The Hohenzollerns in America
Stephen Leacock

Part 4 out of 4

Mr. Edward Sims. Being somewhat afflicted with gout, he
generally sits with one foot up on a chair. On a brass
table beside him are such things as Mr. Sims needs. But
they are few. Wealthy as he is, the needs of Mr. Sims
reach scarcely further than Martini cocktails and Egyptian
cigarettes. Such poor comforts as these, brought by a
deferential waiter, with, let us say, a folded newspaper
at five o'clock, suffice for all his wants. Here sits
Mr. Sims till the shadows fall in the street outside,
when a limousine motor trundles up to the club and rolls
him home.

And here of an afternoon Mr. Sims talks to me of his
college days when he was young. The last thirty years of
his life have moved in so gentle a current upon so smooth
a surface that they have been without adventure. It is
the stormy period of his youth that preoccupies my friend
as he sits looking from the window of the club at the
waving leaves in the summer time and the driving snow in
the winter.

I am of that habit of mind that makes me prone to listen.
And for this, perhaps, Mr. Sims selects me as the recipient
of the stories of his college days. It is, it seems, the
fixed belief of my good friend that when he was young he
belonged at college to a particularly nefarious crowd or
group that exists in his mind under the name of the "old
gang." The same association, or corporate body or whatever
it should be called, is also designated by Mr. Sims, the
"old crowd," or more simply and affectionately "the boys."
In the recollection of my good friend this "old gang"
were of a devilishness since lost off the earth. Work
they wouldn't. Sleep they despised. While indoors they
played poker in a blue haze of tobacco smoke with beer
in jugs and mugs all round them. All night they were out
of doors on the sidewalk with linked arms, singing songs
in chorus and jeering at the city police.

Yet in spite of life such as this, which might appear to
an outsider wearing to the intellect, the "old gang" as
recollected by Mr. Sims were of a mental brilliancy that
eclipses everything previous or subsequent. McGregor of
the Class of '85 graduated with a gold medal in Philosophy
after drinking twelve bottles of lager before sitting
down to his final examination. Ned Purvis, the football
half-back, went straight from the football field after
a hard game with his ankle out of joint, drank half a
bottle of Bourbon Rye and then wrote an examination in
Greek poetry that drew tears from the President of the

Mr. Sims is perhaps all the more prone to talk of these
early days insomuch that, since his youth, life, in the
mere material sense, has used him all too kindly. At an
early age, indeed at about the very time of his graduation,
Mr. Sims came into money,--not money in the large and
frenzied sense of a speculative fortune, begetting care
and breeding anxiety, but in the warm and comfortable
inheritance of a family brewery, about as old and as
well-established as the Constitution of the United States.
In this brewery, even to-day, Mr. Sims, I believe, spends
a certain part, though no great part, of his time. He is
carried to it, I understand, in his limousine in the
sunnier hours of the morning; for an hour or so each day
he moves about among the warm smell of the barley and
the quiet hum of the machinery murmuring among its dust.

There is, too, somewhere in the upper part of the city
a huge, silent residence, where a noiseless butler adjusts
Mr. Sims's leg on a chair and serves him his dinner in
isolated luxury.

But the residence, and the brewery, and with them the
current of Mr. Sims's life move of themselves.

Thus has care passed Mr. Sims by, leaving him stranded
in a club chair with his heavy foot and stick beside him.

Mr. Sims is a bachelor. Nor is he likely now to marry:
but this through no lack of veneration or respect for
the sex. It arises, apparently, from the fact that when
Mr. Sims was young, during his college days, the beauty
and charm of the girls who dwelt in his college town was
such as to render all later women mere feeble suggestions
of what might have been. There was, as there always is,
one girl in particular. I have not heard my friend speak
much of her. But I gather that Kate Dashaway was the kind
of girl who might have made a fit mate even for the sort
of intellectual giant that flourished at Mr. Sims's college.
She was not only beautiful. All the girls remembered by
Mr. Sims were that. But she was in addition "a good head"
and "a good sport," two of the highest qualities that, in
Mr. Sims's view, can crown the female sex. She had, he
said, no "nonsense" about her, by which term Mr. Sims
indicated religion. She drank lager beer, played tennis as
well as any man in the college, and smoked cigarettes a
whole generation in advance of the age.

