The Gentleman from Indiana (Chapter 5, page 2 of 9)


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Chapter 5

"To thy chamber window roving, love hath led my feet."

The Lord sent manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness. Harkless
had been five years in Plattville, and a woman's voice singing Schubert's
serenade came to him at last as he stood by the pasture bars of Jones's
field and listened and rested his dazzled eyes on the big, white face of
the moon.

How long had it been since he had heard a song, or any discourse of music
other than that furnished by the Plattville Band--not that he had not
taste for a brass band! But music that he loved always gave him an ache of
delight and the twinge of reminiscences of old, gay days gone forever.
To-night his memory leaped to the last day of a June gone seven years; to
a morning when the little estuary waves twinkled in the bright sun about
the boat in which he sat, the trim launch that brought a cheery party
ashore from their schooner to the Casino landing at Winter Harbor, far up
on the Maine coast.

It was the happiest of those last irresponsible days before he struck into
his work in the world and became a failure. To-night he saw the picture as
plainly as if it were yesterday; no reminiscence had risen so keenly
before his eyes for years: pretty Mrs. Van Skuyt sitting beside him--
pretty Mrs. Van Skuyt and her roses! What had become of her? He saw the
crowd of friends waiting on the pier for their arrival, and the dozen or
so emblazoned classmates (it was in the time of brilliant flannels) who
suddenly sent up a volley of college cheers in his honor--how plainly the
dear, old, young faces rose up before him to-night, the men from whose
lives he had slipped! Dearest and jolliest of the faces was that of Tom
Meredith, clubmate, classmate, his closest friend, the thin, red-headed
third baseman; he could see Tom's mouth opened at least a yard, it seemed,
such was his frantic vociferousness. Again and again the cheers rang out,
"Harkless! Harkless!" on the end of them. In those days everybody
(particularly his classmates) thought he would be minister to England in a
few years, and the orchestra on the Casino porch was playing "The
Conquering Hero," in his honor, and at the behest of Tom Meredith, he
knew.

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