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Mary-'Gusta By Joseph Crosby Lincoln Characters: 32593

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:07

The Misses Cabot's school was to open on the fifteenth of September and, on the morning of the fourteenth, Mary-'Gusta bade her guardians good-by on the platform of the South Harniss railway station. Shadrach had intended going to Boston with her, but she had firmly insisted on going alone.

"I must get used to being away from you both," she said, "and you must get used to having me go. It will be best for all of us to say good-by here. It won't be for VERY long; I'll be home at Christmas, you know."

The three weeks prior to the fateful fourteenth had been crowded with activities. Twice the girl and Captain Shadrach had journeyed to Boston, where in company with Mrs. Wyeth, whose services had been volunteered in a crisp but kindly note, they visited shops and selected and purchased-that is, the feminine members of the party selected and the Captain paid for-a suit and waists and hats and other things which it appeared were necessary for the wardrobe of a young lady at finishing school. Shadrach would have bought lavishly, but Mrs. Wyeth's common sense guided the selections and Mary-'Gusta was very particular as to price. Shadrach, at the beginning, made a few suggestions concerning colors and styles, but the suggestions were disregarded. The Captain's taste in colors was not limited; he fancied almost any hue, provided it was bright enough. His ward would have looked like an animated crazy quilt if he had had his way.

He grumbled a little as they journeyed back to South Harniss.

"She may be all right, that Wyeth woman," he said, "but she's too everlastin' sober-sided to suit me. Take that hat you and she bought; why, 'twas as plain, and hadn't no more fuss and feathers than a minister's wife's bonnet. You ain't an old maid; no, nor a Boston first-family widow, neither. Now, the hat I liked-the yellow and blue one-had some get-up-and-git. If you wore that out on Tremont Street folks would turn around and look at you."

Mary-'Gusta laughed and squeezed his hand. "You silly Uncle Shad," she said, "don't you know that is exactly what I don't want them to do?"

Shadrach turned his gaze in her direction. She was at the end of the car seat next to the window and against the light of the setting sun her face and head were silhouetted in dainty profile. The Captain sighed.

"Well," he said, philosophically, "I don't know's we need to argue. I cal'late they'll look some as 'tis."

Her parting instructions to her uncles were many and diversified. Zoeth must be sure and change to his heavy flannels on the first of October. He must not forget rubbers when the ground was damp, and an umbrella when it rained. If he caught cold there was the medicine Doctor Harley had prescribed. He must not sit up after ten o'clock; he must not try to read the paper without first hunting for his spectacles. These were a few of his orders. Shadrach's list was even longer. It included going to church every other Sunday: keeping his Sunday shoes blacked: not forgetting to change his collar every morning: to get his hair cut at least once in six weeks: not to eat pie just before going to bed, "because you know if you do, you always have the nightmare and groan and moan and wake up everyone but yourself": not to say "Jumpin'" or "Creepin' Judas" any oftener than he could help: to be sure and not cut prices in the store just because a customer asked him to do so-and goodness knows how much more.

As for Isaiah Chase, his list was so lengthy and varied that the responsibility quite overwhelmed him.

"Gosh t'mighty!" exclaimed Isaiah, desperately. "I'll never be able to live up to all them sailin' orders and I know it. I've put some of 'em down on a piece of paper, but I ain't even got them straight, and as for the million or two others-whew! I'm to dust every day, and sweep every other day, and change the tablecloth, and see that the washin' goes when it ought to, and feed the horse the cat-no, no, feed the cat oats-Oh, consarn it! Feed the cat and the horse and the hens their reg'lar vittles at reg'lar times and-and-Oh, my soul! Yes, and let alone my own self and all that's laid onto me, I must keep an eye on Captain Shad and Zoeth and see that they do what's been laid onto THEM. I swan to man! I'm a hard-workin', painstakin' feller of my age, but I ain't as young as I used to be, and I'm human and not a walkin' steam-engyne. I'll do the best I can, but-but first thing you know I'll be drove into heavin' up my job. THEN this craft'll be on its beam ends, I bet you! They'll appreciate me then, when it's too late."

