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Title: Kitty Canary
Author: Bosher, Kate Langley, 1865-1932
Language: English
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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 "Kitty Canary" ***

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[Frontispiece: Kitty Canary.]

Kitty Canary










Copyright, 1913, by Harper & Brothers

Printed in the United States of America

Published February, 1918



I am in love.  It is the most scrumptious thing I have ever been in.
Perfectly magnificent!  Every time I think of it I feel as if I were
going down an elevator forty floors and my heart flippity-flops so my
teeth mortify me.  He used to be engaged to Elizabeth Hamilton Carter,
the niece of the lady at whose house I am boarding this summer, but he
did something he ought not to have done, or he didn't do something he
ought to have done, and they had a fuss.  No one seems to know the
cause of it, but it was probably from her wanting him to be blind to
everything on earth but her, and a man isn't going to be blind when he
wants to see, and then she got _hurt_.  I'd rather live in a house with
a cackling hen or a grunting pig than the sort of person who is always
getting hurt.  But she's very pretty.  Pink-and-white pretty, with
uplifting eyes and a little mouth that shuts itself when mad and says
nothing, and oozes more disagreeableness than if it talked.  He still
thinks there isn't another girl in town who can touch her in looks.  I
don't suppose a man ever gets over a real case of pink-and-white.  It's
the kind that makes a tender memory if it isn't the best sort to live
with, and men like to have a memory to sigh over in secret.  Her
rejected one may sigh in secret, but in public he does not seem to be
suffering.  He isn't suffering.  We like each other very much.

The reason I am glad I am in love is that I am sixteen and I was
getting afraid I wasn't ever going to fall in love.  Three or four
times I have thought I was in it, but I wasn't, and I was beginning to
be sure I was the sort of person who doesn't fall.  And, besides, it is
good for Billy, who, because he is twenty, thinks he is old enough to
have some things settled which there is no need to settle too soon.
Settled things are not exciting.  I love excitement and not knowing
what a day may bring forth.  Billy doesn't.  He wants his ducks to be
always in a row.

Ever since he fished me out of the water-barrel sunk in Grandmother
Hatley's garden, when I was four and he eight, he has seemed to think I
belonged to him; and, though he doesn't imagine I know it and never
mentions it, he is always around when I am in danger or trouble, to get
me out.  I suppose saving my life three or four times makes him feel I
can't take care of myself and therefore he must take care of me, but
that's a mistake.  I have never had a horse to run away with me but
once.  Billy did tell me not to ride her, and when she ran and would
have pitched me over her head and down a gully he caught her in the
nick of time and caught me, too, but that's the only time a thing of
that sort ever happened.  He was real nice about it and never said
anything concerning having told me so and didn't make remarks of the
sort which other people rub in, but the next day the horse was sent
away.  That's the thing which makes me fighting furious with Billy
sometimes. He doesn't say things.  He does them.  I wasn't afraid of
that horse and was going to keep on riding her, but the next day there
was no Lady-Bird to ride.  The reason he sent her away was I wouldn't
promise not to ride her.  Our summer homes are on adjoining places and
Horson, their stableman, a nice, drinky old person, lets me take out
anything I want, anything of Billy's, and, knowing he couldn't trust
Horson any more than me, he lent Lady-Bird to a man miles and miles
away and I never saw her again until she was a tame old thing I did not
want to ride.  Billy behaves as if I were a child!

And then the very next winter I fell through the ice and he had to jump
in and get me out.  He told me not to go to a certain part of the lake.
He had been all over it and tried it before I got my skates on, but I
forgot and went.  A boy was with me, a skunky little rat, who, when he
saw the ice was cracking, tried to pull me back, and then he let go my
hand and flop I went in and flop came Billy behind me while the little
Fur Coat stood off and bawled for help and said afterward he didn't
know how to swim.  Having on heavy clothes, I went down quick and was
hard to get up, and I would be an angel this minute if Billy hadn't
been there.  But Billy is always there, which is what makes this summer
so queer.  He isn't here.

On account of servants and things his mother didn't want to open their
country place this year, and my mother didn't want to open hers, so two
houses are closed.  That means a scatteration for both families and is
why I am here and Billy in Europe; and if he is having as good a time
as I am he isn't grunting at the change.  He didn't want to go to
Europe.  His father made him.  His mother and two sisters needed a man
along and, as Mr. Sloane couldn't go, Billy had to, and he was a great
big silent growl when he went off.  I wasn't.  I wanted to come to
Twickenham Town.  We had passed through it once on our way to Florida
and I have been crazy to come back ever since, and when I found Mother
was going with Florine and Jessica to a splashy place I didn't want to
go to I begged her to let me come here and board with Miss Susanna
Mason and--glory be--she let me do it!

She is a sort of relation, Miss Susanna is, a farback one, but nothing
is too far back to claim here, and everybody who is anybody is kin to
one another, or kin to some one else's kin, which makes for
sociableness, and I am having a perfectly grand time.  In all the world
there isn't another place like the one I am in this summer, and I am
getting so familiar with a new kind of natural history that maybe some
day I will be an authority on it.  Ancestry is the chief asset of
Twickenham Town, and though you speak with the tongues of men and of
angels and have not ancestors it profiteth you nothing.  That is, among
the natives.  Being an outsider, I have decided not to have ancestors,
and I am going to see if the people won't take me in for myself.  I
have always believed a nice person was nice if there weren't any family
shrubs and things, and a nasty one was nasty no matter how many coats
of arms there were or how heirloomy their houses, so I have asked Miss
Susanna please to excuse me if I don't call her cousin (we are seventh
removed, I think she said), and also, unless she has to, I hope she
won't tell any one my real name is Katherine Bird, but let everybody
call me Kitty Canary, as everybody does at home.  I think she thought
it was very queer in me to say such things, but she smiled her
precious, patient little smile, and, though she didn't promise, she
evidently hasn't mentioned my sure-enough name, as no one here calls me
by any other than the one Billy gave me when I wasn't much bigger than
a baby.  Just Kitty Canary will do for me.


The way I met Whythe (he's the one I'm almost perfectly certain I am in
love with) was this.  When I got to the station in Twickenham Town
there was no one to meet me and take me to Rose Hill, which is Miss
Susanna Mason's home and right far out, because the train was three
hours late, and Uncle Henry, who drives the hack, and Mr. Briggs, who
runs the automobile, had gone home.  There wasn't even anybody to take
my bag.  I told Mother I had written Miss Susanna what train I would be
on, and because she was so busy and Father away she trusted me to do
things she had never trusted me to do before and didn't write herself,
which is why I wasn't met.  I did write the letter saying I was coming,
but I forgot to mail it and found it in my bag when I got off the train
and was looking for my trunk check.  It was nearly eleven o'clock and
nobody around but some train people who looked at me and said nothing.
And then a young man who had got off the same train came up and took
off his hat and asked if he could not do something for me, and I told
him I hoped he could and I certainly would be obliged if he would do it
as quick as possible, as it was getting later every minute and Mother
would be terribly worried if she knew I hadn't been met.

"But where are you going?" he asked, and his eyes, which are his
best-looking part, took me in from top to toe.  When I told him I was a
boarder for Miss Susanna Mason and would like to get to her house he
said if I didn't mind a pretty good walk he would take me there with
pleasure, and we started off.  It was a perfectly gorgeous night.  The
stars were as thick as buttercups in spring, and the moon was
magnificent and the air full of all sorts of old-fashioned fragrances,
as if honeysuckle and mignonette and tea-roses and heliotrope were all
mixed together; and as there didn't seem any real need of grieving
because there was no one to meet me, I thought I might as well enjoy
myself.  I did.  I could not help the train being late, and I didn't
forget to mail my letter on purpose; and it was an accident, or
coincidence, that a nice man should be on the same train I was, who
lived in the place I was going to spend the summer in, and knew very
well the house I wanted to get to.  I didn't know he had been engaged
to the niece of the house and hadn't been to the latter since the
engagement was broken, and I must say as we walked along he didn't show
any evidences of despair or things of that sort.  He couldn't possibly
have been naturaler or in better spirits, and he laughed from the time
we left the station until we reached Rose Hill.  Not knowing his
history, I told him I had come to Twickenham Town because I thought it
was the most delicious old place in America; the sweetest, slowest,
self-satisfiedest, cocksuredest place on earth, and everybody in it was
a character--that is, everybody over thirty.  He said that let him out,
as he was only twenty-five, but he wasn't sure some under twenty-five
were not somewhat queer.  They are, I have found out since.

He had left his bag at the station, but he had mine, which was right
heavy, and seeing there was a good stretch of open road before we began
to go up the hill on the top of which was Miss Susanna's home, I told
him he had better sit down a minute and rest, and I got up on the worm
fence and twisted my feet around the rail below, and looked at him
before he knew what I was going to do.  He coughed a little and looked
at his watch and said it was rather late to be resting, as Miss Susanna
might be going to bed, and that if I were not too tired he thought we
had better go on; and I told him all right.  And then, because I
couldn't help it, I stood up on the top of the fence, balanced myself
on it, and, opening my arms as if I were going to fly, sprang off and
ran up the road ahead of him.

At the gate, which was open and through which I could see the
rose-bordered path leading up to the white-pillared porch on which Miss
Susanna and her niece were sitting, he shook hands with me and told me
good night and said he hoped he would see me very often while I was in
town, and I said I hoped he would.  He put my bag down and told me to
send one of the servants out for it, and went on down the road, which I
thought was the queerest behavior I had ever seen in my life.  I didn't
know, of course, about embarrassments and broken engagements and things
of that sort, and for a moment I stared at his back and then picked up
my bag and went up to the porch with it.  All the boarders had gone to
bed and only Miss Susanna and her niece were on the porch, and as I
came up the steps they got up and stared at me as if I had risen from
the grave.

I hadn't thought there was anything wrong in my coming from the station
at that time of night with a strange man until I saw the look on Miss
Susanna's face when I told her I had done it.  If I had been a brand
snatched from the burning I could not have been folded to her bosom
with more fervent thanksgiving or a more pained expression, and at
first, still not understanding, I thought I had done right off the
worst thing a person could do in Twickenham Town.  I had walked a long
way with a man who didn't have ancestors, perhaps.  He had seemed all
right to me, and I was awfully glad to have him, as otherwise I might
have had to sit on my suit-case all night, for I certainly couldn't
have come up with the man who swung a lantern, and he was the only
other white one in sight.  But I found out later it wasn't lack of
ancestors that caused the sudden chill which fell over us when I
mentioned Mr. Eppes's name.  It was something else and--oh, my
granny!--the look that pretty little pink-and-white person gave me when
I said what I had done!

"Oh, my dear, my dear!"  Miss Susanna put her arms around me as if I
were a little ewe lamb that had been lost and was found, and in the
moonlight her beautiful little wrinkles reddened as if she were
responsible for a most grievous calamity, "To think of your being alone
at a public station at this time of night!  A young girl!  And I had
promised your mother to take such good care of you!  I wouldn't have
had such a thing occur for--"

"There hasn't anything occurred."  I took off my hat and fanned hard
and then followed Miss Susanna up-stairs into a big square room with a
big tester bed in it, and if she hadn't been looking at me I would have
climbed up in it and gone to sleep in my clothes, I was so tired; but
she didn't leave me for some time.  She couldn't get over my walking
two miles with a strange man late at night, and presently I found out
she hoped I wouldn't mention it to any one in the town, as in a little

"Oh, I know--"  I sat down in another chair.  "I know little places.  I
was in one once for a month.  Every one in it knew everything every
other person did and didn't do, and said and didn't say, and if they
sneezed what for, and if they didn't sneeze why not, and it was more
fun!  But I won't tell if you don't want me to, and did my horse come?
Father had her sent three days ago, and I hope you won't get uneasy if
I am not always back on time--"

I stopped.  She was putting my hat on the top shelf of the biggest old
mahogany wardrobe that was ever built for human apparel, and I knew
right off that was one of the things the matter with pretty Miss
Pink-and-White.  She was spoiled to death.  I picked up the coat I had
dropped on the table and hung it up myself, and saw I would have to be
the thing I hate most on earth--an Example.  I must be careful or that
precious old soul would be waiting on me just as she waits on everybody
else, and I wasn't going to stand for it.  And then she asked me if I
were not hungry--said she knew I must be after such a long trip; and I
told her I was starving, but I would not eat of a feast of the gods if
it were right in front of me, as the only thing I wanted to do was to
go to sleep, and for fear she might keep on inquiring about all my
relations I kissed her good night and walked with her to the door and
asked if she would mind if I did not come down to breakfast, and she
said of course I must not come, that Elizabeth never came if she had
been up late the night before, and that decided me.  I was the first
one down the next morning.


It was a perfectly grand feeling---the feeling I had the next day and
have had every day since I got here--that I was in a place where there
wasn't a single member of my family to tell me not to do things I
wanted to do or to do what I did not want to do; and usually as I dress
in the morning I dance a new kind of highland fling which I made up for
times when I feel particularly happy.  Everybody is well and Mother and
the girls are having a lovely time in a place where I would have had a
stupid one, being neither grown up nor a kid, but an in-betweener--too
young for some ages and not old enough for others; and here in
Twickenham Town I am as free as air, and Father is coming to see me as
often as he can.  I can't let myself think much about Father or I would
take the train straight home.

I had begged him to let me stay with him, but neither he nor Mother
would agree.  Just because I got the Grome medal at school they
imagined I had studied too hard and needed a quiet, restful summer in
the mountains; but I will never study too hard while on this little
planet called the earth.  I got the medal because Billy said I'd never
sit still long enough to study for it, and just to show him he very
often does not know what he is talking about I made up my mind to get

The only thing I ever expect to work hard over is one book.  I am going
to write one book that the critics will call a Discovery.  It is to be
dull and dry and dreary, and therefore it will be thought deep and
strong and big, and only a few people will know that it has been
written.  After that I am going to write books that sell, write what
people want to read--things that make them forget for a few moments
that at times this world is but a fleeting show and there is a good
deal of rot in it.  If I can I am going to make people laugh, though I
don't think I can do much in that line.  I see the funny side of things
too quickly to ever be able to write them down, as that takes time; but
I am certainly going to be cheerful, and I am not going to croak.  I
don't mean I am going to be smiling all the time.  I am not.  Perpetual
smilers are more than human nature can stand.  Nothing is ever wrong,
everything is beautiful, their smiles seem to say, which isn't so.
There is a lot of life that is wrong, and any day horrid, hurting
things may pop up, but that doesn't mean you've got to sit down and
make a bosom friend of dolefulness.  Some of the things you can shake
your fist at, and some turn your back on, and some you have to face;
but no matter what happens you can buck up and begin again if you get
knocked out or hit in the back.  And that's what I hope I will have
sense enough to do--get up and get a move on when things go wrong.

So far nothing has gone wrong in Twickenham.  Everybody has been lovely
to me, and all sorts of ages have been to see me and asked me to their
homes, and if they know my name is not really and truly Kitty Canary
they never say so or mention my family, which is very nice of them, for
I am sure they must talk of who I am and where I came from, that being
the first thing done here when a stranger arrives.  The reason I think
they haven't let me off among themselves is that one of Miss Susanna's
boarders started to say something to me on the subject one day and I
told her I was a very plain person, almost common, and she could tell
any one she chose.  She has never mentioned the subject since.  Just
Kitty Canary is all I am going to be this summer, and if anybody
doesn't care for me as Kitty Canary I don't care for them to care for
me as Katherine Bird.  So endeth that.


I have seen him every day since I came--seen my station help in time of
need--and I must say he bears bravely the dispensations of a female
person.  He is not dejected, and he still seems to find life worth
living; and if he weeps in secret, he shows no sign in public of
regrets; neither does he hide himself from the gaze of others, but is
always to be seen when one goes down-town or to the homes of other
people.  I don't know how we happen to meet so often, but I never go
out that he doesn't appear; and though he does not come in at Rose
Hill, he comes to the gate, and I am afraid we stand at it a little
longer than is necessary, especially if Elizabeth Hamilton Carter is
sitting on the porch.

I wonder why Satan walks right into me every time I see that piece of
pretty pink-and-whiteness!  He has never taken possession of me in that
way before; but something about her just starts him off, and before I
know it I am doing what I wouldn't think of doing if she were not
around.  She is perfectly furious with me, and I must say her manners,
if they are Southern, could be improved.  At best she is not much of a
talker, I have been told; but since I arrived her little mouth has been
shut so tight that I wonder how she breathes; and if she has spoken a
dozen words to me since the night I came, they were too
between-the-teethy for me to hear.  I didn't want her beau, and I
wouldn't have dreamed of noticing him if I had known how she felt about
him; but after she tried the freezing act on me I didn't tell Satan to
get behind me, as I suppose I should have done.  I just went along and
took things as they came, and the first thing I knew I was in love
myself, and from the words of his mouth concerning the meditations of
his heart he seemingly has recovered from a former attack and is in for
a new one.  Maybe we were not as considerate of the rejecter as we
might have been.  Of course, I never knew for a long time why the
engagement was broken.  He didn't tell me and no one else seemed to
know, and when I found out--  But that was a long time after--when I
found out.

His name is Whythe Rives Eppes.  The only things I don't like about him
are his front teeth and his relations.  He could get three new teeth,
but nothing in human power could rid him of his relatives.  There are
four of them--Mother, Sister, Sister Edwina, and Miss Lily Lou, and may
God have mercy on the girl who marries the male member of the family
and goes into their home to live!  He is a perfectly grand sort to be
in love with, and I am almost sure I am in love or I wouldn't feel so
thrilly when I see him coming.  But being in love is one thing and
getting married is a very different other, and there isn't a man person
living I want to think of marrying yet.  It's awfully interesting, too,
to learn the different ways in which love can be made.  Twickenham Town
may be slow about many things, but in others it is so quick it takes
your breath away.  Whythe became personal in conversation the fourth
time I was with him.  It was at the Braxtons' party and conditions were
favorable, but, not expecting the turn that was taken, I was as excited
as if I had never heard remarks of a similar character before, and the
first thing I knew I had promised Whythe (he begged me to call him
Whythe) to go horseback-riding with him the next day.  We went--I on
Skylark, who is the joy of my life, and he on a borrowed horse, and we
had a perfectly wonderful time.  I don't think Whythe will ever be much
of a lawyer, but as a love-maker he hasn't an equal on earth--that is,
any I have ever heard.

As we rode down the main street of Twickenham everybody in the town
seemed on it.  Princess Street is the only one called by a name, though
of course the others have names, and it is the place where everybody
meets everybody else and learns all the news; and if anybody went to
sleep that night without knowing that Whythe and I had started on a
ride at ten o'clock in the morning and didn't get back until three it
was because that person was too deaf to hear and couldn't understand
the movement of lips.  I didn't know I was doing anything I oughtn't,
and if I did it I am not sorry.  I had a grand time.  It was a gorgeous
day and cool enough for me to wear my brown-linen riding-habit and high
boots, which, with a stock collar and small sailor hat, made me look
real nice, and the way the people stared at me you would have thought
they had never seen a divided skirt before, and--oh, my granny!--the
faces of the family (Whythe's family) as we passed their house!  I
smiled the politest and properest I knew and they bowed back, but in a
way that made me laugh out loud when out of sight, and so did Whythe.
And then we forgot them, forgot everything except it was awfully good
to be alive.


The place we went to is very historic and interesting.  Something
happened there that was very important in American history, but I have
forgotten what it was.  Whythe told me, and as it doesn't matter, being
over for such a long time, I haven't tried to remember.  The sky was so
wonderful and the river so winding and lovely and the air so delicious
that yesterdays did not seem important and only to-day counted; and it
was when we were sitting under a beautiful big water-oak that Whythe
began to be terribly sentimental and say things that would have been
more suitable for moonlight and shadows and things of that sort.  But
suitable or not, they were thrilly to hear, and I would have enjoyed
hearing them if it hadn't been for an abominable feeling that Billy was
right beside me hearing every word also, and with a look on his face as
if he thought my new friend was the foolest yet.  And presently when I
couldn't stand it any longer (I mean stand Billy standing by) I got up
suddenly and told Whythe it was time to go home.

I interrupted him in the midst of a beautiful sentence about my
eyelashes, I think, or maybe it was something else, I don't remember;
but anyhow when I jumped up he was very much surprised and wanted to
know what was the matter.  I couldn't tell him, but I was perfectly
furious with Billy and the look on his face, which seemed to say what
I'd heard him say often about fool-flum talk and feather-headed fellows
and things of that sort.  And I was so mad I rode so fast Whythe
couldn't keep up with me or continue the conversation, but it has been
continued since.  That is the main theme, though the variations are
always different.  Whythe never seems to give out on variations.

