Ramsey Milholland

Ramsey Milholland

第17章 Chapter VIII(1)

Vacation, in spite of increased leisure, may bring inconvenience to people in Ramsey's strange but not uncommon condition. At home his constant air was that of a badgered captive plaintively silent under injustice; and he found it difficult to reply calmly when asked where he was going--an inquiry addressed to him, he asserted, every time he touched his cap, even to hang it up!

The amount of evening walking he did must also have been a trial to his nerves, on account of fatigue, though the ground covered was not vast. Milla's mother and father were friendly people but saw no reason to "move out of house and home," as Mr. Rust said, when Milla had "callers"; and on account of the intimate plan of their small dwelling a visitor's only alternative to spending the evening with Mr. and Mrs. Rust as well as with Milla, was to invite her to "go out walking."

Evening after evening they walked and walked and walked, usually in company--at perhaps the distance of half a block--with Albert Paxton and Sadie Clews, though Ramsey now and then felt disgraced by having fallen into this class; for sometimes it was apparent that Albert casually had his arm about Sadie's waist. This allured Ramsey somewhat, but terrified him more. He didn't know how such matters were managed.

Usually the quartet had no destination; they just went "out walking" until ten o'clock, when both girls had to be home--and the boys did, too, but never admitted it. On Friday evenings there was a "public open-air concert" by a brass band in a small park, and the four were always there. A political speechmaker occupied the bandstand one night, and they stood for an hour in the midst of the crowd, listening vaguely.

The orator saddled his politics upon patriotism. "Do you intend to let this glorious country go to wrack and ruin, oh, my good friends," he demanded, "or do you intend to save her? Look forth upon this country of ours, I bid you, oh, my countrymen, and tell me what you see. You see a fair domain of forest, mountain, plain, and fertile valleys, sweeping from ocean to ocean. Look from the sturdy rocks of old New England, pledged to posterity by the stern religious hardihood of the Pilgrim Fathers, across the corn-bearing midland country, that land of milk and honey, won for us by the pluck and endurance of the indomitable pioneers, to where in sunshine roll the smiling Sierras of golden California, given to our heritage by the unconquerable energy of those brave men and women who braved the tomahawk on the Great Plains, the tempest, of Cape Horn, and the fevers of Panama, to make American soil of El Dorado! America! Oh, my America, how glorious you stand!

Country of Washington and Valley Forge, out of what martyrdoms hast thou arisen! Country of Lincoln in his box at Ford's theatre, his lifeblood staining to a brighter, holier red the red, white, and blue of the Old Flag! Always and always I see the Old Flag fluttering the more sacredly encrimsoned in the breeze for the martyrs who have upheld it! Always I see that Old Flag--"

Milla gave Ramsey's arm, within her own, a little tug. "Come on," she said. "Sade says she don't want to hang around here any longer.

It's awful tiresome. Let's go."