Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Little Maid Marian
Author: Blanchard, Amy Ella, 1856-1926
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Maid Marian" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



_LITTLE MAID MARIAN_



[Illustration: "BE YE REMOVED INTO THE MIDST OF THE SEA"]



LITTLE MAID
MARIAN

BY
AMY E. BLANCHARD

_Author of "Little Sister Anne," "Mistress May," "Playmate
Polly," "Three Little Cousins," etc._


THE PENN PUBLISHING
COMPANY PHILADELPHIA



Copyright, 1908, by
GEORGE W. JACOBS AND COMPANY
_Published July, 1908_

_All rights reserved_
Printed in U. S. A.



_CONTENTS_


   I.  A MUSTARD SEED            9

  II.  THE SCHOOL-TEACHER       27

 III.  A NEW ROAD               47

  IV.  COMPANIONS               67

   V.  BLACKBERRIES             87

  VI.  THE WHITE APRON         105

 VII.  PATTY'S LETTER          125

VIII.  A TRIP TO TOWN          143

  IX.  A VISIT TO PATTY        161

   X.  RUNNING AWAY            179

  XI.  A LETTER'S REPLY        199

 XII.  THE CHRISTMAS TREE      217



_CHAPTER I_

_A Mustard Seed_


The cat and kitten were both eating supper and Marian was watching
them. Her own supper of bread and milk she had finished, and had
taken the remains of it to Tippy and Dippy. Marian did not care very
much for bread and milk, but the cat and kitten did, as was plainly
shown by the way they hunched themselves down in front of the tin
pan into which Marian had poured their supper.

In the next room Grandpa and Grandma Otway were sitting and little
bits of their talk came to Marian's ears once in a while when her
thoughts ceased to wander in other directions. "If only one could
have faith to believe implicitly," Grandma Otway said.

"If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, and should say to that
mountain, be ye removed," quoted Grandpa Otway.

Marian sighed. They talked that way very often, she remembered, and
she herself had grown to consider it quite as difficult as did her
grandmother, to exercise complete faith. She had made numberless
mighty efforts, and yet things did not come out as she supposed they
ought. She sat gravely watching the cat and kitten lap up the last
drop of milk and carefully clean the sides of the pan in a manner
quite inelegant for humans, but no doubt entirely a matter of
etiquette in cat society, and then when Tippy, having done her
duty by the pan, turned her attention to making Dippy tidy,
Marian walked slowly away.

The sun was setting behind the hills, and touching the tops of the
trees along their base; further away the mountains were very dark
against a yellow line of sky. Marian continued her way thoughtfully
toward the garden, turned off before she reached the gate and
climbed a ladder which leaned against the side of the old brick
wall. From the ladder one could reach a long limb of a scraggy apple
tree upon which hung early apples nearly ripe. Marian went up the
ladder very carefully, taking care not to catch her frock upon a
nail or a projecting twig as she crept along the stout limb to
settle herself in a crotch of the tree. From this spot she could see
the distant sea, pinky purple, and shimmering silver.

Marian did not gaze at this, however, but turned her face toward the
mountains. She clasped her hands tightly and repeated firmly: "Be ye
removed into the midst of the sea. Be ye removed into the midst of
the sea." Then she waited, but the mountain did not budge an inch,
though the child kept her eyes fixed upon it. Twice, three times,
she repeated the words, but the mountain remained immovable. "I knew
it; I just knew it," exclaimed the child when she had made her final
effort, "and now I want to know how large a mustard seed is.
To-morrow I'll go ask Mrs. Hunt."

It was to Mrs. Hunt that she took all such questions, for she
hesitated to talk of very personal things to her grandparents. They
would ask her such sharp questions, and sometimes would smile in a
superior way when they did not say: "Oh, that is not a subject to
discuss with children; run along and play with Tippy." She did not
always want to be playing with Tippy when such mighty problems were
uppermost. She had many times tested her faith with the mountain,
but had always come away humiliated by the thought that her faith
must be too weak.

Though she brought her test to bear upon the mountain there was
another thing she did not dare to experiment with, though she always
intended to do so when the mountain should answer her command to be
removed. To be sure it would not make much difference to her if the
mountain should remove into the sea; it probably looked quite as
well where it was, and Marian supposed that no one would care to
have its place changed, but it made a great and mighty difference to
her about this other thing. She had never breathed her ardent wish
to any one, not even to Mrs. Hunt, and now that this fresh test of
faith had failed she would have to gather up a new stock before she
could try again.

The purple and pink and gold were fading; the sea looked gray; the
distant mountain was hidden under a cloud when Marian climbed down
from her perch to answer her grandmother's call: "Marian, Marian,
where are you? Come in out of the night air; the dew is falling."
Dippy was chasing moths in the garden as Marian took her way toward
the house. She watched him leaping up as each soft-winged creature
flitted by. When he failed to catch his prize he opened his mouth in
a mute meow, and looked at Marian as if asking her to help him.

"You mustn't catch moths, Dippy," said Marian. "They might disagree
with you. I should think anyhow, that they would be very dry eating,
and besides it is wicked to destroy innocent little creatures. Come,
you must go in with me." But this was the time of day when Dippy
liked specially to prance and jump and skurry after dusky, shadowy,
flitting things, so before Marian could pounce upon him, he was off
and away like a streak and could not be found. Then Marian went in
obediently at her grandmother's second call to spend the rest of her
evening sitting soberly by, while her grandmother knitted and her
grandfather read his evening paper.

She had tidied up her room, fed the cat and kitten, and darned her
stockings the next morning before she was free to go to Mrs. Hunt's.
Grandpa would go for the mail, and there were no errands to do,
except to return a plate to Mrs. Parker. It had come with some
spicy cakes for grandma, and must be taken back promptly.

The garden did not attract her just then, for it looked much
less mysterious by daylight. There was a fine array of poppies,
larkspurs, phlox and snapdragons; the oleander in its green tub was
all a-bloom, and there were six newly opened buds on the rose-bush.
Dippy was fast asleep in the sunshine, as if he, too, realized that
the garden was not so alluring by morning light.

It seemed no time to exercise faith upon the mountain, for a haze
covered it, and one could not feel even the near presence of a thing
one could not see, so why attempt to address a command to it to be
removed; to all intents and purposes it was removed when it was out
of sight.

Marian thought all this over as she trotted down the village street
to Mrs. Hunt's. Hers was one of a line of long low white houses set
back among trees. A border gay with nasturtiums, sweet peas, and
marigolds flourished each side the front door, but Marian did not
pause there; she went around to the kitchen where she knew Mrs. Hunt
would be this time of day. There was a strong odor of spices,
vinegar and such like filling the air. "Mrs. Hunt is making
pickles," said Marian to herself; "that is why she was gathering
cucumbers the last time I was here. I would rather it were cookies
or doughnuts, but I suppose people can't make those every day."

True enough, Mrs. Hunt was briskly mixing spices, but she turned
with a smile to her little visitor. "Well, chickadee," she said,
"how goes it to-day?"

"Oh, very well," returned Marian vaguely. "Mrs. Hunt, how big is a
mustard seed?"

For answer Mrs. Hunt put her fingers down into a small wooden box,
withdrew them, opened Marian's rosy palm, and laid a pinch of seeds
upon it. "There you are," she said. "I wish I could get at all the
things I want to see as easy as that."

Marian gazed curiously at the little yellow seeds. "They're not very
big, are they?" she said.

"Not very."

"Then you wouldn't have to have much faith," Marian went on,
following out her thought.

Mrs. Hunt laughed. "Is that the text that's bothering you? What are
you, or who are you, trying to have faith in? Tippy? Has she fooled
you again by hiding another batch of kittens?"

"No, Mrs. Hunt," Marian shook her head "it isn't Tippy; she is all
right, and so is Dippy, but you know if you want a thing very much
and don't see anyway of getting it ever, till you are grown up and
won't care about it, why it makes you feel as if--as if"--she
lowered her voice to a whisper and looked intently at her listener,
"as if either you were very wicked or as if--that about the mustard
seed--as if"--she hesitated, then blurted out hurriedly, "as if it
weren't true."

"Why, Marian Otway, of course it must be true," declared Mrs. Hunt.

"Then I'm very wicked," returned Marian with conviction.

"Why, you poor innocent, of course you are not. We are all more or
less imperfect creatures, I suppose, but--well, all is, if I were
your grandma, I wouldn't let you bother your head about such things.
It is hard enough for the preachers to settle some things for us and
themselves, so how do you suppose a baby like you is going to get
the gist of it?"

"If you were my grandma what would you do?" asked Marian coming to
the point.

"I'd give you interesting story-books to read, and see that you had
healthy-minded playfellows. You ought to be going to school; you are
enough bigger than my Annie was when she first went." This was a
point upon which Mrs. Hunt felt very keenly. She thought Mr. and
Mrs. Otway had not the proper ideas about bringing up children and
that Marian was too much with older persons. "I would send her off
to school quick as a wink," she had more than once said to Mrs.
Otway, but her remark had been received with only a smile, and one
could not follow out an argument when another would not argue, so
kind Mrs. Hunt had been able only to air her opinions to Mrs.
Perkins and her other neighbors, and once in a while to let Marian
know how she felt about her.

She had lost a little girl about Marian's age and made a point of
being especially good to the old-fashioned child who lived in the
brick house at the end of the street. The other houses were all
white or gray or brown, built plainly, and were either shingled or
clap-boarded affairs so that the brick house was a thing apart and
its occupants were usually considered the aristocracy of the place.
The older men called Grandpa Otway, "Professor," and the younger
ones said, "Good-morning, doctor," when they met him.

At the college where he had taught for many years he was still
remembered as an absent-minded, gentle but decided person, strong in
his opinions, proud and reticent, good as gold, but finding it hard
to forgive the only son who left home and married against the wishes
of his parents. When baby Marian's mother died her father had
written home, asking that his motherless baby might be taken in and
reared in the American land which he still loved. So one day Marian
arrived in charge of a plain German couple, but her father had not
seen her since and he still lived in far off Berlin. Once a year he
wrote to his little daughter and she answered the letter through her
grandmother. The letter always came the first of the year and the
latest one had given an account of a German Christmas. It had
enclosed some money for Marian to provide trinkets for her own
tree the next year.

Yet, alas,--and here came the tragedy--Marian had never been
allowed to have a tree; her grandparents did not approve of such
things; the money must go to the missions in foreign lands, and when
the next missionary box was sent Marian's Christmas money was sent
with it in one form or another. Even if Grandpa and Grandma Otway
had known what rebellious tears Marian shed and how she told Tippy
that she hated the heathen, and that she didn't see why they
couldn't go barefoot in a country as hot as China, and why they
couldn't eat rice as well as she, and why missionaries had to have
all sorts of things she didn't have, even if her grandparents had
known that, they would have said that it showed a wrong spirit and
that a little girl bid fair to become a hardened sinner, so she
ought to be made to sacrifice her own pleasures to so good a cause.

That would have been the least of it, for there would also have been
a long lecture from both grandfather and grandmother with a longer
prayer following and there would probably have been an order that
Marian must go without butter for a week that she might be taught to
practice self-denial. So Marian had thought it wise to say nothing
but to accept with as good a grace as possible the bitter necessity
of giving up her Christmas tree.

With the mustard seeds folded in her hand she stood watching Mrs.
Hunt tie up her spices, but the seeds were forgotten when Mrs. Hunt
said: "What will you do with a teacher living in your house and you
not going to school, I'd like to know. Mr. Hunt says he rather
guesses you'll not stay at home, but Mrs. Perkins says like as not
your grandma will have her teach you out of hours and pay her board
that way. As long as she is the daughter of a friend your grandpa
would want to make it easy for her and they'll fix it up some way."

Marian could scarcely believe her ears. "Coming to our house? Who is
she? What is her name, Mrs. Hunt? When is she coming? Who told you?"

"Dear bless me, what a lot of questions. Take care and don't get
your sleeve in that vinegar; it'll take all the color out. I'll wipe
it up and then you can lean on the table all you want to. There.
Well, you see it was Mrs. Leach told me. It seems this Miss Robbins
is the daughter of one of the professors at the college where your
grandpa was for so many years. He was one of the younger men, Mr.
Robbins was, being a student under your grandpa when he first knew
him. Now he is one of the professors with a big family and none too
well off, so his girl is coming to teach our school and Mr. Robbins
asked your grandpa if he wouldn't let her board at his house. She's
the eldest, but she hasn't been away from home much because she's
had to look after her younger brothers and sisters since her mother
died. Professor Robbins feels sort of anxious about her; he is
afraid of the wicked wiles of a big city like Greenville."

"Why, Mrs. Hunt, it isn't a big city, is it?" said Marian
innocently.

"Ain't it?" laughed Mrs. Hunt. "At all events he didn't want her
cast loose on it, and so he wrote to your grandpa, appealingly, I
should say, for it's fixed up that she is to come to the brick house
when the fall term begins and that's not far off."

"Oh!" Marian slipped down from the wooden chair upon which she had
seated herself, "I'd better go home and ask about it," she remarked.
"I'd much rather have some one beside grandpa teach me; he uses
such terribly long words and talks so long about things I don't
understand. Sometimes I can't make out whether I'm very stupid or
whether the lessons are extra hard."

"I guess you're no more stupid than the usual run of children," said
Mrs. Hunt stirring her pickles, "and I guess you will learn as much
about Miss Robbins and her affairs from me as you will at home. But
there, go 'long if you want to. Come in to-morrow; I'll be baking
cookies," she called after the child.

Marian answered with a nod as she looked back. Between the door and
the steps she halted once to open her hand and look for the mustard
seeds, but in her interest in Mrs. Hunt's news she had let them fall
to the floor and but one clung to her moist fingers. She tasted it
and found it strong and biting. "It can't be the bigness," she
murmured; "it must mean the hotness and strongness." This view of
the matter gave her a better understanding, according to her own
ideas, and she was glad she had tasted the small seed. After all,
there were pleasant things opening up. What if she could not move
mountains, there would be fresh cookies to-morrow and out of
somewhere a beautiful young lady was advancing toward her, not
exactly a playfellow, maybe, but some one much younger than
Grandpa and Grandma Otway.



_CHAPTER II_

_The School-Teacher_


The brick house had not the cheerful air of Mrs. Hunt's
white-boarded, green-shuttered abode. It was set back a few
feet from the side-walk, but a brick wall on each side shut out
any glimpse of the flower garden, and the iron railing leading
up from the flight of steps gave the place an air unlike the
rest of the village houses. Upon the top step Dorothy Robbins
stood a few moments before she rang the bell. She cast an upward
glance at the windows first; the shutters were all bowed and
silence reigned everywhere. She wondered what was behind the
brick wall, and if the inmates of the house would look as
forbidding and inhospitable as the house itself. She knew
the Otways had a little granddaughter and half looked to see
the child hanging on the gate or skipping down the path as she
approached the house. The door-bell clanged solemnly and presently
a sedate, middle-aged woman came to the door.

"Is Mrs. Otway at home?" asked Miss Dorothy.

"No, ma'am, she ain't," was the reply given most ungraciously.
"She's to a missionary society or a temperance meeting or something,
and he's gone with her."

"Is no one at home?"

"I'm here, and Marian's somewhere about, I guess. Was you
calculatin' to show goods or solicit anythin'? We hain't no
call for dress-makers' charts, and we don't want to subscribe
to no cook-books, I'm cook-book enough myself."

Dorothy smiled. "Oh, no. I don't make my living that way," she
answered cheerfully. "Perhaps I'd better see the little girl,
Miss----" she added after a few moments' thought.

"Hepzibah Toothacre is my name," remarked the gaunt woman as she
turned away leaving the young lady standing on the step.

Dorothy made a wry face. "Toothacre or some kind of acher I should
think," she said to herself. "She looked sour enough to be several
kinds of ache rolled in one. I hope the rest of the family are not
like that."

She did not have to wait long before a little girl came along the
dim entry toward her. She was brown-haired, brown-eyed, dark-skinned
and rather pale. She wore a plain blue gingham frock, and her hair
was tied in two pig-tails with a narrow black ribbon. She paused
timidly at sight of a stranger, but at Miss Dorothy's smile she came
forward eagerly. "Oh, are you--are you----" she began.

"The new teacher?" interrupted Miss Dorothy. "Yes, dear, I am. May
I come in? The ogress that guards your castle looked as if she might
make a meal of me and I was afraid to come any further."

Marian looked puzzled for a moment, then her face broke into a
smile. "Oh, you mean Heppy. She is rather cross sometimes. She
was not very polite not to ask you in, but she is in a bad humor
to-day; there were two peddlers here this morning and she can't
bear peddlers."

"She thought I was one, and that was why she was so grouchy,
I see."

"I will go and ask her to show you to your room," returned Marian;
"it is all ready."

"Can't you show me?" asked Miss Dorothy with whimsical anxiety in
her tones.

Marian laughed; she knew that Miss Dorothy was only pretending to be
afraid of Heppy, and the pretense made her seem more like a little
girl. "Of course I can show you up," she made answer. "Grandma
didn't expect you till the late train and she had to go to her
missionary society; she's president of the board, you see."

"Oh, yes, I quite understand. I didn't suppose, myself, that I
could get here till the late train, but I was able to make better
connections than I expected and here I am. My trunk will be along
after awhile. You are Maid Marian, I know, but I do not see the
greenwood and where are Robin Hood and his merry men?" Then seeing
that Marian hadn't a notion of what she meant, she said, "You don't
know them, do you? I'll have to tell you some time, you and the rest
of my scholars, for of course you are coming to my school."

"Oh, am I?" Marian's face was radiant.

"Why, yes, I imagine so. Don't you go to school?"

"I haven't been yet. Grandpa has always taught me at home,
you know."

"Oh, that's it." Miss Dorothy was taking off her hat, standing
before the mirror to puff out her soft ripples of hair. "What a
lovely big room this is," she remarked. "I never had such a big
room all to myself. We are such a large family that we always
have to double up, I don't mean like a jack-knife," she added
with a little laugh. "I wonder if I shall have to hunt for
myself in that big bed; if I do you will have to come and
find me, for I might get hopelessly lost if you didn't."

Marian laughed. This merry talk was very delightful; even Mrs. Hunt
was never quite so fascinatingly entertaining. She stood gazing at
Miss Dorothy with admiring eyes as she put a few touches to her
dress. Surely it would mean great things to have a young lady in
the house.

Miss Dorothy gave a final survey of the room as she turned from the
mirror. "I like it," she said nodding to Marian, "and when I get
down those solemn-looking pictures, hang up my own favorites, put a
cheerful cover on that table and a couple of bright sofa pillows on
that lounge, and have some plants in that south window, it will be
very cozy."

"Oh, will you dare?" began Marian and then stopped short. There were
probably no lengths to which a teacher might not be allowed to go,
even by so particular a person as Grandma Otway.

"Why, what is there so very daring about that?" asked Miss Dorothy.
"It isn't like walking a tight-rope, or shooting Niagara Falls in a
canoe." There was a saucy look in her eyes as she spoke, and a
dimple came and went as she strove to keep her face grave.

"It isn't like that, of course," said Marian feebly. "It will be
your own room, and you are a grown-up lady who can do as you please.
I suppose it is only children who don't dare to do things like
moving pictures and putting flower-pots on the window-sills when
they are freshly painted."

Miss Dorothy's merry laugh rang out. "Oh, you dear, transparent
baby. You've spoken volumes in that speech. Now I'm ready to go
down. What shall we do? My trunk will not be here till after the
next train is in, they informed me at the station. I'd like to
see the schoolhouse, but perhaps we'd best wait till morning,
then it can be shown me officially. Could we dare to walk in
the garden if I promise not to race over the borders and
recklessly pull the flowers? Does one dare to leave the
house to do that?" There was a little mocking look in
her eyes as she spoke.

"Oh, yes, of course we can go anywhere we like in the garden,"
returned Marian. "Do come, and I will show you my apple tree. If you
are not afraid to climb you can see the ocean from my seat in the
crotch,--and the mountain, too," she added more soberly.

"Don't suggest mountains yet," said Miss Dorothy, becoming sober
too. "But there, I won't think about mountains; I've always managed
them and I always intend to."

Marian gazed at her with new intentness and drew nearer. "Can you
manage mountains?" she asked wonderingly.

"Why, yes; if you don't make them out of mole-hills it is easy
enough."

Marian pondered over this answer all the way down-stairs, but could
not make head or tail of it. She would ask further when she knew
Miss Dorothy better. She felt quite assured that she would not be
long in feeling as much at home with her as with Mrs. Hunt.

As they passed the kitchen door near which the grim Hepzibah stood,
Miss Dorothy drew her skirts aside and fled down the garden walk,
giving a pretended scared look over her shoulder as she caught
Marian's hand. "Don't let her get me, will you?" she said. Marian
fell in with her mood and promised that she should not be delivered
to the ogress, though in her heart of hearts she felt that a person
who would dare to take liberties with Grandma Otway's best room
surely could not be a very scary individual, and by the time they
had reached the apple tree, she had decided that Miss Dorothy would
probably have no fear of climbing to the very top, if she cared to.

"The Garden of Hesperides and the Golden Apples!" exclaimed Miss
Dorothy, settling down into the crotch and giving Marian a hand to
help her to a seat by her side. "Isn't this too lovely for
anything? It will be the finest place in the world to come and read
fairy-tales. Do you know many? I have brought a lot with me, and
we'll have a lovely time here before it gets too cold to stay out."

"I don't know many fairy-tales," Marian answered doubtfully.
"Grandma doesn't exactly approve of them; at least she never tells
me any. She says that Bible stories are entertaining enough for any
one, and she lets me read those 'simplified for the understanding of
a child.'" She spoke with perfect gravity, though Miss Dorothy
turned her head to hide the smile she could not prevent.

