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out about the divorce, and then - well, then things were different.
First Stella contented herself with making fun of me, Carrie said. She
laughed at the serge dresses and big homely shoes, and then she began
on my name, and said the idea of being called Mary by Father and Marie
by Mother, and that 't was just like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (That's
a story, Carrie says. I'm going to read it, if Father's got it. If
there ever was another Mary and Marie all in one in the world I want
to know what she did.) But Carrie says the poking fun at me didn't
make much difference with the girls, so Stella tried something else.
She not only wouldn't speak to me herself, or invite me, or anything,
but she told all the girls that they couldn't go with her and me, too.
That they might take their choice. And Carrie said some of them did
choose and stayed with me; but they lost all the good times and
ice-cream and parties and rides and everything; and so one by one they
dropped me and went back to Stella, and now there wasn't anybody left,
only her, Carrie. And then she began to cry.

And when she stopped speaking, and I knew all, and saw her crying
there before me, and thought of my dear blessed mother, I was so angry
I could scarcely speak. I just shook with righteous indignation.
And in my most superb, haughty, and disdainful manner I told Carrie
Heywood to dry her tears; that she needn't trouble herself any
further, nor worry about losing any more ice-cream nor parties. That I
would hereto declare our friendship null and void, and this day set
my hand and seal to never speak to her again, if she liked, and
considered that necessary to keeping the acquaintance of the precious

But she cried all the more at that, and flung herself upon me, and, of
course, I began to cry, too - and you can't stay superb and haughty and
disdainful when you're all the time trying to hunt up a handkerchief
to wipe away the tears that are coursing down your wan cheeks. And of
course I didn't. We had a real good cry together, and vowed we loved
each other better than ever, and nobody could come between us, not
even bringing a chocolate-fudge-marshmallow college ice - which we both
adore. But I told her that she would be all right, just the same,
for of course I should never step my foot inside of that schoolhouse
again. That I couldn't, out of respect to Mother. That I should tell
Aunt Jane that to-morrow morning. There isn't any other school here,
so they can't send me anywhere else. But it's 'most time for school to
close, anyway. There are only two weeks more.

But I don't think that will make any difference to Aunt Jane. It's the
principle of the thing. It's always the principle of the thing with
Aunt Jane. She'll be very angry, I know. Maybe she'll send me home.
Oh, I _hope_ she will!

Well, I shall tell her to-morrow, anyway. Then - we'll see.

* * * * *

_One day later_.

And, dear, dear, what a day it has been!

I told her this morning. She was very angry. She said at first:
"Nonsense, Mary, don't be impertinent. Of course you'll go to school!"
and all that kind of talk. But I kept my temper. I did not act angry.
I was simply firm and dignified. And when she saw I really meant what
I said, and that I would not step my foot inside that schoolroom
again - that it was a matter of conscience with me - that I did not
think it was _right_ for me to do it, she simply stared for a minute,
as if she couldn't believe her eyes and ears. Then she gasped:

"Mary, what do you mean by such talk to me? Do you think I shall
permit this sort of thing to go on for a moment?"

I thought then she was going to send me home. Oh, I did so hope she
was. But she didn't. She sent me to my room.

"You will stay there until your father comes home this noon," she
said. "This is a matter for him to settle."

_Father_! And I never even thought of her going to _him_ with it. She
was always telling me never to bother Father with anything, and I knew
she didn't usually ask him anything about me. She settled everything
herself. But _this_ - and the very thing I didn't want her to ask him,
too. But of course I couldn't help myself. That's the trouble. Youth
is _so_ helpless in the clutches of old age!

Well, I went to my room. Aunt Jane told me to meditate on my sins. But
I didn't. I meditated on other people's sins. _I_ didn't have any to
meditate on. Was it a sin, pray, for me to stand up for my mother and
refuse to associate with people who wouldn't associate with _me_ on
account of _her_? I guess not!

