The Second Generation
David Graham Phillips

Part 7 out of 7

a day before the installation. You'll be delivering, your address at
eleven to-morrow morning."

"So I shall," said Dory absently.

"You say it's ready. Hadn't you better let me get it type-written for

Dory opened the bag at his feet, gave his father a roll of paper. "Please
look it over, and make any changes you like."

Dr. Hargrave began the reading then and there. He had not finished the
first paragraph when Dory interrupted with, "Why, Del, you're passing
our turning."

Del grew crimson. The doctor, without looking up or taking his mind off
the address, said: "Adelaide gave up Mrs. Dorsey's house several weeks
ago. You are living with us."

Dory glanced at her quickly and away. She said nothing. "He'll
understand," thought she--and she was right.

Only those who have had experience of the older generation out West
would have suspected the pride, the affection, the delight hiding behind
Martha Skeffington's prim and formal welcome, or that it was not
indifference but the unfailing instinct of a tender heart that made her
say, after a very few minutes: "Adelaide, don't you think Dory'd like to
look at the rooms?"

Del led the way, Dory several feet behind her--deliberately, lest he
should take that long, slender form of hers in his arms that he might
again feel her bosom swelling and fluttering against him, and her fine,
thick, luminous hair caressing his temple and his cheek. Miss Skeffington
had given them the three large rooms on the second floor--the two Dory
used to have and one more for Del. As he followed Del into the sitting
room he saw that there had been changes, but he could not note them. She
was not looking at him; she seemed to be in a dream, or walking with the
slow deliberate steps one takes in an unfamiliar and perilous path.

"That is still your bedroom," said she, indicating one of the doors.
"A stationary stand has been put in. Perhaps you'd like to freshen
up a bit."

"A stationary stand," he repeated, as if somewhat dazed before this
practical detail. "Yes--I think so."

She hesitated, went into her room, not quite closing the door behind her.
He stared at it with a baffled look. "And," he was thinking, "I imagined
I had trained myself to indifference." An object near the window caught
his eye--a table at which he could work standing. He recalled that he had
seen its like in a big furniture display at Paris when they were there
together, and that he had said he would get one for himself some day.
This hint that there might be more than mere matter in those surroundings
set his eyes to roving. That revolving bookcase by the desk, the circular
kind he had always wanted, and in it the books he liked to have at
hand--Montaigne and Don Quixote, Shakespeare and Shelley and Swinburne,
the Encyclopedia, the statistical yearbooks; on top, his favorites among
the magazines. And the desk itself--a huge spread of cleared surface--an
enormous blotting pad, an ink well that was indeed a well--all just what
he had so often longed for as he sat cramped at little desks where an
attempt to work meant overflow and chaos of books and papers. And that
big inlaid box--it was full of his favorite cigarettes; and the
drop-light, and the green shade for the eyes, and the row of pencils
sharpened as he liked them--

He knocked at her door. "Won't you come out here a moment?" cried he,
putting it in that form because he had never adventured her intimate

No answer, though the door was ajar and she must have heard.

"Please come out here," he repeated.

A pause; then, in her voice, shy but resolute, the single word, "Come!"



On the green oval within and opposite the entrance to the main campus of
the great university there is the colossal statue of a master workman.
The sculptor has done well. He does not merely show you the physical
man--the mass, the strength, of bone and sinew and muscle; he reveals the
man within--the big, courageous soul. Strangers often think this statue a
personation of the force which in a few brief generations has erected
from a wilderness our vast and splendid America. And it is that; but to
Arthur and Adelaide, standing before it in a June twilight, long after
the events above chronicled, it is their father--Hiram.

"How alive he seems," says his daughter.

And his son answers: "How alive he _is_!"


Back to Full Books