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like that.' He pointed toward the picture. 'It-it struck the

kid,' said Texas Jack. I turned in haste to my canvas, for his face was working curiously and I knew that he did not want me to see.

'I didn't just like it,' he continued, 'hadn't never been used to fightin' kids, but I didn't think much about it: I was too busy gettin' the man, and I got him,' he added in triumph.

I nodded knowingly; at that moment this seemed to be legitimate cause for congratulation.

'I ain't never been sorry about that for a minute, but I'm beginning to be sorry about the kid, and about her. If you'll believe it, she never once stirred, and when I'd got my job done, there she was settin' and holdin' the little thing same way she was doin' when it was alive. I never dreamed what I'd done to her till I saw that,' and he jerked his thumb in the direction of the • Madonna.' 'Someway that made me see how they must feel about 'em. This here “Madonna " now kind of looks as if hers had been killed already. It's very like, only there warn't any angels there, or if there was, I didn't see 'em,' he added grimly.

' Did you ever do anything,' I ventured, 'to try to atone ? ' A queer look came into his face.

'I thought I'd made it up to her handsome,' was his answer, 'but I'm beginnin' to think that mebbe I took the wrong way.'

March had drifted into April, and April into May, with many a soft golden sunset behind the dull green cypresses of San Miniato. Every day the light grew lovelier upon the olive slopes about this chosen city, and every day the gracious inner influence of the place became more apparent in the faces about me. My picture was done, and in my hand was a cheque, scandalously large, signed, with a great flourish, James C. Bunton.' In vain I protested that this was four times as much as I had ever received for any picture, and in vain I confessed that my copy was not good, the peculiar grace of this master being impossible to render. My objections were waved aside by the sweep of a large, diamond-ringed white hand, which came down in a hard, affectionate blow upon my shoulder.

* Jest take my advice, young friend. Your dooty ain't-isn't to talk about that cheque, but to cash it and spend it. You ought to have more confidence in the judgment of your elders.'

No confidence at all did I have in Texas Jack's judgment, but I had learned to have a great deal in his heart, and it was with a


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real'pang that I listened when he told me gloomily one day that he was going home to America.

Tired of Florence ? 'he responded, in answer to my comment. No, but I've got a job out West needs fixin' up, and I'll be sailin in a few days.' ' And Mrs. Bunton ?' I asked. He looked at me darkly; the

I white collectedness of his lips made me wonder what storm was going on inside.

'I don't jest know yet what she cal’lates to do.'

To-day I am ashamed of some of the ideas that came at this moment into my mind about Mr. James C. Bunton. Was he tired of his wife ? Perhaps, after all, she was not his wife, and he was getting ready to cast her off. The glory of the spring air was dimmed and tarnished by my forebodings.

A few days later I was upon San Miniato, resting in the late afternoon, sitting lazily upon a sunny bench, opening my eyes and then shutting them again, and trying to decide at which moment the beauty before me was more vivid—Florence with her dull red roofs and delicate marbles of Duomo and Campanile seen between slim cypress trees. Suddenly I was startled by a familiar voice; the bench on the other side of the ilex hedge was occupied.

'You are going away ? ' asked Mrs. James C. Bunton, all the shrill anxiety of earlier days sounding again in her voice.

'Yes, I'm goin'. I've got passage out on the “Campania " for the sixteenth.'

“Am I going, too? I held my breath, waiting for the answer.

' No, you better stay right here. You like it here, I reckon, better than any place I've seen you in.'

' That's so,' assented Mrs. Bunton. 'Is something wrong you've got to see about ?'

'Yes, something's wrong.'
' And you want me to stay until you come back?'
'I ain't comin' back.'

'You ain't-comin'-back?' There were not enough notes in the woman's voice to express her feeling. Behind the green hedge I raged in hot disgust at my own sex; apparently my worst suspicions were true.

Rachel,' the man's voice was broken and ashamed, “Rachel, I done you wrong; I see it now, and I'm going to set it right.'

The significance of the story about the woman and the child flashed over me. Astonishment at the identity of Mrs. James C.

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Bunton kept me rooted to my seat. What glamour of imagination in the man, or what dignity of grieving motherhood could have lent for a moment to this commonplace woman the look of our glorified Madonna ? Wondering at this, I almost forgot that I ought not to be there, but I could not move without disturbing the speakers, and it seemed to me that interruption might cause great harm.

' I didn't do right by you and the kid,' said Texas Jack huskily. 'I ain't sorry for what I done to him, not a mite. He was a mean rascal, and killin' was too good for him, if he was your husband.'

.' I covered my ears with my hands, and the murmuring answer of the woman's voice I did not hear. The man's loud tones, however, could not be shut out.

'If he'd a won you honest away from me in the first place I'd a said nothin', but he done me a mean trick. He lied outrageous about you; you've always known that, ain't you?' No answer was audible. “Well, I fixed him, and I'm glad of it, but I've been thinkin' about that kid. Funny I should get to puzzlin' about a

' little thing like that. I s'pose now you thought considerable of it?'

“Oh, Jim !' cried the woman, as if a sharp instrument had suddenly touched a tender spot.

