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The Namesake
by [?]

I had felt ever since early morning that this was the saddest of all possible seasons for saying good-by to that old, old city of youth, and to that little corner of it on the south shore which since the Dark Ages themselves–yes, and before–has been so peculiarly the land of the young.

I can recall our very postures as we lounged about Hartwell’s rooms that evening, with Bentley making occasional hurried trips to his desolated workrooms across the hall–as if haunted by a feeling of having forgotten something–or stopping to poke nervously at his perroquets, which he had bequeathed to Hartwell, gilt cage and all. Our host himself sat on the couch, his big, bronze-like shoulders backed up against the window, his shaggy head, beaked nose, and long chin cut clean against the gray light.

Our drowsing interest, in so far as it could be said to be fixed upon anything, was centered upon Hartwell’s new figure, which stood on the block ready to be cast in bronze, intended as a monument for some American battlefield. He called it “The Color Sergeant.” It was the figure of a young soldier running, clutching the folds of a flag, the staff of which had been shot away. We had known it in all the stages of its growth, and the splendid action and feeling of the thing had come to have a kind of special significance for the half dozen of us who often gathered at Hartwell’s rooms–though, in truth, there was as much to dishearten one as to inflame, in the case of a man who had done so much in a field so amazingly difficult; who had thrown up in bronze all the restless, teeming force of that adventurous wave still climbing westward in our own land across the waters. We recalled his “Scout,” his “Pioneer,” his “Gold Seekers,” and those monuments in which he had invested one and another of the heroes of the Civil War with such convincing dignity and power.

“Where in the world does he get the heat to make an idea like that carry?” Bentley remarked morosely, scowling at the clay figure. “Hang me, Hartwell, if I don’t think it’s just because you’re not really an American at all, that you can look at it like that.”

The big man shifted uneasily against the window. “Yes,” he replied smiling, “perhaps there is something in that. My citizenship was somewhat belated and emotional in its flowering. I’ve half a mind to tell you about it, Bentley.” He rose uncertainly, and, after hesitating a moment, went back into his workroom, where he began fumbling among the litter in the corners.

At the prospect of any sort of personal expression from Hartwell, we glanced questioningly at one another; for although he made us feel that he liked to have us about, we were always held at a distance by a certain diffidence of his. There were rare occasions–when he was in the heat of work or of ideas–when he forgot to be shy, but they were so exceptional that no flattery was quite so seductive as being taken for a moment into Hartwell’s confidence. Even in the matter of opinions–the commonest of currency in our circle–he was niggardly and prone to qualify. No man ever guarded his mystery more effectually. There was a singular, intense spell, therefore, about those few evenings when he had broken through this excessive modesty, or shyness, or melancholy, and had, as it were, committed himself.

When Hartwell returned from the back room, he brought with him an unframed canvas which he put on an easel near his clay figure. We drew close about it, for the darkness was rapidly coming on. Despite the dullness of the light, we instantly recognized the boy of Hartwell’s “Color Sergeant.” It was the portrait of a very handsome lad in uniform, standing beside a charger impossibly rearing. Not only in his radiant countenance and flashing eyes, but in every line of his young body there was an energy, a gallantry, a joy of life, that arrested and challenged one.