On the evening of the day of Alexandra's call
at the Shabatas', a heavy rain set in. Frank sat
up until a late hour reading the Sunday newspa-
pers. One of the Goulds was getting a divorce,
and Frank took it as a personal affront. In
printing the story of the young man's mar-
ital troubles, the knowing editor gave a suffi-
ciently colored account of his career, stating
the amount of his income and the manner in
which he was supposed to spend it. Frank read
English slowly, and the more he read about this
divorce case, the angrier he grew. At last he
threw down the page with a snort. He turned
to his farm-hand who was reading the other half
of the paper.
"By God! if I have that young feller in de
hayfield once, I show him someting. Listen
here what he do wit his money." And Frank
began the catalogue of the young man's reputed
Marie sighed. She thought it hard that the
Goulds, for whom she had nothing but good
will, should make her so much trouble. She
hated to see the Sunday newspapers come into
the house. Frank was always reading about the
doings of rich people and feeling outraged. He
had an inexhaustible stock of stories about their
crimes and follies, how they bribed the courts
and shot down their butlers with impunity
whenever they chose. Frank and Lou Bergson
had very similar ideas, and they were two of the
political agitators of the county.
The next morning broke clear and brilliant,
but Frank said the ground was too wet to
plough, so he took the cart and drove over to
Sainte-Agnes to spend the day at Moses Mar-
cel's saloon. After he was gone, Marie went out
to the back porch to begin her butter-making. A
brisk wind had come up and was driving puffy
white clouds across the sky. The orchard was
sparkling and rippling in the sun. Marie stood
looking toward it wistfully, her hand on the lid
of the churn, when she heard a sharp ring in the
air, the merry sound of the whetstone on the
scythe. That invitation decided her. She ran
into the house, put on a short skirt and a pair of
her husband's boots, caught up a tin pail and
started for the orchard. Emil had already be-
gun work and was mowing vigorously. When he
saw her coming, he stopped and wiped his brow.
His yellow canvas leggings and khaki trousers
were splashed to the knees.
"Don't let me disturb you, Emil. I'm going
to pick cherries. Isn't everything beautiful
after the rain? Oh, but I'm glad to get this
place mowed! When I heard it raining in the
night, I thought maybe you would come and
do it for me to-day. The wind wakened me.
Didn't it blow dreadfully? Just smell the wild
roses! They are always so spicy after a rain.
We never had so many of them in here before.
I suppose it's the wet season. Will you have to
cut them, too?"
"If I cut the grass, I will," Emil said teas-
ingly. "What's the matter with you? What
makes you so flighty?"
"Am I flighty? I suppose that's the wet sea-
son, too, then. It's exciting to see everything
growing so fast,--and to get the grass cut!
Please leave the roses till last, if you must cut
them. Oh, I don't mean all of them, I mean
that low place down by my tree, where there
are so many. Aren't you splashed! Look at
the spider-webs all over the grass. Good-bye.
I'll call you if I see a snake."
She tripped away and Emil stood looking
after her. In a few moments he heard the cher-
ries dropping smartly into the pail, and he
began to swing his scythe with that long, even
stroke that few American boys ever learn.
Marie picked cherries and sang softly to herself,
stripping one glittering branch after another,
shivering when she caught a shower of rain-
drops on her neck and hair. And Emil mowed
his way slowly down toward the cherry trees.
That summer the rains had been so many
and opportune that it was almost more than
Shabata and his man could do to keep up with
the corn; the orchard was a neglected wilder-
ness. All sorts of weeds and herbs and flowers
had grown up there; splotches of wild larkspur,
pale green-and-white spikes of hoarhound,
plantations of wild cotton, tangles of foxtail
and wild wheat. South of the apricot trees, cor-
nering on the wheatfield, was Frank's alfalfa,
where myriads of white and yellow butterflies
were always fluttering above the purple blos-
soms. When Emil reached the lower corner by
the hedge, Marie was sitting under her white
mulberry tree, the pailful of cherries beside her,
looking off at the gentle, tireless swelling of the
"Emil," she said suddenly--he was mowing
quietly about under the tree so as not to disturb
her--"what religion did the Swedes have away
back, before they were Christians?"
Emil paused and straightened his back. "I
don't know. About like the Germans', wasn't it?"
Marie went on as if she had not heard him.
"The Bohemians, you know, were tree wor-
shipers before the missionaries came. Father
says the people in the mountains still do queer
things, sometimes,--they believe that trees
bring good or bad luck."
Emil looked superior. "Do they? Well,
which are the lucky trees? I'd like to know."
"I don't know all of them, but I know
lindens are. The old people in the mountains
plant lindens to purify the forest, and to do
away with the spells that come from the old
trees they say have lasted from heathen times.