Of course, all of Miss Susanna's boarders, which are only four besides
myself, had something to say in general about the faithlessness of men
and the flirtatiousness of girls, and how times had changed, and how
you couldn't put your hand on any human being and feel you could trust
him in these days, and how men were gobbled up before they had got
their breath good after painful experiences, and dozens of other things
on that order.  And I had such a good time listening to them, though
they didn't talk directly to me, that I'd forget at times and nearly
screech out loud at the tones of voice in which they did me up, and
then I would remember and try to look serious.  But seriousness doesn't
seem to fit my face--that is, seriousness over sillinesses--and it
wouldn't stay on very long.

They thought it very indelicate in me to walk away with Elizabeth's
sweetheart right before her eyes--that is, Mrs. General Games did, but
Miss Araminta Armstrong, who is over fifty and by nature sentimental
and sympathetic, said she supposed it was natural for youth to seek
consolation, and Whythe, poor dear, had been so heartbroken at
Elizabeth's behavior that he had been receptive to other influences of
a pleasing nature, and she didn't think they ought to be so hard on
him.  And then, after more talk of that sort, she would sigh and look
away at the mountains in the distance with a loved-and-lost look in her
eyes, and Miss Bettie Simcoe would sit up and snort.

There's nothing sentimental or sympathetic about Miss Bettie.  Neither
is there anything in the earth below or the heavens above that she has
not an opinion of her own about, but the one concerning which she has
the most decided opinions is Man.  She doesn't mince matters when she
gets on him.  Also, she is an authority on God.  She can tell you
exactly why He does things, and she quotes Him as if He were her most
confidential friend, and the only thing which stumps her is why He made
such a mess of what is considered His most important work.  Mention a
male person's name and up go her eyebrows and down come the corners of
her lips and on the side goes her head, and nothing need be said for
her opinion to be understood.  She is positively triumphant over
Whythe.  She goes around with a "Didn't-I-tell-you-so?" expression
oozing out of every feature of her face, and I think she tells
Elizabeth she is fortunate to have discovered his fickleness so soon.

If Elizabeth thinks she is fortunate she has a queer way of showing it.
She must cry a good deal at night, judging by her eyes in the morning,
but the thing that's most the matter with her is madness.  She can't
take it in that Whythe is showing no signs of anxiousness to make up.
She imagined, I suppose, when they had their fuss that it wouldn't last
very long and that he would give in to whatever she wanted, and now
that he isn't giving in she is so freezingly furious with me she barely
speaks to me.  She seems to think it is my fault and that my coming
just when I did is the cause of the whole trouble.  Though she never
says anything directly to me, she makes remarks in my presence about
the way men flirt in Twickenham Town and how dangerous it is,
especially for young girls who have never had any experience in things
of that sort and are deceived by it; and as she talks I just rock and
rock if in a chair, and swing and swing if in a hammock, until she has
said a good many nasty things, and then I get up and go up-stairs and
bring down a box of candy Whythe has sent me and offer it to her with
my most Christian forgiveness and most understanding smile, and,
strange to say, she never takes a piece!

I don't mind her remarks.  They're natural, and if she wasn't such a
horrid little teapot I'd do anything I could to straighten out things;
but until she behaves herself I won't.  I am having a very interesting
time being in love, and why should I stop just because a man she broke
with isn't grieving, but is keeping himself in practice saying to me
what he used to say to her?  I am not going to stop until I think it is
time and until both have learned a few things they ought to know before
they get married.  She is a vain, selfish, pretty piece of spoiledness,
and I don't believe she knows what real loving means.  She is the sort
that wants what it hasn't got, and all the more if she thinks anybody
else is apt to get it.  If she had any sense she would get a beau _pro
tem_.  That is the best thing on earth to bring a man back to the
straight and narrow, and Whythe is the kind of man who needs to be
brought every now and then.

I gave her that for nothing one morning--I mean the suggestion in
general, though of course not personal--and she looked at me as if
trying to understand.  And then something came in her face that must
have been an idea in her brain (her brain is slow), for, two days
afterward, she said she was going away.  A week later she went to see a
rich aunt on her father's side who has a summer home somewhere and
corrals young men and compels them to come to it, Miss Bettie Simcoe
says.  When she was gone a great weight seemed lifted off everybody,
and even the servants breathed better.  As for Miss Susanna, she was
that lightened and relieved, though naturally not saying so, that she
looked ten years younger, and I know now it is true that some people in
a house are like fruit-cake on a weak stomach.  They make life hard.  I
didn't say my prayers that night.  I just sang the Doxology three times
as loud as I could and jumped into bed.  Praise is prayer.


I have been here four weeks to-day.  If there are any people in or
around Twickenham Town that I do not know, it is because they are not
knowable.  I love people, and, being naturally sociable and not very
particular, I have had a perfectly grand time making acquaintances with
the high and the low and, the in-betweeners; and the sick and well, and
the dear and the queer, and the ancestrals and up-comers, and the rich
and the poor, and every other variety that grows; and now I am as
familiar with most of the family histories as the oldest inhabitant.
That's the nice part of living in a small place.  Something depends on
you and you depend on all the rest of the town, but at home you're lost
in numbers and only a few know you're living.  Here everybody knows,
also they know some things that perhaps had better be unknown.  As for
talk, they are the best talkers on earth, and there's no subject under
the sun they won't talk about.  It's an inheritance, Father says, and
has been handed down from ages past, and, though they don't read very
much, they can do more with a little knowledge than most learned people
with their information, and they make anything they mention interesting
from the way they mention it.  I love to hear them, and I've heard a
good deal.

Dear, precious Miss Susanna in the secrecy of my bedroom gave me a
little talk a few nights ago, and said she hoped I wouldn't mind, but
as I was young and inexperienced she thought it her duty to tell me
that I must be careful and not too informal, for certain people
wouldn't understand; and that while the Holts were a very good,
respectable family, still they were not--  She stopped and coughed a
little, and of course I understood, but I pretended I didn't, and told
her they were perfectly healthy and I had had more fun with the Holt
children than with any in town, but if she preferred they should not
come to her house to see me I would just stop in theirs sometimes, as I
would not like them to think I was afraid to go with them.  I wasn't,
for while I knew they were not historic, they were the most interesting
children I'd ever seen, and it seemed pretty cruel that they were left
out of things because they didn't have forefathers to hang on to, or
money, which of course would speak for itself.  And dear, angelic Miss
Susanna, who is so worn out with boarders and their special kind of
human-nature horridness at times that she's hardly got body enough to
cover her soul, said I mustn't misunderstand her, but the Holts had
never gone in the same circles as the other people I had met, and that
customs, though unkind, were hard to overcome, and the oldest son--

I told her not to worry about the oldest son.  He could go anywhere he
wanted and with any one he wanted by the time he was through college,
which his parents were working themselves to death to send him through,
and it was very probable that several girls in town would be glad to
add their grandfathers to his natural endowments before many years were
over.  But if she didn't care for me to accept his attentions, as Miss
Araminta Armstrong called them, I could always have an engagement when
he asked me to go anywhere.  She looked so shocked and distressed that
I told her I didn't approve of telling stories any more than she did,
and for most sorts people ought to be branded, but I'd much rather tell
one of that land than hurt a person's feelings.  And it wouldn't be
untrue to say I had an engagement, for I always had one to go
everywhere and anywhere, even if I didn't keep it; and again she
coughed and looked so pained that I took her in my arms and whirled
around the room with her and told her not to worry about me, either.  I
wouldn't disgrace her by knowing the wrong people too well, but
everybody had their peculiarities and one of mine was I was going to
know anybody I wanted to.  I always thought a lady could, and, besides,
I liked any kind of person who was interesting, and the best born ones
were often very stupid, which of course was the wrong thing to say.  So
I had to give her another whirl, and by the time she got her breath it
was time to see about supper, and she has never referred to the subject

Miss Susanna is a darling little lady of the old school (whatever the
old school was) and I love her, but I am of my time as she is of hers,
and I don't see her way any more than she sees mine.  She ought to wear
hoop-skirts and brocaded silks and lace fichus and mits, and sit with
her beautiful hands folded in her lap and her tiny little feet on a
footstool, and instead she works from morning to night trying to help
the good-for-nothingest servants that were ever hired by tired ladies,
except Uncle Henson, and Aunt Mandy, the cook, who have been with her
for years and years.  She's worn out.  That's what's the matter with
Miss Susanna, and that selfish, lazy little piece of pinkness who is
now away doesn't lift her hand to help her unless it is to make a cake
occasionally.  I don't know how to make cake and never expect to know,
as very good kinds can be bought, but I can wash dishes.  I do it every
morning and she dries them, so limp Eliza can go up-stairs and clean up
the bedrooms, and we have a beautiful time talking about what a change
comes over human beings when they board.  That is, I do the talking and
she shakes her head at me, but it does her good, as it gives sound to
things she can't say.  Most of her time has to be spent in thinking
what to put in people's stomachs and fixing it to be put; and, from the
quantity that goes in, boarders must have much better appetites than
people who keep house.  They eat and yet are never full.  There'll be
no hope of heaven for me if I ever have to keep boarders.  I'd sweep
them out with a broom certainly once a week.  That is, in my mind, if
my hands didn't.  But Miss Susanna will never sweep them out.  The
sanctuary in which I let out for her is the pantry, and all the things
she won't say I say for her.  Yesterday she laughed so she broke a cup.


Father is coming to-morrow!  I am so excited and happy that to-day,
after I was safely out of Twickenham Town and there was no one to see
me, I stood up on Skylark's back and held the bridle with one hand and
waved the other in the air; and then I tried standing on one foot with
the other one out, but I came near losing my balance and just did catch
myself in time.  Seeing a woman coming down the road in a buggy, with a
baby in her lap, I got back in place before she saw what I was doing,
but I needn't have done it, for it was just Mrs. Pettigrew, and she
wouldn't have cared whether it was my head or my heels which were on
the horse.  She has eleven children and no husband to speak of, and
what people do or don't do doesn't bother her.  We stopped for a little
talk and she told me about the roof leaking and the pig eating the
baby's bonnet which Miss Katie Spain had given it last Christmas, and
which was too small for its head, but was all it had; and that a kettle
of soft soap had fallen off the stove and burned two toes of Sammy, the
next to the youngest boy, and she would still be telling me things, but
I told her Father was coming and I had to attend to something, and so
she drove on.

I did have something to attend to, but I didn't attend right away, for
the day was so wonderful I couldn't go in for a long time.  The
sunshine looked as if it had been washed and ironed, it was so clear
and clean and crisp, and the wind in the trees said all sorts of lovely
things to me, and I made up my mind that, no matter what happened in
life, I was always going to remember that warm and sweet and sunny
things are sure to come again, if at times they seem dead and buried,
and that I would try not to see the cranks and queernesses of people as
much as I was by nature inclined to do; and then I went right back to
Miss Susanna's, and before I knew it I had said something I oughtn't,
and to Mr. Willie Prince.

Every time I see Mr. Willie I thank God he is no relation of mine.  He
is the only man boarder in the house, which is another thing to be
thankful for; but, though he is hard to stand, he is nearly sixty and a
human being, and I ought to remember what I forget and yesterday I
didn't remember.  He was the only son of his mother and should have
been a daughter, and in trying to make him one his maternal parent
succeeded better than in anything else she ever attempted, Miss Bettie
Simcoe says--and she ought to know, being his first cousin.  His
business is telling people what they don't want to hear; and, though he
doesn't do any work, a hound dog couldn't run a rabbit down quicker
than he can a piece of gossip, and when he isn't sitting on somebody's
front porch fanning himself with a palm-leaf fan, from which he is
never separated in summer, he is down at the drug-store hearing and
being heard.  He thinks he is handsome, and he is as proud of his pink
cheeks as a goose of her gander, and I'm sure he puts something on them
on cool days.  If he could wear some blue ribbon on his sandy hair and
have trousers and coats to match his fancy vests he would be perfectly
happy.  As a man he is a poor job, but as a Miss Nancy he is perfect,
and when yesterday I came in from my ride he made me so mad that I
popped out something I shouldn't have popped and before I knew I was
going to do it.

He was sitting on the porch when I came up, fanning as hard as he could
fan, and as I went by he stopped me.  "I would advise you to be more
careful when you go in wading at the creek, Miss Kitty," he said, "It
isn't customary for young ladies in Twickenham Town to do such things

"And where I came from it isn't customary for gentlemen to follow young
ladies and see what they do," I said, and the minute the words were out
I knew I shouldn't have said them, for his face got as red as a beet
and he jumped up and walked into the house.

I don't know that he really followed Sallie Sclater, who's a visiting
girl, and myself to see if we went wading, but we certainly went and
had a good time doing it, though we had to dry our feet with my
petticoat.  But from the way his face went he must have made it
convenient to walk in that direction and must have seen us, or he
wouldn't have known anything about our going, as we were careful to
look around before we took off our shoes and stockings.  I can't endure
him, but he is nearly sixty and I am only sixteen, and I shouldn't have
spoken as I did; and possibly because I was so happy over Father's
coming I told him last night that if I had said anything I shouldn't I
hoped he would forget it and I, too, would forget what had been said.
And that, of course, I knew gentlemen in Twickenham Town never did
anything gentlemen shouldn't, and that my quickness of speech was
always getting ahead of me; and he looked so relieved that I am
perfectly certain he followed us.  But, anyhow, he was very pleasant
last night and told a scream of a story about poor little Miss Lily Lou
Eppes when she thought she had a beau.  She had almost landed him when
he got away.  He's never been heard from since.


It's over--Father's visit is.  He has been gone a week, and it will be
a whole month before he can come again.  He has to divide up between
Mother and the girls and me, and he can only get away once in two
weeks, because his partner is ill and business has something the matter
with it and has to be watched, which is why he could stay only four
days in Twickenham Town.  I don't see why fathers have to work so hard,
and why wives and daughters must have so many unnecessary things, and
such big houses and so many new clothes and automobiles and parties and
pleasures, which aren't real fun after you have them.  But most women
seem to want them, and keep on scrambling for what other people
scramble for, and only a few have sense enough to see how foolish it
all is and stop.  Maybe they are wound up so tight they can't stop.  I
don't know.  I only know I do not want to live the life a lot of women
I know live, and I am not going to do it.

I wish Father could see it the way I do--about working so hard, I
mean--and I think he might, for he says I am a chip off the block and
he is the block, and in almost everything we feel alike; but there's
Mother and the girls, who care for things I don't care for, and of
course they must have them.  He gives them everything they want, but he
looked so awfully tired the day he came I could think of nothing else
the night he left, which is why I cried so under the sheet, and then
when the tears were out and I felt lighter I got up and wrote him a
long letter and told him I loved him so it hurt, and that he was the
best and dearest father on all this big, big earth, and if he would let
me come and keep house for him I would fly back.  But he wouldn't let
me come.  He wrote me a letter, though, that I shall keep with my
treasures, and I wish what he said was so.  It isn't so.  He just
thinks it, but it does your heart good to know somebody cares an awful
lot about you and no matter what you do is going to stand by.  What he
wrote me was this:

_Dear little Nut-brown Maid all mine, of course you would come, but you
mustn't.  It is too hot and you need what you are getting, and nothing
could help me here so much as to know of that wonderful color of yours
and that you are so well and strong again.  That you are getting health
and happy memories for the winter of work and study ahead is the best
tonic I can take, and every morning when I go to my desk I get out that
little picture of you and, nobody being by, I kiss it and send you my
love, and it is a breath of life-giving air to know you are mine.
Since the first time I saw you--you were exactly one hour old and
laughing even then--you have been the joy and delight of my heart, and
I can't afford to run any risk with summer heat and the joy of my
heart.  I didn't deserve you, for I wanted a son so badly, and was
fearfully disappointed that you were not a boy.  You seemed to
understand and did not get mad about it, and I've often wanted you to
know that no son could mean to me now what my little harum-scarum
daughter means.  There has never been a day since you first looked into
my eyes that I haven't thanked God for you, and the thing I am most
afraid of in life is that you may get sick or not be strong, and that
is why I am so glad for you to be in such a charming old place as
Twickenham Town.  You were wise, little daughter of mine, to choose so
quaint and queer and dear a place in which to spend your summer, for
there real things still count, and there is more time for the fine
courtesies of life, and the hurry and rush of it, the push and scramble
for place and power, is out of key with its quiet serenity and the
poise that comes from a sense of values that by many of us is to-day
forgotten.  I am coming back as soon as I can, for I, too, want the
refreshment and novelty of being where money is not talked and
apologies never made for the absence of things that money gets.  Miss
Susanna Mason is a liberal education in herself and no "Course in
Culture" could equal the advantage of being in her society.  I have
written her, of course, but tell her again of my sense of privilege,
and my great pleasure, in being a guest in her home, and remember
always you are in your father's heart.  Always he is thinking of you._

Now wasn't that a nice letter to get from a father?  I'm nothing to be
thankful for; but, if he thinks I am, I am thankful for that, and it
makes life a different thing to know somebody is thankful for you.  And
another thing I think would make life nicer, make working and living
not so hard, is to tell people you like them and you believe they are
trying to do their best, even if their best is powerful poor.  Of
course, all people don't try to do their best.  Some are by nature and
practice mean and horrid and ought to have facts handed out to them,
but most people try to do right, and maybe they would try harder if
they got a little encouragement now and then.  Anyhow, I've often
noticed it makes a person take fresh hold again for somebody to give
them a lift in the way of a friendly word or so, and it doesn't cost
much--kindness doesn't.  I wonder why we don't have more of it.

The reason why Father liked Twickenham Town so much was that nobody
talked business to him, and if anybody knew he was the head of Bird &
Roller, bankers and brokers, they never mentioned it to him or talked
shop at all, and for four days he forgot stocks and bonds and the ups
and downs of the money-market and let go.  And yet I am almost sure Mr.
Willie Prince knows all about him--the business part, I mean--and that,
of course, will mean everybody in Twickenham will know pretty soon.
The reason I think he knows is that I went into the bank to get a check
cashed the morning after Father got here, and I saw Mr. Willie sitting
at a table in a corner of the bank with a copy of Bradstreet open
before him and his eyes close to it.  I made it convenient to walk up
to the table and look down at the book, and I saw he was running his
finger down the letter "B," and when he saw me he shut the book quick.
I just smiled and passed on.  But not talking business is only one of
the reasons Father liked Twickenham Town so much.  Another was because
everybody was so nice to him.  He had so many invitations to dinner and
supper, and even breakfast, that he was on a dead go from morning until
night, and he never ate so much in his life as he ate in those four
days.  It did him good, and he didn't look tired a bit when he left.


The day Father got here was a beautiful day.  The train was due at
six-thirty in the morning, but it never hurries and has only been on
time three times since it has been running, and Uncle Henson said there
was no use getting to the station until seven o'clock, but I told him
if he wasn't in front of the porch by six o'clock I'd send for Mr.
Briggs and go down in his automobile, and there was no need to say
anything more.  Mention automobile to Uncle Henson and his back begins
to go up just like a cat's.  There are only a few automobiles in town,
though a good many people have Fords, and several offered to lend me
theirs, but not wanting to hurt Miss Susanna, who has been sending the
same carriage to the station for over thirty years, I didn't accept
their offers, but went down in the coach, as Uncle Henson calls it.
Its top is still upholstered in a sun-shaped thing which was once
yellow satin and now tattered and torn, and hardly anybody ever rides
in it, but when a new boarder comes Miss Susanna always says, in that
queenly way of hers, "You will take the carriage to the station,
Henson," and Uncle Henson's old gray head bows as if at royal orders,
and they do not know they are playing a part that belongs to the days
that are no more.  That is what Tennyson, I think, calls a time that
will never be the same again.

Uncle Henson's coachman's coat, long and faded and once brass-buttoned,
and a battered hat to match, are always put on to meet the train; and
when he held the door open for Father to get in the old, ramshackle
thing he did it in a way that could be sold for big money, if manner
could be bought, and Father got inside with equal elegance.  After he
was in and Uncle Henson couldn't see him, he looked at me as if to ask
if I thought it would stand, and I nodded back yes, and slipped my hand
in his and hugged him again, I was so glorious glad to see him!  He is
such a splendid Father--my Father is, I am so sorry for girls who
haven't one like mine, and not one of them has.  He is the only one of
his kind on earth.

