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Title: A Reversion To Type
Author: Bacon, Josephine Daskam
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Reversion To Type" ***


By Josephine Daskam

Copyright, 1903, by Charles Scribner’s Sons

She had never felt so tired of it all, it seemed to her. The sun
streamed hot across the backs of the shining seats into her eyes, but
she was too tired to get the window-pole. She watched the incoming class
listlessly, wondering whether it would be worth while to ask one of
them to close the shutter. They chattered and giggled and bustled
in, rattling the chairs about, and begging one another’s pardon
vociferously, with that insistent politeness which marks a sharply
defined stage in the social evolution of the young girl. They irritated
her excessively--these little airs and graces. She opened her book with
a snap, and began to call the roll sharply.

Midway up the room sat a tall, dark girl, not handsome, but noticeably
well dressed. She looked politely at her questioner when spoken to, but
seemed as far in spirit as the distant trees toward which she directed
her attention when not particularly addressed. She seemed to have a
certain personality, a self-possession, a source of interest other than
collegiate; and this held her apart from the others in the mind of the
woman who sat before the desk.

What was that girl thinking of, she wondered, as she called another
name and glanced at the book to gather material for a question. What a
perfect taste had combined that dark, brocaded vest with the dull, rough
cloth of the suit--and she dressed her hair so well! She had a beautiful
band of pearls on one finger: was it an engagement-ring? No, that would
be a solitaire.

And all this time she called names from the interminable list, and
mechanically corrected the mistakes of their owners. Her eyes went back
to the girl in the middle row, who turned her head and yawned a little.
They took their education very easily, these maidens.

How she had saved and denied herself, and even consented to the
indebtedness she so hated, to gain that coveted German winter! And how
delightful it had been!

Almost she saw again the dear home of that blessed year: the kindly
housemother; the chubby _Mädchen_ who knitted her a silk purse, and
cried when she left; the father with his beloved ‘cello and his deep,
honest voice.

How cunning the little Bertha had been! How pleasant it was to hear her
gay little voice when one came down the shady street!”_Da ist sie, ja!_”
 she would call to her mother, and then Hermann would come up to her with
his hands outstretched. Had she had a hard day? Was the lecture good?
How brown his beard was, and how deep and faithful his brown eyes
were! And he used to sing--why were there no bass voices in the
States?”_Kennst du das Land_” he used to sing, and his mother cried
softly to herself for pleasure. And once she herself had cried a little.

“No,” she said to the girl who was reciting, “no, it takes the dative.
I cannot seem to impress sufficiently on your minds the necessity for
learning that list thoroughly. You may translate now.”

And they translated. How they drawled it over, the beautiful, rich
German. Hermann had begged so, but she had felt differently then. She
had loved her work in anticipation. To marry and settle down--she was
not ready. It would be so good to be independent. And now--But it
was too late. That was years ago. Hermann must have found some
yellow-braided, blue-eyed Dorothea by this--some _Mädchen_ who cared not
for calculus and Hebrew, but only to be what her mother had been, wife
and house-mother. But this was treason. Our grandmothers had thought

She looked at the girl in the middle row. What beautiful hair she had!
What an idiot she was to give up four years of her life to this round of
work and play and pretence of living! Oh, to go back to Germany--to see
Bertha and her mother again, and hear the father’s ‘cello! Hermann had
loved her so! He had said, so quietly and yet so surely: “But thou wilt
come back, my heart’s own. And always I wait here for thee. Make me
not wait long!” He had seemed too quiet then--too slow and too easily
content. She had wanted quicker, busier, more individual life. And now
her heart said, “O fool!”

Was it too late? Suppose she should go, after all? Suppose she should
go, and all should be as it had been, only a little older, a little more
quiet and peaceful? The very fancy filled her heart with sudden calm.
A love so deep and sure, so broad and sweet--could it not dignify any
woman’s life? And she had been thought worthy and had refused this love!
O fool!

Suppose she went and found--her heart beat too quickly, and her face
flushed. She called on the bright girl in the front row.

“And what have _you_ learned?” she said.

The girl coughed importantly. “It is a poem of Goethe’s,” she announced
in her high, satisfied voice. “_Kennst du das Land_”

“That will do,” said the German assistant. “I fear we shall not have
time for it to-day. The hour is up. You may go on with the translation
for to-morrow.” And as the class rose with a growing clamor she realized
that though she had been thinking steadily in German, she had been
talking in English. So that was why they had comprehended so well and
answered so readily! And yet she was too glad to be annoyed at the slip.
There were other things: her life was not a German class!