"I suppose, then," said Miss Dorothy, "that you have a book of
those."

"Yes; it belonged to grandpa when he was small, and it is called
'Tales from the Bible, simplified for the understanding of a child';
I read it generally on Sundays. Mrs. Hunt knows about Cinderella and
the Glass Slipper and about the Pig that huffed and puffed till he
blew the house down."

"Oh, I don't know that last one," said Miss Dorothy; "you will have
to tell me, and I'll tell you about the Golden Apples. Don't the
apples smell good? Do we dare have any of them when they are ripe?"

"Oh, yes, we can have two a day; one in the morning and one at noon;
grandma says they are lead at night."

"Goodness me! I believe I have heard that saying before," said Miss
Dorothy, mentally determining to carry apples to her room to eat
when she felt inclined. Mrs. Otway should not decide such matters
for her. She sat with her chin in her hand looking off at the ocean,
blue in the distance. Marian, watching her, decided that although
the new teacher did not exactly fill her expectations in some
respects, in others she far exceeded them. She had very blue eyes
that could be merry or soft as her mood was, her hair was wavy and
of a light brown color; she was fair of skin, had rather a large
mouth and not a specially beautiful nose, but she was good to look
upon and the more one looked the more charming one thought her. She
was dressed very simply in a gray traveling gown with no jewelry but
a silver pin fastening her collar. Her face in repose was serious
and Marian could see that she was not one to be trifled with, in
spite of her fun-loving spirit.

"There are many things I want to know," said Miss Dorothy after a
while, "but I will wait till I absolutely have to ask questions."

"If you want to know one thing," returned Marian, "I can tell you.
If you would like me to tell you when grandpa and grandma will be
here I can say in about five minutes." She was looking off down the
street and Miss Dorothy saw two figures approaching.

"Then we'd better go in," she said. "I should not like them to meet
me in an apple tree; they might think me very undignified."

Marian was rather inclined to think they might, but she glossed over
the fact by saying, "Well, you see it has been such a long, long
time since they were young they must forget how it feels."

Miss Dorothy smiled and began to climb down the ladder, Marian
following. In a few minutes they were walking soberly up the path
and reached the front door just as Mr. and Mrs. Otway were there.

"Miss Robbins has come," announced Marian with a little nod of her
head in the direction of the young lady in the background.

"Ah-h," responded her grandfather, "then I was right, my dear," he
turned to his wife, "I said it was probable that she would get the
first train. We should have told Hepzibah or else you should have
remained at home."

"I never remain at home from the quarterly meeting upon any
pretext," returned Mrs. Otway firmly; "it was a most important one."

But Mr. Otway had hastened forward and was holding out his hand in
welcome to Miss Dorothy. "I am glad to receive my old friend's
daughter," he said with a stately bow. "This is Miss--ah, yes,
Miss Dorothy. I may have met you when you were less of a young
lady, but I cannot separate you, as a memory, from your sisters."

"I think I remember Professor Otway," returned Dorothy smiling up
into the near-sighted eyes which were peering down at her. Mr. Otway
was tall, spare, a little stoop-shouldered. His hair was quite gray
and grew sparsely around his temples; his face was clean shaven.
Mrs. Otway was below medium height, plump and keen-eyed. She wore an
old-fashioned gown and a plain bonnet. Winter or summer she never
went out without a small cape over her shoulders. Upon this occasion
it was of black silk trimmed with a fold of the same. She looked
approvingly at Dorothy's neat frock, but a little disapprovingly
at the arrangement of her hair.

"I am sorry not to have been here to welcome you," she said, "but
there are certain matters of business which cannot be set aside for
uncertainties. I hope Hepzibah or Marian showed you to your room."

"Marian did, and has been a very kind hostess," returned Miss
Dorothy. "I am very glad you did not give up an important matter
for anything so indefinite as my arrival. You must never let my
presence allow of any change in your arrangements, Mrs. Otway. I
am exceedingly grateful to you for taking me in, and I should be
very uncomfortable if I were to interfere with your usual routine."

Mrs. Otway nodded approval. "We shall consider you one of the
family, my dear Miss Robbins," she told her. "Marian, take my things
up-stairs." She gave her bonnet and cape to her granddaughter and
led the way to the semi-darkened parlor where she established
herself in a haircloth rocking-chair while Miss Dorothy seated
herself upon the sofa.

Marian laid the bonnet and cape carefully upon her grandmother's
smooth bed and went down to tell Hepzibah that it was the teacher,
who had arrived. She had not wanted to leave Miss Dorothy, in order
to give the old servant this piece of information, but now that her
chance had come she went straight to the kitchen.

Hepzibah was stalking about preparing supper. She looked up sharply
as Marian entered. "Well," she said, "what's wanting?"

"It's Miss Robbins, the teacher, Heppy," Marian told her. "You saw
us go by down the garden, didn't you?"

"Why didn't she say so?" returned Heppy in an aggrieved voice.
"How's I to know she wasn't a book-agent or a body selling home-made
laces and embroidered shirt waists. She was carrying a bag and it
might have been full of wares for all I knew."

"But she doesn't look like a peddler."

"Looks belie folks sometimes. Some of 'em is dressed as good as the
best, in hats with feathers and kid gloves. She might have been that
or anything, for all I could tell. I'll do just the same next time.
She'd oughter have told her business right out, instead of hemming
and hawing and asking was Mrs. Otway to home. That's the way they
all do; get the name next door and come as brazen as you please
asking for Mrs. this and that. I'd like to know who's to tell the
sheep from the goats."

"I would know in a minute that Miss Dorothy wasn't a goat," said
Marian.

"Oh, you know a heap, don't you," replied Heppy scornfully. "If you
knew so much why didn't you tell me who it was first off?"

"I didn't know exactly who it was but I could easily guess, for I
knew the teacher was coming some time soon."

"I don't see why your grandma didn't say I was to look out for her,"
Heppy went on with a new grievance.

"Maybe she thought you would know, because you helped get her room
ready, and knew she was expected," Marian made excuse.

"As if I could remember anything on a Saturday, when I'd been
pestered to death, answering the door a dozen times, while I was
cleaning my kitchen. She might have chose some other day to come."

"She has to begin school on Monday, and besides that would be just
as bad, for it would be wash-day and you are cross always then,
Heppy, you know you are."

Heppy turned on her. "You just go out of here," she said. "I don't
want you 'round underfoot, pestering me at meal-time nohow. I guess
I can get a meal for four just as easy as for three and I don't need
your help neither."

At this Marian was fain to depart, seeing that Heppy was in one of
her worst moods, when everything was a grievance. It was a pleasant
contrast when the little girl was met by Miss Dorothy's smile as she
returned to the parlor, so she settled herself by the side of this
new friend, folded her hands and let her feet dangle over the edge
of the sofa. It was rather a slippery seat and in time it might be
that she would have to wriggle back to a firmer place, but its
nearness to Miss Dorothy was its attraction and she felt well
satisfied and entirely secure when the teacher's arm encircled
her and drew her closer. "I am to have one new pupil anyhow,"
said Miss Dorothy, smiling down. "Won't it be nice for us to
be going to school together every day, Marian?"

"Oh, am I going?" Marian looked from one grandparent to another.

Mrs. Otway nodded sedately. "We have concluded that it is best," she
said. "Your grandfather has many affairs to attend to, and it is a
tax upon his time to teach you, therefore, since you will not need
to go to school unattended, we think it best. We shall see how it
works, at all events, and if it seems wise to withdraw you later,
we can do so."

Marian gave a long sigh of satisfaction, but said nothing. She was
constantly told that little children should be seen and not heard,
and moreover she thought it might hurt her grandfather's feelings if
she showed too much pleasure at the change. Yet when she gave the
new teacher a glad smile, Miss Dorothy realized that the prospect of
school was a pleasant one to at least one of her pupils.



_CHAPTER III_

_A New Road_


Instead of sitting in a straight-backed chair in her grandfather's
study, conning over dry lessons while Mr. Otway wrote or read, it
was quite a different experience for Marian to go to school to Miss
Dorothy in a cheerful little schoolhouse where twenty other girls
were seated each before her particular desk. Lessons with Grandpa
Otway had been very stupid, for he required literal, word-for-word,
gotten-by-heart pages, had no mercy upon faulty spelling, and
frowned down mistakes in arithmetic examples. He did not make much
of a point of writing, for he wrote a queer, scratchy hand himself,
and so Marian could scarcely form her letters legibly, a fact of
which she was made ashamed when she saw how well Ruth Deering wrote,
and discovered that Marjorie Stone sent a letter every week to her
brother at college.

However, the rest of it was such an improvement upon other years,
that every morning Marian started out very happily, book bag on arm,
and Miss Dorothy by her side. The first day was the most eventful,
of course, and the child was in a quiver of excitement. Her teacher
was perhaps not less nervous, though she did not show it except by
the two red spots upon her cheeks. It was her first day as teacher
as well as Marian's, as one of a class in school. But all passed off
well, the twenty little girls with shining faces and fresh frocks
were expectant and the new teacher quite came up to their hopes.
Marian already knew Ruth Deering and Marjorie Stone, for they were
in her Sunday-school class, and some of the others she had seen at
church. Alice Evans sat with her parents just in front of the
Otways' pew, so her flaxen pig-tails were a familiar sight, while
Minnie Keating's big brown bow of ribbon appeared further along on
Sunday mornings.

Marian felt that she did quite as well as the other girls in most
things, and was beginning to congratulate herself upon knowing as
much as any one of her age, when she was called to the blackboard to
write out a sentence. At her feeble effort which resulted in a
crooked scrawl, there was a subdued titter from the others. For one
moment the new scholar stood, her cheeks flaming, then with defiant
face she turned to Miss Dorothy. "I can spell it every word," she
said, "if I can't write it."

Miss Dorothy smiled encouragingly, for she understood the situation.
"That is more than many little girls of your age can do," she said.
"Suppose you spell it for us, then."

With clenched hands Marian faced her schoolmates. "Separate
syllables, and enunciate with distinct emphasis," she finished
triumphantly, without looking at the book.

"That is a very good test," said Miss Dorothy; "you may take your
seat. Now, Alice, I will give out the next sentence, and you may
spell it without the board," and the day was saved for Marian.

After this she triumphantly gave the boundaries of several
countries, told without hesitation the dates of three important
events in history, carried to a correct finish a difficult example
in long division, and when the hour came for school to close she had
won her place. Yet the matter of writing was uppermost in her mind
as she walked home, and she said shamefacedly to Miss Dorothy,
"Isn't it dreadful for a girl of my age not to know how to write?"

"It isn't as if it were a thing that couldn't be learned," Miss
Dorothy told her for her encouragement, "but you must hurry up and
conquer it. You might practice at home between times, and you will
be surprised to find how you improve. Have you never written letters
to your father?"

Marian shook her head. "Not really myself. Grandma always writes
them for me," then she added, "so of course she says just what she
pleases; I'd like to say what I please, I think."

"I am sure your father would like it better if you did. I know when
my father was away from home the letter that most pleased him was
written by my little sister Patty when she was younger than you."

"How old is she now?" asked Marian.

"Just about your age. She can write very well, but you can distance
her in spelling and arithmetic."

"I'll catch up with her in writing," decided Marian, "and maybe she
will catch up with me in the other things."

"I'll tell her what you say," said Miss Dorothy; "that will be an
incentive to you both. I should like you to know our Patty. She is
our baby, and is a darling."

"I should like to know her," returned Marian warmly.

"I'll tell her to write to you," promised Miss Dorothy.

"Oh, good! I never have letters from any one but papa, and he writes
only once a year. I wish he would write oftener, for his letters are
so nice, and I do love him, though I haven't seen him since I was a
baby."

"Perhaps if he knew you really cared so much to hear, he would
write. Why don't you send him a letter and tell him?"

"Oh, but just see what a fist I make at writing. I will tell him as
soon as I can write better, although," she added with a sigh, "that
seems a long time to wait."

Miss Dorothy was thoughtfully silent for a few minutes. "I will tell
you what," she said presently. "I have a small typewriting machine
which I will teach you how to use. It is very simple, and you spell
so nicely that it will be no time before you could manage a
perfectly legible letter to your father."

"Oh, Miss Dorothy, I do love you," cried Marian. "That is such a
delightful idea. What an angelic sister Patty has."

Miss Dorothy laughed. "What a funny little girl you are. I am glad,
however, that you didn't say: How awfully nice! I am afraid that is
what Patty would have said, but she hasn't had the advantage of
associating with only scholarly people like your grandparents, and
so she talks as her brothers and sisters do."

"I should think she would be awfully happy to have so many brothers
and sisters," remarked Marian.

"Oh, dear, see what example does," exclaimed Miss Dorothy. "You said
awfully happy and I never heard you say awfully anything before.
I'll tell you what we'll do; whenever you hear me saying awfully
nice or awfully horrid you tell me, and I'll do the same by you. Is
it a bargain?"

"Oh, yes, thank you, Miss Dorothy, but I'm afraid I should feel
queer to correct you."

"I am not perfect, my dear," said Miss Dorothy gravely, "not any
more than the rest of humanity. I shouldn't expect you to correct me
ordinarily, but this is a habit I want to get out of, and that I do
not want you to get into, so we shall be a mutual help, you see, and
you will be doing me a favor by reminding me."

"Then I'll try to do it. How shall I tell you when other people are
around? It would sound queer if I said: Oh, Miss Dorothy, you said
awfully."

"So it would, you little wiseacre. You can touch me on the elbow and
then put your finger on your lip, and I will understand, and I will
do the same when you say it."

Marian was perfectly satisfied at this. "I am so glad you are here,"
she sighed. "I feel lots more faith growing. I shall soon be
very--is it faithful I ought to say?"

"Well, not exactly in the sense you mean, though really it ought to
be that faithful means full of faith; as it is it means trustworthy
and devoted to the performance of duties and things. I think the old
meaning when one wanted to say that a person was full of faith was
faithful, but the original sense of many words has been lost."

"When shall I begin with the typewriter?" asked Marian, changing the
subject.

"We can begin this afternoon. I have unpacked and oiled it, so it is
all ready to use."

"How soon do you think I can send a letter to papa?"

"If you are industrious and painstaking I should say you could do it
in a week."

"Oh, that's not long, and he will get it long before Christmas,
won't he?"

"Yes, indeed! I should think in ten days or two weeks at the
furthest."

"I should like to send him something for Christmas. I never did send
him anything. Don't you think it would be nice to do it?"

"I think it would be awfully nice."

Marian gave her teacher's arm a gentle shake and put her finger to
her lip.

Miss Dorothy looked at her a little puzzled, then she understood.
"Oh, I said awfully, didn't I? Thank you, dearie, for reminding me.
What should you like to send your father?"

"I don't know. I'll have to think. You'll help me to think, won't
you?"

"Indeed I will, if you want me to. I should think almost anything
you could send would please him, for, after all, it is the thought
that counts, not the thing itself."

"Oh, but I do think things count, and--Miss Dorothy, you won't tell
if I ask him not to send me money."

"Not money? I think that it's rather a nice thing to have, for then
you can buy whatever you like."

"You couldn't if you were I."

"Why not?"

"Because. You won't say anything about it to the grans?" Marian's
voice dropped to a whisper. "When papa sends me money it always goes
to the missions; it is my sacrifice, Grandma says. As long as I
don't have the money really in my hands, it doesn't so much matter,
but it would matter if I had to go without butter or perhaps sweet
things, like dessert or cake for a whole month. That is what would
happen if I said I would rather have the money myself than let the
missionaries have it. Oh, I suppose it is all right," she added
quickly, "and no doubt I am a hardened sinner, but I would like a
real Christmas gift."

"Did you never have one?" asked Miss Dorothy, with pity and surprise
in her voice.

"Not a really one, except from Mrs. Hunt; she gave me a sweet little
pincushion last year, and a whole bag full of cakes and goodies. I
enjoyed them very much."

"Did your grandparents give you nothing at all?"

"Oh, yes. I had a new hat, and gloves and handkerchiefs. I was
pleased to have them of course, but I would like something real
Christmassy and--and--foolish."

"You blessed child, of course you would," and Miss Dorothy mentally
determined that the next Christmas should provide something real
Christmassy for her little companion.

Marian was silent for a while then she asked, "Do you have a
Christmas tree at your house?"

"Why, yes, always, and we all hang up our stocking from father down
to Patty. Don't you?"

"No, I never did, and I never had a tree."

"Why, you poor dear child," exclaimed Miss Dorothy surprised out of
discretion.

"There doesn't any one know how much I want it," said Marian in part
excuse, "but I do. That is what I meant about moving mountains and
faith. Do you believe if I had a great deal of faith, as sharp and
strong as a mustard seed that the Lord would send me a tree? I never
told any one before about it, but you understand better than Mrs.
Hunt. I thought once or twice I would ask her, but she might laugh
and I don't want any one to laugh, for it is very solemn." She
peered anxiously up into Miss Dorothy's face to see if there were a
suspicion of amusement there, but Miss Dorothy looked as grave as
any one could wish.

"I think faith can do a great deal, my dear little girl," she said
gently.

"It can move mountains, the Bible says. I heard grandpa and grandma
talking about it, and Mrs. Hunt showed me some mustard seed. I
tasted one and it was very strong, so I know now it doesn't mean
the bigness but the strongness."

Miss Dorothy looked down with a smile. "You little theologian," she
exclaimed. Then to herself she said: This comes of shutting up a
child with staid old people. The dear thing needs a whole lot of
frivolity mixed up in her life; Christmas trees and things. She
shall have them if I can do any of the mixing. "Well, dear," she
said aloud, "I think we will hold on to all the faith we can muster,
and see what will come of it, but you must realize that just sitting
still and believing isn't all of it. We must work, too, for the
Bible says faith _and_ works, not faith _or_ works. So now you work
hard over your writing, and send letters to your father so he will
know what his little girl likes and longs for, then you will be
doing your part in that direction, and at the same time put your
trust in his love for you, and no doubt something beautiful will
come of it all. You can come up to my room as soon as you want to,
and we will start the little typewriter."

Marian's satisfaction was too deep for words, but she gave her
teacher's arm a little squeeze and laid her cheek against it.

It was not long before she was tapping at the door of Miss Dorothy's
room, but before she began the work she was so eager for, she
asked, "Do you think I ought to ask grandma's permission?"

"I don't see why you need to, for there is nothing wrong about it,"
Miss Dorothy replied. "But if you feel as if you should, you can run
down and tell your grandmother what you are going to do. You can say
that I am going to teach you to use my little machine, and surely
she will not object."

But Mrs. Otway was off upon some charity bent, and Marian returned
feeling that she had done her duty in making the attempt to tell.
Then she and Miss Dorothy had great fun over the little machine
which seemed so complicated at first, but which gradually grew more
and more familiar, so that at the end of an hour under Miss Dorothy,
Marian was able to write out several lines quite creditably. These
she took down and proudly showed to her grandfather.

"First-rate," he exclaimed. "Keep on, my child, and after a while
you will be able to copy out my papers for me; a great assistance
that would be. I shouldn't wonder but in time you would make me an
excellent secretary." Under this praise Marian's qualms of
conscience were eased. If grandpa approved, that was enough. Her
next impulse was to run to Mrs. Hunt's to show off her new
accomplishment, but she decided to wait till she could manage the
typewriter entirely alone, so would the credit be greater.

She sought out Tippy and Dippy to tell her secret to. They were her
confidants always, and to-day she had almost forgotten them in the
novelty of having so sympathetic a friend as Miss Dorothy. It would
never do to forsake old and tried comrades, and so Tippy was roused
from her nap, and Dippy was captured in the act of catching a
grasshopper, then the two were borne to the end of the garden to
a sheltered spot where Marian always had her "thinks." She took
the two in her lap. Tippy settled down at once, but Dippy had to
have his head rubbed for some minutes before he began to purr
contentedly.

"You see, my dears," began Marian, "I am going to have a great deal
to do, almost as much as grandma has with her clubs and societies
and meetings. First there is school. I think I like Alice Evans the
best of the girls, for she has such pretty hair, but I am not quite
sure about it. She was not quite as nice to me at recess as Ruth
was, so maybe I shall like Ruth best. I am sure I shall love Patty.
I wish she had come here with her sister. It must be lovely, Tippy,
to have a sister, though I suppose you don't think as I do, for you
had a sister once and now you don't care anything about her, for you
fizzed at her the other day when she came in our garden. I saw you
and heard you, too, and I was very much shocked. What was I talking
about? Oh, yes, about so much to do. I'll have lessons to study at
home after this, I suppose. We didn't have any real lessons to-day,
just trial things, and I did such awful--I mean really awful writing
on the blackboard that the girls all giggled. I just hated that, and
I felt like crying or like running away and never going back, but I
realized that it wouldn't do to do either, so that is another thing
I must do.

"I must practice writing at home. I wonder where I shall get paper
and things to do it on. I'll have to ask Miss Dorothy about that.
She is such a dear, Tippy, and she likes cats; she said so. I never
used to think that any one could be as nice as Mrs. Hunt, but Miss
Dorothy is nicer in some ways, for she understands just how you feel
about everything, and Mrs. Hunt doesn't always. She is as kind as
can be, but she thinks that when you ask questions if she answers
with a cookie or a doughnut you will be satisfied. It does satisfy
your mouth, of course, but it doesn't satisfy the thinking part of
you. Sometimes I go down there just bursting with things I want to
know, and when I ask her, she says: 'Oh, don't bother your little
head about such things; there is a plate of cakes in the pantry; go
help yourself.' Now, Miss Dorothy isn't that way at all. She just
reaches her thinks down to yours and they go along together till
you come out all clear and straight like coming out of the woods
into an open sunshiny place where there is a good path.

