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who became well-nigh apologetic on finding me so amenable, and who, I daresay, might have taken up a different tone had he guessed that I was at least as eager to be off my bargain as he was to repudiate his. We did not part without exchanging assurances of mutual esteem and regret. No sooner had the door closed behind him than I skipped round and round the breakfast-table with the agility of a fawn. ‘Oh, Liberty,’ I ejaculated, ‘what crimes would I not commit in thy name ! Yet here, by the uncovenanted mercy of Mackworth, I stand—blameless, emancipated, rejected I’ll despatch a cheque to the Prisoners' Aid Society as a thankoffering this very moment l’ Having performed that clearly indicated duty, I went forth to take the air. My exultation was such that I verily believe I could have given any man of my own calibre a half and a beating that morning; but I had no wish to play golf; I was quite content to commune blissfully with my own freed spirit. So I made for the shore, and somehow—I can't tell why—it seemed to me to be only in the natural sequence of things that I should come upon Hilda, perambulating the sands in the sunshine and the wind, just as if she had been waiting for me there, prescient of my glad tidings. I took off my cap to her, flung it high, and caught it as it fell. * Rejoice with me !” I cried ; “ rejoice with me, for I have lost the links that I had found !” She raised her eyebrows and smiled. “Already ?” she asked. “I suppose,” said I, with that sobering sensation of having made a gratuitous fool of myself which Hilda is given to bestowing upon me when I deserve it, “ you knew it was only a question of time.” ‘I didn’t know,” she answered; “but yesterday afternoon I began to have hopes. There seemed at last to be a chance of the young woman's recognising how impossible you are for her.’ “Be that as it may,” I observed, “her papa recognises it. He has just been telling me so in your own well-chosen words.” We sat down upon the silvery bent in a sheltered hollow of the dunes, and when I had briefly narrated the gist of my interview with Lord Akindrum, Hilda said: ‘Now, Jack, I do hope this will be a lesson to you. You have had a precious narrow squeak, and it only shows—' ‘It does indeed ' ' I agreed, as she paused. “I should like to promise that I won't for the future take any important step without consulting you; but unhappily I cannot. Even friendship must cease when one's friends die, and it would be vain to pretend that Hilda Corbet won’t die for me on the day when she becomes Hilda Mackworth.” ‘Oh, if that's all,” she made calm reply, “our friendship may survive a while yet; for Mackworth was given his release an hour ago. He was rude and impertinent—the poor man has no manners, as you know—but he said he must concur unreservedly in my opinion that he had made a mistake.’ I could not refrain from once more tossing my cap into the air. ‘What you can have been thinking about when you accepted that fellow,' I exclaimed, ‘is a complete puzzle to me!’ “Is it 7” asked Hilda. “But then you're rather easily puzzled. Well, I feel sure that I wasn’t thinking about him, anyhow. Of late he has made it quite plain that no created being could live with him and not think about him ; so I modestly withdrew while there was still time. I am now wondering,” she continued reflectively, “whether he wouldn't be the very thing for your discarded Janet. She belongs to that rapidly diminishing class of women who simply love being hectored and bullied by their husbands.’ * : “Is it,' I inquired, ‘a fixed principle with you to find mates for your own discarded admirers ?’ ‘One tries to do what one can for them,” she replied ; “but this particular case doesn't press. What has once more become urgent is to discover a suitable mate for you.’ ‘Don’t l’ I implored her; ‘the quest would be foredoomed to failure. I shall never marry.’ * Nover ?? “Never, I repeated firmly. “Unless— At this juncture Hilda's eyes met mine and we broke out into a simultaneous quavering laugh.
‘You’re putting me in a most absurd position, you know,” Hilda remarked, while we were walking towards the town about a quarter of an hour later; ‘you’re holding me up to universal ridicule.’
‘You’ll carry it off,” I answered confidently; “there's nothing you can’t carry off. As for me, I am so accustomed to being ridiculous that I don’t mind it, and if you like to represent our having taken a whole year to discover that we couldn’t do without one another as entirely due to my stupidity, you’re welcome.’
“Thanks,” she returned ; “I think I’ll do so, then. The more willingly because it's true.”
t W. E. NoFRIs.