I meditated on Stella Mayhew and her mother, and on those silly,
faithless girls that thought more of an ice-cream soda than they did
of justice and right to their fellow schoolmate. And I meditated on
Aunt Jane and her never giving me so much as a single kiss since I
came. And I meditated on how much better Father liked stars and
comets than he did his own daughter; and I meditated on what a cruel,
heartless world this is, anyway, and what a pity it was that I, so
fair and young, should have found it out so soon - right on the bank,
as it were, or where that brook and river meet. And I wondered, if I
died if anybody would care; and I thought how beautiful and pathetic I
would look in my coffin with my lily-white hands folded on my breast.
And I _hoped_ they 'd have the funeral in the daytime, because if it
was at night-time Father'd be sure to have a star or something to keep
_him_ from coming. And I _wanted_ him to come. I _wanted_ him to feel
bad; and I meditated on how bad he would feel - when it was too late.

But even with all this to meditate on, it was an awfully long time
coming noon; and they didn't call me down to dinner even then. Aunt
Jane sent up two pieces of bread without any butter and a glass of
water. How like Aunt Jane - making even my dinner a sin to meditate on!
Only she would call it _my_ sin, and I would call it hers.

Well, after dinner Father sent for me to come down to the library. So
I knew then, of course, that Aunt Jane had told him. I didn't know
but she would wait until night. Father usually spends his hour after
dinner reading in the library and mustn't be disturbed. But evidently
to-day Aunt Jane thought I was more consequence than his reading.
Anyhow, she told him, and he sent for me.

My, but I hated to go! Fathers and Aunt Janes are two different
propositions. Fathers have more rights and privileges, of course.
Everybody knows that.

Well, I went into the library. Father stood with his back to the
fireplace and his hands in his pockets. He was plainly angry at being
disturbed. Anybody could see that. He began speaking at once, the
minute I got into the room - very cold and dignified.

"Mary, your aunt tells me you have been disobedient and disrespectful
to her. Have you anything to say?"

I shook my head and said, "No, sir."

What could I say? Old folks ask such senseless questions, sometimes.
Naturally I wasn't going to say I _had_ been disrespectful and
disobedient when I hadn't; and of course, I couldn't say I _hadn't_
been when Aunt Jane said I _had_. That would be just like saying Aunt
Jane lied. So, of course, I had nothing to say. And I said so.

"But she declares you refused to go back to school, Mary," said Father

"Yes, sir."

"Then you did refuse?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, you may go and tell her now, please, that you are sorry, and
that you will go to school this afternoon. You may go now." And he
turned to the table and picked up his book.

I didn't go, of course. I just stood there twisting my handkerchief
in my fingers; and, of course, right away he saw me. He had sat down

"Mary, didn't you hear me?" he demanded.

"Yes, sir, but - Father, I _can't_ go back to that school," I choked.
And I began to cry.

"But I tell you that you must."

I shook my head.

"I can't."

"Do you mean that you defy me as you did your Aunt Jane this
morning? - that you refuse to go back to school?"

"Yes, sir."

For a minute he sat and stared at me just as Aunt Jane had done; then
he lifted his head and threw back his shoulders as if he was throwing
off a heavy weight.

"Come, come, Mary," he said sternly. "I am not a patient man, and my
temper has reached the breaking point. You will go back to school and
you will go now. I mean that, Mary."

"But, Father, I _can't_" I choked again; and I guess there was
something in my face this time that made even him see. For again he
just stared for a minute, and then said:

"Mary, what in the world does this mean? Why can't you go back? Have
you been - expelled?"

"Oh, no, sir."

"Then you mean you won't go back."

"I mean I _can't_ - on account of Mother."

I wouldn't have said it if I hadn't had to. I didn't want to tell him,
but I knew from the very first that I'd have to tell him before I
got through. I could see it in his face. And so, now, with his eyes
blazing as he jumped almost out of his chair and exclaimed, "Your
mother!" I let it out and got it over as soon as possible.

"I mean, on account of Mother - that not for you, or Aunt Jane, or
anybody will I go back to that school and associate with folks that
won't associate with me - on account of Mother."

And then I told it - all about the girls, Stella Mayhew, Carrie, and
how they acted, and what they said about my being Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde because I was a Mary and a Marie, and the ice-cream, and the
parties they had to give up if they went with _me_. And I know I was
crying so I could hardly speak before I finished; and Father was on
his feet tramping up and down the room muttering something under his
breath, and looking - oh, I can't begin to tell how he looked. But it
was awful.

"And so that's why I wish," I finished chokingly, "that it would hurry
up and be a year, so Mother could get married."

"_Married!_" Like a flash he turned and stopped short, staring at me.

