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But suddenly it occurred to him that the first part of his revenge was in danger of failing. The thought struck him that his mother might not capitulate in the usual way. According to bi recollection, the time was more than due when she should come in, worried, sadly affectionate, and ask him if he was ill. It had then been his custom to hint in a resigned voice that he was the victim of secret disease, but that he preferred to suffer in silence and alone. If she was obdurate in her anxiety, he always asked her in a gloomy, low voice to go away and leave him to suffer ir silence and alone in the darkness without food. He had knowo this maneuvring to result in pie.
But what was the meaning of the long pause and the stillness Had his old and valued ruse betrayed him ? As the truth sank into his mind, he supremely loathed life, the world, his mother. Her heart was beating back the besiegers; he was a defeated child.
He wept for a time before deciding upon the final stroke. He would run away.
In a remote corner of the world he would become some sort of bloody-handed person driven to a life of crime by the barbarity of his mother. She should never know his fate. He would torture her for years with doubts and doubts and drive her implacably to a repentant grave.
Nor would his Aunt Martha escape. Some day, a century hence, when his mother was dead, he would write to his Aunt Martha and point out her part in the blighting of his life. For one blow against him now, he would in time deal back a thousand; aye, ten thousand.
He arose and took his coat and cap. As he moved stealthils toward the door he cast a glance backward at the pickle. He was tempted to take it, but he knew if he left the plate inviolate, his mother would feel even worse.
A blue snow was falling. People bowed forward were moving briskly along the walks. The electric lamps hummed amid showers of flakes. As Horace emerged from the kitchen a shrill squall drove the flakes around the corner of the house. He cowered away from it, and its violence illumed his mind vaguely in new directions. He deliberated upon a choice of remote corners of the globe. He found that he had no plans which were definite enough in a geographical way, but without much loss of time he decided upon California. He moved briskly as far as his mother's front gate on the road to California. He was off at last. His success was a trifle dreadful; his throat choked,
But at the gate he paused. He did not know if his journey to California would be shorter if he went down Niagara Avenue, or off through Hogan Street. As the storm was very cold, and the point was very important, he decided to withdraw for reflection to the wood-shed. He entered the dark shanty and took seat upon the old chopping-block, upon which he was supposed to perform for a few minutes every afternoon when he returned from school. The wind screamed and shouted at the loose boards, and there was a rift of snow on the floor to leeward of a crack.
Here the idea of starting for California on such a night departed from his mind, leaving him ruminating miserably upon his martyrdom. He saw nothing for it but to sleep all night in the wood-shed and start for California in the morning, bright and early. Thinking of his bed, he kicked over the floor and found that the innumerable chips were all frozen tightly, bedded in ice.
Later, he viewed with joy some signs of excitement in the house. The flare of a lamp moved rapidly from window to window. Then the kitchen door slammed loudly and a shawled figure sped toward the gate. At last he was making them feel his power. The shivering child's face was lit with saturnine glee as in the darkness of the wood-shed he gloated over the evidences of consternation in his home. The shawled figure had been his Aunt Martha dashing with the alarm to the neighbours.
The cold of the wood-shed was tormenting him. He endured it only because of the terror he was causing. But then, it occurred to him that if they instituted a search for him they would probably examine the wood-shed. He knew that it would not be manful to be caught so soon. He was not positive now that he was going to remain away for ever, but at any rate, he was bound to inflict some more damage before allowing himself to be captured. If he merely succeeded in making his mother angry, she would thrash him on sight. He must prolong the time in order to be safe. If he held out properly, he was sure of a welcome of love, even though he should drip with crimes.
Evidently the storm had increased, for when he went out, it swung him violently with its rough and merciless strength. Panting, stung, half-blinded with the driving flakes, he was now a waif, exiled, friendless, and poor. With a bursting heart, he thought of his home and his mother. To his forlorn vision they were as far away as Heaven.
Horace was undergoing changes of feeling so rapidly, that he was merely moved hither and then thither like a kite.
He was now aghast at the merciless ferocity of his mother. It was she who had thrust him into this wild storm, and she was perfectly indifferent to his fate, perfectly indifferent. The forlorn wanderer could no longer weep. The strong sobs caught at his throat, making his breath to come in short quick sniffles. All in him was conquered save the enigmatical childish ideal of form and manner. This principle still held out and it was the only thing between him and submission. When he surrendered, he must surrender in a way that deferred to the undefined code. He longed simply to go to the kitchen and stumble in, but his unfathomable sense of fitness forbade him.