"Now, Tippy, we've got to think of something to send papa for a
present. I don't suppose you are interested in such things, but I
think every one ought to be. Maybe Patty can help me out. She must
be a very bright child; Miss Dorothy says she is. There! I hear
Heppy clattering the milk-pan; it is time to see about your
supper." So saying, Marian put down the two cats and started for
the house, her pets following at her heels, knowing the sound of
a milk-pan as well as she.



_CHAPTER IV_

_Companions_


The first week of school passed very rapidly, and by the time Friday
afternoon came, Marian felt quite at home with her schoolmates. She
had finally decided that Ruth would be her best friend next to
Patty, whom she always held in reserve as filling her needs exactly,
when they should meet. Miss Dorothy had written to her little sister
and Marian was daily expecting a letter herself from Patty, a letter
which should mark the beginning of their friendship. She was rather
shy of the girls at first, for she had scarcely known childish
comrades, and her old-fashioned ideas and mature way of speaking
often brought a laugh from the others, but her shyness soon wore off
and she quickly acquired a style of speech at which her grandparents
sometimes frowned, for it included some bits of slang which had
never found their way into the brick house before.

It was Miss Dorothy's doing which made the way easier for the little
girl, for she argued nobly in behalf of Marian's needing young
companions to keep her like a normal child. She even appealed to
the family doctor who promptly sided with her, and maintained that
Marian would be better bodily, if she lived a more rough and tumble
life. So, because her grandparents really did care for her, absorbed
as they were in their grown-up affairs, Marian was allowed more
freedom than ever before and was ready to take advantage of it.

Miss Dorothy had gone up to town to do some shopping this first
Saturday of the term, and Marian bethought herself of its being
baking day at Mrs. Hunt's, so, as this was always one place she
could always go without asking permission, she simply stopped at
the sitting-room door and announced: "I am going down to Mrs.
Hunt's, grandma."

Mrs. Otway, at work upon a financial report, did not look up from
her columns of figures, but merely nodded in reply and Marian ran on
down the street between the double rows of trees, till she came to
Mrs. Hunt's. This time it was the odor of baking which greeted her
as she advanced toward the kitchen, and Mrs. Hunt was in the act of
taking a pan of nicely browned cookies from the oven as her visitor
appeared.

"Well, well, well," she exclaimed. "Just in time. Seems to me school
keeps some folks amazingly busy. I've not seen you for a week, have
I? But there, I'm glad enough you're turned out at last. Let me see
how you look. School agrees with you; I can see that. Sit down there
on the step and eat a cookie; it's warm inside the kitchen with the
fire going. Now tell me all about it. How do you like Miss Robbins?
I hear she's liable to be as popular as any teacher we've had. How
do the grans take to her?" Marian and Mrs. Hunt always spoke of Mr.
and Mrs. Otway as the grans.

"They like her," returned Marian between bites of cookie. "She is
perfectly fine, Mrs. Hunt, and she's got a little sister just my
age; her name's Martha, but they call her Patty, and she's going to
write to me, and, oh, Mrs. Hunt, I have a secret to tell you, but
you mustn't breathe it. Cross your heart you won't."

"Cross your heart," repeated Mrs. Hunt. "Where did you get that? I
never heard you say that before."

"All the girls say it."

"Of course they do, and you're getting to be one of the girls, I
see. Well, I'm glad of it. And what's the mighty secret?"

"You won't tell?"

"Not I." Mrs. Hunt emphasized her promise by bringing down her
cake-cutter firmly on the dough she had spread on the board before
her.

"Well, it's this: I'm learning to write on the typewriter, and I'm
going to write a letter to papa myself."

"Well, I vow to man! Isn't that a trick worth knowing? Won't he be
pleased?"

"Do you think he really will? I didn't know, for you see he has
written to me only once a year just as he does to grandpa and
grandma, and I have never been sure that he really cared very much
about me."

"Listen to the child," exclaimed Mrs. Hunt, shaking her head. "Who'd
have thought she gave it any thought one way or the other. Don't you
believe that he doesn't care. I knew Ralph Otway before you were
born, and I can tell you that when he gets to knowing that you've
thought enough about him to want to write to him he will write to
you often enough. He's got it into his head that you are as well off
not hearing from him oftener, and besides he feels that as a lone
widower he can't take as good care of you as his mother, a woman,
can do, and he's just steeled his heart to endure what he thinks is
best for you without thinking of what he would like for himself.
Don't you suppose he would a thousand times rather have you with him
than to live off there by himself?"

"No, I didn't think so," replied Marian, with the idea that somehow
she had said something she ought not. "But, Mrs. Hunt, if he does
care, why doesn't he come over and get me?"

"Just as I told you; because he thinks you are better off here with
your kith and kin. What would you do all day alone, with him off at
his business and you by yourself in lodgings or a boarding-house,
I'd like to know. He wouldn't want to send you to boarding-school,
for then you'd not be so well off as where you are. Oh, no, don't
you be getting it into your head that your father doesn't care for
you." Mrs. Hunt made decided plunges at the yellow dough at each
attack leaving behind a scalloped circle. "How I talk," she said as
she deftly lifted the cookies into a pan, "but my tongue runs away
with me sometimes. When do you think you'll be smart enough to get
that letter off?"

"Oh, in another week, perhaps. Miss Dorothy thinks I will."

"Humph! that's quick enough work. Here, don't you want to go down
into the garden and get me a few tomatoes? I thought I'd stew some
for dinner, and I can't leave my baking very well."

This was something Marian always liked to do, so she took the little
round basket Mrs. Hunt handed her and was soon very busy among the
tomato vines. She was watching a big yellow butterfly bury itself in
an opening flower when she heard a voice on the other side of the
fence, say: "Hello!" and looking up she saw Marjorie Stone and Alice
Evans smiling at her.

"What are you doing?" asked Marjorie. "I didn't know you lived
here."

"I don't," said Marian going toward her. "I just came to see Mrs.
Hunt and I am getting some tomatoes for her. Most everything else
has gone. There used to be lovely currants and raspberries over
there, and there were a few blackberries."

"We know where there are some blackberries still, don't we, Alice?"
said Marjorie.

"Yes, they have ripened late; they're not so very big, but we are
going to get them. We're going to take our lunch with us and gather
all we can find."

"If you bring some lunch you can go too," said Marjorie amiably to
Marian.

"Oh, is it a picnic?"

"Just a little one. Three or four of us were going, but two of the
girls can't go. One has to stay at home and take care of the baby,
and the other has gone to town with her mother, but maybe Alice's
big sister, Stella, will go with us."

"Is it very far?"

"Not so very. We've often been there. You go get your lunch and put
it in a tin bucket, or a basket, so you will have something to carry
your blackberries home in. We'll wait here for you if you hurry."

Much excited, Marian ran back to the house. This came of having
schoolmates. A picnic this very first Saturday, and the
blackberrying thrown in. She set down the little basket on the
kitchen table and exclaimed, "Oh, Mrs. Hunt, what do you think?
Marjorie Stone and Alice Evans want me to go on a picnic with them.
They're going blackberrying and it isn't very far, but I'll have to
take my lunch in something to gather the blackberries in, and----"
She paused for breath.

"Just those two going?"

"No, Alice's big sister, Stella, is going."

"Oh!" Mrs. Hunt nodded her head in a satisfied way.

"Do you think I would have time to go home?" Marian asked anxiously.
"They said they were in a great hurry."

"What is the use of your going home? I can put you up a little lunch
easy as not. Here's these cookies, and I've baked turnovers, too.
There's a basket of nice good apples in the pantry; you can have one
of those, and I'll whisk together some sandwiches in the shake of a
sheep's tail."

"Oh, that would be perfectly fine. Do you think grandma would
mind?"

"She oughtn't to. She's done the same thing lots of times herself."

"Oh!" This fact certainly set things all right, for surely no grown
person could be so absolutely unjust and inconsistent as to blame a
child for doing what she had done, not once, but often herself. So
Marian was quite assured, and smilingly watched Mrs. Hunt's kind
hands pack a lunch for her.

"There now," said the good woman when she had tucked a red napkin
over the top of the basket. "Run along and have a good time. I guess
all the quarts of blackberries you get won't make many jars of jam,
but you'll have just as much fun. If I get the chance I'll run up to
your grandma's or send word that you won't be home to dinner. Maybe
I'll see your grandpa as he comes back from the post-office."

And so, well content, Marian sped forth to join the girls who were
waiting.

"Are you going?" they asked. "You didn't have to go home, did you?"

"No, Mrs. Hunt put up a lunch for me. She is always so very kind."

"What have you got?" asked Marjorie eagerly.

"Three sandwiches, ham ones, and six cookies, two turnovers and an
apple." Marian enumerated the articles with pride.

"I guess that will be enough," said Marjorie, condescendingly. "But
you will have to cut the turnovers in two so they will go around; we
haven't any, you know."

Marian felt somewhat abashed, and thought that Marjorie was not very
polite. She would not have inquired into the contents of their lunch
baskets for the world. However, she trotted along very contentedly
till they reached Alice's home where Stella was to join them. "I
found some crackers and cheese, and there are two slices of bread
and jam," announced this older girl as she came out. "I think
perhaps we can find an apple tree along the way. Did you bring
anything, Marjorie?"

"Yes, I have something in here." Marjorie swung her tin bucket
in air.

"Then we'd better start," continued Stella. "Who is that with you?
Oh, I see, it is Marian Otway. Hello, Marian."

"How do you do?" said Marian. She had never seen Stella except from
across the church. She considered her quite a young lady, although
she was only fourteen, but she was tall for her age and had an
assured air.

The weather was warm, as it often is in early September, and as they
trudged along the dusty road with the noonday sun beating down upon
them, Marian thought it was anything but fun. Stella, however, kept
encouraging them all by telling them it was only a little further,
and that when they came to a certain big tree they would sit down
and eat their lunch. The tree seemed a long way off, but at length
it was reached, and the four sat down to rest under its shade.

"Oh, I do wish I had a drink," sighed Alice. "I am so thirsty."

"So am I," exclaimed the others.

"Maybe there is a spring near," said Stella. "There is a house over
yonder; perhaps they could let us have some milk."

"But we haven't any money to pay for it," said Alice.

"So we haven't. Well, we'll have to ask for water. It was very
stupid to think of only being hungry and not of being thirsty. We
could have brought some milk as well as not. Let us have your tin
bucket, Marjorie, and you and Alice go over and ask for some water."

"I'm too tired," complained Marjorie. "If I lend you my bucket I
think some one else ought to go for the water."

"Oh, all right," said Stella with a disdainful smile. "I am sure
Marian will be accommodating enough to go with Alice, although you
have walked no further than they did. You will go, won't you,
Marian?"

At this direct appeal, Marian could not refuse to go, and arose with
alacrity to do Stella's bidding.

"Empty your bucket into my basket," said Stella to Marjorie, at the
same time taking off the lid. Marjorie made a dive into the bucket
and hastily secured a small package wrapped in paper, consenting to
Stella's putting the two biscuits and the one banana that remained,
into her basket.

"Don't begin to eat till we come back," called Alice as she and
Marian started off.

"We won't," promised her sister.

The way through the open field was quite as hot, if not as dusty as
the road, and Marian agreed with Alice that it was harder to walk
through the stubble than the dust, so they were glad enough to reach
the shade of the trees surrounding the little farmhouse. A woman was
scouring tins on the back porch.

"Could we have some water from your pump?" asked Alice timidly.

The woman looked up. "Why, yes, and welcome. Where did you drop
from? I ain't seen any carriage come up the road."

"We walked from Greenville," Alice told her.

"All the way this warm day? Well, I should think you would want
water. You two didn't come by yourselves, did you?"

"No, my sister and another girl are over there by that big chestnut
tree."

"Lands! then why didn't you go to the spring? 'T ain't but a step,
just a ways beyond the tree down in that little hollow. I think the
water's better and colder than the pump water, but you can have
either you like. Perhaps, though, you'd like a glass of milk. But
there, you just wait, I know something better than that. Just set
down and cool off while I fetch something for you to take back.
Don't take a drink till you set awhile; you're all overheated."

"What do you suppose she's going to give us?" whispered Alice.

Marian shook her head. "I'd like water better than anything, but she
said we'd best wait and I'm going to."

"Then I will," said Alice, not to be outdone.

Presently the woman returned with a pitcher upon which stood cool
beads of moisture, while the clinking sound of ice from within
suggested deliciousness to the thirsty. Setting down a glass the
woman poured something into it, and then handed the glass to Marian
who politely offered it to Alice. It was quickly accepted and Alice
took a satisfying draught. "It is lemonade," she said, "and it is,
oh, so good. I never tasted anything so good."

The woman laughed. "You never were more thirsty, maybe. Take your
time; I'll get another glass." She stepped inside to supply Marian
with the same treat. "I'll pour the rest into your pail," she said;
"it will go good with your lunch. I made a whole bucketful this
morning thinking maybe my husband's folks might come over for
Sunday and would be thirsty after their long drive, but it's too
late for 'em now. They always start by sunup and get here before
dinner. They won't be here this week, so you come in for what
they don't."

"I'm glad they didn't come," said Alice setting down her glass.

The woman laughed. "It's an ill wind that blows nobody good,
they say. Here's your pail; there's ice enough to keep it cool
for some time."

"Thank you so very, very much," said Marian earnestly. "If I get
enough blackberries I'll surely bring you some."

"Bless the child! You needn't, for I have had all I need, and have
put 'em up till I'm sick of the sight of 'em. Keep all you get and
I'm sure you're welcome; their time is about over and what you get
won't be worth much. I'm sure you're welcome to your drink." She
fell to scouring again, and the girls departed bearing the bucket
carefully.

"Wasn't she kind?" said Marian, in grateful remembrance, "and isn't
it nice to know about the spring?"

"Be careful," cried Alice in alarm, for just here Marian struck her
foot against a stubbly growth and came near falling, but recovered
her footing.

"Let me take it," said Alice, grasping the handle of the bucket.

"I'm sure I shall be glad if you will," replied Marian in a relieved
tone, "it would be too dreadful to spill any of that delicious
stuff."

However it was borne safely the rest of the way, and it is needless
to say that it was appreciated by the waiting pair, though Marjorie
complained that they had been such a long, long time in getting it.

"I should think it was worth being long to get what we did," said
Alice severely.

"Well, anyhow, I think Stella and I ought to have the most," said
Marjorie, "for you each had a glassful up at the house and we
haven't had any."

"That was to pay us for going, wasn't it?" and Alice appealed to her
sister.

"Certainly it was," returned Stella. "If you couldn't have that much
after your doing the errand I should think it was a pity."

Then they fell to eating their lunch, although the division of this
did not turn out as Marjorie intended, for Stella declared it was
only fair that each should eat what she brought for herself, and
maintained that Marjorie's biscuits and banana must be her share.
Marian protested, however, for she felt that she had the lion's
share, and that she would be uncomfortable if she ate her good
things without giving so much as a taste to the others. At last it
was decided that each child should contribute to the general supply
one article from her lunch, so a turnover went from Marian's basket,
a biscuit from Marjorie's pail, while Alice and Stella contributed
some crackers and cheese and a slice of their bread and jam. No one
caring for Marjorie's biscuit it was left untouched while its owner
fell upon the turnover without a question. Marian chose the crackers
and cheese, but insisted upon exchanging some of her cookies for the
slice of bread and jam, and later gave Alice half her apple. The
lemonade was quaffed to the last drop, and then Marjorie volunteered
to go to the spring for water. She was gone some time, and as they
all started forth to find the blackberry patch, Alice whispered to
Marian, "She had candy in that package; that's why she wanted to go
to the spring alone. I saw her take out the candy and eat it." Then
Marian began to realize that her eyes were being opened to other
than pleasant things in that outside world of companionship.



_CHAPTER V_

_Blackberries_


Fortunately the blackberry patch was not much further on, and after
being refreshed by their luncheon the children did not mind crossing
a field and climbing a fence or two. But what a thicket it was! Such
thorns and briars as Marian had never imagined. There was a story in
verse, in one of the books which had belonged to her grandmother
when she was a little girl; this story was about Phebe, the
Blackberry Girl, and it was one in which Marian delighted, but
never before had she realized to the full extent Phebe's trials;
yet, like her, she

    "Scratched her face and tore her hair,
     But still did not complain,"

and furthermore, like Phebe, when she came to a promising bush, she
"picked with all her might," and really had a creditable amount to
show when Stella said time was up. But alas, she had other things
to show besides blackberries and scratches, for she had worn a frock
of light material, and by the time they were ready to leave the
thicket, it was in slits and tears all over. Marian had been so
excited over her novel employment that she had not seen what damage
the briars were doing till Marjorie laughed out: "Oh, what a rag-bag
you are!"

Then Marian looked down at the fringe of muslin which hung from her
waist, at the stained waist itself, from which the trimming fell in
festoons, and she was aghast. "Oh, what shall I do?" she breathed
helplessly.

"You certainly do look a sight," said Stella, none too comfortingly,
"but I wouldn't mind my clothes so much as my hands; just see how
they are all scratched up, and your face isn't much better. You were
too reckless; you ought not to have plunged in so far that you got
caught in the worst of the brambles; we didn't any of us plunge
around so as to get all mixed up that way."

"I know," returned Marian meekly, "I got too excited."

"I should think you did."

"I can't go into town this way," said Marian miserably. "I look like
a beggar girl."

"Anybody could see that you had been picking blackberries," said
Alice consolingly.

"But with such a looking frock they will laugh at me," said Marian
tearfully. "Oh, dear, I wish I had worn something that didn't tear."

"As the rest of us did," remarked Marjorie complacently.

"If you had only been careful and had kept on the edge of the
thicket," Stella said, then seeing how distressed Marian really
was, she went on: "You might take off your frock; I really think
you would look better without than with it."

"Oh!" Marian's cheeks flamed. To appear before the world
half-dressed was not to be thought of.

Stella looked her over critically. The frock she wore was a white
muslin spotted with pink, too frail a garment for such an
expedition.

"The waist isn't so terrible," said Alice examining it. "If we had
some pins we could fasten the trimming on so it wouldn't show the
tears much."

"Take off your frock, Marian," decided Stella; "I know what we can
do."

Marian obeyed the assured voice, and presently Stella was tearing
the ragged skirt from the waist, afterward pinning the trimming of
the waist in place. "Now come here," she said to Marian.

"What are you going to do?" the others asked in chorus.

"I am going to match your petticoat to your waist," said Stella,
addressing Marian. "I will dot it with pink, and it will never
be observed. You can wear the waist as it is, and have a skirt
to match."

"What are you going to spot it with?" asked Alice curiously.

"You'll see," answered her sister, taking a blackberry from her
basket and squeezing a little of the juice on Marian's petticoat.
"It isn't exactly the color, but it is near enough, and will never
be noticed unless you were very near. Now stand quite still,
Marian."

The little girl obeyed and after some time Stella finished her work.
"There!" she exclaimed with her head to one side to notice the
effect; "that is not bad at all. Walk off, Marian, and let me see;
the spots aren't quite even, but then, as Mrs. Hunt says, 'they will
never be seen on a galloping horse.'"

"I am sure they look very well," remarked Alice admiringly, "and I
think you were very clever to think of it, Stella." And Marian,
though still a little shamefaced, felt more at ease.

"We'd better start back," said Stella, "for the afternoons are not
so very long now, and we have quite a distance to go."

"If we didn't have blackberries in the two buckets we might get some
of that nice cold water from the spring and carry it with us," said
Alice, "and then if we were thirsty we should have something to
drink."

"It wouldn't be a bad plan," agreed Stella. "I'll tell you what we
can do: Marjorie can pour her berries in our bucket and we can use
hers for the water. Our bucket is so big that it will easily hold
ours and hers, too."

"I'd like to see me do it," spoke up Marjorie. "I'd be sure not
to get back as many as I put in."

Stella curled her lip and lifted her eyebrows scornfully. "You
needn't be afraid," she said; "nobody wants one of your old
berries. If you are so particular, it is very easy to separate
them by putting a layer of leaves on top of ours, and yours on
top of that, and then there will be no mixing, and _we_ shall
be sure to get all that belongs to _us_."

Marjorie agreed to this arrangement, being quite ready to have
a supply of water on hand, and so Stella carefully arranged the
berries and said she would carry the bucket herself and that
Marjorie and Alice could take turns in carrying the water. So,
after everything was adjusted, they set off toward the town,
following the dusty road by which they had come.

The way home did not seem as long as the morning's walk, and not
a great deal of time had passed when the spires of the village
churches appeared in the distance, then they reached the outlying
houses, and finally the main street. "I'd just kite up the back way
if I were you," said Stella to Marian; "it is a little bit shorter
and you won't be likely to meet so many people. Good-bye. We turn
off here, you know. I hope you won't get a scolding."

The fear of this, or worse, had been in Marian's heart all along,
though she had not mentioned it, and as she stole in the back gate
and up the garden walk she hoped she would meet neither her
grandmother nor Heppy. The little bucket of blackberries no longer
seemed worth while, and she set it down near the apple tree, ran in
the side door, past her grandfather's study, and on up-stairs,
hoping she could get by the sitting-room without being seen.

But her hopes were in vain, for on the landing appeared her
grandmother. "Is that you, Marian?" she asked. "Where have you been
all day? Come in here and give an account of yourself."

