Puslapio vaizdai




December 5. J-, the old villain, has settled down into an attitude of this-rock-shall-fly-fromits-firm-base-as-soon-as-I. Even D- can't budge him, and my efforts blow past him like a summer zephyr.

Thanks for your fine, fat letter. The Darcy dance must have been a wonder, and I can imagine Mary Lu in her raspberry red. Is Bill behaving? And you were carried there in state, and all the boys sat out dances with you? What do you suppose Mother Mason would think of you?

I think a right smart heap of you myself, and I wish I were home. I'm nearly homesick-abed.

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Hello, Muddie! Only a line in which to greet you, for it 's what granny used to call "Time honest folk were abed, and knaves were turned out o' doors."

Old D-, genial old person, took me home for dinner this evening, and I met two very decorative daughters. There was a very decent chap from Cornell there, and about nine o'clock we decided to blow down to one of the roofs and dance. We were bowling along in about a million dollars' worth of motor when we slowed up for something at a crossing, and there were my soul-snatchers.

I heard Mary say, "Oh, look!" and James and Mother Mason and the faithful, battered bum all lifted dazzled eyes

to me.

Don't let me have any more epistles along the line of day before yesterday's. Who do you think I think I am? Don Quixote, Esq.?

Night, and bushels of love. GWYNN.

December 9.

I am not going to see Cousin Lucy · Chipperfield. Let us have done with these ceaseless admonitions. The woman means nothing in my life. If you had n't gone and told her I was here, she would n't be "watching and wondering if every day won't bring some word from dear Gwynn." You know she 'll tell me all the cute things I said and did at the age of five, and get out that indecent sea-shell picture and gloat over it; and still you urge me to go.

Unnatural parent!
No, I tell you; no!


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the home news heartily. I'm glad you 're glad I'm meeting nice people like the D-'s, and I'll try not to forget to pay my dinner-call, though I don't believe they 're as keen on that sort of thing up here in the North as we are. Anyway, I'll send the girls some candy and flowers.

Just as the meeting broke up to-night a new-comer stepped into the circle, a large, horse-faced lady in a billycock hat whom Mary seemed awfully keen about. She's a Miss or Mrs.-the former seems the more probable-Meade Smeade, a settlement worker, I gathered.


I asked them all up to supper, and before any one else could answer, she spoke up and accepted for all. She seems to regard me very much as James does. I tried to say a private word to her, but she froze me. I don't get more than thirty per cent. with any of 'em except the battered bum and

Is n't our own tribe a bit hectic? From how many schools and colleges has the beautiful and beguiling Bill been returned without thanks to the heaving bosom of his family? Answer me that, Madam! Did you or did you not elope with my


Mary. Of course, at that, I can get James's angle on it. Mary thinks I come to get saved, but James thinks I come to get Mary.

So glad you 're stepping out again on two perfectly spry feet.

revered father after an acquaintance of four days' duration?

Can there-I ask you as a Christian woman -can there be any boasting on the part of a family which contains Uncle Bulger? I never told you of the party he put over in Los Angeles two years ago when I was on my way to Mexico. He eluded me for three days. At three o'clock in the morning of the fourth the night doorman at the Allesandro Hotel saw a distinguished old person with military mustaches, bashed-in top-hat, and disreputable Inverness cloak. He had a streetsweeper's broom, with a prong on one end, you know, which he

had wrested from some

poor Mexican at God only knows what cost, and he was sweeping the car-tracks with passionate care. The door-man recognized him and ran out to speak to him.

"Don't you belong here, sir?" he asked.


I'll try to do some Christmas shopping "If you 'll tell me who you are, sir-”

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I've had the most wonderful hour. By the merest, the luckiest chance, I was strolling through Washington Square late this afternoon, and I Columbus-ed Mary on a sunny bench.

Muz, she's the most deliciously quaint thing. I was as curious as a sewing circle, and she told me the story of her life as simply as a child. She is a child, really, only nineteen. I did n't know there were any girls so unpretending left in the world.

Her name is Mary Lamb,-don't you like that?-and she 's lived all her life until a few months ago with an old uncle in Maine, on a funny little island. He was a writer, or he meant to be, she said. He was getting his notes ready for some wonderful book on religion, but he died before it was finally revised. She did his copying. These Masons were neighbors who 'd gone away with a revivalist several years ago, and they came back on a visit just when her uncle died. She She had n't a soul in the world,—her parents died when she was a small kid,-and they persuaded her to come with them.

She's been working with them ever since, laboring in the vineyard she calls it, but she admits, with a deep sense of her own unworthiness, that the harvest has not been large.

She has n't another friend in New York save that Miss Meade (or Smeade), who spent some summers on the island and used to come in and row with the old man about theology. She wants her to come and work in the settlement and meet some young people, and to live with her in her postage-stamp apartment. Mary's keen for it, but the Masons, mostly James, I infer, have convinced her

that her duty could never have any team work with her inclination.

James, I surmise, prefers to have her where he can keep his glittering eye on her. She told me he was a very great saint.

Well, when she said she must go, I coaxed her to come into the nearest bun

shop for a tea-supper. She said Mother Mason would worry, so I telephoned the old lady that Mary was safe with me and would meet them at the meeting. She was merry as a cricket while we ate and rode up-town on top of the bus, but as we came nearer to the Masons she began to get white and scared. She 's afraid of that fellow.

I did n't wonder when I saw his face. He was lavender and spotted with rage, and the mother was shaking. The battered bum slid up to me with an admiring grin, and whispered beerily: "Snappy work, Boss! Say, why don't yer grab her outer this, huh?" With which not unpleasing suggestion I close these few remarks.

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I made Mary promise yesterday to meet me for luncheon and the matinée to-day, but after I saw the way the Masons were flying sloppy-weather signals, I had n't much hope. But she was there, the little brick, in a mousy gray dress, with white collar and cuffs and a Quakerish sort of bonnet which suited her down to the ground. When I got her a whale of a bunch of violets, she was a landscape.

Gad! it was like having Cinderella or Merely Mary Ann out for a party! The luncheon, the matinée, a deadly show, really,-tea afterward, she was crazy for it all. She's the most astonishing mixture of ignorance and knowledge; knows Shakspere and the classics, and never heard of Conrad or Wells. Gives you the feeling of having dropped down from Mars. Mars. Heavens! but she 's improved in looks since that first night! She's pink

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island, and these messy Masons making her think that everything cheerful and pleasant is Sin!

I crave to hold speech with Friend James. I intend to after the meeting tonight. She begged me to let her go home after tea, and I thought perhaps it was easier for her.

Dinner meant nothing in my life tonight, so I'm writing you at this time, and am just off to the meeting. Mother dear, despite the clowning, I think you must have got me by this time. You must have concluded that I 'm keener on Mary Lamb than Mary Lu. When you call her Mary Lamb you want to put a whatdo-you-call-it comma between. That's the kind of a girl she is. You just wait! Off to the fray.

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Happened to think of that horse-faced woman in the billycock hat, but did n't know whether her name was Meade or Smeade. I made a list of all the settlements and put in the day going to all. Finally ran her down,-it 's Smeade,but she 's out of town for a couple of days. She never tells them where she 's going, because she does n't want to be reached. Nice, responsible person to have in a place of that sort!

Now I'm stumped. Talked to a fool detective, but he had little to offer. If he's a detective, I can make a watch. Hastily,



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