The two old men sat in the library, eyeing the blue envelope that lay on the end of the long table nearest the fireplace, where a merry but unnoticed blaze crackled in the vain effort to cry down the shrieks of the bleak December wind that whistled about the corners of the house.Someone had come into the room—they did not know who nor when—to poke up the fire and to throw fresh coals into the grate. No doubt it was the parlourmaid. She was always doing something of the sort. It seemed to be her duty. Or, it might have been the housekeeper, in case the parlourmaid was out for the evening. Whoever it was, she certainly had poked up the fire, and in doing so had been compelled to push two pairs of feet out of the way to avoid trampling upon them.
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James Brood’s home was a remarkable one. That portion of the house which rightly may be described as “public” in order to distinguish it from other parts where privacy was enforced, was not unlike any of the richly furnished, old-fashioned places in the lower part of the city where there are still traces left of the Knickerbockers and their times. Dignified, stately, almost gloomy, it was a mansion in which memories dwelt, where the past strode unseen among sturdy things of mahogany and walnut and worn but priceless brocades and silks.
The crystal chandelier in the long drawing-room had shed light for the Broods since the beginning of the nineteenth century; the great old sideboard was still covered with the massive plate of a hundred years ago; the tables, the chairs, the high-boys, the chests of drawers, and the huge four-posters were like satin to the eye and touch; the rugs, while older perhaps than the city itself, alone were new to the house of Brood. They had been installed by the present master of the house.
Age, distinction, quality attended one the instant he set foot inside the sober portals. This was not the home of men who had been merely rich; it was not wealth alone that stood behind these stately investments.
At the top of the house were the rooms which no one entered except by the gracious will of the master. Here James Brood had stored the quaint, priceless treasures of his own peculiar fancy: exquisite, curious things from the mystic East, things that are not to be bought and sold, but come only to the hand of him who searches in lands where peril is the price.
Worlds separated the upper and lower regions of that fine old house; a single step took one from the sedate Occident into the very heart of the Orient; a narrow threshold was the line between the rugged West and the soft, languorous, seductive East. In this part of the house James Brood, when at home for one of his brief stays, spent many of his hours in seclusion, shut off from the rest of the establishment as completely as if he were the inhabitant of another world. Attended by his Hindu servant, a silent man named Ranjab, and on occasions by his secretary, he saw but little of the remaining members of his rather extensive household.
For several years he had been engaged in the task of writing his memoirs—so-called—in so far as they related to his experiences and researches of the past twenty years. It was not his intention to give this long and elaborate account of himself to the world at large, but to publish privately a very limited edition without regard for expense, copies of which were to find their way into exclusive collections and libraries given over to science and travel. This work progressed slowly because of his frequent and protracted absences. When at home, he laboured ardently and with a purpose that more than offset the periods of indifference.
His secretary and amanuensis was Lydia Desmond, the nineteen-year-old daughter of his onetime companion and friend, the late John Desmond, whose death occurred when the girl was barely ten years of age.
Brood, on hearing of his old comrade’s decease, immediately made inquiries concerning the condition in which he had left his wife and child, with the result that Mrs Desmond was installed as housekeeper in the New York house and the daughter given every advantage in the way of an education.
Desmond had left nothing in the shape of riches except undiminished love for his wife and a diary kept during those perilous days before he met and married her. This diary was being incorporated in the history of James Brood’s adventures, by consent of the widow, and was to speak for Brood in words he could not with modesty utter for himself.
In those pages John Desmond was to tell his own story in his own way, for Brood’s love for his friend was broad enough even to admit of that. He was to share his life in retrospect with Desmond and the two old men, as he had shared it with them in reality.
Lydia’s room, adjoining her mother’s, was on the third floor at the foot of the small stairway leading up to the proscribed retreat at the top of the house. There was a small sitting-room off the two bed-chambers, given over entirely to Mrs Desmond and her daughter. In this little room Frederic Brood spent many a quiet, happy hour.
The Desmonds, mother and daughter, understood and pitied the lonely boy who came to the big house soon after they were themselves installed. His heart, which had many sores, expanded and glowed in the warmth of their kindness and affection; the plague of unfriendliness that was his by absorption gave way before this unexpected kindness, not immediately, it is true, but completely in the end.