The farewells at the railway station were brief. They were very hard to say and neither the partners nor Mary-'Gusta could trust themselves to talk more than was necessary. The train drew up beside the platform; then it moved on. A hand waved from the car window; Shadrach and Zoeth waved in return. The rear car disappeared around the curve by Solomon Higgins' cranberry shanty.

Mr. Hamilton sighed heavily.

"She's gone, Shadrach," he said. "Mary-'Gusta's gone."

Shadrach echoed the sigh.

"Yes, she's gone," he agreed. "I feel as if the best part of you and me had gone along with her. Well, t'other parts have got to go back to the store and wait on customers, I presume likely. Heave ahead and let's do it. Ah, hum! I cal'late we'd ought to be thankful we've got work to do, Zoeth. It'll help take up our minds. There are goin' to be lonesome days for you and me, shipmate."

There were lonely days for Mary-'Gusta also, those of that first month at Mrs. Wyeth's and at the Misses Cabot's school. For the first time in her life she realized what it meant to be homesick. But in the letters which she wrote to her uncles not a trace of the homesickness was permitted to show and little by little its keenest pangs wore away. She, too, was thankful for work, for the study which kept her from thinking of other things.

The Misses Cabot-their Christian names were Priscilla and Hortense-she found to be middle-aged maiden ladies, eminently prim and proper, and the educational establishment over which they presided a sort of Protestant nunnery ruled according to the precepts of the Congregational Church and the New England aristocracy. Miss Priscilla was tall and thin and her favorite author was Emerson; she quoted Emerson extensively and was certain that real literature died when he did. Miss Hortense was younger, plumper, and more romantic. She quoted Longfellow and occasionally Oliver Wendell Holmes, although she admitted she considered the latter rather too frivolous at times. Both sisters were learned, dignified, and strict disciplinarians. Also, in the eyes of both a male person younger than forty-five was labeled "Danger-Keep Away." But one creature of the masculine gender taught in their school; he was white-haired Doctor Barnes, professor of the dead languages. It was the prevailing opinion among the scholars that Doctor Barnes, when at home, occupied an apartment in the Greek Antiquity section of the Art Museum, where he slept and ate surrounded by the statues and busts of his contemporaries.

As for the scholars themselves, there were about forty of them, girls-or young ladies: the Misses Cabot invariably referred to and addressed them as "young ladies"-from Boston and New York and Philadelphia, even from Chicago and as far south as Baltimore. Almost all were the daughters of well-to-do parents, almost all had their homes in cities. There were very few who, like Mary-'Gusta, had lived all their lives in the country. Some were pretty, some were not; some were giddy and giggly, some solemn and studious, some either according to mood; some were inclined to be snobbish, others simple and "everyday." In short, the school was like almost any school of its kind.

Mary-'Gusta entered this school and, doing so, ceased to be Mary-'Gusta, becoming Miss Lathrop to her instructors and Mary to her intimates among the scholars. And at Mrs. Wyeth's she was Mary or Miss Lathrop or Miss Mary, according to the age, length of acquaintance, or station of the person addressing her. But she always thought of herself as Mary-'Gusta and her letters written to Uncle Shad or Uncle Zoeth were so signed.

She found, after the hard work of beginning, that she could keep abreast of her class in studies without undue exertion. Also she found that, the snobs excepted, the girls at the Misses Cabot's school were inclined to be sociable and friendly. She made no bid for their friendship, being a self-respecting young person whose dislike of imitation was as strong as ever, but, perhaps because she did not bid or imitate but continued to be simply and sincerely herself, friends came to her. Most of these friends received monthly allowances far greater than hers, and most of them wore more expensive gowns and in greater variety, but she showed no envy nor offered apologies, and if she sometimes wished, being human, that her wardrobe was a trifle more extensive she kept that wish to herself.

