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upon me. It was a very quiet wedding, of course - just the members
of the family present. But I shall never forget the fine, sweet
loveliness of Mother's face, nor the splendid strength and tenderness
of Father's. And the way he drew her into his arms and kissed her,
after it was all over - well, I remember distinctly that even Aunt
Hattie choked up and had to turn her back to wipe her eyes.

They went away at once, first to New York for a day or two, then to
Andersonville, to prepare for the real wedding trip to the other side
of the world. I stayed in Boston at school; and because nothing of
consequence happened all those weeks and months is the reason, I
suspect, why the manuscript got tossed into the bottom of my little
trunk and stayed there.

In the spring, when Father and Mother returned, and we all went back
to Andersonville, there followed another long period of just happy
girlhood, and I suspect I was too satisfied and happy to think of
writing. After all, I've noticed it's when we're sad or troubled over
something that we have that tingling to cover perfectly good white
paper with "confessions" and "stories of my life." As witness right
now what I'm doing.

And so it's not surprising, perhaps, that Mary Marie's manuscript
still lay forgotten in the little old trunk after it was taken up to
the attic. Mary Marie was happy.

And it _was_ happy - that girlhood of mine, after we came back to
Andersonville. I can see now, as I look back at it, that Father and
Mother were doing everything in their power to blot out of my memory
those unhappy years of my childhood. For that matter, they were also
doing everything in their power to blot out of their _own_ memories
those same unhappy years. To me, as I look back at it, it seems
that they must have succeeded wonderfully. They were very happy, I
believe - Father and Mother.

Oh, it was not always easy - even I could see that. It took a lot of
adjusting - a lot of rubbing off of square corners to keep the daily
life running smoothly. But when two persons are determined that it
shall run smoothly - when each is steadfastly looking to the _other's_
happiness, not at his own - why, things just can't help smoothing out
then. But it takes them both. One can't do it alone. Now, if Jerry
would only -

But it isn't time to speak of Jerry yet.

I'll go back to my girlhood.

It was a trying period - it must have been - for Father and Mother, in
spite of their great love for me, and their efforts to create for me
a happiness that would erase the past from my mind. I realize it now.
For, after all, I was just a girl - a young girl, like other girls;
high-strung, nervous, thoughtless, full of my whims and fancies; and,
in addition, with enough of my mother and enough of my father within
me to make me veritably a cross-current and a contradiction, as I had
said that I was in the opening sentence of my childish autobiography.

I had just passed my sixteenth birthday when we all came back to live
in Andersonville. For the first few months I suspect that just the
glory and the wonder and joy of living in the old home, with Father
and Mother _happy together_, was enough to fill all my thoughts. Then,
as school began in the fall, I came down to normal living again, and
became a girl - just a growing girl in her teens.

How patient Mother was, and Father, too! I can see now how gently and
tactfully they helped me over the stones and stumbling-blocks that
strew the pathway of every sixteen-year-old girl who thinks, because
she has turned down her dresses and turned up her hair, that she is
grown up, and can do and think and talk as she pleases.

I well remember how hurt and grieved and superior I was at Mother's
insistence upon more frequent rubbers and warm coats, and fewer
ice-cream sodas and chocolate bonbons. Why, surely I was old enough
_now_ to take care of myself! Wasn't I ever to be allowed to have my
own opinions and exercise my own judgment? It seemed not! Thus spoke
superior sixteen.

As for clothes! - I remember distinctly the dreary November rainstorm
of the morning I reproachfully accused Mother of wanting to make me
back into a stupid little Mary, just because she so uncompromisingly
disapproved of the beaded chains and bangles and jeweled combs and
spangled party dresses that "every girl in school" was wearing. Why,
the idea! Did she want me to dress like a little frump of a country
girl? It seems she did.

Poor mother! Dear mother! I wonder how she kept her patience at all.
But she kept it. I remember that distinctly, too.

It was that winter that I went through the morbid period. Like our
childhood's measles and whooping cough, it seems to come to most of
us - us women children. I wonder why? Certainly it came to me. True to
type I cried by the hour over fancied slights from my schoolmates, and
brooded days at a time because Father or Mother "didn't understand," I
questioned everything in the earth beneath and the heavens above;
and in my dark despair over an averted glance from my most intimate
friend, I meditated on whether life was, or was not, worth the living,
with a preponderance toward the latter.

