Lurana Waterhouse Sheldon.

My Queen: A Weekly Journal for Young Women. Issue 1. September 29, 1900. online

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Only A Farmer’s Daughter


PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 William Street, New York City.

_Copyright, 1900, by Street & Smith. All rights reserved. Entered at
York Post-Office as Second-Class Matter._



_Issued Weekly. By Subscription $2.50 per year. Entered as Second Class
Matter at the N. Y. Post Office, by_ Street & Smith, _238 William St.,
N. Y._

_Entered According to Act of Congress in the year 1900, in the Office of
the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C._

No. 1. NEW YORK, September 29, 1900. Price Five Cents.

From Farm to Fortune;






There was hardly a ripple on the sultry air as Marion Marlowe walked
slowly along the dusty country road picking a daisy here and there and
linking them together in an artistic manner.

When the chain was finished she swung it lightly in her hand,
notwithstanding the fact that each link held one of her heart secrets
interwoven in the form of a wish, as she fashioned the frail necklace.

She paused for a moment upon the brow of the steep hill behind her
father’s farm, and pushing the gingham sunbonnet back from her face,
took her usual evening glance over the surrounding country.

“Same old hills! Same old trees!” she whispered irritably. “And always
that hideous old Poor Farm staring one in the face! Oh, I’m just sick
of country life and a horrid farm! Why couldn’t I have been born
something besides a farmer’s daughter?”

The view which Marion gazed upon was not altogether unlovely, but the
hills were steep and the pastures were scorched and the Poor Farm,
always a blot upon the peaceful picture, stood out with aggressive
ugliness in the keen glow of sunset.

Just over the brow of a low hill rose a curling line of smoke. It came
from the chimney of the little station where the Boston and New York
Express stopped morning and evening, the only connecting link between
them and civilization.

Marion Marlowe was seventeen and superbly handsome. Her twin sister
was fairer, more childish and a trifle smaller, but both were far more
beautiful than most country maidens.

As Marion spoke, her gray eyes darkened until they were almost black,
and the ungainly sunbonnet could not begin to cover her hair, which was
long and silky and a rich, ripe chestnut.

Turning her back upon the Poor Farm, which always offended her, Marion
suddenly gave vent to her mood in a most extraordinary manner.

Posing on the very crest of the hill with her shoulders thrown back
haughtily, she began singing a quaint air which was full of solemn
melody, and as she sang her eyes glistened and her cheeks grew even
redder, for Marion loved the sound of her beautiful voice—she knew well
that she was a magnificent singer, and might readily be forgiven for
glorying in her superb natural endowments.

“And to think it should all be wasted here!” she muttered as she

There was a scornful wave of her hand as she indicated the inoffensive

She pulled on her sunbonnet with a sudden jerk.

“What could she do?” She asked the question hopelessly, and the very
trees seemed to mock her with their rustling whispers.

She could do nothing! She was only a farmer’s daughter! She must bake,
roast and boil, weed the garden, tend the chickens, and last but not
least, she must marry some stupid farmer and live exactly the life that
her mother had lived before her.

“I won’t do it!” she cried, angrily, when she had reached this point in
her thoughts.

“I’ll never submit to it! Never! Never! I will make a name somehow,
somewhere, some time! Do you hear me, you glorious old sun? I will do
it! I swear it!”

With a sudden impulse she lifted her hand above her head. The setting
sun threw a shaft of light directly across her path which clothed her
in a shining radiance as her vow was registered.

The sky was darkening when Marion drew her sunbonnet on again and
started slowly down the hill toward her father’s pasture.

She let down the bars at the entrance to the pasture lot easily with
her strong, white hands. There were five of the patient creatures
awaiting her coming. The sixth had strayed a little, so she strolled
about, calling to it, through the straggling brush and birches.

Suddenly there came the unmistakable patter of bare feet along the
road; Marion listened a moment and then went on with her search.

“Move faster, there, Bert Jackson! What’s the matter with ye, anyway?”

The words were shouted in a brutal voice which Marion knew only too
well to belong to Matt Jenkins, the keeper of the Poor Farm.

“I am moving as fast as I can,” answered a boyish voice, “but my arm
aches so badly that I can hardly walk, Mr. Jenkins.”

“As if an ache in your arm hindered you from walkin’ fast!” roared Matt
Jenkins again. “Faster, I say, or I’ll put the whip on ye!”

