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his way of doin' the right. And Jesus gie us our choice. I reckon it wouldna' be wise to follow the Diel. It wasna' meant for me to read it onyway. Eh, I'll gie it to her.” "No," she decided as Harvey lifted her from the sleigh and swung her to the walk, "I'll gie it to Harvey and let him gie it her."
"Granny dear, you didn't say whether you like the play. Was it as bad as all that?" Jenny knelt to unfasten her overshoes while Harvey coaxed a fire from the embers in the front room grate.
"Ye did that well, lassie, I couldna' keep the tears back," Grandma sighed. "But I wish you had forgotten a' the speeches an' acted like a stick o' wood."
"Eh weel, I'm no sayin' why." Grandma hinted vaguely of cake and spiced peaches, and as she passed Harvey on her way to the kitchen she slipped the card into his hand.
"Gie it to Jenny," she whispered. "But mind ye dinna' let her do what it says!"
Grandma, as she cut the cake and searched in the pantry for the prettiest fruit, heard murmurs of voices from the front room and wondered what must be happening there. Now Harvey must be showing her the card but first he must have given her the ring. How thrilled Jenny would be! And she'd tell him she'd a thousand, thousand times rather have him and the real home he could offer her than all the fame that could come to her on the stage. Grandma hummed while she whipped cream to decorate the firm round peaches. This should be the announcement breakfast!
She arranged the table and then waited till her curiosity could not be restrained another moment. Wishing not to embarrass them, she rattled
the door knob and coughed. Young sweethearts
The precautions were unnecessary. Jenny stood by the hearth, her head in her arm. Harvey, his cap crushed in his hand, opened the street door.
"I wish you every success," his voice was stilted, formal, strange. "I shouldn't want you-when you can do worth-while artistic things for the world to feel tied to a mere country-"
His head tossed up in the old gesture Grandma had seen, when, as a child, he had been whipped and had taken it in proud silence. "Goodnight!" "Laddie-"
At the sound of Grandma's voice he paused in the doorway. Grandma hesitated. After all, what could she do? Then, in the pocket of her kitchen apron she found her inspiration-a bag of peppermints!
"Laddie," she smiled as if nothing serious had happened, "hae a peppermint-do ye mind what I used to tell ye about peppermints?"
"That they could cure all troubles He took one to please her. "All troubles" he turned away.
Grandma could have cried then, but she staunchly kept her merry bantering tone.
if ye're no too grown and dignified-ye couldna' sit on my lap," she laughed up at him, "but if ye'd like, the fire in the grate's just right for a story-"
Harvey did not move, but Jenny turned and smiled at them through
"Me, too!" she said. Then, the chill gone, the two of them came, as they had come when children, to hear a story.
"Now tell us what you did when you were young!" The three of them were playing the game of make-believe.
"Once upon a time," began Grandma, "your Grandfather, Jenny, loved a lass-"
"And why did he stop?" Jenny's eyes rounded in child wonder.
"Saucy!" rebuked Grandma, and Jenny smiled and then pretended to be very penitent. "They had loved each other a lang, lang time, and would never love anyone else they said."
Grandma paused. Jenny looked at a picture on the wall with great unconcern and Harvey stared at the Bible on the old walnut table.
"They had a quarrel-" "Oh, but we didn't," cried Jenny, "Harvey said "
"Dinna' interrupt!" said Grandma sharply. "Now I canna' remember the reason for the fecht! Eh me! But you may be sure it was naething trivial-I hae the best o' recollection that it was awfu' tremendous and important."
She passed the peppermints again and they both smiled in spite of themselves.
"She would hae gien her heart to ca' him back, but she was that proud she did naething but cry a' nicht. It was ower a year they was passin' wi' their heads turned when they couldna' gang round the block to get oot o' each ither's way.
"Thin, one day she was walkin' wi' her fayther's umbrella-the one in the attic, Jenny, ye mind it's as big as a tent-weel there she gang scuttlin' along wi' it a' spread out in front, and gang into your grandfayther she wint-he twold me after that he stuck himsel' square in the way, the beggar! Eh weel, they upset i' the mud. An' sic' things as she said! And then, on a suddint they laughed fit to kill, and the end o' it was, he carried the big umbrella home, and I declare whin they tried they couldna' remimber what the powerfu' important quarrel had been aboot!"
"And did they live happily ever after?" asked Jenny.
"Ye couldna' understand if I told ye!" said Grandma with severity." Anybody sae senseless to tak' a job wi' a perfumed fashion plate and refuse the love and the home o' a good man like Harvey-"
"Please, Grandma, please!"
"It was only fair," said Harvey, loyally, "that she should have the right to the success-the wealtheverything her talent would bring. Could I be selfish enough to askcould I love her so little-"
"And did ye no gie her the ring?" exclaimed Grandma, "Did ye no tak' her in your arms and tell her you loved her true? Harvey lad, ye're a darn fool!"
Then they looked at each other and laughed. Grandma jumped up.
"Noo, bairnies," she said, "Grandma has much to do i' the kitchen. Whin ye're ready ye can come oot there too."
The next morning, morning, Billy appeared early enough to have breakfast with Jenny and Grandma.
"Ye've got a new ring, ain't ye?" Jenny smilingly permitted him to examine it. "My ma's got a gold Yourn's tin, ain't it?"
