" that there was but one.
VOLUME 86. NO. 41.
$2.00 A YEAR.
OCTOBER 10, 1912,
the busy silence of the *‘ITigh,””
John Dorrel, the prineipal, paused in
his examination of the morning roll-
call, and gazed at the bell-rope at the
point where it dangled from the ceiling.
When he was deep in thought, he alway
consulted the top of the bell-rope. ITis
present study of it was caused by Mary
Beardsley’s absence, for the first time
in eight weeks. Although John Dorrel’s
common sense told him that there might
be a dozen explanations of Mary’s
absence, his uncommon sense told him
Superficial as Mr. Dorrel’s acquaint-
ance with Mary had appeared to be,
and little as Mary confided in her
schoolmaster or in any one else, the
course of her eight weeks at Mapleton
s clear enough. She was
v one to fight things out for
The trouble with John Dorrel
this morning was that he guessed her
Dattle had gone the wrong way.
e well remembered his first meet-
ing with Mary, in the preceding July.
Spending his vacation at home, he was
in the habit of taking long tramps into
the country, in search of botanical
specimens for his work—and of other
specimens g It was remarkable how
often he had to stop at farmhouses to
ask the way.
On one occasion of this kind, pausing
by a broken gate, within which se:
children were tumbling about like
tens, John Dorrel found his inquiries
met with such blank bashfulness that,
to aid him, a long-legzed girl had come
running down from the porch, where,
over the wash-tubs, she was busy with
her mother. She had sunburnt braids
and face, and, her blue-gray eyes were
direct and keen. Iler damp apron was
so much longer than her outgrown
sxiits daab It touched her toes.
She explained quickly and clearly the
intricacies of certain mountain by-
paths; while she talked, she mechan-
ically lifted in her arms a
tousled two - year-old child.
John Dorrel noted how the
slim back bent beneath the
burden, and how the muscles
of her bare throat enlarged.
cas a healthy fifteen-year-
but the schoolmaster
knew the strain sometimes put
upon such growing persons, and in the course
of the talk, which he managed to prolong |
into a pleasant sit-down chat under the trees,
he guessed that the brood of little brothers
and sisters sometimes bore heavily on Mary’s
brain as well as on her body.
An eager brain it wi he had noted her
hungry glance at the tin box slung across It
shoulder, and her
specimens when he had unstrapped and opened
the box. She knew each root and leaf, by
homely names, but none the less with accuracy.
She knew the living inhabitants of the \\<)od~
no less well.
When her father came trudging down to the
group from the barn, the visitor discovered
whence Mary derived her enthusiasm. John
Dorrel’s botany case proved a quick key to |
confidence, The father, touching with a great |
leathery hand a moccasin-flower, suddenly
looked up at John Dorrel and smiled boyishly.
“I s I guess you’re Mr. Dorrel!”
““Pretty far from home, ain’t you?’”
““Twenty miles, according to Mary here.””
““Guess you couldn’t get so far but what
people would have heard about you. Mary
says we’ve got to send Bennie down to Maple- |
ton when he gets big. I—I wish Mary could
Mary said nothing, but John Dorrel saw |
ber lips move before she bowed them quickly |
to the baby’s head.
Although before going on his way on that |
July morning, John Dorrel had had an hour’s
talk with Mary’s father, this tallk was. not
about Ma When plans were forming in his
head, Joln Dorrel knew enough not to reveal |
them prematurely. If the plans were carried
out, it sometimes happened that the partici-
pants in them thought these projects were not
John Dorrel’s, but their own. Tt is always
better that w The fact was that the school-
master’s con ion with Thomas Beardsley
had been chiefly about Miss Marcia ITigby,
discovered to be Thomas Beardsley’s aunt—
the Miss Marcia ITighy so long famous in
Mapleton for her milk-route, and for much else.
The.two men chuekled over visits they had |
| mu\Ie to M
quick recognition of his|
DRAWN BY R. M. BRINKERMOFF
SHE STARTED A LITTLE AT HIS GREETING
Marcia in their childhood. Tt
seemed that they had each the ill luck to
break a milk-bottle. Each confided to the
other that, as a result, never had he felt so
guilty and dejected, or had had better reason
for feeling so. Then reminiscent chuckles had
changed to head - shakes: both ced that
although Miss Marcia had grown old, she
would not admit the fact to herself. The poor
milk-bottles were no longer humorous.
On the opening ¢ of Mapleton Academy
| the prineipal had seen in the group of Ix
and girls that crowded round his desk to greet
| 1im, & sunburned face with vivid gray eyes
| and a smile that beamed from flashing teeth.
‘“Are you surprised, Mr. Dorrel? Do you
| remember me? T'm living with my aunt,
s Marcia ITighy. She asked me to, so that
I could go to school. T don’t know what ever
made her think of it.””
For a week or more Mary’s smile lasted:
then slowly it faded and died. At first she
fell upon study, especially upon botany and
z00logy, with a zest that would have fired any
teacher with delight; but gradually her zeal
slackened and grew intermittent, and her gr
eyes grew preoccupied and moody. ITung
for friendship as she had been in the first
days, John Dorrel after a while noticed her
| absence from the social groups of girls in the
rec hour. IIe discovered where she went.
The lower ct had recess at a different
| time from the ITigh room. As she had made
friends with the teacher of the first primary
| class, Mary was allowed to spend her own
reces hing the children at their
‘“ml\ she came to the principal
with quest. ITe had responded
hearti Certainly, every rainy day at five
minutes past three. I”1l remember when you
are not in your seat at that hour.””