There was no reply, only the hurried tramp of bare feet in the road,
but there was a light crackle in the bushes of the pasture lot as
Marion hurried to the bars driving the truant cow before her.

A group of nearly a dozen lads from the Poor Farm were shuffling down
the road. They had been working about on various farms through the day,
and now were “rounded up” like so many cattle by Matt Jenkins, their
keeper, and were being hurried home under the constant goad of voice
and lash, the latter a cart whip of ugly dimensions.

Just as Marion reached the bars the squad of boys came abreast of her,
and one—a fine, manly looking chap of seventeen or eighteen—glanced
quickly in her direction, almost stopping short as he did so.

“Hi, there! Laggin’ ag’in, air ye, Bert Jackson!” roared the keeper
again. “There! Take that fer yer stubbornness in not doin’ as I tell

The long lash circled through the air and came down with a hiss that
made Marion’s blood run cold—but only for a minute.

The next instant she had darted straight out into the road, and as the
vicious whip was raised for a second cut at the poor youth she sprang
at Matt Jenkins with the fury of a panther—snatching the whip from his
hands and throwing it over the fence into the pasture.

“How dare you, Mr. Jenkins!”

Marion’s eyes flashed like fire as she faced him.

Her sunbonnet had fallen off and showed her beautiful hair and
rose-tinted features. The daisy chain fell and was trampled under her
feet in the dust—the links which bound her wishes were scattered and

“How dare you strike a poor orphan?” she cried again. “You are a coward
to strike a boy! You ought to be kicked straight out of your position,
Matt Jenkins!”

“Huh! You’re mighty independent, Marion Marlowe!” growled Matt Jenkins
angrily. “I’ll tell yer father of ye, Miss High-flyer, an’ then we’ll
see who gits the lickin’.”

“My father will never whip me again, Mr. Jenkins,” said the girl,
almost sadly. “If he does I’ll run away, even if I starve to death in a
big city.”

The boys were all staring at Marion now, and as she looked at them she
saw that they sympathized fully with her sentiments.

“They don’t dare say so,” she thought, as she caught their eager
glances. “Poor boys, they are actually envying me just because I have a

Out loud she said bitterly:

“I mean it, Mr. Jenkins, and you can tell him I said so if you wish.
I’m not a child any longer, I’m over sixteen! As old as my mother was
when she was married,” she added proudly.

“Here, Bill Vedder, go git me my whip,” was the keeper’s only answer.

As the boy addressed started for the whip Marion Marlowe walked
directly up to Bert Jackson.

“What’s the matter with your arm, Bert?” she asked very softly.

Bert’s lips tightened a little and his face paled as he answered:

“It’s broke, I think,” he said in a whisper. “I fell off the load
and struck right on my elbow, but Mr. Jenkins only laughed at me—he
wouldn’t let me see a doctor.”

“It’s an outrage, a cowardly outrage!” cried Marion, hotly. “Oh, why am
I not a man so that I could do something to aid you!”

The sensitive face was flushed with anger now and the tears trembled on
her lashes as she turned toward Mr. Jenkins.

“His arm is broken,” she said, in an agonized voice. “Oh, Mr. Jenkins,
do hurry and take him to a doctor!”

“Nonsense!” growled Mr. Jenkins, as he strode forward and made a motion
to grasp Bert’s wounded arm.

“My God, don’t touch it!”

The boy shrank back with a cry of terror.

In an instant Marion was between them, her voice ringing out like a

“Don’t you dare to hurt him, you monster!” she cried furiously; “I
won’t stand by and see it done even if I am a girl! And when I’m a
woman I’ll have you put in prison!”

“And I’ll help you do it, if I’m alive!” cried Bert Jackson,
recklessly; “but there ain’t much doubt but what he’ll kill me now for
my arm hurts so bad that I can’t stand him much longer!”

Marion stood like a statue as the group passed down the road. Matt
Jenkins looked back at her once or twice, but his whip was not raised
while her eyes were upon him.



When they were gone from her sight Marion turned homeward.

The patient cows were well on their way, so the young girl had nothing
to do but follow them.

As she came in sight of the low farm-house where she was born she saw a
girlish figure coming swiftly toward her.

It was her twin sister, Dolores, or Dollie as she was called, and at
the very first glance Marion could see that she was weeping.

