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Harry Lossing
by [?]

THE note-book of Mr. Horatio Armorer, president of our street railways, contained a page of interest to some people in our town, on the occasion of his last visit.

He wrote it while the train creaked over the river, and the porter of his Pullman car was brushing all the dust that had been distributed on the passengers’ clothing, into the main aisle.

If you had seen him writing it (with a stubby little pencil that he occasionally brightened with the tip of his tongue), you would not have dreamed him to be more profoundly disturbed than he had been in years. Nor would the page itself have much enlightened you.

" See abt road M-- D-- See L
See E & M tea-set
See abt L

Translated into long-hand, this reads: “See about the street-car road, Marston (the superintendent) and Dane (the lawyer). See Lossing, see Esther and Maggie, and remember about tea-set. See about Lossing.”

His memoranda written, he slipped the book in his pocket, reflecting cynically, “There’s habit! I’ve no need of writing that. It’s not pleasant enough to forget!”

Thirty odd years ago, Horatio Armorer–they called him ‘Raish, then–had left the town to seek his fortune in Chicago. It was his daydream to wrestle a hundred thousand dollars out of the world’s tight fists, and return to live in pomp on Brady Street hill! He should drive a buggy with two horses, and his wife should keep two girls. Long ago, the hundred thousand limit had been reached and passed, next the million; and still he did not return. His father, the Presbyterian minister, left his parish, or, to be exact, was gently propelled out of his parish by the disaffected; the family had a new home; and the son, struggling to help them out of his scanty resources, went to the new parish and not to the old. He grew rich, he established his brothers and sisters in prosperity, he erected costly monuments and a memorial church to his parents (they were beyond any other gifts from him); he married, and lavished his money on three daughters; but the home of his youth neither saw him nor his money until Margaret Ellis bought a house on Brady Street, far up town, where she could have all the grass that she wanted. Mrs. Ellis was a widow and rich. Not a millionaire like her brother, but the possessor of a handsome property.

She was the best-natured woman in the world, and never guessed how hard her neighbors found it to forgive her for always calling their town of thirty thousand souls, “the country.” She said that she had pined for years to live in the country, and have horses, and a Jersey cow and chickens, and “a neat pig.” All of which modest cravings she gratified on her little estate; and the gardener was often seen with a scowl and the garden hose, keeping the pig neat.

It was later that Mr. Armorer had bought the street railways, they having had a troublous history and being for sale cheap. Nobody that knows Armorer as a business man would back his sentiment by so much as an old shoe; yet it was sentiment, and not a good bargain, that had enticed the financier. Once engaged, the instincts of a shrewd trader prompted him to turn it into a good bargain, anyhow. His fancy was pleased by a vision of a return to the home of his childhood and his struggling youth, as a greater personage than his hopes had ever dared promise.

But, in the event, there was little enough gratification for his vanity. Not since his wife’s death had he been so harassed and anxious; for he came not in order to view his new property, but because his sister had written him her suspicions that Harry Lossing wanted to marry his youngest daughter.