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Almost incoherently did Roddy thus as- gaged in trying on the dress. It was all sist the shamelessly laughing Wirt into concluded except the neck. She was not the hall. He retreated alone into his satisfied with the neck. She had made a room, holding the door ajar a moment to fichu for it. Then she had decided against add, “And you."
the fichu. She would have the neck cut He closed the door on Wirt, drew up square.
It might be more becoming cut his one arm-chair until it faced the win- square. So she turned it in square. dow, and lay back in it in all the luxury This indecision of Minnie Bee's may of pajamas and a good conscience. His
seem strange to writing men whose heroslippered feet on the window-sill tipped ines always know to a shade their most him back delightfully. His clasped hands becoming color, to a line their most enmade an absolutely comfortable pillow for hancing style; but the reader may as well his head. His eyes dwelt dreamily on a know the truth, which is that a girl goes confused welter of small, moon-gilded through youth in an agony of indecision. clouds as he listened to his Cousin An- What if she loses her complexion and gets drew putting the house off to bed down- gray, before ever chancing on the color stairs. There ensued a deep silence. and style created for her alone? Did the Roddy, basking in it, began at last to fichu look better, after all? Vinnie Bee think intelligently about Minnie Bee. He kept her caller waiting while she tried it concluded that what she really needed was on again. She twitched it off in a despaira friend.
ing mood, and went down with the neck Now, Roddy had given this matter of square. friendship deep thought since a certain "Did I come too soon?" asked Roddi. disillusioning love-affair of his the pre- fancying surprise in her greeting : but that vious year, and he had reached the conclu- was only because she had supposed it to be sion that friendship with a girl whose na- Seaton. “I thought maybe you'd play ture was at once strong and yielding, tonic for me if there was n't a crowd,” wheedled and sweet, might be an almost ideal rela- Roddy. tion. Of course one would prefer a beau- It does n't matter what Minnie Bee tiful girl. It was apparent to the most played. It was beautiful and sad, and as casual observer that Minnie Bee had an she played it her face was rapt away from excess of adulation. It seemed clear to little things. Roddy, leaning there, lisRoddy that he had been told off by des- tening, had a resentful feeling for Minnie tiny to disclose to her the soberer charms Bee, as for one on whom fate had played of friendship
blundering tricks. She met his eves nerIn pursuance of this purpose he called vously. at Minnie Bee's the following afternoon. “Do
Pou really like music?" asked VinHe had to cut math to do this; but Roddy nie Bee. was not one of those who ascribe undue Roddy answered her with a musing importance to the academic aspect of a
sinile. college career. It did not weigh upon his "Then please go sit down," said Minconscience in the least; but it would have nie Bee. vexed him could he have guessed the inop- Roddy went to sit in the window-seat. portuneness of his call, in the early after- Minnie Bee was a lovely profile now.
Her noon, to a busy young woman.
white throat pulsed with song, The When the bell rang Minnie Bee was, September breezes made serious love to in fact, nearly worn out with the difficulty her hair. In the filmy white dress with of deciding a question of much impor- the neck cut square she looked as angelic tance. All morning she had been sitting as the guardian saint of melody. on the edge of her bed surrounded by Her hands fluttered slowly into quiet lengths of filmy white stuff which she was on the keys. A movement of Roddy's converting into a dress. She was now en- made her glance around. He was stand
ing up, as if to go, and smiling gravely said pettishly: "Another Ivor boy! No, down on her.
thank you." Nor was she going to tell “Thank you for the music," said Roddy. him that he had been brought now only “Do you mind my saying that you looked because she could n't very well have reexactly like an angel, with all that white fused his own cousin ; but how could she stuff floating around you, and the sun in have imagined this Ivor boy to be so difyour hair, while you were singing?" ferent from his brothers, who were noto
NIinnie Bee looked down at the white rious. stuff. An impulse had its mad way with She said, rather flustered: her.
“I must have known your brothers," "Wait a minute," she said. In a twin- which was not at all what she wished to kling she was running up-stairs. In an
say. other she was running back, trailing a Roddy's lips twitched. He saw at once white triangle covered with infinitesimal that that explained it, though inadverruffles. She tossed this over one shoulder, tently. reached back, and coaxed it over the other. "Come for a walk,” he said suddenly,
"Now," said Minnie Bee, “I want an after a reflective pause. He had not meant unbiased opinion.”
to cut Greek, too. "It sounds technical,” said Roddy, “but "In this?” asked Minnie Bee. I 'll do my best."
