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"I'll come home early with the children," Mrs. Stanton said, turning toward her husband, her foot on the running board.
As she settled in the only vacant seat, that next to Mr. Troy, she caught his more or less conscious gaze of admiration and felt like a woman who had been denied her rights. Her husband waved good bye, but she wasn't looking that way.
Mr. Troy was in a jolly mood. Much to his nieces' enjoyment he let the machine out on the descending grade and in an incredible short time reached the entrance to the grounds.
The twilight was dim; night was hovering near. Lights isolated, in clusters and in rows, sparkled among the tall trees. The notes of a piano and a violin and numerous voices shouting and laughing floated out to them. Summer clad girls, civilian and uniformed boys and men were thickly scattered over the grounds.
Going in they were met by a group of young men. And soon Alice and May were being conducted toward the music. A party of hilarious old people sitting on a bench claimed Mrs. Troy. And then as though there was nothing else to do, Mr. Troy and Mrs. Stanton, bowing and smiling to acquaintances, strolled toward the open tree-embowered dancing platform.
For an interval they loitered under the row of globeless electric lights strung saggingly on the outer edges of the platform. The music pealed forth "Nights of Gladness." Mr. Troy's arm encircled her waist. Simultaneously a half-breathless murmur of amazement and incredulity ran through a group of neighbors, sitting below the platform, at her roses, the kaleidoscopic scarf and her dancing.
She did not hear it. Her buoyant vitality thrilled through every nerve and fibre as under Mr. Troy's skillful guidance, she quickly mastered the never-before attempted hesitation waltz.
They circled the crowded floor time and time again. Occasionally she had
other acquaintances for partners, but Mr. Troy would invariably come to claim her for the following dance.
Later when she was the merriest of a gay party partaking of ices, her daughter, Dottie, came with a new, shy expression in her eyes, and halfwhispered, "Mother the Browns are starting for home. Are you coming? Sonny and Willie have gone home already."
"No, dear," the mother replied, while Mr. Troy playfully stole her dish of ice cream and hid it under a paper on the table, "run along."
"But papa'll be waiting," the girl vouchsafed timidly, her arm around her mother's neck, her shining brown head pressing her cheek.
"Run along," the other commanded blithsomely, dismissing the subject, turning and laughing at the missing ice cream.
However Dottie's remark troubled her a little: "'Papa'll be waiting.'" The joyousness was beginning to pall. To the rear she heard some one remark, "How handsome Mrs. Stanton looks tonight." "Yes," another voice assented, "and I never thought of her as handsome before."
Thereupon she banished the unpleasant thoughts and her spirits revived. The hours dashed swiftly by. Mr. Troy and Mrs. Stanton were more and more inseparable, mingling with the crowds around the ice cream and lemonade booths, when they were not dancing, or promenading with others along the starlit paths.
Then when it was near twelve o'clock and they were waltzing near the railing, Miss Larkin, the school principal, who was noted for being very outspoken, said sighing, "The ancient story of the husband old while the wife is still young, Mrs. Stanton." She walked dutifully, primly away with a straight held head.
Mrs. Stanton blushed furiously. A sharp retort surged in her throat. But her tongue was not trained to sharp retorts and Miss Larkin was a distance away before it was ready to be uttered.
"Ha, ha," Mr. Troy chuckled. "Funny old maid."
Self-consciousness arose. She bent her head to hide her burning face and torturing thoughts and down the length of herself she saw nothing but darkness, the black silk dress.
The rainbow throw was no longer draped over her shoulders. She felt alien here in the night among the whirling couples, the music and chatter. This evening of dancing, laughing and jesting seemed no longer a part of herself; it belonged to a picturesque stranger, with brilliant cheeks, roses in her hair and clothed in a rainbow. She became again the quiet, commonplace wife, the mother of three children.
She stepped aside from the mass of couples. "I've lost Dottie's scarf," she murmured distantly.
"Must have become unpinned," he said, not noticing her changed mood. "Fell on the floor probably."
He took a few paces to where he could get a better view of the entire floor. He shook his head. "Isn't here. Let's search along the paths."
