[Illustration: "WHEN I AM MARRIED WILL YOU SOUND YOUR TRUMPET HIGH UP
NEAR THE MOON?"]
_Author of "The Tin Soldier" "Contrary Mary"
"Mistress Anne" "Glory of Youth"_
_Sonus ex nubibus te revocabit a mundo_
A sound from the clouds shall call thee from this earth
ALICE BARBER STEPHENS
THE PENN PUBLISHING
I. A Major and Two Minors 7
II. Stuffed Birds 33
III. A Wolf in the Forest 61
IV. Rain and Randy's Soul 88
V. Little Sister 108
VI. Georgie-Porgie 127
VII. Mademoiselle Midas 147
VIII. Ancestors 161
IX. "T. Branch" 181
X. A Gentleman's Lie 214
XI. Wanted--a Pedestal 245
XII. Indian--Indian 263
XIII. The Whistling Sally 289
XIV. The Dancer on the Moor 313
XV. The Trumpeter Swan 333
XVI. The Conqueror 361
"When I am Married Will You Sound Your
Trumpet High Up Near the Moon?" _Frontispiece_
"It's So Heavenly to Have You Home" 9
Becky Drew A Sharp Breath--Then Faced
Dalton Squarely--"I Am Going to Marry Randy" 143
"Oh, Oh," She Whispered, "You Don't Know
How I Have Wanted You" 257
THE TRUMPETER SWAN
A MAJOR AND TWO MINORS
It had rained all night, one of the summer rains that, beginning
thunder-storm in Washington, had continued in a steaming drizzle until
There were only four passengers in the sleeper, men all of them--two in
adjoining sections in the middle of the car, a third in the
drawing-room, a fourth an intermittent occupant
of a berth at the end.
They had gone to bed unaware
of the estate
or circumstance of their
fellow-travellers, and had waked to find the train delayed by washouts,
and side-tracked until more could be learned
of the condition of the
The man in the drawing-room shone, in the few glimpses that the others
had of him, with an effulgence which was dazzling. His valet, the
in the end berth, was a smug little soul, with a
small nose which pointed
to the stars. When the door of the compartment
opened to admit breakfast there was the radiance
of a brocade
dressing-gown, the shine of a sleek head, the staccato of an imperious
Randy Paine, long and lank, in faded khaki, rose, leaned over the seat
of the section in front of him and drawled, "'It is not raining rain to
me--it's raining roses--down----'"
A pleasant laugh, and a deep voice, "Come around here and talk to me.
You're a Virginian, aren't you?"
"By the grace of God and the discrimination
of my ancestors," young
Randolph, as he dropped into the seat opposite the man with the deep
voice, saluted the dead and gone Paines.
"Then you know this part of it?"
"I was born here. In this county. It is bone of my bone and flesh of my
flesh," there was a break in the boy's voice which robbed the words of
"Hum--you love it? Yes? And I am greedy
to get away. I want wider
"Yes. Haven't seen it for three years. I thought when the war was over I
might. But I've got to be near Washington, it seems. The heat drove me
out, and somebody told me it would be cool in these hills----"
"It is, at night. By day we're not strenuous."
"I like to be strenuous. I hate inaction."
He moved restlessly. There was a crutch
by his side. Young Paine noticed
it for the first time. "I hate it."
He had a strong frame, broad shoulders and thin hips. One placed him
immediately as a man of great physical
force. Yet there was the crutch.
Randy had seen other men, broad-shouldered, thin-hipped, who had come to
worse than crutches. He did not want to think of them. He had escaped
without a scratch. He did not believe that he had lacked courage, and
there was a decoration
to prove that he had not. But when he thought of
those other men, he had no sense of his own valor. He had given so
little and they had given so much.
Yet it was not a thing to speak of. He struck, therefore, a note to
which he knew the other might respond.
"If you haven't been here before, you'll like the old places."
"I am going to one of them."
A moment's silence. Then, "That's my home. I have lived there all my
The lame man gave him a sharp glance. "I heard of it in
Washington--delightful atmosphere--and all that----"
"You are going as a--paying guest?"
A deep flush stained the younger man's face. Suddenly he broke out. "If
you knew how rotten
it seems to me to have my mother keeping--boarders----"
"My dear fellow, I hope you don't think it is going to be rotten
"No. But there are other people. And I didn't know until I came back
from France---- She had to tell me when she knew I was coming."
"She had been doing it all the time you were away?"
"Yes. Before I went we had mortgaged things to help me through the
University. I should have finished in a year if I hadn't enlisted. And
Mother insisted there was enough for her. But there wasn't with the
interest and everything--and she wouldn't sell an acre. I shan't let her
"Are you going to turn me out?"
His smile was irresistible. Randy smiled back. "I suppose you think I'm
"Yes. For being ashamed
Randy's head went up. "I'm not ashamed
of the boarding-house. I am
ashamed to have my mother work."
"So," said the lame man, softly, "that's it? And your name is Paine?"
"Randolph Paine of King's Crest. There have been a lot of us--and not a
piker in the lot."
"I am Mark Prime."
"Major Prime of the 135th?"
The other nodded. "The wonderful 135th--God, what men they were----" his
Randy made his little gesture
of salute. "They were that. I don't wonder
you are proud of them."
"It was worth all the rest," the Major said, "to have known my men."
He looked out of the window at the drizzle of rain. "How quiet the world
seems after it all----"
Then like the snap of bullets came the staccato voice through the open
door of the compartment.