Everybody was on the porch to meet us when we drove up, and Miss
Susanna gave him such a gracious welcome, and was so sweet and stately
and quaint and lovely in her white dotted Swiss muslin dress which Miss
Araminta Armstrong says she has been wearing for six summers, and which
has the dearest little darns in it, that Father's face got real
flushed, and once I really believe there were tears in his eyes.  He
might have been an ambassador at some court who was being received, for
at no court in Europe could a lady bow as Mrs. General Gaines bows, and
she gave her best to Father when he was presented.  I don't like her,
but she certainly is an old swell.  And then Isham (he's Uncle Henson
and Aunt Mandy's grandson, and totes water all day long from the well
up into the house, when he isn't playing a Jew's-harp in the sun) came
out and got Father's bags and things and took them up-stairs, and a
little later Uncle Henson brought up on a silver tray one of those mint
juleps, about which Father told Mr. Willie Prince, who made it, that
the half could never be told, and at eight o'clock we had breakfast.
Usually Father doesn't take anything at home but grape-fruit and
coffee, but that morning, and every morning he was here, he ate
waffles, and batter-bread, and beaten biscuits, and everything else
Miss Susanna would urge him to try, and he said he couldn't understand
how he could eat so much.  I didn't tell him, but I think it was
because of the juleps.  They're the best things for poor appetites ever
invented yet, Major Hairston says, and he ought to know, being over
seventy and never having missed taking two a day since he could fix
them for himself.  After breakfast we talked for a while on the porch,
and then I took Father out to show him the town.

I wouldn't have taken him out if the day had been hot, but it wasn't
hot.  It was one of those gorgeous days that sometimes come in summer
after a thunder-storm and which have the feel and taste of early
October; and being in the mountains it was cooler on that account, and
I could see Father breathe deep, and the tiredness began to go away as
we walked and talked.  That is, I talked.  He tried to at first, and
then gave up.  Everybody in town knew he was coming--I had told
them--and they came down from their porches and shook hands with him,
and said they were so glad to see him and they hoped he was going to
stay some time, and that they would call as soon as he was rested, and
a whole lot of other nice things, so that Father almost got flurried,
he was so pleased and warmed up.  At home he is always hurrying in the
morning to get to the office, and at night hurrying to get away, and of
course we don't have neighbors, and it was so queer to find everybody
so friendly and interested that by the time we got back to Rose Hill he
looked like another man.


I took him down Princess Street first, of course, and showed him the
bank and post-office and moving-picture places, and the court-house and
churches and stores, and specially the drug-store, which is a sort of
standing-up club for the men; and I told him whose were the offices;
and Whythe came out of his and spoke to him in a perfectly perfect way,
and said he hoped he would be permitted to show him some of the things
of interest in the neighborhood.  And also he said if it was convenient
to us he would call in a car (Whythe hasn't even a Ford, but he has a
Twin-Six manner) in the morning and we would drive to Horseshoe Falls,
and from there go on to Spruce Mountain, where something historic
happened during the Revolution, I think; and only once when talking did
he look right in my eyes.  His sent a message, and my heart flopped
around so it felt like a frog in a can of milk, and, I was so afraid
Father would hear, I told Whythe we would go with pleasure and were
much obliged, but we couldn't stop any longer, as there was a good deal
to see before dinner.  He shook hands twice with Father, who, when he
was out of hearing, asked me how a young man could leave his business
in the morning and go riding.  I told him business could always be left
in Twickenham Town, and he laughed and said he wished he lived in a
town of that sort.  I wish he did.

We stopped just a minute to speak to Mr. Bugg, who sells vegetables and
eggs and things, and whose wife has just had twins again, and this time
has a milk-leg also, and Father shook hands with him and asked about
the babies, I thinking just in time to tell him to do it, and then we
had some soda-water at Mrs. Grump's.  It is the most awful soda-water
in the world, Mrs. Grump's is, but it is wet and cold, and you can sit
down when drinking it, and while we sat she touched up the town and
Father nearly fell out of his chair at the way she did it.  If Mrs.
Grump were for sale, I'd sell everything I own to get enough to buy
her, for the way she can put into words what she thinks of human beings
would make a graven image come to life.  She never smiles herself.

After we got through with Princess Street we turned in by Colonel
Rixby's and then went down by the Baconses' and into The Court, whose
trees were planted by order of some lordly person, kin to the Aikens
who have been sitting under the shade of their greatness ever since,
and then we strolled by the Eppes house, for I wanted Father to see it.
It is the stateliest old place in town and its garden of old-fashioned
flowers makes one think the twentieth century is a mistake and ought
never to have been, but ordinarily I pass it quickly, as I don't care
for its owners.  The house has perfect lines and the dearest little
panes of glass in its deep, wide windows; and inside it has big
fireplaces and beautifully carved woodwork and wonderful old furniture
and fearful old portraits, and I certainly wanted Father to see
everything in it, but I didn't expect him to do it, for the House of
Eppes doesn't admire me any more than I admire it--and then the
unexpected happened.

As we reached the gate we saw the whole bunch sitting in the wide, cool
hall--Sister reading aloud, Sister Edwina making tatting, and Miss Lily
Lou peeling a peach for Mother from a basket on the table beside her,
and I was going to pass by and just bow to Mother as pleasantly and
politely as I could (she was the only one who saw us), when to my
surprise she got up and ordered me to stop by a wave of her hand.  I
stopped.  She does not approve of me.  She thinks it very indelicate in
me to accept the attentions of one whose engagement had so recently
been broken, and, while she will never recover from stupefaction that
Elizabeth should disagree with her son, she attributed that action on
Elizabeth's part to lack of sense and does not hesitate to say so, just
as she has not hesitated to say things about me that were not as
Christian as they might have been.  She knew, however, what was
expected of Twickenham Town and that personal feelings were to be paid
no attention to where politeness was concerned, and with a sort of
scepter movement she beckoned to me and commanded us to come in.  We

It is a queer thing how nice disagreeable people can be when they want
to, and that morning the entire Eppes family (even Sister Edwina, who's
the limit) were so polite and pleasant that Father never would have
imagined how cocky and sniffy they usually are.  I behaved as well as
they did, and when we came away I couldn't remember a thing I had said
that I shouldn't.  We didn't stay but half an hour.  I wouldn't have
held out a whole hour, and neither would they, and so, after we had
seen all the beautiful old things downstairs and been introduced to all
the painted ancestors, I got away quick, for Miss Anna was showing
signs I didn't think were safe.  They don't know that they worship
idols of wood and glass and silver and china, and images in old gilt
frames, but they do, and the steel trust hasn't money enough to buy
them.  It's a pity they won't sell a few and put the money in some new
clothes, for those they wear are a sight to behold.  As we were
leaving, Mother Eppes invited us to take dinner with her on Sunday in a
way that was more a command than an invitation and we accepted in a
manner to match, though inside I was raging to think we'd have to go.
And then I remembered it would be a regular thriller to be eating at
the table with Whythe and his family and my family, and I hoped I'd
remember to call him Mr. Eppes, as down here they do that up to the day
of the marriage, the first name being thought too familiar until after
the ceremony, and even then in public.  Grace Marvin, who is engaged to
Richard Clarke, calls him Dick, but that is because she isn't
ancestral; just accepted, Mrs. Grump says, and she knows, being
familiar with the history of everybody in town.

They were perfect days, the four Father spent in Twickenham Town, and
he was made over when he went away.  Every morning Mr. Willie Prince
sent him up a mint julep that started the day so cheerfully he was
happy through its every minute; and Major Roke, who makes the best ones
in town, would come for him at twelve o'clock and take him to his
house, and Mr. Letcher always managed to get hold of him about six in
the afternoon, and at bedtime some one else would send one in.  And
poor Father, who never drinks anything at home, it not being good for
him, was in an awful state of mind at first, and then he decided he
would rather die than hurt the feelings of the senders and he'd take
the chance on his health.  He took.

I'm a fighting disbeliever in whisky, and if I had any say I'd say it
couldn't be made except for sickness, but you couldn't get certain
Twickenham-Towners to believe it is a dangerous thing, and to take a
little something for the stomach's sake is a recommendation in the
Bible they approve of and obey.  It doesn't seem to kill people here or
some would have been a long time dead, but there are one or two it is a
pity it hasn't killed.  It does much worse than kill; it ruins.  I hope
next time Father will say the doctor doesn't permit him to touch
anything.  I didn't tell him so, of course, and I am afraid he will
manage not to see the doctor before he leaves; but, anyhow, the morning
and night juleps can be thrown out of the window after a sip to get the
smell on if he wants to throw.  I wouldn't take a bet that he will
want, but I'm hoping.

I didn't see much of Whythe while Father was here--that is, by himself.
He was awfully nice to Father and he liked him very much (Father liked
Whythe, I mean), but he couldn't understand why he didn't get more of a
move on and make business for himself.  I told him in Twickenham Town
people waited for business to come to them, and everybody knew Whythe
was a lawyer, and if they needed his services they would let him know,
and if they didn't there was no use waiting around, which was why he
was out of his office so much of the time.  And then Father asked me
when I had heard from Billy and when he was coming home; and, thankful
to change the subject, I told him all I knew and got out the cards and
showed them to him.

We had so many things to talk about--Mother and the girls and the home
people and things, and the people he had met in Twickenham Town--that
he hadn't talked about Billy, and when I showed him the cards he said
Billy must have mighty little to do but write them, as there were
fifty-six and he hadn't been gone but five weeks.  He seemed to think
that right many, so I didn't say anything much about his letters, which
are long and once a week, but told him Billy would sail on September
16th, and get back before I did--that is, if I stayed until the 27th.
He said I could if I wanted to, and that he would come down for the
last week and take me back with him, and I was so happy I swirled him
around in my arms and danced a dance I made up as I went along, and
both Billy and Whythe Eppes were out of his mind when he stopped for
breath.  And that night he went away.  Also that night I almost cried
my eyes out for sorrow at his going and for gladness that he was my
Father.  I wonder if all girls love their fathers as I love mine!


Billy has been pretty good about writing.  Much better than I have
been.  I told him I would tell him all about Twickenham and the people,
and what they did and how they did, and I intended to do it, but that
is my chief trouble.  I'm a grand intender and a poor doer.  Billy
never promises and always does.  He sends cards from every place, he
goes to, and a good many from the same place so I can see what he is
seeing, which I couldn't do if he wrote a book of descriptions.  He
doesn't tell much about the cities and towns, most of which I have been
in myself and am glad he leaves out, but he writes awfully interesting
things about the places he pokes into by himself and the people he
meets, and I almost die laughing over his accounts of his sister and a
beau his mother has caught for her.  She is a dandy-looking girl, his
sister is, and wears the smartest clothes I ever saw except Florine's,
and if Patricia has really landed a duke or a count or a thing of that
sort, his mother will have a wedding that will fit the fellow all
right.  He's apt to be landed.

I never have understood how Billy was born of his parents.  He cares no
more for flum-foolishness than I do, which is why we have so much fun
over the efforts certain mothers we know make to help their daughters
get married, and we've decided to be failures as social successes and
enjoy ourselves.  My mother isn't at all like his mother.  She is a
precious mother, mine is, and adores Father and her children, but she
is in the parade and has to keep step, not having courage to get out,
and she thinks she must give her daughters every opportunity, and for
daughters in Mother's world opportunity means marriage.  Until she gets
us settled she won't feel as if her duty had been done.  That's why she
has gone with Florine and Jessica to the same place Florine went to
last summer with the Logans.  Florine has had a good many beaux, but
none of them has been just what she had set her mind on, and last
summer she met a man I believe she fell in love with.  Anyhow, she has
gone where it will be convenient for him to see her if he wants to, and
he must want, as Mother says in every one of her letters that Mr.
Jeffry has just come or just gone.  He came to see Florine last winter,
and a blind person could tell he was worth having.  I hope they will
take each other.  Mother would be so pleased.  Jessica and I are not
apt to do much for ourselves in the marrying line, so it is left to
Florine to make the catch.

She is very beautiful, Florine is.  She knows it and she loves
beautiful things and wouldn't think of marrying any one who could not
give them to her.  She wouldn't marry a man who isn't decent and
straight and all that, not being that kind, but neither is she
romantic, and nothing on earth could make her lose her head.  She is
cool and deliberate and far-seeing, and not apt to ask herself too many
questions about love alone when thinking about marriage.  She is a
dream to look at, which Jessica isn't, but I love Jessica best.

Last night in bed I got to thinking about old Jess, and wondering how
she was making out with that bunch up there, and I almost rolled out at
the way her nose must be turning up inside of her at some of the things
she was seeing and hearing and had to take part in; and I laughed so
loud that Miss Susanna came in my room to see if anything were the
matter.  I told her no, and that I was just thinking of something, so
she pattered back, and I put my face in the pillow to keep her from
hearing me again.  But it was hard not to let it come out.  Mother's
daughters are a mixture all right, and no more alike than if they
weren't related to one another.  Being a parent must be an anxious job.
I hope I will have a dozen children, but they'll probably be right much
to manage.  If I turn out to be a childless old maid, I'll adopt a boy
and girl, anyhow.  I can do that if I can't do anything else.

Jessica is the clever one of our family.  Florine has the beauty and
Jessica the brains, and so far nothing has shown signs in me, but
something may turn up yet.  Jessica is an A.M., and she has Ideas and
Views and Opinions which she isn't stingy with and lets anybody have
who is within hearing, and she wanted to be something, have a Career
and get an Identity, which she says a woman has no chance of doing as
long as she sinks herself in marriage; but Father said she couldn't go
to any more colleges until she had had a fling at fun, for it wasn't
fair to Mother.  She came out last winter and had a fearful rush
because she was so different from the other girls.

I don't believe Jessica would ever have wasted a winter doing the
things she did last year if she hadn't wanted to see for herself what
was in it, anyhow, in society I mean, so she took a header and plunged
all right.  She says she has a scientific and analytical mind and she
worked it all out--the number of hours and days and weeks and months
she had spent flopping around from one party to another, and doing the
things she was supposed to do, and saying the things she wasn't
supposed to say, and then she estimated the cost in time and strength
and money and wear and tear on her character, and announced that it
wasn't a paying business, and at the end of the year she was going to
get out.  The year won't be up until October and that is why she is
with Mother and Florine this summer.

What she is going in for when it is up I don't believe she knows
herself, yet.  She says woman to-day is in the most unsettled and
uncertain state that any animal has ever been in since the first one, a
mollusk, or something without a backbone started to get one.  And that
it will take time for woman to evolute into being the best kind of a
human being she is capable of becoming, and that the next step in the
evoluting is to get out of her head some of the foolishness put in it
by men people who didn't know what they were talking about.  Mother
thinks it fearful in her to talk as she does, and can't understand how
she can be so daring and so indelicate as to speak about coming from
mollusks and things which don't have spinal columns and nervous
systems, but Jessica says that is because Mother belongs to a day that
didn't know about such things, and that the modern woman is shedding
the shucks which have kept her a caterpillar much longer than was
necessary.  A good many old ideas she thinks are shucks--that is, she
pretends to; but she is an old dear just the same, if she does say
things about people which it isn't polite to say.

I love old Jess.  She isn't but twenty-two, and she will be less sniffy
some of these days and not so scornful and impatient with repeaters and
parasiters and people like that, but just now she says they aren't
worth wasting time on.  She can talk you right into seeing her way, and
the first thing you know you are agreeing with her, and she has landed
you before you realized the net was out.  Landed outsiders, I mean.
She will never land Mother and Florine.  I love to hear her talk,
though I don't think I am going to be a Careering person.  I'd like to
be one, but with a dozen children I am afraid there won't be time.  I
wouldn't tell old Jess, but I don't think she is going to Career very
long, either.  I believe she is in love with the man who taught her
some of the ologies she is so interested in.  He is awfully nice, but
not very practical.  He is a psychological sociologist or a
sociological psychologist, I don't know which, but it doesn't matter.
If Jess marries him she will run him and the house.


I wonder what made me get on the subject of my sisters when I began
with Billy and the reason I had not written him as often as he has
written me, but that is the way I do everything in life.  If I were a
preacher I wouldn't hold my job long, for the thing I started on would
have about as much connection with the thing I ended with as the moon
with milk.  Not that that would be unusual, for a good many ministers
have the same failing and skip about just as I do, but my trouble would
be in hopping from one subject to another so fast that the congregation
would be in Jericho one minute and in Jerusalem the next and never know
how it made the jump.  As I am never going to be a preacher, I am not
worrying about my unfitness to be one, but what does worry me sometimes
is that my hopping habit will be my ruination when I begin to write a
book.  My characters will never keep together, or do the proper things
or say suitable ones.  They will probably get so jumbled up no one will
be able to tell which is the chief hero or heroine, and there will be
no logical development at all, which my English teacher insists is an
elemental requirement of fiction if it isn't of life.  I thought this
summer I was going to begin some sort of book just for practice, but by
the time I get through putting down the things I scribble about the
day's doings, and write to Father and send my weekly letter to Mother
and the girls, and run off something every now and then to Billy, and
answer the notes I get from Whythe and some of the kiddies around here
who think they're grown, I don't feel like writing on a book, which is
why I haven't begun one yet.  I will never be able to write one that
tells of dark deeds and treacherous doings and love-sick lovers, or one
which has suspended interest or rapid action and narrow escapes, for I
know very little of such things, and I will never do much with plots.
The people I know do not have very exciting lives and here in
Twickenham they trot along and do the same thing over and over, and one
day is very much like the other, so there isn't much inspiration for a
thriller, and thrillers are the style in books to-day.  That is one
reason I thought I had better wait until the style changes and while
waiting enjoy myself with the people here who know how to do that
better than any people on earth.  I'm enjoying myself all right.

Of course, now that I am in love, I could write volumes on how
scrumptious it is and how floppy I feel whenever I see Whythe,
especially when he keeps his deep, dark eyes on me as if he were trying
to read my soul when we happen to meet at the foot of the hill and sit
on the worm fence for a while.  I don't think he is trying to really
read my soul, for he isn't much on reading anything, but he certainly
can say beautiful things.  They aren't so, but they sound well, and I
must admit I enjoy hearing them.  They make me feel so grown-upy, and
then, too, it will be a great help when I begin my book to remember
what a man says on certain occasions and how he says it.  They are
natural couriers, the men in this town are, but they don't always mean
to be taken in earnest, and Mr. James Burke came near getting in an
awful mess by paying a girl a lot of compliments he oughtn't to have
paid, he being a married man and she not knowing it.  She was a very
serious person and believed all that was told her and came near
breaking her engagement with another man on account of the pretty
speeches Mr. Burke made to her.  She was from Rhode Island and visiting
May Strudwick, who told her for mercy's sake not to pay any attention
to speeches of that sort and to hold on to the Rhode-Islander, for Mr.
Burke said the same fluff to all the girls who came to Twickenham, and
as long as it was just eyebrows and things of that kind no harm was
done.  But she couldn't understand and went home sooner than she
expected.  I understand.  It's lots of fun--the different ways of
saying the same thing--and all enlightenment is advantageous.

A few nights ago Whythe got fearfully sentimental and said all sorts of
thrilly, foolish nonsense, and the way he said it certainly added to
its enjoyment.  He's a corking courter, and if he could teach the way
he does it he would have crowded classes all right.  We were at Bessie
Debree's party, and just before supper we went out on the side porch,
which has bushels of roses on it and no lights, and sat down on a
rustic bench in the corner where we could hear the music and see the
moon and not be seen, and the minute we sat I knew what was coming.

Whythe put his elbow on the back of the seat and, chin in the palm of
his hand, looked at me as if we were on a desert island and there was
no one else in all the world but me, and he would ask for no one else
if I alone was there; and then with his other hand he tried to take out
of my fingers a rose he had just pulled and given me.  I remembered in
time that Jess had told me to keep my hands to myself if anybody seemed
interested in them, so I put the rose on the bench and sat on my hands
and asked him if he did not think Marjorie Graham a perfectly beautiful
person; and he said he hadn't noticed her sufficiently to know what she
looked like, as he never saw but one face now.  And then he leaned a
little closer and asked me if I knew how wonderful I was and what my
eyes could do to a man's heart if I would only let come in them what
could come, and which he hoped would some day come only for him; and I
asked him what it was, not knowing, as it had never been mentioned
before, and he said it was a thing a man would die for.  And then he
took the rose up and put it to his lips and asked me if I would marry
him; asked me if I could never care for him as he cared for me, for he
knew now that he had never really loved before, and if I would promise
to marry him he would be in heaven, his happiness would be so great.

