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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

Waiting for the convening of the caucus


"Just

between ourselves, Dan, do you really think the Colonel's straight?"

"If he isn't, he has fooled a lot of people," Dan replied.

He had no idea of what had happened, but he felt that all was well with Sylvia. It seemed a long time since Bassett had called him Dan!

"Well, I guess the Colonel's the best we can do. I'm out of it. This is my formal withdrawal. Hand it to Robbins--you know him, of course. It tells him what I want done. My votes go to Ramsay on the next ballot. I look to you to see that it's played square. Give the Colonel my compliments. That's all. Good-night."

* * * * *

Harwood called Robbins from the room where Bassett's men lounged, waiting for the convening of the caucus, and delivered the message. As he hurried toward Thatcher's headquarters he paused suddenly, and bent over the balcony beneath the dome to observe two figures that were slowly descending one of the broad stairways. Morton Bassett and Sylvia were leaving the building together. A shout rang out, echoing hollowly through the corridors, and was followed by scattering cheers from men who were already hastening toward the senate chamber where the caucus sessions were held.

Somehow Morton Bassett's sturdy shoulders, his step, quickened to adapt it to the pace of his

companion, did not suggest defeat. Dan still watched as the two crossed the rotunda on their way to the street. Bassett was talking; he paused for an instant and looked up at the dome, as though calling his companion's attention to its height.

Sylvia glanced up, nodded, and smiled as though affirming something Bassett had said; and then the two vanished from Dan's sight.

CHAPTER XXXIV

WE GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING

"Sylvia was reading in her grandfather's library when the bell tinkled."

With these words our chronicle began, and they again slip from the pen as I begin these last pages. When Morton Bassett left her at the door of Elizabeth House she had experienced a sudden call of the truant spirit. Sylvia wanted to be alone, to stand apart for a little while from the clanging world and take counsel of herself. Hastily packing a bag she caught the last train for Montgomery, walked to the Kelton cottage, and roused Mary, who had been its lone tenant since the Professor's death. She sent Mary to bed, and after kindling a fire in the grate, roamed about the small, comfortable rooms, touching wistfully the books, the pictures, the scant bric-a-brac. She made ready her own bed under the eaves where she had dreamed her girlhood dreams, shaking from the sheets she found in the linen chest the leaves of lavender that Mary had strewn among them. The wind rose in the night and slammed fitfully a blind that, as long as she could remember, had uttered precisely that same protest against the wind's presumption. It was all quite like old times, and happy memories of the past stole back and laid healing hands upon her.


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