By nature he was slow to respond to the advances of others; his life had been such that avarice accounted for all that he received from others in the shape of respect and consideration. He was prone to discount a friendly attitude, for the simple reason that in his experience all friendships were marred by the fact that their sincerity rested entirely upon the generosity of the man who paid for them—his father. No one had loved him for himself; no one had given him an unselfish thought in all the years of his boyhood.
The family with whom he had lived in a curious sort of retirement up to the time he was fifteen had no real feeling for him beyond the bounds of duty; his tutors had taken their pay in exchange for all they gave; his companions were men and women who dealt with him as one deals with a precious investment. He represented ease and prosperity to them—no more. As he grew older he understood all this. What warmth there may have been in his little heart was chilled by contact with these sordid influences.
At first he held himself aloof from the Desmonds; he was slow to surrender. He suspected them of the same motives that had been the basis of all previous attachments. When at last he realised that they were not like the others, his cup of joy, long an empty vessel, was filled to the brim and his happiness was without bounds.
They were amazed by the transformation. The rather sullen, unapproachable lad became at once so friendly, so dependent, that, had they not been acquainted with the causes behind the old state of reticence, his very joy might have made a about in very much the same spirit that inspires a hungry dog; he watched her with eager, halffamished eyes; he was on her heels four-fifths of the time.
As for Lydia, pretty little Lydia, he adored her. His heart began for the first time to sing with the joy of youth, and the sensation was a novel one. It had seemed to him that he could never be anything but an old man.
Not a day passed during his career at Harvard that he failed to write to one or other of these precious friends. His vacations were spent with them; his excursions were never carried out unless they found it possible to accompany him. He nuisance of of him. He followed Mrs Desmond met many women, but he thought of only two. They appeared to constitute all femininity so far as he was concerned. Through their awakening influence he came to find pleasure in the companionship of other young men, and, be it said for him, despite a certain unconquerable aloofness, he was one of the most popular men in his class.
It was his custom, on coming home for the night, no matter what the hour, to pause before Lydia’s door on the way to his own room at the other end of the long hall. There was always a tender smile on his lips as he regarded the white panels before tapping gently with the tips of his fingers. Then he would wait for the sleepy “Good night, Freddy,” which invariably came from within, and he would sing out “Good night” as he made off to bed. Usually, however, he was at home long before her bedtime, and they spent the evenings together. That she was his father’s secretary was of no moment. To him she was Lydia—his Lydia.
For the past three months or more he had been privileged to hold her close in his arms and to kiss her good night at parting. They were lovers now. The slow fuse of passion had reached its end and the flame was alive and shining with radiance that enveloped both of them.
On this night, however, he passed her door without knocking. His dark, handsome face was flushed and his teeth were set in sullen anger. With his hand on the knob of his own door, he suddenly remembered that he had failed Lydia for the first time, and stopped. A pang of shame shot through him. For a moment he hesitated and then started guiltily toward the forgotten door. Even as he raised his hand to sound the loving signal, the door was opened and Lydia, fully dressed, confronted him. For a moment they regarded each other in silence, she intently, he with astonishment not quite free from confusion.
“ I’m—I’m sorry, dearest——” he began, his first desire being to account for his oversight.
“ It is bad news?” she demanded, anxiously watching his face. “I was afraid, dear. I couldn’t go to bed.”
“ You, too?” he exclaimed bitterly. “The old chaps—but it’s a shame for you to have waited up, dear.”
“ Tell me what has happened. It can’t be that your father is ill—or in danger. You are angry, Frederic; so it can’t be that. What is it?”
He looked away sullenly.
“ Oh, it’s really nothing, I suppose. Just an unexpected jolt, that’s all. I was angry for a moment——”
“ You are still angry,” she said, placing her hand on his arm. She was a tall, slender girl. Her eyes were almost on a level with his own. “Don’t you want to tell me, dear?”
“ He never gives me a thought,” he said, compressing his lips. “He thinks of no one but himself. God, what a father!”
“ Freddy, dear! You must not speak——”
“ Haven’t I some claim on his consideration? Is it fair that I should be ignored in everything, in every way? I won’t put up with it, Lydia! I’m not a child. I’m a man and I am his son. But I might as well be a dog in the street for all the thought he gives to me!”
She put her finger to her lips, a scared look stealing into her dark eyes. Jones was conducting the two old men to their room on the floor below. A door closed softly. The voices died away.
