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"Why," said Minnie Bee, "I was always good in English in high school. The boys knew it. I began giving them stuff for the 'Star' ages ago." She laughed. "Sometimes I used to write nearly all of it except the ball news, and I could have written that."

"I like their nerve," said Roddy in tones of the deepest disgust. "A lot of lazy loafers letting a girl do all the work, and the college get all the credit."

"I did n't know you thought there was any," mocked Minnie Bee.

"I did n't say it was n't good enough; but your Heathcliffe is a perfect demon at a feast of woe. You'd think he lived in a cage, and had all the pleasures of life spread before him and could n't get at any of them. And here are you, a beautiful girl whom every one loves, daring to tell me that you are Heathcliffe, confound him! Why, honestly, Minnie Bee, every time I read a 'Fixed Star'-and it seems to me the least a fellow can do is to take that much interest in his magazine-I have a fit of the blues. I have to come to see you before I can feel that anything is worth going on with. Think of that, if you please."

Minnie Bee threw back her delightful golden head, and laughed as if she would never stop.

"Oh, Roddy, Roddy," she gurgled, "some day I'll put you in a story for 'The Fixed Star.""

"Me?" said Roddy. He considered over it, seeing at once, as nearly every one does see, what an interesting and original character he would make. But he shook his head regretfully. "I'd be no good to you. I'm too cheerful." Then he added, "But you have n't told me yet why you do it."

"Oh," said Minnie Bee, casually, "according to you, I put all my blues in "The Fixed Star.'"

A light stole in on Roddy.

"Still," said he, reflectively, "does n't it all seem rather silly-out here?" He was using the candor of the true friend.

Mingie Bee looked about her. They were sliding through a Christmas post

card as large as life. Above them an azure sky soared in purest radiance. A snowy road sparkled beneath them. On each hand were white hills, crusted with snow as a birthday cake is crusted with frosting, and trimmed with diamond-dusted pines. It did seem rather silly out there.

"I'd let "The Fixed Star' go hang," said Roddy, relentlessly. "If I had your talent, I'd write for something worth while. And while we 're deep in, I 'll just go on and say that I think precious little of those books I look into sometimes while I'm waiting on you to decide whether you want it v or square. I could n't think where you got hold of such a lot of atonic -I got that word out of a preface to one of them-stuff. I suppose the fellows who call themselves literary editors unload it on you when they finally deprive the town of the honor of their presence, eh?"

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worth her salt always wished to be a boy. He glanced at her sympathetically as he turned the team about. They tore down the four-mile descent like a streak, never pausing until they drew up, breathless, at Minnie Bee's home, looking small and dreary, bereft of its gracing vines and summer boughs.

"Why," asked Roddy, belatedly and teasingly, "did you wish to be a boy?" He asked it, hat off, at her door.

Minnie Bee flashed him a look. She was dazzling with the color the wind had whipped into her cheeks and the mad things it. had done to her golden hair.

"Oh, I don't know," said Minnie Bee, daringly, "I suppose I wished to be a boy so that I could make love to beautiful girls, Roddy." She ran into the house, laughing back at him.

"Minnie Bee," called Roddy up the stairs after her, "you are a rascal, that 's what you are."

"WHAT have you been doing with yourself this nice spring day?" asked Roddy.

"Why," said Minnie Bee, "I 've taken to sketching again since you made me give up writing for "The Fixed Star.' I was out all morning. February is like spring to-day, is n't it? Let me show you my picture."

Roddy assented carelessly, and Minnie Bee showed it to him carelessly. His expression changed to one of astonished interest.

"Why, you can draw!" he exclaimed. He held it off. "Why, Minnie Bee, you are an artist!"

He continued to gaze delightedly at the sketch. It was a slight thing, a lift of far mountain, a stretch of near meadow, and a dash of dark woodland between; but the marsh-grass of the meadow was stirred as if by a soft spring wind, and little clouds of springtime seemed flying across the sky. "Take it home with you," said Minnie Bee, amused.

