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Wells, Chester Caesar (ed.) / The Wisconsin magazine
Volume X, Number 3 (December 1912)

Bickelhaupt, Ivan Adair
Relative sympathy,   pp. [unnumbered]-8


Page 6


THE WISCONSIN MAGAZINE
has viewed life and found it unsatisfactory.
-His appearance, though rough and unkept
,still carried a touch of higher type of man
than he, himself, seemed to suggest.  A
long livid scar, starting below his ear, ran
downward, disappearing beneath the soft
-collar of his flannel shirt.
   I caught his eye and without realizing
my action, raised my glass and nodded over
it to him. He returned the salute and
.:started to come over in our direction, but
as if suddenly realizing some haplessness
-of purpose he checked himself and seemed
to withdraw farther than ever into his
-mantle of self-reserve.
   Just why I took the trouble to walk over
-to him and ask him to join us, I cannot
tell. Christmas spirit I suppose. At any
rate he accepted and took the vacant chair
-directly across from Breck. I can't say
that his presence had any direct cheering
-effect on the party. He scarcely said a
word. Replied only in monosyllables when
* questioned and succeeded so well in dis-
couraging any advances that before long
  the party had settled down to its former
  gloomy aspect.   In the meantime the
  Stranger was consuming fiery, red liquor
  with a sort of hopeless regularity, as if he
  drank neither for the effect or taste, but
  because of no better occupation.
    The talk once more drifted around to
  home and Breck, with tears in his voice,
  was going to great length in a description
  of just what the folks were doing and how
  the place looked. I was sitting back in my
  chair, looking at the ceiling, sort of divid-
  'ing my attentions between Breck's story
  and my own tender memories, when the
  'Stranger's voice, stringent as a rasp, cut
clean all thoughts of home.
  "I take it that you boys are homesick?1,
  There was a peculiar vibrant quality in
his speech that seemed to vaguely suggest
great possibilities. An accomplished news.
paper reporter would describe it as, the
opening wedge in a human nature story,
a kind preliminary remark, that carried
with it possibilities which could only be
partly appreciated.
  "Well, we do rather imagine that we are
up against it. It seems the height of hard
luck to be marooned out in this God-for.
saken chunk of the country, on Christmas
eve," replied Breck.
   "The height of hard luck-no. Its mere.
ly an annoyance. You don't know what
hard luck is. Luck is merely a concrete
part of this game they call life. It is as a
rule evenly divided between good and bad
A few of us get more than our share, one
way or the other. In case the shares are
unevenVy split, the word luck loses its
meaning. It attains the distinction of joy
and-grief. Do you know what it is to
be really up against it-to experience the
one great emotion of this life, other than
which all petty griefs drop into total in.
significance-the blinding, awful grief that
can only come once, and which in its pass-
ing, saps the manhood, the ambition and
the purpose of the one it falls to, leaving
him a stunned, helpless wreck, living in
body but dead and buried in spirit." The
Stranger spoke in an even monotonous tone,
but the hand which grasped his glass was
clenched until the knuckles showed white
  through his tanned skin.
    No one of us ventured a reply.
    Several moments of strained, expectant
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