Her liking for Mrs. Wyeth grew into a real affection. And the prim and practical matron grew more and more fond of her. The girl came to be considered, and almost to consider herself, one of the family. The "family" consisted of Mrs. Wyeth, Mary, Miss Pease, the other "paying guest," and Maggie, the maid, and Nora, the cook. Miss Pease was an elderly spinster without near relatives, possessed of an income and a love of travel which she gratified by occasional European trips. She and her closest friend, Mrs. Wyeth, disagreed on many subjects, but they united in the belief that Boston was a suburb of Paradise and that William Ellery Channing was the greatest of religious leaders. They at-tended the Arlington Street Unitarian Church, and Mary often accompanied them there for Sunday morning or afternoon service.

The conviction of the Misses Cabot that youthful manhood was dangerous and to be shunned like the plague Mary soon discovered was not shared by the majority of the young ladies. If Miss Priscilla and Miss Hortense had had their way Harvard University and the Institute of Technology would have been moved forthwith to some remote spot like the North Pole or San Francisco. There were altogether too many "cousins" or "sons of old family friends" calling at the school to deliver messages from parents or guardians or the said friends. These messengers, young gentlemen with budding mustaches and full-blown raiment, were rigidly inspected and their visits carefully chaperoned: but letters came and were treasured and the cheerful inanity of their contents imparted, in strict secrecy, to bosom friends of the recipients.

Mary received no such letters. No cousins or family friends called to deliver messages to her. No photographs of young fellows in lettered sweaters were hidden among her belongings. Her friends in the school thought this state of affairs very odd and they sometimes asked pointed questions.

Miss Barbara Howe, whose home was in Brookline and whose father was the senior partner of an old and well-known firm of downtown merchants, was the leading questioner. She liked Mary and the latter liked her. Barbara was pretty and full of spirits and, although she was the only child, and a rather spoiled one, in a wealthy family, there was no snobbishness in her make-up.

"But I can't see," she declared, "what you have been doing all the time. Where have you been keeping yourself? Don't you know ANYBODY?"

Mary smiled. "Oh, yes," she replied, "I know a good many people."

"You know what I mean. Don't you know any of the fellows at Harvard, or Tech, or Yale, or anywhere? I know dozens. And you must know some. You know Sam Keith; you said you did."

Mary admitted that she knew Sam slightly.

"Isn't he fun! Sam and I are great chums. Doesn't he dance divinely!"

"I don't know. I never saw him dance."

"Then you've missed something. Do you know his friend, the one on the football team-Crawford Smith, his name is-do you know him?"

Mary nodded. "I-I've met him," she said.

"You HAVE? Don't you think he is perfectly splendid?"

"I don't know. Is he?"

"Of course he is. Haven't you read about him in the papers? He made that long run for a touchdown in the Yale game. Oh, you should have seen it! I couldn't speak for two days after that game. He was just as cool and calm. All the Yale men were trying to get him and he dodged-I never saw anyone so cool and who kept his head so well."

"I thought the papers spoke most of the way he kept his feet."

"Then you did read about it! Of course you did! I'm just dying to know him. All the girls are crazy about him. Where did you meet him? Tell me!"

Mary smiled. On the occasion of her only meeting with Crawford Smith that young fellow had been anything but cool.

"I met him in my uncle's store at South Harniss," she said. "It was three years ago."

"And you haven't seen him since? He is a great friend of Sam's. And Sam's people have a summer home at the Cape. Perhaps you'll meet him there again."


"Goodness! One would think you didn't want to."

"Why, I don't know that I do, particularly. Why should I?"

"Why should you! Mary Lathrop, I do think you are the queerest girl. You don't talk like a girl at all. Sometimes I think you are as old as-as Prissy." "Prissy" was the disrespectful nickname by which the young ladies referred, behind her back, to Miss Priscilla Cabot.

Mary laughed. "Not quite, I hope," she said. "But I don't see why I should be so very anxious to meet Crawford Smith. And I'm sure he isn't anxious to meet me. If all the other girls are crazy about him, that ought to be enough, I should think."

This astonishing profession of indifference to the fascination of the football hero, indifference which Miss Barbara declared to be only make-believe, was made on a Saturday. The next day, as Mrs. Wyeth and Mary were on their way home from church, the former made an announcement.

