by Norman Duncan
Fleming H. Revell Company
Fleming H. Revell Company
New York -- Chicago -- Toronto
E. H. D.
In This Book Were
Designed by H. E. Fritz
A GARDEN OF LIES
THE CELEBRITY IN LOVE
A MEETING BY CHANCE
IN THE CURRENT
A CHILD'S PRAYER
MR. PODDLE'S FINALE
NEARING THE SEA
THE LAST APPEAL
[Illustration: Headpiece to _By Proxy_]
It will be recalled without effort--possibly, indeed, without
interest--that the obsequies of the old Senator Boligand were a
distinguished success: a fashionable, proper function, ordered by the
young widow with exquisite taste, as all the world said, and conducted
without reproach, as the undertaker and the clergy very heartily
agreed. At the Church of the Lifted Cross, the incident of the child,
the blonde lady and the mysteriously veiled man, who sat in awe and
bewildered amazement where the shadows gave deepest seclusion, escaped
notice. Not that the late Senator Boligand was in life aware of the
existence of the child or the lady or the strange fellow with the veil.
Nothing of the sort. The one was the widow of Dick Slade, the other
his son, born in wedlock; and the third was the familiar counsellor and
intimate of them all. The Senator was for once turned to good account:
was made contributor to the sweetness of life, to the comfort of the
humble. That was all. And I fancy that the shade of the grim old
robber, lurking somewhere in the softly coloured gloom of the chancel,
was not altogether averse to the farce in which his earthly tabernacle
When Dick Slade died in the big red tenement of Box Street, he died as
other men die, complaining of the necessity; and his son, in the way of
all tender children, sorely wept: not because his father was now lost
to him, which was beyond his comprehension, but because the man must be
put in a grave--a cold place, dark and suffocating, being underground,
as the child had been told.
"I don't want my father," he woefully protested, "to be planted!"
"Planted!" cried the mother, throwing up her hands in indignant denial.
"Who told you he'd be planted?"
"She's a liar," said the woman, composedly, without resentment. "We'll
cut the _planting_ out of _this_ funeral." Her ingenuity, her
resourcefulness, her daring, when the happiness of her child was
concerned, were usually sufficient to the emergency. "Why, darling!"
she exclaimed. "Your father will be taken right up into the sky. He
won't be put in no grave. He'll go right straight to a place where
it's all sunshine--where it's all blue and high and as bright as day."
She bustled about: keeping an eye alert for the effect of her promises.
She was not yet sure how this glorious ascension might be managed; but
she had never failed to deceive him to his own contentment, and 'twas
not her habit to take fainthearted measures. "They been lying to you,
dear," she complained. "Don't you fret about graves. You just wait,"
she concluded, significantly, "and see!"
The boy sighed.
"Poddle and me," she added, with a wag of the head to convince him,
"will show you where your father goes."
"I wish," the boy said, wistfully, "that he wasn't dead."
"Don't you do it!" she flashed. "It don't make no difference to him.
It's a good thing. I bet he's glad to be dead."
The boy shook his head.
"Yes, he is! Don't you think he isn't. There ain't nothing like being
dead. Everybody's happy--when they're dead."
"He's so still!"
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