So they hunted within the glare of the lights and without the glare of lights, but with no results.
Near the candy booth Mr. Troy put his hand on her arm, arresting her footsteps. "What's the use hunting?" he suggested. "I'll write a notice and put it up here offering twenty-five dollars reward for its return."
"I object to any such thing," she protested, drawing away. "It's of no consequence. I wonder if your mother's ready to go home?"
"Oh, mother," he grinned. "I let Bob Smith take the machine to run the others home. He hasn't returned yet." He took her arm again. "There's another hesitation. Let's not miss it."
"I don't wish to dance again."
"What's the matter," he coaxed familiarly in the unruffled tones of a man sure of his ground, and his eyes said more than his voice. "Life is just beginning for you. I have no ties that bind; and surely your husband under the circumstances can expect—"
He was interrupted by a boisterous friend who slapped him on the back and pulled him off the path. There the friend gleefully related something.
For a moment she had only a vague realization of the meaning of his unfinished sentence. And then as she knew, her heart flamed with regret and anger, anger not so much with the man as herself.
Unnoticed she disappeared among the thinning strollers. Without glancing to the right or the left she swiftly threaded her way out of the glimmer of the artificial lights and close air into the sheltering starlit highway.
In the small tight slippers she teetered painfully along the ruts of the road. As she trudged on in the dust she felt relieved as the music and the clatter of feet grew fainter. Then she heard Mr. Troy's voice coming nearer.
She slunk in the shadow of a tree and waited for him to pass. But he evidently returned to the park as nothing near her broke the silence but the hoot of an owl.
After she had gone a mile on the ascending road and made the first turn, her heart fluttered as she distinguished the pat of a horse's feet and the roll of a rubber-tired buggy.
In the darkness she waited. Shortly the moving carriage lamp threw a dim yellow flicker over her.
Her old husband pulled up and smiled out to her. "Is that you, Minnie?"
"Yes," she answered.
"I reckoned you'd be getting lonesome for home about now." His voice broke off trembling. "So—I so—I—"
He leaned over and handed out her great coat. "It's chilly. Fog's coming in through the cut. It'll soon be here."
Her lip quivered, and tears sprang to her eyes. He watched until she had put on the coat. Then he held out a scarf. As she took it she sensed it was silk. She brushed away her tears and held it close to her eyes. It was the rainbow scarf.
"Why—" she faltered, "how—"
"Dottie," he interrupted carefully
gentle, "didn't think you looked good Her head dipped. Her forehead
in it. So she took it and the roses off pressed against his arm.
of you just before she came home— "But, never mind—wear it, dearie,
when you were eating ice cream." all you want to."
By Alan George
(Geo. J. Southwick and Alfred S. Burroughs)
Yes, pard, it's a rough lookin' fiddle an' not very useful, I know.
But there ain't enough gold in the diggin's to tempt me to part with it, though.
As long as I live I'll jest keep it right here in my cabin with me,
For to me its more precious than jewels, no matter how costly they'd be.
You're right, there's a story about it, an' one I don't mind to relate,
For it calls to my mind a true hero an' a noble an' brave cabin-mate.
To start at the first o' the chapter, I'll state what most people don't know:
This camp isn't now what it was then—some forty-odd winters ago.
The mines they was new an' a-boomin', and I was the head foreman then,
But I didn't put on any airs, pard, though bossin' a hundred-odd men.
Well, one day a strappin' young feller came into the camp huntin' work,
Nights, after our day's work was over, down here to this cabin we'd go
An' Buck would take down this same fiddle an' rosinin' up this same bow,
He'd play what he said was a two-step—the finest tune ever was heard—
An' I would jest sit there an' listen for hours without speakin' a word.
There was somethin' about that sweet music that made my heart happy an' light,
An' tired as I was, an' rheumatic, I was achin' to dance ev'ry night!
No matter how blue an' down-hearted, no matter how things would go wrong,
That "Bowery Buck Two-Step" would cheer me an' life would be all a glad song.
An' oft when the boys got to drinkin' an' started to wrangle and fight,
That soul-stirrin' tune from Buck's fiddle would settle all arguments right.