As the girls crowded out, one stopped by the desk. She laid her hand
with the pearl band on the third finger on the teacher’s arm. “You look
tired,” she said. “I hope you’re not ill?”

“Ill?” said the woman at the desk. “I never felt better. I’ve been
neglecting my classes, I fear, in the study of your green gown. It is so
very pretty.”

The girl smiled and colored a little.

“I’m glad you like it,” she said. “I like it, too.” Then, with a sudden
feeling of friendship, an odd sense of intimacy, a quick impulse of
common femininity, she added:

“I’ve had some good times in this dress. Wearing it up here makes me
remember them very strangely. It’s queer, what a difference it makes--”
 She stopped and looked questioningly at the older woman.

But the German assistant smiled at her. “Yes,” she said, “it is. And
when you have been teaching seven years the difference becomes very
apparent.” She gathered up her books, still smiling in a reminiscent
way. And as she went out of the door, she looked back at the glaring,
sunny room as if already it were far behind her, as if already she felt
the house-mother’s kiss, and heard the ‘cello, and saw Klara’s tiny
daughter standing by the door, throwing kisses, calling, “_Da ist sie,

Lost in the dream, her eyes fixed absently, she stumbled against her
fellow-assistant, who was making for the room she had just left.

“I beg your pardon--I wasn’t looking. Oh, it’s you!” she murmured
vaguely. Her fellow-assistant had a headache, and forty-five written
papers to correct. She had just heard, too, a cutting criticism of
her work made by the self-appointed faculty critic; the criticism was
cleverly worded, and had just enough truth to fly quickly and hurt her
with the head of her department. So she was not in the best of tempers.

“Yes, it’s I,” she said crossly. “If you had knocked these papers an
inch farther, I should have invited you to correct them. If you go about
in that abstracted way much longer, my dear, Miss Selbourne will inform
the world (on the very best authority) that you’re in love.”

“I? What nonsense!”

It was a ridiculous thing to say, and she flushed angrily at herself. It
was only a joke, of course.

The other woman laughed shortly.

“Dear me! I really believe you are!” she exclaimed. “The girls were
saying at breakfast that Professor Tredick was ruining himself
in violets yesterday--so it was for you!” and she went into the

A chattering crowd of girls closed in behind her. One voice rose above
the rest:

“Well, I don’t know what you call it, then. He skated with her all the
winter, and at the Dickinson party they sat on one sofa for an hour and
talked steadily!”

“Oh, nonsense! She skates beautifully, that’s all.”

“She sits on a sofa beautifully, too.” A burst of laughter, and the door

The German assistant smiled satirically. It was all of a piece. At
least, the younger women were perfectly frank about it: they did not
feel themselves forced to employ sarcasm in their references; it was
not necessary for them to appear to have definitely chosen this life
in preference to any other. Four years was little to lend to such an
experiment. But the older women, who sat on those prim little platforms
year after year--a sudden curiosity possessed her to know how many of
them were really satisfied.

Could it be that they had preferred--actually preferred--But she had,
herself, three years ago. She shook her head decidedly. “Not for nine
years, not for nine!” she murmured, as she caught through the heavy door
a familiar voice raised to emphasize some French phrase.

And yet, somebody must teach them. They could not be born with foreign
idioms and historical dates and mathematical formulae in their little
heads. She herself deplored the modern tendency that sent a changing
drift of young teachers through the colleges, to learn at the expense
of the students a soon relinquished profession. But how ridiculous
the position of the women who prided themselves on the steadiness and
continuity of their service! Surely they must find it an empty success
at times. They must regret.

She was passing through the chapel. Two scrubbing-women were
straightening the chairs, their backs turned to her.

“From all I hear,” said one, with a chuckle and a sly glance, “we’ll be
afther gettin’ our invitations soon.”

“An’ to what?” demanded the other quickly.

“Sure, they say it’s a weddin’.”

“Ah, now, hush yer noise, Mary Nolan; ‘tis no such thing. I’ve had
enough o’ husbands. I know when I’m doin’ well, an’ that’s as I am!”

“‘Tis strange that the men sh’d think different, now, but they do!”

They laughed heartily and long. The German assistant looked at the broad
backs meditatively. Just now they seemed to her more consistent than any
other women in the great building.

