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His daughter Dorothy seemed to me even more fair and appealing by daylight than when I first saw her in the dusk. There was a pure brightness in her brown eyes, a gentle dignity in her look and bearing, a soft cadence of expectant joy in her voice. She was womanly in every tone and motion, yet by no means weak or uncertain. Mistress of herself and of the house, she ruled her kingdom without an effort. Busied with many little cares, she bore them lightly. Her spirit overflowed into the lives around her with delicate sympathy and merry cheer. But it was in music that her nature found its widest outlet. In the lengthening evenings of late August she would play from Schumann, or Chopin, or Grieg, interpreting the vague feelings of gladness or grief which lie too deep for words. Ballads she loved, quaint old English and Scotch airs, folk-songs of Germany, "Come-all-ye's" of Ireland, Canadian chansons. She sang--not like an angel, but like a woman.

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Of the two under-masters in the school, Edward Keene was the elder. The younger, John Graham, was his opposite in every respect. Sturdy, fair-haired, plain in the face, he was essentially an every-day man, devoted to out-of-door sports, a hard worker, a good player, and a sound sleeper. He came back to the school, from a fishing-excursion, a few days after my arrival. I liked the way in which he told of his adventures, with a little frank boasting, enough to season but not to spoil the story. I liked the way in which he took hold of his work, helping to get the school in readiness for the return of the boys in the middle of September. I liked, more than all, his attitude to Dorothy Ward. He loved her, clearly enough. When she was in the room the other people were only accidents to him. Yet there was nothing of the disappointed suitor in his bearing. He was cheerful, natural, accepting the situation, giving her the best he had to give, and gladly taking from her the frank reliance, the ready comradeship which she bestowed upon him. If he envied Keene--and how could he help it--at least he never showed a touch of jealousy or rivalry. The engagement was a fact which he took into account as something not to be changed or questioned. Keene was so much more brilliant, interesting, attractive. He answered so much more fully to the poetic side of Dorothy's nature. How could she help preferring him?

Thus the three actors in the drama stood, when I became an inmate of Hilltop, and accepted the master's invitation to undertake some of the minor classes in English, and stay on at the school indefinitely. It was my wish to see the little play--a pleasant comedy, I hoped--move forward to a happy ending. And yet--what was it that disturbed me now and then with forebodings? Something, doubtless, in the character of Keene, for he was the dominant personality. The key of the situation lay with him. He was the centre of interest. Yet he was the one who seemed not perfectly in harmony, not quite at home, as if something beckoned and urged him away.

"I am glad you are to stay," said he, "yet I wonder at it. You will find the life narrow, after all your travels. Ulysses at Ithaca--you will surely be restless to see the world again."

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The Blue Flower
Henry van Dyke

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