For a second it was in Marian's thought to say that her nose was
bleeding and to make her escape to her room, change her frock and
then reappear, but she knew it was only putting off the evil day,
for the frock's condition would be discovered sooner or later; and
then she was a truthful child, and could not have brought herself to
make a false excuse, even though the outcome might have been better
for her. So she entered the sitting-room timidly and stood with
drooping head before her grandmother.

"Where have you been all day?" repeated her grandmother.

"Oh, didn't Mrs. Hunt tell you?" said Marian in a weak voice. "She
said she would. I've been blackberrying."

"With whom?"

"Some of the girls."

"Who gave you permission?"

"Why--why--Mrs. Hunt didn't think you would mind, and--and----"

"Blackberrying! I should think so," exclaimed Mrs. Otway. "What a
sight you are, all stained and scratched up. Go, wash your face and
hands."

"I did try to get it off at the spring," returned Marian more
cheerfully, hoping she was to be let off rather easily after all.

But she had not reached the door before her grandmother called her
back. "What in the world have you done to your frock?" she asked,
examining her costume in surprise.

"It got torn so and I was so ragged that Stella tore off the skirt,"
said Marian in faint explanation, "and--" she went on, "she thought
she would try to make my petticoat look like a frock; the spots are
blackberry juice; they aren't quite the same color, but we all
thought they looked pretty well, better than slits and snags."

"Then you have ruined not only your frock but your petticoat. Go to
your room and do not come out till I tell you. I will speak to your
grandfather and we will see what is to be done about this," said her
grandmother in such a severe tone that Marian felt like the worst of
criminals and crept to her room in dread distress.

She had not often been seriously punished, but those few times stood
out very clearly just now. Once she had been compelled to receive
ten sharp strokes from a ruler on her outstretched hand. At another
time she had been shut up in a dark closet, and again she had been
tied in a chair for some hours. Any of these was bad enough. The
first was soonest over, but was the most humiliating, the second was
terrifying and nerve racking, while the third tediously long and
hard to bear. For some time the child sat tremblingly listening for
her grandmother's footsteps, but evidently Mrs. Otway did not intend
to use undue haste in the matter. After a while the whistle of the
evening train announced that those who had gone up to the city for
a day's shopping were now returning, and not long after Miss
Dorothy's door opened and Marian could hear the teacher singing
softly to herself in the next room.

A new humiliation filled the child's breast. They would tell Miss
Dorothy, and she would think of her little friend as some one
desperately wicked, too wicked, no doubt, to associate with Patty.
The tears stood in Marian's eyes at this possibility. It was very,
very wrong, of course, to go off without asking leave, and it was
worse to spoil her clothes. She well knew her grandmother's views
upon this subject, and that of all things she disapproved of
wastefulness. She would say that the clothes might have done good to
the poor; they might have been sent in a missionary box to some
needy child, and it was wicked and selfish to deprive the poor of
something that could be of use.

Oh, yes, Marian knew very well all about the probable lecture in
store for her.

She sat dolefully, with clasped hands and tearful eyes. But
presently a happier thought came to her. She would tell Miss
Dorothy before her grandmother had a chance to do so, and
perhaps Miss Dorothy would understand that she had not meant
to do wrong in the first place, and that what came after was
carelessness and not wilful wickedness. She had been ordered
not to leave her room, and this she need not do to carry out
her plan. So she softly crossed the floor and timidly knocked
at the door between Miss Dorothy's room and her own. It was
opened in a moment by her friend, who viewed the forlorn
little figure first with a smile, and then with anxious
interest. "Why, my dearie," she exclaimed, "what is the
matter? Come into my room and tell me what is wrong."

"I can't come in," said Marian in a low tone, "for I mustn't leave
my room till grandma bids me. But you can come in mine, can't you?"
she added wistfully.

"To be sure I can," and suiting the action to the word, Miss Dorothy
entered and sat down by the window, drawing Marian to her side and
saying, "Now tell me all about it."

Marian poured forth her doleful tale, beginning with the visit to
Mrs. Hunt and ending with the interview with her grandmother. "She
wouldn't have minded so much except for the frock and petticoat,"
she said in conclusion, "but when she found out about those, I could
see that she was very, very much put out."

"That was the worst part of it, of course," said Miss Dorothy. "Of
course you told her how sorry you were, and that you were so excited
over getting the biggest berries that you forgot about the briars.
You are not the only one who has done that," she added with a half
smile. "You never had been blackberrying before, had you?"

"No, Miss Dorothy, and it was very exciting. We really had a lovely
time, only the walk was rather a hot one. Mrs. Hunt was so good; she
gave me such a fine lunch. She didn't think grandma would mind, for
she said she often used to go blackberrying when she was a little
girl."

"She said that, did she?"

"Yes, Miss Dorothy. I ought to return the basket, but I can't go
now, and I left the berries down under the apple tree."

"I will go out and bring them in, and I was thinking of going to
Mrs. Hunt's to make a call. I may as well go this evening, and then
I can return the basket for you. Mr. Hunt is one of our trustees,
you know, and I want to see him on a little matter about the
school."

"Oh, thank you, Miss Dorothy. I know she uses that little basket
for all sorts of things, and she might want it."

"She shall have it," said Miss Dorothy. "Well, dear, I hope your
grandmother will not be very hard on you. The only point I can see
that needs blame, is your wearing that flimsy delicate frock, but
as you had never been blackberrying before, you couldn't know the
unkindness of briars."

"There wasn't time to change the frock."

"Yes, I know."

"And you won't think I am very, very, wicked, even if they punish
me? You will let Patty be friends with me?"

"I understand all about it, my dearie, and it shall not make the
slightest difference so far as Patty is concerned. I only wish I
could take your punishment for you."

At this extreme kindness, Marian flung herself upon the floor at
Miss Dorothy's feet and sobbed aloud, "You are so dear! you are so
dear!"

Miss Dorothy lifted her to her lap, smoothed back her hair and
kissed her flushed cheeks. "Cheer up, dear," she said. "One need
not be unhappy forever, and I hope this will soon be all over. Now,
I must go down and get those berries, or it will be too dark to find
them. Don't cry any more," and with a smile Miss Dorothy left her.

It was quite dark when Mrs. Otway at last appeared. "I have talked
it over with your grandfather," she began without preface, "and we
have decided to punish you by having you wear to school all next
week the costume you came home in. That is all we shall do. It will
teach you to be more careful next time. You may come down to supper
now," and Marian meekly followed.

The blackberries were on the table, but Marian could not touch them.
The horror of appearing before her schoolmates in the spotted
petticoat filled her with dismay, and although her grandmother felt
that she had been really very lenient, no punishment she could have
devised would have been more humiliating to the little girl. She had
always been a very dainty child, taking pride in her clothes and
being glad that she could appear as well as any one she knew. How
could she face nineteen pairs of wondering eyes upon Monday morning?
She could see the amused countenances, hear the suppressed giggles,
and imagine the laughing comments whispered with hands hiding
mouths. If only she could fall sick and die so she might never
go to school again.

No one paid much attention to her as she sat there barely tasting
her supper, though she should have been hungry after her long walk
and her early lunch. Miss Dorothy once or twice looked her way and
nodded reassuringly, while Heppy slipped an extra large piece of
cake on her plate as she was passing it around.

But after Marian had gone to bed and was lying forlornly awake,
after an hour of trying to sleep, Miss Dorothy tiptoed into her
room to bend over her, and seeing the wide eyes, to say: "I have
been down to Mrs. Hunt's. She is a dear. Go to sleep, honey. Just
have faith that it will all come out right. Don't worry. I am going
to leave my door open so you will not feel that you are all alone."
And with a kiss she left her to feel somehow quite satisfied that
matters were not so desperate as they seemed, and that Monday's
trial might in some way be set aside if she had faith.



_CHAPTER VI_

_The White Apron_


But Monday morning came and there seemed no prospect of any change
in Mrs. Otway's decision. She came herself to see that Marian was
clad in the costume of disgrace, and she was sternly sent out with
the order not to be late. But lest she should shame Miss Dorothy the
child lingered out of sight around the corner till her teacher
should have passed by and then she ventured down the street by
herself. No one imagined the agony each step cost her, nor how she
avoided any familiar face, crossing and recrossing as she saw an
acquaintance in the distance. She was even about to pass Mrs. Hunt's
gate without looking up when some one called her.

"Marian, Marian," came Mrs. Hunt's pleasant voice. "Stop a minute,
chickadee."

The first impulse was to run on, but that meant reaching the
schoolhouse so much the sooner, so the child hesitated and presently
was captured by Mrs. Hunt, who bore down upon her as one not to be
denied.

"I've been watching for you," she said. "Come right along in. You
have plenty of time. I have something to say to you. There, never
mind, I know the whole story and I ought to have all the blame, for
it was myself that urged you to go. Now your grandma never said you
were not to cover up that ridiculous petticoat, did she? She said
you were to wear it, I know, and wear it you must, of course.

"Now, look here, I have an apron that was my little angel Annie's;
it's a real pretty one, and it is made so it will cover you all up.
I hunted it out this morning early. Put your arms in the sleeves.
That's it. Just as I thought; it covers you well up and hides all
the spots, doesn't it? It is a little yellow from lying, but no
matter, it is clean and smooth. I've two or three more the same
pattern. I always liked 'em with those little frills on the
shoulders.

"Now, never mind, I know just what you're going to say, but you
needn't. I'm taking all the responsibility of this. Just you go
along to school and feel as happy as you can. I'm going to see your
grandmother before you get home, and I'll make it all right with
her, so you are not to bother yourself one little mite. Now trot
along, and hurry a little, or you might be a wee bit late. You can
wear the apron home. You look real nice in it."

Marian started forth as she was bidden, and then overwhelmed by her
sense of relief, she raced back to throw her arms around her good
friend's neck and say, "Oh, you are so good. I do love you, I do.
What should I do without you and Miss Dorothy?"

"Bless her heart," murmured Mrs. Hunt, giving her a hearty hug. She
stood in the doorway, looking after her till she was out of sight.
"I never expected to be so happy in seeing another child wear
anything of my Annie's," she murmured, wiping her eyes as she
entered the house.

The girls were trooping into the schoolroom from the playground
when Marian reached the spot, and Miss Dorothy was already at her
desk. She looked across and gave Marian a bright smile and an
understanding nod as she came in, as much as to say: "What did I
tell you? Hasn't it all come out right?" As hers was not the only
apron worn, Marian did not feel at all oddly dressed, and her relief
was so great that she smiled every time any one looked at her.

Alice sought her out at recess and asked eagerly: "Was your
grandmother awfully mad?"

"She didn't like it," returned Marian evasively.

"What did she do?"

"She didn't do anything. She sent me to my room."

"Was that all? Well, I'm glad you came off so easily," said Alice.
"We all know how particular your grandmother is, and we were afraid
she would do something awfully severe." Then Ruth came up and Marian
went off with her to eat luncheon, so no more was said on the
subject.

"Mrs. Hunt told me I could wear it home," said Marian to herself,
as she went up street from school. She was alone, for Miss Dorothy
had been detained and had told her not to wait. Marian paused at
Mrs. Hunt's gate to see if she were there to give her further
encouragement, for as she was nearing home, the child felt her
spirits oozing. What would her grandmother say? She remembered,
however, that Mrs. Hunt had charged her not to worry, so, finding
all silent and deserted at her friend's house, she plucked up
courage, believing that Mrs. Hunt had not failed her, and that she
was probably at that very moment, closeted with her grandmother.

She was not disappointed, for as she entered the sitting-room she
saw the two having a lively chat. "Here comes the child," cried Mrs.
Hunt cheerily. "We were just talking over old times, Marian. I was
reminding your grandmother of the time we all went nutting to
Jones's lot, and she fell into a mud-hole and was plastered to her
ears. She had to sit in the sun till she dried off, and then I took
her home. My mother rigged her up in some of my clothes, and she
went home with her heart in her mouth." Marian smiled. She
understood the method Mrs. Hunt was taking to smooth matters over
for herself.

"Another time," Mrs. Hunt turned to the other lady, "do you
remember, Maria, when we all went to Perryman's Beach and waded in
the water? You'd had a cold or something, and were afraid your
mother would find out you'd gone with us. She did find out, I
remember, because you didn't dry your feet well, and your bed was
full of sand the next morning. Dear me, dear me, that was a good
while ago, wasn't it?"

Mrs. Otway was smiling with a far-away look in her eyes. "I
remember," she said.

"You can't put old heads on young shoulders," went on Mrs. Hunt,
"and if our mothers had looked ahead and had seen what sober old
matrons we would become, I guess they wouldn't have worried as much
as they did over our little pranks."

Marian edged up to her good friend who put her arm around her. Mrs.
Otway turned her eyes upon her granddaughter. "Where did you get
that apron, Marian?" asked Mrs. Otway, a change coming over her
face.

"I lent it to her," Mrs. Hunt spoke up. "It was my Annie's and I
wasn't going to have Ralph Otway's daughter disgraced by going
through the streets in a petticoat; I'm too fond of him and of her,
too. I remember once how I made my Annie wear a purple frock she
despised. It was the very week before she died," Mrs. Hunt's voice
dropped, "and you can believe, Maria Otway, that if I had it to do
over again, the purple frock would have gone in the fire before she
should ever have worn it. Poor little darling, the girls made fun of
it because it was so ugly and old-womanish. I could have spared her
feelings and I didn't. I have that purple frock now," she went on.
"I kept it to remind me not to hurt the feelings of one of His
little ones when there was no need to." The tears were running down
Mrs. Hunt's cheeks by now, but she went on: "You can think as you
choose, but I have said my say."

"I don't think you would ever hurt any one's feelings if you could
help it, Salome," said Mrs. Otway, melted by the childless woman's
tears. Then turning to Marian, "Run along now, Marian," she said.

"Shall I take off the apron?"

"No, you needn't."

And that was all there was of it, but the next morning before
breakfast said Mrs. Otway outside Marian's door: "You may put on
your blue gingham for school, Marian."

So did Mrs. Hunt triumph and so did Miss Dorothy laugh in her sleeve
when she saw Marian appear in the clean blue frock. It was after
school when she and Marian were coming home together that she
confessed to having had something to do with bringing about this
pleasant state of things. "I went down to Mrs. Hunt's and told her
all about it," she said, "and we hatched up the scheme between us,
so our works and your faith brought about what we wished for. If you
had been really disobedient, and had intended to do wrong we could
not have been so eager to help you, but I think your punishment
exceeded the offense and Mrs. Hunt thought the same. Isn't she a
dear woman, Marian? I feel as if I had known her all my days, and as
if I could go right to her in time of trouble."

"That is the way every one feels," Marian told her. "I stopped there
this morning to take back the apron, and she said she knew Annie was
glad I had worn it. She talks that way about Annie, so I almost feel
as if I knew her and as if she knew me."

"Perhaps she does," returned Miss Dorothy quietly. "Now, when are
you going to send the letter to your father? Don't you think it is
most time you were getting it ready? And, by the way, I have not
shown you my camera. I left it in the city to be put in order and it
came this morning. Now, I was thinking it would be very nice to send
your father a little book of snap pictures of his small daughter. I
will take them, and can develop and print them myself. I have some
gray paper that we can cut into sheets to be folded the proper size
to mount the pictures upon, and it will make a very nice present,
don't you think so?"

"Oh, Miss Dorothy!" Marian's face showed her delight. "I think that
is the very loveliest idea that any one ever thought of. I think you
have an angelic mind for thinking of things."

Miss Dorothy laughed. "I am so glad you are pleased with the idea.
My plan is not to take the pictures all at once, but as I happen to
catch you in a characteristic position, or an artistic one. For
instance, one can be taken at school at your desk, or the
blackboard; another in the garden, another in the sitting-room with
your grandparents, another with Tippy and Dippy."

"More and more lovely," cried Marian. "Then he will feel almost as
if he were here seeing me every day, and will get acquainted with me
so much better in that way. I don't feel as if my father and I were
very well acquainted."

"You poor little pet, of course you don't, but once you begin
sending letters back and forth it will be quite different."

"Yes, I think so, too. Miss Dorothy, do you suppose my father will
ever come home?"

"I don't know why he shouldn't."

"I do; it is because grandpa will not ask him to. I think grandma
would like to, but grandpa won't let her; that is what I think, and
I believe Mrs. Hunt thinks so, too."

Miss Dorothy was silent for a moment, then she said: "Perhaps we'd
better not talk about it, dear, for I don't know the circumstances,
and I might not judge correctly, but if it is right that he should
come, I think your writing to him will be the surest way of bringing
it about the sooner. Shall we write the letter this afternoon?"

"Oh, please."

"Then come to my room in about an hour and we'll try it."

Marian was promptly on hand when the hour arrived, and seated
herself in a great twitter before the machine. She began bravely
enough: "My dear father," and then she paused, but slowly went on
till she had completed half a page of typewritten words. Miss
Dorothy did not offer any suggestions, but sat at the other side of
the room before her writing-table. At the pause in the clicking of
the typewriter she looked up. "Well," she said, "you haven't
finished yet, have you?"

"I don't know," responded Marian doubtfully. "Would you mind looking
at what I have done?"

Miss Dorothy came over and read the few stiff lines:

"My dear father: I have learned to write upon the typewriter which
belongs to my teacher. I hope you are well. I am well and so are the
rest of the family. We have very pleasant warm weather at present. I
hope you have the same in Berlin. I thought you might be pleased to
receive a letter from me, although it is not the first of the year.
I go to school now. There are twenty pupils in our room. They are
all little girls."

"Oh, dear, dear," exclaimed Miss Dorothy, "is that the way you feel
when you are writing? Why, you are talking to your father,
remember. Just listen to the way I write to mine." She read from the
sheet she held in her hand:

"Dear old daddy: Isn't this gorgeous weather? I wish you and I were
off for a real old time tramp this afternoon. How we would talk and
turn our hearts inside out to each other. I can see you with your
eyes twinkling under that disreputable old hat of yours, and I can
feel your polite hand under my independent elbow when there is a
stream to jump or a wall to climb, the dear hand that I never need
for that sort of help, but which you pretend I do because I am your
girl still, if I am big enough to face the world by myself.

"Well, daddy, I have been teaching for more than a week, and haven't
had one cry over it. Isn't that courage for you? Not that my pupils
are all angels, oh, no, this is not heaven, dear dad, but it is
really a very nice place, and there are some dear people here.

"Did you ever happen to meet a Mr. William Hunt and his wife? He is
a very good sort, and she is a perfect darling, one of those rare
flowers whose fragrance fills the air even on the highway; not one
of the hothouse kind that has been forced to bloom out of season,
for out of season and in season she is always blooming and shedding
forth her sweetness." Miss Dorothy paused.

"Oh, but Miss Dorothy, I could never write like that," exclaimed
Marian in an awe-stricken tone.

"Perhaps not just like that, but you can tell him about yourself and
about the people you know, Mrs. Hunt, for instance, and your
schoolmates, and Tippy and Dippy."

"And you?"

"Yes, and me, if you like."

"Oh, very well, I will try again. I didn't know we ought to write
letters like that."

"That is the very kind we should write. I will finish mine while you
do yours." So for the next few minutes the tapping of the typewriter
drowned the scratching of Miss Dorothy's pen, which flew steadily
over her paper.

At last Miss Dorothy looked up. "There," she exclaimed, "I have
finished mine. How are you getting on?"

"Oh, much better. I have written ever so much. I am almost at the
bottom of the page, and I think you will have to put another sheet
in for me, if you will be so good."

"I'll do it with pleasure. May I see what you have written, or would
you rather not?"

"Oh, please look. I have told him about school and about you and
some of the girls. There is a great deal more I could say, but I
will leave out Tippy and Dippy this time."

Miss Dorothy read down the page and at the end she stooped and
kissed the child. "You have paid me a lovely compliment, dear," she
said. "I am glad you feel that way," for Marian had written: "We
have the loveliest teacher in the world. Her name is Miss Dorothy
Robbins. She is like Mrs. Hunt, but can understand little girls
better, for she is younger and prettier. I love her very much."

At last the letter was finished, folded and addressed, and Miss
Dorothy promised to mail it herself. It had been a great undertaking
for Marian, who was quite tired out by her afternoon's work, but who
was very happy now that it was done, for the very act drew her
nearer her father.

She went down that same evening to tell Mrs. Hunt about it. There
was neither baking nor pickling going on this time, but she found
her friend in her sitting-room, a basket of mending by her side.
"You are always busy, aren't you, Auntie Hunt?" said Marian. Mrs.
Hunt was called Auntie, by many of her friends.

"Yes, dear, I think most busy people are happy, and I am sure all
happy people are busy about something. Well, how goes it up at the
brick house?"

"Oh, very well, indeed. What do you think I have been doing to-day?"

"Can't guess. There is one thing I know you have not been doing.
I'll wager a sixpence you've not been blackberrying," and Mrs. Hunt
laughed.

The color flew into Marian's face. "No, indeed, I haven't been, and
I shall not probably ever go again until I'm a grown lady, and can
do as I please."

"Do you think all grown-ups do as they please?"

"Why, don't they?"

"Not a bit of it. But there, tell me what is the wonderful thing you
have been doing?"

"I have written a letter to papa all by myself, and Miss Dorothy has
mailed it. She put the stamp on and took it to the post-office just
now with her letters."

"Well, well, well, but won't he be pleased to get it? That's a fine
young woman, that Miss Dorothy of yours."

"Isn't she?"

"She is so. She made us a nice visit the other evening. She is a
girl after my own heart, none of your vain, self-absorbed young
persons, always concerned in her own affairs, but one of the real
hearty kind that thinks of others as well as herself, and has her
eyes open to what is best in life. I like her."