THE BOOK ON THE TABLE. 1
DR. HALE was invited lately to spend a week at the White House, and during his stay he observed the President ‘from morning till night.” He was further allowed to write down these observations, to publish them in a small volume, and to claim for his work that it is ‘by all odds the most intimate study of Mr. Roosevelt ever made public.” It is not often that distinguished men will submit to such an ordeal, but Dr. Hale is surely speaking the truth when he says that if, by such means, one could get an ‘accurate and realistic’ picture of the President (or of the dustman, we might add) nothing could exceed the interest of it. But prudence, a glance at biographies, a glance at living men and women, make us reflect that it is a perilous undertaking, and suggest a doubt whether Dr. Hale's method is really so simple as it seems. His plan, to use his own words, is to give a “verbal cinematographic study’ of the President, to sit with open eyes and let the President print his image a million times upon the retina. Chartran, Sargent, Rouland, and others have tried to secure his likeness in paint ; but he is imprisoned on canvas. The only medium that can keep pace with his moods, flowing into them as lead into a mould that is forever recast, is the medium of words. The objection to the method is perhaps that it lays too great a strain upon the reader in the first place; he receives so many shocks, and must understand so much by them; and, in the second, that words were never meant to take the place of eyes, but to interpret what they see. To enlarge upon these peculiarities, however, would be to brand oneself both dullard and pedant—an unenviable reputation, and to escape it let us own immediately that Dr. Hale's book leaves a very distinct impression. Whether you are justified in thinking that it is an impression of Mr. Roosevelt is another matter, but it should be explained at once that Dr. Hale confines himself to the character of the man, and has nothing to say of his politics. “Get the permanent features of the scene in mind,” Dr. Hale commands, in the manner of one who is about to bring off a conjuring * A Week in the White House with Theodore Roosevelt, by William Bayard Hale,
trick, and accordingly we imagine a room furnished with a large writing-table, some leather armchairs, a globe, and an “Art Nouveau lamp. There is a photograph of a bear, and a framed autograph of a sonnet, by J. J. Ingalls, called “Opportunity.’ The impression which you are to take away from this glance is naturally that the President of the United States enjoys no greater luxury than the ordinary business man, that decrees which change the face of the world are written at a commonplace table, from a substantial armchair. You may moralise as you choose upon the contrast, and if you are happily inspired the figure of the President himself, which is flashed upon the plate directly afterwards, will crown your thoughts appropriately. ‘You know his features—the close-clipped brachycephalous head, close-clipped moustache, pince-nez, square and terribly rigid jaw; hair and moustache indeterminate in colour, eyes a clear blue, cheeks and neck ruddy.” He is, in short, for there must be an end of quotation, a burly man, who prefers comfort and solidity to the refinements of art, and connects the plainness of his furniture, perhaps, with the republican virtues. From ten till half-past one every morning a procession passes through this room, ‘a panorama of the national life,' composed of men who come from all classes, and represent all professions. They ask questions, give information, lay their plaints, seek advice, receive instructions, discuss policies, or merely crack their jokes and tell their stories. The President receives each, says something, and the man goes away, content, convinced, or at the least, in a better humour because he has seen the President, and some of his illusions have been dispelled. These conversations last but a minute or two ; nevertheless, the matter is discussed thoroughly, and in almost every case some phrase is added which enlivens the interview and gives the visitor something to talk about when he gets home. Surely the President was unusually pleased to see him, or delighted to greet a descendant of Jonathan Edwards. ‘What was your mother's name 2 Then you must be descended from Jonathan Edwards. . . . He was a great man, but he had no sense of humour.” Italics, capital letters, all the resources of the printer's art are used to give effect to the explosions of the President's speech. Dr. Hale, who cannot, of course, reproduce the entire conversation, prints a number of different openings, as Mr. Roosevelt sees his visitor, advances upon him, and wrings his hand.
‘Senator, I—am GLAD to see you ! Senator, this is a-VERY great pleasure | Your daughters ? I am, indeed, pleased to have this visit from you ! How DARE you introduce yourself to me? A great pleasure—a VERY-GREAT pleasure indeed l’
But the remarkable point about these greetings is, not only that they are discriminating, but that with all their emphasis they are sincere. Contact with another human being seems to ignite some spark in the President, and the shout of laughter, the ‘mitrailleuse discharge,’ the hand-clasp, and thump upon the back represent simply the roar of the necessary explosion. When his visitor is kindled into animation and is conscious of a desire to return the blow, the business of the interview is transacted at lightning speed. Deputations forget their addresses and speak good American ; old grievances dissolve ; pedants are ashamed ; no one can be confused, or subtle, or malicious beneath such a torrent of good humour. Whatever the business may be, the President at once insists that he has personal knowledge of it, that he has driven a train, or run a fire-engine, or lived on a ranche, and is, therefore, fallible and human ; moreover, such passions have a part in the sum of civic virtue. While he talks he stands or walks about the room, throws himself on a sofa, or perches on the corner of his table; but now and then you see him write a note, or sign his name, and at intervals a secretary slips in quietly, takes the paper, and disappears. It is tempting, but perhaps inaccurate, to imagine that the great man is thus silently manipulating a thousand strings as he talks, and that the process of government is going on beneath the surface all the time. However this may be, there is no doubt that the interminable conversation fulfils other purposes besides the obvious one of allowing people to state their case to the President in person, and to receive his answer. Every man has in him something that the President does not know, and would like to possess; his talk is often but a rapid search for a fact or a point of view. “He takes up a new man with a new interest like a machine grabbing a new piece of metal to shape it to the requirement in precisely so many seconds.’ One of the results of this habit is that the President has an amazing number of facts in his brain, which have come there with their own little circle of associations round them, such as you get from talking to the actor, rather than from reading his narrative. His talk, if you listen to it for half an hour, lights with astonishing precision upon a great number of topics, most of them as far apart from each other as sport and ethics, literature and politics, law and food. “Each