"Why, yes," I explained; "for if she _did_ get married, she wouldn't
be divorced any longer, would she?"

But he wouldn't answer. With a queer little noise in his throat he
turned again and began to walk up and down, up and down, until I
thought for a minute he'd forgotten I was there. But he hadn't. For
after a while he stopped again right in front of me.

"So your mother is thinking of getting married," he said in a voice so
queer it sounded as if it had come from away off somewhere.

But I shook my head and said no, of course; and that I was very sure
she wouldn't till her year was up, and even then I didn't know which
she'd take, so I couldn't tell for sure anything about it. But I hoped
she'd take one of them, so she wouldn't be divorced any longer.

"But you don't know _which_ she'll take," grunted Father again. He
turned then, and began to walk up and down again, with his hands in
his pockets; and I didn't know whether to go away or to stay, and I
suppose I'd have been there now if Aunt Jane hadn't suddenly appeared
in the library doorway.

"Charles, if Mary is going to school at all to-day it is high time she
was starting," she said. But Father didn't seem to hear. He was still
tramping up and down the room, his hands in his pockets.

"Charles!" Aunt Jane raised her voice and spoke again. "I said if Mary
is going to school at all to-day it is high time she was starting."

"Eh? What?" If you'll believe it, that man looked as dazed as if he'd
never even _heard_ of my going to school. Then suddenly his face
changed. "Oh, yes, to be sure. Well, er - Mary is not going to school
to-day," he said. Then he looked at his watch, and without another
word strode into the hall, got his hat, and left the house, leaving
Aunt Jane and me staring into each other's faces.

But I didn't stay much longer than Father did. I strode into the hall,
too, by Aunt Jane. But I didn't leave the house. I came up here to my
own room; and ever since I've been writing it all down in my book.

Of course, I don't know now what's going to happen next. But I _wish_
you could have seen Aunt Jane's face when Father said I wasn't going
to school to-day! I don't believe she's sure yet that she heard
aright - though she didn't try to stop me, or even speak when I left
and came upstairs. But I just know she's keeping up a powerful

For that matter, so am I. What _is_ going to happen next? Have I got
to go to school to-morrow? But then, of course, I shan't do that.
Besides, I don't believe Father'll ask me to, after what I said about
Mother. _He_ didn't like that - what those girls said - any better than
I did. I'm sure of that. Why, he looked simply furious. But there
isn't any other school here that I can be sent to, and -

But what's the use? I might surmise and speculate all day and not
come anywhere near the truth. I must await - what the night will bring
forth, as they say in really truly novels.

* * * * *

_Four days later_.

And what did the night bring forth? Yes, what did it bring! Verily
it brought forth one thing I thought nothing ever could have brought

It was like this.

That night at the supper-table Aunt Jane cleared her throat in the
I-am-determined-I-will-speak kind of a way that she always uses when
she speaks to Father. (Aunt. Jane doesn't talk to Father much more
than Mother used to.)

"Charles," she began.

Father had an astronomy paper beside his plate, and he was so busy
reading he didn't hear, so Aunt Jane had to speak again - a little
louder this time.

"Charles, I have something to say to you."

"Eh? What? Oh - er - yes. Well, Jane, what is it?" Father was looking up
with his I'll-be-patient-if-it-kills-me air, and with his forefinger
down on his paper to keep his place.

As if anybody could talk to a person who's simply tolerating you for a
minute like that, with his forefinger holding on to what he _wants_ to
tend to! Why, I actually found myself being sorry for Aunt Jane.

She cleared her throat again.

"It is understood, of course, that Mary is to go to school to-morrow
morning, I suppose," she said.

"Why, of course, of course," began Father impatiently, looking down at
his paper. "Of course she'll go to - " he stopped suddenly. A complete
change came to his face. He grew red, then white. His eyes sort of
flashed. "School?" he said then, in a hard, decided voice. "Oh, no;
Mary is not going to school to-morrow morning." He looked down to his
paper and began to read again. For him the subject was very evidently
closed. But for Aunt Jane it was _not_ closed.

"You don't mean, Charles, that she is not to go to school at all, any
more," she gasped.

"Exactly." Father read on in his paper without looking up.

"But, Charles, to stop her school like this!"

"Why not? It closes in a week or two, anyway."

Aunt Jane's lips came together hard.

