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The Bassett Claim

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i Copyright by Ami'rican Pret As oitlon 1 : ( T'.! i was presentation day. duly attended the euíungh, to tcll tbo trnth - s were vory careful uot ramonies were rather teiuit waa of solé importance ! i that Wiudwanl íiivorito with hia classmates, and liat his friond also.was a man of standing and valué among them. Wedne3day the oíd r boys had their hoKday, and were lef c in poesw -ion of the college groir 1 ali tneir old storiesover i'iiii, and mftke their customary annual speeches and pleaa for increased academie funds, while our party of foor, cosily filling a coach, (irove abont the al city andita suburbs. It was a qniet, drowsy drive, for allfour feit the reaction from yesterday'a exertiens- but lansnor becaine Florence i'nlly :uf wel! as gayety. It waa certainly very pleasant indeed, Sfcevena thonght, to be admitted so cordially inu tliis winsome family circle and shareiheir cultnred, happy hearted ad affiictionate companionship. Not that many smart or wise things were sakl. but he conld see the family traita of ssncerity, tidelity and loving lrindness which had so drawn him to Windward reflected in all their actions and comversafcion. And Florence and a bnnch of pink rosebuds she wore on her breast certainly wnt well together. He recalled a ñoating itemfhe had read somewhere that in the Malay bongne the same word was sedforflower.and"woman, and he thought to himself that tlioee Malys were not snch barbarians after a)l, for, horticultnrally speaking, women were flowers and men only weeds, or at beet oolysabstantial, nutntions vegetables. How he wishod he dared say so, aml how he reproaehed Mroaelf that nigiit bfcaosG he.had not said so, and becausts too, ha-had flot asted ilerence tor i bml as a keersake of the ride. It wonld ha-we-beerf a natural, proper and delicate bit of attention, he refleeted, aiKl wonld have gratified her. What with his chagrín over tho wasted rosee of the past and lus anxiety respecting the "Dangers of Representative Institntion.s' in the fature Stevens made a raíher bad night of it. Bnt morning came at last, and with it the final scènes of college life. The bell rang ïnerrily, the procession was fonned and inarched to the historie old Congregational chnrch on the city green, and the crowd poured in. The plntform groaned undeï a learaed load of professors and eminent gnests. The graduating class sat in the seate of honor, where they could seo and beseen. That; famous north gallery, sacred on these festivals to ladies, never looked more radian!, and no one of the many noted beanties there outehone the lovely young Miss Basaett It was an andienoe to test the nerves of any orator, and Peter Stevens' stout heart beat fast and hard as he mounted tlie platform and made nis bows. He saw nothiug bnt a confusión of forms and colors, and bis ears were filled with a whirl of dizzy noises. Oblivion carne down like a mist on his memory, but lio held fast to the opening sentence of the h. and there was nothing to do but to .ïiarge the fog bank and trust to luck. So to it ho wwit. and to his gre&t comfort soon found he conld always see one .vo sentences ahead na he progressed. He bogan, ti; irefore, to feel more at ease nul able to pay dne attention to the ee of em]hasis and gesticulation, is in turn he dwelt with suitable apprehension oa the peril we are in from centralization, ignorant snffrage, machine jwHt ics. labor and corporal couibinations, the accmnnlation of large fortunes and the evils of luxury. Then a few gracefnl phrases in closin! and (he speech wa done. And suddenly, as he bowed his farewell, a splendid Iwuquet was tossed from the north gallery and bouuded on the platform at his feet. Blushing and coufused, he .stooped for the prize, while tbe applause broke ont afretsh, bowed to the glorious garden whence this nosegay had been detwdted, and left tbe stage. Excitedaud nnliinged by his triumphs, he dodged his friends and songht the (jniet and privacy of his room. "lam very glad it's over," lie thought to himelf. "and I don't see now how 1 ever got throngh. What a superb bonqnet! I can gaeee wlio threw it, but hre is tho tag. 'With the congraiulatiniis and best wishes of Windward'a mother and siater.' What delightful people they are anyway'' And Miss Florence -lint no, no, I must not taink of it; I most not, I will not. l have my life to make yot. It won't do, Peter!" And having Üias reuhod for the third or fonrth time this very sensible de-iion. ke chose fü' dewy pink rosebud froui the bonqoot, ktaeed it and laid it geatl; between the leave of the manuscript, folded the speech Tip, and caref nlly uit the rol! away among his treasures, i nsistiDg. as he did so, that he mnst not think of n. and was not thinking of it, and that it wooH not do. CHAPTER IIL TOM RASSOTT's (IUKST. "Wedl, and did you tindhim?"laughpl old Torn when Floy got back. She bore his searching: glaucc without wineing. "Not yei, tmcle," 8he said. "How alxut that Stevens?" hc asked. "Oh. lie was attectire and very are fcbte," shp answernd, "and he i very mart. lsappose." Shre-wd old Tom saw there ma