It was perfectly thrilling, much better than anything I have ever seen
on the stage.  He tried to get one of the hands I was still sitting on,
but I thought I had better not let him have it, as we were not engaged,
and Jess had said no affectionaries until you are engaged.  And then,
too, I remembered he had probably said the same things several times
before, he seemed so familiar with them, and I had a feeling that Billy
was standing by, perfectly disgusted, but ready to fish me out if I
fell in.  I came pretty near falling, and then I told Whythe I wouldn't
be through college until I was twenty and I didn't believe in waiting
for anything on earth for four years, and though it was awfully nice in
him to ask me to marry him, my father would have fits if he thought I
was listening to him do it, and that we had better go in.

I wish I had had a kodak and could have snapped the look that came over
his face when I suggested going in.  He was perfectly astonished.  Also
he was indignant and grieved and the look he bent upon me was truly
burning.  As for his voice--Sothern couldn't have surpassed it.  After
a while he said he thought I had more sympathy, more understanding of a
love such as his, and if I realized its depth I would not keep him
waiting four years, as four years at college was all nonsense for a
woman; and then he got my hand, anyhow, and I jumped up, for somebody
was coming, and, besides, if we hadn't gone in we'd have been in an
argument right off, with love left out, on the subject of education and
women.  I did not want him to think I was not appreciative, however,
and though I went in with Mr. Keane, who had come for his dance, I gave
Whythe a little look that was not unfriendly as I left him.  I am
afraid it was not even discouraging, but he seemed so mysterious and
tragic and amazed that I should leave him at such a critical time that
I thought a little look wouldn't hurt.  I noticed, as we reached the
door, that he was lighting a cigarette, and I knew his feelings would
soon be soothed.  Man has no sorrow that smoking may not cure.

When we went home that night other people were in the automobile (I
always see that that happens, knowing how Mother would feel about it)
and Whythe, of course, had no chance to continue a former conversation,
but his silence said a lot, and when he helped me out of the car he
helped much more than was necessary and held my hands so tight he
nearly broke my little finger; and the look he gave me was a thriller
all right.  Every time I've thought of it since my heart has thumped so
I know I must be in love, for all books say that is a reliable symptom.
Being proposed to is awfully interesting, and the reason I like it so
much is that I am not apt to have many proposals of Whythe's sort, as
that kind has gone out of fashion, owing to golf and tennis and country
clubs and so much association.  Plain statement is about all a girl
gets nowadays, I am told.  Jacqueline Smith told Florine Mr. Smith had
wired her he had to go to South America and asked her if she would
marry him and go with him, and she wired back she would, and that was
all the courting they had, though they seem very happy.  And a girl
Jess knows said the man she married had asked her how he stood with
her, that she stood all right with him, and that was the way they knew
they cared for each other.  But I'm not that sort.  I am very romantic
and I like a lot of words, which is why I am just crazy about Whythe's

If Whythe doesn't make a success of law or politics he could certainly
make a living writing letters of a certain sort.  He's an expert at
them and greatly gifted, and though I don't say much in mine, thinking
it safer to telephone than write, I do tell him that his are perfectly
lovely, at which he doesn't seem displeased.  He still begs me to marry
him, and is so fearfully polite about it that I don't like to ask him
what he has to marry on, and so far as I know he has only nerve and his
mother's home.  I would not like to spend eternity as a maiden lady,
but I'd much rather so spend it than dwell under the vine and fig-tree
of the person who would be a mother-in-law to Whythe's wife.  My heart
goes out to Elizabeth every time I think of the fate that will
eventually be hers.  Also it goes out to the House of Eppes.  When
opposing elements meet something usually happens.  I'm betting on
Elizabeth, but I may be wrong.


Jehoshaphat the Golden!  For two days Twickenham Town has been standing
on its head and wriggling its heels in the air, and nothing has been
talked about since it appeared except its appearance.  Every tongue in
town has had its say, and everybody in town has been on somebody else's
porch and talked it over; and as for Miss Susanna, I believe she cried
the whole night through, last night.  The first night she was too dazed
to take it in.  The Twickenham Town _Sentinel_ had it on its front page
in the middle column in letters indecently large, Miss Bettie Simcoe
says, and it certainly did make a sensation: "Mrs. Roger S. Payne
announces the engagement of her niece Elizabeth Hamilton Carter to Mr.
Algernon Grice Baker, of Perryville, Wisconsin," was what the
Twickenham-Towners waked up and read on Wednesday the 1st of August,
and if the dynamite-plant which has made business so good for Buzzard
Brothers, the undertakers, had exploded, it couldn't have caused more
of a stir.  Twickenham wasn't only amazed; it was indignant, and it
couldn't believe it was true.  But it was true, for the next day Miss
Susanna got a letter from Elizabeth, telling her all about her
engagement and that she would be home very soon and bring him with her,
and it was the night of the day the letter was received that Miss
Susanna went early to her room and locked her door for a while (that
is, my door, for she is sleeping in my room during the August rush) and
cried all night long.  I had to pretend I didn't know, for she didn't
want me to know how hurt and distressed she was that Elizabeth should
have so treated her, and as I didn't sleep any more than she did,
though, owing to very different feelings about Elizabeth, I made up my
mind as to some things I would say to her when she got back.  And if
she has never read "King Lear" I will see that she hears it read before
very long with a glossary, and comments of my own on ingratitude and
things of that sort.  Also she may hear some other things.

I have been perfectly furious with Elizabeth for the way she has
treated the aunt who has been mother and father and all things else to
her, but I can't help laughing at the way Twickenham Town has taken the

As for Whythe--I have wished for Billy a dozen times of late, for only
Billy could see what a scream it is, the shock to Whythe's vanity that
Elizabeth's beau is proving.  I can't speak of it to any one else, and
keeping it to myself is a great strain.  At first he seemed dazed with
unbelief, and then he became scorny and sniffy and shruggy and smiley,
and though he says little about his successor, whom he hasn't seen yet,
his manner indicates that as a substitute for himself he considers him
an insult.

Last night at the gate he talked to me about it for a while, and then
he asked me when I was going to tell him I would marry him, and why was
it I would not engage myself to him and take him out of his miserable
state of uncertainty and make him the happiest man in the world, and
why--  Oh, my granny! he spieled it off so beautifully and his eyes
helped so wonderfully, also the moon, which was half out and half in,
that I stayed a little longer at the gate than I should, perhaps, and
let him say things he shouldn't, but his fluency was so enjoyable I
couldn't get away.  After a while, however, when he had run down a
little, I told him I didn't think it would be respectful to what might
have been if I engaged myself to him, and that sixteen was too young to
be engaged, and then, too, it wasn't positively certain that a certain
young person was going to marry another young person just because she
was at present engaged to him.  At which he got perfectly furious and
said he would not marry that certain person if she was the only woman
left on earth; that she had treated him as no lady should treat a
gentleman, and that she was vain and mercenary and ambitious, and he
was mortified to think he had ever imagined he had loved so shallow and
weak and changeable a girl, and--

"But you did love her, didn't you?"  I got up on the gate-post, swung
my feet down, and put my hands in my lap and out of reach, the post not
being big enough for two.  "Everybody says you were frightfully in love
with her and you didn't think she was shallow and weak and mercenary
until you had the break, and maybe you may change your mind back again
about her some day, and then where would I be?"  I put my chin in my
hands and my elbows in my lap and looked down at him, and he looked so
hurt and surprised that I saw he had not thought of his own real gift
for changing, and I realized that his attention ought to be drawn to
some things he was apt to forget.  Quick as a flash, though, he said I
had opened new worlds to him; that I stimulated and inspired him as no
one had ever done, and that he would never love any one as he loved me,
and that he would wait forever if necessary for me.  Also he said he
would never change back again to a certain person, as she had killed
his love, and would I not promise to be just his?  And I had to sit
tight on my hands, his manner was so very imploring; and then, before I
could say anything, I heard Mr. Willie Prince, who was sitting on the
front porch, fanning, cough rather loud and come down the steps and
call Ben, who was barking, and I knew Mr. Willie was doing what he
thought was his duty, and I got down from the post and told Whythe good
night.  He went away like the young man in the Bible, very sorrowful,
and I went in.

It wasn't late, but everybody had gone in except Miss Susanna and Mr.
Willie, and when I sat down in a rocking-chair Miss Susanna looked at
me as if she didn't know whether to say anything or not, and I saw she
was worried.  But before I could ask what was the matter she got up and
kissed me good night and went in, so I asked Mr. Willie.

He wouldn't tell me at first, though I could see he was dying to do it,
but after a while he said Miss Susanna was the sort that found life of
the present day a hard thing to accept, and, fanning himself with his
palm leaf, he looked at me as if I were one of the reasons she found
life hard.  "Miss Susanna," he said, "is a lady of the old school where
love and honor were placed above riches and mere material things, and
it was a blow to her to find how readily young people could change
their affections and break their plighted vows and be blind to their
best interests, which was to keep along the same path and not be
tempted out of it by passing people and worldly ambitions."  And as he
talked in his fine little cambric-needle voice that sounded as if it
came out of a squeaky cabinet, I knew he was meaning more than he was
saying, and I sat up and listened until he stopped for breath.

"Is that all?" I asked, and got up to go in, "for if it is I don't
think Miss Susanna need worry herself.  People in one generation aren't
very different from people in another where self-interest is concerned.
Everybody knows Mrs. Loraine married her husband for his money, though
loving Mr. Spence, and Miss Susanna was one of her bridesmaids; and if
Elizabeth prefers to marry a rich man to a poor one, I don't see
anything new about that."  And also I said it wasn't likely that love
and honor were ever going to die out, and a few other things would live
a long time yet, and he need not bother any more than Miss Susanna
concerning present-day young people; and then to my surprise he asked
me to sit down and told me what he enjoyed telling very much.


"Everybody has been talking about the way Whythe Eppes has been rushing
you," he began, fanning as hard as he could fan, "and several people
have been to see Miss Susanna and told her they thought your parents
ought to know--"

He didn't get any further.  I stopped him.  It was silly in me to get
hot, but I got hot all right, and in all my life I never wanted anybody
as I wanted Billy right then at my side.  He doesn't get mad the way I
do.  He would see that talk he did not like was stopped in two minutes,
but I was too fighting angry to stop my own tongue, and I said things
to fat Miss Nancy Willie Prince I oughtn't to have said.  Among them
that my parents would not have permitted me to come to this town or any
other if not perfectly certain I knew how to behave myself wherever I
went, and that whatever was advisable for them to know concerning me
they would know without the assistance of Miss Bettie Simcoe or Mrs.
Caperton (she is a frisky little widow who has no use for young girls)
or any other Twickenham-Towner.  And then, perhaps because he was so
flustered he didn't know what he was saying, he told me riches were a
great temptation to any young man, and everybody, of course, knew my
father was wealthy, though he must say it had not been learned from the
family.  And that Whythe, being poor from a money standpoint, had
naturally been tempted, especially as his engagement had been so
recently broken with a girl he had been in love with since childhood,
and I, being young, didn't understand and was under the impression that
young men meant all they said, and--

He would be talking now if I had not stamped my foot and stopped his
rambling.  His insinuations sounded as if I were a feeble-minded
creature and couldn't tell truth from untruth, or know when a man meant
or didn't mean what he said, and had never heard things of the same
sort before.  I've heard them before, and in several different places.
I am a good many things I ought not to be, but I am not feeble-minded.
I told him--  It does not matter what I told him, but I made him
understand I could take care of myself without the help of the town,
and, while I appreciated his effort to keep me from thinking the men in
Twickenham did not mean what they said, and were not to be relied on,
and not to be trusted, and that honor was not held very high by them
where young girls were concerned, it was difficult to believe it, for I
had been made to understand by others that certain old-fashioned things
were still held sacred there, and the dangers and temptations of the
city were absent.  When I saw how red his fat, round face got and how
squirmy his legs and how hard he fanned I knew I had better go in.  I
went, but I didn't say good night.

Mad!  Was I mad?  I was.  For a long time I sat by the window and
talked to Billy in my mind and told him what I thought of men old-maids
and prissy places and gossipy spinsters and flirtatious widows, and of
people who didn't have anything to talk of but one another; and then,
as the moon came out clearer, I seemed to see myself clearer also, and
after a while it came over me that maybe I had been a little nicer to
Whythe than was necessary just to see if a man couldn't get comforted
sooner than he thought.  I had been doing a little scientific
experimenting along a different way from Jess's way; and then my eyes
got open wide and I saw what Mr. Willie had been trying to tell me,
which was that Whythe was probably taking practical consolation and was
not ignorant of the fact that my Father was not a poor man.

At the thought something got into my backbone and I sat up.  I had been
fooling myself and didn't know it.  I don't mean I had believed all the
thrilly love things Whythe had been saying.  They came natural to him
and he might have said them to some other girl if not to me, but I had
not dreamed he had any thought of an advantageous alliance, as Billy
calls the thing his mother is hoping his sister will make, or that any
one could associate such a thought with me.  It didn't seem possible,
and I don't believe Whythe is that sort.  Still, men are queer ducks,
Jess says, and one never can tell what is in the back of their brain
from the words of their mouth, and if Whythe was imagining I had any
value outside of my own self I would like to find it out.  How I was
going to find out I did not know, and when I said my prayers I started
to pray that a rattling good way would turn up, but I remembered it
wasn't exactly a thing to pray about and that watching might be better.

I had had a grand time being in love.  Every day there was some new
evidence of how nice a beau is, and though the other boys didn't let
Whythe have it all his own way, as they called it, and we had a jolly
time together and I danced and rode and picnicked and pleasured with
all of them, still, it was understood that Whythe was my steady and
they gave him right much chance.  It had been loads of fun having a
steady, and I knew now how excited Mazie, one of our maids at home,
must have felt the day she became engaged to hers, who was the milkman.
But I had somehow thought that nobody but girls of Mazie's sort had
steadies, and I had wished I could be a maid for a few weeks just to
find out how it would feel to possess some one and be possessed by him.
I guess it amounts to about the same thing, though, love does, no
matter in what way it comes to one or by what name we call it, if it is
the genuine thing.  I have certainly never felt about Whythe in the way
Mazie must have felt about her milkman, judging by her face, but I had
been enjoying myself and I didn't intend to stop with too much
suddenness.  Mr. Willie had warned me and I would remember, but it is
against the law to condemn a man unheard.  The Bible says so.  I would
go slowly for once in my life and give Whythe a chance to conduct his
own defense.  It wouldn't be necessary to mention that a case was being
tried or that I would be both judge and jury.  There are times in life
when it is well to keep some things to oneself.


Yesterday it poured in torrents all day.  None of us could get out of
the house, so while Miss Araminta darned my stockings, which hadn't
been touched since I came to Twickenham Town, I read aloud to the whole
bunch in the library and we had a very nice time.  Miss Araminta has
tried to teach me to darn since I have been here, but she has not
succeeded in doing it!  I will never be a darner.  I have asked Mother
not to get me all-over silk stockings, as the Lisle-thread feet last
much longer, but she doesn't seem to remember, and one of my charities
is giving my nice stockings away when they can no longer be worn with
self-respect.  Clarissa, Mother's maid, is supposed to keep them in
order, but she doesn't do it, and she has headaches so often I don't
like to say anything to her, with the result that Mother thinks I wear
out an awful lot, and yet I know she wouldn't want me to wear stockings
with holes in them.  I found out early in life that it is foolish to
try to do things you are not by nature fitted to do, and I am not
fitted by nature to sit still for hours and fill up a little hole in a
stocking to save a few cents or a dollar or so.  I don't do it.  I
would rather save in some other way.

Miss Araminta loves to darn.  Also she loves pretty clothes in a way
that is truly pitiful, not having the means to get them, and she has
about as much idea how to have her few things made as a Comanche Indian
has of _vers-libre_.  If she would wear those that suited her style she
would look dear, but she wears clothes of many colors made, as she
thinks, in the prevailing fashion, and of course she is a sight for all
beholders.  While I was reading _Pendennis_ out loud I was wondering at
the same time what Miss Araminta was going to wear to the reception
Judge and Mrs. Maclean are going to give to their two married daughters
and their husbands on the 17th of August, which is the big thing of the
year for Twickenham Town; but of course I couldn't ask her.  I knew she
had nothing suitable or that had not been the subject of nudges and
remarks under the breath, and smiles that could be heard.  And I also
knew nothing could keep her away, for she dearly loves to go to parties
and is not often invited, being of an inconvenient age for
entertainments, and I wished something could come to pass that would be
to her interest.

As I read I poked around in my mind trying to think what might be done,
and suddenly something came to me, and after a while I put the book
down and began to talk of the different things that were going on in
town and the many visitors who were already there, and then I asked
Miss Araminta if she didn't think lavender was a lovely color.  She
said it was the one she loved best and all her life she had longed for
a lavender satin with everything to match, but she knew now she would
never have it and she rarely let herself wish for things any more.  And
she sighed the softest little sigh, like a mother whose baby had died a
long time ago, but who always kept it in her heart, and I said to
myself, "Go up-stairs, Kitty Canary, and think out a way," and
up-stairs I went.

August is The Season in Twickenham Town, and there is hardly a family
in it that doesn't have company or boarders, or whose sons and
daughters don't come home for their holiday, and Miss Bettie Simcoe
says it's perfectly scandalous, the flirting that goes on.  Miss Bettie
thinks anything matrimonial is close to scandalous, and she is
continually raising her eyebrows and making a half moon of her mouth at
what she says is the forwardness and freeness of present-day young
people.  Miss Susanna always has a crowded house in August.  A Doctor
Macafee and his wife and two daughters are here from Florida, and a
Miss LeRoy from New Hampshire, and Judge Lampton and his wife from
Alabama, and how she manages to put them away is known only to herself.

When I heard she was going to give up her room and take a tiny one in
the garret I made up my mind I would have an awful dream that night, a
regular nightmare, that would scare her to death and make her come in
my room to see what was the matter.  I had it and she came, and I told
her I was subject to nightmares and ought not to sleep in a room by
myself, though I hadn't mentioned it before, and I wished she would
please sleep in mine with me and take the four-poster, which I thought
gave me bad dreams, as I wasn't accustomed to such high beds.  And if
she would I would take the cot, as I liked cots much better.  I am
subject to nightmares, or anything else that is advisable to have at
the proper time, and if I had known how many people were coming and
that Miss Susanna was going to give up her room, I would have had one
before, so she wouldn't think they had come on pretty sudden.  But she
is not apt to think.  She is a darling little old lady, not brought up
to think, and now too busy to do it, and she just works herself to
death with her head up and a smile on her face, and doesn't realize she
is spending all she makes in good things for the people who come here
and nearly kill themselves eating.  She never buys herself any
clothes--that is, until Elizabeth has all she needs--and when I went up
to my room yesterday to think out a way of getting that lavender satin
for Miss Araminta, another thought came into my head, which was a black
satin for Miss Susanna.

Feelings are things one has to be awfully careful about in Twickenham
Town, and not for a billion dollars put in my pocket would I hurt
anybody's here, and I couldn't let Miss Araminta or Miss Susanna think
for a moment that their dresses were not all right, and how to get them
new ones I couldn't imagine.  I started to pray about it, and then I
remembered I was in an awful hurry and it would be better to get to
work, and, going over to the bureau, I opened its top drawer, and there
looking up at me was my bank-book lying on a pile of handkerchiefs.
Father had put a very respectable sum of money in the Twickenham bank
for me and told me to use it whenever I could do it in the right way,
and he would trust me to find the right way; but though I had tried to
get rid of some of it, there were few opportunities (so it wouldn't be
manifest, I mean), and now one popped right up in my face.

For fear it might pop out again I ran downstairs as quick as I could,
and, seeing Miss Susanna and Miss Araminta were by themselves, I began
to talk about the Pettigrew children and what they had told me they
wanted Santa Claus to bring them Christmas.  And that reminded me
suddenly that Christmas would soon be here, and I told them that in
August I always began to think about what to get Mother and Aunt
Celeste, who were my chief Christmas worries, and I wondered if they
thought I could get something in Twickenham that I could take back with
me.  I felt, as I talked, that I was on a tight rope forty feet in the
air and mighty little to balance myself with, but I managed to put in
words what I wanted to say, and like little angels they fell in and
never dreamed I had thought the thing out before I spoke.