"That's not the question at all," she said, cold like ice. "Charles,
I'm amazed at you - yielding to that child's whims like this - that she
doesn't want to go to school! It's the principle of the thing that I'm
objecting to. Do you realize what it will lead to - what it - "

"Jane!" With a jerk Father sat up straight. "I realize some things
that perhaps you do not. But that is neither here nor there. I do not
wish Mary to go to school any more this spring. That is all; and I
think - it is sufficient."

"Certainly." Aunt Jane's lips came together again grim and hard.
"Perhaps you will be good enough to say what she _shall_ do with her

"Time? Do? Why - er - what she always does; read, sew, study - "

"Study?" Aunt Jane asked the question with a hateful little smile that
Father would have been blind not to have understood. And he was equal
to it - but I 'most fell over backward when I found _how_ equal to it
he was.

"Certainly," he says, "study. I - I'll hear her lessons myself - in the
library, after I come home in the afternoon. Now let us hear no more
about it."

With that he pushed back his plate, stuffed his astronomy paper into
his pocket, and left the table, without waiting for dessert. And Aunt
Jane and I were left alone.

I didn't say anything. Victors shouldn't boast - and I was a victor, of
course, about the school. But when I thought of what Father had said
about my reciting my lessons to him every day in the library - I wasn't
so sure whether I'd won out or not. Recite lessons to my father? Why,
I couldn't even imagine such a thing!

Aunt Jane didn't say anything either. I guess she didn't know what to
say. And it was kind of a queer situation, when you came right down to
it. Both of us sitting there and knowing I wasn't going back to school
any more, and I knowing why, and knowing Aunt Jane didn't know why.
(Of course I hadn't told Aunt Jane about Mother and Mrs. Mayhew.) It
would be a funny world, wouldn't it, if we all knew what each other
was thinking all the time? Why, we'd get so we wouldn't do anything
_but_ think - for there wouldn't any of us _speak_ to each other, I'm
afraid, we'd be so angry at what the other was thinking.

Well, Aunt Jane and I didn't speak that night at the supper-table. We
finished in stern silence; then Aunt Jane went upstairs to her room
and I went up to mine. (You see what a perfectly wildly exciting life
Mary is living! And when I think of how _full_ of good times Mother
wanted every minute to be. But that was for Marie, of course.)

The next morning after breakfast Aunt Jane said:

"You will spend your forenoon studying, Mary. See that you learn well
your lessons, so as not to annoy your father."

"Yes, Aunt Jane," said Mary, polite and proper, and went upstairs
obediently; but even Mary didn't know exactly how to study those

Carrie had brought me all my books from school. I had asked her to
when I knew that I was not going back. There were the lessons that had
been assigned for the next day, of course, and I supposed probably
Father would want me to study those. But I couldn't imagine Father
teaching _me_ all alone. And how was I ever going to ask him
questions, if there were things I didn't understand? Besides, I
couldn't imagine myself reciting lessons to Father - _Father_!

But I needn't have worried. If I could only have known. Little did I
think - But, there, this is no way to tell a story. I read in a book,
"How to Write a Novel," that you mustn't "anticipate." (_I_ thought
folks always anticipated novels. I do. I thought you wanted them to.)

Well, to go on.

Father got home at four o'clock. I saw him come up the walk, and I
waited till I was sure he'd got settled in the library, then I went

_He wasn't there_.

A minute later I saw him crossing the lawn to the observatory. Well,
what to do I didn't know. Mary said to go after him; but Marie said
nay, nay. And in spite of being Mary just now, I let Marie have her

Rush after him and tell him he'd forgotten to hear my lessons?
_Father_? Well, I guess not! Besides, it wasn't my fault. _I_ was
there all ready. It wasn't my blame that he wasn't there to hear me.
But he might remember and come back. Well, if he did, _I'd_ be there.
So I went to one of those bookcases and pulled out a touch-me-not
book from behind the glass door. Then I sat down and read till the
supper-bell rang.

Father was five minutes late to supper. I don't know whether he looked
at me or not. I didn't dare to look at him - until Aunt Jane said, in
her chilliest manner:

"I trust your daughter had good lessons, Charles."