"And she likes you."

"I'm glad to hear it."

"I wish you could see the kind of letters she writes to her father,
but then," Marian added thoughtfully, "he must be the kind of father
it is easy to write that way to."

"I'll be bound he is the right kind to have a daughter like that.
She has no mother, she tells me. Her aunt keeps house for them, and
there is quite a family of children."

"Yes, and Patty is the youngest. She is going to write to me."

"Bless me, how you are blossoming out into a correspondent. Well,
don't let it take up so much of your time that you won't be able to
drop in as often as usual. There is a little basket of grapes in the
pantry; you can take it to your grandma; the pear on top grew for
you to eat right now."

Marian needed no second hint, but sought out the fruit and was not
long in burying her teeth in the yellow juicy pear, and then because
it grew dark early, she hurried away that she might be home "before
the dark catches you," said Mrs. Hunt.



_CHAPTER VII_

_Patty's Letter_


One day a few weeks later Marian ran to Miss Dorothy with a letter
her grandfather had just brought in, and when her teacher opened it,
she saw her smile as she drew a sheet from within the longer letter.
"This is for you, Marian," said Miss Dorothy.

"It is from Patty, I know," cried Marian delightedly, and she took
the long-wished for letter over to the window while Miss Dorothy
turned her attention to her own home news.

Patty's was a nice cordial little note which told about her lessons
and her friends, and which said that she hoped Marian and she would
soon meet and be very chummy. "I know I shall like you," wrote
Patty, "because Dolly says so, and Dolly is nearly always right."

"I think so, too," said Marian aloud. She took much longer to read
her letter than Miss Dorothy did to read hers, for she was not very
expert in reading written pages. Miss Dorothy had laid down the
closely written sheets which she had been holding, and was looking
out of the window thoughtfully when Marian at last came to "Your
affectionate friend, Patty Robbins."

"It was such a nice letter," she said looking up with a pleased
sigh.

"I am very glad you found it so," returned Miss Dorothy with a
smile.

"Was yours a nice one?"

"Yes, it is from my father, and he always writes delightful letters.
I hope to see him and Patty both on Saturday. Dad has some business
in the city, and Patty needs a new coat, so he is going to take her
with him. I am to meet them there, for poor dad would never know how
to buy a coat. Do you often go to the city, Marian?"

"I never have been but once."

"Really? I was just thinking how nice it would be if you could go
with me and meet Patty; then we three could go shopping and have
lunch somewhere together."

"Oh, Miss Dorothy!" Such a plan was beyond Marian's wildest dreams.
She looked radiant for a moment, then her face fell.

"What is the matter?" asked Miss Dorothy.

"I am afraid grandma will not let me go. I never have been but that
once, and then grandma had to go to the dentist; grandpa could not
go with her and didn't want her to go alone."

"But what about your clothes and things? Don't you have to go there
for them?"

"Grandma never gets me ready-mades. Miss Almira Belt makes
everything I wear. Do you suppose she always will do it?"

"I hope not," returned Miss Dorothy gravely, then she laughed as she
pictured a grown-up Marian arrayed in frocks of Miss Almira's make.
They did very well for a little girl, for they were of good material
and neatly made, if old-fashioned in cut.

"Do you think grandma would let me go?" asked Marian, a faint hope
dawning within her.

"I shall find out."

"Oh, Miss Dorothy, are you really going to ask her?"

"I certainly am."

"But I am afraid she will say it is too expensive. She doesn't
believe in spending money in that way on little girls. She allows me
to go to church fairs and such things when they are for a good
cause, but she says journeying is not necessary, that it excites me
and I am better off at home."

"But you would really like to go," said Miss Dorothy disregarding
this last speech.

"It would be the most beautifullest thing that ever happened to me."

"Such a small pleasure," said Miss Dorothy half to herself. "Well,
dear, if it is only a question of expense, that shall not stand in
the way, I promise you. Fifty cents or so would do it, and that is
not a large sum."

Here Marian took alarm. "But, Miss Dorothy, you mustn't pay for me.
You must keep your money for Patty and the others. You mustn't spend
it on me."

"Mustn't I?" Miss Dorothy looked over at her with a little knowing
smile. "Then I won't do it since you are so particular, but I have a
scheme of my own and we shall see how it will work out. Are you
willing to earn it?"

"Indeed I am; I should like it above all things. I never earned any
money for myself, but I have earned some for the heathen."

Miss Dorothy made a little grimace. "Very well, if you are willing
to earn your way, you may consider yourself invited to make the
journey at your own expense. I guarantee sufficient work to pay for
your ticket. I don't suppose you will object to being paid in
advance."

Marian looked doubtful. "Well--if----"

"If--if----What an ifer you are. I don't mean all in advance, only a
part. Do you agree to that?"

"I don't suppose it would be wrong to agree to that."

"You must have a Puritan conscience," said Miss Dorothy laughing.

"What is that?"

"It is something that is very unhealthy sometimes. I will see that
you begin your work to-morrow."

"Do please tell me now what it is."

"No, no, you might back out," Miss Dorothy laughed. "I'll tell you
when the time comes. In the meantime your grandma's consent must be
had. Perhaps I'd better settle it at once. Will you go with me to
ask her?"

Marian hung back. "Oh, if you don't mind," she said, "I'd rather
not."

"You're no kind of a soldier. See me walk up to the cannon's mouth."
And leaving the room, Miss Dorothy ran lightly down-stairs.

Marian followed slowly, but though she hesitated at the sitting-room
door where she heard voices, she did not tarry, but went on down to
the lower floor and into the garden where Tippy and Dippy lay asleep
in the sunshine. Dippy opened one eye and stretched himself as
Marian approached. She picked him up and carried him down to the
apple tree.

"I've had a letter from Patty," she told him when she was settled in
the crotch of the tree, "and maybe,--it is only maybe,--Dippy, I am
going to the city on Saturday. I don't suppose you would care
anything about it. I am sure you would much rather stay here and
chase grasshoppers, but I want to go so powerfully that I think I
shall cry my eyes out if grandma says I can't. I know she wouldn't
consent if I asked her, but maybe she will if Miss Dorothy does."
She sat still cuddling Dippy who had fallen asleep again. From her
point of vantage she could look up and down the street. She had
learned not to expect to move the mountain, but the mustard seeds
were again in her mind.

Presently she saw Miss Dorothy come out the front door and turn down
the street. She crept along the limb on which she sat, leaving Dippy
to look out for himself, and gained the wall from which she could
look directly down upon the pavement. She must ask Miss Dorothy what
success she had had. "Miss Dorothy, Miss Dorothy," she called softly
when her teacher came near. Miss Dorothy looked up. "What did she
say?" asked Marian.

"She hasn't said yes yet," replied Miss Dorothy. "What are you doing
up there?"

"Oh, just nothing but looking around and thinking, about the mustard
seed, you know."

"Oh, yes. Very well, I'm about to do the works, so you stay there
and exercise the faith, and perhaps between us we'll manage to get
this settled to our satisfaction."

"Where are you going?" asked Marian as Miss Dorothy walked on.

"To attend to the works," called back Miss Dorothy mysteriously.
"Faith and works, you know."

Marian crawled back again to the crotch of the tree. Dippy had
jumped down, not being pleased at having his nap disturbed, so
Marian did not go after him but sat looking off at the mountain. "I
want to go, oh, Lord, I do want to go," she said wistfully, "and I
believe you will let Miss Dorothy manage it, yes, I do." She sat
with her eyes fixed upon the mountain for some time, then she gave a
long sigh, and changed her position. "I believe I'll go get Patty's
letter and read it over again," she said, beginning to climb down
the tree.

In a little while she was back again in her old place, letter in
hand. She had finished reading it and was looking off down street
watching for Miss Dorothy's return when she saw Mrs. Hunt entering
the front door; she had come down street this time, instead of up.
"She's come to see grandma, I suppose," said Marian. Then a thought
flashed across her mind; she wondered if Miss Dorothy's works had
anything to do with Mrs. Hunt's coming. To be sure Miss Dorothy was
not with her, but neither had she been that other time when Mrs.
Hunt had managed so well about the apron. Marian could not resist
the temptation of going in to hear what her grandmother and Mrs.
Hunt were talking about. She paused at the door of the sitting-room.
Mrs. Hunt sat rocking in one of the haircloth rockers, Mrs. Otway in
the other.

"Yes," Mrs. Hunt was saying, "Dr. Grimes says she's not likely to be
about again soon if she gets over it."

Mrs. Otway looked very grave. "I'm sorry for more reasons than one.
Marian needs a new coat, and I had counted on Almira's making it."

It was Miss Belt, then, of whom they were talking. Marian crept
softly in and sat down in a corner where she could hear more.

"They think she got it up there at Billing's," Mrs. Hunt went on.
"She was sewing there a while ago, and Dr. Grimes says the water on
that place isn't fit to drink; they ought to boil it. Like as not
that is where she did get it. Typhoid is pretty slow, but she has a
good nurse in Hannah, and I don't doubt she'll pull through. Is that
you, Marian? Come here, honey."

Marian went to her old friend. "I was telling about Almira Belt's
being down with typhoid," said Mrs. Hunt.

"Oh, isn't that too bad?" Marian's sympathies were real. She liked
Miss Almira, though she didn't enjoy having her cold scissors
snipping around her shoulders, and her bony fingers poking at her
when she stood up to be fitted.

"It is too bad," returned Mrs. Hunt, "for her work has to lie by;
there's no one else to do it, for her sister Hannah has her hands
full."

"I'm truly sorry," said Mrs. Otway shaking her head, "with the
winter coming I am afraid it will go hard with them."

"Yes, winter isn't far off," said Mrs. Hunt. "William says he thinks
we'll have early snow. We'll all have to keep the Belts in mind, and
I guess they'll not suffer. Well, I must be going. I thought you'd
want to hear about Almira; you're always so ready to look out for
the sick, Maria."

"I certainly shall not let Almira want for anything I can do,"
returned Mrs. Otway with emphasis. "She has been a good and faithful
worker all her days, and I hope her years of usefulness are not
ended yet. Thank you for coming to tell us, Salome."

"Well, I knew you'd want to know," repeated Mrs. Hunt. "By the way,
Maria, I hear Miss Robbins is going to town on Saturday, and I
shouldn't wonder if there'd be something to get for Almira. I don't
doubt Miss Robbins would attend to it."

"I am sure she would," returned Mrs. Otway. "She is always very
ready to offer her services."

"You like her right well, don't you?" said Mrs. Hunt.

"Very much indeed; we are glad to have her with us."

"That's what I surmised. What was I going to say? Oh, yes, you were
remarking that Marian needed a winter coat, and she will need it,
cold as it is growing, for I remember you sent her last year's one
in the missionary box. Why not let Miss Robbins get one for her in
the city? Marian could go along, and she'd be glad of her company.
It wouldn't be much trouble if the child were there to fit it on.
You could tell her the kind you wanted, and I'll venture to say
you'd pay less than for the cloth and making."

"Perhaps that would be a good plan," replied Mrs. Otway, as if it
had not been presented before. "I'll see about it when Miss Dorothy
comes in."

"Oh, may I go?" Marian breathed softly, but at that moment the
door was shut after Mrs. Hunt, and her grandmother did not hear
the question, which was just as well, as Marian on second thoughts
decided, for if she thought the child wanted to go for a frolic she
might withhold her consent. So Marian wisely held her tongue and
went out to the garden again.

No more was said upon the subject until the next day and Marian was
afraid it was forgotten, but in the afternoon Miss Dorothy called
her. "Come in here, young woman, and earn your trip to town."

Marian obeyed with alacrity. Miss Dorothy was seated before her
typewriter. "Come here and I will show you what you have to do," she
said. "You are to make twenty copies of this little slip. You must
make as many as you can upon one sheet of paper, about so far apart.
You know now perfectly well how to put in the paper and how to take
it out. To-morrow you can make twenty slips more, twenty the day
after, making sixty slips in all; you will be paid half a cent for
each slip, and eventually you will earn sixty cents, just what a
round trip ticket costs. Do you agree?"

"Oh, Miss Dorothy, of course, if you are sure I can do it."

"Of course you can do it, at first slowly, and then, as they are to
be all alike, you will be able to do the last with your eyes shut.
Now, I'll leave you to go ahead."

"Please----"

"Please what?"

"Wait till I have done one to see if it is all right."

"Very well, that is a small favor to grant."

"And, tell me, am I really to go?"

"The powers that be, have so decreed."

"And I can pay my own way?"

"Yes, that is one of the reasons. Your very wise and astute teacher
remarked that it would teach you self-reliance and independence,
help to make you resourceful, broaden your experiences. Oh, me! what
didn't she argue?"

Marian turned adoring eyes upon her. "And Mrs. Hunt?" she said.

"Did you think she had something to do with it? Well, she did
without knowing it, for I was on my way to her house when she came
here with the news of Miss Almira's illness, and all unconsciously
she did us a good turn by suggesting that you go up to the city with
me to get a coat. Wasn't it funny that it should happen that way? I
didn't mean about poor Miss Almira; that is anything but funny, but
it is strange that Mrs. Hunt should have come around with a piece of
news that settled the whole matter. When your grandma told me you
were to go, I came near laughing outright, but when I knew the
reason I did look concerned, I hope. She said she had been thinking
over the matter of your going to the city with me. Would it be too
great a task, and would I have time to select a coat for you? No, I
said it would be no task at all, for I should be doing the same for
my little sister.

"Here I ran against a snag, for your grandmother said that perhaps I
could get yours without your being there, for my little sister could
be your proxy. 'Oh, but,' I said, 'Patty is short and chubby while
Marian is tall and slender. I am afraid I could never select the
proper garment unless she were there to try it on.' 'But the
expense,' said grandma. 'Sixty cents would do much good in some
other direction.' 'Perhaps,' I said, 'I can get a coat for less than
the price you have fixed upon, if I get the two together.' She
wasn't so sure of that. Then I said, 'I have a little work that I
promised a friend of mine to do for her, typewritten slips, which
Marian could do perfectly. If I go to the city on Saturday I cannot
get them all done as promptly as they should be, but if Marian could
help me, I could share the pay and she could then make her own
expenses.' At this grandma succumbed, and so, my dear, we are going.
Now, I must go, for you will never do twenty slips before dark if I
stand talking. That looks very well. Keep on as you have begun and
you have nothing to fear."

Left to herself Marian tapped away industriously till just as it was
getting too dark to see, she finished her twenty slips and proudly
showed them to Miss Dorothy when she came in. The first money she
had ever really earned was placed in her hand.

"If you don't get your entire sixty done this week," said Miss
Dorothy, "you can hitch some of them on to next week's number, for
we agreed to square this matter. So you needn't go to town with the
feeling that you haven't earned the trip, whatever happens."

Marian smiled back her reply and ran down to show her precious dime
to her grandfather. He actually patted her on the head and called
her a good child while her grandmother looked over her spectacles
and nodded approval.

The next day the second twenty slips were finished, but the third
day only ten were done as Miss Dorothy had to use her typewriter for
some school work, yet with only ten remaining of the first sixty,
Marian felt that she had no right to feel aggrieved, especially as
it had become very easy work. So it was a very happy little girl who
went to sleep Friday night to dream of the next day's pleasures.



_CHAPTER VIII_

_A Trip to Town_


The morning dawned bright and fair, a little cool, to be sure, but
so much the better, thought Marian, for now grandma will be all the
more ready for me to get my coat. The leaves danced in red, yellow
and brown array, along the side-walk as Marian and Miss Dorothy
stepped out of the house to take the early train. It was such an
important occasion that Marian felt as if every one must be
wondering where she was going so early, dressed in her best. But no
one took any special notice of her except one of the schoolgirls
whom she happened to meet, and who said: "Are you going to town,
Marian?"

"Yes, Miss Dorothy and I are going shopping," returned Marian with
beaming face.

"I thought you must be going; you're so dressed up," returned the
child, and Marian smiled up at her companion with an air of
conscious delight. Everything was so interesting; the starting of
the train, the movements of their fellow passengers, the outlook
from the car windows, the masses of red and yellow foliage which
meant forests, the brown bare spaces which were fields, the little
isolated houses, the small villages stretching away from the
stations. There was not one moment of the journey when Marian was
not entertained by what she saw along the way.

At last they reached the city and such a noise and confusion as met
their ears, made Marian cling to Miss Dorothy. "Is it always like
this?" she asked.

"Like this? How?"

"So noisy and crowded and everybody rushing about in such a hurry."

"Yes, I think it is. We notice it more, coming from our quiet little
village. This is the car we take. We are to meet Patty at the
library. Father has to go there to look up some references, and it
seemed the best place to meet. Have you ever been there, Marian?"

"No, I never have."

"Then it will be something for you to see. A good library is a good
lesson in many directions."

But Marian's eyes were not taking in rows of books or library
appointments when they reached the reading-room. She was searching
for a dark-haired, rosy-faced, plump little girl who should answer
to the name of Patty. "I believe there she is," she whispered to
Miss Dorothy, and nodded toward a corner where sat two whom Marian
decided must be those they were looking for.

"Why, so it is," returned Miss Dorothy. "The idea of your seeing
them first. How did you know them?"

"From the photographs you showed me, and from what you told me about
them."

Patty had been on the lookout, too, and spied them at once. She
hurried forward, threw her arms around her sister and gave her a
fervent hug, then she turned to Marian. "I am so glad you could
come," she said heartily. "I was so afraid maybe you couldn't and
I did so want us to be together to-day."

"Dad is so absorbed he hasn't seen us yet," said Miss Dorothy,
making her way to the corner where her father sat. "I wonder if I
can steal up behind him and take him unawares." She had almost
reached him when he caught sight of her. Down went the book, he
jumped up and had her in his arms in a minute. "Come, come," he
said, "let us get out where we don't have to whisper. I'll come back
later," and he hurried them into the corridor where they could speak
freely. He was not a very tall man, but was broad-shouldered and a
little inclined to be stout. "Now," he said with a pleasant smile at
Marian, "I am willing to bet a cookie, that I can tell who this is.
You look like your father, my dear. I knew him very well when I was
younger, for I will venture to say you are a Miss Somebody Otway."

"Her name is Marian," said Patty, "and we are going to be great
friends."

"You are? Isn't it early in the day to make such predictions?" said
Mr. Robbins.

"No." Patty shook her head. "I knew the minute I saw her that we
were going to be. I like her, don't you, daddy?"

"If she is as nice as she looks, I do," was the reply, and Marian
felt much pleased at being made of such consequence. She was not
used to being noticed and these friendly people pleased her. She
wondered if her father would be as cheery, and as affectionately
disposed as Mr. Robbins. She would ask this pleasant man about her
father some day when they were better acquainted.

"Now, let me see, what is the programme?" said Mr. Robbins to his
elder daughter.

"We three females are going shopping. I am to buy Patty a coat. Is
there anything else I am to get for the family?"

"Dear me, yes. I have a long list that your Aunt Barbara gave me;
she said you would know. I have it somewhere about me." He felt in
his pockets and presently brought out the list which Miss Dorothy
looked over.

"Oh, these will not be much trouble," she assured him. "They are all
little things. I can easily see to them all."

"That is good; I am glad to have that responsibility removed," said
her father. "You will want some money, I suppose."

"Yes, but not very much," Miss Dorothy smiled encouragingly. She
knew too well the many demands upon that none-too-well-filled
pocketbook, and when her father took out a roll of bills and handed
them to her she gave some back to him. "I shall not need all that,"
she told him. "Patty's coat is the only really expensive thing I
shall have to get."

"Very well, then," said her father, "but you must be sure to have
enough. Now, where shall we meet for lunch?"

"Oh, are we all to lunch together?" said Miss Dorothy in a pleased
voice. "Suppose we go to Griffin's; it is a nice quiet place."

"What time?"

"About one, I think."

"All right, one sharp, then. Sure you've enough money?"

Miss Dorothy nodded. "Quite enough. Dear dad," she said as he moved
off, "he is so generous. I don't believe he has a mean bone in his
body."

This set Marian to wondering if one had a mean bone which it would
be; she thought possibly an elbow; they could be so sharp, but
before she had settled the question Patty began to talk to her and
they were then so busy getting acquainted that there was no time to
think of mean bones or anything else but themselves.

It was a most delightful experience to go around the big shops, and
look at the pretty things. Patty had such a pleasant way of making
believe which added to the fun. "Now you say what you are going to
buy," she began, "and I'll say what I am. I think I'd like that
pretty shiny, pinky silk hanging up there."

Marian looked at her in amazement. "Oh, have you enough money to buy
that?" she asked in surprise.

Patty laughed. "Not really, I am just pretending I have."

"Oh," Marian's face cleared. "I'd like to pretend, too. Are you
going to buy it for yourself?"

"Dear me, no. I am going to get it for Dolly; she would look dear in
a frock of it. I shall not get much for myself. It's much more fun
to get for other people, for they don't know it and it doesn't make
them feel bad if they don't get the things. When I get things for
myself, sometimes I am a little wee bit disappointed because I am
only make-believing. I think Dick would like one of those neckties,
the red one, I think."

Marian felt suddenly very poverty-stricken; there were no Dollies
or Dicks for her to buy make-believes for. She sighingly mentioned
the fact to Patty.

"Oh, that doesn't make any difference," said Patty cheerfully; "you
can buy for some one else. I think I'll get you that Roman sash."

"Oh, lovely, and I'll get you the blue one. Would you like it?"

"I'd love it."

"I might get Miss Dorothy one of those pretty lacey things in the
case."

"That would be fine; she'd be so pleased." Patty spoke so exactly
as if Marian really intended to buy it, that the latter laughed
outright. Patty was really great fun.