“ He is a strange man,” she said. “He is a good man, Frederic.”
“ To everyone else, yes. But to me? Why, Lydia, I—I believe he hates me. You know what——”
“ Hush! A man does not hate his son. I’ve tried for years to drive that silly notion out of your mind. You——”
“ Oh, I know I’m a fool to speak of it, but I—I can’t help feeling as I do. You’ve seen enough to know that I’m not to blame for it, either. And then—oh, what’s the use whining about it? I’ve got to make the best of it, so I’ll try to keep my mouth closed.”
“ Where is the message?”
“ I threw it into the fire.”
“ I was furious.”
“ Won’t you tell me?”
“ What do you think he has done? Can you guess what he has done to all of us?” She did not answer. “Well, I’ll tell you just what he said in that wireless. It was from the Lusitania+, twelve hundred miles off Sandy Hook—relayed, I suppose, so that the whole world might know—sent at four this afternoon. I remember every word of the cursed thing, although I merely glanced at it.
“‘ Send the car to meet Mrs Brood and me at the Cunard pier Thursday. Have Mrs Desmond put the house in order for its new mistress. By the way, you might inform her that I was married last Wednesday in Paris.’ It was signed ‘James Brood,’ not even ‘father.’ What do you think of that for a thunderbolt?”
“ Married?” she gasped. “Your father married?”
“‘ Put the house in order for its new mistress,’” he almost snarled. “‘Inform her that I was married last Wednesday’! Of course he’s married. Am I not to inform your mother? Isn’t the car to meet Mrs Brood and him? Does he say anything about his son meeting him at the pier? No! Does he cable his son that he is married? No! Does he do anything that a real, human father would do? No! That message was a deliberate insult to me, Lydia, a nasty, rotten slap in the face. I mean the way it was worded. Just as if it wasn’t enough that he had gone and married some cheap show-girl or a miserable foreigner or Heaven knows——”
“ Freddy! You forget yourself. Your father would not marry a cheap show-girl. You know that. And you must not forget that your mother was a foreigner.”
“ I’m sorry I said that,” he exclaimed hoarsely. Then fiercely: “But can’t you see what all this will come to? A new mistress of the house! It means your mother will have to go—that maybe you’ll go. Nothing will be as it has been. All the sweetness gone—all the goodness! A woman in the house who will also treat me as if I didn’t belong here! A woman who married him for his money, an adventuress. Oh, you can’t tell me; I know! ‘You might inform Mrs Desmond that I was married’! Good Lord!”
He began to pace the floor, striking one fist viciously in the palm of the other hand. Lydia, pale and trembling, seemed to have forgotten his presence. She was staring fixedly at the white surface of a door down the hall, and there was infinite pain in her wide eyes. Her lips moved once or twice; there was a single unspoken word upon them.
“ Why couldn’t he have wired me last week?” the young man was muttering. “What was his object in waiting until to-day? Wouldn’t any other father in the world have telegraphed his only son if he were going to—to bring someone home like this? ‘Have the car meet Mrs Brood and me’! If that isn’t the quintessence of scorn! He orders me to do these things. He doesn’t even honour me with a direct, personal message. He doesn’t tell me he is married. He asks me to inform someone else.”
Lydia, leaning rather heavily against the door, spoke to him in a low, cautious voice.
“ Did you tell Mr Dawes and Mr Riggs?”
He stopped short.
“ No! And they waited up to see if they could be of any assistance to him in an hour of peril! What a joke! Poor old beggars! I’ve never felt sorry for them before, but, on my soul, I do now. What will she do to the poor old chaps? I shudder to think of it. And she’ll make short work of everything else she doesn’t like around here, too. Your mother, Lydia—why, God help us, you know what will just have to happen in her case. It’s——”
“ Don’t speak so loudly, dear—please, please! She is asleep. Of course, we—we shan’t stay on, Freddy. We’ll have to go as soon as——”
His eyes filled with tears. He seized her in his arms and held her close.
“ It’s a beastly, beastly shame, darling. Oh, Lord, what a fool a man can make of himself!”
“ You must not say such things,” she murmured, stroking his cheek with cold, trembling fingers.
“ A fine trick to play on all of us!” he grated.