"We are to have a guest, perhaps guests, at dinner this noon," she said. Sunday dinner at Mrs. Wyeth's was served, according to New England custom, at one o'clock.

"Samuel, Mr. John Keith's son, is to dine with us," continued Mrs. Wyeth. "He may bring a college friend with him. You have met Samuel, haven't you, Mary?"

Mary said that she had. She was a trifle embarrassed at the prospect of meeting Sam Keith in her new surroundings. At home, in South Harniss, they had met many times, but always at the store. He was pleasant and jolly and she liked him well enough, although she had refused his invitations to go on sailing parties and the like. She knew perfectly well that his mother and sister would not have approved of these invitations, for in the feminine Keith mind there was a great gulf fixed between the summer resident and the native. The latter was to be helped and improved but not encouraged socially beyond a certain point. Mary sought neither help nor improvement of that kind. Sam, it is true, had never condescended or patronized, but he had never called at her home nor had she been asked to visit his.

And now she was to meet him in a house where she was considered one of the family. His father had been influential in bringing her there. Did Sam know this and, if he did, what influence would the knowledge have upon his manner toward her? Would he be lofty and condescending or, on the other hand, would he pretend a familiar acquaintanceship which did not exist? Alone in her room she considered these questions and then put them from her mind. Whatever his manner might be, hers, she determined, should be what it had always been. And if any embarrassment was evident to others at this meeting it should not be on her part.

When she came downstairs, Mrs. Wyeth called to her to come into the parlor. As she entered the room two young men rose from the chairs beside the mahogany center table. One of these young men was Sam Keith; she had expected to see Sam, of course. But the other-the other was the very individual in whose daring deeds and glorified personality she had expressed a complete lack of interest only the day before, the young fellow whom she had last seen racing madly across the fields in the rear of Hamilton and Company's s

tore with the larger portion of a sheet of sticky fly paper attached to his white flannels. Mr. Crawford Smith was taller and broader than on that memorable occasion but she recognized him instantly.

It was evident that he did not recognize her. Mrs. Wyeth came to meet her.

"Mary," she said, "you know Samuel, I think. You and he have met before. Samuel, will you introduce your friend?"

Sam was staring at Mary with eyes which expressed a variety of emotions, intense surprise the most prominent. He was in a state which Barbara Howe would have described as "fussed," one most unusual for him. He had known of Mary's presence in the house; after the affair was settled John Keith told his family what he had done, facing with serene philosophy his wife's displeasure and prophecies of certain regrets. Sam had vivid and pleasing recollections of the pretty country girl in the South Harniss store. He had not told his college friend that they were to meet her that day, one reason being that he was not certain they would meet, and the other a secret misgiving that it might be well to wait and inspect and listen before boasting of previous acquaintanceship. Sam's mother had lectured him on the subject before he left home. "Don't be too familiar, Sam," was her warning. "You may be sorry if you do. The girl is well enough here in South Harniss, where she is accustomed to her surroundings, but in Boston she may be quite out of place and impossible. I have told your father so, but he won't listen, of course. Don't YOU be foolish, for my sake."

But here was no green country girl. The self-possessed young woman who stood before him looked no more out of place and impossible in Mrs. Wyeth's dignified and aristocratic parlor than she had in the store where he had last seen her. Her gown was simple and inexpensive but it was stylish and becoming. And her manner-well, her manner was distinctly more at ease than his at that moment. Mary had been but eight weeks among the Misses Cabot's young ladies, but she had used her eyes and her brain during that time; she was adaptable and had learned other things than those in the curriculum. Also, she was prepared for this meeting and had made up her mind to show no embarrassment.

So the usually blase Samuel was the embarrassed party. He looked and stammered. Mrs. Wyeth was surprised and shocked.

"Samuel," she said sharply, "what is the matter with you? Why don't you speak and not stand there staring?"

Sam, with an effort, recovered some of his self-possession.