"May I?" asked Roddy, eagerly. Minnie Bee could see that she had offered him a treasure..

"Minnie Bee," said Roddy, "you are a

wonderful girl. Do you know that you really are a wonderful girl? You can do anything you like."

Minnie Bee smiled at her good friend. "Not anything," said Minnie Bee. Laughing voices hailed them from the porch. The noisy little cousins had walked over from the other end of town. They came running in and encircled Minnie Bee with embraces. She smiled at them affectionately; but it was evident to Roddy that she was a creature of finer clay, that these embraces were in the nature of a sacrilege.

He stopped by the book-store on his way home to get a frame for his picture. He was standing by his desk fitting the sketch into this frame when Wirt sauntered in and sat on the edge of the desk, watching.

"Are you and Minnie Bee just friends?" asked Wirt, eving Roddy curiously.

"Wirt," said Roddy, -he paused while he straightened a tack,-"I 'm quite over the vanity of imagining beautiful ladies in love with me. We are just friends."

"I think she likes you a lot," insisted Wirt.

"I hope so," said Roddy, calmly. Wirt shrugged his shoulders. "She 'll marry Seaton if he asks her."

"She's not in love with Seaton, you chump."

"But she 'll marry him all right, all right, and I don't blame her, bless her heart! If I were in her place I'd marry any man who would take me away from this humbug-ridden town."

Roddy lay awake that night thinking about Seaton and Minnie Bee for a long time. Could it be that Wirt knew Minnie Bee better than he, Roddy, knew her? Would she marry Seaton just to get away? Was she not of finer stuff than that? But one thing came clear to him. He believed if Minnie Bee had the sort of friends she yearned for she would not be so averse to remaining in the town or so tempted to make a loveless marriage. It shows how young Roddy really was when he decided to get his sister Mary up to town and spring Minnie Bee on her un


He thought how splendid it would be if they could invite Minnie Bee to Cedarcliff for the summer. She'd forget all about Seaton at Cedarcliff. He lay smiling in the dark, thinking how fond every one there would get of her. Susy would be sweet to her, he knew. He drowsed

off, head on arm, thinking of Minnie Bee and Susy until they merged into one indescribably lovely girl whom he was regarding with the serenest affection when the dark, sweet cloud of sleep descended.

BUT, after all, he did not have to use any arts on Mary, since he found her awaiting him in the porch swing the very next evening.

"Murry," said Roddy, by way of greet ing, as he dropped to the step beside her, "are you game for a before-breakfast walk in the morning-to the old college?"

Mary, thinking nothing of it, said that she was. A before-breakfast walk to the old college was a town rite which she always observed during her visits to Aunt Sally's. But she had never before halted at a small house on the remote edge of the campus and waited until a musical, and evidently prearranged, whistle. from Roddy brought a pretty girl to its door.

There was something special about Minnie Bee, some quality sensed instantly by the yet unprejudiced Mary, who found Roddy's little friend charming. Roddy, well pleased, left the girls to get acquainted, putting in an oar only when Mary endeavored to discover common friends in the town, which was worse than talk about caste.

Their progress along cobweb-bordered paths brought them at length to their excuse for a walk. It loomed large through the morning haze; but the old college was only an empty shell from which Time had thieved the kernel. They paused beneath a tall end wall which had wrapped vines. about itself as a dimming beauty wraps veils about her once fair face.

Minnie Bee, not knowing of Roddy's sister, had brought sketching material. Mary was delighted. She declared it magical to sit there watching the deft fin

gers as they portrayed the farther end wall and the rim of mountain beyond it.

"Is n't she a wonder?" asked Roddy.

Mary recognized his Bina tone, tender, proud, brotherly, and, above all, calm. She considered Minnie Bee with aroused keenness of vision.

While Minnie Bee's sensitive lips had a tender expression, her eyes, lifted by dark blue flashes beneath those fluttering lids, were neither sisterly nor calm.

What stupids men were, thought Mary, despite their being so big and importantlooking. No wonder such a lot of things went wrong, with only men running the world.

