The Corral, Volume 16, Number 1, Fall 1925 Page: 2
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THE LOST SECRET
By Lawrence Wright.
It was the gray afternoon of the coast town;
the breakers beat upon the rocks that bordered
the bay; the mist came rolling in from the sea;
artificial light began to reckon with the gloom ere
the setting of the sun. Upon a park bench and
quite alone sat a man. He was dressed in no un-
usual manner, bore no outward mark of distinc-
tion-from appearances he was just a man, maybe
waiting, maybe resting, maybe pondering on some
Thus it was, that feeling quite alone, I took the
path that leads across the park and toward the
bay and seeing there a fellow being took my seat
beside him. No sooner was I seated, though, than
I realized the incongruity of my action. I am of a
conservative nature, a rather poor mixer in a so-
cial way, unassuming toward a stranger, not dis-
illusioned by a first impression. Why had I
chosen to occupy the identical bench with the only
human being in the park? There were other seats
better protected and just as comfortable. Having
taken such a position, how could I broach some
topic of conversation? I knew not the ways, the
life, the habits of my co-occupier of the bench.
The weather always permits a way out for him lit-
tle versed in impromptu conversation. But no, I
would just say nothing. After my first scrutiniz-
ing glance I pulled my overcoat about me tighter,
gazed unseeingly at the chilly looking lilac bushes
and immediately entered upon a sort of reverie.
"The ways of men are rather queer, and the ways
of gods are rather cruel." I turned my head and
looked at the man who spoke those words. I hoped
that my sitting there had not caused that expostu-
lation, but surely the man must be talking to me.
He still had the same appearance, the look in his
eye denoted sane, straight thought and I noticed
there a steel gray that was somewhat softened, but
not by love, nor pity, nor anxiety, nor false hopes.
"Yes, quite so," I replied. I wondered what his
meaning was but ventured not a question.
And then the man slightly tremored, as I per-
ceived, and turning toward me quietly in an un-
obtrusive manner asked simply the question,
"Would you like to hear a story?"
Hesitancy for a moment thwarted my speech but
quickly perceiving the sincereness of the man and
seeing in that face something that I had missed in
every other face I had known, something that al-
most expressed itself but was repressed, something
that maybe none but God alone and this man knew,
I answered in suave but earnest manner, "Certainly,
friend, I always like a good story."
"Six months ago I sat upon this same bench.
My thoughts were different then than they are now,
The lilac bushes were just then budding; birds
of every known family were congregating in the
parks and open places and having concerts all their
own. Many had already passed farther to the
northward from their winter homes in the South.
The ladies on the walks and boulevards were prais-
ing such a Spring that would give them such an
opportunity to promenade. Fashions seemed to
cater to the tone of youth. I was young. My am-
bitions were high-maybe too high. My desires
were strong, engulfing-maybe too much so. Any-
way, I sat here and thought of the future. I was
a sculptor and a designer-called myself an artist.
On that particular day I was sitting here making
a clay model of a bird and a worm. I couldn't
make the small model suit my taste, so, a bit sar-
donically, I mashed the model to shapeless form
and placed it in my pocket. Many a career is
crushed just that way. Many a life is blighted.
Maybe the gods do it; maybe men alone are re-
sponsible for their destinies."
I was not interested in his story. Love lost men
had told their tales before. But something in the
manner of the man had arrested my sympathies.
I turned my face toward him and to my wonder-
ment, I was glad when he resumed his story.
"Dreams for many days had been unfolding in
my conscious mind. In the dreams were desires,
hopes, aspirations, maybe fame. Yes, I would go
abroad and study. I would leave my present sit-
uation, strive for something broader and better,
return some day to my friends with something
"And came the day when my plans were work-
ing realities. I was established on the outskirts of
Paris, France. My tutor was superb, marvelous,
greater than the greatest to me; my surroundings
were ideal. But after some days, even with my
work, I began to feel the lonesomeness that comes
to a stranger in a strange place. I passed much
time in the libraries and museums. In the eve-
nings I sat in the parks and amused myself with
watching the unfamiliar sights.
"One day, while thus passing a mutely pleasant
hour, I was sitting deftly fingering the bit of clay
which I carried for an impromptu model. Look-
ing up from my task I saw a lady passing in an
automobile. Her face was poised straight to the
front disclosing a profile as faultless as though of a
Grecian goddess. My clay model was thoughtlessly
crushed in my hands. The car passed on; the lady
lingered in my mind. When at last I left the park,
my mind was saturated with thoughts of a lady,
Here’s what’s next.
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Simmons University. The Corral, Volume 16, Number 1, Fall 1925, periodical, 1925; Abilene, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth109411/m1/4/: accessed March 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Hardin-Simmons University Library.