She walked quickly across the greening campus. The close-set brick
buildings seemed to press up against her; every window stood for some
crowded, narrow room, filled with books and tea-cups and clothes and
photographs--hundreds of them, and all alike. In her own room she tried
to reason herself out of this intolerable depression, to realize
the advantages of a quiet life in what was surely the same pleasant,
cultured atmosphere to which she had so eagerly looked forward three
years ago. Her room was large, well furnished, perfectly heated; and
if the condition of her closet would have appeared nothing short of
appalling to a householder, that condition was owing to the hopeless
exigencies of the occasion. With the exception of that whited sepulchre,
all was neat, artistic, eminently habitable. She surveyed it critically:
the “Mona Lisa,” the large “Melrose Abbey,” the Burne-Jones draperies,
and the “Blessed Damozel” that spread a placid if monotonous culture
through the rooms of educated single women. A proper appreciation of
polished wood, the sanitary and aesthetic values of the open fire, a
certain scheme in couch-pillows, all linked it to the dozen other rooms
that occupied the same relative ground-floor corners in a dozen other
houses. Some of them had more books, some ran to handsome photographs,
some afforded fads in old furniture; but it was only a question of more
or less. It looked utterly impersonal to-day; its very atmosphere was
artificial, typical, a pretended self-sufficiency.

How many years more should she live in it--three, nine, thirteen? The
tide of girls would ebb and flow with every June and September; eighteen
to twenty-two would ring their changes through the terms, and she could
take her choice of the two methods of regarding them: she could insist
on a perennial interest in the separate personalities, and endure
weariness for the sake of an uncertain influence; or she could mass them
frankly as the student body, and confine the connection to marking their
class-room efforts and serving their meat in the dining-room. The latter
was at once more honest and more easy; all but the most ambitious or the
most conscientious came ta it sooner or later.

The youngest among the assistants, themselves fresh from college,
mingled naturally enough with the students; they danced and skated and
enjoyed their girlish authority. The older women, seasoned to the life,
settled there indefinitely, identified themselves more or less with the
town, amused themselves with their little aristocracy of precedence, and
wove and interwove the complicated, slender strands of college gossip.
But a woman of barely thirty, too old for friendships with young girls,
too young to find her placid recreation in the stereotyped round of
social functions, that seemed so perfectly imitative of the normal and
yet so curiously unsuccessful at bottom--what was there for her?

Her eyes were fixed on the hill-slope view that made her room
so desirable. It occurred to her that its changelessness was not
necessarily so attractive a characteristic as the local poets practised
themselves in assuring her.

A light knock at the door recalled to her the utter lack of privacy
that put her at the mercy of laundress, sophomore, and expressman. She
regretted that she had not put up the little sign whose “_Please do not
disturb_” was her only means of defence.

“Come!” she called shortly, and the tall girl in the green dress stood
in the open door. A strange sense of long acquaintance, a vague feeling
of familiarity, surprised the older woman. Her expression changed.

“Come in,” she said cordially.

“I--am I disturbing you?” asked the girl doubtfully. She had a pile of
books on her arm; her trim jacket and hat, and something in the way she
held her armful, seemed curiously at variance with her tam-o’-shantered,
golf-caped friends.

“I couldn’t find out whether you had an office hour, and I didn’t know
whether I ought to have sent in my name--it seemed so formal, when it is
only a moment I need to see you--”

“Sit down,” said the German assistant pleasantly. “What can I do for

“I have been talking with Fräulein Müller about my German, and she
says if you are willing to give me an outline for advanced work and an
examination later on, I can go into a higher division in a little while.
Languages are always easy for me, and I could go on much quicker.”

“Oh, certainly. I have thought more than once that you were wasting
your time. The class is too large and too slow. I will make you out
an outline and give it to you after class to-morrow,” said the German
assistant promptly. “Meanwhile, won’t you stay and make me a
little call? I will light the fire and make some tea, if that is an

“The invitation is inducement enough, I assure you,” smiled the girl,
“but I must not stay to-day, I think. If you will let me come again,
when I have no work to bother you with, I should love to.”

There was something easily decisive in her manner, something very
different from the other students, who refused such invitations
awkwardly, eager to be pressed, and when finally assured of a sincere
welcome, prolonged their calls and talked about themselves into the
uncounted hours. Evidently she would not stay this time; evidently she
would like to come again.

As the door closed behind her the German assistant dropped her cordial
smile, and sank back listlessly in her chair.