“ Listen, Freddy darling: your father has a right to do as he chooses. He has a right to companionship, to love, to happiness. He has done everything for us that man could——”
“ But why couldn’t he have done the fine, sensible thing, Lydia? Why couldn’t he have—have fallen in love with—with your mother? Why not have married her if he had to marry someone in——”
“ Freddy!” she cried, putting her hand over his mouth.
He was not to be stopped. He gently removed her hand.
“ Your mother is the finest woman in the world. Perhaps she wouldn’t have him, but that’s not the point. Good Lord, how I would have loved him for giving her to me as a mother. And here he comes, bringing some devil of a stranger into oh, it’s sickening!”
He had lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper, keeping his eyes fixed on the door down the hall. The girl lay very still in his arms. Suddenly a wild sob broke in her throat, and she buried her face on his shoulder.
“ Why—why, don’t cry, dearest! Don’t!” he whispered miserably. “What a rotter I am! Inflicting you with my silly imaginings! Don’t cry! I dare say everything will turn out all right. It’s my beastly disposition. Kiss me!”
She kissed him swiftly. Her wet cheek lay for a second against his own, and then, with a stifled good night, she broke away from him. An instant later she was gone; her door was closed.
Somewhat sobered, and not a little perturbed by her outburst, he stood still for a moment, staring at the door. Then he turned and passed slowly into his own room.
A fire smouldered in the grate. In this huge, old-fashioned house there were grates in all of the spacious bedrooms, and not infrequently fires were started in them by the capable Jones. Frederic stood for he knew not how long above the half-dead coals, staring at them with a new and more bitter complaint at the back of his mind. Was there anything between Mrs Desmond and his father? What was back of that look of anguish in Lydia’s eyes? He suddenly realised that he was muttering oaths, not of anger, but of pain.
The next morning he came down earlier than was his custom. His night had been a troubled one. Forgetting his own woes, or belittling them, he had thought only of what this news from the sea would mean to the dear woman he loved so well. No one was in the library, but a huge fire was blazing. A blizzard was raging.
Once upon a time, when he first came to the house, a piano had stood in the drawing-room. His joy at that time knew no bounds; he loved music. For his age he was no mean musician. But one evening his father, coming in unexpectedly, heard the player at the instrument. For a moment he stood transfixed in the doorway watching the eager, almost inspired face of the lad, and then, pale as a ghost, stole away without disturbing him. Strange to say, Frederic was playing a waltz of Ziehrer’s, a Waltz that his mother had played when the honeymoon was in the full. The following day the piano was taken away by a storage company. The boy never knew why it was removed.
Frederic picked up the morning paper. His eye traversed the front page rapidly. There were reports of fearful weather at sea. Ships in touch with wireless stations flashed news of the riotous gales far out on the Atlantic, of tremendous seas that wreaked damage to the staunchest of vessels. The whole seaboard was strewn with the wreckage of small craft; a score of vessels were known to be ashore and in grave peril. The movement of passenger-vessels, at the bottom of the page, riveted his attention. The Lusitania was reported seven hundred miles out, and in the heart of the hurricane. She would be a day late.
The newspaper was slightly crumpled, as if someone else had read it before him. He found himself wondering how he would feel if the Lusitania never reached New York! He wondered what his sensations would be if a call for help came from the great vessel, if the dreadful news came that she was sinking with all on board!
He looked up from the paper with what actually seemed to him to be a guilty feeling. Someone had entered the room. Mrs Desmond was coming toward him, a queer little smile on her lips. She was a tall, fair woman, an English type, and still extremely handsome. Hers was an honest beauty that had no fear of age.
“ She is a staunch ship, Frederic,” she said, without any other form of greeting. “She will be late, but there’s really nothing to worry about.”
“ I’m not worrying,” he said confusedly. “Lydia has told you the—the news?”
“ Rather staggering, isn’t it?” he said with a wry smile. In spite of himself he watched her face with curious intentness.
“ Rather,” she said briefly.
He was silent for a moment.
“ I was instructed to inform you that he was married last Wednesday,” he said, and his face hardened. “And to have the car meet them at the dock.”
“ It won’t be necessary, Frederic. I have given Jones his instructions. You will not even have to carry out the orders.”
“ I suppose you don’t approve of the way.”
“ I know just how you feel, poor boy. Don’t try to explain. I know.”
“ You always understand,” he said, lowering his eyes.
“ Not always,” she said quietly. There was something cryptic in the remark. He kept his eyes averted.