Presently he found himself at the head of Niagara Avenue, staring through the snow into the blazing windows of Stickney's butcher-shop. Stickney was the family butcher, not so much because of a superiority to other Whilomville butchers, as because he lived next door, and had been an intimate friend of the father of Horace. Rows of glowing pigs hung head downward back of the tables which bore huge pieces of red beef. Clumps of attenuated turkey were suspended here and there. Stickney, hale and smiling, was bantering with a woman in a cloak, who, with a monster basket on her arm, was bickering for eight cents. worth of something
Horace watched them through a crusted pane. When the woman came out and passed him, he went towards the door. He touched the latch with his finger, but withdrew again suddenly to the side-walk. Inside Stickney was whistling cheerily and assorting his knives.
Finally, Horace went desperately forward, opened the door, and entered the shop. His head hung low. Stickney stopped whistling. 'Hello, young man !' he cried. “What brings you here?'
Horace halted, but said nothing. He swung one foot to and fro over the sawdust floor.
Stickney had placed his two fat hands palms downward and wide apart on the table, in the attitude of a butcher facing a customer, but now he straightened. Here,' he said. What's wrong? What's wrong, kid ?'
Nothin',' answered Horace huskily. He laboured for a
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moment with something in his throat, and afterwards added, On'y-I've-I've run away, and
“Run away?' shouted Stickney. “Run away from what? Who?'
From--from home,' answered Horace. I don't like it there any more. I—' He had arranged an oration to win the sympathy of the butcher; he had prepared a table setting forth the merits of his case in the most logical fashion, but it was as if the wind had been knocked out of his mind. “I've run away. I
Stickney reached an enormous hand over the array of beef and firmly grappled the emigrant. Then he swung himself to Horace's side. His face was stretched with laughter, and he playfully shook his prisoner. “Come-come-come.
What dashed nonsense is this? Run away, hey? Run away?' Whereupon the child's long-tried spirit found vent in howls.
Come, come,' said Stickney busily. Never mind, now, never mind. You just come along with me. It'll be all right. I'll fix it. Never you mind.'
Five minutes later the butcher, with a great ulster over his apron, was leading the boy homeward.
At the very threshold Horace raised his last flag of pride. No-no,' he sobbed. * I don't want to. I don't want to go in there.' He braced his foot against the step, and made a very respectable resistance.
Now, Horace,' cried the butcher. He thrust open the door with a bang. "Hello, there!' Across the dark kitchen the door to the living room opened, and Aunt Martha appeared. “You've found him,' she screamed.
“We've come to make a call,' roared the butcher.
At the entrance to the living room a silence fell upon them all. l'pon a couch Horace saw his mother lying limp, pale as death, her eyes gleaming with pain. There was an electric pause before she swung a waxen hand toward Horace. My child,' she murmured tremulously.
Whereupon the sinister person addressed, with a prolonged wail of grief and joy, ran to her with speed. 'Mama! Mama ! Oh, mama!' She was not able to speak in a known tongue as she folded him in her weak arms.
Aunt Martha turned defiantly upon the butcher because her face betrayed her. She was crying. She made a gesture half military, half feminine. Won't you have a glass of our roo-beer, Mr. Stickney? We make it ourselves.'
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SOME MEJIORIES OF KENSINGTON PALACE.
• Where Kensington, high o'er the neighb'ring lands,
'Midst greens and sweets, a regal fabrick stands.'—TICKELL. The charming atmosphere of the eighteenth century still hangs over Kensington Palace, and, in spite of the encroachments of London on every side, it has remained undisfigured in a peaceful oasis where the noises of the streets do not reach the ears. The modern traveller, as he stands in the courtyard and looks round at the red-brick walls, the heavy white cornices under the eaves, and the grey slate roofs, may picture to himself King William and Queen Mary in their state coach rolling up to the door, surrounded by a clattering escort of Dutch Guards in blue uniforms, whose presence was so offensive to English subjects; he may imagine Queen Anne and the Prince of Denmark directing the formal plantations of Messieurs London and Wise, their celebrated gardeners; and, later, King George the Second and Queen Caroline walking with their numerous attendants in the shady alleys which diverge from the front of the Palace.
No building in London is more connected with memories of the Court and the politics of the early part of last century.
Kensington Palace owes its origin to King William the Third's asthma, which was aggravated by the smoky atmosphere of London and rendered life at Whitehall a burden to him. Hampton Court was too far for Ministers to travel up and down for Councils; and, in 1689, William completed the purchase for 20,0001. of the Earl of Nottingham's house at Kensington, and determined to build there a palace which would be conveniently near London for Councils, yet sufficiently rural to be out of the smoke. Both William and Mary had a passion for building and gardening, and the improvement of Kensington Palace and its surroundings was, for a wbile, the chief occupation of their minds. The estate round the house consisted of some twenty-five acres; and Evelyn, who inspected the spot in the month of February following the purchase, wrote in his diary: 'I went to Kensington, which King William had bought of Lord Nottingham and altered, but was yet a patched building; but with the gardens, however, it is &