"Was I staring?" he said. "I beg your pardon, Cousin Emily. Er-How do you do, Miss Lathrop?"

Mrs. Wyeth sniffed.

"Mercy!" she exclaimed. "Is your acquaintance as formal as that? I thought you knew each other. The boys and girls of this generation are beyond me. 'Miss Lathrop,' indeed!"

Mary smiled. "Perhaps he didn't expect to see me here, Mrs. Wyeth," she said. "How do you do, Sam?"

She and Sam shook hands. Mrs. Wyeth asked another question.

"Didn't you know Mary was with me, Samuel?" she asked.

"Oh, yes, Cousin Emily, I knew. I knew she was here, of course. But-but I didn't-by George!" with a sudden outburst of his real feelings, "I hardly knew her, though. Really, I didn't."

Mary laughed. "Have I grown so much older in two months?" she asked.

"Oh, you haven't changed that way. I-I-" The young man, realizing that he was getting into deep water, seized an opportunity to scramble out. "Oh, I forgot!" he exclaimed. "Sorry, Crawford. Mary-Miss Lathrop, I want to present my friend, Crawford Smith. He's my roommate at college."

Mary and Crawford shook hands.

"I have met Mr. Smith, too, before," she said.

The young gentlemen, both of them, looked astonished.

"Have you?" cried Sam. "Oh, I say! I didn't know that. When was it?"

His friend, too, was plainly puzzled. "I hardly think so," he said. "I don't believe I should have forgotten it. I don't remember-"

"Don't you remember coming into my uncles' store at South Harniss with Miss Keith, Sam's sister? You bought some"-with a mischievous twinkle-"some marshmallows, among other things. I sold them to you."

"You? Great Scott! Are you-why that girl's name was-what was it?"

"It was the same as mine, Mary Augusta Lathrop. But in South Harniss they call me Mary-'Gusta."

"That was it! And you are Mary-'Gusta? Yes, of course you are! Well, I ought to be ashamed, I suppose, but I didn't recognize you. I AM ashamed. I was awfully obliged to you that day. You helped me out of a scrape."

Sam, who had been listening with increasing curiosity, broke in.

"Say, what's all this?" he demanded. "When was this, Crawford? What scrape? You never told me."

"And you didn't tell me that Miss Lathrop was here. You didn't say a word about her."

"Eh? Didn't I? I must have forgotten to mention it. She-she IS here, you know." Mrs. Wyeth shook her head.

"Samuel, you're perfectly idiotic today," she declared. "Of course she is here; anyone with eyes can see she is. She is-ahem-visiting me and she is attending the Misses Cabot's school. There! Now, Mr. Smith understands, I hope. And dinner is ready. Don't any of you say another word until we are at the table. My father used to say that lukewarm soup was the worst sort of cold reception and I agree with him."

During dinner Sam was tremendously curious to discover how and where his friend and Mary had met and what the scrape might be to which Crawford had referred. But his curiosity was unsatisfied. Mr. Smith refused to tell and Mary only smiled and shook her head when questioned.

The young people furnished most of the conversation during the meal. The recent football season and its triumphant ending were discussed, of course, and the prospects of the hockey team came in for its share. Sam, it appeared, was out for a place on the hockey squad.

"You must see some of the games, Mary," he said. "I'll get tickets for you and Cousin Emily. You're crazy about sports, aren't you, Cousin Emily."

Mrs. Wyeth regarded him through her eyeglasses.

"I imagine," she observed, "that that remark is intended as a joke. I saw one football game and the spectacle of those boys trampling each other to death before my eyes, and of you, Samuel Keith, hopping up and down shrieking, 'Tear 'em up' and 'Smash 'em' was the nearest approach to insanity I ever experienced. Since that time I have regarded Doctor Eliot as President Emeritus of an asylum and NOT a university."

Sam was hugely delighted. "That's football," he declared. "I will admit that no one but lunatics like Crawford here play football. Hockey, now, is different. I play hockey."

Crawford seemed surprised.

"Do you?" he asked, with eager interest. "No one has ever guessed it, not even the coach. You shouldn't keep it a secret from HIM, Sam."