Minnie Bee offered the sketch, though hesitatingly, to Mary as a souvenir of their morning stroll. Mary's action on receipt of this gift was one rare with her. She kissed Minnie Bee out of an impulse which was doubtless one of pity had she been able to define it.

"She writes, too," said Roddy, boasting on; "she 's Heathcliffe in 'The Fixed Star."

This did make Mary open her eyes. "The Fixed Star" was always taken at Cedarcliff on account of Breck having once been literary editor.

"If you are as clever as all that," said Mary, "I'll be dreadfully afraid of you."

But Minnie Bee, blushing, and wishing Roddy would keep quiet, did not appear alarming.

"And play," Roddy continued to brag. "I'm going to take you to hear her play."

"Is n't he going to bring you to call on me?" asked Mary of Minnie Bee.

Minnie Bee's smile might have meant anything. Mary gave it the natural significance. But Roddy, somewhat in the background, where he lingered to gather Minnie Bee an early violet, colored with How the deuce was he to annoyance. take Minnie Bee to call on Mary at his Cousin Sally's? They parted at the door of Minnie Bee's still-fast-asleep little house, making first an engagement. Roddy was to bring Mary next day to hear Minnie Bee play.

While walking down Main Street, just

roused to its waking yawn, Roddy resorted to unwonted subterfuge.

"I would n't mention Minnie Bee to Berta, Murry," said he, too carelessly.

Mary instantly turned on Roddy a suspicious glance.

"Berta has a sort of foolish prejudice against her," said Roddy, loftily.

"I see," said Mary. She held her head high, and walked along stiffly by Roddy


The idiot actually endeavored to convert her to his point of view. They were passing Minnie Bee's Uncle Joe's harness shop when he thus wasted breath. Mary turned her head, and viewed its swinging sign.

Her tone was extremely severe. Roddy simply could not help feeling like a naughty little boy. He ignored Berta entirely.

"Are you going to call there with me to-morrow?" he demanded of Mary.

"Certainly not."

"Kindly inform me what excuse I am to give."

"Any you like."

"I think you had better, in common decency, go home," said Roddy, furiously.

"Oh, Roddy, you are too funny!" said Mary. Her tone changed to one of indulgence. "Certainly I have no earthly intention of going home before I get ready." She moved off with Berta, glancing over her shoulder to call out, "You can say to your little friend that I have toothache, if you like."

Roddy flung off to his room in the rage of his life.

"I thought the name seemed familiar," said Mary. She had kissed Minnie Bee!

"The prettiest and cleverest girl in this confounded town," exploded Roddy. He had got white over it. He knew now who had invented the caste system. Women. The vain women who must have slaves and underlings to satiate their infernal selfishness. Imagine a world run by them! Bedlam, that 's what it would be.

He lifted his hat sternly to Pagie Presley and Wirt, also returning from a before-breakfast stroll to the old college, taken in the opposite direction, a thing which would occur sometimes with unscrupulous young men in charge of the expedition. He stood aside sternly during the badinage which ensued. He accompanied Mary home, still sternly. In the hall he offered her the sketch.

"Perhaps you had better keep it," said brought there was extremely rare. Mary, hatefully.

At that moment Berta appeared with her basket of housekeeping keys, noticed the sketch, and insisted on examining it. "One of Minnie Bee's," said Roddy, out of sheer, desperate bravado.

"We picked her up on our walk," said Mary. Her glance promised that Berta should hear all about that later on.

Berta comprehended at once that Mary had been the victim of a most shameful imposition. She said warmly:

"I did n't think you capable of an underhanded trick like that, Roddy."

HE went alone the next afternoon to call on Minnie Bee. He looked so unhappy when he lied and said that his sister had unexpectedly been prevented from accompanying him, and was very sorry indeed about it, that Minnie Bee made herself sweeter than he had ever seen her.

