. . . . A female neighbor, a lady of more ideals than bosom, had complained to Professor Tonson that Beulah's pet vice, the silken robe she wore for Packard, was a Stumblingblock; and the professor had had a Revelation that Beulah must give it to be sold for the Nature Gospel Fund. Packard began: "Why, the rotten old scoundrel! I'll make him give back your pretty. I'll make him eat Beulah interrupted in a manner of horror: "Bill! You are sacrilegious!" He went to sit on the miserable pine doorstep and brood of a future in which his beloved would drive him away by her childish faith in Predigested Nature. The fog was again creeping over dune and sea. It was an hour before their supper, and it was Thursday. Thursday supper always consisted of lentil chops, chicory salad and lukewarm coffee substitute, a repast that could scarcely be trusted to make him to leap like the young roe or the dancing doe, with Optimism Invincible, or any of the other standard brands of optimism in which the professor dealt. He could not stand it, he felt. And he would not stand it ! But the awe of love was on him; he was afraid to kick Beulah's idol. He would never be able to revolt if he hesitated for one single minute. He made himself lumber up from the step like a great brown bear unwillingly rising from a blueberry bush. He trotted through the sneaking fog, his linen robe rustling against his legs. As he ran he had a joyous vision of finding Professor Tonson secretly enjoying a steak or a smoke; of exposing him; of breaking up the Nature Colony; of returning to Boston with Beulah; of eating all the chops between Brockton and Portland in one enormous gorge, during which he would laugh at the professor—but he found the professor beautifully meditative and reading Bergson's Creative Evolution. His mustache shone with silver. He was a saintly sight. His poise was so perfect that Packard felt like an iceman. "Say, I want to see you!" he said. "And you do, brother," beamed the professor. "Say, you! Look here ! Whatyuhmean by ff "Ah! The little matter of Sister Beulah's vain gauds?" "I don't know anything about her gods, and don't spring that mystic dope on me again. D'yuh hear?" The professor and Packard were equally aghast at the snarl with which the last words came out. It was as though the old Bill Packard, the unredeemed, had come stamping in, seized the conversation and shaken it by its ratty neck. Packard expected to be answered with a flood of the professor's contempt. He would bluff it out. He tried to remember how much stronger than the professor he was. He stood big and red and fist-clenched—feeling like a fool. But the professor answered timidly: "Very well; I'll r-r-r-return the robe at once, B-Brother Packard." "Oh, you will, eh? Say, do you know what you're going to do next? You're going to have a Revelation that Beulah and me are to return to Boston and eat meat and smoke our—smoke my head off ! You're going to have one of the overpoweringest Revelations you ever had that what Beulah needs is—oh, music and all that highbrow stuff— or darn near anything else that she can't find outside the city. Get me, Tonson? If you don't feel symptoms of that Revelation coming on pretty quick sudden, I'm going to beat you till your right ear and left foot change places !" Packard banged his fist on the professor's light reading table as once he had banged it on desks and things in offices. The table split in twain. The professor put his hand to his breast. Again Packard roared: "I've been getting into very decent ringside shape, and if —you—don't—have—that—Revelation —" "But if I do?" piped the professor with the voice of a much smaller and less dignified man than himself. " It'll be worth five hundred dollars to you!" "I'll take you!" said the professor. "If it wouldn't be too much trouble for you to make out just a little memo. of that agreement? Of course, my dear friend, if the Revelation isn't granted to me the agreement's off; but if it does come "D'you find you feel any Telepathic Premonitions of its coming, heh?" "Why, seriously, I think I do," said the professor with quiet gravity. Packard scribbled the agreement and handed it over with a curt: " Here y'are." "Thanks! . . . Say, Packard, what the devil made you take so long in coming down to business?" " D'you mean to say I could have bought out Beulah and me any time?" "Why, sure !" The two men grinned at each other. " Have a cigar?" said the professor. As they both lighted up the professor continued: "By the way, of course I know you're planning to do me out of the five hundred dollars you've agreed to, and probably you could do it. And I'll tear it up if you'll put three thousand dollars into stock in my plant here. Paid eighteen per cent last year. See the books if you want to." "You're on !" said Packard. "Give you a check any time—after the Revelation. Say, make the Revelation so it won't hurt Beulah's feelings, you know—so's the poor kid'll really be glad to go to Boston, you know." "Oh, sure!" "Say, prof, when you come up to town, how about a little dinner, eh? Like dinner at the Victorian?" "A' right ! Glad to. And I'm due in town pretty soon, Packard. I'm about at my limit on vegetables." "Say, old hoss, I got a hunch ! Wouldn't we make a little on the side if we opened a sort of summer Chautauqua here?" "Not a bad idea," blandly considered the professor. "Be willing to go in on it?" "Sure!" "We'll talk it over. Anything I can do for you after I get the Revelation?" "Yes, by gum, there is! You can give me a pair of pants." When he first returned to Boston Packard started to make up for lost (Continued on Page 65) Two Brown, Bright•Byed Children Da! for Clams and Jkipped Across the Flats


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