Burgess wanted to marry Norrie Wream, and he wanted her to have all the good things of life which in her simple rearing had been denied her. The heritage from his father's estate included certain trust funds ambiguously bestowed by an eccentric English ancestor upon someone who had come West not long before his death. These funds Vincent held by his father's will--to which will Joshua Wream was witness--on condition that no heir to these funds was living. If there were such person or persons living--but Burgess knew there were none. Joshua Wream had made sure of that for him before he left Cambridge. And yet it might be well to stay in Kansas for a year or two--much better to settle any possible difficulty here than to have anything follow him East later. For Burgess had his eye on Dr. Wream's chair in Harvard when the old man should give it up. That was a part of the contract between the two men, the old doctor and the young professor. Until the night when Bond Saxon forced him to take an unwilling oath, Burgess had had a comfortable conscience, sure that his financial future was settled, and confident that this assured him the hand of Elinor Wream when the time was ripe. With that October night, however, a weight of anxiety began that increased with the passing days. For as he grew nearer to the student life and took on flesh and good will and a broader knowledge of the worth of humanity, so he grew nearer to this smoothly hidden inner care. And, outside and in, he wanted to stay in Kansas for the time.
In the weeks before the big ball game, Victor Burleigh seemed to have forgotten the glen and the west bluff above the Kickapoo Corral. The girls who would have substituted for Elinor in the afternoon ramble took up much of the big sophomore's time, and he never seemed more gay nor care free. And Elinor, if she had a heartache, did not show it in her happy manner.
On the afternoon before the ball game, a May thunderstorm swept the Walnut Valley and the darkness fell early. As Dennie Saxon waited on the Sunrise portico before starting out in the rain, Professor Burgess locked the front door and joined her. Victor Burleigh was also waiting beside a stone column for the shower to lighten. Burgess did not see him in the darkening twilight and Burleigh never spoke to the young instructor when it was not necessary.
"I must be nervous," Professor Burgess said, trying to manage Dennie's umbrella and catching it in her hair. "I had a letter today that worried me."
"Too bad!" Dennie said sympathetically.
"I'll tell you all about it sometime."
He was trying to loose the wire rib-joint from Dennie's hair, which the dampness was rolling in soft little ringlets about her forehead and neck. Half-consciously, he remembered the same outline of rippling hair, as it had looked in the glow of the October camp fire down in the Kickapoo Corral when she was telling the old legend of Swift Elk and The Fawn of the Morning Light. She smiled up at him consolingly. Dennie was level-headed, and life was always worth living where she was.
"I'll be your rain beau." He took her arm to assist her down the steps.