In an instant she was running rapidly toward her, and as they met she
threw her arms tenderly about her sister’s shoulders.

“What is it, Dollie? Has father been tormenting you about Silas again?”
she asked breathlessly, at the same time brushing her sister’s golden
hair back from her brow with a caressing motion.

Dollie wiped her eyes and nodded her head affirmatively.

“Yes, Marion, he has, and I can’t stand it much longer!” she cried,
sobbingly. “He is just nagging at me all the time, and, oh, he is
cruel, sister. Why, when I told him I did not love Silas he just
sneered at me as though love was something that was not to be

“Poor father! It is little he knows of that holy sentiment,” said
Marion, sadly, “but go on Dollie, what else did he say to you?”

A gleam of resentment shone in Dollie’s blue eyes, for she was always
more brave when her sister’s arms were about her.

“Oh, he said I had defied him and that he would punish me for it! That
a man had a right to do as he pleased with his own family, and that
girls like you and me did not have a grain of sense about what was best
for them!”

Marion’s gray eyes flashed as her sister talked, but she walked slowly
on and did not interrupt her.

“Then he said that I would have a comfortable home if I married Silas,
and that I’d go straight to destruction if he did not look out for me!”

“How horrible!” burst out Marion. “And to think he is our own father!
Why isn’t he content with one such experiment? Poor sister Samantha,
whom he forced to marry Tom Wilders! I should think her miserable life
would be a warning to him! Oh, Dollie, if we could only go away and
earn our own living. You can play the piano beautifully and I can sing.
If we could only go somewhere and make our own way where we should
never bother father, I should be perfectly happy!”

The beautiful face was radiant with eagerness now, and some of her
wonderful courage seemed reflected upon Dollie’s more babyish features.

“It would kill me to marry Silas!” she cried with a shudder. “Father
shall not force me to do it, Marion, never!”

There was a close clasp of the arms about each other’s waists as the
two girls walked on and Dollie’s golden head almost rested upon her
sister’s shoulder.

“Why, Marion, what do you think! He tried to bribe me,” she added,
suddenly. “He said I could have grandma’s topazes the day I was
married to Silas.”

A look of disgust swept over Marion’s face.

“As if those old earrings of grandma’s could make up for such a crime!
And it is a crime to marry without love, my sister.”

A piteous sob broke from Dollie’s lips and she moved a step away.

“There’s no help for it, Marion. He’ll make me do it,” she cried.
“He’ll ruin my life just as he ruined Samantha’s, for, oh, it will kill
me to be tied down to the drudgery of farm life forever, and especially
with such a man as Silas.”

“We must find some way to thwart him,” said Marion, as she opened the
gate that led to the farm-house. “It is horrible to think of such a
thing. The idea of a man trying to get rid of his own daughter, even
selling her body and soul, for that is exactly what it amounts to.
Silas Johnson isn’t a bad fellow, but he is an awful bore. He isn’t
much like what we have dreamed of in the way of lovers.”

They had entered the dingy kitchen now and closed the door behind them.
There was no one there, so they went on softly with their confidences.

“I should say not,” said Dollie, smiling brightly through her tears, as
she recalled the mental pictures of the gallant youths which they had
so often woven into the links of their daisy chains, hoping that some
day they would come, like Cinderella’s Prince, and rescue them from the
drudgery of farm life, which they hated.

“Our lovers must be all that is grand and brave and true,” she cried
excitedly. “They must be of noble blood, like the knights in the
story books, who would risk their lives for a maiden’s love and think
no peril too great to keep them from their trysts. Oh. I have often
dreamed of them, Marion, and such beautiful dreams. It was like a
glimpse of bliss to be loved by such a lover.”

“And just think, Dollie, the world is full of them,” cried Marion.
“There really are just such knights and they do kneel at the feet of
blushing maidens.”

“It makes me tremble with delight just to think of it,” murmured
Dollie. “Oh, Marion, will I ever have a lover like that? One whose
slightest word will make me thrill with pleasure. If we only lived in
the city, darling. But no one will ever come here. We will just die
longing for love and never, never get it.”

“Mine was to have black eyes and brown hair, and be very tall,” began
Marion, wiping her eyes, “and he was to be, oh, so gentle and tender
in his wooing, yet all the time as brave and strong as a lion! Oh, my
lover was to be a perfect prince among men, and we were to marry and
live in a little paradise of pleasure!”

