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"We ain't that pattern of fool. We'd keep away."
“And Vi? I suppose she'd never want to see her father and mother. She'd be quite happy without them. Lord ! she ought to be happy without you! It's worse than Abraham's sacrifice if there had been no lamb! At least, Isaac would have burned quickly!"
He saw Sally B.'s face drop and gray shadows creep in.
“What's the use of money and beauty, an' Vi's aristocratic way, if Bill an' me was ready to tie her down to our kind ? To life on the desert; maybe-Bill ain't no finandseer-to tough luck an' pore grub. That's what's bound to come if Bill's luck turns. Do you think that's lovin' her? That lord b’longs to folks that's always had money, an always looked it. An' if he fails, there's Freddy Bryan; he's a man, the right kind. If he loses his money, he'll make it again--he's buckin' bright-an’ she'll live genteel. I s'pose you'd call it lovin' her to drag her away from all that, an' tie her up to a little four-by-six life with you, a-trampin' along the railroad !”
Alvin walked abruptly away to the open window. The beautiful palm-garden with its waxen-crested calla hedge and vine-wrapped trellises was full of winter bloom and fragrance; but he saw nothing. He was looking into a future without Viola. Sally B.'s biting challenge had razed his years-old castle of hope.
Sally B., watching, saw her battle won; and a quick revulsion of feeling set in. She remembered how valiantly he had fought his way on a crutch through half-starved boyhood to honorable manhood—she was proud of the courage that had pioneered an operation that was the talk of the papers.
When Alvin spoke his voice was very gentle. “May I see Viola before I go? It'll be my last chance, you know.” “Oh, Al!” she cried out.
. Almost, ambition had lost! "AI, Löy! Do you think you'd better? Won't it be harder for you? An' for her, too?”
Give her up without one more look into her dear face? Not see for himself that it was well with her?
Yet he took up his hat and turned steady eyes to where Sally B. stood.
“Tell Vi—tell Vi—no, don't tell her anything! Good-bye, Sally B.” He bowed slightly and walked out of the door.
"Oh, Al Carter, you're the best man I ever-” she caught her breath and stopped, staring after him.
Neither to the right nor to the left did he turn his eyes as he walked down the winding, rose-lined avenue. Somewhere in the great house a piano was sounding. “Good-bye, good-bye,” it moaned over and over again. And the iron gates clashed to behind him, shutting out his paradise !
“Al! Al Carter !” screamed a shrill voice. Through the gates Sally B. flew. “Al, come back. Come back an’see Vi! Gosh durn it, Al! I throw up the game! What does a shamming old Greazer like me want of a big-bug for a son-in-law? You're good enough, right smart better'n I deserve; an' good enough for Vi,
Go 'long in the music-room there, an' find Vi. Tell her if she's said 'Yes' to Reg Lawrence, or to Freddy Bryan, or to any other feller, I'll say 'No' to him! Go!"
She dragged him into the hall, pushed him toward the musicroom and, sobbing wildly, ran up the soundless stairs.
Alvin stood still, dazed, when a little figure sprang forward to meet him.
"Oh, Alvin !" she cried.
"Viola, your mother has accepted me for you," he said softly, and took her in his arms.
“READ AS YOU TALK."
TEACHER. Now James, remember that the secret of good read. ing is to read exactly as you talk. The first sentence in to-day's lesson is: “William, please to let me take your kite for a few minutes.” How would you say it?
JAMES. Hi, dere, Bill, gimme dat kite o' yours a minute or I'll break your face; see!
A WOMAN'S CONCLUSIONS.
PATHETIC RETROSPECTIVE VERSE MONOLOGUE FOR WOMAN.
CHARACTERS: MRS. WEARY, speaker present; her friend, sup
posed to be present, seated. COSTUME: Careless attire. SCENE: MRS. WEARY walks up and down a while then stops and
speaks to friend.
SAID, if I might go back again
To the very hour and place of my birth;
And live it in any part of the earth;
Put perfect sunshine into my sky,
Banish the shadow of sorrow and doubt;
And all my suffering stricken out;
If I could have known, in the years now gone,
The best that a woman comes to know;
Or whatever she thinks will make her so:
Have found the highest and purest bliss
That the bridal-wreath and ring inclose;
That my heart as well as my reason chose;
And if this had been, and I stood to-night
By my children, lying asleep in their beds,
The shining row of their golden heads;
Yea! I said, if a miracle such as this
Could be wrought for me, at my bidding, still
I would choose to have my past as it is,
And to let my future come as it will !
I would not make the path I have trod
More pleasant, or even more straight or wide; Nor change my course the breadth of a hair,
This way or that way, to either side. My past is mine, and I take it all;
Its weakness-its folly, if you please; Nay, even my sins, if you come to that,
May have been my helps, not hindrances !
If I saved my body from the flames
Because that once I had burned my hand : Or kept myself from a greater sin
By doing a less—you will understand;
It was better I suffered a little pain,
Better I sinned for a little time,
And the sting of sin withheld from crime.
Who knows its strength, by trial, will know
What strength must be set against a sin; And how temptation is overcome
He has learned, who has felt its power within !
And who knows how a life at the last may show!
Why, look at the moon from where we stand! Opaque, uneven, you say; yet it shines
A luminous sphere, complete and grand.
So let my past stand, just as it stands,
And let me now, as I may, grow old; I am what I am,
life for me Is the best--or it had not been, I hold.
HEAT OF BATTLE.
HE minister's kitchen, because it undertook to serve too many
purposes, was only a qualified success. As a dining-room it brought tears to the eyes of the minister's wife. Because it lacked a sink and several other conveniences, its career as a kitchen was in no wise brilliant.
The congregation, the staid elders and deacons, remained in happy ignorance of the righteous indignation which sometimes flashed and flamed in the region of culinary mysteries.
For nearly two years the minister's wife had conducted an unsuccessful campaign under a banner bearing this device, "A new kitchen with a really and truly sink.”
Repeatedly this banner had gone down in humiliation and defeat. The perversity of the three trustees who stood guard over the church treasury compelled the minister and his family to partake of their daily bread in the confines of the heated kitchen.
The trustees stubbornly insisted that a parsonage with three rooms on the first floor and four on the second, furnished ample accommodations for a modern defender of the orthodox faith. The prophet Elijah, they said, had only one little room upon the wall. In vain the little woman with the banner endeavored to convince them that when the parlor had to serve as the minister's study and the living-room as a reception hall, and the kitchen as dining-room, there was perplexity and discomfort beyond a reasonable measure of Christian resignation. She reminded them also that Elijah was not burdened with the cares of a family in his limited quarters on the wall.
But the trustees were set in their ways. They listened to her good-naturedly, smiled a little, but refused even seriously to consider the proposition. Young Mr. Cummings, the junior member of the official body, finally undertook to champion her cause, but mainly because he was young, his minority report received scant attention. Then the mistress of the manse retired to the kitchen