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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

The remembrance of Bassett had turned her thoughts to Marian


She

had changed from earnestness to a note of raillery.

"Yes, Miss Garrison," he replied in her own key; "if you expect me to take issue with you or Mrs. Owen on any point, you're much mistaken. You and she are rather fortunate over many of the rest of us in having both brains and gentle hearts--the combination is irresistible! When you come home to throw in your lot with that of about a quarter of a million of us in our Hoosier capital, I'll put myself at your disposal. I've been trying to figure some way of saving the American Republic for the plain people, and I expect to go out in the campaign this fall and make some speeches warning all good citizens to be on guard against corporate greed, invasions of sacred rights, and so on. My way is plain, the duty clear," he concluded, with a wave of his stick.

"Well," said Sylvia, "if you care enough about it to do that you must still have a few ideals lying around somewhere."

"I don't know, to be honest about it, that it's so much my ideals as a wish to help my friend Mr. Bassett win a fight."

"I didn't know that he ever needed help in winning what he really wanted to win. I have heard of him only as the indomitable leader who wins whenever it's worth while."

"Well," Dan answered, "he's got a fight on hand that he can't afford to lose if he means to stay in politics."

style="text-align: justify;">"I must learn all about that when I come home. I never saw Mr. Bassett but once; that was at Waupegan when I was up there with Mrs. Owen nearly five years ago. He had just come back from the West and spent only a day at the lake."

"Then you don't really know him?"

"No; they had counted on having him there for the rest of the summer, but he came one day and left the next. He didn't even see Mrs. Owen; I remember that she expressed surprise that he had come to the lake and gone without seeing her."

"He's a busy man and works hard. You were getting acquainted with Marian about that time?"

"Yes; she was awfully good to me that summer. I liked Mr. Bassett, the glimpse I had of him; he seemed very interesting--a solid American character, quiet and forceful."

"Yes, he is that; he's a strong character. He's shown me every kindness--given me my chance. I should be ashamed of myself if I didn't feel grateful to him."

They had made the complete circuit of the campus several times and Sylvia said it was time to go back. The remembrance of Bassett had turned her thoughts to Marian, and they were still talking of her when Mrs. Owen greeted them cheerily from the little veranda. They were to start for Boston in the morning, and Harwood was to stay in Montgomery a day or two longer on business connected with the estate. "Don't let my sad philosophy keep you awake, Mr. Harwood!--I've given him all my life programme, Mrs. Owen. I think it has had a depressing influence on him."

"It's merely that you have roused me to a sense of my own general worldliness and worthlessness," he replied, laughing as they shook hands.


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