I told them that Mother and Aunt Celeste had much more than they needed
in life, and it was hard to get anything new and different for them, as
there were so many to give them presents, and that I liked to get
something odd if I could.  The things they were crazy about were old
silver and old jewelry, especially old settings, and it was hard to
find them in our town, and I wondered if they could help me get a piece
of silver like one of Miss Susanna's pitchers for Mother, and a set of
sapphires like Miss Araminta's for Aunt Celeste.  Also I said I didn't
want to trouble them and I hoped they wouldn't mind my asking them.

Miss Araminta said no indeed, she didn't mind, and that she had got
into the state of mind Miss Virginia Hill was in, and she wasn't going
to keep on keeping a lot of things that were no use just because they
had belonged to long-dead grandmothers.  And while she wouldn't go as
far as Miss Virginia, who would sell every ancestor she had for a
million dollars, she would part with some other things for much less,
and if I wanted to buy the sapphire set (pin and ear-rings) she would
be glad to sell them.  She would have to tell me, though, they had been
her great-grandmother's, and not her great-great's, as the pearls were,
and that she would take forty-five dollars for them, and if that was
too much she would take forty.

I almost lost my breath at her good sense, not expecting it, but I told
her it would be cheating if I paid less than seventy-five for them (I
had calculated that it would take about that to get the lavender satin
with things to match), and if she would get them for me I would take
them right away, and I was awfully obliged to her, as it would be such
a relief to get Aunt Celeste off my mind.  I admitted I didn't always
pay as much as seventy-five for her present (I usually give her a
five-dollar one which Mother pays for), but Father wanted me to bring
her something quaint from Twickenham if I could find it, and he would
be delighted to know of the sapphires.

I fiddled along about other things for a moment or two and then I asked
Miss Susanna if she would think me a very piggy person to want to buy
one of those precious old silver pitchers of hers, as Mother would love
so to have one of that pattern (Mother had never mentioned it, but I
knew she would long for one of that pattern if she could see it), and I
waited with terrible anxiousness in my heart and a hot face for her
answer.  Miss Susanna's got a lovely pinky color, and for a moment she
didn't say anything, and then Miss Araminta spoke for her and showed
more sensibleness than I thought was in her.

"Why don't you, Susanna?" she said, and nodded at her.  They are first
cousins and very good friends.  "Why don't you let the child have one
of those old pitchers?  You have too much silver, anyhow, and with
servants of the present day any sort of silver is too great a burden to
be borne, much less ancestral sort.  Young people want to buy their own
things, and reverence for the past is a thing of the past; and besides,
you have no one to leave yours to except some one who won't appreciate
it.  Why don't you let her have it?"

"I would be glad for her to have it.  Glad to help her out with her
Christmas difficulties, but"--Miss Susanna bit her lip and the pink in
her face became rose--"I have never done anything of this sort, and it
does not seem just right.  I would be pleased for her mother to have
one of the pitchers.  In a sense they are connected with her family as
our great-great-great-grandmothers were the same, and--"

"Oh, you precious person!"  I jumped up and took Miss Susanna in my
arms and whirled around the room with her.  I was afraid she would get
on the grandparent subject, and I didn't want to hear it.  To head her
off I gave her a squeeze and a skip or two and then I sat her down and
kissed her, and asked her if she thought seventy-five dollars was
enough for the pitcher, and if so I would get the checks while Miss
Araminta got the sapphires.  And before they had time to change their
minds their things were mine and my money (Father's) was theirs, and we
were all a little more excited than we were willing to admit.


They are in my trunk, the two Christmas presents, and we have had a
grand time, Miss Araminta and Miss Susanna and I, buying their party
dresses and things, and it is as true as Scripture that at times there
is nothing better for the soul than pretty clothes for the body.  And
nothing so chirps up a woman as to have on becoming ones that fit and
are fresh and make her feel she can walk across the floor without
wishing she had a shawl on.  The way Miss Araminta has bloomed out is
as amazing as a moon-plant.  And Miss Susanna has such a pleased smile
on her boarder-tired face that I have been up in the air just from
looking at her, and the best time I've ever had in my life has been in
taking charge of their money and spending it for them.  The way they
agreed to get the dresses was this:

I told them it would be awfully exciting to have a secret and spring a
surprise on Mrs. General Gaines and Miss Bettie Simcoe and a few others
in town, and if they were willing I would design a dress for each of
them and Miss Fannie Cross would make the dresses, which would be of a
kind to suit their particular styles, and they could have them for the
party on the 17th.  And if they didn't get them at once something would
happen to make them spend the money and it would be gone and they no
better off than before.  And I mentioned that there was the loveliest
piece of black charmeuse at Mr. Peter Smith's, and that he was
expecting a piece of lavender satin on Thursday.  I had been to see Mr.
Peter and the lavender was ordered before I told them it was coming.
Also a few other things had been ordered by wire, I going with him to
the telegraph-office to see him do it, being afraid to trust his
memory, which, like his methods, is right put-offy.  Also I told them
there would be no time to hesitate.  They got so flustrated at being
managed and so dazed by the pictures I showed them of the dresses I had
drawn that they were lambs, perfect lambs.  They let me do everything I
told them ought to be done.

It was a real relief to them to have some one go ahead and decide
things and not give them time to think whether they should do this or
do that, or whether they had not better spend the money some other way.
Miss Susanna said, feebly, something about the roof needing to be
fixed, and that the cellar ought to have a new floor, but I told her it
would be sacrilegious to put a great-grandmother's silver pitcher on
the roof or in the cellar, and that it would mortify her heavenly
ancestors to know such a thing was being done, and I was surprised at
her mentioning it.  The only suitable way in which it would be proper
to use the pitcher was in something personal, and as I was afraid Mr.
Peter Smith would sell the satin, it was so lovely and only a little
more than enough for a dress, I had told him to put it aside and I had
to let him know that afternoon if it was wanted.  And another thing I
told her was that all her life other people had been getting her share
of nice things, and practicalities had eaten up everything pretty she
had wanted for years, and there was an end to making over, and that she
owed it to memories of the past to have a new dress for herself and not
let all the newness always appear on a certain person's back just
because that certain person happened to be young.  Uncle Henson would
be at the door with the carriage at four o'clock, I told her, to take
us down-town, and she must be ready in time, as there was a good deal
to do.  I wouldn't take a mint of money for the look that came in her
face as I talked.  I have put it away for low-down days.

As for Miss Araminta--I wish I could write a book and put Miss Araminta
Armstrong in it.  If the lady who wrote _Cranford_ had known her she
would have put her in, and it is a loss to literature that no one can
do again for little places and the Miss Aramintas of life what the
_Cranford_ writer did.  She has told me right much about herself, and I
don't smile any more, even to myself, as I couldn't help doing at first
in the dark when I was so afraid I would roll on the floor and whoop
that I had to hold on to my chair with both hands.  It is still funny
to hear her tell of her beaux who never quite came to the point, and
who were always snatched away at the critical moment by a
jealous-minded person who was close kin but whose name she never
mentions.  But it isn't as funny as it used to be.  It's queer how much
tragedy there is in the comic things of life.  Ever since she was born
Miss Araminta has been a pieced-and-patched-up person, and never once
has she had everything new and to match at the same time.  When I told
her about some of the things that must go with the lavender satin she
began to cry a little and said she oughtn't to let herself think about
indulgences of that sort, as her poor brother was not in business at
present and needed--

"Now look here, Miss Araminta," I said.  "The first preparation you
have got to make for the party is to forget you have a brother and
remember your own body, which needs attention.  It has come down from a
long line of people who took very good care to put expensive things on
theirs.  And another thing you ought to remember is that if your
brother didn't know he could call on you every time he lost his job--"

"My brother has never had a job."  Miss Araminta sat up at once and
wiped her eyes and left, unknowing, a streak of white down a pink cheek
that turned purple at the word "job."  "He has been unfortunate in not
being able to retain certain positions he has once held, but his

"Rats!"  It came out without thinking, but when a man has a worn-out
wife and seven children and won't do this and won't do that because it
is beneath his lordly ideas of what a well-born person should do, it is
better for me not to speak of him out loud.  I told Miss Araminta she
must excuse me, but there were some sorts of men I couldn't mention
with safety and I thought "job" was a very good word, and I would
rather have one that paid a dollar a day than borrow money to pay my
bills, and that I'd sweep the streets before I would sit down and do
nothing if I had a wife and seven children.  The look on her face I
tucked away, too, to take out on days when there isn't a thing in sight
to laugh at.  She can't help it, Miss Araminta can't.  She was born
that way and, not being an evoluting kind, words are wasted when it
comes to trying to make her see what she doesn't want to see.  There is
a lot of bummy rot in this world which has nothing to do with the
proper kind of pride, and it's my belief we are mighty apt to fill the
place in life we are fitted to fill.  If a dollar a day is all I am
worth it is all I ought to get until I make myself worth more.  Of
course if people are feeble-minded that's a different thing.  When they
are, the State ought to step in and take charge of them in order to
protect itself, Jess says, and also she says feeble-mindeders always
have the largest families, and even a feeble-minded person knows that
is not right.

I didn't mean to hurt Miss Araminta's feelings, but that brother of
hers is a snuff-the-moon old snob, and I was determined he shouldn't
get a penny of that sapphire money if I could help it, and I told Miss
Araminta a few firm facts.  After a while she blew her nose and wiped
her eyes and I had no further trouble.  But I was afraid to trust
either her or Miss Susanna with their money, so I took the checks back
and told them it was better for me to keep them, as money had such a
queer way of disappearing.  Any that was handy was used when needed,
and when the time came to get the things the money was for there might
not be any to get.  They handed it back as meek as little lambs.


Miss Susanna and Miss Araminta are crazy about the designs I have
sketched for their dresses, and so is Miss Fannie Cross.  It is the
only talent I have, designing clothes is, and if I ever have to earn my
living I am going to be "Katrine" and have a shop on a fine street and
charge like old glory for my things.  That will make them wanted, and
those who think a gown is desirable according to its price can pay
enough to make up for those who can't pay much, and I'll have a great
time charging the payers.  I am going to get ready to earn a living,
anyhow, because every girl ought to, Fathers or Billys notwithstanding.
Life is a very up-and-downy thing, and it is good to know, should it
get down, that you can give it a lift up yourself and not have to wait
for a shover.

It was a private matinée, watching Miss Susanna and Miss Araminta buy
the things that Mr. Peter Smith had ordered and which they couldn't
understand his having in stock.  The trimmings and linings and gloves
and stockings were exactly what was needed and they couldn't get over
how fortunate it was.  They paid for them themselves, as I had handed
their money to them when we started out, holding back only enough to
pay Miss Fannie Cross; but though they took some time to do the buying,
and felt and smoothed everything they bought and put the satin to their
cheeks to be sure of its quality, and looked at each other every now
and then as if what they were doing was wicked, perhaps, but fearfully
enjoyable, still in two days everything was at Miss Fannie's, and it
was then I had to be awfully firm with Miss Araminta.

There are some things some women can never take in, and one is that an
old sheep should never dress lamb fashion.  It was all Miss Fannie
(she's a corking-good dressmaker for a small place) and I could do to
hold Miss Araminta down when it came to colors, and the cut of her
skirt, and some trimmings she wanted to put on the waist.  She thinks
she loves lavender, but Joseph's coat would have been a colorless piece
of apparel beside her dress if we finally hadn't sat on her and told
her certain things couldn't be done.  She was crazy to pile on a bunch
of ancestral lace, yellow and dowdy; but we told her not much, told her
freshness and daintiness suited her style much better, and she wasn't
old enough to emphasize ancestral lace, and she blushed and gave in.
But nothing would have made her do it if Miss Fannie hadn't thought to
throw out the age-line.  She caught on and agreed, and after that we
did not have a great deal of trouble.

Miss Susanna was a little crankier than I thought she was going to be,
and wanted a practical dress that she could wear anywhere at any time,
and we had to argue with her a good deal.  I told her a train was the
thing for her, and I intended to walk behind her the night of the party
and keep everybody back far enough to see how grand she looked.  When a
woman is sixty-six and pretty worn, short skirts for evenings are not
impressive, and, though we didn't mention age, we said finally she owed
it to her mother's memory to dress in a style suitable to the position
into which she had been born, and that settled it.  She's the real
thing, Miss Susanna is.  She doesn't have to play a part.

I had told Miss Fannie on the quiet that the price of making the
dresses would be doubled if she would have them ready for the 17th of
August, and they were ready.  Miss Araminta and Miss Susanna thought it
was a bad example to set, as it might not be just to the other
Twickenham-Towners to pay more than they could pay, and it stuck Miss
Araminta pretty deep to hand out more than was necessary.  But I told
her it was an emergency operation and that kind always came high.  And
also I told them that Miss Fannie charged entirely too little for her
work, and it was poor religion to go to church on Sunday and sing
praises to God and underpay a poor little dressmaker.  They said they
supposed it was, but I don't think they thought it very reverential in
me to speak of God in connection with a dress-maker and what she got
for sewing.  I gave each one a list of their expenditures, with the
cost of everything on it, and each had a little left over after getting
their slippers and some sachet powder and a bottle of violet-water
apiece, and, after all, that brother of Miss Araminta's got a little of
the sapphire money.  But it wasn't much.  I saw to that.  It's been
awfully exciting in Twickenham lately.

The event of the year is the MacLean party and the best of everything
is saved for it, and in itself it makes every tongue in town talk until
you wonder why tongues are the only things that never tire, and then,
lo and behold! two days before it came off back comes Elizabeth
Hamilton Carter, bringing her beau behind her, and off start the same
tongues on a new lap and no breath taken in between.

I wish Billy could see it, the thing Elizabeth brought back!  He wears
men's clothes (very good ones) and he is twenty-seven years old, and
has large hands and feet and ears and a feeble mustache, but as a man
he isn't much.  He looks like a hatter and is seemingly dumb, and he
blinks his eyes so continually that no one can tell their color.  Also
he bites his finger-nails.  I advised Elizabeth to get a beau _pro
tem._, but I didn't mean anything like that.  If she wants jealousy to
bring Whythe back to her she should keep something on hand to be
jealous of.  Elizabeth has an iron will and a copper determination, but
about as much judgment as a horse-fly.

Miss Bettie Simcoe's eyebrows haven't come down good since the night
the _engagées_ arrived.  She has an explanation for the situation, as
she calls it, there never yet being a situation she couldn't explain,
and she says the engagement is a piece of management on the part of
Elizabeth's aunt on her father's side, the aunt she has been visiting.
This aunt is society crazy, and, knowing you can't keep step in society
without money, she arranged the whole thing.  Anyhow, Elizabeth has a
gorgeous ring and a magnificent pin, and of course she ought to be
happy if diamonds and things mean happiness, but she isn't happy, and
for the first time since I met her I can't make her out.  Before I know
it I am going to feel sorry for her, and then good-by to in-loveness
for me!  I have very little sense at times, and no hold-outness at all
when certain things come to pass.

Elizabeth still loves Whythe.  Engaged or not to some one else, she
still cares only for him.  I don't want him.  I wonder how it might be
managed--getting them to take in how silly they have been.  I believe
I'll try and see if something can't be done.  Watchful waiting may be
all right in some cases, but I never cared for waiting.  Milton says
all things come to him who hustles while he waits.  You get a move on,
Kitty Canary, and see what you can do!


The party is over.  Everybody who is anybody was at it and we had a
perfectly scrumptious time.  I never saw so many good things to eat on
a hot summer night in all my life, but the heat didn't affect
appetites, and Miss Kate Norris, who lives in the Wellington Home
(memorial for a dead wife or a live conscience, I don't remember
which), ate three platefuls of supper and three helpings of ice-cream.
She is fearfully ancestral and an awful eater, and also a sour
remarker, and I stay out of her way, but that night I couldn't help
seeing the way she made food disappear.  No low-born person could have
done it quicker.

It was a perfectly beautiful party.  The two married daughters of Judge
and Mrs. MacLean, who live in the city and always come home for August,
were as dear and lovely as if they had never left old Twickenham Town,
and their clothes were a liberal education to the stay-at-homers.  They
were well taken in by the latter, but the sensation of the evening was
the arrival and appearance of My Girls, and--oh, my granny!--I was so
excited I couldn't stand on both feet at once, and I had to get in a
corner and put my back against the wall to keep from making movement.
When they came in the room there was a little hush, and then there were
so many exclamations of surprise and admiration that I had to fan as
hard as Mr. Willie Prince to keep down the blazing red in my face which
was there from pride in the dear old darlings and not from heat.  And I
saw clearer than I had ever seen before that fine things behind one
count a good deal, and ancestors of the right kind leave something to
their descendants that comes out when needed, and at that party the
desirable things came out.

They looked like pictures--Miss Susanna and Miss Araminta--for the
prevailing modes, as Miss Araminta calls them, and which she loves so
dearly and hits at but never touches, had not been paid very particular
attention to, and the thing that suited each had been made for them.
They were as becoming to the dresses as the dresses to them.
Twickenham nearly lost its breath as they came into the long
drawing-room of the MacLean house and walked through it after speaking
to the receiving party, and I know now how a mother feels when her
debutante daughters are a success.  I will have more sympathy with
Mother than I used to have, and I will try to behave myself and do the
stunts all right for the first year.  But she already knows I do not
expect to keep on doing them.  I have told her.

Nobody can say again that women can't keep a secret, for not even Miss
Bettie Simcoe, who knows what the Lord is going to do before He does
it, had any idea of the dresses; and though I don't think she or Mrs.
General Gaines liked not being told, they were very nice about it and
said much kinder things than I thought they were capable of saying.
And I really think Elizabeth was pleased also.  She actually smiled
when she saw her aunt come in with Miss Araminta.  Smiles of late have
been faint and feeble on the face of the affianced young lady, who
isn't playing her part as a person with ancestors ought to play it.
She bounced her old beau and took unto herself a new one, and what I
can't understand is, having done it, why she doesn't carry it off with
a rip-roaring bluff that might fool even herself for a while.  But
Elizabeth isn't that sort.  Everybody is talking about how miserable
she looks.  I'm afraid I put the beau idea in her head, and the idea
has got her in a hole and she doesn't know how to get out of it.  I
wish Billy was here.  He can get a person out of any sort of hole.

I went to the party with Whythe.  He has been away for a week, and
while away got a new dress suit, which, of course, he wore to the party
and looked perfectly grand in it.  I think his mother gave the suit to
him, though he didn't say, but he was off attending to some business
for her, and I'm sure he took it out in the new clothes.  It would have
been more sensible to have had his teeth fixed, or gotten three new
ones, the rest being all right, but it was natural to prefer the suit,
and much less painful.  Whythe is never going to do anything
disagreeable that he can keep from doing.

He was so nice the night of the party that I hadn't the courage to
begin finding out the truth or untruth of what Mr. Willie Prince had
mentioned as the reason of the rush he had been giving me, and as I
don't believe Whythe has ever thought of Father's money, there was no
need to be in a hurry to learn whether he had or not.  I've had a jolly
good time being in love with him, and being made love to, and as an
experience it may come in when I begin to write my book.  I always did
want to know how many ways love can be made in, which, of course, I can
never know, for there are as many ways, I guess, as there are men to
make it, and the variations on the main theme are as infinitesimal as
the tongues that tell the story.  It is truly wonderful how differently
the same words can be trimmed up and handed out, and I like the
crescendoes and diminuendoes and shades of feeling which give emphasis
and expression, as my music teacher says I must be careful of when
playing.  There is never going to be any crescendo or diminuendo
business about Billy's love-making, and I might as well make up my mind
to that in the beginning.  It's going to be pure staccato with
him--short and quick and soon over.  But it will last forever, Billy's
will.  He isn't going to stand for foolishness about it when he starts,
either.  He has two more years at college and then he is going in his
father's office.

I don't know what's the matter with Billy.  I haven't had a letter from
him for a week, or a single card.  He must be crazy.  I've been so busy
I have not written for ten days, and if I don't get a letter soon he
won't get one from me for another ten.  He can't expect me to do what
he doesn't do, and besides, a man doesn't want what he gets too easy,
even letters.  I don't suppose he could be sick.  If he was--  I am not
going to let myself think sickness or automobile accidents or sliding
off mountain peaks (they are in Switzerland now and Billy would get to
the top of anything he started for or die trying).  And though I say to
myself forty times a day he is all right, I wake up at night and wonder
if anything could be the matter.  I am wondering all the time.