"I'll get something for dear Mrs. Hunt," Marian went on.

"Oh, do. I know about her. Dolly wrote us how kind she was to her.
She must be awfully nice."

Marian overlooked the "awfully." She was not going to criticise
anything about Patty if she could help it. "I think I ought to get
something for poor Miss Almira," she went on. "It is because she is
so ill and couldn't make my coat that I could come to-day. What do
you think would be nice for her, Patty?"

Patty's eyes roved around the big store. "See, those soft-looking
wrappers hanging up way over there? I think one of those would be
just the thing for a sick person. Let's go look at them and pick
one out. We'll tell Dolly we are going. She will be at that counter
for some time."

They left Miss Dorothy while they went upon their interesting errand
of selecting a proper robe for Miss Almira. They decided upon one of
lavender and white, and then they returned to find that Miss Dorothy
had finished making her uninteresting purchases of tapes, thread and
the like, so they went to another floor to look at coats. Marian's
was chosen first and Patty was so pleased with it that she begged to
have one like it, "If Marian doesn't mind," she said.

Marian did not in the least mind, in fact she would be delighted to
know that she and Patty had coats alike, for then they could think
of one another whenever they put them on. So one as near like
Marian's as possible was selected for Patty, and then they went to a
place Patty had been talking of all morning. This was an exhibition
of moving pictures which Patty doted upon and which Miss Dorothy,
herself, confessed she dearly liked. To Marian it was like exploring
a new country, and she was filled with awe and delight, so they
remained till the last minute and had to hurry in order to reach
Griffin's by one o'clock.

Mr. Robbins was there, watch in hand. "Ten minutes late," he cried.

"It was that funny man trying to get his hat that kept us," declared
Patty. "We had to see the end."

"She means the moving pictures," Miss Dorothy explained. "We were so
absorbed we didn't realize how the time was going."

"Oh, well, well, never mind," said Mr. Robbins good-naturedly. "I
have ordered lunch and we'll go eat it."

"Good!" exclaimed Patty. "I always like what dad orders much better
than what I get myself. What did you get, daddy dear?"

"Beefsteak and French fried potatoes, hot rolls, chocolate for you
ladies, coffee for myself. Would you like a salad, Dolly? We can
have some ice-cream and cake, or whatever sweet you like, later."

Miss Dorothy declined the salad for them all, and her father led
the way to a table near the windows where one could look out upon
the street or in upon the room in which they were sitting. It was
all very exciting and unusual to Marian who had never enjoyed
such a high event in all her life as lunching at a restaurant with
grown-ups. Everything was a matter of curiosity and pleasure from
the garnished dish of beefsteak to the chocolate with whipped cream
on top. The shining mirrors, the dextrous waiters, the music played
by an orchestra, seated behind tall palms, made the place appear
like fairy-land to the little village girl. "I'd like to do this
every day," she confided to Patty.

"So should I," agreed Patty.

"No, you wouldn't," put in Mr. Robbins overhearing them. "You'd grow
so tired of it that you would long for plain bread and butter in
your own home. Nothing palls upon one so much as having to dine at
a restaurant every day. I have tried it and I know."

Marian could scarcely believe this possible, but she supposed that
such things appeared very different to men, and she was sure that it
would be many, many years before she would grow tired of it. After
luncheon there came more shopping, and the time arrived all too soon
when they must start for home. At parting Patty slipped a little
package into Marian's hand. "It's for you," she whispered. "It isn't
the Roman sash, but I hope you will like it. Dolly is going to ask
your grandma if she can't bring you to make us a visit some day."

"How I should love to do that," was the fervent answer. Marian felt
very badly that she had nothing to give Patty in return for her
gift. "If you were a heathen," she said gravely, "I might have
something to give you, too. I hope grandma will let me make the
visit. I mean to think of the mustard seed very hard and maybe she
will let me." Then before she could explain this strange speech to
the puzzled Patty, Mr. Robbins said they must hurry to the train,
and she had to leave Patty on the platform waiting till her train
should be called, and wondering what sort of girl Marian could be
to say such very unusual things.

Marian waited till the train was fairly under way before she opened
the package Patty had given her. She found it contained a little
doll. On a piece of paper was scribbled: "You said you didn't have
any little dolls, so I got you this one. It cost only five cents. I
hope you will think of me when you play with it." The doll was one
which Marian had admired in the Five Cent store, and which she had
wished she could buy. "I don't see when she got it," she said to
Miss Dorothy, turning the doll around admiringly.

"Don't you remember when you ran to the door to listen to the street
band that was playing outside?"

"Oh, yes. Was it then?"

"It was then. Patty was so pleased to get it so secretly."

"I shall call it Patty," said Marian. "I shall love her very much;
she is so cunning and little, and I can do all sorts of things with
her that I can't do with my big doll." This tiny Patty was company
all the way home, and in a measure took the place of her lively
namesake. Marian had been obliged to rely upon her own invention and
imagination so much in her little life, which had lacked childish
comrades, that she could amuse herself very well alone or with
slight things.

Miss Dorothy watched her as she murmured to the wee Patty and at
last she said: "Have you had a good day, girlie?"

Marian cuddled up to her in the familiar way she had seen Patty do.
"Oh, it has been a wonderful day, and I am so thankful for Patty,"
she said.

"Big Patty or this little one?" Miss Dorothy touched the doll with
her gloved finger.

"For both. There is so much that is pleasant in the world, isn't
there? Every little while something comes along that you never knew
about before and it makes you glad. First you came, then there was
school and the girls, and to-day came Patty and your father. He
makes me feel very differently about fathers."

"He is a dear dad," said Miss Dorothy lovingly.

"Do you think mine will be like him? I've always thought of him as
being like grandpa, not that grandpa isn't very nice," she added
quickly, "but he doesn't think much about little girls, and never
says funny jokey things to them as your father does. He never seems
to notice the things I do, and your father talks to Patty about the
little, little things I never knew grown up men were interested in."

"That's because he has to be father and mother, too. Our mother died
when Patty was a baby, you know. Yes, daddy is a darling."

"I hope mine will be," said Marian earnestly. "I haven't any mother
either, so perhaps he will feel like being father and mother, too. I
wonder when I shall see him. I didn't use to think much about it,
but since I have written to him, and all that, I think much more
about him."

"That is perfectly natural, and I have no doubt but that when he
finds out that you want to see him he will want to see you, and he
will be crossing the ocean the first thing we know."

"Oh, do you really think so?"

"I shouldn't be at all surprised, only you mustn't count too much on
it. We must be getting those photographs ready pretty soon."

"I would like one of Patty and me together, I mean Patty Robbins,
this is Patty Otway," and she held out her doll.

"We'll see if that can be arranged."

"How can it when we don't live in the same place?"

"I have a little plan that I cannot tell you yet. If it works out
all right I will let you know."

"Oh, Miss Dorothy, you are always making such lovely plans. What did
I ever do without you? Has the plan anything to do with my going to
visit Patty some time?"

"Maybe it has and maybe it hasn't. But, dear me, we are slowing up
for Greenville. We must not be carried on to the next station. Have
we all the things? Where is the umbrella? Oh, you have it. All
right. I hope Heppy will give us hot cakes for supper, don't you?"
So saying she led the way from the train and in a few minutes they
were making their way up the familiar street which, strange to say,
had not altered in the least since morning, although Marian felt
that she had been away so long something must surely have happened
meanwhile.



_CHAPTER IX_

_A Visit to Patty_


After all it was not so very long before Marian and Patty met again,
for a little cough which developed soon after the trip to town in
course of time grew worse, and in course of time the family doctor
announced that Marian had whooping-cough. Mrs. Otway was aghast. She
had a horror of contagious diseases and kept Marian at a distance.
"She must not go to school," she said to Miss Dorothy, "for the
other children might take it."

This was a great blow to Marian, for it meant not only staying away
from school, but from her schoolmates upon whom she had begun to
depend, so it was a very sorrowful face that she wore all that day,
and time hung heavily upon her hands. She wandered up-stairs and
down, wishing for the hour to come when Miss Dorothy would return.
Finally she went out to the garden, for her grandmother had told
her to keep in the open air as much as possible, and it was still
pleasant in the sunshine. "I don't suppose Dippy and Tippy will
get the whooping-cough if I play with them," she remarked to
Heppy, feeling that if these playmates failed her she would be
desolate indeed.

Heppy laughed. "They're not likely to," she said, "though I have
known plenty of cats to have coughs, and I have known of their
having pneumony, but I guess you can risk it."

So Marian and the cats spent the morning in the garden and it was
there Miss Dorothy found them when she came in to dinner. She had an
open letter in her hand which she waved as she walked toward Marian.
"What do you think?" she said. "Patty has the whooping-cough, too,
though not very badly. Your grandmother was right when she said you
probably got it the day we all went shopping."

"Oh, poor Patty! I wish she were here with me."

"And she wishes you were there with her. She is going to have
lessons at home for a little while each day, and I think it would be
a good thing if you could have them together. In fact, it struck me
as such a good plan that I have spoken to your grandmother about it.
Your grandfather has taken up some work this winter which will keep
him very busy, and he could not give you any time. I would be glad
to, but my work grows more and more absorbing and your grandparents
will not listen to my teaching you out of school hours, so as it
seems a pity for you to lose all these weeks, I proposed that you
should go to our house to keep Patty company. You will not have to
study so very hard, for the whooping-cough must have plenty of
outdoor air, and it would not do for you to be cooped many hours
a day. What do you think of it?"

For a moment Marian looked pleased, then her face fell. "I should
miss you so," she said.

"You dear child," returned Miss Dorothy, drawing her close. "So
should I miss you, but I think I can arrange to come home every
week now. It will mean very early rising on Monday morning in
order to get here in time for school, but I can manage it, and
I shall be able to reach home by six on Friday afternoon, so
you see----"

"Oh, I do see, and I think that would be fine."

"My little Patty misses me, too, and so does Father. Aunt Barbara
is an excellent housekeeper and a good nurse when any one is ill,
but she is not much of a companion for daddy nor for Patty. Then,
too, I hate to be out of it all. I long to keep up with the college
news and the home doings, so I shall try going home at the end of
the week, for awhile, anyhow."

"And did grandma say I could go?"

"She actually did. I think she is a little afraid of taking
whooping-cough herself, for she asked me yesterday if I had
ever known of any grown person having it, and I do know of
several cases. I had it myself when I was three years old,
but your grandma cannot remember that she ever had."

"I'm glad she can't remember," returned Marian with a laugh. "Who
is going to hear our lessons, Miss Dorothy?"

"My sister Emily. She is two years younger than I, and is still
studying. She is taking special courses at college, but thinks
she can spare an hour or so a day to you chicks, especially as
she expects to teach after a while, and she will begin to
practise on you."

"I will take little Patty with me," declared Marian, picking up
that person from where she was seated on a large grape leaf under
a dahlia bush.

"So I would. I am sure she will like to visit Patty's dolls."

"Oh, Miss Dorothy, you are so nice," exclaimed Marian giving her a
little squeeze. "Grandma never says such things. She doesn't ever
like to make believe. She says the facts of life are so hard that
there is no time to waste in pretending." Marian's manner as she
said this was so like her grandmother's that Miss Dorothy could but
smile. "I am glad you took some of the photographs for papa before I
got the whoops," Marian went on; "the one at school and the one at
Mrs. Hunt's. Oh, dear Mrs. Hunt will be sorry to have me go."

"She will, I know. She told me this morning that she was going to
ask you to stay with her a while during the time you must be away
from school. Should you like that better than going to Revell?"

"I'd like both," answered Marian truthfully.

"That is often the way in this world," returned Miss Dorothy. "It
is frequently hard to choose between two equally good things. I
will bring you all the home news every week, and can tell you
whether Ruth knew her lessons, whether Marjorie was late, how
Mrs. Hunt's fall chickens are thriving, and what Tippy and
Dippy do in your absence. I shall be quite a newsmonger."

"What is a monger?"

"One who deals or sells. You can look it up in the dictionary
when you go back to the house."

The preparations for her departure went forward quickly, and
by Friday morning, Marian's trunk was packed, and all was in
readiness. Her grandfather actually kissed her good-bye and
gave her five cents. As her grandmother did not happen to be
on hand at that moment to require that Marian should deposit
the nickel in her missionary box, the child pocketed it in
glee, and, at Miss Dorothy's suggestion, bought a picture
postal card to send her father, giving her new address. Miss
Dorothy wrote it for her, addressed and mailed the card, so
Marian was satisfied that her father would know where she was.
"I don't like to have him not know," she told Miss Dorothy.
Mrs. Otway gave her granddaughter many charges to be a good
girl and give no trouble, to take care of her clothes properly
and not to forget to be obedient.

"As if I could forget," thought Marian.

Heppy had no remarks to make, but only grunted when Marian went to
say good-bye to her. However as the child left the kitchen Heppy
snapped out: "You'd better take along what belongs to you as long
as you're bound to go."

"Take what?" asked Marian wonderingly, not knowing that she had left
anything behind.

Heppy jerked her head in the direction of the table on which a
package was lying.

"What is it?" asked Marian curiously.

"Something that belongs to you," said Heppy turning her back and
taking her dish-towels out to hang in the sun.

Marian carried the package with her and later on found it contained
some of Heppy's most toothsome little cakes. "It is just like her,"
Marian told Miss Dorothy. "She acts so cross outside and all the
time she is feeling real kind inside."

Miss Dorothy laughed. "I am beginning to find that out, but I shall
never forget how grim she seemed to me when I first came."

Mr. Robbins' house was very near the college, and Marian thought
it the prettiest place she had ever seen. As they walked up the
elm-bordered street, the college grounds stretched away beyond them.
The gray buildings were draped in vines bright with autumn tints,
and the many trees showed the same brilliant colors. In front of the
Robbins' door was a pretty garden where chrysanthemums were all
a-bloom, and one or two late roses had ventured to put forth. A wide
porch ran along the front and one side the house, and on this Patty
stood watching for them. She was not long in spying them and hurried
down to meet them. "I am so glad you have whooping-cough," she
called out before they came up. Then as they met and embraced she
went on: "Isn't it fine, Marian, that we both have whooping-cough
and winter coats alike? We're most like twins, aren't we? Come right
in. There is a fire in the library, Dolly, and Emily has tea there
for you."

"Good!" cried her sister, "that will go to the spot this chilly
evening. Where are Aunt Barbara and dad?"

"Oh, puttering around somewhere."

"And the boys?"

"They went to practice for the game, but they ought to be home
by now."

They entered the house and went into the library where a tall,
dark-eyed girl was brewing tea. She looked up with a smile and
Marian saw that she was a little like Miss Dorothy. "Here she is.
Here is Marian," cried Patty.

Emily nodded pleasantly. "Come near the fire," she said. "It is
quite wintry out. How good it is to see you, Dolly. I am so glad
you are coming home every week."

"Oh, what are those?" said Miss Dorothy as her sister uncovered
a plate.

"Your favorite tea cakes, but you mustn't eat too many of them
or you will have no appetite for supper. It will be rather late
to-night for the boys cannot get back before seven and they begged
me to wait for them. I knew you would be hungry, though, and so I
had tea, ready for you."

The two little girls, side by side, comfortably sipped some very
weak tea and munched their cakes while the older girls chatted. But
Patty made short work of her repast. "Hurry up," she whispered to
Marian, "I have lots of things to show you and we shall have supper
after a while. Is your cough very bad?"

"Not yet."

"They say mine isn't but I hate the whooping part. I hope it won't
get worse."

"I'm afraid it will, for we've only begun to whoop and they say it
takes a long time to get over it."

"Oh, those old they-says always are telling you something horrid.
Come, let me show you the boys' puppies before it gets too dark to
see them; they're out in the shed."

"Oh, I'd love to see them." Marian despatched the remainder of her
cake and was ready to follow Patty out-of-doors to where five tiny
fox terriers were nosing around their little mother. They were duly
admired, then Patty showed the pigeons and the one rabbit. By this
time it was quite dark, so they returned to the house to see the
family of dolls who lived in a pleasant room up-stairs.

"This is where we are to have lessons," Patty told her guest.
"Isn't it nice? Those two little tables are to be ours, and
Emily will sit in that chair by the window. We arranged it all.
These are my books." She dropped on her knees before a row of
low book shelves.

"Oh, how many," exclaimed Marian. "I have only a few, and most
of those are old-fashioned. Some were my grandparents' and some
my father's."

"Doesn't your father ever get you any new ones?"

"He might if he were here," Marian answered, "but you see I don't
know him."

"Don't know your father?" Patty looked amazed.

"No. He lives in Germany, and hasn't been home for seven or
eight years."

"How queer. Isn't he ever coming?"

"I hope he is. I wrote to him not long ago."

"Why, don't you write to him every little while?"

"No, I haven't been doing it, but I am going to now," she said,
then, as a sudden thought struck her, she exclaimed: "Oh, dear,
I am afraid I can't."

"Why not?" asked Patty.

"Because I used Miss Dorothy's typewriter at home. I don't write
very well with a pen and ink, you know, though I can do better than
I did."

"Oh, I expect you do well enough," said Patty consolingly, "and if
you don't, dad has a typewriter, and maybe he will let you use that,
and if he won't I know Roy will let you write with his. It is only a
little one, but it will do."

"I think you are very kind," said Marian. "Is Roy your brother?"

"My second brother; his name is Royal. Frank is the oldest one
and Bert the youngest of the three. There are six of us, you
know; three girls and three boys. First Dolly and Emily, then
the boys and then me."

"I should think it would be lovely to have so many brothers and
sisters."

"It is, only sometimes the boys tease, and my sisters think I must
always do as they say because they are so much older, and sometimes
I want to do as I please."

"But oughtn't you to mind them?"

"Oh, I suppose so. At least when I don't and they tell daddy, he
always sides with them, so that means they are right, I suppose."

There was some advantage in not having too many persons to obey,
Marian concluded, and when the three boys came storming in, one
making grabs at Patty's hair, another clamoring to have her find his
books, and the third berating the other two, it did seem to Marian
that there were worse things than being the only child in the house.

However, the boys soon subsided, so the two little girls were left
in peace and Patty displayed all the wonders in her possession; the
delightful little doll house which the boys had made for her the
Christmas before, the dolls who inhabited it, five in number, Mr.
and Mrs. Reginald Montgomery, their two children and the black cook.
"The coachman and nurse have to live in another house, there isn't
room for them here," Patty informed Marian. "Which do you like best,
hard dolls or paper ones?"

"Sometimes one and sometimes another," returned Marian. "I don't
know much about paper dolls, though. Mrs. Hunt gave me some out of
an old fashion book, but they got wet, and I haven't any nice ones
now."

"Emily makes lovely ones," Patty told her, "and I'll get her to do
some for us; I know she will."

"How perfectly lovely," exclaimed Marian, beginning to feel that
she had been very lucky when Dame Fortune sent the Robbins family
her way.

"There is Emily calling now," said Patty. "I suppose supper is
ready and we must go down. I will show you the rest of my things
to-morrow. Coming, Emily," she answered as she ran down-stairs.

But it was because Marian's trunk had come that Emily wanted the
little girls, and when this was unpacked and Marian felt that she
was fairly established supper was announced. It was a plain but well
cooked and hearty meal such as suited the appetites of six healthy
young persons, three of them growing boys. As she saw the bread and
butter disappear, Marian wondered how the cook managed to keep them
supplied.

True to her promise Patty asked Emily about the paper dolls that
very evening and she smilingly consented to make them two apiece.
"Just a father and a mother and a little child," Patty begged her
sister.

"Very well," said Emily. "I think I can throw in the child."

"Marian, do you want the child to be a baby?" asked Patty.

"Oh, a tiny baby," said Marian. "If I may have that, I should be
delighted."

"You shall have it," promised Emily and straightway fell to work to
fill the contract for paper dolls, Marian watching her with a happy
face. To see any one actually drawing anything as lovely as these
promised to be was a new pleasure, and her ohs and ahs, softly
breathed as each was finished, showed her appreciation.

The two little girls took themselves to a corner of the library
where they could play undisturbed, making houses of the lower book
shelves. "Oh, may we do that?" asked Marian in surprise as she saw
Patty stacking the books on the floor.

"Oh, yes," was the answer, "if we put the books back again when we
have finished. You take that corner and I'll take this, then we'll
have plenty of room."

Such liberties were never allowed Marian at home, and she grew so
merry over Patty's funny make-believes that more than once Miss
Dorothy and her sister exchanged pleased glances, and once Miss
Dorothy murmured: "I'd like her father to see her now. She has
been starved for just that sort of cheerful companionship."

"She seems a very nice child," said Emily.

"She is," returned Miss Dorothy. "She has never had a chance to be
spoiled."

Bedtime came all too soon, and the books were reluctantly put back
on their shelves, the dolls safely stowed away in a large envelope,
and Miss Dorothy piloted the way to Patty's pretty little room which
she was to share with Marian.

As Miss Dorothy stooped to give the two a good-night kiss, Marian
whispered: "I've had such a lovely time. I'd like to live here
always. I hope my whooping-cough won't get well for a long time."



_CHAPTER X_

_Running Away_


The days for the most part went happily for the two little girls.
They spent much time out-of-doors, lessons taking up only two hours
a day. Beside the many outdoor plays which all children love there
were others which Patty invented, and these Marian liked best. The
two had some disagreements and a few quarrels, for Patty, being the
youngest child in her family, was a little spoiled, and liked her
own way. She was an independent, venturesome little body, and led
Marian into ways she had never tried before. She loved excitement
and was always planning something new and unusual.