“After all, she’s only a girl!” she murmured. For almost an hour she sat
looking fixedly at the unlit logs, hardly conscious of the wasted time.
Much might have gone into that hour. There was tea for her at one of the
college houses--the hostess had a “day,” and went so far as to aspire
to the exclusive serving of a certain kind of tinned fancy biscuit every
Friday--if she wanted to drop in. This hostess invited favored students
to meet the faculty and townspeople on these occasions, and the
two latter classes were expected to effect a social fusion with the
former--which linked it, to some minds, a little too obviously with
professional duties.

She might call on the head of her department, who was suffering from
some slight indisposition, and receive minute advice as to the conduct
of her classes, mingled with general criticism of various colleagues
and their methods. She might make a number of calls; but if there is one
situation in which the futility of these social mockeries becomes most
thoroughly obvious, it is the situation presented by an attempt to
imitate the conventional society life in a woman’s college. And yet--she
had gone over the whole question so often--what a desert of awkwardness
and learned provincialism such a college would be without the attempt!
How often she had cordially agreed to the statement that it was
precisely because of its insistence upon this connection with the forms
and relations of normal life that her college was so successfully free
from the tomboyishness or the priggishness or the gaucherie of some of
the others! And yet its very success came from begging the question,
after all.

She shook her head impatiently. A strong odor of boiling chocolate
crept through the transom. Somebody began to practise a monotonous
accompaniment on the guitar. Over her head a series of startling bumps
and jarring falls suggested a troupe of baby elephants practising for
their first appearance in public. The German assistant set her teeth.

“Before I die,” she announced to her image in the glass, “I propose to
inquire flatly of Miss Burgess if she _does_ pile her furniture in
a heap and slide down it on her toboggan! There is no other logical
explanation of that horrible disturbance.”

The face in the glass caught her attention. It looked sallow, with
lines under the eyes. The hair rolled back a little too severely for
the prevailing mode, and she recalled her late visitor’s effectively
adjusted side-combs, her soft, dark waves.

“They have time for it, evidently,” she mused, “and after all it is
certainly more important than modal auxiliaries!”

And for half an hour she twisted and looped and coiled, between the
chiffonnier and a hand-glass, fairly flushing with pleasure at the

“Now,” she said, looking cheerfully at a pile of written papers, “I’ll
take a walk, I think--a real walk.” And till dinner-time she tramped
some of the old roads of her college days--more girlish than those days
had found her, lighter-footed, she thought, than before.

The flush was still in her cheeks as she served her hungry tableful, and
she could not fail to catch the meaning of their frank stares. Pausing
in the parlor door to answer a question, she overheard a bit of

“Doesn’t she look well with her hair low? Quite stunning, I think.”

“Yes, indeed. If only she wouldn’t dress so old! It makes her look
older than she is. That red waist she wears in the evening is awfully

“Yes, I hate her in dark things.”

The regret that she had not found time to put on the red waist was so
instant and keen that she laughed at herself when alone in her room. She
moved vaguely about, aimlessly changing the position of the furniture.
How absurd! To do one’s hair differently, and take a long walk, and feel
as if an old life were somehow far behind one!

Later she found herself before her desk, hunting for her foreign
letter-paper, and once started, her pen flew. There were long meditative
lapses, followed by nervous haste, as if to make up the lost time;
and just before the ten-o’clock bell she slipped out to mail a fat
brown-stamped envelope. The night-watchman chuckled as he watched the
head shrouded in the golf-cape hood bend a moment over the little white

“Maybe it’s one o’ the maids, maybe it’s one o’ the teachers, maybe it’s
one o’ the girls,” he confided to his lantern; “they’re all alike, come
to that! An’ a good thing, too!”

In the morning the German assistant dismissed her last class early and
took train for Springfield. On the way to the station a deferential
clerk from the bookshop waylaid her.

“One moment, please. Those books you spoke of. Mr. Hartwell’s library
is up at auction and we’re sending a man to buy to-day. If you could get
the whole set for twenty-five dollars--”

She smiled and shook her head. “I’ve changed my mind, thank you--I can’t
afford it. Yes, I suppose it is a bargain, but books are such a trouble
to carry about, you know. No, I don’t think of anything else.”

What freedom, what a strange baseless exhilaration! Suppose--suppose
it was all a mistake, and she should wake back to the old stubborn,
perfunctory reality! Perhaps it was better, saner--that quiet
taken-for-granted existence. Perhaps she regretted--but even with the
half-fear at her heart she laughed at that. If wake she must, she loved
the dream. How she trusted that man! “Always I will wait”--and he would.
But seven years! She threw the thought behind her.