Maybe that is why I was a little nicer to Whythe at the party than I
need to have been, because I wanted to forget something it was not well
to remember if I was out to enjoy myself.  After I had danced with half
a dozen boys and spoken to everybody on the place, we went out on the
lawn, Whythe and I, and sat on a rustic seat under a great maple-tree
to cool off and rest awhile; and though everybody could see us and
several couples were under several other trees (a number of cases being
on hand and apt to culminate in August), Miss Bettie Simcoe had remarks
to make, of course.  She made them the next day at breakfast.

I wish I could buy a beau for Miss Bettie and make a present of him to
her, but, being a member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals, I couldn't very well do it.  I never yet have seen a man I
would be that hard on.  But it would be the only way she could be made
to see some things, and maybe it might make her feel young again.  Jess
says there's nothing so kittenish as a spinster who's caught an
unexpected beau.  He is the most rejuvenating thing on earth to a woman
who wants one.  All don't want them.  There are a great many more
sensible women in this world than people realize, but in certain small
places matrimony is still the chief pursuit in which women can engage
without being thought unwomanly.  Miss Bettie doesn't pursue, and men
are good dodgers in this part of the world, but if one of them would
say a few things to her of the sort that Whythe knows how to say so
well, her sniffing and snorting and seeing might grow less.

I don't like her, but I feel sorry for her, for nobody really loves
her, and it must be awful to have nobody to love you best of all on
earth.  I couldn't live if nobody loved me.  I could not.  I might live
without food and live without drink, and do without clothes and do
without air--the right kinds of those things, I mean--but I couldn't
and I wouldn't live without loving.  As long as I am on this little
planet I expect to love a lot of people and I hope they will love me in
return.  When Miss Bettie makes me so mad I have to go out of the room
to keep from saying things I shouldn't, and Miss Araminta simpers so
when any one mentions Mr. Sparks's name (he's the new widower minister
of the Presbyterian church, with no chance of escape), and Elizabeth
Hamilton Carter makes me ashamed of my sex, and I feel like I have
swallowed concentrated extract of Human Peculiarities, I remember that
not one of them has a father of any sort, much less my sort, or a
precious mother and two dandy sisters and a good many nice relations
and some bully friends--when I remember all that, remember how many I
have to love me, I spit out the peculiarities and try not to mind them,
try to see how funny they are.  But sometimes the taste sticks right
long.  I don't suppose I spit right.  What I can't understand is that
if people want to be loved--and everybody does--why in the name of
goodness don't they do a little loving on their own account?  You
needn't expect to get what you don't give.  I'm glad I was born with a
taste for liking, though I don't like every one, by a jugful.  When I
come across a righteous hypocrite I get out of the way, if it isn't
convenient to make the hypocrite get out of mine.  There are some
people I could never congeal with and I am never even going to try.


I wonder what made me waste time thinking about Miss Bettie Simcoe and
human peculiarities when I started to say something about sitting under
the trees with Whythe at the MacLean party, but, born a rambler, I will
ramble unto death, and there's no use wasting time lamenting natural
deficiencies.  Whythe, of course, couldn't very conveniently make
personal remarks, as people were passing pretty close, though he did
say I looked like a dream, which I did not, being too brown for a
dream; but I did look real nice.  I fished out one of the party dresses
Mother made Clarissa put in my trunk, which I haven't worn since I have
been here, and I suppose it suited my brownness, as it was creamy and
stuck out in the silly way skirts stick now, and it was new-fashioned
enough to make everybody look at it and nudge a little.  Whythe thought
it was lovely, and told me so sixteen times, which was tiresome, and
then I saw he was watching Elizabeth, who was on the porch with her new
beau and did not know really whether my dress was blue or pink.  The
only thing he was thinking of was that not far from him was a
superseder in possession of something which was once his.  Whythe
doesn't like to be superseded in anything affecting his personal
estimate of himself.

The Lord certainly let loose a lot of contradictions when he started
the human race.  When I saw the way Whythe was watching Elizabeth, and
remembered how she had looked at him when he passed her a few minutes
before, I knew two specimens of a common variety were before me, and I
made up a parable as I watched them watch each other.  The two
specimens had been in love and been engaged.  They had a fuss.  The
engagement was broken.  She was mad, and he was mad, and each thought
the other would make the first advance to own up and make up; but
before it could be done a young person appeared and distracted
temporarily the attention of the man, and the girl went away to see
what she could do.  The man repaired the damage done unto him by saying
pretty things to the new person, which was good for his pride and kept
him in practice, and all was going well when the first maiden returned
with a new possession.

The new possession was a son of great wealth, but the Faithless One was
made to understand, without words, that his Cruelty was driving the
Maid to Marriage with another, and his Vanity was appeased, and in his
heart he rejoiced and said unto himself: "It is even as I thought, and
that piece of punk she has brought back is bitter unto her, and in
comparison to me he is nothingness indeed.  And I would arise and punch
his head if it were not for the New Person who may love me very much."
And the young man was sorrowful when he thought on these things and yet
glad also, for the heart of man is receptive to the love of all kinds
of women, and it is pleasing unto him to believe he is pleasing unto

And seeing that which had come to pass, the New Young Person made up
her mind that the Young Man and the Young Maid who had once loved must
love again, and in her heart she said it is a vain thing to believe in
the words of a man.  They cometh out as cometh breath, then pass away
and are remembered by him no more.  And she took counsel with herself
as to how she might bring to pass that which the simple souls knew not
how to bring, and, lo! as she thought it came unto her.  That's a true

What came was the thought of a picnic.  Whythe and Elizabeth must
accidentally have a chance to come across each other and have it out,
and the best way they could do it would be outdoors, where it is
convenient to wander off and get away from nudgers and commenters; and
being nothing but impulse, I turned to Whythe, who was still
unconsciously watching Elizabeth, and asked him if he would help me
with something I was anxious to do.  He said of course, and wanted to
know what it was.  When I told him I would tell him the next day he
asked me to drive with him in the morning, and didn't like it because I
declined.  That is, he didn't like my reason, which was that, as he had
been out of his office for some time, his business must need attending
to, and I didn't think it ought to be left any longer.  He seemed to
think that a very unnecessary remark, and I realized he liked
Elizabeth's kind better.  She would never have dreamed of telling him
his business needed attention.  Elizabeth is the Admired and Honored
type of Womanhood which does not think it is ladylike to have knowledge
of business matters.

Seeing the look on his face, I said to myself: "Kitty Canary, it is all
over.  A pin has been stuck in your balloon and the air is out."  And I
got up and went in and danced with every man dancer in the room, and
hardly knew who they were, the breaks were so often.  I had a good
time, but also I had a right sinky feeling, for it's pretty wabbly to
realize that nothing human is to be depended on very long, and that a
girl may be engaged one day to a man and not speaking to him the next.
Not that I had ever been engaged.  I hadn't, not caring for what goes
with engagements, but I might have been if I hadn't remembered about
the different things I have fallen in and been fished out of when there
was some one by to haul me out.  Nobody being by, I had to take care of
myself, and I thought it best to go only so far and no farther.

On the way home Whythe tried to say some things pretty low about how he
had missed me while away, but Miss Susanna and Miss Araminta were in
the back seat of the car (it was Mr. Lipscomb's Ford, and borrowed, of
course), and he had to be so careful it was a strain, and as I didn't
answer he stopped after a while.  It takes two to do more things than
make a bargain, and to battledore love without having it shuttlecocked
back isn't much fun.  He wanted to know what was the matter when I got
out, and I told him it was sleep.  He didn't seem to like that, either.
It's hard to please men.


I didn't see Whythe for the next few days, as I thought it best not to,
and, besides, I had bushels of letters to write and a very special one
to Father, and I had no time for him.  The thing I had to write Father
about was money.  I wanted five hundred dollars, and the only way I
knew how to get it was to ask him to give it to me; so I asked.  I
always did believe that the person who gives the money ought to be told
what is to be done with it, and that is why I wrote Father as I did;
and, besides, he likes to hear little bits of news about the
Twickenham-Towners, and asking for the money gave me a chance to tell

He had told me, when he was here, that if there was any way in which I
could be of service in the right way to let him know and he would put
up the money part, if I would manage the other part, and it would be a
little secret between us and nobody else need know anything about it.
When, last week, I heard Mrs. Richard Stafford say she would rather go
to a hospital for a month than do anything on earth, I thought my
chance had come.  At the hospital, she said, a person had the right to
be waited on and do nothing, and not think about food or servants, and
not feel they were bothering other people by being sick; and while she
wasn't sick exactly, a hospital would seem like heaven if she could be
in one for a little while.  She had laughed when she said it, and
didn't dream of its being taken in earnest, but I took it in earnest,
for the tiredness in her face makes me ache every time I see her, and
right up in my mind popped the little secret Father and I and Miss Polk
could have.  What I wrote was this:

_Father dear, will you please send me five hundred dollars, and if you
can do it by return mail I will be very much obliged.  The person I
want part of it for is so tired that she might not be able to ever get
rested unless she has a chance pretty quick to lie down and do nothing
for a month, anyhow, and that is why I am in a hurry.  Tiredness is a
very wearing disease and if it runs on too long it runs a person into a
state that is almost impossible to get out of, and the whole family has
to pay up for letting it go on.  Home gets hell-y when there's too much
tiredness in it.  What I want the money for is this: Mrs. Stafford is
worn out.  You know her.  She was Miss Mary Shirley, and married a
perfectly useless man when she was eighteen, and she is now the mother
of seven children, and has a mother-in-law living with her, and also
Miss Lou Barbee, who won't go away.  And, of course, the man whom she
can't turn out.  He isn't bad.  Just lazy, with nothing to him, but she
loves him and I will skip over that part.  She needs a rest and ought
to have it.  It's nothing but scrimp and scrape and strive to keep up
appearances day in and day out, year in and year out, until she is all
to pieces and the children don't realize what is the matter.  And, of
course, the Male Person doesn't, for he says that Woman's Place is in
the Home.  When he told me that yesterday (his heels were on the
railing of his porch, where he generally keeps them, and his pipe in
his mouth) I thought to myself that if he were mine he would have to
get out of my home or prove he had a better right to share it with me
than he had ever proved to his wife.  But I won't get on that, either.
I'll go back to Mrs. Stafford._

_Half the time she doesn't have a servant, and all the time she has a
mother-in-law, who is pie crust, and Miss Lou Barbee, who's a bagpipe,
and with the doors locked and windows shut so no one can see, she has
worked herself to death.  What I want done is to have an invitation
sent her from an old friend to be the guest of the hospital here for a
month, and you will be the friend and she will never know it.  Miss
Polk, the superintendent of the hospital, will manage things.  I've
talked it over with her, and she understands.  Miss Polk is a perfectly
grand person.  For Simon-pure sense there isn't her equal on earth.
She and I have decided on what we would do if we had money.  We'd have
a Fund for Tired Mothers and Fathers.  It would be used to give them a
Rest before Death._

_I hope you won't mind sending the money.  I don't think you will, for
everybody says business is so prosperous it's actually unrighteous, and
it's in the Bible that you ought to put your treasures where you can
find them again, or something like that.  If you can't send it I know
there will be a good reason for your not sending it, but I would like
to have it by Monday if possible, so Mrs. Stafford can go to the
Hospital the next day.  Later, four other people can have their turn.
It is to be used not for illness, but for Tiredness; for broken-downers
and worn-outers who need being waited on and fed up and allowed to keep
still.  Miss Polk and I are going to decide on who needs a rest the
most before I go away, and I send you for it, Father dear, an armful of
squeezes and the biggest bunch of kisses the mail-man can take._

That was all I told him about the Rest money, but I said a little
something about the picnic I thought I ought to give.  Everybody in
town has given something, and, having accepted, I have to return, and
the picnic will be the best thing for Whythe and Elizabeth.  I didn't
mention the ex-lovers to Father, of course.  Even to a father one
doesn't have to tell everything in life.


I haven't seen Whythe alone but once since the night of the MacLean
party, and then I stopped any tendencies that showed signs of being
personal, and talked most of the time about the picnic which we can't
have until late in the month.  Every day is engaged up to the
twenty-fourth.  Whythe tried to talk of Mr. Algernon Grice Baker, but I
cut that out also.  Sarcasm doesn't suit him, and some day he might be
sorry.  The Superseder has gone, however, and every day Elizabeth
passes Whythe's office, and every day Whythe happens to be at his
window at the time of passing.  They speak, but so far that is all.  I
am sorry the picnic has to wait so long.  They are two silly children.
Their fingers aren't in their mouths, but their heads are on the side
when they see each other, and the thing's getting on my nerves.  Almost
any kind of sin is easier to stand than some sorts of silliness.

I wonder why I stay awake so much at night!  It's very unusual, and I
try my best to go to sleep, but I can't sleep.  Always I am thinking of
Mr. William Spencer Sloane and the things I would say to him if he were
in hearing distance.  Not one line have I had from him for more than
two weeks.  Not a card or a little present, which he usually sends from
every place he goes to, or any sign to show he is living.  I got so mad
when I realized he hadn't noticed me for fourteen days that I couldn't
keep in things which had to come out, and, seeing Miss Susanna was
sleeping the sleep of worn-outness, I got up the other night and
lighted a candle behind the bed, and on the floor I wrote a letter that
maybe wasn't altogether as accurate as it might have been.  I wouldn't
have sent it the next day if it hadn't been for a letter I got from
Jess, but after I read hers I sent mine flying.

I haven't cooled down yet from reading Jess's letter.  I am not going
to cool down until I see the cause of it face to face, and if Billy
thinks it makes the least difference to me how he amuses himself or
with whom he spends his time sightseeing he thinks Wrong!  I was going
to tear up the letter I had written him in the middle of the night for
the relief of indignations and because in the middle of the night
things seem so much bigger and harder and stranger than in the
daylight; but after I read the letter from Jess I added a postscript to
mine and almost ran down to the post-office to mail it, for fear if I
didn't do it quick I mightn't do it at all.  Ever since I sent it off I
have been perfectly horrid, and I can hardly stand myself.  I have put
off trying to make Whythe and Elizabeth see how stupid they are, and as
Elizabeth hasn't been very nice to me I haven't felt it to be my duty
to show her what a goose she is.  Neither have I told Whythe that
almost any girl who adored him would do for his wife.  As I don't adore
I wouldn't do, and I think he is beginning to take it in.  A dozen
times of late he has told me he doesn't understand me.  He does not.
And never will.

The thing in Jess's letter which made me hot was this: "What is the
matter with you and Billy?  Pat says (Pat is Patricia, Billy's sister)
that you've been pretty horrid about writing him, and he's been
blue-black at not getting letters from you; but at present he is having
a good time with a very jolly girl from the West who is at their hotel.
Chirp him something cheerful, Canary Bird.  If I were younger or Billy
older you shouldn't have him.  I'd have him myself.  I'm not going to
stand for bad treatment of him, and if those Southern boys who make
love to every pretty girl they see, and make it better than any boys on
earth, have made you forget an old friend, I'm coming down and take you
back home.  Behave yourself, Kitty Canary, and write Billy the sort of
letter we scream over up here."  And then she went on with other things.

It is ridiculous in Pat to say I haven't written Billy!  I have.  Three
long letters and three cards, and certainly he can't expect more than
that, as he hasn't been gone but two months and five days; and,
besides, friends ought to have such confidence in each other that they
don't need letters to prove their friendship.  Not a word have I had
from him in more than two weeks, and if Jess thinks I am going to write
him a chirp letter (which he won't have time to read if he is going
around so much with a Western girl and having so much fun) she, too,
thinks Wrong.  That Westerner explains why I haven't heard from him for
so long.  It is outrageous in Billy to behave as he has been behaving.
All men are alike.  Every one of them.  It was ignorance in me to
imagine Billy was different.  He isn't.  The more I thought of how
mistaken I had been in him the madder I got, and I just wrote a
postscript to my letter and flew to the post-office with it.  It seemed
providential that my letter was ready to send.  I hope he will read it
while on one of his joyous excursions with the Western Woman, who is
doubtless twenty-five, maybe thirty, and just making use of Billy, who
hasn't sense enough to see it.  I nearly cried my eyes out last night,
before Miss Susanna came up to bed, because it was necessary to send
him such a letter.  Still, Billy has to learn things in life and he
might as well learn them early.  What I wrote was this:

_Dear Billy,--I have been having such a perfectly grand time lately
that it has been impossible to squeeze out a scrap in which to write
you, and yet I have wanted to do so, for I am sure you will be glad to
know how fearfully happy I am and what is causing the happiness.  I am
in love.  It is the most wonderful thing I have ever been in, and
thrillingly interesting.  I suppose you have been in it many times, but
not my way, or you would have mentioned it, just as I am doing to you,
as we are such old friends, and friends have the right to know of
important happenings.  I hope you will like each other when you meet,
for, though you are very unlike, you are both made of male material,
and I have often noticed that men have many peculiarities in common.
One of them is out of sight out of love, and a great readiness to be
admired and entertained.  He is a lawyer and couldn't be better born,
though he might be better educated; still, one mustn't expect all
things in one man, and his eyes are so wonderful, and he uses such
poetic prose, that the lack of money and a few other lacks shouldn't
count.  He lives in a beautiful old house which has proud traditions
and no bathrooms, and his family is one of the oldest and most
disagreeable in America; still, we would not have to live with them if
we were married.  Nothing on earth could make me sleep under the same
roof with his sisters, who are so churchy that the minister himself is
subject under them.  And neither would it be safe for me to be too
closely associated with his mother.  However, things of that sort are
in the distance, which may be far or may not, and I am not thinking of
immediate marriage, but just how magnificent it is to have somebody in
love with you who knows how to say so in the most delicious way, and
with a voice that, when the moon is out, is truly heavenly.  I am
telling you about it because I thought you might be interested and
would like to know of my happiness; but, of course, I don't want you to
tell any one else, as it is still a secret and all so indefinite that
it wouldn't do to speak of it to any one but you.  I am scribbling this
in the middle of the night, because I can't sleep for thinking of some
one, and because there is no time in the day in which to write.  I hope
you are having a great time.  Give my love to the family and write me
of your gladness at knowing of mine._

  _As ever,

Now what do you suppose made me write such slush as that?  And why is a
female person born with such horridness in her that she can say things
that are not so with a smile in public and cry her eyes out when alone?
That's what I have been doing lately, though I can't let tears have
much time, for I am not by nature a crier, and they would disturb Miss
Susanna at night.  In my secret heart I just wrote that letter to Billy
because I was indignant with him for not writing to me for more than
two weeks, and I didn't intend to let him think I was sitting on a
tombstone waving a willow branch in one hand and wiping tears away with
the other.  And, besides, I have been in love.  Summer love.  And it
has been exciting.  No one could expect me to go through life and not
have but one experience in love making and hearing, and because a girl
enjoys the different manners of expression it doesn't mean she is not
particular about the story not being illustrated.  I don't illustrate
or allow illustrations, which, of course, lessens some of the thrill,
but I promised Jess I would always draw the line at the right time, and
I have.  I have not been engaged for half a minute, and I wouldn't have
added the postscript if it hadn't been for her letter and what she told
me about that girl from some Western town who is no more his sort than
I am her brother's.  Billy is perfectly blind about some things, and
has no discrimination where it is most needed.  Anyhow, I added the

_P.S.--By the time you get this I may be engaged.  Thank you for what
you would say if here._

_K. C._


It was after I sent the letter that I got so restless I couldn't sit
still, and as there was nothing I enjoyed doing I spent a good deal of
my tune at the hospital with Miss Polk, who is a very splendid person,
and every day I went in to see Mrs. Stafford.  She is having the
grandest rest, with rubs and good eats and nothing to do but be waited
on and cared for, that a tired person ever had, and I am the only one
who is allowed to see her, which is beyond the understanding of
Twickenham Town.  I'm cheerful is the reason I'm allowed to see her,
the town is told, and that's enough for it to know.