One morning after the two had raced around the lawn till they were
tired, had climbed trees, jumped from the top step many times,
gathered chestnuts from the burrs newly opened by the frost, Patty
was at her wits' end to know what to do next. "Let's run away," she
said suddenly.

"Oh, what for?" said Marian to whom such adventures never suggested
themselves.

"Oh, just because; just to do something we haven't done," was the
reply.

"But where shall we run?"

"Oh, anywhere. Down there." Patty nodded toward the road which led
from the college grounds.

Marian looked dubious. "But where would we stay at night, and where
would we get anything to eat?"

"Oh, along the way somewhere."

"We haven't any money to buy food."

"No, but some one would give it to us if we asked."

"Why, then we would be beggars."

Patty nodded. "I've always thought I would like to try what it would
be like not to mind your clothes, nor your face and hands. It would
be rather fine, don't you think, not to have grown-ups say to you:
Be careful of your frock. Don't get your shoes wet. No lady ever has
such a face and hands."

"Ye-es," doubtfully from Marian. "Suppose we should get lost and
never find our way back."

"We couldn't if we kept a straight road. We might meet a princess in
disguise, riding in her carriage and she might take us in with her.
I should like to see a real princess."

"My father has seen one."

"I don't believe it."

"He has. Cross my heart. He wrote to grandma about her and said
she looked like any one else."

"Then she couldn't have been a real princess," said Patty
triumphantly.

"My father doesn't tell stories, I thank you," said Marian
indignantly.

"You don't know whether he does or not; you don't know him,"
retorted Patty.

Marian gave her one look, arose from where she was sitting, and
stalked into the house. Patty was at her heels in a moment. "Oh,
please don't get mad," she begged.

Marian made no reply for a moment, then she said in a low voice,
"I'm not exactly mad, but my feelings hurt me."

Patty was too warm-hearted to let this pass. She flung her arms
around her friend's neck. "I was horrid to say that," she said,
"when I have a father close by and you haven't any mother."

"Neither have you," returned Marian mollified.

"I know, but I have brothers and sisters, and live with my father. I
think, after all, Marian, we won't run away, but we might go down
that road a little way and see what it looks like."

"Haven't you ever been there?"

"No, we always go in the other direction." She did not say why, nor
did she tell Marian that she had been warned of a rowdy neighborhood
in the vicinity of some factories further on. "You see," she
continued, "it would be fun to pretend we were running away. We
could stay till it gets dark and we began to be afraid."

"Not till it is really dark," Marian improved on the suggestion,
"but just till it begins to be."

"Well, yes, that would do. Come on, let us start."

"Don't you think we ought to take some lunch?"

"Well, maybe, though I would rather trust to luck; it would be much
more exciting. I think I will take five cents that I have, and then
if we don't see any chance of getting something to eat we can buy
enough to keep us from getting very, very hungry." So saying, she
ran toward the house.

"Bring Patty Wee," called Marian after her.

"All right," answered Patty the Big from the door-step. She came out
again directly with the money clasped in her hand, and bearing Patty
Wee.

"I suppose we mustn't go near any children," said Marian as they
started off, "for we might give them the whooping-cough."

"I'm sure I don't want to go near any," replied Patty independently.
"See, the road we are going to take leads right past the chapel and
down that hill."

"What are those chimneys sticking up there at the foot of the hill,
where all that smoke is coming out?"

"They are the chimneys of the factories."

"What kind of factories?"

"Oh, some kind. I don't know. We can ask when we get home if you
would like to know." She hurried Marian past the big factory
buildings from which issued the clattering noise of machinery, and
from whose chimneys black smoke was pouring. At the foot of the hill
there was a little bridge spanning a rapid stream. Further up, the
stream was bordered by willows, and a meadow beyond seemed an
inviting playground. "Let's go up there," said Marian; "it looks
so pleasant."

"We might fish if we had a hook and line," said Patty, bent on some
new diversion.

"Oh, do you suppose there are any fish so near the factory?"

"There might be," returned Patty, "but as we haven't anything to
catch them with they are perfectly safe."

Marian laughed, then added, "I think I am glad they are, for I
don't believe it would make me very happy to see the poor things
struggling and gasping."

"Then it is just as well we can't catch them, for I don't want to
make you unhappy," said Patty. "See that big tree over there with
that flat rock near it? I think it looks as if it would be a nice
place to play."

"So it does. I wonder if we can reach it easily."

"I'll go and see. If it is all right I will call you. Just wait here
for me."

Marian sat down on the stump of a tree near the bridge to wait. It
was pleasant to hear the murmur of the water, and to watch the
little eddies and ripples. It was a true Indian summer day, warm and
hazy. The squirrels were whisking their tails in the trees near by,
and the crows were cawing in a corn field not far off. Marian was
enjoying it all very much when Patty called, "Come, Marian, come.
I've found something. Come around by the fence and creep under."

Marian obeyed and was soon by Patty's side. "What have you found?"

"Just see here," said Patty excitedly. "Some one has been playing
here before us."

Marian stooped down to look where, in a little cave made by the
large stone, was a small doll, a table made of a block of wood, some
bits of blue china for dishes, a row of acorns for cups, and a bed
of green moss. Outside stood a small cart made of a box with spools
for wheels.

"Isn't it cunning?" said Patty, appealed to by the unusual. "Now we
can play nicely."

"Do you think we ought to touch them?"

"Why not? They are out here where anybody could get them. I
shouldn't wonder if some child had been playing here and forgot all
about it. There's no telling how long they have been here." This
quieted Marian's scruples and they took possession. Patty Wee, as
they now called Marian's little doll, just fitted in the cart, so
she was brought in state to visit the cave doll, whom Patty called
Miggy Wig, neither knew just why.

It was much more interesting to serve grass and acorn kernels from
broken bits of china than it was to have a real tea-party in an
orderly nursery with real cups and saucers, and the strange doll
added to the zest of the play because she was an unknown. The
children speculated upon who might be her possible owner, and
wondered if she were mourned and missed, or only forgotten. A fat
toad, tempted out by the warm sunshine, hopped from under the stone
and sat blinking at the children in such a funny way that they
laughed so loud as to send him away.

Everything was going on merrily when presently the shrill whistle of
the factory announced that it was noon, and pretty soon crowds of
men, women, boys and girls trooped down the road toward a group of
small houses further along. It was a noisy, jostling crowd and the
two children were glad they were not nearer. They cowered down
behind the big rock to wait till the factory hands had passed by.

In a few minutes Patty peeped forth. "They've gone," she whispered.
"I don't believe they would have noticed us anyhow. Let's play that
the fat toad is an enchanted prince, and that Miggy Wig is going to
liberate him from his enchantment."

"All right," agreed Marian. "What shall Patty Wee be?"

"If Miggy Wig is the fairy, Patty Wee can be the princess who will
wed the prince. Now Miggy Wig and I are going to gather three kinds
of herbs to make the charm," said Patty.

Marian was delighted. She had but lately entered the wonderful
region of fairy-land, but under Patty's guidance was becoming very
familiar with its charms and enchantments.

Patty and Miggy Wig hied forth to gather the three kinds of herbs
while Marian kept watch with Patty Wee. It was now so quiet that
the toad ventured out again. Patty had dubbed him Prince Puff, a
very fitting name the girls agreed. Marian was watching him as he
did his funny act of swallowing, shutting his eyes and looking as
if he meant to eat his own head, Patty said, when suddenly voices
sounded behind her, angry voices.

"Well ain't that cheek?" cried some one.

Marian looked up and saw two shabby looking girls about her own age.
She quickly rose to her feet, letting Patty Wee slip to the ground.
The other Patty was some distance away.

"What business have you got here?" said the taller of the strange
girls, stepping up.

"Why, we're just playing," replied Marian.

"Just playing," mimicked the girl. "Do you hear that, Pearl? Just
playing with our things. Ain't that cheek for you? Let's show her
what we think of folks that steal our belongings."

"I haven't taken a thing," said Marian indignantly. "I am not a
thief."

"Where's my doll, then? Call me a liar, do you?" said the girl
fiercely, and stepping still nearer she gave Marian a sounding
slap on the cheek.

By this time Patty had seen the newcomers and had hurried up. "Don't
you dare touch my friend," she cried. "We're not doing any harm to
you and your things."

"Well, you've meddled with them, and you were going to take my doll;
you've got it now. Give it to me," and the girl snatched Miggy Wee
from Patty's hand. "They meddled, didn't they, Pearl?"

"Yes, they did," chimed in the younger girl. "They meddled, so
they did."

"Well, they've got to hustle off pretty quick or I'll set my
father's big dog on them. Get out, you thieves," she said to
Patty and Marian.

"We are not thieves," replied Patty indignantly.

"What were you doing with my doll, then?"

"I didn't know it was yours. I didn't know it belonged to any one."

"Oh, you didn't," in sarcastic tones. "Perhaps you thought it grew
here like that there weed; you look green enough to think that."

Patty clenched her hands and bit her lip to keep from making
an answer which she knew would only aggravate matters. She drew
herself up and gave the girl a withering look, then she turned
to Marian. "Come, let us go," she said.

"Oh, you think you're very grand, don't you," said the girl
teasingly. "Well, you're not, and I can tell you we're not
going to let you off so easy. You've got to pay for the use
of our playhouse. I'll take this in pay," and she grabbed
Patty Wee from Marian.

"Oh, no, no," cried Marian in distress, "you can't have my doll."

"I can't, can't I? I'll show you whether I can." And the girl faced
Marian so threateningly that she shrank away.

Then Patty thought of a device. "You'd better not come too near us,"
she cried, "for we've got the whooping-cough," and indeed just then
by reason of the excitement she did have a paroxysm of coughing
which plainly showed that she spoke truly.

The girl backed away, and as soon as Patty had recovered, she
grasped Marian's hand and hurried her away. "Never mind Patty
Wee," she said; "I'll get you another just like her. Let's get
away as fast as we can."

Marian realized that this was the wiser plan, and they hurried
off, their two enemies calling after them mockingly.

Their breathless flight set them both coughing, and when they
recovered breath they both walked soberly on without saying a
word, their object being to get as far away as possible from
the scene of trouble. Up hill and down again they trudged, and
presently saw ahead of them a house and garden at the junction
of two roads.

"I never saw that place before," said Patty, looking at it with a
puzzled air. "I'm sure I don't know where we are."

"Oh, Patty," exclaimed Marian in dismay, "are we lost?"

"Well no, not exactly. We'll stop at that house and ask the way."

As they approached they saw that the front of the house was a small
country store, so they went around to the door and opened it. A bell
jangled sharply as they entered, and from somewhere in the rear a
woman came forward. "What's wanting?" she asked.

"Will you tell us how far we are from Revell?" said Patty. "We want
to go there, to the college."

The woman looked at her with some curiosity.

"It's about three miles," she said. "You go up this road and turn to
your left about a mile on, just before you come to the factories.
You pass by them and keep straight on."

"Thank you," said Patty. Then seeing piles of rosy apples, boxes of
crackers, and such eatables, she realized that she was very hungry.
"Will you tell me what time it is?" she said.

The woman looked up at a big clock over the door. "It is after two,"
she said, "about quarter past."

"Oh, dear," Patty looked at Marian, "we can't get back to dinner."
Suddenly all the joys of a gypsy life faded away. She looked at the
apples, felt in her coat pocket for her five cents, and fortunately
found it. "How much are those apples?" she asked.

"Ten cents a quarter peck," the woman told her.

"Oh, I meant how much apiece."

"I guess you can have 'em for a cent apiece. There'll be about ten
in a quarter, I expect."

"Then I'll take two." The woman picked out two fine red ones and
handed them to her. "I have three cents left," said Patty. "What
shall I get, Marian?" Her eyes roved along the shelves.

"That soft mixture's nice," said the woman, "and it's right fresh."

"Can I get three cents' worth?"

"Oh, yes."

"Then I'll take it."

The woman took down a box of mixed cakes and weighed out the
necessary amount. Patty gave the five cents and the two little
girls left the store.

"I never was so hungry," said Patty, her teeth immediately seeking
the apple.

"Nor I," said Marian, following her example. And they trudged along
munching the apples till they reached the top of the hill. They
could see the factory chimneys in the distance and knew they could
find their way, though both dreaded to pass the neighborhood of the
rude girls who must live near the factory. They almost held their
breath as they approached the spot, but they got by safely, and
toiled on toward home, two thoroughly weary, disgusted little
girls.

"It wasn't much fun," said Marian plaintively, as they neared the
house.

"I shall never, never want to go that way again," said Patty
contritely. "We haven't had any real dinner; I've spent my five
cents, and you've lost Patty Wee."

At the thought of this last disaster Marian's eyes filled. "Don't
feel so," said Patty in distress. "I'll buy you another the very
first time I go to the city. I know Dolly will give me five cents."

"But it won't be Patty Wee," said Marian mournfully.

Patty was honest enough to go straight to her sister Emily with
the whole story of the morning's trouble. "You knew you were
disobedient, didn't you, Patty?" said Emily gently. "Now you see
why daddy always forbade your going down that way. He knows those
factory people are a rough set."

Patty hung her head. "I know I was as bad as could be, Emily, but
I'll never do it again."

"The worst part is that you led Marian into it, for she didn't know,
as you did, that you mustn't go that way. You say those girls struck
her, and took her doll away from her. I think she had the worst of
it, and yet it was all your fault, Patty."

"Oh, dear, oh, dear, I am wickeder than I thought," sobbed Patty.
"What can I do, Emily, to make up for it? I will do anything you
think I ought. I spent my five cents and I haven't any more to get
another Patty Wee."

"If you will go without dessert for a week I will give you five
cents to buy another doll. I think you have had punishment enough
otherwise, but you can't make up to Marian for having those girls
treat her so."

Patty's tears flowed afresh, but she agreed to give up what meant a
great deal to her.

However, the five cents did not go toward buying another Patty Wee,
for when Patty told her brothers of the morning's adventure, they
looked at each other knowingly, and a little later on plotted
together in the shed. So a few days after they triumphantly appeared
with the lost Patty Wee which they restored to the delighted Marian.
They would never tell how they recovered the doll, but Pearl and
Evelina have memories of three big determined boys bearing down
upon them when they were playing under the big tree, boys who
demanded a doll taken by force, and having great respect for
manly strength the girls gave up Patty Wee without a word.



_CHAPTER XI_

_A Letter's Reply_


The lovely Indian summer was over, and Thanksgiving Day passed
happily. It was a great time for Marian, for Miss Dorothy was home
for several days and together they planned the book of photographs
to be sent to Marian's father. "I think it would better go in ample
time," said Miss Dorothy, "for at Christmas time there will be such
budgets going that we must be sure to get ours in before the rush
begins. I should give it two or three weeks anyhow, and even if it
does get there too soon, that will be better than too late."

"Don't you think it is time I was getting an answer to my letter?"
asked Marian.

"It is high time, but perhaps your father has been away, and has not
had his mail forwarded."

And indeed that was exactly the way of it as was proved the very
next day when the morning's mail brought Marian her long-looked-for
letter. She trembled with excitement when Mr. Robbins placed it in
her hands, and her eyes eagerly sought Miss Dorothy. "Won't you go
with me somewhere and read it to me?" she whispered.

Miss Dorothy hesitated. "Perhaps your father has written it for your
eyes alone."

"But suppose I can't read it."

"Well, then we'll go to my room and you can open it there. If you
can't read it I'll help you out. Will that do?"

"Oh, yes, thank you, dearest Miss Dorothy." Marian had learned from
Patty to use many endearing terms.

They went up-stairs to the pleasant front room with its pretty paper
and hangings of roses on a creamy ground, and by the window they sat
down while Marian carefully opened the envelope. As she unfolded the
sheet of paper it held, something fell out in her lap. "It is a
photograph of papa," she cried as she picked it up. "I never had one
of my very own, and see, Miss Dorothy, the letter is typewritten so
I can read it quite easily, but please sit by me while I see what he
says."

It was a long, loving letter in which the writer spoke of the
pleasure it had been to him to hear from his little daughter, of
how her accounts of her daily life had taken him back to his own
childhood, and of how often he thought of her and longed to see her.
"If I thought it best, my dear little daughter," he said, "I should
not let the ocean roll between us, though some day I hope you can
come to me if I may not go to you." There were many more things,
entertaining descriptions of the places to which he had lately been,
accounts of his doings and his friends, the whole ending with a
request that Marian would write as often as she could. As she
finished the closing lines Marian held out the letter to Miss
Dorothy. "Do read it," she said. "I know he would not care. There
isn't anything in it that you mustn't see. I'd like you to read it
out loud to me, Miss Dorothy; I can't quite get the sense of it
myself." So Miss Dorothy did as she was requested and agreed with
Marian that it was a very nice letter, that her father did love
her, and that the reason he did not come home was because he felt
he would not be welcome.

After this it was an all-important matter to get the photographs
ready to send and to write a letter in answer to the one Marian had
just received. Patty was very much interested in the photographs,
for besides those taken in Greenville of Marian and the cats in
the garden, of Marian at school, in the sitting-room with her
grandparents, in her own room and in Mrs. Hunt's kitchen, there
were a number taken in Revell where various members of the Robbins
family appeared and where Patty herself was always a conspicuous
figure. But the very last one was of Marian alone with arms
outstretched and face upheld for a kiss. Under it was written,
"A hug and kiss for you, dear papa, when you come back to your
little Marian." This was the child's own idea, and Miss Dorothy
carried it out as well as she could.

"Just think," Marian said to Patty, "how much better I know my papa,
and I shall keep on knowing him better and better."

"Shall you show your grans the photographs, and the one of him?"
asked Patty.

"Yes," returned Marian thoughtfully, "Miss Dorothy thinks I ought
to, and that I shall have to tell about my writing to him. I think
grandma will be glad, and maybe grandpa will be, too, though he
won't say so."

Miss Dorothy overhearing this wise remark, smiled. She quite
believed that both Mr. and Mrs. Otway would be glad.

As the days were getting both colder and shorter Miss Dorothy
decided that, for the present at least, she must give up coming home
every week, and must wait till the Christmas holidays before seeing
her family again. On the day she announced this she said also that
Mrs. Otway had said that Marian had stayed away long enough. Miss
Almira Belt was getting better and her sister could now help with
the sewing, especially as a niece was coming to help her, so as
Marian needed a new frock she must come home the following Monday
with Miss Dorothy. Mrs. Hunt had said she was longing for a sight of
her chickadee, Mr. Otway had remarked that it would be pleasant to
hear a child's voice in the house once again, and so Marian must go.

Patty was in tears at this news, and Marian herself looked very
sorry. "Don't you want to go?" asked Miss Dorothy. "Tippy and Dippy
are very anxious to see you and so is Rosamond. I saw her sitting in
your room all alone the other day, and she looked very forlorn."
Rosamond was Marian's big doll. "I told Ruth you were coming back,
and she said: 'Good, good. Give my love to her and tell her I am
crazy to see her. I've had the whooping-cough and I'm not a bit
afraid of her.' Then, too," Miss Dorothy bent her head and
whispered: "Some one who has the room next yours misses you
very much and longs for her little neighbor."

Marian smiled at this, but at sight of Patty's tears grew grave
again. "If I could take Patty with me," she said, "I should not mind
it a bit."

"Maybe Patty can come some time. Mrs. Hunt asked me to bring her and
to let her make a little visit there at her house, so we will think
of it later on."

This was so pleasant a prospect that Patty brightened up, and though
at parting she could not be comforted, Marian went away rather
happier than she expected. There would be some excitement in getting
back. She would go to see Mrs. Hunt very often, and perhaps Ruth
Deering would come to see her, or her grandmother would let her
spend an afternoon with Ruth sometimes. Mrs. Otway approved of Ruth,
she remembered. But here the thought of Patty came up, and Marian
realized that no one could take Patty's place, dear, bright, funny,
affectionate Patty, who had been so generous and loving, though she
did fly into a temper sometimes and say things she was sorry for
afterward. She had tried to help Marian with her writing and had
encouraged her so that now Marian could form her letters very well
and need not be ashamed when she went back to school. Then, too,
Patty had pressed upon her a favorite book of fairy tales which they
had read together and which had been the groundwork of many
delightful plays. Oh, no, there was nobody like Patty.

Yet as Marian walked with Miss Dorothy up the familiar street, she
felt that it was not bad to get back again. There was Mrs. Hunt
watching out for her at the gate, to give her a tremendous hug and
many kisses. There was Miss Hepzibah Toothacre, "pleasant as pie,"
at the door to welcome back the child. "Here she is," cried Heppy,
and from his study rushed grandpa, from the sitting-room issued
grandma, both eager to get to Marian first. "Heigho, heigho, little
girl," said grandpa, "it is good to get you back again."

"Well, my dear, how are you? Come kiss grandma," came from Mrs.
Otway, and Marian, pleased and surprised, felt that home was not
such a bad place after all.

Then there were Dippy and Tippy, and also a surprise, for Heppy
mysteriously led the way to the wood-shed which was just outside the
kitchen, and what should Marian see there but three new baby kittens
with Tippy proudly rubbing and purring around. Marian was on her
knees before them in a minute, and had picked out the prettiest to
cuddle. "Oh, if I might only keep this one," she said, "and perhaps
we could find homes for the others."

"I guess Mis' Otway ain't goin' to allow three cats under foot,"
said Heppy discouragingly. And indeed when Marian made her request
to keep one of the kittens she was straightway denied.

"You may keep two cats," said Mrs. Otway, "but no more will I have.
If you choose to get rid of one of the larger ones and keep the
little kitten I have no objection, but you will have to decide that
for yourself."