Being plunged into a state of settled gloom, I then became acutely
anxious as to my soul's salvation, and feverishly pursued every ism
and ology that caught my roving eye's attention, until in one short
month I had become, in despairing rotation, an incipient agnostic,
atheist, pantheist, and monist. Meanwhile I read Ibsen, and wisely
discussed the new school of domestic relationships.

Mother - dear mother! - looked on aghast. She feared, I think, for my
life; certainly for my sanity and morals.

It was Father this time who came to the rescue. He pooh-poohed
Mother's fears; said it was indigestion that ailed me, or that I was
growing too fast; or perhaps I didn't get enough sleep, or needed,
maybe, a good tonic. He took me out of school, and made it a point to
accompany me on long walks. He talked with me - not _to_ me - about the
birds and the trees and the sunsets, and then about the deeper things
of life, until, before I realized it, I was sane and sensible once
more, serene and happy in the simple faith of my childhood, with all
the isms and ologies a mere bad dream in the dim past.

I was seventeen, if I remember rightly, when I became worried, not
over my heavenly estate now, but my earthly one. I must have a career,
of course. No namby-pamby everyday living of dishes and dusting and
meals and babies for me. It was all very well, of course, for some
people. Such things had to be. But for me -

I could write, of course; but I was not sure but that I preferred the
stage. At the same time there was within me a deep stirring as of a
call to go out and enlighten the world, especially that portion of it
in darkest Africa or deadliest India. I would be a missionary.

Before I was eighteen, however, I had abandoned all this. Father put
his foot down hard on the missionary project, and Mother put hers down
on the stage idea. I didn't mind so much, though, as I remember, for
on further study and consideration, I found that flowers and applause
were not all of an actor's life, and that Africa and India were not
entirely desirable as a place of residence for a young woman alone.
Besides, I had decided by then that I could enlighten the world just
as effectually (and much more comfortably) by writing stories at home
and getting them printed.

So I wrote stories - but I did not get any of them printed, in spite
of my earnest efforts. In time, therefore, that idea, also, was
abandoned; and with it, regretfully, the idea of enlightening the
world at all.

Besides, I had just then (again if I remember rightfully) fallen in
love.

Not that it was the first time. Oh, no, not at eighteen, when at
thirteen I had begun confidently and happily to look for it! What a
sentimental little piece I was! How could they have been so patient
with me - Father, Mother, everybody!

I think the first real attack - the first that I consciously
called love, myself - was the winter after we had all come back to
Andersonville to live. I was sixteen and in the high school.

It was Paul Mayhew - yes, the same Paul Mayhew that had defied his
mother and sister and walked home with me one night and invited me to
go for an automobile ride, only to be sent sharply about his business
by my stern, inexorable Aunt Jane. Paul was in the senior class now,
and the handsomest, most admired boy in school. He didn't care for
girls. That is, he said he didn't. He bore himself with a supreme
indifference that was maddening, and that took (apparently) no notice
of the fact that every girl in school was a willing slave to the mere
nodding of his head or the beckoning of his hand.

This was the condition of things when I entered school that fall,
and perhaps for a week thereafter. Then one day, very suddenly, and
without apparent reason, he awoke to the fact of my existence. Candy,
flowers, books - some one of these he brought to me every morning. All
during the school day he was my devoted gallant, dancing attendance
every possible minute outside of session hours, and walking home with
me in the afternoon, proudly carrying my books. Did I say "_home_ with
me"? That is not strictly true - he always stopped just one block short
of "home" - one block short of my gate. He evidently had not forgotten
Aunt Jane, and did not intend to take any foolish risks! So he said
good-bye to me always at a safe distance.

That this savored of deception, or was in any way objectionable, did
not seem to have occurred to me. Even if it had, I doubt very much if
my course would have been altered, for I was bewitched and fascinated
and thrilled with the excitement of it all. I was sixteen, remember,
and this wonderful Adonis and woman-hater had chosen me, _me!_ - and
left all the other girls desolate and sighing, looking after us with
longing eyes. Of course, I was thrilled!

This went on for perhaps a week. Then he asked me to attend a school
sleigh-ride and supper with him.