'Well, Rachel, I'm goin' to undo what I can, for I done wrong. I didn't give you no choice, and I see now I oughtn't a carried you off and married you within a week after I shot him. I s'pose it's customary to wait. Now I'm goin' back West where it's easy to get a divorce. If I can manage, I'll apply for it in your name on the ground that I've deserted you; while I'm out there it will be desertion, see ? Anyhow, I'll get it, and I'll fix you up fine. You can swell round here with the best of 'em. Two-thirds of what I've got you shall have, and that means hundreds, thousands, where he wouldn't a given you as many cents. But I can't make it up about the kid.'

I heard heavy heels crunching the gravel; then came a shrill

little cry.



"Oh, Jim !' pleaded the woman ; 'don't go off like that. I've grown real fond of you. Lately it's been different, somehow.'

If you was free at this minute, and I asked you to marry me, which I didn't never do,' he demanded with fierce tenderness, 'what would you say?' I held


breath until the answer came. “I'd say yes, Jim dear.'




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A HUNDRED years since Robert Burns had paid his first famous visit to the Capital, had 'sheltered in its honoured shade,' had been received with enthusiasm by its most intellectual society, fêted and lionised, listened to and wondered at. That brilliant, memorable visit of Robert Burns to Edinburgh ! ...

A hundred years, and again 'Scotia's darling seat' welcomed a poet whom she delighted to honour, fêted and lionised him, listened to him in wonder. Again lights were flashed on, hands were outstretched, faces were lit with enthusiasm, memories were gathered. That brilliant, memorable visit of Robert Browning to Edinburgh! ...

In the hundred years our Capital had no doubt changed some what, both in its aspect and its ways. Was Robert Browning invited to carouse in Dowie's tavern in Libberton's Wynd, or to forgather convivially with the Crochallan Fencibles' and hear Dawney Douglas sing 'Cro Chalien'? No. But then, again, did Robert Burns have an honorary degree conferred on him in the United Synod Hall in Castle Terrace ? Certainly not. .

Nor was Robert Browning persuaded to read his poems to any drawing-room gatherings—there was no time even to sign all the birthday books. But, if there were no such intently listening audience as the angelic Miss Burnet and the beautiful Duchess of Gordon, who had so bewildered the young dark-eyed rustic from Ayr, nevertheless the dear old dark-eyed, white-haired genius of a later century found himself one of a very congenial and worthy company in this hospitable town, its good measure of intellect pressed down and running over.

It was ostensibly for the very purpose of receiving the Edinburgh Honorary Degree that Robert Browning came amongst us. It was the Tercentenary of our great University; and Scotland's Capital had gathered then all the greatest celebrities of the agegathered them from sunny France and ancient Italy, from philosophical Germany, from Austria, from Russia—from every country of Europe, and from Britain beyond the seas ; soldiers, statesmen, divines, men of science, authors, thinkers, explorers-men whose names thrill the pulses ; names that, then and now, mark the progress of the world. And among them was none greater than that of Robert Browning.

There seems to have been some delay in the Academic invitation's reaching him-though none in that from the friend who was to be his host—for he writes, in reply to the latter :

19 Warwick Crescent, W. Feb. 19. '84. MY DEAR PROFESSOR MASSON,— I have not received the invitation to Edinburgh which occasions this particularly kind one which I thankfully acknowledge. I should find it difficult if not impossible to leave London in April, as my son will then be with me: but had I seen my way to so doing, it would delight me indeed could I spend the days in question with you and with Mrs. Masson. For the rest, depend on it—whenever-if ever-I am privileged to see the as famous as beautiful City again, I shall call on you—the first thing of all. Pray thank Mrs. Masson for associating her goodness with your own: and believe me ever, my dear Professor Masson,

Yours gratefully,


And again three days later, a letter having been sent suggesting that his son should come also, his answer says :

19 Warwick Crescent, W. Feb. 22. '84. MY DEAR PROFESSOR MASSON,–Up to this moment (3} p.m.)I have received no such notice as you mention, nor consequently am apprised of the signal honour intended me except by your kindness: I was unaware of any inducement to visit Edinburgh but the quite sufficient one of your kindness. If there be no mistake, it becomes my duty, as well as pleasure, to obey the invitatijn from the University and from yourself, and I will gladly do so. Pray explain to whomever it may concern the cause of my silence in case--as seems not improbable from the terms of your letter—the official one has by some accident failed to reach me. Should it follow, I will acknowledge the distinction as gratefully as I have done already when it was conferred by Oxford and Cambridge.

So, my dear Professor Masson, I provisionally accept with thankfulness your hospitality and that of Mrs. Masson. For my son, who is away, I can only say that he shall be informed of your goodness and, I fully believe, will be delighted to avail himself of it. More of this anon, however: my immediate object being to say that I am as yet in ignorance of the University's intention to offer me a Degree. Pray believe me, Dear Professor Masson,

Yours very sincerely,

ROBERT BROWNING. This letter is followed in four days by this:

19 Warwick Crescent, W. Feb. 26. '84. MY DEAR PROFESSOR -I only received the Official Invitation last evening at the Club, although I had enquired, two days before, whether such a letter might not have been addressed to it. As to the vagueness or intelligibility' of your own note, I can assure you that one thing was intelligible enough,—that you wished to help me most kindly and pleasantly to witness an extremely interesting

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