Song of the Lark HTML version

Chapter III.3
WHILE her living arrangements were so casual and fortuitous, Bowers's studio
was the one fixed thing in Thea's life. She went out from it to uncertainties, and
hastened to it from nebulous confusion. She was more influenced by Bowers
than she knew. Unconsciously she began to take on something of his dry
contempt, and to share his grudge without understanding exactly what it was
about. His cynicism seemed to her honest, and the amiability of his pupils
artificial. She admired his drastic treatment of his dull pupils. The stupid deserved
all they got, and more. Bowers knew that she thought him a very clever man.
One afternoon when Bowers came in from lunch Thea handed him a card on
which he read the name, "Mr. Philip Frederick Ottenburg."
"He said he would be in again to-morrow and that he wanted some time. Who
is he? I like him better than the others."
Bowers nodded. "So do I. He's not a singer. He's a beer prince: son of the big
brewer in St. Louis. He's been in Germany with his mother. I didn't know he was
"Does he take lessons?"
"Now and again. He sings rather well. He's at the head of the Chicago branch
of the Ottenburg business, but he can't stick to work and is always running away.
He has great ideas in beer, people tell me. He's what they call an imaginative
business man; goes over to Bayreuth and seems to do nothing but give parties
and spend money, and brings back more good notions for the brewery than the
fellows who sit tight dig out in five years. I was born too long ago to be much
taken in by these chesty boys with flowered vests, but I like Fred, all the same."
"So do I," said Thea positively.
Bowers made a sound between a cough and a laugh. "Oh, he's a lady-killer,
all right! The girls in here are always making eyes at him. You won't be the first."
He threw some sheets of music on the piano. "Better look that over;
accompaniment's a little tricky. It's for that new woman from Detroit. And Mrs.
Priest will be in this afternoon."
Thea sighed. "`I Know that my Redeemer Liveth'?"
"The same. She starts on her concert tour next week, and we'll have a rest.
Until then, I suppose we'll have to be going over her programme."
The next day Thea hurried through her luncheon at a German bakery and got
back to the studio at ten minutes past one. She felt sure that the young brewer
would come early, before it was time for Bowers to arrive. He had not said he
would, but yesterday, when he opened the door to go, he had glanced about the
room and at her, and something in his eye had conveyed that suggestion.
Sure enough, at twenty minutes past one the door of the reception-room
opened, and a tall, robust young man with a cane and an English hat and ulster