But here, as usual, Mrs. Hunt came to the rescue. "Now, chickadee,"
she said, when Marian told her the dilemma she was in, "you just let
me have that nice big gray cat of yours. Our house cat got so he
wouldn't live anywhere but in the stable, and grew so wild that I
scarcely ever saw him; finally he went away altogether. You bring
Dippy here and then you can see him as often as you want to."

Although Marian hated to give up Dippy, she knew he would have the
best of homes with Mrs. Hunt, and she did yearn so for the new
kitten that she finally decided to turn Dippy over to her good
friend. This seemed wise for more reasons than one, for his mother
was rather cross to him since her new family had arrived and so
Dippy settled down quite content to be petted and made much of by
Mrs. Hunt while Marian adopted the new kitten which she called Muff.
As Tippy's real name was Tippet, she thought Muff and Tippet went
rather well together. One of the other kittens found a home with
Ruth Deering, but the third was still unprovided for.

Lessons did not stop, although there was no Miss Emily to hear them.
Miss Dorothy told Marian every day what her class would have the
next, and Mrs. Otway heard her granddaughter recite whenever she
had time; when she did not, Miss Dorothy gave up a half hour in
the evening to the child, so she managed to keep abreast with her
schoolfellows and made great progress with her writing, now that
she had more time for practice, and since the weather housed her
more than formerly.

The photographs were sent off a good three weeks before Christmas,
and a duplicate set was made for the grans as well as one for Mrs.
Hunt. "For," said Marian, "if the grans don't care about Christmas
gifts, I do, and I like to give."

As for Miss Dorothy and Patty, Marian was at her wits' end to know
what to bestow upon them. She consulted Miss Dorothy as to Patty.
"Miss Dorothy," she said, "I shall be very unhappy if I can't give
Patty a Christmas gift, and I haven't a thing in the world she would
like."

Miss Dorothy, who was busy with some fancy work for Christmas, did
not reply for a moment and Marian could see that she had on her
thinking cap. "Yes, you have something," presently said Miss
Dorothy, "you have the third kitten."

"Oh, Miss Dorothy, do you think she would like him?"

"I am sure she would be delighted."

"But won't the dogs eat him up?"

"No, they're not allowed in the house and Jip is so intelligent that
she will understand that neither she nor her puppies must touch the
kitten."

"How will I get the kitten to her?"

"I can take it in a basket when I go home for the holidays."

"You always do what I hope you will," confessed Marian. "If all the
thank-yous I feel were piled up they would reach to the skies."

"I am sure," laughed Miss Dorothy, "nothing could express your
gratitude more perfectly. What shall you name the kitten? I think it
would please Patty if he came to her with a name already attached to
him, a name that you had given him."

Marian sat thinking, then she smiled and her smile grew broader and
broader till she broke out with: "I know what to call him; Prince
Puff, and I will tell her that he is the fat toad in a new form; he
is still under enchantment."

Miss Dorothy laughed, for she knew all about the play under the big
tree near the factory. "I think that would please Patty mightily,"
she told Marian.

"And, isn't it funny," Marian went on, "his name rhymes with Muff.
Patty will like that, too. She likes us to have things alike, so I
will have Muff and she will have Puff, Muff's brother. I am so
relieved to have Patty's present all settled."

But for her beloved Miss Dorothy there was still nothing, so Marian
racked her brains to devise some gift. At last she decided that
nothing was too good for one she loved so well, and that as the most
precious thing she possessed was her father's photograph she must
give that to her teacher. So, just before Miss Dorothy took her
departure for the holidays she went to her to slip a small package
in her hand. On the outside was written: "I am giving you this
because I love you so much. A Merry Christmas from Marian." "You
mustn't open it till Christmas day," she said earnestly.

"I will not," Miss Dorothy assured her. "Thank you now, dearie, for
I am sure whatever it is I shall be pleased to have it. I wish you
were going to spend the day with us."

"I wish so, too, but grandma said I had already been at Revell long
enough to wear out my welcome."

"I didn't see a sign of its being threadbare when you came away,"
Miss Dorothy told her. "Now, have we Puff all safe?"

"Yes, he is asleep in his basket. You won't forget to tie the card
around his neck with the red ribbon."

"No, I'll not forget. You must be sure to look on the inside knob of
my clothes-press door the first thing Christmas morning."

"I won't forget that. I think it is fine to have a secret waiting in
there for me."

"Here is the key. I know I can trust you not to open it till then."

"Indeed you can trust me."

"I am sure of it. Now give me a good hug and a kiss for Patty, for I
must be off."

Marian needed no second bidding, and in a few minutes was watching
Miss Dorothy go down the street carrying the basket that held Puff,
and walking swiftly to catch her train. There were big tears in
Marian's eyes as she turned from the window, for it seemed as if
the sunshine had faded away with Miss Dorothy's going, and that
Christmas would be only a gray every-day sort of time with no Patty
to make it merry, and no Miss Dorothy to add to its cheer.

However, when her grandmother called her it was to do rather an
interesting thing, for a Christmas box for the poor minister of a
distant parish was to be packed, and Marian enjoyed handing her
grandmother the articles to be put in and to talk over them. Grandma
knew the circumstances of the family to whom the box was going and
that there was a little girl somewhat younger than Marian to whom
her out-grown clothes would go. Marian thought she would have
enjoyed sending something more personal, and said so.

"Is there nothing you can make a sacrifice of, my child?" asked her
grandmother solemnly. "Christmas is the time for that, you know.
Our Lord gave His best to us and that is why we also give."

Marian turned over in her mind her various possessions. She simply
could not give up Patty Wee after all the dangers she had been
through, neither could she part with her big doll, for that had been
Annie Hunt's, and had been given to herself only because Annie's
mother was so fond of Ralph Otway's daughter. Muff was out of the
question for he would smother in that box. But there were the paper
dolls Miss Emily had made. She could give them. So she went
up-stairs, took out the envelope which contained these treasures,
softly kissed each painted face and said, "You are going to a new
home, my dears, and I hope you will like it. Good-bye, Mr. Guy
Mannering, good-bye, Mrs. Mannering, good-bye, little baby." She
put them all back in the envelope and carried it down-stairs. "I am
going to send these to Mary Eliza," she said steadily. "They are the
paper dolls Miss Emily made me."

"That is my good girl," said her grandmother. "Your gift will come
back to you in some other form, some day. I am much pleased that
my little granddaughter is so disposed to be generous with the
bounties the Lord has bestowed upon her." And Marian really felt
quite light-hearted the rest of the day.

Her spirits, too, were further lightened that afternoon when she was
made the special messenger to carry to Miss Almira Belt the very
lavender and white wrapper which she and Patty had picked out that
day when they were doing the make-believe shopping. Marian, of
course, told Mrs. Hunt all about it, and as one of the Guild which
looked after such things, it had been voted to give Miss Almira some
such present, and Mrs. Hunt had gone with Mrs. Perkins to select it.
They had all agreed that Marian's choice was such a good one that it
must be bought if possible, and fortunately Mrs. Hunt was able to
get the very wrapper she wanted. On account of Marian's part in the
matter she was asked to carry the gift to Miss Almira, and thus one
of her make-believes actually came true.



_CHAPTER XII_

_The Christmas Tree_


Christmas morning Marian awoke very early. She slipped out of bed
and went to the window. A few stars were still in the sky, though
the gray dawn was stealing up the land. In a few minutes the church
bells pealed out upon the wintry air. Marian folded her hands and
thought of the shepherds and the wise men, the little infant Jesus
in the manger and all the rest of the beautiful story. But it was
cold by the window and she determined to get back into bed till she
should be called. Then she suddenly remembered that this was "first
thing in the morning" and that she need not wait to open Miss
Dorothy's locked clothes-press. She could find out what was there.

So she softly struck a match, lighted her candle and tiptoed across
the floor, first taking the key from its place on the mantel. For a
moment a wild hope came to her that it might be a Christmas tree, a
little one, behind that locked door, but that idea faded away for
she remembered that Miss Dorothy had said, "I would like to set up a
Christmas tree for you, dearie, but it is your grandma's house and I
would not have the right to do it if she disapproves," and so it
could not possibly be a Christmas tree.

She set down her candle, unlocked the door and felt for what should
hang on the knob inside. As she did so she smothered a little cry
of delight for her hand grasped a well-filled stocking. Quickly
unfastening it, she skurried back to her room with the treasure. In
another moment she was snuggled down under the warm covers examining
the contents of her stocking. It held all the foolish and pleasant
things which such stockings usually hold, and to these were added
sundry little gifts. A note pinned on the outside read:

    "DEAREST MARIAN:

    "I hope you will like your stocking. It is exactly such as
    Patty will have, and I know you will be pleased to have it
    so. A Merry Christmas from all of us at Revell.

        "Lovingly yours,
            "DOROTHY ROBBINS."

A stocking just like Patty's! What joy! Perhaps at that very moment
Patty was looking at hers. It was so delightful to open the small
packages, to find a beautiful paper-doll from Miss Emily, a funny
cheap toy from each of the boys: a silly monkey, a quacking duck and
a jumping jack; a little fairy tale book from Patty, and oh, wonder!
the Roman sash from Miss Dorothy. Even Mr. Robbins and Aunt Barbara
had contributed, the former a little purse with a ten cent piece in
it, and the latter a box of her famous nut candy. Surely never was a
stocking more appreciated and more gloated over.

It was broad daylight and her grandmother was calling her before
Patty realized that her candle had burned down to its socket and
that it was time to get up. She huddled her gifts back into the
stocking and hurried to get bathed and dressed, for a day beginning
so delightfully must surely have more happiness in it. And indeed
this did seem to be so, for though her presents from her
grandparents were, as usual, useful, among them was a set of furs,
just what Marian had longed for since she saw Patty's, and there
was also a little typewriter for her very self from her grandpa.
Marian's mustard seeds were surely doing their work.

There were buckwheat cakes for breakfast, too, and Heppy beckoned
Marian to the kitchen afterward. A row of mince pies stood on the
table, and at the end of the row was a little scalloped one, "for
you," said Heppy. There was a pair of queerly shaped figures, too,
among the ginger-snaps. Heppy gave a funny chuckle as she picked
them out. "I guess nobody'd know what they're intended for," she
said. "I guess I won't go into the sculping business, for I find
I'm no hand at making figgers."

But Marian was as delighted with these as if they had been perfect
and bore them with the rest of her things to show Mrs. Hunt.

Her grans had smiled indulgently when she showed her stocking,
but had not seemed to think very much of it. Mrs. Otway said she
supposed Miss Dorothy had paid a pretty penny for the sash, and it
was more than she ought to have done. Mr. Otway thought Marian must
be too big a girl to care for jumping-jacks and such foolishness,
but that was the most that was said.

One of the events of Christmas day had always been the visit to
Mrs. Hunt, for this usually meant the best of the day's doings, and
Marian was always in a hurry to get off, but this time she was not
in such haste, for she liked to linger over her delightful stocking,
and enjoyed trying her typewriter while her grandfather showed her
how to use it. So it was not till her elders set out for church that
she was ready. Her cough shut her out of any churchgoing for a
while, but she begged to wear her new furs to show Mrs. Hunt, and
was given consent.

The church bells were all ringing as she entered Mrs. Hunt's door.
"I thought you wouldn't get here at all," said Mrs. Hunt in response
to Marian's "Merry Christmas!" "I was getting real anxious about
you. Come right in out of the cold. What made you so late,
chickadee?"

"Because it has been such a glad morning," Marian answered. "I don't
care anything about moving mountains any more, though it would have
been nice to have a tree, too."

"It would, would it? Well, I don't know. Is that for me?" as Marian
presented the book of photographs. "Well, I declare, isn't that you
all over? This is a Christmas gift worth having. What a Miss Dorothy
it is. Come, kiss me, dearie, you couldn't have given me anything I
like better. Now tell me what has made you so glad."

Then Marian displayed her stocking and her furs, and was describing
her typewriter when Mrs. Hunt said: "Then I suppose you won't care
about what I have for you."

"Oh, Auntie Hunt, you know I always care," returned Marian
reproachfully. "I never had a Christmas stocking before, and
I did so want furs."

"Bless her dear heart! Auntie Hunt was only teasing you a little.
Well, I don't believe what I have will wait much longer, so perhaps
we'd better go look at it." And she led the way to the parlor.

Marian wondered at this, for she was not such a stranger as to be
taken there even upon such a day as Christmas. What could Mrs. Hunt
have in there that she couldn't bring into the sitting-room? She had
always had Marian's present and her little basket of goodies set on
a side table and why must they be in the parlor to-day? She
wondered, too, why Mrs. Hunt fumbled at the door-knob and rattled
it a little before she went in, but when she saw at the end of the
room a bright and dazzling Christmas tree, she forgot all else. It
was such a glittering, shining affair, all wonderful ornaments and
gleaming tinsel, and was a joy to look upon, from the flying angel
at the tip-top to the group of sheep on a mossy pasture at the foot.
The impossible had happened. Faith and works had triumphed. The
might of the mustard seed's strength had been proved, and Marian
dropped on her knees before the marvelous vision. "Oh, I am so
happy, Lord. I am so much obliged to you for your loving-kindness,"
she breathed.

"That's just like her," said Mrs. Hunt nodding her head as if to
some one behind her. "You are pleased, aren't you, chickadee? Well,
now, who do you think gave you all those pretty things? Mr. Hunt cut
the tree and brought the moss, I'm ready to confess. I helped with
the trimming, but who did the rest?"

"Miss Dorothy," promptly replied Marian.

Mrs. Hunt shook her head. "Wrong guess," she said laughing. "Stand
right there and shut your eyes while I count ten, then see if you
can make a better guess."

Marian did as she was told, squeezing her eyes tight together lest
she should be tempted to peep at the tree. As "ten" fell from Mrs.
Hunt's lips her eyes opened, not upon the tree, for between her and
it stood the figure of a tall man who held out his arms to her.
Marian stood stock still in amazed wonder, gazing at him fixedly,
then in a voice that rang through the room she cried: "Papa! Papa!"
and in an instant his arms were around her and she was fairly
sobbing on his breast.

"It's almost more than the child can bear," murmured Mrs. Hunt
wiping her eyes. "I don't know that it was right to surprise her
so. Maybe it would have been better to prepare her." But Marian
was herself in a little while, ready to hear how this wonderful
thing happened.

"It was all on account of that little book of photographs," her
father told her. "My longing to see my dear little daughter grew
stronger and stronger as I turned over the pages, and when I came to
the last picture I simply could not stand it. I rushed out, looked
up the next sailing, and found I could make a steamer sailing from
Bremen the next morning, and before night I was on my way to that
city. I found I had a couple of hours to spare in Bremen, and I
remembered that my little girl had said that she had never had a
Christmas tree, so I went up town, bought a jumble of Christmas
toys, and took them to the steamer with me. I reached here last
night, and my dear old friend Mrs. Hunt took me in. Between us all
we set up the Christmas tree, and arranged the surprise. I felt as
if I could not spend another Christmas day away from my dear little
daughter when she wanted me so much. Do you think they will let me
in at the brick house, Marian?" he asked holding her close.

"I am sure they will," she answered with conviction. "I've found out
that nobody is as cross inside as they seem outside. Even Heppy is
just like a bear sometimes, but she has the most kind thinkings when
you get at them."

It was hard to leave the beautiful tree, but even that was not so
great and splendid a thing as this home-coming of Marian's father,
and when the churchgoers had all gone by, the two went up street
together, hand in hand. At the door of the brick house they paused.

"Tell them I am here and ask them if I may come in, Marian," said
her father, as he stood on the steps.

Marian went in, and entered the sitting-room. Her grandmother was
taking off her bonnet. "It was a good sermon, my dear," she was
saying to her husband. "Peace and good-will to all men, not to
some, but to all, our own first." She smoothed out her gloves
thoughtfully. "Eight years," she murmured, "eight years."

Marian stood in the doorway. "Papa has come," she said simply. "He
is on the door-step, but he won't come in till you say he may."

With a trembling little cry her grandmother ran to the door. Mr.
Otway grasped the back of the chair behind which he was standing.
His head was bowed and he was white to the lips. "Tell him to come
in," he said.

Marian ran out to see her grandmother, her grave, quiet, dignified
grandmother, sobbing in her son's arms, and he kissing her bowed
head and murmuring loving words to her.

"Grandpa says please come in," said Marian giving the message with
added politeness, and with one arm around his mother and the other
grasping Marian's hand, Ralph Otway entered his father's house to
meet the hand clasp of one who for more than eight years had
forbidden him entrance.

The remainder of Marian's day was spent in making visits to Mrs.
Hunt's parlor and to her grandmother's sitting-room. When the
grown-ups' talk began to grow uninteresting and herself unnoticed
she would slip away to gloat over the Christmas tree, then when she
had firmly fixed in her mind just what hung on this side and on
that, she would go back to the sitting-room to nestle down by her
father, or to turn over the contents of her stocking.

It was during this process that she heard part of a conversation
which interested her very much. "Herbert Robbins wrote me not
long ago to ask if I could suggest a fitting man for one of the
engineering departments of the college," said Grandpa Otway. "I told
him I would consider the matter, and if any one occurred to me I
would let him know. How would you like the work, Ralph?" he went on
in his measured tones. "Revell is not far away; it is a progressive
college in a pleasant community."

Marian laid down her stocking and came nearer.

"I should like to look into the matter," said her father
thoughtfully.

"I would advise your seeing Robbins," said his father. "He can give
you the particulars." Then he added somewhat hesitatingly, "I should
like--I should be pleased to have my son one of the faculty of my
own college."

Marian's father looked up brightly. "Thank you, father; that settles
it. If it is as good a thing as now appears I shall not hesitate to
accept if I am given the opportunity."

"Are you going to see Patty?" whispered Marian, "and couldn't I go,
too?"

Her father looked down at her with a smile. "I'd like you to go if
your grandmother is willing."

Therefore before the holidays were over Marian had the pleasure of
showing off her new furs as well as her dear papa to Patty and the
rest of the Robbinses, and before she came back it was settled that
her father was to go to Revell to live. Beyond that nothing of much
consequence was decided at that time.

Patty and Marian were jubilant over the arrangement. "Perhaps you
will come here to live some day," Patty said to her friend.

"I wish I could," said Marian. "Do you think papa will need me more
than the grans, Patty?"

"Of course," returned Patty, "for your grandfather has a wife to
take care of him and she has a husband, and it isn't fair they
should have you, too; besides a father is a nearer relation than a
grandfather, so of course he has a right to you." And this quite
settled it in Marian's opinion.

The little girls had two happy days together when Marian enjoyed
Patty's tree and her Christmas gifts only in a little less degree
than her own. She was pleased to find that Puff was already a great
pet, and that Patty had all sorts of mysterious things to tell about
him; of how he would steal out at night and become a real prince
between midnight and dawn, and of how Miggy Wig had deserted the
cave and was no longer a doll, but that she had worked her
enchantments only so far as to turn Puff from a toad into a kitten
during the day, so the little cat did actually appear to be more
than an ordinary animal to both children.

It took only a short time for Marian and her father to become great
chums, and they had many good times together sharing many secrets
which they did not tell the grans.

Miss Dorothy did not go home very often during the winter, so on
Saturdays and Sundays when her father came home from Revell, Marian
took many pleasant walks with the two. Sometimes they made an
excursion to the city, when real shopping took the place of
make-believes.

Marian went back to school after the holidays and never failed to
stop every day to see Mrs. Hunt. It was in the spring that she
learned from this good friend that her father did not tell her all
his secrets, for one day when they were talking of that happy
Christmas day Marian said, "What do you suppose Miss Dorothy did
with the Christmas gift I gave her? I have never seen it anywhere
and she has never said a word about it."

"What was it?" asked Mrs. Hunt.

"The photograph of papa that he sent me. I wanted to give her
something very precious and that was the best thing I had."

To Marian's surprise Mrs. Hunt threw back her head and laughed till
the tears came, though Marian could not see that she had said
anything very funny.

When Mrs. Hunt had wiped her eyes she remarked: "We shall miss Miss
Dorothy next year."

"Why, isn't she coming back to teach?" asked Marian in dismay.

Mrs. Hunt shook her head.

"Oh, why not?"

"Ask your papa; he knows," said Mrs. Hunt laughing again.

But before Marian had a chance to do this, Patty came to make Mrs.
Hunt the long-promised visit, and it was Patty who guessed the
secret. "Did you know that Miss Dorothy is not coming back here next
year?" was one of Marian's first questions.

Patty nodded. "I heard her say so to Emily."

"Then you will have her and I shall not," returned Marian jealously.

"Oh, yes, I think you will have her as much as I," returned Patty,
"for she is making all sorts of pretty things and I think she is
going to be married."

"Be married?" Such a possibility had never occurred to Marian. "Oh,
dear," she began, then she brightened up as she thought perhaps it
might be the new rector Miss Dorothy was going to marry; in that
case she would be living in Greenville. She remembered that the
young man often walked home with her teacher. It would be a very
nice arrangement, Marian thought. "Is she going to live in
Greenville?" she asked, feeling her way.

"No," Patty laughed. "I don't think so."

Then perhaps the young rector was going to another town. "Has she
told you where she is going to live and who she is going to marry?"
asked Marian coming straight to the point.

"No, but I know she is going to live in Revell, and I hear her and
Emily talk, talk, talk about some one named Ralph." Patty put her
hand over her mouth, and looked at Marian with laughing eyes.

"Why--why----" Marian looked at Patty for further enlightenment, but
Patty was only laughing. "Why, that's my papa's name," said Marian.

Patty nodded. "That's just who I think it is." And that was
precisely who it was.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Maid Marian" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home