I was wild with delight. At the same time I was wild with
apprehension. I awoke suddenly to the fact of the existence of Father
and Mother, and that their permission must be gained. And I had my
doubts - I had very grave doubts. Yet it seemed to me at that moment
that I just _had_ to go on that sleigh-ride. That it was the only
thing in the whole wide world worth while.

I can remember now, as if it were yesterday, the way I debated in my
mind as to whether I should ask Father, Mother, or both together; and
if I should let it be seen how greatly I desired to go, and how much
it meant to me; or if I should just mention it as in passing, and take
their permission practically for granted.

I chose the latter course, and I took a time when they were both
together. At the breakfast-table I mentioned casually that the school
was to have a sleigh-ride and supper the next Friday afternoon and
evening, and that Paul Mayhew had asked me to go with him, I said I
hoped it would be a pleasant night, but that I should wear my sweater
under my coat, anyway, and I'd wear my leggings, too, if they thought
it necessary.

(Sweater and leggings! Two of Mother's hobbies. Artful child!)

But if I thought that a sweater and a pair of leggings could muffle
their ears as to what had gone before, I soon found my mistake.

"A sleigh-ride, supper, and not come home until evening?" cried
Mother. "And with whom, did you say?"

"Paul Mayhew," I answered. I still tried to speak casually; at the
same time I tried to indicate by voice and manner something of the
great honor that had been bestowed upon their daughter.

Father was impressed - plainly impressed; but not at all in the way I
had hoped he would be. He gave me a swift, sharp glance; then looked
straight at Mother.

"Humph! Paul Mayhew! Yes, I know him," he said grimly. "And I'm
dreading the time when he comes into college next year."

"You mean - " Mother hesitated and stopped.

"I mean I don't like the company he keeps - already," nodded Father.

"Then you don't think that Mary Marie - " Mother hesitated again, and
glanced at me.

"Certainly not," said Father decidedly.

I knew then, of course, that he meant I couldn't go on the
sleigh-ride, even though he hadn't said the words right out. I forgot
all about being casual and indifferent and matter-of-course then. I
thought only of showing them how absolutely necessary it was for
them to let me go on that sleigh-ride, unless they wanted my life
forever-more hopelessly blighted.

I explained carefully how he was the handsomest, most popular boy
in school, and how all the girls were just crazy to be asked to go
anywhere with him; and I argued what if Father had seen him with boys
he did not like - then that was all the more reason why nice girls like
me, when he asked them, should go with him, so as to keep him away
from the bad boys! And I told them, that this was the first and last,
and only sleigh-ride of the school that year; and I said I'd be
heart-broken, just heart-broken, if they did not let me go. And I
reminded them again that he was the very handsomest, most popular boy
in school; and that there wasn't a girl I knew who wouldn't be crazy
to be in my shoes.

Then I stopped, all out of breath, and I can imagine just how pleading
and palpitating I looked.

I thought Father was going to refuse right away, but I saw the glance
that Mother threw him - the glance that said, "Let me attend to this,
dear." I'd seen that glance before, several times, and I knew just
what it meant; so I wasn't surprised to see Father shrug his shoulders
and turn away as Mother said to me:

"Very well, dear. Ill think it over and let you know to-night."

But I was surprised that night to have Mother say I could go, for I'd
about given up hope, after all that talk at the breakfast-table. And
she said something else that surprised me, too. She said she'd like to
know Paul Mayhew herself; that she always wanted to know the friends
of her little girl. And she told me to ask him to call the next
evening and play checkers or chess with me.

Happy? I could scarcely contain myself for joy. And when the next
evening came bringing Paul, and Mother, all prettily dressed as if
he were really truly company, came into the room and talked so
beautifully to him, I was even more entranced. To be sure, it did
bother me a little that Paul laughed so much, and so loudly, and that
he couldn't seem to find anything to talk about only himself, and what
he was doing, and what he was going to do. Some way, he had never
seemed like that at school. And I was afraid Mother wouldn't like
that.

All the evening I was watching and listening with her eyes and her
ears everything he did, everything he said. I so wanted Mother to like
him! I so wanted Mother to see how really fine and splendid and noble
he was. But that evening - Why _couldn't_ he stop talking about the
prizes he'd won, and the big racing car he'd just ordered for next
summer? There was nothing fine and splendid and noble about that. And
_were_ his finger nails always so dirty?