The first **primaries’” were usually dismissed
at quarter past three. At five minutes past
three on rainy days they needed help in putting
on their rubbers. When on these wet after-
noons Mary Beardsley returned to the ITigh
room for the laboratory period, her teacher
found that all her enthusiasm had returned.
While, with the smallest of frowns visible
YCHOOLMASTER at ™2
Matter 5f TMilh Dol tles
between his clear black eyebrows,
studied the bell-rope, his thoughts turned from
Mary to her aunt. Tis anxiety was deepened
by the recollection that on his way to school |
that morning he had observed Mi cia
ITigby cleaning her parlor. She had given him
only the grimmest of nods.
In his glance, John Dorrel had seen how set
and gu ss Marcia’s face appeared,
and how clumsily, despite the fierce fires of
her energy, her rheumatic hands worked.
A casnal observer could have seen little
likeness in face or figure between Marcia
Migby, aged sixty-six, and Mary Beardsley,
aged fifteen ; but John Dorrel, with dark, deep
eyes on the bell-rope, smiled at the thought
of their resemblance.
The light in their eyes when they looked at
little children was one point of likeness. John
| Dorrel had first seen that light in Miss Marcia’s
s when he was too small to understand it,
and precisely the same light was there when
they looked at him, even now that he had
turned forty. Yet with all his matare humor,
John Dorrel sometimes had hard work to
conquer his old-time pani cia’s
| caustic tongue. e wonder
would affect a spirited girl of fifteen, a girl
quite as much a
stomed to managing other
people’s affairs as her aunt was.
A line of poetry that he often used in admon-
ishing himself recurred to John Dorrel:
*Tis an awkward thing to play with souls.
Iowever, he had not played with souls
ITe had merely, on one mellow summer after-
noon after that visit to the Beardsley farm,
strayed round to Miss Marcia’s back poreh,
where hie knew he should find her busy behind
She was piling the
gleaming, sun-baked bottles on a tray, pre-
paratory to carrying them to the milk-house.
In the meadows below the house the yellow
a’s sleeves, rolled back, revealed
the cruel deformity of her rheumatic hands.
As she started a little at his greeting, John
Dorrel had seen something that no one had
seen before; he had seen a millk-bottle fall from
on the porch floor! Red burned in
Miss Marcia’s gray cheek. Not for
worlds would John Dorrel have seemed
to see; not for worlds would he have
offered to take the tray from the trem-
bling hands that clutched it valiantly
as they carried it down to the milk-
When she returned and led her visitor
through the dus kitchen into the cool
sitting-room, Miss Marcia’s lips were
firm. Tle was not to see her handle
any more bottles that afternoon !
But the tension of M Marcia’s
mouth was bound to give way to
words. 1t needed only a casual inquiry
about her health.
““There is nothing the matter with
me, John, except that all the babies in
this street are grown up! I’ve nobody,
nothing, to look after! Nothing but
the milk. And you’ve just seen me
break a milk-bottle!”” She got up and
ightened a lamp-mat, then sat down
“Well, if somebody had to see me, I’d
rather it had been you than anybody
else. Jacky Dorrel, do any of your
schoolbooks tell what doctor first in-
John Dorrel smiled into her whim-
sical, perplexed eyes.
“Until now I’ve always been glad
that I had no near relatives,”” she went
on. *‘Ialways had plenty of people to
“*You’ve had the whole town.””
““But when you come to be old, a
family is—a convenience.’”
**Nobody is 0ld.”” John Dorrel deliv-
ered himself to the air.
“*Of course not! Theidea! Atonly
-8 But’’—Miss Marcia lifted
the offending members and dropped
them again to her lap—tmy hands,
Not good for any tiing but tie
milk, and not good for that any more!
And I am alone in the world.
I have to hire hands for the
milk-bottles, T1—I"Il give up
It was merely to divert Miss
Marcia, of course, that John
Dorrel had introduced the
subject of his visit to the
t“‘ :ﬁ Beardsleys’, and had drawn
John Dorrel | sunburned Ma
a’s hand and crash in fragments |
the portrait of Mary up there
on the hilltop farm, little, vivid,
‘, so eager and so overburdened.
When he left, he thought he had succeeded in
diverting Miss Marcia, but he knew nothing
more of the matter until Mary had appeared
| at his desk on the first day of school.
That was eight weeks ago. And now Mary
had disappeared. Tlad she run away?
Thus Tuesday slipped by, and Wednesday
and Thursday, and it came to be Friday after-
noon. On lay afternoons, in his cave-like
office, a room " scooped out from among the
crowding first - floor classrooms, the school-
master was known to be “at home” to any
one who wished to see him. While John
Dorrel sat at his office desk, there came a
knoek. Miss Clapp, his chief assistant, admitted
Miss Marcia Higby. Miss ITigby sank wearily
into the chair on the other side of the desk.
T never expected to come to see you here,
John,”” she said.
visiting your workshop,
you visited mine?”
“John,” said Miss Mar
you know anything about her?
“I suppose she went lLome.
**Then she did.””
““Yes, but the question isn’t where she
went, but how to get her back and how to
Keep her back.”*
many years I’ve been
isn’t it about time
She said she
“Ts that all you have to say 27" asked
Miss Marcia, irritably.
““Might I inquire first why she went?’”
The answer came with a mighty effort:
**Jacky Dorrel, T do not know!”” More hesi-
tatingly, she added, ‘*John, doesn’t Mary
talk to yor She doesn’t talk to me.””
““Mary has not spoken to me of family
A comical expression of guilt crept over Miss
Marcia’s gray face. ‘‘She—she needn’t know
that I have, need she, John?’’
““You haven’t,”” he replied.
“*Mary is a queer child.””
““Yery queer,”” Miss Marcia said, with a
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