“ Well, it’s going to play hob with everything,” he said, jamming his hands deep into his pockets. His shoulders seemed to hunch forward and to contract.
“ I am especially sorry for Mr Dawes and Mr Riggs,” she said. Her voice was steady and full of earnestness.
“ Do they know?”
“ They were up and about at daybreak, poor souls. Do you know, Freddy, they were starting off in this blizzard when I met them in the hall!”
“ The deuce! I—I hope it wasn’t on account of anything I may have said to them last night,” he cried in contrition.
She smiled. “No. They had their own theory about the message. The storm strengthened it. They were positive that your father was in great peril. I don’t like to tell you this, but they seemed to think that you couldn’t be depended upon to take a hand in—in—well, in helping him. They were determined to charter a vessel of some sort and start off in all this blizzard to search the sea for Mr Brood. Oh, aren’t they wonderful?”
He had no feeling of resentment toward the old men for their opinion of him. Instead, his eyes glowed with an honest admiration.
“ By George, Mrs Desmond, they are great! They are men, bless their hearts. Seventy-five years old and still ready to face anything for a comrade! It does prove something, doesn’t it?”
“ It proves that your father has made no mistake in selecting his friends, my dear. My husband used to say that he would cheerfully die for James Brood, and he knew that James Brood would have died for him just as readily. There is something in friendships of that sort that we can’t understand. We never have been able to test our friends, much less ourselves. We——”
“ I would die for you, Mrs Desmond,” cried Frederic, a deep flush overspreading his face. “For you and Lydia.”
“ You come by that naturally,” she said, laying her hand upon his arm. “Blood will tell. Thank you, Frederic.” She smiled. “I am sure it will not be necessary for you to die for me, however. As for Lydia, you must live, not die, for her.”
“ I’ll do both,” he cried impulsively.
“ Before you go in to breakfast I want to say something else to you, Frederic,” said she seriously. “Lydia has repeated everything you said to her last night. My dear boy, my husband has been dead for twelve years. I loved him, and he died loving me. I shall never marry another man. I am still the wife of John Desmond; I still consider myself bound to him. Can you understand?”
“ I talked like a lunatic last night, I fear,” he confessed. “I might have known. You, too, belong to the list of loyal ones. Forgive me.”
“ There is nothing to forgive, dear,” she said simply. “And now, one more word, Frederic. You must accept this new condition of affairs in the right spirit. Your father has married again, after all these years. It is not likely that he has done so without deliberation. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that he is bringing home with him a wife of whom he at least is proud, and that should weigh considerably in your summing up of the situation. She will be beautiful, accomplished, refined, and good, Frederic. Of that you may be sure. Let me implore you to withhold judgment until a later day.”
“ I do not object to the situation, Mrs Desmond,” said he, the angry light returning to his eyes, “so much as I resent the wording of that telegram. It is always just that way. He loses no chance to humiliate me. He——”
“ Hush! You are losing your temper again.”
“ Well, who wouldn’t? And here’s another thing, the very worst of all. How is this new condition going to affect you, Mrs Desmond?” She was silent for a moment.
“ Of course, I shan’t stay on here, Frederic. I shall not be needed now. As soon as Mrs Brood is settled here I shall go.”
“ And you expect me to be cheerful and contented!” he cried bitterly.
“ You are a man, Frederic. It is for you to say yea and nay; women must say one or the other. A man may make his own bed, but he doesn’t always have to lie in it.”
“ Sounds rather like Solomon,” he said ruefully. “I suppose you mean that if I’m not contented here I ought to get out and look for happiness elsewhere, reserving the right to come back if I fail?”
“ Something of the sort,” she said.
“ My father objects to my going into business or taking up a profession. I am dependent on him for everything. But why go into that? We’ve talked it over a thousand times. I don’t understand, but perhaps you do. It’s a dog’s way of living.”
“ Your father is making a man of you.”
“ Oh, he is, eh?” with great scorn.
“ Yes. He will make you see some day that the kind of life you lead is not the kind you want. Your pride, your ambition will rebel. Then you will make something out of life for yourself.”
“ I don’t think that is in his mind, if you’ll pardon me. I sometimes believe he actually wants me to stay as I am, always a dependent. Why, how can he expect me to marry and——” He stopped short, his face paling.