Mr. Sims, so I gather, never proposed to her, nor came
within a measurable distance of doing so. A man so prone,
as is my friend, to spend his time in modest admiration
of the prowess of others is apt to lag behind. Miss
Dashaway remains to Mr. Sims, as all else does, a retrospect
and a regret.

But the chief peculiarities of the old gang--as they
exist in the mind of Mr. Sims--is the awful fate that
has overwhelmed them. It is not merely that they are
scattered to the four corners of the continent. That
might have been expected. But, apparently, the most awful
moral ruin has fallen upon them. That, at least, is the
abiding belief of Mr. Sims.

"Do you ever hear anything of McGregor now?" I ask him

"No," he says, shaking his head quietly. "I understand
he went all to the devil."

"How was that?"

"Booze," says Mr. Sims. There is a quiet finality about
the word that ends all discussion.

"Poor old Curly!" says Mr. Sims, in speaking of another
of his classmates. "I guess he's pretty well down and
out these days."

"What's the trouble?" I say.

Mr. Sims moves his eyes sideways as he sits. It is easier
than moving his head.

"Booze," he says.

Even apparent success in life does not save Mr. Sims's

"I see," I said one day, "that they have just made Arthur
Stewart a Chief Justice out west."

"Poor old Artie," murmured Mr. Sims. "He'll have a hard
time holding it down. I imagine he's pretty well tanked
up all the time these days."

When Mr. Sims has not heard of any of his associates for
a certain lapse of years, he decides to himself that they
are down and out. It is a form of writing them off. There
is a melancholy satisfaction in it. As the years go by
Mr. Sims is coming to regard himself and a few others as
the lonely survivors of a great flood. All the rest,
brilliant as they once were, are presumed to be "boozed,"
"tanked," "burnt out," "bust-up," and otherwise consumed.

After having heard for so many years the reminiscences
of my good friend about the old gang, it seemed almost
incredible that one of them should step into actual living
being before my eyes. Yet so it happened.

I found Mr. Sims at the club one day, about to lunch
there, a thing contrary to his wont. And with him was a
friend, a sallow, insignificant man in the middle fifties,
with ragged, sandy hair, wearing thin.

"Shake hands with Tommy Vidal," said Mr. Sims proudly.

If he had said, "Shake hands with Aristotle," he couldn't
have spoken with greater pride.

This then was Tommy Vidal, the intellectual giant of whom
I had heard a hundred times. Tommy had, at college, so
Mr. Sims had often assured me, the brightest mind known
since the age of Pericles. He took the prize in Latin
poetry absolutely "without opening a book." Latin to
Tommy Vidal had been, by a kind of natural gift, born in
him. In Latin he was "a whale." Indeed in everything. He
had passed his graduation examination with first class
honours; "plastered." He had to be held in his seat, so
it was recorded, while he wrote.

Tommy, it seemed, had just "blown in" to town that morning.
It was characteristic of Mr. Sims's idea of the old gang
that the only way in which any of them were supposed to
enter a town was to "blow in."

"When did you say you 'blew in,' Tommy?" he asked about
half a dozen times during our lunch. In reality, the
reckless, devil-may-care fellow Vidal had "blown in" to
bring his second daughter to a boarding school--a thing
no doubt contemplated months ahead. But Mr. Sims insisted
in regarding Tommy's movements as purely fortuitous, the
sport of chance. He varied his question by asking "When
do you expect to 'blow out' Tommy?" Tommy's answers he
forgot at once.

We sat and talked after lunch, and it pained me to notice
that Tommy Vidal was restless and anxious to get away.
Mr. Sims offered him cigars, thick as ropes and black as
night, but he refused them. It appeared that he had long
since given up smoking. It affected his eyes, he said.
The deferential waiter brought brandy and curacoa in long
thin glasses. But Mr. Vidal shook his head. He hadn't
had a drink, he said, for twenty years. He found it
affected his hearing. Coffee, too, he refused. It affected,
so it seemed, his sense of smell. He sat beside us, ill
at ease, and anxious, as I could see, to get back to his
second daughter and her schoolmistresses. Mr. Sims, who
is geniality itself in his heart, but has no great powers
in conversation, would ask Tommy if he remembered how he
acted as Antigone in the college play, and was "plastered"
from the second act on. Mr. Vidal had no recollection of
it, but wondered if there was any good book-store in town
where he could buy his daughter an Algebra. He rose when
he decently could and left us. As Mr. Sims saw it, he
"blew out."