One night—I will never forget it—while we were both sittin' in here,
An' Bowery Buck was a-playin' the two-step I loved so to hear,
We heard a great yellin' an' shoutin' jest down at the foot o' the hill
Where some o' the tumbled-down cabins are ling'rin in evidence still.
We rushed to the door o' the cabin an' the first thing that greeted our sight
Was the glare of a roarin' big fire there that lit up the shadowy night.
"Come on," shouted Buck; " 'tis the hash-house, an' it's bein' burned up fit to kill,"
An' away we both sped like a whirlwind, zig-zag down the dark, rocky hill,
Where scores of the miners had gathered, a-yellin' like imps o' old Nick
An' shoutin' about a child lyin' upstairs in the buildin' an' sick.
Buck questioned the miners around him an' learned it was Widow Smith's child,
An' higher the flames leaped an' crackled, with awful an' furious roar,
For while the poor mother was prayin' there 'rose all at once a great yell
There, now you have heard the whole story—a sad one, you'll call it, no doubt—
But its always to me kinder cheerin'—a. deed good to tell men about;
An' though 'tis a mute, rusty fiddle, I feel that its melody lives
For the memories waked by its powers sweet solace an' comfort still gives.
The whispering pine bendin' o'er him seems often to whisper to me
An' bid me to guard my rare treasure with loyal an' true constancy.
With his pulseless old bow an' mute fiddle that here in my cabin are laid
I cherish the soul that inspired 'em with strains that no other have played.
An' long as I live I will tell it, that the richest vein ever was struck
Was when thro' this rough-lookin' fiddle breathed the soul o' brave Bow'ry Buck.
Betty—The Story of a Brave Heart
By Elizabeth Huebner
BIRCH CROFT lies near the head of the lake, just within the arm of the second point on the East Leland side. In steamboat and railroad guides it is listed under hotels, but upon nearer view and in its own setting it reminds one of a great cottage home. Its usual summer guests are, in the expression of the North, "Illinois People," but in this year of
19 there were three1 people who
had traveled greater distances in the hope of finding quiet and rest. One was a man from the far West, the other two, a woman and a girl from somewhere in the East.
Out under the trees on the north side of the cottage there is a small vine-covered arbor, which overlooks Lake Leelanau and stands only a few feet from its shore. It was here that "Auntie Fay" and the girl, Betty, spent their mornings, and at times the greater part of the day, for although they had come north to rest there were still proofs to be read and correspondence to be taken care of. They both loved the great out-of-doors and made the most of their retreat, which took them quite away from other people and still allowed them to feel their nearness.
Auntie Fay a great many of you undoubtedly know — if not personally, you at least know her through the books she has written. Betty was just a girl, like many another girl, without any particular distinction in the world. She was of medium height, but when not being measured against other people, her youthful slenderness gave one the impression that she was much taller. Her soft, light brown hair, which she wore low over her forehead
and arranged in a soft coil at the back of her head, framed a face, which although of regular features, carried more of sweetness of expression than of beauty. She was eager and fully alive to the joys which came her way, though her young shoulders had been forced to carry burdens far too great for one of her years.
One day about two weeks after their arrival they were spending the morning as usual in the shady arbor. The lake lay a wide expanse of clear crystal, with not a ripple stirring its surface. It was one of those warm, humid days when it is simply impossible to concentrate one's thought upon work. Betty's thoughts in particular were wandering, following in the wake of each group of people as they strolled through the grove on their way to the dock or the tennis courts. Listlessly she followed them in thought, until finally her attention was attracted by a lone figure threading his way in and out among the green trees.
"Auntie Fay," the girl's tones were in keeping with the listlessness of her mood, "don't you think the 'Silent Man' may be brooding over some secret trouble?"
"Whom are you talking about, child?" Auntie Fay looked up from her book, and following the direction of the girl's gaze, saw the man from the West just entering the cottage door. "Do you mean Mr. Howard?"
"Yes, Auntie Fay, I have given him the name of 'Silent Man' because I think it suits him better. He impresses me as a person who is afraid to talk— afraid to laugh; his only happiness seems to be in wandering away from