There was nothing petty about Minnie Bee. She had not the faintest inclination to take it out on Roddy, but, all the same. it was a turning-point. Motor-cars were not rare in town, of course, though some horses and persons still shied at them; but such a long, wicked-looking car as Seaton

Minnie Bee's smoke-blue bonnet and Seaton's rakish cap used every day to be seen bent together while Seaton drove Minnie Bee saunteringly along the lovely roads of spring. When Roddy did receive a modicum of her society it seemed to him that she was somehow different, that a new expression, almost one of recklessness, pervaded her loveliness.

He said to her once, with a hurt feeling at heart:

"I don't believe you care for me any more, Minnie Bee."

"Don't you, dear?" asked Minnie Bee.

She offered her hand, sweetly. Roddy's face quivered. He wanted to say to her that he could n't possibly help things turning out so; but, naturally, it was n't a thing he could say. He stooped his head, and kissed her hand instead; but Minnie Bee knew, sadly enough, that it was only a pretty piece of boyish chivalry.

There were other reasons than the ones made by Minnie Bee for Roddy's seeing her less frequently. He had a lot of work to make up. He would have felt a good deal of diffidence about going home if he had failed in exams. Not that his father attached undue importance to the academic aspect of a college career; but he did attach immense importance to Roddy's toeing the mark, wherever it might happen to be.

Roddy had to sit up nights and drink outrageously strong coffee; but though he detested cramming and coffee, he felt that but for him Minnie Bee might never have realized the satisfactions of friendship, and he had no regrets.

On the last day of commencement, returning from a solitary stroll, undertaken in hope of losing on the way the slight headache occasioned by burning so much midnight electricity for weeks on end, he sighted Seaton's car crawling up the long ascent. On reaching him it stopped, and Seaton leaned out.

"I was just wishing I might chance on you, Ivor," said he.

For the first time within Roddy's experience of him his striking, dark face wore an air of youthful happiness and gaiety. In fact, he did not look a brute at all.

Roddy glanced, puzzled, from Seaton to Minnie Bee.

"We 've just been married," announced Minnie Bee in a self-possessed manner. It was Seaton who colored. Smiling, Minnie Bee retied the veil-ends of a new, pinkish gray motoring bonnet.

Roddy continued to look at the two in an odd silence.

Seaton, with a whimsical glance at Roddy, obeyed at once.

"Minnie Bee," said Roddy, the instant Seaton was out of hearing, "why did you do it?"

"Oh, I don't know," said Minnie Bee, lightly. "Out of gratitude, perhaps, Roddy, for my first proposal."

Roddy stared at her, astounded.

"Harry," said Minnie Bee, calmly, to Seaton, "please go and get me a bridal bouquet from the hawthorn-tree yonder."

"Why, no end of fellows must have made love to you!"

"Made love to me, yes!" cried Minnie Bee. So it flamed into words at last, though she had never meant it to. "I-I-never-" Roddy halted, stam


"No," said Minnie Bee, her eyes on the far horizon, "you never did."

"But if I had," cried Roddy, passionately, "don't you believe I 'd have asked you to-to marry me?"

Minnie Bee turned the butterfly blue of her eyes on Roddy for a long, long time. "Yes," she whispered at last.

Her eyes wandered to Seaton, who seemed about to move toward them. Her hand closed on the edge of the car. Roddy laid hold of it entreatingly.

"Minnie Bee," he said, "I can't believe a wonderful girl like you would marry a man you did n't love. I can't believe you are that sort of girl."

Minnie Bee looked down. Her fingers struggled slightly with Roddy's. A deep, beautiful blush flowed over her face.

"You are in love!" cried Roddy, triumphantly.

All at once Minnie Bee ceased to struggle. Her face flowered into blue eyes and whiteness. She looked up at Roddy, her heart on her sleeve.

Roddy felt extraordinarily happy. She was not that sort of girl.

"It's so splendid of you, Minnie Bee," he said, "to make me quite contented about you." He could let go her hand


"Just a word," said Seaton at his elbow. He filled Minnie Bee's arms with sprays of the most heavenly fragrance as he went on speaking.

"You 're an awful ass, Ivor; but you

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