I _had_ to look at him then. I just couldn't look anywhere else. So I
was looking straight at him when he gave that funny little startled
glance into my eyes. And into his eyes then there crept the funniest,
dearest little understanding twinkle - and I suddenly realized that
Father, _Father_, was laughing with me at a little secret between
_us_. But 't was only for a second. The next moment his eyes were very
grave and looking at Aunt Jane.

"I have no cause to complain - of my daughter's lessons to-day," he
said very quietly. Then he glanced over at me again. But I had to look
away _quick_, or I would have laughed right out.

When he got up from the table he said to me: "I shall expect to see
you to-morrow in the library at four, Mary."

And Mary answered, "Yes, Father," polite and proper, as she should;
but Marie inside was just chuckling with the joke of it all.

The next day I watched again at four for Father to come up the walk;
and when he had come in I went down to the library. He was there in
his pet seat before the fireplace. (Father always sits before the
fireplace, whether there's a fire there or not. And sometimes he looks
_so_ funny sitting there, staring into those gray ashes just as if it
was the liveliest kind of a fire he was watching.)

As I said, he was there, but I had to speak twice before he looked up.
Then, for a minute, he stared vaguely.

"Eh? Oh! Ah - er - yes, to be sure," he muttered then, "You have come
with your books. Yes, I remember."

But there wasn't any twinkle in his eyes, nor the least little bit of
an understanding smile; and I _was_ disappointed. I _had_ been looking
for it. I knew then, when I felt so suddenly lost and heart-achey,
that I had been expecting and planning all day on that twinkly
understanding smile. You know you feel worse when you've just found a
father and then lost him!

And I had lost him. I knew it the minute he sighed and frowned and
got up from his seat and said, oh, yes, to be sure. He was just Dr.
Anderson then - the man who knew all about the stars, and who had
been unmarried to Mother, and who called me "Mary" in an
of-course-you're-my-daughter tone of voice.

Well, he took my books and heard my lessons, and told me what I was to
study next day. He's done that two days now.

Oh, I'm so tired of being Mary! And I've got more than four whole
months of it left. I didn't get Mother's letter to-day. Maybe that's
why I'm specially lonesome to-night.

* * * * *

_July first_.

School is done, both the regular school and my school. Not that my
school has amounted to much. Really it hasn't. Oh, for three or four
days he asked questions quite like just a teacher. Then he got to
talking. Sometimes it would be about something in the lessons;
sometimes it would be about a star, or the moon. And he'd get so
interested that I'd think for a minute that maybe the understanding
twinkle would come into his eyes again. But it never did.

Sometimes it wasn't stars and moons, though, that he talked about. It
was Boston, and Mother. Yes, he did. He talked a lot about Mother. As
I look back at it now, I can see that he did. He asked me all over
again what she did, and about the parties and the folks that came to
see her. He asked again about Mr. Harlow, and about the concert, and
the young man who played the violin, and what was his name, and how
old was he, and did I like him. And then, right in the middle of some
question, or rather, right in the middle of some _answer_ I was giving
_him_, he would suddenly remember he was hearing my lessons, and he
would say, "Come, come, Mary, what has this to do with your lessons?"

Just as if I was to blame! (But, then, we women always get the blame,
I notice.) And then he'd attend strictly to the books for maybe five
whole minutes - before he asked another question about that party, or
the violinist.

Naturally the lessons haven't amounted to much, as you can imagine.
But the term was nearly finished, anyway; and my _real_ school is in
Boston, of course.

It's vacation now. I do hope _that_ will amount to something!

* * * * *

_August first._

It hasn't, so far - I mean vacation. Really, what a world of
disappointment this is! How on earth I'm going to stand being Mary for
three months more I don't know. But I've got to, I suppose. I've been
here May, June, and July; and that leaves August, September, and
October yet to come. And when I think of Mother and Boston and Marie,
and the darling good times down there where you're really _wanted_, I
am simply crazy.

If Father wanted me, really wanted me, I wouldn't care a bit. I'd be
willing to be Mary six whole months. Yes, I'd be _glad_ to. But he
doesn't. I'm just here by order of the court. And what can you do when
you're nothing but a daughter by order of the court?

Since the lessons have stopped, Father's gone back to his
"Good-morning, Mary," and "Good-night," and nothing else, day in and
day out. Lately he's got so he hangs around the house an awful lot,
too, so I can't even do the things I did the first of the month. I
mean that I'd been playing some on the piano, along at the first,

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