It certainly is queer how some things happen in the nick of time.
Father sent me the money, but told me to try to be as practical as
possible, knowing I am given to doing impractical things; and I took it
to Miss Polk, and nobody but she and I know where it came from.  And
then she invited Mrs. Stafford to be a guest of the hospital for a
month.  I happened to be at the house when the note came.  I thought it
best to be there accidentally, in case there should be argument and
talk, and the Man of the House should still think Woman's Place was in
the Home, and sure enough there was.  Mrs. Stafford read the note, and
her face got as white as death, and after a minute she said it would be
heaven to go, but of course she couldn't.  And the noble creature who
is her husband said it was very presumptuous in whoever had invited her
to be the guest of the hospital, and that he wasn't in the habit of
having his wife visit such places on the invitation of unknown
interferers, and of course she couldn't go.  And just as he said that
Mrs. Stafford keeled over in a dead faint right at his feet, as if
something had given out at the thought of rest.  I knew that was my
chance, and I took it.

"Stop that automobile!"  I waved to a man who was coming down the
street, and as he stopped I knelt and did the things Billy had made me
learn how to do the first year we went to camp.  And seeing the poor,
tired soul had just fainted, and would come to in a minute, I spoke
quick to the man looking down at her, scared to death, as were the
children, who began to cry, and told him he wouldn't have a wife much
longer to be interfered with if he didn't come down from that horse he
thought he was riding and have some common sense.

"Don't you see she is worn out," I said, "and got nothing to go on
with?  Everything has given out, and the next time she drops over in
this way she may never get up again."  I was putting some water on her
face as I spoke, and, seeing her eyes begin to open a little, I called
to Mr. Everett, who had gotten out of his car and was on the porch, to
help Mr. Stafford put his wife in and take her to the hospital, and the
frightened husband for once did as he was told.  I hopped in with her
and held her up and told Mr. Everett to drive like old Scratch, and he
drove.  It was all over so quickly nobody knew what had happened.

It was like somebody being kidnapped and dragged off by highwaymen,
taking her away so hurriedly, but if it hadn't been done that way there
would have been endless talk and a thousand reasons why she couldn't
go; and if she hadn't she would have soon gone for good.  Sometimes
somebody has to be high-handed, and even if that billy-goat of a
husband pretends to resent what I did his wife isn't resenting it, and
she is the one that counts.  I always agree with her that it was such a
strange thing I happened to be there the day the note came.  And also
she thinks it strange I decided so quickly to take her to the hospital,
when she had just said she couldn't go.  I tell her I do a good many
things on the spur of the moment, and getting the men to pick her up
and hurry away with her was just another case of spur, and she shuts
her eyes when I say that and looks as if she is praying.  The lucky
part was her fainting at the right time.  Anyhow, she is at the
hospital, and that old rooster of hers is finding out a good many
things it took her absence from home for him to learn.  I never expect
to get married.  NEVER!


I have just found out why Elizabeth and Whythe had their break.  Miss
Bettie Simcoe told me.  It took Miss Bettie some time to get at the
bottom of it, but Elizabeth told her last night, and this morning I was
given the information at the first moment Miss Bettie could get me to

Elizabeth was dead right in the stand she took, but her little spurt of
independence didn't last long, and she is now ready to give in when the
chance comes to give.  Miss Bettie added that on her own account.
Whythe couldn't afford to be married, but that wasn't to interfere with
his marriage.  He had expected to take Elizabeth to his mother's home
and plant her in it, but when he told her Elizabeth balked.  She
preferred to stay with her aunt Susanna after her marriage to going to
Whythe's home, and when she so informed him he said things he
shouldn't, and then both sent off skyrockets and the whole thing went
up in the air.  And then I came.

She has now changed her mind and is willing to follow her husband
wherever he leads.  She is truly womanly, also she is still wearing the
ring of the beau with whom she sought to bring Whythe to terms, and to
please her worldly aunt.  But she will return the ring when it is
proper to do so.  She is waiting to find out.

Elizabeth had more sense than I gave her credit for in refusing to live
in the House of Eppes; but it's either live there or not live with
Whythe, and she evidently can't live without him.  I'd hate love to
make me lose the little gumption I was born with, and even my little
knows no house is big enough for a son's wife and a mother-in-law and
three in-law sisters.  It won't be a Home, Sweet Home, place when
Elizabeth enters the Eppes house, and it will be nip and tuck as to who
wins out, but that's not my business.  I'm sorry for both sides, and
thankful I'm not related to either.  Also, I will get out of the way as
soon as possible, but until the picnic there doesn't seem a possible

There is nothing in life that is not over if life is long enough, and
my little love affair with Mr. Whythe Rives Eppes belongs to the past.
Elizabeth can have him any minute she wants, and unless actions do not
speak louder than words she wants him right away, and he her.  I do not
see how she is possibly going to stand his teeth.  Still, there are a
great many things I do not understand in life.

The picnic is over.  By giving it I brought down a good deal of comment
and criticism on my brown and curly head, but it does not matter.
Nothing except sin really matters if we have sense enough to see it.  I
invited everybody in Twickenham Town that I liked to the picnic, and
some few I didn't, the latter being relations of those I did.  I don't
think a person ought to be punished for their relations, any more than
being held responsible for them, and so I included them, too.  What I
was criticized for was asking to the picnic quite a number of people
who don't usually go to the same places at the same time the
Historicals go, and it made talk.  That night Miss Araminta Armstrong,
on the quiet, told me she knew I meant to do right, but one had to use
judgment in life, and it wasn't well to put ideas in some people's
heads.  I told her I knew it, knew certain kinds of heads couldn't take
in certain ideas, one of which was that people could enjoy friendliness
and outdoorness and a lunch they didn't have to prepare for themselves,
even if they were not high-born, and as the ones referred to did not
have contagious diseases their presence wouldn't prove dangerous and
the Ancestrals needn't be uneasy.  Also I told her I didn't care for
judgment as much as I ought, and if human beings knew one another
better they might find they were not as unlike as they thought.  She
didn't say anything more.  Neither did any one else say anything to me.
To one another they said a good deal.

It was at the picnic I had a little talk with Whythe.  We went down to
a stream under a big willow-tree, and he started on the usual, but I
told him he must not say anything more to me on that subject, and if he
were the man I thought him he would not allow Elizabeth to marry the
Compensator she was no more in love with than I was.  Also, I said a
few more things that were pleasant for him to hear, such as Elizabeth's
heart was breaking (it was, as much as her kind of heart could break),
and I told him it was foolishness to ruin one's life because of a
misunderstanding, and that both had doubtless been in the wrong.  And
incidentally I let drop that if, after years of preparation, I ever got
married I would have nothing to bring my husband but myself, as my
father had made up his mind that young people should make their own way
in life (he ought to have so made it up if he hasn't), and Whythe said
that cut no figure with him, and asked me point-blank if I did not love
him.  It didn't sound polite to say no, and yet I couldn't truthfully
say yes, so I just sighed and shook my head.  When he asked me if I
could give him no hope, I answered _no_ with such uncomplimentary
quickness that I had to cough to overcome it, and then I told him it
was impossible for a girl of Elizabeth's taste and training and
character, who had once loved such a man as he, to really care for any
one else.  And the blackness in his face, caused by my unnecessary
emphasis, died out, and I saw he was agreeing with me concerning
Elizabeth, and that I would not have to insist on what I said being so.
A man's appetite for flattery is never poor, and usually it is hearty.
When we got up to go back to where lunch was being served Whythe had
quite a determined air about him.  I told him if I could help in any
way to let me know.  An hour later I saw him and Elizabeth going down
to the same stream and the same old willow tree.

When the time came to go home I pretended I had to see Florence Kensey
about something that was important, and in the confusion of getting the
people in the cars I managed to have Whythe put Elizabeth in his, and
told them to get away quick and I would come on with Mason Page.  They
got.  And the next day Elizabeth looked like some one who had been
unbandaged and was letting out breath that for a long time had been
held in.  Also, she looked pinker and whiter than ever, and so Pure
that it was not possible for me to stay close to her, so I got away.
No longer Hurt and Misunderstood, she went about smiling in sweet
triumphantness that was not put in words, but oozed without them, and
her manner to me was one of deepest sympathy.  Poor Whythe!


There are some things not required of human nature to stand.  Elizabeth
Hamilton Carter is one of them.  I was glad to give her back her beau.
I felt truly Virginian in doing it, for Virginians always say, when
giving you something, that they don't want it; I certainly didn't want
Whythe.  I wouldn't have known what to do with him after the summer was
over, and I was conscious of great relief in getting him off my hands
without further loss or trouble.  I couldn't tell Elizabeth this, of
course, though there were times when it took a good deal of something I
did not know I had to keep from doing so.  Also, it took more strength
to keep several other things to myself than I knew I possessed.  It
took praying and the end of the sheet to do it, but I did it, and I'm
getting encouraged about K. C.

What encourages me is this: Two nights after the picnic Elizabeth came
to my room and asked if she might have a little talk with me, as she
felt she ought to.  I told her she could, and she sat down and began.
Miss Susanna was back in her own quarters, the people from Florida
having gone, and I had just finished saying my prayers and was ready to
hop into bed when Elizabeth knocked at my door.  I knew what was coming
from the look on her face and her manner of walking, and the way she
held her head.

If ever I write that book I am always thinking about I am going to put
Elizabeth in it as well as Miss Araminta Armstrong, and if I could get
some men to match them I would have some corking characters to begin
with.  But no kind of pen-and-ink picture of Elizabeth would do her
justice.  Her sweetness of speech when she is particularly nasty is
beyond the power of human portrayal.  I got in bed quick when she said
she wanted to talk, because I was afraid I might have to hit something,
and the pillow was the only thing I could manage without sound.  I put
it where I could give it a dig when politeness required control, and
told her to go ahead.

In her last sleep Elizabeth will pose.  She took her seat near the
window where the moonlight could shine on her (she looked very pretty
in her pink-silk kimono, a hand-over from her rich aunt, and shabby but
becoming in color), and for a moment she didn't say anything, just
fooled with the pink ribbon on her hair.  And then she said she had a
secret to tell me; said it so soft, with her head on the side, that I
had to ask her to speak louder please, and I got nearer the edge of the
bed.  Elbow on it and chin in the palm of one hand, I prayed hard to be
polite in my own room, and reached out for an end of the sheet with the
other.  Again I told her to go ahead.  After a minute she went.

"You and Whythe have been such friends that I think you should be the
first to know that--"

"Have you and Whythe made up?"  I stuck my bare foot over the edge of
the bed and wriggled it.  "If you have you had better be married quick
and not take any more chances.  I'm awfully glad if things are settled.
Have you bounced the other fellow yet?"

It was cruel in me to take out of her mouth what she was moistening her
lips to say, but I was sleepy and I didn't want details.  She had no
idea of being cut out of saying what it was her determination to say,
however, considering I had been responsible for some unhappy days
during the past two months, and before she got through she had said all
she wanted me to hear.  If it hadn't been for the pillow I would have
rolled out of bed.  The nerve of her!  The belief of her!  And, oh, my
granny! the punishment, as she imagined, of me!

Before she left the room she told me she could no longer hold out
against Whythe's pleadings.  Told me he had suffered so during the
summer she was uneasy about him, and, though he had tried to forget, it
had been useless, and, unable to endure it any longer, he had come to
her and told her he could stand no more, and if she did not promise to
marry him at once he would--he would--  Her voice trailed, but I said
nothing, the end of the sheet being stuffed into my mouth for
politeness' sake, and when her tears had been wiped away she began

"It is hard to forgive Whythe, because you are so young, and he knows
how fascinating he is and how little experience you have had with young
men, but his father was a flirt before him" (poor Father!  I thought of
the retribution that had come to him in Mother, and I pushed in more
sheet), "and it is natural in a man to seek amusement and entertainment
when he is suffering as Whythe was.  I hope you will forgive him.  It
is because he may have made you imagine things that were not so, and
because you have been so nice to him, that I thought you should be the
first to know."

I rolled back to the side of the bed facing her, from which I had
rolled the other way for safety, and took the end of the sheet out of
my mouth.  "Have you told IT?" I asked.  "It doesn't make any
difference about my knowing as I knew before you did, but something is
due that which you brought back with you.  Have you told IT, Elizabeth?"

"Told who?  I don't understand."  She sat up.  "I don't know who you
are talking about."

"Don't you?"  I too sat up and swung my bare feet over the side of the
bed.  "I am talking about the person to whom I read in the Twickenham
Town Sentinel that you were engaged.  He dresses like a man, and he may
be one, but even if he isn't he deserves to be treated decently by the
lady who had promised to marry him.  I suppose he knows."  I nodded to
her hand, on which was the ring he had given her and which she had been
twirling as she talked.  "That is, if you have had time to tell him."

"That is entirely my affair!"  When not hurt or injured Elizabeth is
superior, and she added scorn to the tone of her voice, but stopped
fooling with the ring, which I know she hated to send back.  "I see you
do not appreciate the confidence I am putting in you or the compliment
I am paying you by telling you first, and if that is the case I will
go."  She made movement as if to get up, but she had no idea of going,
so I didn't notice it, but kept on swinging my feet, and then I asked
her if she had told Miss Susanna, and if she hadn't she ought to at
once, Miss Susanna being closely related and I nothing but a summer
boarder.  And I said I hoped she would be married right away, as I
would love to be at the wedding, and if she would ask me to be one of
the bridesmaids I would be one with pleasure.  But she wouldn't answer
me.  Seeing she still had something to say, and wouldn't leave until
she said it, I put my feet back in bed and lay flat with my hands under
my head and my eyes shut, and when at last I was fixed and quiet she
began for a third time.

I don't remember a thing after that except a sort of monotone voice and
something about people talking about me because I had accepted Whythe's
attentions when everybody knew--I didn't hear what everybody knew, and
not until I did hear a sound at the door did I wake up good, and then I
jumped as if shot and asked her, half-asleep, if she were going to live
with Mother and Sister and Sister Edwina and Miss Lily Lou when she was
married, but she answered not.  And since her midnight confession she
hath not opened her mouth unto me and her little lips get together when
she sees me coming, and from her friends I have learned that she is
deeply distressed at my treatment of her.  And to her friends I have
said Rats! and so endeth the efforts at friendship which she imagined
she had made.  I am never going to pretend to be friends with a person
who is not truthful, and whom I understand as I understand Elizabeth
Hamilton Carter.  I don't like her, and though it is not necessary to
say so unless occasion requires, neither is it necessary to appear to
be what I am not.  I like Whythe, and when I saw him a few days after
Elizabeth gave herself the satisfaction of communicating to me the
return of his tempted affections, I shook hands with him good and hard
and wished him all the happiness I knew there was little chance of his
getting.  If I were a man and had to live in the house with a female
who shut her mouth tight every time she got mad and was continually
hurt and always sensitive, there would likely be in that house battle,
murder, or sudden death.  Any kind of outspokenness is better to be
endured than silent offense.


This is the last day of August, and it is a day
Twickenham Town is going to remember for
a long time.  I have done again that which I
should not have done, and I guess I had better go
home.  I had expected to stay until the twenty-seventh
of September and return with Father, who
was to spend a week here with me, but he can't come.

I suppose it was the awful disappointment of
knowing Father couldn't come, and being so miserable
myself (not one line yet from that person named
William Spencer Sloane, who is probably married
to an elderly woman by this time), and because
of my sureness that no human being could be
depended on in time of temptation, especially
vigorous, aggressive temptations that come out
of the West, that I gave help where help seemed
to be needed, and now again I am in everybody's
mouth.  Also my ankles are still a little sore from
the weight of the window being on them as I hung
out, but they are nearly well, and even if they
were not it would not matter.  Two young hearts
are happy and a proud person is not, and the
blame is on me.  That also doesn't matter.  I am
soon going away.

The thing I did, which maybe I shouldn't have
done, was to help little Amy Frances Winston
get married.  She is the property of her
grandmother, who is a very important part of
Twickenham Town.  Having no parents or sisters or
brothers, and only enough money of her own for
her keep, and no spunk or spirit, she has gone on
for years loving an awfully nice chap named
Taylor French, with little chance of ever marrying
him, and then in hops this Miss Frisk, who asks
her why she doesn't quit fumbling and stop fearing,
and the thing is done.

There is nothing the matter with Taylor French
except he is not Ancestral.  Mrs. Brandon, Amy's
grandmother, is diseased on the subject of
ancestry, and the first thing she asks about a man
is who is he.  Knowing she would want to know
who I was, I mentioned to her one day that I
had never had any grandparents on either side
(living ones I meant), and that we were not
historic, and no member of our family had ever
been distinguished (for righteousness, though I
didn't use the word), and that we had made our
own way in life, which was true, for Father didn't
have a thing but what he was making when he
married Mother.  I also told her I did not mind
in the least, and if I did I would try to remember
that Christ was a carpenter and St. Paul a
sail-maker, though I'd never care to be intimate
with St. Paul.  And I told her I thought it was
yourself that counted most, after all, and not dead
people, though it must be nice to know somebody
in your family had been something if you were not.
All she said was, "Are you a suffragist?"  When
I said I was and I hoped I didn't look as if I
were not, for I wouldn't like anybody to be
mistaken about it, she gave me a long look and left
the room.

She did not exactly draw her skirts aside with
her hand as she passed me, but she did it inwardly;
that is, I imagined she did from the expression
of her face, and the next day she must have
fumigated the house, for when I went by an awful
smell of sulphur was coming from it.  She is a
low bender and bower in church at the mention
of a name belonging to one she believes a Prince
in disguise, who in another life will receive her
into His kingdom, and whom she professes to
follow in the expectation of being rewarded for so
doing, but her head is held high when she doesn't
care to see the lowly ones He came to give light
and life to.  I don't mean she doesn't give old
clothes and food and sometimes a little wood to
old Mrs. Snicker, who can't move, from
rheumatism, but she would no more speak other than
stiffly to some of the people I know here than she
would go in for suffrage.  She doesn't realize she
is a living woman.  She thinks she is an Ancestor.
For years she has forbidden Taylor French to
come to her house, and Amy has to see him elsewhere.

She has seen a good deal of him lately, Amy
has.  Taylor doesn't live in Twickenham Town
now.  He is living in North Carolina and has a
good position, and is able to get married (I know
because I asked him), and any minute day or
night in the past eighteen months in which Amy
would have agreed he would have married her
and taken her away, but Amy wouldn't agree.
Things have been dragging along this way so
long that the nerves of both are frazzled out, and
there's nothing to hope for but death, and, of
course, it isn't respectful to think too hopefully
of death and a grandmother.  And then I popped
in and gave things a little push and the curtain dropped.

The way it dropped was this.  I mean the way
they got married.  Taylor was in town the last
two weeks in August, and, as everybody invited
him to their parties, he and Amy managed to see
a good deal of each other (also the seeing wasn't
altogether at places where other people were
around).  But she wasn't allowed to meet him
on the square or to receive letters from him
straight.  And sometimes, if he wanted to say
something in a hurry, or send her candy or a new
book, or any of the usuals, he had to give a signal
by throwing pebbles on her window at night,
and then she would throw out a string and he
would tie the thing to it and she would haul
up, and the Personage, who was usually asleep,
would be none the wiser.  The Personage is deaf,
which is a great help.

Well, one night three of the town girls and
myself, with a boy apiece, had been to see Amy,
and when we went up-stairs (just the girls) to
see a new hat a city cousin had sent her, we heard
a little tap at the west window.  It had been
raining, which accounted for our being indoors
with the windows lowered, and when we heard
the tapping we were so excited we could hardly
breathe.  It was fearfully thrilly, just like things
one reads about in books, and I told the girls
to put out the light quick, and when it was out
I went to the window and saw Taylor standing
in the shadow of a big tree.  He signaled me to
drop the line, but when I threw the piece of
twine Amy gave me I threw it wrong and it got
caught in a broken piece of shingle on the edge
of the porch and hung there.  I couldn't get it
back and Taylor couldn't get it down, and,
seeing it was necessary for something to be done, I
pushed aside the curtains (they were made of
striped calico, blue and white) and told the girls
I was going to lean out of the window on the roof
of the porch to get the string loose, and they
must hold on to my feet, for the roof sloped and
I might slip if they didn't.  They tried to stop
me, and Amy wrung her hands, being very
nervous from living on a strain and loving in
secret, but I was out head foremost in a jiffy,
and all four made a grab for my feet and legs.
Being flat on my stomach, and having long arms,
I got the string off from the piece of shingle, and
just as I did it and threw it to Taylor I heard
a noise and a little cry from the girls, something
about, "Oh, my goodness! here she comes!" and
I knew what had happened.

"Pull the window down on my feet and let
go," I called, as loud as I dared, "and draw the
curtains so she won't see my shoes.  If she asks
where I am, tell her I am outdoors.  Quick!
Let it down!"