noöiingalaimiinr in that qoarter. Ana tbos heinmed to hi twroritr Twphew. , 'W'til, Windwazd, now wbst in ti wtrrtd are yon going to doT Stady-lcw, " foad tho yontK. jtimee tboiht yon miht i -u nn,"renrkl w. mditíÍTely. tlon'i )'if that into hw Beartr remocstrateá Mts. sassen, wm was -útting by. "Why, Fanny," aaid UucleTom, with the sober air ho put on wlitti lic mi teasing people, and yet was moro than half in earneat after ili, ■it's our rnin. Don't disparage onr ruin. Ia this new country rniníi are Bcarce. They're an 'infant :ndnstry,' aivl need protection, not atteck. Why, jast see how carefully congress preserves theml" "It wiD be our 'ruin.' " suitl Mrs. Baa8ett, ''if we keep at it. " "Oh, mother!" hou 1 Windward. "Say, Florence, raother has made a joke on the claim!" Únele Tom smiled at this by-play ana went on, rther grimly: "Foreiguers say we have no ruins, bat I oould show them some abont Washington." "Yes, it's a dreadfal place," broke in Mrs. Bassett, "I hope Windwird will never go near it." "Except as a justice, mother, except as a jostioe," exclaimed the youngster. "Mighty little 'justice' theret" retorted.Mrs. Bassett. "Washington," sairt old Torn, with the calm confidence of a real estáte agent in nis toni-, "in rapidly becomingone of tho most beantifol cities in the country, and I wish I was there, if it is suminer." "Peter Stevens is going there, unele, for tbs smmner," said Windward. "His member of congress got him a clerkship so that ho could lay np a little money to start on in tho autrnnn, when our law term bcgins," OW Tom's blue eyes rested on Windward with a curióos expression. "So your friend is going to Washington - temporarily," he said. Then the old gentleman fretted a moment in his armchair and began on an anecdote. "I remember," he reinarked, "when I was in Washington, in 1853, that a youngster aamed McArdlo came to the city -temporarily. Well," but just here one of the young gentlemen who hovered aroond Miss Florence came np the path to the family frroup, and tho conversa-'' tionJjecame general. 'TU teil you about McArdlo somo other time," said Uncle Tom to Windward quietly. "It's a long story, and a pretty good one. If yon ever do go to Washington yoa must be sure and look him up." As Windward had said, Stevens spent thesummermonthsin Washington. And when the antumn came yonng Mr. Bassettlearned to bis sorrow that bis friend kad decided to stay on through the year, as he could liold his place, wlüch gave him a good salary, and study law in one of the local colleges in his abundan t leisure. Windward's first impulse was to go where he could bc. with his friend, but Mrs. Bassett would not hear of it, and, moreover, to Windward's surprise, Uncle Tom added his veto to the suggeetion. So friends were parted. With the following two years these chronicles havo little to do. Windward pursued his law studies qnietly and well, with but one notable interruption. One day that inevitable gnest, Death, camo up tlie path to the family group and laid his band of ransecration and blessing, kindly and geiitly, on the white head of old Tom Bassett. His end was easy and ieaceful. Windward fortnnately reaehed his gide in time to receive his fond and wise dying messages. "You are going to see the twenüeth eentury, Windward," he said. "I wish I might, and I hope I shall, for we read that the gift of God is eternal life. Bot, candidly, I hat about as lief be a citizen of the Unitec States for tifty years longer as an angel. Bnt I have no qnarrel with death. He kas been very patiënt. Sometiines ] have thonght it was the claim, 1've noticed in others that a claim, like tlu asthma, of ten prolonga life.'1 He talked in thi.s cheerful, playful tone constantly without rnocking, however, or frivolity and at time.-; ho grew very earneet, as when he turned to Windward after a long silence and said: '"Believe in your eonntry, its jnstioe, its greatness. itvalue. Abore all the pettinesses of the scnibble for life rise the grand ideal o elf government, like the white dome of the capítol above the shanties at ite base If the tiineB look sordid and great men small, think of the noblfi services, the splendid sarriñees of these same men in the heroir times. They wonld do the Rame ugain. Bnt I wish people wouli live for their eonntry :is willingly as thej die for it." As the end grew nearer wandere at times, and In his delirium seemcd n be reráiting the favoirite haunts of hi yonnger manhood. "He ia talking abon Rnfa ('hoatf," whiepered Mre. Basset to lier children ; "th'y were great friends He can't last long now. children." "Poor nntíe!" rxclaimed Florence burstdng into tears. "I don't know about that,' said Wind warcT (tontij, tliongh his eves were fillinp; too. Juut ou the horizon the suu burs through tlie clonds. He recognized thpm kissed and blred Üiem. Then, after a tenjgjle for breatïi, h Raid in his famil ir, kind tonea: "The bill entitled a bilí lor th relief of old Torn Bassett bas been read a third time, and is now put npon its tina] passage." Sme inartrulate frateucm followni, and then he. nrl the himd of his uiec: arwi exoirpd. [ T(' v: CM ■ ! ■■ '


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Ann Arbor Register