Why, Mother would think -

Mother did not stay in the room all the time; but she was in more or
less often to watch the game; and at half-past nine she brought in
some little cakes and lemonade as a surprise. I thought it was lovely;
but I could have shaken Paul when he pretended to be afraid of it, and
asked Mother if there was a stick in it.

The idea - Mother! A stick!

I just knew Mother wouldn't like that. But if she didn't, she never
showed a thing in her face. She just smiled, and said no, there wasn't
any stick in it; and passed the cakes.

When he had gone I remember I didn't like to meet Mother's eyes, and I
didn't ask her how she liked Paul Mayhew. I kept right on talking fast
about something else. Some way, I didn't want Mother to talk then, for
fear of what she would say.

And Mother didn't say anything about Paul Mayhew - then. But only a few
days later she told me to invite him again to the house (this time to
a chafing-dish supper), and to ask Carrie Heywood and Fred Small, too.

We had a beautiful time, only again Paul Mayhew didn't "show off" at
all in the way I wanted him to - though he most emphatically "showed
off" in _his_ way! It seemed to me that he bragged even more about
himself and his belongings than he had before. And I didn't like at
all the way he ate his food. Why, Father didn't eat like that - with
such a noisy mouth, and such a rattling of the silverware!

And so it went - wise mother that she was! Far from prohibiting me to
have anything to do with Paul Mayhew, she let me see all I wanted
to of him, particularly in my own home. She let me go out with him,
properly chaperoned, and she never, by word or manner, hinted that she
didn't admire his conceit and braggadocio.

And it all came out exactly as I suspect she had planned from the
beginning. When Paul Mayhew asked to be my escort to the class
reception in June, I declined with thanks, and immediately afterwards
told Fred Small I would go with _him_. But even when I told Mother
nonchalantly, and with carefully averted eyes, that I was going to the
reception with Fred Small - even then her pleasant "Well, that's good!"
conveyed only cheery mother interest; nor did a hasty glance into her
face discover so much as a lifted eyebrow to hint, "I thought you'd
come to your senses _sometime_!"

Wise little mother that she was!

In the days and weeks that followed (though nothing was said) I
detected a subtle change in certain matters, however. And as I look
back at it now, I am sure I can trace its origin to my "affair" with
Paul Mayhew. Evidently Mother had no intention of running the risk of
any more block-away courtships; also evidently she intended to know
who my friends were. At all events, the old Anderson mansion soon
became the rendezvous of all the boys and girls of my acquaintance.
And such good times as we had, with Mother always one of us, and ever
proposing something new and interesting!

And because boys - not _a_ boy, but boys - were as free to come to
the house as were girls, they soon seemed to me as commonplace and
matter-of-course and free from sentimental interest as were the girls.

Again wise little mother!

But, of course, even this did not prevent my falling in love with some
one older than myself, some one quite outside of my own circle of
intimates. Almost every girl in her teens at some time falls violently
in love with some remote being almost old enough to be her father - a
being whom she endows with all the graces and perfections of her dream
Adonis. For, after all, it isn't that she is in love with _him_, this
man of flesh and blood before her; it is that she is in love with
_love_. A very different matter.

My especial attack of this kind came to me when I was barely eighteen,
the spring I was being graduated from the Andersonville High School.
And the visible embodiment of my adoration was the head master, Mr.
Harold Hartshorn, a handsome, clean-shaven, well-set-up man of (I
should judge) thirty-five years of age, rather grave, a little stern,
and very dignified.

But how I adored him! How I hung upon his every word, his every
glance! How I maneuvered to win from him a few minutes' conversation
on a Latin verb or a French translation! How I thrilled if he bestowed
upon me one of his infrequent smiles! How I grieved over his stern
aloofness!