“ Go on, please.”
“ Well, it looks to me as if he means to make it impossible for me to marry, Mrs Desmond. I’ve thought of it a good deal.”
“ And is it impossible?”
“ No. I shall marry Lydia, even though I have to dig in the streets for her. It isn’t that, however. There’s some other reason back of his attitude, but for the life of me I can’t get at it.”
“ I wouldn’t try to get at it, my dear,” she said. “Wait and see. Come, you must have your coffee. I am glad you came down early. The old gentlemen are at breakfast now. Come in.”
He followed her dejectedly, a droop to his shoulders.
Mr Dawes and Mr Riggs were seated at the table. Lydia, a trifle pale and distrait, was pouring their third cup of coffee. The old men showed no sign of their midnight experience. They were very wideawake, clear-eyed, and alert, as old men will be who do not count the years of life left in the span appointed for them.
“ Good morning, Freddy,” said they, almost in one voice.
As he passed behind their chairs on his way to Lydia’s side, he slapped each of them cordially on the back. They seemed to swell with relief and gratitude. He was not in the habit of slapping them on the back.
“ Good morning, gentlemen,” said he. Then he lifted Lydia’s slim fingers to his lips. “Good morning, dear.”
She squeezed his fingers tightly and smiled. A look of relief leaped into her eyes; she drew a long breath. She poured his coffee for him every morning. Her hand shook a little as she lifted the tiny cream-pitcher.
“ I didn’t sleep very well,” she explained in a low voice.
His hand rested on her shoulder for a moment in a gentle caress. Then he sat down in the chair Jones had drawn out for him.
“ Well, gentlemen, when does the relief boat start?” he asked, with a forced attempt at humour.
Mr Dawes regarded him with great solemnity.
“ Freddy, it’s too late. A man can be saved from the scourge, tigers, elephants, lions, snakes, and almost everything else in God’s world, but, blast me, he can’t be protected against women! They are deadly. They can overpower the strongest of men, sir. Your poor father is lost for ever. I never was so sorry for anyone in my life.”
“ If he had only called for help a week or so ago, we could have saved him,” lamented Mr Riggs. “But he never even peeped. Lordy, Lordy, and just think of it, he yelled like an Indian when that lion leaped on him at Nairobi!”
“ Poor old Jim!” sighed Mr Dawes. “He’ll probably have to ask us to pull out, too. I imagine she’ll insist on making a spare bedroom out of our room, so’s she can entertain all of her infernal relations. Jones, will you give me some more bacon and another egg?”
“ And I thought it was nothing but a shipwreck,” murmured Mr Riggs plaintively.
Frederic hurried through breakfast. Lydia followed him into the library.
“ Are you going out, dear?” she asked anxiously.
“ Yes. I’ve got to do something. I can’t sit still and think of what’s going to happen I’ll be back for luncheon.”
Half an hour later he was in the small bachelor apartment of two college friends, a few blocks farther up-town, and he was doing the thing he did nearly every day of his life in a surreptitious way. He sat at the cheap upright piano in their disordered living-room and, unhampered by the presence of young men who preferred music as it is rendered for the masses, played as if his very soul was in his fingers.
The next three or four days passed slowly for those who waited. A spirit of uneasiness pervaded the household. Among the servants, from Jones down, there was dismay. It was not even remotely probable that Mrs Desmond would remain, and they confessed to a certain affection for her, strange as it may appear to those who know the traits of servants who have been well treated by those above them.
Frederic flatly refused to meet the steamer when she docked. As if swayed by his decision, Dawes and Riggs likewise abandoned a plan to greet the returning master and his bride as they came down the gangplank. But for the almost peremptory counsel of Mrs Desmond, Brood’s son would have absented himself from the house on the day of their arrival. Jones and a footman went to the pier with the chauffeur.
It was half-past two in the afternoon when the automobile drew up in front of the house and the fur-coated footman nimbly hopped down and threw open the door.
James Brood, a tall, distinguished-looking man of fifty, stepped out of the limousine. For an instant, before turning to assist his wife from the car, he allowed his keen eyes to sweep the windows on the lower floor. In one of them stood his son, holding the lace curtains apart and smiling a welcome that seemed sincere. He waved his hand to the man on the side-walk. Brood responded with a swift, almost perfunctory gesture, and then held out his hand to the woman who was descending.
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