Miss Pease, having been invited out that day, was not present at dinner. After the coffee was served the irrepressible Sam proposed a walk.

"You won't care to go, Cousin Emily," he said, "but I'm sure Mary will. It is a fine afternoon and she needs the air. Crawford isn't much of a walker; he can stay and keep Cousin Emily company. We won't be long."

Before Mary could decline this disinterested invitation Mrs. Wyeth saved her the trouble.

"Thank you, Samuel," she said, crisply. "Your kindness is appreciated, particularly by Mr. Smith and myself. I can see that he is delighted with the idea. But Mary and I are going to the afternoon service at the Arlington Street church. So you will have to excuse us."

This should have been a squelcher, but it was not. Sam announced that he and Crawford would go with them. "We were thinking of going to church, weren't we, Crawford? It is just what I suggested, you remember."

Mrs. Wyeth said "Humph," and that was all. She and Mary went to their rooms to get ready. Sam, surprised at the unexpected success of his sudden inspiration and immensely tickled, chuckled in triumph. But his joy was materially lessened when the quartette left the house.

"These sidewalks are too narrow for four," declared Mrs. Wyeth. "Samuel, you may walk with me. Mary, you and Mr. Smith must keep close at our heels and walk fast. I never permit myself or my guests to be late at church."

During the walk Crawford asked a number of questions. How long had his companion been in the city? How long did she intend staying? Did she plan returning to the school for another year? Where would she spend the Christmas vacation? Mary said she was going home, to South Harniss, for the holidays.

"It's a bully old place, Cape Cod," declared Crawford. "I never had a better time than I did on that visit at Sam's. Wish I were going there again some day."

"Why don't you?" asked Mary.

The young man shook his head. "Orders from home," he said. "Father insists on my coming home to him the moment the term closes. I made that visit to Sam's on my own responsibility and I got fits for doing it. Dad seems to have a prejudice against the East. He won't come here himself and he doesn't like to have me stay any longer than is absolutely necessary. When I wrote him I was at South Harniss he telegraphed me to come home in a hurry. He is Eastern born himself, lived somewhere this way when he was young, but he doesn't talk about it and has more prejudices against Eastern ways and Eastern people than if he'd lived all his life in Carson City. Won't even come on to see me play football. I doubt if he comes to Commencement next spring; and I graduate, too."

"I wonder he permitted you to go to Harvard," said Mary.

"He had to permit it. I've always been for Harvard ever since I thought about college. Dad was all for a Western university, but I sat back in the stirrups and pulled for Harvard and finally he gave in. He generally gives in if I buck hard enough. He's a bully old Dad and we're great pals, more like brothers than father and son. The only point where we disagree is his confounded sectional prejudice. He thinks the sun not only sets in the West but rises there."

The girl learned that he intended entering the Harvard Medical School in the fall.

"I had to fight for that, too," he said, with a laugh. "I've always wanted to be a doctor but Dad wouldn't give in for ever so long. He is interested in mining properties there at home and it was his idea that I should come in with him when I finished school. But I couldn't see it. I wanted to study medicine. Dad says there are almost as many starving doctors as there are down-at-the-heel lawyers; if I go in with him, he says, I shall have what is practically a sure thing and a soft snap for the rest of my days. That doesn't suit me. I want to work; I expect to. I want to paddle my own canoe. I may be the poorest M.D. that ever put up a sign, but I'm going to put that sign up just the same. And if I starve I shan't ask him or anyone else to feed me."

He laughed again as he said it, but there was a determined ring in his voice and a square set to his chin which Mary noticed and liked. He meant what he said, that was evident.

"I think a doctor's profession is one of the noblest and finest in the world," she said.

"Do you? Good for you! So do I. It doesn't bring in the dollars as fast as some others, but it does seem a man's job to me. The big specialists make a lot of money too, but that isn't exactly what I mean. Some of the best men I've met were just country doctors, working night and day in all sorts of weather and getting paid or not, just as it happened. That old Doctor Harley down in your town is one of that kind, I think. I saw something of his work while I was there."