Mr. Sims is kindliness itself in his judgments. He passed
no word of censure on his departed friend. But a week or
so later he mentioned to me in conversation that Tommy
Vidal had "turned into a kind of stiff." The vocabulary
of Mr. Sims holds no term of deeper condemnation than
the word "stiff." To be a "stiff" is the last form of

It is strange that when a thing happens once, it forthwith
happens twice or even more. For years no member of the
"old gang" had come in touch with Mr. Sims. Yet the visit
of Tommy Vidal was followed at no great distance of time
by the "blowing in" of Ned Purvis.

"Well, well!" said Mr. Sims, as he opened one afternoon
a telegram that the deferential waiter brought upon a
tray. "This beats all! Old Ned Purvis wires that he's,
going to blow in to town to-night at seven."

Forthwith Mr. Sims fell to ordering dinner for the three
of us in a private room, with enough of an assortment of
gin cocktails and Scotch highballs to run a distillery,
and enough Vichy water and imported soda for a bath. "I
know old Ned!" he said as he added item after item to
the list.

At seven o'clock the waiter whispered, as in deep
confidence, that there was a gentleman below for Mr.

It so happened that on that evening my friend's foot was
in bad shape, and rested on a chair. At his request I
went from the lounge room of the club downstairs to
welcome the new arrival.

Purvis I knew all about. My friend had spoken of him a
thousand times. He had played half-back on the football
team--a big hulking brute of a fellow. In fact, he was,
as pictured by Mr. Sims, a perfect colossus. And he played
football--as did all Mr. Sims's college chums--"plastered."
"Old Ned," so Mr. Sims would relate, "was pretty well
'soused' when the game started: but we put a hose at him
at half-time and got him into pretty good shape." All
men in any keen athletic contest, as remembered by Mr.
Sims, were pretty well "tanked up." For the lighter,
nimbler games such as tennis, they were reported
"spifflocated" and in that shape performed prodigies of

"You'll know Ned," said Mr. Sims, "by his big shoulders."
I went downstairs.

The reception room below was empty, except for one man,
a little, gentle-looking man with spectacles. He wore
black clothes with a waistcoat reaching to the throat,
a white tie and a collar buttoned on backwards. Ned Purvis
was a clergyman! His great hulking shoulders had gone
the way of all my good friend's reminiscences.

I brought him upstairs.

For a moment, in the half light of the room, Mr. Sims
was still deceived.

"Well, Ned!" he began heartily, with a struggle to rise
from his chair--then he saw the collar and tie of the
Rev. Mr. Purvis, and the full horror of the thing dawned
upon him. Nor did the three gin cocktails, which Mr. Sims
had had stationed ready for the reunion, greatly help
its geniality. Yet it had been a maxim, in the recollections
of Mr. Sims, that when any of the boys blew in anywhere
the bringing of drinks must be instantaneous and uproarious.

Our dinner that night was very quiet.

Mr. Purvis drank only water. That, with a little salad,
made his meal. He had a meeting to address that evening
at eight, a meeting of women--"dear women" he called
them--who had recently affiliated their society with the
work that some of the dear women in Mr. Purvis's own town
were carrying on. The work, as described, boded no good
for breweries. Mr. Purvis's wife, so it seemed, was with
him and would also "take the platform."

As best we could we made conversation.

"I didn't know that you were married," said Mr. Sims.

"Yes," said Mr. Purvis, "married, and with five dear boys
and three dear girls." The eight of them, he told us,
were a great blessing. So, too, was his wife--a great
social worker, it seemed, in the cause of women's rights
and a marvellous platform speaker in the temperance

"By the way, Mr. Sims," said Mr. Purvis (they had called
one another "Mr." after the first five minutes), "you
may remember my wife. I think perhaps you knew her in
our college days. She was a Miss Dashaway."

Mr. Sims bowed his head over his plate, as another of
his lost illusions vanished into thin air.

After Mr. Purvis had gone, my friend spoke out his
mind--once and once only, and more in regret than anger.

"I'm afraid," he said, "that old Ned has turned into a

It was only to be expected that the visits of later
friends--the "boys" who happened to "blow in"--were
disappointments. Art Hamilton, who came next, and who
had been one of the most brilliant men of the Class of
'86 had turned somehow into a "complete mutt." Jake Todd,
who used to write so brilliantly in the college paper,
as recollected by Mr. Sims, was now the editor of a big
New York daily. Good things might have been expected of
him, but it transpired that he had undergone "wizening
of the brain." In fact, a number of Mr. Sims's former
friends had suffered from this cruel disease, consisting
apparently of a shrinkage or contraction of the cerebellum.