They got it down and drew the curtains just
as her Royal Highness walked in, and as she went
toward the window Katherine Hardy says that
never before had she prayed as she prayed that
minute, and then she thought of mice, which was
a quick answer.  She gave a little scream and
jumped with her hands over her eyes and bumped
into the lady, who, being a woman first, was also
afraid of mice, and she moved, too.  Seeing the
girls flying around, she told them to stop, told
them Maud Hendren's mother had telephoned
that she must come home at once and, not
missing me, owing to the girls moving about so
she wouldn't notice, she went out of the room,
skirts still held up, and the minute she was out
they rushed for the window and pulled me in.

My dress was a sight when I got in, and I
didn't have much skin on my elbows, and my
hands were stuck up with splinters, as I had to
hold on to anything I could clutch, being afraid
the window would not hold my feet and the
shingles being rotten.  But otherwise no damage
was done, and I got the note Taylor had tied
to the string, which I had pulled up by the time
the Ogress had departed.  I gave it to Amy and
told her to read it quick.

She read it, and after doing it turned so white
and looked so queer we were frightened.  For a
minute she couldn't speak, then she handed me
the note, and when I asked if I must read it
aloud she nodded her head and sat down, as if
to stand up was impossible.  I glanced over it
first so as to leave out the little love decorations
and just read the practical part, and what
Taylor told her was that he had just gotten a
telegram from his house (it's iron-works I think)
saying he must leave on important business for
South America on the 6th of September.  The
house had been talking of sending him for some
time, and had been waiting for certain developments
which had suddenly developed, and he
would have to go.  Would she go with him, and
if she would not he never expected to come back
again, but would stay over there and take charge
of the South-American branch of the house he was
going to establish.  She would have to decide
at once, as he couldn't stay a minute later
than the 30th.  They could be married anywhere
she said, only it must be quickly done.  He had
gotten the telegram an hour before, and in the
morning she must get Kitty Canary to fix things
so he could see her and talk more fully.  Kitty
could be depended on and would manage
somehow.  The rest being private and personal, I
skipped it and gave the note back to Amy, who
was as white as the dress she had on, and her
hands as limp as wet kid gloves.

Excited!  To my dying day I will never
forget the thrill of it.  Being in love myself, as I
had once thought, wasn't a circumstance to it,
and the other girls were as bad as I.  To help
a heart-yearning, backboneless young girl
escape from the captivity of a cast-iron
grandparent was something no red-blooded person
could refuse, and every one of us agreed that the
only thing for Amy to do was to walk into the
den of lions and tell the head lioness the truth;
ask her permission to many the man she loved,
and, if she would not give it, to take it, anyhow,
and tell her farewell and leave at once for South
America.  That, at least, was what I thought
ought to be done, and after a while the others
thought so, too.  At first there was a lot of
argument, but I told them I would never agree to
Amy's running away to be married without her
first telling her grandmother she was going to do
it.  That is, if she would not let her be married
at home.  If the G. M. would not let, then Amy
could take the first train out, but she mustn't
take it until she had shown her grandmother the
respect she did not deserve.  I never could bear
runaway marriages.  There's always something
so common about them, and I wasn't going to be
party to one if I could help it.

All the time we were talking we left Amy out
of it, and never once asked her what she
preferred in the matter.  The reason we didn't was
the poor little thing was so frightened and
distressed that she could not open her lips.  We
would not let her come down-stairs with us, and
when we said good night I whispered that I would
see Taylor on my way to Rose Hill, and at ten
o'clock the next morning we would meet her at
the back of Miss Susanna's vegetable garden
under the big locust-tree, and that she mustn't
worry, we'd fix it, he and I.  Also I told her she
might bring up some toilet things and little
traveling necessities and leave them with me;
and though she clung to me like a frightened
child and didn't speak, she was down by the
barn the next morning at ten, and so was Taylor.
I let them get there a little ahead of me.


They are married and gone, and for two days Twickenham Town has talked
of nothing else.  It made a regular soup of the marriage.  The bride
and groom were the stock, the grandparent and maiden aunts were the
thickening, and I was the seasoning; but all that does not matter now.
The ancestralized person has learned that the twentieth century sees
some things clearer than the eighteenth did, but she will never admit
that she has learned it.  Taylor and Amy were not unmindful of what was
due her, however.  Taylor wrote her a very nice letter, asking her
permission to marry her granddaughter and take her to South America,
and her answer was low-down.  He wrote as a gentleman should, and she
answered as a lady shouldn't, for her answer was insulting, and a real
lady never humiliates any one.  After reading it Taylor told Amy to
meet him at seven o'clock on Wednesday morning, and they would be
married in the church with no one present but his brother (the only
relative Taylor has in town is a bachelor brother), and the sexton, the
minister, and me.  She met and the marriage took place.

We didn't tell a soul about the marriage.  The night before Amy spent
with me at Rose Hill, and, thinking it best Taylor should not be there,
I told him not to come, and sent the other boys home early.  In my room
I packed my suitcase and put in it two dresses I had never worn, which
I was glad to do, as it would mean that much less to pack when I went
home, and also I put in some other things; and though Amy cried a good
deal and didn't think she ought to take them, she was very particular
about how they went in.  She is very neat and careful, and I'm
fearfully quick, so it was well she watched me.  I told her she was
doing me a favor to dispossess me of what I didn't want and what was in
my way, and as we were the same height, though Amy is a little thinner,
owing to secret love and distress of mind, I knew the things would fit
her, and I was more than glad to get rid of them.  Also she didn't have
any of her own convenient, and she might as well be sensible.  She was,
and put in her own tooth brush and powder and left the rest to me, and
by eleven o'clock everything was ready.

When the next day the news flew around that the marriage had taken
place and I had been the leading spirit in it, I went to bed and stayed
there until the town had finished chewing me up, and then I came out
again.  It was the most sensible thing I ever did and saved a lot of
talk and argument.

Another reason I went to bed was because I was so homesick and so
lonely, and so something I had no name for, that I knew it was wiser to
be by myself.  I can't be much in life, but I can keep from being a
nuisance, and when you feel you haven't a friend on earth outside of
your family, who sometimes are queer also, you're apt to be a trial to
those you come in contact with.  For two whole days I stayed in my room
and thought of nothing but a big, brawny, domineering, dictating girl
from the West who was giving Billy no time to write letters; and though
I would die before I would let anybody know it, even Jess, I nearly
cried my eyes out under the bedclothes the day of the marriage.

Life is a poor thing at times.  And it is never so poor as when you
think a friend has failed you.  There was nothing on earth that could
have made me believe Billy would ever fail me when we had known each
other since children, and he had saved my life three or four times; but
how can I help believing it when he is letting a perfectly ordinary,
straight-haired, large-footed girl from the West make him forget that I
am living and spending the summer in Twickenham Town?  If he had not
forgotten, would he not write?  He would.  I am miserable and I will
never be happy until I can say some things to William Spencer Sloane
that he ought to hear.  But I'm trying to keep my miserableness to
myself.  People aren't interested in other people's miseries.  I wonder
if I will ever again get a letter from Billy!


It is a perfectly magnificent thing to be alive!  And this world is a
perfectly glorious place to be alive in!  There isn't a bird in
Twickenham Town that isn't singing to-day, or a flower that isn't
blooming, and, owing to the rain last night, the dust is laying.  As
for the sun--there couldn't be a more shining one, and the sky is a
blue so gorgeous that it seems heaven turned inside out, and in the air
is the snap of coolness that makes one want to walk and walk and walk,
and its crispness means fall is coming.  I love the fall.  I can't
think of anything I do not love to-day except Elizabeth Hamilton Carter
and Grandmother Brandon, and I don't exactly abhor them.  I just don't
like them, and prefer to stay out of their way.  But everybody else in
town is a dear, and I wish I knew I was coming back next summer.  That

It doesn't matter what is or what isn't.  The thing that matters is
that this morning I went to the post-office, as usual, but, what was
not as usual, I got what I had long been looking for, and which had
come not for endless, endless days.  When I saw the big batch of
letters and things from Billy, and knew that all my fears were at an
end, I was so excited I could not speak without signs that shouldn't
show, and, lest some one stop me, I put the mail inside my shirt-waist
and hopped on Skylark and flew out of town.

I didn't stop until I got to a big chestnut-tree about three miles from
Rose Hill, and there I took off Skylark's bridle and let her have all
the grass she could eat, and then I sat down and sorted the letters
out.  There were four from Billy and twelve cards and two packages, and
at first I couldn't understand why they had been held up, why I hadn't
gotten them before; and then I saw they were postmarked from the same
place, and had been mailed within three days of one another.  That
puzzled me, so I decided to open them and find out what was the
matter--whether it was the Western girl or something else.

I ought to have known it was something else!  And I have been
wondering, ever since I read the letters and found out about the
accident to Billy's eyes, when he came near being shot and the powder
got in them and nearly put them out, why it is that people are so
mistrusting and why we let one thing we can't understand make us forget
what we ought to understand very well.  Ten thousand kind things, right
things, nice things we take for granted, and then at the first thing we
think isn't kind or right or nice we forget the others and howl and
snort about the one we do not like.  At least that is what I did.  Not
outwardly, of course, but inwardly, for I'm pretty toplofty about being
treated right, and I flare out and say things I shouldn't at times, and
afterward I am so ashamed of myself that a worm of the dust is a perky
animal to me for a few minutes.  That condition of mind doesn't last
very long, however.  I am not by nature a humble-minded person.  While
it does last it is awful.  Perfectly awful.

When I read Billy's letter I laid right down on the grass and put my
face deep down in it, and there wasn't anything abominable that anybody
could have said about me that I would not have agreed to.  All the time
I had been furious with him for not writing as usual, he had been shut
up in a dark room, not able to see the food he was eating, much less
able to write letters, and then when they took the bandages off he
wrote so much they had to be put back again, and he was forbidden to
write more than a few lines, which accounted for so many cards.  He
wouldn't let any one else write me, and I don't understand exactly how
it happened except he saw a drunken man on the street waving a pistol,
and there were some children around, and before the policeman could get
to him Billy had caught his hand and the thing had gone off and some of
the powder got in his eyes.  He made light of it, but I know exactly
what he did.  I thought it was a Western product that was engrossing
him, and it was the children he was trying to save.  Oh, Billy, I'm a
pig!  A perfectly horrid pig!

And then I suddenly thought of the astonishing letter I had written
about being in love and maybe engaged, and I prayed hard that he would
never get it; but I knew it was too late for prayers.  And then I got
mad with Pat for writing to Jess about the girl from the West, and with
Jess for writing what Pat had written, and not for some time did I come
to my senses and realize I was the only person I had any right to get
mad with.  I got, all right.  And then I wondered what to do.  Billy
said they would sail on the 21st and reach New York on the 29th, so I
decided to go back to Rose Hill and begin to pack.

Father could not come to me, so I would go to Father and be home by the
time Billy got there.  It was only the 3d of September, but I decided I
would leave as soon as I could do so without remarks being made about
my going sooner than I expected, and to prevent remarks I would have to
invent a good reason for getting away.  Father's loneliness would make
a perfect reason for Twickenham Town, and a most dutiful one, and no
one would be apt to ask me why I hadn't thought of his loneliness
before; but it wouldn't do for the family.  They wanted me to stay out
of the city as long as possible, and while I was wondering what I could
do to get back, Mrs. Pettigrew passed with five of the children in the
buggy and asked if I knew there was a telegram for me at the station.
I told her I did not, and my heart got right where hearts always get
when telegrams are mentioned, and in the twinkling of an eye Skylark's
bridle was on and I on Skylark, and we raced like mad to town.

On the way I was thinking all the awful things that telegrams start one
to thinking, and I remembered it was just eleven days since I had sent
the letter to Billy, who had, of course, gotten it by this time, and,
not realizing how fast I was going, I was at the station before it
seemed possible to get there, and so out of breath I could not speak.
I slipped off the horse and held out my hand to Mr. Pepper for the
telegram, and when he handed me the yellow envelope I slid down on a
bench and held it as if it were a death-warrant, and not for some time
could I open it.  I was positive it was about Mother, who wasn't very
well when she last wrote, and everything I had ever done that I ought
not to have done, and everything I had left undone which I should have
done, walked right up in front of me and clutched me by the throat, and
I had to shut my eyes to keep my head steady.  I had inside the same
sinky feeling I felt the first time I went to Europe, on the first day

Mr. Pepper was looking at me, and so were several other people who
happened to be standing around, so I tried to get a grip on, and after
awhile I opened the envelope; but at first I couldn't see the words on
it.  Finally I took them in after three times reading them over, and at
last I understood.

Cut it out.  You are engaged to me.  Sailing to-morrow.  See you
September fifteenth.--BILLY.


There never was a sinner saved by grace who so wanted to make a noise
as I wanted to make one when I got into my head what had happened.  The
relief from fear and the joyfulness of knowing I had been pulled out of
another ditch made me dizzy for a moment, and down went my elbows into
my lap and down my face into my hands, and not until Mr. Pepper said
something to me did I lift my head and get up.  Then I threw my
riding-crop in the air, tossed up the Pepper baby, danced around with
him, and, suddenly seeing all present were watching me, and knowing
they felt they had a right to hear what was in the telegram without
waiting for Mr. Pepper to tell them, I said an old friend of mine, who
was anxious to know Twickenham Town, was coming to see it when he got
back from Europe.  After which I gave Mr. Pepper a little wink which he
understood, and I am sure no one was told the wording of the message I
had received.  Mr. Pepper has a good deal of sense.

Happy?  I was the happiest girl in all the world that day.  I nearly
sang my throat off when I got to my room, but I did not mention the
telegram to anybody save Miss Susanna, and I didn't go into details
with her about it.  I just said a friend was coming to see me when he
got back from Europe, and I said it in such a way she didn't think I
was interested very much.  She is so astonished by Elizabeth's
behavior, and so surprised at her marriage, which is to be in November,
that I don't think she paid any attention to what I said and got the
impression it was a friend of Father's who was coming to Twickenham
Town.  I let her keep it.  I did not give it to her knowingly, but
there was no need to take it away.

And last night, not being able to sleep, I knew I had not been in love
with Whythe at all.  I don't know a thing in the world about being in
love.  I had tried to think I knew something, but I was mistaken.  I
must say I enjoyed hearing Whythe's crescendo, obligato, diminuendo way
of making it, but I realize now I am not the sort of person to really
fall in love with strange men.  Certainly I could never do it with a
wabbly, changery, one-or-the-othery kind of man that Whythe is, and
while it was pretty scrumptious thinking a twenty-five-year-older was
in love with me, I soon found out it was a summer case and not at all
serious.  And I am thankful I never thought I was enough in love to
become engaged.  There might have been things to remember that one
likes to forget when the real one comes along, and I have nothing of
that sort to be sorry for.  I'm right particular at times.

If I am ever really and truly engaged I wonder if I will be as
particular as a sixteen-year-old person, a girl person, ought to be?  I
guess it will depend on whom I am engaged to, but, of course, not being
in love, I couldn't be engaged, and there is no use in thinking what I
might do under circumstances that might warrant the doing of it, and
when I see Billy I will just shake hands; that is--

Every time I think of his coming I feel like opening my arms so wide I
could take the whole world in, but I don't open them.  I just go look
at the calendar to see if another day hasn't gone by yet.  When this
morning I saw it was the 14th and realized there wasn't but one more
day to wait, I went to the window and did open my arms, and I sent a
message into the air.  And then, because I felt so sorry for Miss
Araminta Armstrong, who has nothing to wait for but older age, and for
Miss Bettie Simcoe, who has long since stopped hoping, I went
down-stairs and asked them if they wouldn't like to motor to Glade
Springs, and they said they would, and we went.  Also Mr. Willie
Prince.  I didn't want to ask him, but I couldn't leave him out, and of
course he wanted to go.  The going made the day pass a little quicker,
but it has been a long day!  Awful long!

For the last week I have been going around to almost every house in
town to say good-by.  I don't know the exact day I will leave, as that
will depend on when Mother says I must be home; but I didn't want to go
away and not say good-by to everybody and tell them what a good time I
have had, and I started telling very soon after I got Billy's message
saying he was coming.  I have thanked everybody for their niceness and
kindness to me, and told every one I hope to come back next summer, and
sometimes we have had little weeps, for they put their arms around me
and held me so tight I could hardly breathe.  And I know now there is
nothing as good as friendliness, and loving-kindness is more to be
desired than all things else on earth, and I am going to try to make it
grow wherever I live.  I will have a garden of it--have it in my heart.

I am afraid I will always have some practical things in my heart, too,
for of late I've been thinking about all that money Billy had to spend
in cabling me from Europe.  When Billy wants to do a thing he never
lets obstacles stand in his way, and he would have sent that cable if
he'd had to borrow the money from the Bank of England at an awful rate
of interest.  What he did do I guess was to get it from his mother.
She would take her head off and her heart out and hand both over if he
wanted them, and it isn't her fault that William, as she calls him,
isn't a ruined person.

I know she hated him to leave ahead of time, which he had to do to get
here on the 15th, the rest not sailing, Jess says, until the 20th; but
that's William again.  He doesn't waste time when he has anything to
attend to, and I know exactly what he said to his mother.  He will make
every arrangement and fix everything for them and then tell them
good-by.  He isn't much with words, Billy isn't.  He acts.  There's no
fumble in him, and even his mother, who thinks his mold was broken when
he was born and that the Lord never made but one like him, has to admit
he is a high-handed person when occasion requires.  I don't agree with
his mother in a good many things concerning William, but in some I do.
I wish he wasn't an only son.  An only son for a husband is hard on a

The thing I have been thinking about most since I got his cable,
however, is a certain thing that was in it.  I've worn the paper out
reading it, and at first there was no argument in my mind, but it is
coming, argument is.  And though I know it is a bad habit, especially
in girls and women and disliked by the other sex, how can you help it
when things are said that are not so?  Billy said, "You are engaged to
me."  How does he know?  I never told him so.  He hasn't exactly asked
me--that is, in a way that I would answer him--and he always got so
choky when on such subjects that I changed them quick, and yet he
announces that I am his, and with never so much as by your leave!

I am afraid, I'm terribly afraid, I am going to agree with him.  It's a
relief to have some things settled for you, and as he imagines I will
always be falling overboard, he doubtless thinks he had better keep a
life-preserver on me in case he isn't near enough to jump in after me.
He knows if I ever agree to put one on I will keep it on.  I have a
good deal of Father in me, and when I give my word I stick to it.

If any one had told me when I came to Twickenham Town that the chief
thing I would find out before I went away was that I wouldn't really
mind owning a life-preserver, my head would have gone up and I would
have been as chesty as a hen who tries to crow; and now I'm nothing but
a humble-minded person waiting for a high-handed one to come and take
me back home.  And I am perfectly willing to go.  Another thing I have
found out this summer is that it doesn't much matter where you are or
what you are doing; whether there is purple and fine linen or just
ancestors, or both together, or neither; if the one you want most isn't
with you, you will be pretty lonely after a while.

I have had a grand time in Twickenham Town, but I don't want to come
here again by myself.  If Mrs. William Spencer Sloane wants to take her
son away with her next summer, she won't be able to do it.  Her son
will be twenty-one next summer, and though I hope he will always be
respectful and obedient, as far as possible, to his mother's wishes,
still, she will have to remember there are other wishes in this world
besides hers.  I trust she will be nice about the discovery.  Mrs.
Sloane is a very handsome woman, but spoiled.  And very fond of having
her own way.

We are not apt to have much money, Billy and I.  We have often said we
thought young people ought to do their own scrambling, and I think
that's what we'll have to do, as our fathers think much the same way.
I'm not fond of herbs, but I can stand a dinner of them if Billy can,
and besides, it will be nice for us to work up together and not have
too quick a shove.  And another thing we agree about.  We know the
thing that counts most, and we are going to keep a good deal of it on
hand.  Father says neither poverty nor riches can kill love if it is
the right sort.  I know Billy's is the right sort, but I am crazy to
hear him put it into words.

He will have traveled thousands of miles to say something he could have
written, to tell me I am engaged to him and I might as well understand
it; but there won't be an extra sentence in the way he says it.  He
will be here to-morrow, and I bet the best thing I've got that all he
will say is: "Kitty Canary, we are going to decide right now on the day
and the month and the year.  I will wait until you get through college,
as you say I've got to, but I won't wait a day longer.  Let's get a
calendar and work it out."

And I, being a weak-minded person at times, will say, "All right,
Billy," and then--


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