After Jenny had gone he had a serious talk with Grandma.
"Ma never scolded onct. She jes' looked kind uv funny an' then she said she was glad I done it. Gosh, when I grow big, I'm goin' to buy barrels an' barrels uv peppermints for little boys, I am!"
"And for grown folks, too," she
She was remembering that Jenny had said, as they sat before the fire after Harvey had gone, "Oh, Granny, he is worth giving up anything forany ambition or success. I'll love him forever and ever! And to think I might have lost him!"
always said that Hattie was a clean. willing worker and good to the children.
Mrs. Carrington: She is all of that and more, too. She seems to be able to do all that I do and never gets tired and cross. No nurse or physician ever saw me as crabbed and disagreeable as you and the children see me, nearly always. If I could change work. Gerry! Why shouldn't I go back to the hospital if Hattie comes? (Mrs. Carrington becomes mildly enthusiastic.) It is providential. Dr. Dixon needs a new head nurse. Hattie is free to come back to me. I shouldn't wonder if he could see the possibility and was hinting to you to suggest it.
Mr. Carrington: But think of Todkins and Miriam alone all day. They miss even Trudie while she is in school.
Mrs. Carrington: They are better off without me. It isn't as though they would have to sit around all day, little friendless orphans, waiting for mother to come. Hattie plays with them. She seems to enjoy playing with them, though I never can find time or is it inclination?
(Carrington looks depressed. Mrs. Carrington apparently has forgotten her weariness. She seems to have become ten years younger as she talks.)
Mrs. Carrington: Why, in one month, I could buy the lumber for the big, south porch so the children. could play out when winter comes. It will cut down the work considerably not to have to put rubbers on them and take them off every ten minutes. The next month, I could fit out the dressing room with builtin wardrobes and shelves so the children could have places they could reach. Then they can put their own
things away and save me so much picking up. The next month, I could buy new linoleum for the kitchen and a wash rug for the bath room. (Mrs. Carrington has become charmingly girlish in her happy anticipation. Carrington noting this, begins to do some thinking.) In a few months I could buy the piano so True could begin her lessons. Then I could soon get the phonograph Miriam yearns for. I could buy a vacuum cleaner so the sweeping would not be so hard on me.
Mr. Carrington: But Hattie would be doing the sweeping, so all these conveniences would only be to help her.
Mrs. Carrington: Even then she would have more time to play with the children and more time to spend cooking wholesome, attractive dishes for them. I'll telephone my dear old doctor right now. Won't he be relieved?
Mr. Carrington: (In deepest concern). How much did you say the lumber for the porch would cost?
Mrs. Carrington: They told me at the lumber yard that it would cost one hundred dollars. And you said you could do the work after office hours. I want one just like Marcia's. She lets the children sleep out all winter and they never were so free from colds. (At the first mention of Marcia's name, Carrington seems to recall something that makes him very serious.)
Mr. Carrington: I did not tell you all the news. Marcia's daughter. Blythe, has run away with an Italian peddler.
Mrs. Carrington: (As she sinks into a chair.) Little Blythe! Her only daughter! A mere baby of sixteen. When did it happen? I must go to Marcia. I am her nearest friend and the dearest, I hope. No
one could love her more. And she has worked so hard to make her home beautiful and educate Blythe.
Mr. Carrington: It happened yesterday some time while Marcia was clerking at the store.
Mrs. Carrington: And she hasn't been near or called me up or any thing?
Mr. Carrington: She must have been nearly crazed when she got the word. She has been busy all day, I imagine, with officers and detectives. I think I had better go over and talk with Jim. They say he is taking it even harder than Marcia is.
Mrs. Carrington: But if you go I can't. We couldn't leave the children alone.
Mr. Carrington: I'll be right back. (He goes into an alcove off the living room for his hat. As he does so a woman, almost distraught, bursts into the room. Mrs. Carrington exclaims: "Marcia," and clasps her in her arms. Marcia frees herself and exclaims: "Oh, Julia, I'm so glad you are alone." Carrington, at the words, not wishing to intrude, slips back into the alcove.)
Mrs. Carrington: Have you heard from her?
Marcia: Only a line. She says she loves him and wants to stay with him. Oh, my poor little girl. He has been coming to the house every day while I was clerking in that cursed store earning money to beautify my home and educate my daughter. And now it has all come to this. My little girl is married to a peddler of embroideries.
Mrs. Carrington: It might have happened even had you been a stayat-home.
Marcia: Might have, yes. But then I should never have suffered the remorse that is eating my heart out now. Think of it, Julia, to have gone
through motherhood, the experience is over now, and never to have satisfied the mother yearning, the mother craving; to have missed the childish prattle, to have deprived myself of the dear sight of the little unfolding woman, the baby caresses, the shy. girlish embraces, the tender confidences that come only when a sympathetic ear is near with a heart responsive. (Sobbing) The little lumps and bruises, who kissed them while mother was in the store doing what myriads of women, not so blessed, could have done, leaving undone the one thing one woman might have done as none other could? The childish fancies, who heard them, the mother to whom they would have been glimpses into that wonderland from which she was drawing farther and farther away? No, it was hired. help, absorbed in thoughts of the dance of the night before or the picture show to come. The hired help
to whom these intimate relations were only tiresome intrusions into her own thoughts. To have had it and never to have satisfied my soul with it and then to have lost it forever!