Mr. Sims spoke little of his disappointments. But I knew
that he thought much about them. They set him wondering.
There were changes here that to the thoughtful mind called
for investigation.

So I was not surprised when he informed me that it was
his intention to visit "the old place" and have a look
at it. The "old place," called also the "old shop,"
indicated, as I knew, Mr. Sims's college, the original
scene of the exploits of the old gang. In the thirty
years since he had graduated, though separated from it
only by two hundred miles, Mr. Sims had never revisited
it. So is it always with the most faithful of the sons
of learning. The illumination of the inner eye is better
than the crude light of reality. College reunions are
but for the noisy lip service of the shallow and the
interested. The deeper affection glows in the absent

My friend invited me to "come along." We would, he said,
"blow in" upon the place and have a look at it.

It was in the fullness of the spring time that we went,
when the leaves are out on the college campus, and when
Commencement draws near, and when all the college, even
the students, are busy.

Mr. Sims, I noted when I joined him at the train, was
dressed as for the occasion. He wore a round straw hat
with a coloured ribbon, and light grey suit, and a necktie
with the garish colours of the college itself. Thus
dressed, he leaned as lightly as his foot allowed him
upon a yellow stick, and dreamed himself again an

I had thought the purpose of his visit a mere curiosity
bred in his disappointment. It appeared that I was wrong.
On the train Mr. Sims unfolded to me that his idea in
"blowing in" upon his college was one of benefaction. He
had it in his mind, he said, to do something for the "old
place," no less a thing than to endow a chair. He explained
to me, modestly as was his wont, the origin of his idea.
The brewing business, it appeared, was rapidly reaching
a stage when it would have to be wound up. The movement
of prohibition would necessitate, said Mr. Sims, the
closing of the plant. The prospect, in the financial
sense, occasioned my friend but little excitement. I was
given to understand that prohibition, in the case of Mr.
Sims's brewery, had long since been "written off" or
"written up" or at least written somewhere where it didn't
matter. And the movement itself Mr. Sims does not regard
as permanent. Prohibition, he says, is bound to be washed
out by a "turn of the tide"; in fact, he speaks of this
returning wave of moral regeneration much as Martin Luther
might have spoken of the Protestant Reformation. But for
the time being the brewery will close. Mr. Sims had
thought deeply, it seemed, about putting his surplus
funds into the manufacture of commercial alcohol, itself
a noble profession. For some time his mind has wavered
between that and endowing a chair of philosophy. There
is, and always has been, a sort of natural connection
between the drinking of beer and deep quiet thought. Mr.
Sims, as a brewer, felt that philosophy was the proper

We left the train, walked through the little town and
entered the university gates.

"Gee!" said Mr. Sims, pausing a moment and leaning on
his stick, "were the gates only as big as that?"

We began to walk up the avenue.

"I thought there were more trees to it than these," said
Mr. Sims.

"Yes," I answered. "You often said that the avenue was
a quarter of a mile long."

"So the thing used to be," he murmured.

Then Mr. Sims looked at the campus. "A dinky looking
little spot," he said.

"Didn't you say," I asked, "that the Arts Building was
built of white marble?"

"Always thought it was," he answered. "Looks like rough
cast from here, doesn't it."

"We'll have to go in and see the President, I suppose,"
continued Mr. Sims. He said it with regret. Something of
his undergraduate soul had returned to his body. Although
he had never seen the President (this one) in his life,
and had only read of his appointment some five years
before in the newspapers, Mr. Sims was afraid of him.

"Now, I tell you," he went on. "We'll just make a break
in and then a quick get-away. Don't let's get anchored
in there, see? If the old fellow gets talking, he'll go
on for ever. I remember the way it used to be when a
fellow had to go in to see Prexy in my time. The old guy
would start mooning away and quoting Latin and keep us
there half the morning."

At this moment two shabby-looking, insignificant men who
had evidently come out from one of the buildings, passed
us on the sidewalk.

"I wonder who those guys are," said Mr. Sims. "Look like
bums, don't they?"

I shook my head. Some instinct told me that they were
professors. But I didn't say so.

