Newspaper Page Text
bllng Into ashes. He tested the bit
ternes of life in all Its fullness at 35.
He left the city that day and went
into New England, choosing the most
secluded village there. He devoted
the small capital that remained to
him to starting a small poultry farm
and garden. That was a yearfego.
i He had dropped out of the lives of
his associates. None was dependent
on him. Nobody would care what
happened to him. And he resolved
never to set pen to paper again for
literary use. He kept his vow, too,
though at times the old .impulse was
strong upon him. His neighbors knew
him only aa a shy, reserved- man,
probably with a secret in his life. It
was no concern of theirs; they ac
cepted him for what he was.
The words of his neighbor brought
back to John's mind all the wretched
ness of those years of struggle. Know
how to wait! And he had Waited too
The old man came toddling back to
him, waving a newspaper.
"Say, Mr. Rochester, there's some
thing about you in the paper, I reck
on' he said, handing him the sheet.
"They got your photograph on the
front page. Hain't done nothing,
"No, I don't think so," answered
John, taking the newspaper. . As the
old man had said; his photograph
stared out from the front page, and
under it was his name.
There was a long article accom
panying it It said that John Roches
ter, the famous author,-had at last
been located in Massachusetts, after
the world had been honeycombed for
him. He learned that his book,
"Heart's Desire," had been published
and was the hit of the season, both
in America and in England. It had
been translated into seven languages.
And John Rochester was in Massa
chusetts, all the while, keeping bees
.and cows. Here followed a long and
fanciful sketch of him.
John handed back the newspaper to
the old fellow.
"Yea, I plead guilty," he said bit
terly. "I wrote a book. And I reckon
it's made a rich man of me. I'll put
a new roof on my henhouse tomor
row, and you can tell Biggs, the car
penter, so. That's alL"
That night was sleepless. The man
reviewed all his past life, and over it,
as a grinning motto, were the words
"too late !" Would that this book had
never seen the light! What did his
fame avail him now?
The postman, on his morning
round, let off a young lady at John's
"I ain't got no mail, Mister Roches
ter," he called, "but I guees you'll
like this party 'most as well. She
was inquiring for you particular. Mis
ter Rochester, and so I gave her a
lift I'll be back in half an hour,
miss," he added, whipping up his
horse and driving away in the shaky
John, emerging from his cottage
door, found himself face to face with
a charming young woman in a new
hat and fashionable dress. For a
moment his heart leaped; he hoped
it was Lesbit Then he recognized
her one of Lesbia's friends, who
had been a good friend of his once,
before she had passed out of biaJife.
"Why, Mr. Rochester!" she ex
claimed. "And so you have been
found at last I was was visiting
some friends at Cedars and I came
over expressly to see you on my way
home, and congratulate you. And
now you're coming back to town, are
you not? Everybody is crazy to meet
you and honor the famous author."
John smile dbitterly.
"I've done with that sort of life,"
he answered. "No, I'm a rustic for
good now. Nothing would drag me
back to the city again."
"Well, I'm sorry," Baid the glrL "I
wanted you t omeet my friend such
a nice girl, and dying to know you.
There wasn't room in the cart for
three, so I left her at the corner.
Won't you come?"
"No, thank you," said John, grimly.
.aftateA rafc jjlmm.