Her cheeks were glowing as she finished her impulsive speech, and
radiant smiles were dimpling her fair features.

“And mine was to have gray eyes; like yours, Marion; and a big
mustache, and—but, oh, my goodness! Just look at who is coming!”

Dollie finished abruptly, pointing out of the window.

“It’s the man that mother said was looking for board, I suppose,” said
Marion thoughtfully. “Father must have taken him and he’s bringing him
straight into the kitchen.”

“He’s the handsomest man I ever saw!” cried Dollie, springing up.
“Quick! Marion, we must tidy ourselves up a bit, dear! He mustn’t think
we are frights, even if we are a farmer’s daughters!”

Farmer Marlowe introduced the girls with an awkward wave of his hand.

“My darters, Mr. Lawson,” he said, with an effort at politeness. Then
leaving the girls to entertain the new boarder, he strode out of the
room again to do the evening milking.

The stranger, a man of thirty, of most striking appearance, stood as if
rooted to the spot for at least a full moment after his first sight of
the girls.

Such beauty as this was rare in any place, but finding it buried here
in the wilderness of rocks and sand, he could hardly believe his senses
for a minute.

Marion Marlowe rose politely, and offered him a chair, which he
accepted with such a glance of admiration that she could not help

“I am most fortunate in finding such desirable quarters,” he said
gallantly, “for I had not dreamed of anything in the way of society in
this forlorn little village. You see, I am a bit of an invalid, and the
doctor has sent me into the country to rest. Little did I imagine that
I should find angels to minister to me! Which will explain, I trust,
any seeming rudeness in my manner.”

“We stared at you also,” said Marion, still blushing, “but my sister
and I have seen so few gentlemen, Mr. Lawson, that we were just as much
surprised as you were.”

She tried to speak naturally, but her voice trembled a little. There
was a curious sensation of anger thrilling every fibre of her body.

The man’s dark eyes seemed reading her soul. His penetrating glance
annoyed and irritated her.

What could it mean? She tried to think calmly. No man whom she had met
had ever affected her so strangely.

“I hope I am somewhat different from these townsmen of yours,” went on
the man smilingly, “no better perhaps, but a little less boorish. It is
a shame that such beauty as this should be wasted upon them! Forgive me
for what seems to be flattery, but I must speak honestly. You are both
too beautiful to be buried here! You should live in the city, my dear
young ladies!”

Marion bit her lips to control her resentment, but before she could
reply her mother entered the kitchen and began preparations for their
homely supper.



The weeks passed swiftly at the Marlowe farmhouse, for Mr. Lawson’s
presence there had broken the monotony. Not once during his stay had
Marion been able to shake off her first impressions.

She dreaded him instinctively, and was ill at ease in his presence.

There was a mystery about him which she could not fathom—but her
intuitions were keen, and she decided to trust them.

Marion was too amiable to ordinarily allow her feelings to be seen. Not
even to Dollie had she made full confession of them.

Mr. Lawson’s attentions to her sister worried her exceedingly—but with
Silas Johnson as the alternative, she was forced to be silent.

One morning Marion took her churn out under a big locust tree near
the kitchen door and was churning vigorously when she overheard an
astonishing conversation.

Silas Johnson and her father were just around the corner of the house,
but neither knew of her presence or they would have spoken more

“I’ve sed it an’ I calkerlate I’ll stick ter it,” her father said,
sullenly. “Dollie shell marry yew, Sile, so yew needn’t git up yewr

“Oh, I ain’t got up no dander, Farmer Marlowe,” was the reply; “but
it’s high time ther thing wuz done an’ settled, fer I’m gittin’ a
leetle tired of seein’ thet thar city chap with Dollie. Yew know gals
will be gals, an’ ther ain’t much dependin’ on ’em.”

“Oh, ther city chap’s a-goin’ ter-morrer ef thet’s what’s worryin’
yew,” replied the farmer, quickly. “An’ as quick’s he’s gone, I’ll hev
it out with Dolly. It’s ther best thing fer her an’ she’s got ter dew

“Yew kin hev them papers back on our weddin’ day,” said Silas, with a
rasping chuckle.

Marion held her breath. Here was a new phase of the situation.