My friend continued his instructions.

"When the President asks us to lunch," he said, "I'll
say that we're lunching with a friend down town, see?
Then we'll make a break and get out. If he says he wants
to introduce us to the Faculty or anything like that,
then you say that we have to get the twelve-thirty to
New York, see? I'm not going to say anything about a
chair in philosophy to-day. I want to read it up first
some night so as to be able to talk about it."

To all of this I agreed.

From a janitor we inquired where to find the President.

"In the Administration Building, eh?" said Mr. Sims.
"That's a new one on me. The building on the right, eh?
Thank you."

"See the President?" said a young lady in an ante-office.
"I'm not sure whether you can see him just now. Have you
an appointment?"

Mr. Sims drew out a card. "Give him that" he said. On
the card he had scribbled "Graduate of 1887."

In a few minutes we were shown into another room where
there was a young man, evidently the President's secretary,
and a number of people waiting.

"Will you kindly sit down," murmured the young man, in
a consulting-room voice, "and wait? The President is
engaged just now."

We waited. Through the inner door leading to the President
people went and came. Mr. Sims, speaking in whispers,
continued to caution me on the quickness of our get-away.

Presently the young man touched him on the shoulder.

"The President will see you now," he whispered.

We entered the room. The "old guy" rose to meet us, Mr.
Sims's card in his hand. But he was not old. He was at
least ten years younger than either of us. He was, in
fact, what Mr. Sims and I would almost have called a boy.
In dress and manner he looked as spruce and busy as the
sales manager of a shoe factory.

"Delighted to see you, gentlemen," he said, shaking hands
effusively. "We are always pleased to see our old graduates,
Mr. Samson--No, I beg pardon, Mr. Sims--class of '97, I
see--No, I beg your pardon, Class of '67, I read it

I heard Mr. Sims murmuring something that seemed to
contain the words "a look around."

"Yes, yes, exactly," said the President. "A look round,
you'll find a great deal to interest you in looking about
the place, I'm sure, Mr. Samson, great changes. I'm
extremely sorry I can't offer to take you round myself,"
here he snapped a gold watch open and shut, "the truth
is I have to catch the twelve-thirty to New York--so

Then he shook our hands again, very warmly.

In another moment we were outside the door. The get-away
was accomplished.

We walked out of the building and towards the avenue.

As we passed the portals of the Arts Building, a noisy,
rackety crowd of boys--evidently, to our eyes, schoolboys
--came out, jostling and shouting. They swarmed past us,
accidentally, no doubt, body-checking Mr. Sims, whose
straw hat was knocked off and rolled on the sidewalk.
A janitor picked it up for him as the crowd of boys

"What pack of young bums are those?" asked Mr. Sims.
"You oughtn't to let young roughs like that come into
the buildings. Are they here from some school or something?"

"No sir," said the janitor. "They're students."

"Students?" repeated Mr. Sims. "And what are they shouting
like that for?"

"There's a notice up that their professor is ill, and so
the class is cancelled, sir."

"Class!" said Mr. Sims. "Are those a class?"

"Yes, sir," said the janitor. "That's the Senior Class
in Philosophy."

Mr. Sims said nothing. He seemed to limp more than his
custom as we passed down the avenue.

On the way home on the train he talked much of crude
alcohol and the possibilities of its commercial manufacture.

So far as I know, his only benefaction up to date has
been the two dollars that he gave to a hackman to drive
us away from the college.

6.--Fetching the Doctor: From Recollections of
Childhood in the Canadian Countryside

We lived far back in the country, such as it used to be
in Canada, before the days of telephones and motor cars,
with long lonely roads and snake fences buried in deep
snow, and with cedar swamps where the sleighs could hardly
pass two abreast. Here and there, on a winter night, one
saw the light in a farm house, distant and dim.

Over it all was a great silence such as people who live
in the cities can never know.

And on us, as on the other families of that lonely
countryside, there sometimes fell the sudden alarm of
illness, and the hurrying drive through the snow at night
to fetch the doctor from the village, seven miles away.

My elder brother and I--there was a long tribe of us, as
with all country families--would hitch up the horse by
the light of the stable lantern, eager with haste and
sick with fear, counting the time till the doctor could
be there.

Then out into the driving snow, urging the horse that
knew by instinct that something was amiss, and so mile
after mile, till we rounded the corner into the single
street of the silent village.