"Did you? I shouldn't have thought you had time for that, with all the picnics and sailing parties."

"I did, though. I met him at Sam's. Mrs. Keith had a cold or a cough or something. He and I got to talking and he asked me to come and see him. I went, you bet! Went out with him on some of his drives while he made his calls, you know. He told me a lot of things. He's a brick."

"It's queer," he went on, after a moment, "but I felt really at home down there in that little place. Seemed as if I had been there before and-and-by George, almost as if I belonged there. It was my first experience on and around salt water, but that seemed natural, too. And the people-I mean the people that belong there, not the summer crowd-I liked them immensely. Those two fine old cards that kept the store-Eh, I beg pardon; they are relatives of yours, aren't they? I forgot."

"They are my uncles," said Mary, simply. "I have lived with them almost all my life. They are the best men in the world."

"They seemed like it. I'd like to know them better. Hello! here's that confounded church. I've enjoyed this walk ever so much. Guess I've done all the talking, though. Hope I haven't bored you to death gassing about my affairs."

"No, you haven't. I enjoyed it."

"Did you really? Yes, I guess you did or you wouldn't say so. You don't act like a girl that pretends. By George! It's a relief to have someone to talk to, someone that understands and appreciates what a fellow is thinking about. Most girls want to talk football and dancing and all that. I like football immensely and dancing too, but there is something else in life. Even Sam-he's as good as they make but he doesn't care to listen to anything serious-that is, not long."

Mary considered. "I enjoyed listening," she said, "and I was glad to hear you liked South Harniss and my uncles."

On the way home, after the service, it was Sam Keith who escorted Mary, while Mrs. Wyeth walked with Mr. Smith. Sam's conversation was not burdened with seriousness. Hockey, dances, and good times were the subjects he dealt with. Was his companion fond of dancing? Would she accompany him to one of the club dances some time? They were great fun. Mrs. Wyeth could chaperon them, of course.

Mary said she was afraid she would be too busy to accept. As a matter of fact, knowing what she did of his mother's feelings, she would have accepted no invitations from Sam Keith even if nothing else prevented her doing so.

"My studies take a good deal of my time," she said.

Sam laughed. "You'll get over that," he declared. "I studied like blue blazes my freshman year, but after that-I should worry. Say, I'm mighty glad I came over here today. I'm coming again. I'll be a regular boarder."

The young men said good-by at the Wyeth door. Mrs. Wyeth did not ask them in, although the persistent Samuel threw out some pointed hints.

Crawford Smith and Mary shook hands.

"I've had an awfully good time," declared the former. Then, turning to Mrs. Wyeth, he asked: "May I call occasionally?"

Mrs. Wyeth's answer was, as usual, frank and unmistakable.

"Yes," she said. "I shall be very glad to see you-occasionally."

Crawford turned to Mary.

"May I?" he asked.

Mary scarcely knew how to reply. There was no real reason why he should not call; she liked him so far. His frankness and earnestness of purpose appealed to her. And yet she was not at all sure that it was wise to continue the acquaintance. In her mind this coming to Boston to school was a very serious matter. Her uncles had sent her there to study; they needed her at home, but that need they had sacrificed in order that she might study and improve. Nothing else, friendships or good times or anything, must interfere with the purpose with which she had accepted the sacrifice.

So she hesitated.

"May I?" repeated Crawford.

"Why, I don't know. I imagine I shall be very busy most of the time."

"That's all right. If you're busy you can send word for me to vamoose. That will be part of the bargain. Good-by."

Mrs. Wyeth's first remark, after entering, was concerning Sam's friend.

"I rather like that young person," she said. "Samuel idolizes him, of course, but Samuel would worship a hyena if it played football. But this Smith boy"-in Mrs. Wyeth's mind any male under thirty was a boy-"seems to have some common sense and a mind of his own. I don't approve of his name nor the howling wilderness he comes from, but he can't help those drawbacks, I suppose. However, if he is to call here we must know something about him. I shall make inquiries."

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