The next days passed in a swift, confused flight. She knew they were
all discussing her, wondering at her changed face, her fresh, becoming
clothes; they decided that she had had money left her.

“Some of my girls saw you shopping in Springfield last Saturday--they
say you got some lovely waists,” said her fellow-assistant tentatively.
“Was this one? It’s very sweet. You ought to wear red a great deal, you
look so well in it. Did you know Professor Riggs spoke of your hat with
wild enthusiasm to Mrs. Austin Sunday? He said it was wonderful what a
difference a stylish hat made. Not that he meant, of course--Well, it’s
lovely to be able to get what you want. Goodness knows, I wish I could.”

The other laughed. “Oh, it’s perfectly easy if you really want to,” she
said, “it all depends on what you want, you know.”

For the first week she moved in a kind of exaltation. It was partly that
her glass showed her a different woman: soft-eyed, with cheeks tinted
from the long, restless walks through the spring that was coming on with
every warm, greening day. The excitement of the letter hung over her.
She pictured her announcement, Fräulein Müller’s amazed questions.

“‘But--but I do not understand! You are not well?’

“‘Perfectly, thank you.’

“‘But I am perfectly satisfied: I do not wish to change. You are not
sick, then?’

“‘Only of teaching, Fräulein.’

“‘But the instructorship--I was going to recommend--do not be alarmed;
you shall have it surely!’

“‘You are very kind, but I have taught long enough.’

“‘Then you do not find another position? Are you to be--’”

Always here her heart sank. Was she? What real basis had all this sweet,
disturbing dream? To write so to a man after seven years! It was not
decent. She grew satiric. How embarrassing for him to read such a letter
in the bosom of an affectionate, flaxen-haired family! At least, she
would never know how he really felt, thank Heaven. And what was left for
her then? To her own mind she had burned her bridges already. She was as
far from this place in fancy as if the miles stretched veritably between
them. And yet she knew no other life. She knew no other men. He was the
only one. In a flash of shame it came over her that a woman with more
experience would never have written such a letter. Everybody knew
that men forget, change, easily replace first loves. Nobody but such a
cloistered, academic spinster as she would have trusted a seven years’
promise. This was another result of such lives as they led--such
helpless, provincial women. Her resentment grew against the place. It
had made her a fool.

It was Sunday afternoon, and she had omitted, in deference to the day,
the short skirt and walking-hat of her weekday stroll. Sunk in accusing
shame, her cheeks flaming under her wide, dark hat, her quick step
more sweeping than she knew, her eyes on the ground, she just escaped
collision with a suddenly looming masculine figure. A hasty apology, a
startled glance of appeal, a quick breath that parted her lips, and she
was past the stranger. But not before she had caught in his eyes a look
that quickened her heart, that soothed her angry humility. The sudden
sincere admiration, the involuntary tribute to her charm, was new to
her, but the instinct of countless generations made it as plain and as
much her prerogative as if she had been the most successful débutante.
She was not, then, an object of pity, to be treasured for the sake of
the old days; other men, too--the impulse outstripped thought, but she
caught up with it.

“How dreadful!” she murmured, with a consciousness of undreamed depths
in herself. “Of course he is the only one--the only one!” and across the
water she begged his forgiveness.

But through all her agony of doubt in the days that followed, one shame
was miraculously removed, one hope sang faintly beneath: she, too, had
her power! A glance in the street had called her from one army of her
sisters to the other, and the difference was inestimable.

Her classes stared at her with naïve admiration. The girls in the house
begged for her as a chaperon to Amherst entertainments, and sulked
when a report that the young hosts found her too attractive to enable
strangers to distinguish readily between her and her charges rendered
another selection advisable. The fact that her interest in them was
fitful, sometimes making her merry and intimate, sometimes relegating
them to a connection purely professional, only left her more interesting
to them; and boxes of flowers, respectful solicitations to spreads, and
tempting invitations to long drives through the lengthening afternoons
began to elect her to an obvious popularity. Once it would have meant
much to her; she marvelled now at the little shade of jealousy with
which her colleagues assured her of it. How long must she wait? When
would life be real again?

She seemed to herself to move in a dream that heightened and strained
quicker as it neared an inevitable shock of waking--to what? Even at the
best, to what? Even supposing that--she put it boldly, as if it had been
another woman--she should marry the man who had asked her seven years
ago, what was there in the very obvious future thus assured her that
could match the hopes her heart held out? How could it be at once
the golden harbor, the peaceful end of hurried, empty years, and the
delicious, shifting unrest that made a tumult of her days and nights?
Yet something told her that it was; something repeated insistently,
“Always I will wait.”... He would keep faith, that grave, big man!