Even a boy could see that the white ruf"I can't decide about the neck of this Ales might not survive the climb Roddy dress," said Minnie Bee. “Does it look was contemplating. He looked vividly better this way or”- she twitched off the
put out. fichu-"this.””
"But if you would n't mind waiting?" “Ruffles,” said Roddy, instantly, "and "Certainly not. Run along," said a rose."
Roddy, much relieved. One was peering in. He rewarded its She ran along, and he looked after her curiosity by presenting it to Minnie Bee, approvingly. What a sensible girl now! who had donned the fichu again. She When Minnie Bee came back, unbeplaced the rose where it belonged, and en- lievably soon, Roddy thought her less an deavored to survey herself in a tiny oval angel, perhaps, but the prettiest thing he of purely ornamental mirror hanging be- had ever seen in his life. Yet she had on tween the windows. Roddy felt that it her oldest serge skirt, a far from new should have been a pier-glass. He would blue-silk middy, and a shabby cap of Conhave liked two full-lengths of Minnie Bee federate gray that one of the cadets had just then. He looked at his hat again, given her when she was a small girl. Her smiling slightly. Perhaps he was thinking feet in their little brown shoes literally that this again was something which could danced along. · Something was singing itnever have happened at Pagie Presley's. self in her golden head. Minnie Bee
"Oh, don't go yet,” said Minnie Bee. hummed it: She sat down in the window-seat and
"Lo! there hath been dawning patted the cushion beside her.
Another blue day.” Roddy, however, took a chair, which he drew up facing her. He leaned forward She did n't remember any more of it; in it, his clasped hands dropped between just that much was all she needed. She his knees.
continued to hum it as they went out in “This is
here," said the blue day. She did n't ask where they Roddy. “How queer that no
were going; even when it seemed a long brought me to see you before.”
way she did n't ask. Even when they beMinnie Bee was n't going to tell gan to climb and climb she did n't ask. Roddy that some one had asked to bring “I don't know whether you've ever him two years before, and that she had been up here,” said Roddy, breaking a
cheerful silence. He stopped for a mo- "Suppose," said Roddy, rising on his elment to cram his soft hat into a pocket bow, "we begin with friendship.' of the coat which he was already carrying. “Friendship?” asked Minnie Bee in an
Minnie Bee, high up among unfamiliar odd tone, almost as if she had never heard hills, looked critically about her and said of such a thing. that she had never been up there.
“Friendship,” said Roddy, “is the most They went on, Roddy slightly in the wonderful relation in the world. You lead, his eyes shining with the surprise can't always depend on your lover or your he had in store for Minnie Bee. A riot- brother, but you can always depend on ous wind was whipping his roomy shirt about his beautiful slant of back and “I never had one," said Minnie Bee. shoulder. His head made a dusky glory She was thinking of the girls whom she in the blue day. Now and again he looked had known in a way all her life, of the back at Minnie Bee with a smile, appre- lovely, sweet girls in the town down there ciative of her prowess thus far, and en- with whom she had gone to church and to couraging her to further feats. Minnie school, but among whom she had never Bee, who felt lifted on wings of lightness, had a friend. always smiled back. She was a hovering "You can have one now," said Roddy, radiance in his wake. At the edge of the deliberately, "if you want him." highest hill Roddy said in a quiet tone of "You!" cried Minnie Bee. It was the triumph:
strangest exclamation. "Now."
Roddy colored furiously. They stepped over the crest. Far, far "I beg your pardon," he flashed in below, in a deep, wide cup, compacted of clean-cut words. His quick thought was the colors of the fall, lay a green valley. that Minnie Bee had heard of a thing of In it a white town shone by a river of which it was altogether unlikely she gold. The cup was brimmed with sun- should have heard, a long-ago action of shine and patterned with cloud shadow's. his, repented in full, paid for in full, done It offered up beauty forever.
with forever, he had hoped, save as one "I came on all this of a sudden one day never is done with anything. last fall,” said Roddy, his eyes alight. Minnie Bee put an impulsive hand on Minnie Bee understood. He had wished his rigid arm. her, too, to see it suddenly, like that, be
"You see, I happened just to be thinkcause it had been wonderful to him. ing of girl friends," said Minnie Bee,
He spread his coat for her beneath a somewhat shakily. “Why, I–I d love slender locust, and threw himself down to be friends with you." near, among the thin, pointed little golden He searched her with his gaze. She leaves, already scattered in the just seared offered him her hand in the sweetest mangrasses.
ner to seal their pact. Its firm, generous Minnie Bee looked at the white town. pressure reassured Roddy wholly. It was very far away, so far away that it “I 'm glad,” he said, still holding the was spanned by a spray of goldenrod. She convincing hand, “because, when I met hummed:
you last evening, it was what you might "Lo! there hath been dawning
call friendship at first sight with me." Another blue day.”