I'm a good Catholic, but I think I could get
along with caring for trees, if I hadn't anything
"That's a poor saying," said Emil, stooping
over to wipe his hands in the wet grass.
"Why is it? If I feel that way, I feel that
way. I like trees because they seem more
resigned to the way they have to live than
other things do. I feel as if this tree knows
everything I ever think of when I sit here.
When I come back to it, I never have to re-
mind it of anything; I begin just where I left
Emil had nothing to say to this. He reached
up among the branches and began to pick the
sweet, insipid fruit,--long ivory-colored ber-
ries, tipped with faint pink, like white coral,
that fall to the ground unheeded all summer
through. He dropped a handful into her lap.
"Do you like Mr. Linstrum?" Marie asked
"Yes. Don't you?"
"Oh, ever so much; only he seems kind of
staid and school-teachery. But, of course, he is
older than Frank, even. I'm sure I don't want
to live to be more than thirty, do you? Do you
think Alexandra likes him very much?"
"I suppose so. They were old friends."
"Oh, Emil, you know what I mean!" Marie
tossed her head impatiently. "Does she really
care about him? When she used to tell me
about him, I always wondered whether she
wasn't a little in love with him."
"Who, Alexandra?" Emil laughed and
thrust his hands into his trousers pockets.
"Alexandra's never been in love, you crazy!"
He laughed again. "She wouldn't know how
to go about it. The idea!"
Marie shrugged her shoulders. "Oh, you
don't know Alexandra as well as you think
you do! If you had any eyes, you would see
that she is very fond of him. It would serve
you all right if she walked off with Carl. I like
him because he appreciates her more than you
Emil frowned. "What are you talking about,
Marie? Alexandra's all right. She and I have
always been good friends. What more do you
want? I like to talk to Carl about New York
and what a fellow can do there."
"Oh, Emil! Surely you are not thinking of
going off there?"
"Why not? I must go somewhere, mustn't
I?" The young man took up his scythe and
leaned on it. "Would you rather I went off in
the sand hills and lived like Ivar?"
Marie's face fell under his brooding gaze. She
looked down at his wet leggings. "I'm sure
Alexandra hopes you will stay on here," she
"Then Alexandra will be disappointed," the
young man said roughly. "What do I want to
hang around here for? Alexandra can run the
farm all right, without me. I don't want to
stand around and look on. I want to be doing
something on my own account."
"That's so," Marie sighed. "There are so
many, many things you can do. Almost any-
thing you choose."
"And there are so many, many things I can't
do." Emil echoed her tone sarcastically. "Some-
times I don't want to do anything at all, and
sometimes I want to pull the four corners of
the Divide together,"--he threw out his arm
and brought it back with a jerk,--"so, like a
table-cloth. I get tired of seeing men and horses
going up and down, up and down."
Marie looked up at his defiant figure and her
face clouded. "I wish you weren't so restless,
and didn't get so worked up over things," she
"Thank you," he returned shortly.
She sighed despondently. "Everything I say
makes you cross, don't it? And you never used
to be cross to me."
Emil took a step nearer and stood frowning
down at her bent head. He stood in an attitude
of self-defense, his feet well apart, his hands
clenched and drawn up at his sides, so that the
cords stood out on his bare arms. "I can't play
with you like a little boy any more," he said
slowly. "That's what you miss, Marie. You'll
have to get some other little boy to play with."
He stopped and took a deep breath. Then he
went on in a low tone, so intense that it was
almost threatening: "Sometimes you seem to
understand perfectly, and then sometimes you
pretend you don't. You don't help things any
by pretending. It's then that I want to pull
the corners of the Divide together. If you
WON'T understand, you know, I could make you!"
Marie clasped her hands and started up from
her seat. She had grown very pale and her eyes
were shining with excitement and distress.
"But, Emil, if I understand, then all our good
times are over, we can never do nice things to-
gether any more. We shall have to behave like
Mr. Linstrum. And, anyhow, there's nothing
to understand!" She struck the ground with
her little foot fiercely. "That won't last. It
will go away, and things will be just as they
used to. I wish you were a Catholic. The
Church helps people, indeed it does. I pray for
you, but that's not the same as if you prayed
She spoke rapidly and pleadingly, looked
entreatingly into his face. Emil stood defiant,
gazing down at her.
"I can't pray to have the things I want," he
said slowly, "and I won't pray not to have
them, not if I'm damned for it."
Marie turned away, wringing her hands.
"Oh, Emil, you won't try! Then all our good
times are over."
"Yes; over. I never expect to have any
Emil gripped the hand-holds of his scythe and began to mow. Marie took up her cherries and went slowly toward the house, crying bitterly.