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Miss Dangerlie's Roses
Henry Floyd was a crank, at least so many people said; a few thought he was a wonderful
person: these were mostly children, old women, and people not in the directory, and
persons not in the directory do not count for much. He was in fact a singular fellow. It
was all natural enough to him; he was just like what he believed his father had been, his
father of whom his mother used to tell him, and whom he remembered so vaguely except
when he had suddenly loomed up in his uniform at the head of his company, when they
went away on that march from which he had never returned. He meant to be like him, if
he was not, and he remembered all that his mother had told him of his gentleness, his
high courtesy, his faithfulness, his devotion to duty, his unselfishness. So it was all
natural enough to Floyd to be as he was. But a man can no more tell whether or not he is
a crank than he can tell how old he looks. He was, however, without doubt, different in
certain ways from most people. This his friends admitted. Some said he was old-
fashioned; some that he was "old-timey"; some that he was unpractical, the shades of
criticism ranging up to those saying he was a fool. This did not mean intellectually, for
none denied his intellect. He drove a virile pen, and had an epigrammatic tongue. He had
had a hard time. He had borne the yoke in his youth. This, we have strong authority for
saying, is good for a man; but it leaves its mark upon him. He had been desperately poor.
He had not minded that except for his mother, and he had approved of her giving up
every cent to meet the old security debts. It had cut him off from his college education;
but he had worked till he was a better scholar than he might have been had he gone to
college. He had kept his mother comfortable as long as she lived, and then had put up a
monument over her in the old churchyard, as he had done before to his father's memory.
This, everyone said, was foolish, and perhaps it was, for it took him at least two years to
pay for them, and he might have laid up the money and got a start, or, as some charitable
persons said, it might have been given to the poor. However, the monuments were put up,
and on them were epitaphs which recorded at length the virtues of those to whom they
were erected, with their descent, and declared that they were Christians and
Gentlepeople. Some one said to Floyd that he might have shortened the epitaphs, and
have saved something. "I did not want them shortened," said he.
He had borne the yoke otherwise also. One of the first things he had done after starting in
life was to fall in love with a beautiful woman. She was very beautiful and a great belle.
Every one said it was sheer nonsense for Henry Floyd to expect her to marry him, as poor
as he was, which was natural enough. The only thing was that she led Floyd to believe
she was going to marry him when she did not intend to do it, and it cost him a great deal
of unhappiness. He never said one word against her, not even when she married a man
much older than himself, simply, as everyone said, because he was very rich. If Floyd
ever thought that she treated him badly, no one ever knew it, and when finally she left her
husband, no one ever ventured to discuss it before Floyd.
Henry Floyd, however, had suffered, -- that everyone could see who had eyes; but only
he knew how much. Generally grave and dreamy; when quiet as calm as a dove, as fierce
as a hawk when aroused; moving always in an eccentric orbit, which few understood;