“Thankee, Sile, I’ll be plum’ glad tew git ’em, I kin tell yew!” said
her father, sighing. “Them air dog-goned papers hez worried me like
thunder, but ez yew say, it’ll be all in the fambly when yew marry

Marion drew a long breath and grasped the churn handle tighter. In
another moment the two men rose from their seats and sauntered out to
the garden, still talking seriously.

“So it is a business transaction of some sort!” whispered Marion to

“Pa owes Silas some money or something, and he is going to settle it by
giving him Dollie!”

She rose from her stool, her face fairly crimson with anger. As she
turned to enter the house she confronted Mr. Lawson.

For just a second Marion hesitated to tell her trouble to this man,
then an uncontrollable impulse made her turn to him appealingly. She
had forgotten all else but her sister’s danger.

“Oh, Mr. Lawson, I must tell you an awful secret,” she cried, brokenly,
“and oh, I do hope you will be able to advise me—you are wise and—and
kind—I am sure that you will help me. Father is in debt to Silas
Johnson, and Sile has made him promise that Dollie shall marry him!”

The tears trembled on Marion’s lashes as she said the words, and in her
intense excitement her dark eyes shone like diamonds.

Carlos Lawson looked at her with unusual interest. His first thought
was of her beauty but he controlled himself enough to answer:

“The thing would be outrageous!” he said after a second; “what has that
freckle-faced clod to offer Dollie, I should like to know!”

“He has a farm of his own, that is all,” said Marion, hotly; “or he may
have a mortgage on father’s, for all I know, but if he had the wealth
of the world he should not have my little sister!”

“But how can you prevent it?” asked Mr. Lawson, a little coldly.

Marion looked up at his face and trembled as she read his glance.

“I—I hoped you would be able to advise me,” she said, slowly. “I know
so little of the world, Mr. Lawson. Oh, can’t you think of some way to
save my poor sister?”

Once more Marion’s eyes shone through her tears as she gazed up into
his face. Her full lips trembled with emotion. Her face was transfused
with unusual beauty.

Again the sense of her beauty flitted through Carlos Lawson’s brain,
and this time he made no attempt to control it. How had he ever become
enamored of pretty Dollie’s childish face when this spirited creature
was constantly before him!

A dark flush mounted to his cheek and brow as he bent forward quickly
and laid his hand upon Marion’s shoulder.

“I will save her, yes—on one condition,” he whispered, sharply. “I
will save your sister if you will kiss me, Marion! My God, but you are
beautiful. Quick, Marion—your answer!”

With a stifled scream Marion Marlowe flung his hand from her shoulder
and sprang away from him. Her face paled in an instant at the insult he
had offered her.

“So that is the kind of a gentleman you are,” she said, scornfully. “To
try to take advantage of a girl in her misery!”

The man took a step forward, but Marion stopped him with a gesture.

“Don’t you dare to come nearer!” she said sternly. “I’m only a poor
farmer’s daughter, but I respect myself, sir! I regret that I spoke
to you about Dollie at all! I might have known better. I have never
trusted you!”

She stood with her right arm upraised as she said these words, her fair
face turned unflinchingly toward the handsome insulter.

A careless sneer crossed the man’s dark face.

“You have never trusted me, eh,” he said, half smilingly. “Well, that
will not make much difference with me, I guess. You’ll trust me more
some day, my haughty Marion!”

“Never!” cried Marion, with a hot flush of shame. “Not as long as I
remember your insulting words. But enough, Mr. Lawson, I will not
detain you longer.”

She swept by him like a queen and went into the house.

Her mother was sitting in the kitchen patiently darning stockings.

“Mother! mother!” cried Marion sharply, as she threw herself on her
knees by her side. “Is it possible that you are willing for Dollie
to be sacrificed? Are you going to sit calmly by and see her sold in
bondage to Silas Johnson?”

“What kin I dew?” asked her mother, irritably; “ef your father sez so,
what kin I dew? ’Tain’t a wife’s place to meddle with her husband’s
runnin’ of his fam’ly.”

“But think of it, mother, what her life will be when she is tied to a
man whom she does not love! Have you no sympathy for your daughter?

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Online LibraryLurana Waterhouse SheldonMy Queen: A Weekly Journal for Young Women. Issue 1. September 29, 1900. → online text (page 1 of 6)