Minnie Bee, still smiling beautifully at
Roddy, took back her hand. She did not She did not know when she had ever say what it had been at first sight with felt so happy.
her. "Now," said Roddy, "let us talk about everything in the world."
Once more Minnie Bee and Roddy wan"What must we begin with?” asked dered on the sheer rim of the wide cup Minnie Bee.
of the hills. Fire haze of Indian summer
obscured the land and blotted the sky. It stantly a fifth serpent hurled itself on the turned the sun to the round red-paper sun tail of the fourth. of an astrologer's weird garment. It "He's mad," laughed Roddy, who had brimmed the cup of the hills with a uni- just sent his answer. verse of bluish, faintly irradiated parti- The unknown's serpent suffered from cles. Minnie Bee and Roddy were as no default of magic this time. The two solitary as two persons in a dream. They met in mid-air, and strove for supremacy. were closed in by a dimness that might, It was toss up between them straight for aught they could see to the contrary, above Minnie Bee's upturned face when stretch away to the farthest reaches of they incredibly touched and fell slowly tospace and time. Wandering thus, as in an gether, like enemies who had warily made enchantment, they came on
a forest of
“Bravo!” shouted Roddy in his ferry"Did you ever," asked Roddy, "do call tremolo. this?"
A return call echoed faintly, and was He broke a lance of stickweed stalk, drowned, as
had been nicked it just so far from one end, broke drowned, in blue haze. another slighter lance, and fitted an end "Wonder who that was," said Roddy. of that into the nick. Holding these two "Show me how !" pleaded Minnie Bee. lances high in air, he bent together their She did not learn the trick readily. Her free ends, and with some adroit turn of stickweed lance remained a stickweed wrist swiftly hurled the slighter one from lance, falling stiffy close by, and never him.
turning into a magic serpent at all. Minnie Bee exclaimed in delight and "You have to begin doing it when you astonishment. It seemed impossible that are a little tad," said Roddy, exploring a the serpent of velvet black simulating Ho- pocket. "Here, I 'll show where I learned garth's line of beauty far above them could to throw stickweed.” He took out a pack be the stickweed stalk hurled by Roddy of kodak pictures. “Let us sit down.” the second before. It darted higher still. He made a place for her in the edge of It did not turn in descent until it had the stickweed forest, and stood for a moflung itself, blazing, across the unreal face ment gazing at her. Pale brown of Noof the sun.
It fell very slowly, while vember grasses, vague blue of forest smoke, Minnie Bee held her breath. It was lost dim gold of withering, but still flaunting, in the haze-brimmed cup of the hills. autumn weeds, were all about them. With
“Look! look !" cried Minnie Bee in a these Minnie Bee's vaguely blue dress and joyous tone.
shining head made a harmony which even A second serpent was hurling itself an untrained eye could appreciate. from the rim of the opposite hill. It strove He flung himself beside her, resting on to outdo Roddy's serpent. It outdid it. his elbow, and arranging the pictures in
"I'll not take that," said Roddy. order on the grass. He indicated one.
He flung a second lance. The serpent “On those old hills there,” said Roddy, it immediately became darted viciously to- “right along the river. Mary and I used ward the zenith, far, far above the unreal to see how far down it we could throw." face of the sun. Minnie Bee's eyes spar- "Mary?" kled. She might have fancied herself a “My sister; her name is Mary, too." legendary princess beholding the en- He pronounced it "Murry." He smiled counter of rival magicians. Evidently the on Minnie Bee, “I 'd like you two to unseen magician was not going to stand meet." that either. A fourth serpent rose; but
Minnie Bee asked hurriedly: through some default of magic sank igno- “And who 's this?” miniously into the deeper blue haze that “My father,” Roddy told her, pride in marked the hills along the horizon. In- his voice.