By the end of a month I had evolved this: his stern aloofness
meant that he had been disappointed in love; his melancholy was
loneliness - his heart was breaking. How I longed to help, to heal, to
cure! How I thrilled at the thought of the love and companionship _I_
could give him somewhere in a rose-embowered cottage far from the
madding crowd! (He boarded at the Andersonville Hotel alone now.) What
nobler career could I have than the blotting out of his stricken heart
the memory of that faithless woman who had so wounded him and blighted
his youth? What, indeed? If only he could see it as I saw it. If only
by some sign or token he could know of the warm love that was his but
for the asking! Could he not see that no longer need he pine alone and
unappreciated in the Andersonville Hotel? Why, in just a few weeks I
was to be through school. And then -

On the night before commencement Mr. Harold Hartshorn ascended our
front steps, rang the bell, and called for my father. I knew because I
was upstairs in my room over the front door; and I saw him come up the
walk and heard him ask for Father.

Oh, joy! Oh, happy day! He knew. He had seen it as I saw it. He had
come to gain Father's permission, that he might be a duly accredited
suitor for my hand!

During the next ecstatic ten minutes, with my hand pressed against my
wildly beating heart, I planned my wedding dress, selected with care
and discrimination my trousseau, furnished the rose-embowered cottage
far from the madding crowd - and wondered _why_ Father did not send for
me. Then the slam of the screen door downstairs sent me to the window,
a sickening terror within me,

Was he _going_ - without seeing me, his future bride? Impossible!

Father and Mr. Harold Hartshorn stood on the front steps below,
talking. In another minute Mr. Harold Hartshorn had walked away, and
Father had turned back on to the piazza.

As soon as I could control my shaking knees, I went downstairs.

Father was in his favorite rocking-chair. I advanced slowly. I did not
sit down.

"Was that Mr. Hartshorn?" I asked, trying to keep the shake out of my
voice.

"Yes."

"Mr. H-Hartshorn," I repeated stupidly.

"Yes. He came to see me about the Downer place," nodded Father. "He
wants to rent it for next year."

"To rent it - the Downer place!" (The Downer place was no
rose-embowered cottage far from the madding crowd! Why, it was big,
and brick, and _right next_ to the hotel! I didn't want to live
there.)

"Yes - for his wife and family. He's going to bring them back with him
next year," explained Father.

"His wife and family!" I can imagine about how I gasped out those four
words.

"Yes. He has five children, I believe, and - "

But I had fled to my room.

After all, my recovery was rapid. I was in love with love, you see;
not with Mr. Harold Hartshorn. Besides, the next year I went to
college. And it was while I was at college that I met Jerry.

Jerry was the brother of my college friend, Helen Weston. Helen's
elder sister was a senior in that same college, and was graduated at
the close of my freshman year. The father, mother, and brother came on
to the graduation. And that is where I met Jerry.

If it might be called meeting him. He lifted his hat, bowed, said a
polite nothing with his lips, and an indifferent "Oh, some friend of
Helen's," with his eyes, and turned to a radiant blonde senior at my
side.

And that was all - for him. But for me -

All that day I watched him whenever opportunity offered; and I
suspect that I took care that opportunity offered frequently. I was
fascinated. I had never seen any one like him before. Tall, handsome,
brilliant, at perfect ease, he plainly dominated every group of which
he was a part. Toward him every face was turned - yet he never seemed
to know it. (Whatever his faults, Jerry is _not_ conceited. I will
give him credit for that!) To me he did not speak again that day. I am
not sure that he even looked at me. If he did there must still have
been in his eyes only the "Oh, some friend of Helen's," that I had
seen at the morning introduction.

I did not meet Jerry Weston again for nearly a year; but that did not
mean that I did not hear of him. I wonder if Helen ever noticed how
often I used to get her to talk of her home and her family life; and
how interested I was in her gallery of portraits on the mantel - there
were two fine ones of her brother there.

Helen was very fond of her brother. I soon found that she loved to
talk about him - if she had a good listener. Needless to say she had a
very good one in me.

Jerry was an artist, it seemed. He was twenty-eight years old, and
already he had won no small distinction. Prizes, medals, honorable
mention, and a special course abroad - all these Helen told me about.
She told me, too, about the wonderful success he had just had with the
portrait of a certain New York society woman. She said that it was
just going to "make" Jerry; that he could have anything he wanted
now - anything. Then she told me how popular he always was with
everybody. Helen was not only very fond of her brother, but very proud
of him. That was plain to be seen. In her opinion, evidently, there


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