Late, late at night it was--eleven o'clock, perhaps--and
the village dark and deep in sleep, except where the
light showed red against the blinds of the "Surgery" of
the doctor's rough-cast house behind the spruce trees.

"Doctor," we cried, as we burst in, "hurry and come.
Jim's ill--"

I can see him still as he sat there in his surgery, the
burly doctor, rugged and strong for all the sixty winters
that he carried. There he sat playing chess--always he
seemed to be playing chess--with his son, a medical
student, burly and rugged already as himself.

"Shut the door, shut the door!" he called. "Come in,
boys; here, let me brush that snow off you--it's my move
Charlie, remember--now, what the devil's the matter?"

Then we would pant out our hurried exclamations, both

"Bah!" he growled, "ill nothing! Mere belly ache, I

That was his term, his favorite word, for an undiagnosed
disease--"belly ache." They call it supergastral aesthesia
now. In a city house, it sounds better. Yet how we hung
upon the doctor's good old Saxon term, yearning and hoping
that it might be that.

But even as he growled the doctor had taken down a lantern
from a hook, thrown on a huge, battered fur coat that
doubled his size, and was putting medicines--a very
shopful it seemed--into a leather case.

"Your horse is done up," he said. "We'll put my mare in.
Come and give me a hand, Charlie."

He was his own hostler and stable-man, he and his burly
son. Yet how quickly and quietly he moved, the lantern
swinging on his arm, as he buckled the straps. "What kind
of a damn fool tug is this you've got?" he would say.

Then, in a moment, as it seemed, out into the wind and
snow again, the great figure of the doctor almost filling
the seat of the cutter, the two of us crushed in beside
him, with responsibility, the unbearable burden, gone
from us, and renewed comfort in our hearts.

Little is said on the way: our heads are bent against
the storm: the long stride of the doctor's mare eats up
the flying road.

Then as we near the farm house and see the light in the
sick-room window, fear clutches our hearts again.

"You boys unhitch," says the doctor. "I'll go right in."

Presently, when we enter the house, we find that he is
in the sick-room--the door closed. No word of comfort
has come forth. He has sent out for hot blankets. The
stoves are to be kept burning. We must sit up. We may be
needed. That is all.

And there in that still room through the long night, he
fights single-handed against Death. Behind him is no
human help, no consultation, no wisdom of the colleges
to call in; only his own unaided strength, and his own
firm purpose and that strange instinct in the fight for
a flickering life, that some higher power than that of
colleges has planted deep within his soul.

So we watch through the night hours, in dull misery and
fear, a phantom at the window pane: so must we wait till
the slow morning shows dim and pale at the windows.

Then he comes out from the room. His face is furrowed
with the fatigue of his long vigil. But as he speaks the
tone of his voice is as that of one who has fought and

"There--he'll do now. Give him this when he wakes."

Then a great joy sweeps over us as the phantom flees
away, and we shudder back into the warm sunshine of life,
while the sound of the doctor's retreating sleighbells
makes music to our ears.

And once it was not so. The morning dawned and he did
not come from the darkened room: only there came to our
listening ears at times the sound of a sob or moan, and
the doctor's voice, firm and low, but with all hope gone
from it.

And when at last he came, his face seemed old and sad as
we had never seen it. He paused a moment on the threshold
and we heard him say, "I have done all that I can." Then
he beckoned us into the darkened room, and, for the first
time, we knew Death.

All that is forty years ago.

They tell me that, since then, the practice of medicine
has been vastly improved. There are specialists now, I
understand, for every conceivable illness and for every
subdivision of it. If I fall ill, there is a whole battery
of modern science to be turned upon me in a moment. There
are X-rays ready to penetrate me in all directions. I
may have any and every treatment--hypnotic, therapeutic
or thaumaturgic--for which I am able to pay.

But, oh, my friends, when it shall come to be my lot to
be ill and stricken--in the last and real sense, with
the Great Fear upon me, and the Dark Phantom at the
pane--then let some one go, fast and eager--though it be
only in the paths of an expiring memory--fast and eager,
through the driving snow to bring him to my bedside. Let
me hear the sound of his hurrying sleighbells as he comes,
and his strong voice without the door--and, if that may
not be, then let me seem at least to feel the clasp of
his firm hand to guide me without fear to the Land of
Shadows, where he has gone before.


Back to Full Books