But every day, as she moved with tightened lips to the table where
the mail lay spread, coloring at a foreign stamp, paling with the
disappointment, her hope grew fainter. He dared not write and tell her.
It was over. Violet shadows darkened her eyes; a feverish flush made
her, as it grew and faded at the slightest warning, more girlish than

But the young life about her seemed only to mock her own late weakened
impulse. It was not the same. She was playing heavy stakes: they hardly
realized the game. All but one, they irritated her. This one, since
her first short call, had come and come again. No explanations, no
confidences, had passed between them; their sympathy, deep-rooted,
expressed itself perfectly in the ordinary conventional tone of two
reserved if congenial natures. The girl did not discuss herself, the
woman dared not. They talked of books, music, travel; never, as if by
tacit agreement, of any of the countless possible personalities in a
place so given to personal discussion.

She could not have told how she knew that the girl had come to college
to please a mother whose great regret was to have missed such training,
nor did she remember when her incurious friend had learned her tense
determination of flight; she could have sworn that she had never spoken
of it. Sometimes, so perfectly did they appear to understand each other
beneath an indifferent conversation, it seemed to her that the words
must be the merest symbols, and that the girl who always caught her
lightest shade of meaning knew to exactness her alternate hope and fear,
the rudderless tossing toward and from her taunting harbor-light.

They sat by an open window, breathing in the moist air from the fresh,
upturned earth. The gardeners were working over the sprouting beds; the
sun came in warm and sweet.

“Three weeks ago it was almost cold at this time,” said the girl. “In
the springtime I give up going home, and love the place. But two years
more--two years!”

“Do you really mind it so much?”

“I think what I mind the most is that I don’t like it more,” said the
girl slowly. “Mamma wanted it so. She really loved study. I don’t, but
if I did--I should love it more than this. This would seem so childish.
And if I just wanted a good time, why, then this would seem such a lot
of trouble. All the good things here seem--seem remedies!”

The older woman laughed nervously. Three weeks--three weeks and no word!

“You will be making epigrams, my dear, if you don’t take care,” she
said lightly. “But you’re going to finish just the same? The girls like
you, your work is good; you ought to stay.”

The girl flashed a look of surprise at her. It was her only hint of

“You advise me to?” she asked quietly.

“I think it would be a pity to disappoint your mother,” with a light
hand on her shoulder. “You are so young--four years is very, little. Of
course you could do the work in half the time, but you admit that you
are not an ardent student. If nobody came here but the girls that really
needed to, we shouldn’t have the reputation that we have. The girls to
whom this place means the last word in learning and the last grace of
social life are estimable young women, but not so pleasant to meet as

Three weeks--but he had waited seven years!

“I am very childish,” said the girl. “Of course I will stay. And some
of it I like very much. It’s only that mamma doesn’t understand. She
overestimates it so. Somehow, the more complete it is, the more like
everything else, the more you have to find fault with on all sides. I’d
rather have come when mamma was a girl.”

“I see. I have thought that, too.”

Ah, fool, give up your senseless hope! You had your chance--you lost it.
Fate cannot stop and wait while you grow wise.

“When that shadow covers the hill, I will give it up forever. Then I
will write to Henry’s wife and ask her to let me come and help take care
of the children. She will like it, and I can get tutoring if I want
it. I will make the children love me, and there will be a place where I
shall be wanted and can help,” she thought.

The shadow slipped lower. The fresh turf steeped in the last rays, the
birds sang, the warming earth seemed to have touched the very core of
spring. Her hopes had answered the eager years, but her miracle was too
wonderful to be.

A light knock at the door, and a maid came toward her, tray in hand. She
lifted the card carelessly--her heart dropped a moment and beat in
hard, slow throbs. Her eyes filled with tears; her cheeks were hot and

“I will be there in a moment.” How deep her voice sounded!

The girl slipped by her.

“I was going anyway,” she said softly. “Good-by! Don’t touch your
hair--it’s just right.”

She did not wait for an answer, but went out. As she passed by
the little reception-room a tall, eager man made toward her with
outstretched hands. Her voice trembled as she laughed.

“No, no--I’m not the one,” she murmured, “but she--she’s coming!”

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Reversion To Type" ***

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