"Find out why we are stopping in this beastly
hole, Kemp, and get me
something cold to drink."
Kemp, sailing down the aisle, like a Lilliputian drum major, tripped
over Randy's foot.
"Beg pardon, sir," he said, and sailed on.
Randy looked after him. "'His Master's voice----'"
"And to think," Prime remarked, "that the coldest thing he can get on
this train is ginger
Kemp, coming back with a golden bottle, with cracked
ice in a tall
glass, with a crisp curl of lemon peel, ready for an innocuous
libation, brought his nose down from the heights to look for the foot,
found that it no longer barred the way, and marched on to hidden
"Leave the door open, leave it open," snapped the voice, "isn't there an
electric fan? Well, put it on, put it on----"
"He drinks nectar and complains to the gods," said the Major softly,
"why can't we, too, drink?"
They had theirs
on a table which the porter
set between them. The train
moved on before they had finished. "We'll be in Charlottesville in less
than an hour," the conductor
"Is that where we get off, Paine?"
"One mile beyond. Are they going to meet you?"
"I'll get a station wagon."
Young Paine grinned. "There aren't any. But if Mother knows you're
coming she'll send down. And anyhow she expects me."
"After a year in France--it will be a warm welcome----"
"A wet one, but I love the rain, and the red mud, every blooming
"Of course you do. Just as I love the dust of the desert."
They spoke, each of them, with a sort of tense calmness. One doesn't
confess to a lump in one's throat.
The little man, Kemp, was brushing things in the aisle. He was hot but
unconquered. Having laid out the belongings
of the man he served, he
took a sudden recess, and came back with a fresh collar, a wet but
faultless pompadour, and a suspicion
of powder on his small nose.
"All right, sir, we'll be there in fifteen minutes, sir," they heard him
say, as he was swallowed up by the yawning door.
Fifteen minutes later when the train slowed up, there emerged from the
drawing-room a man some years older than Randolph Paine, and many years
younger than Major Prime. He was good-looking, well-dressed, but
apparently in a very bad temper. Kemp, in an excited, Skye-terrier
manner, had gotten
the bags together, had a raincoat over his arm, had
handy, had apparentlyforeseen
every contingency but one.
"Great guns, Kemp, why are we getting off here?"
said it was nearer, sir."
Randolph Paine was already hanging
on the step, ready to drop the moment
the train stopped. He had given the porter
an extra tip to look after
Major Prime. "He isn't used to that crutch, yet. He'd hate it if I tried
to help him."
The rain having drizzled for hours, condensed suddenly in a downpour.
When the train moved on, the men found themselves in a small and stuffy
waiting-room. Around the station platform
was a sea of red mud. Misty
hills shot up in a circle
to the horizon. There was not a house in
sight. There was not a soul in sight except the agent who knew young
Paine. No one having come to meet them, he suggested the use of the
In the meantime
Kemp was having a hard time of it. "Why in the name of
Heaven didn't we get off at Charlottesville," his master was demanding.
said this was nearer, sir," Kemp repeated. His response
had the bounding quality of a rubber
ball. "If you'll sit here and make
yourself comfortable, Mr. Dalton, I'll see what I can do."
"Oh, it's a beastly
hole, Kemp. How can I be comfortable?"
Randy, who had come back from the telephone with a look on his face
which clutched at Major Prime's throat, caught Dalton's complaint.
"It isn't a beastly
hole," he said in a ringing voice, "it's God's
country---- I got my mother on the 'phone, Major. She has sent for us
and the horses are on the way."
Dalton looked him over. What a lank and shabby
youth he was to carry in
his voice that ring of authority. "What's the answer to our getting off
here?" he asked.
"Depends upon where you are going."
"To Oscar Waterman's----"
"Never heard of him."
"Hamilton Hill," said the station agent.
Randy's neck stiffened. "Then the Hamiltons have sold it?"
"Yes. A Mr. Waterman of New York bought it."
Kemp had come back. "Mr. Waterman says he'll send the car at once. He is
delighted to know that you have come, sir."
"How long must I wait?"
"Not more than ten minutes, he said, sir," Kemp's optimism seemed to
ricochet against his master's hardness
and come back unhurt. "He will
send a closed car and will have your rooms ready for you."
"Serves me right for not wiring," said Dalton, "but who would believe
there is a place in the world where a man can't get a taxi?"
Young Paine was at the door, listening for the sound of hoofs, watching
with impatience. Suddenly he gave a shout, and the others looked to see
a small object which came whirling like a bomb through the mist.
"Nellie, little old lady, little old lady," the boy was on his knees,
the dog in his arms--an ecstatic, panting creature, the first to welcome
her master home!
Before he let her go, the little dog's coat was wet with more than rain,
but Randy was not ashamed
of the tears in his eyes as he faced the
"I've had her from a pup--she's a faithful
beast. Hello, there they
come. Gee, Jefferson, but you've grown! You are almost as big as your
Jefferson was the negro boy who drove the horses. There was a great
splashing of red mud as he drew up. The flaps of the surrey closed it
Jefferson's eyes were twinkling beads as he greeted his master. "I sure
is glad to see you, Mr. Randy. Miss Caroline, she say there was another
"He's here--Major Prime. You run in there and look after his bags."
Randy unbuttoned the flaps and gave a gasp of astonishment:
In another moment she was out on the platform, and he was holding
hands, protesting in the meantime, "You'll get wet, my dear----"
"Oh, I want to be rained on, Randy. It's so heavenly
to have you home. I