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   Chapter 15 THE WACKERNAGELS AT HOME

Tillie: A Mennonite Maid By Helen Reimensnyder Martin Characters: 30659

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


At the supper-table, the apparently inexhaustible topic of talk was the refusal of the Hersheys to receive the new teacher into the bosom of their family. A return to this theme again and again, on the part of the various members of the Wackernagel household, did not seem to lessen its interest for them, though the teacher himself did not take a very animated part in its discussion. Tillie realized, as with an absorbing interest she watched his fine face, that all he saw and heard here was as novel to him as the world whence he had come would be to her and her kindred and neighbors, could they be suddenly transplanted into it. Tillie had never looked upon any human countenance which seemed to express so much of that ideal world in which she lived her real life.

"To turn him off after he got there!" Mrs. Wackernagel exclaimed, reverting for the third time to the episode which had so excited the family. "And after Lizzie and Jonas they'd sayed he could come yet!"

"Well, I say!" Mr. Wackernagel shook his head, as though the story, even at its third recital, were full of surprises.

Mr. Wackernagel was a tall, raw-boned man with conspicuously large feet and hands. He wore his hair plastered back from his face in a unique, not to say distinguished style, which he privately considered highly becoming his position as the proprietor of the New Canaan Hotel. Mr. Wackernagel's self-satisfaction did indeed cover every detail of his life-from the elegant fashion of his hair to the quality of the whisky which he sold over the bar, and of which he never tired of boasting. Not only was he entirely pleased with himself, but his good-natured satisfaction included all his possessions-his horse first, then his wife, his two daughters, his permanent boarder, "the Doc," and his wife's niece Tillie. For people outside his own horizon, he had a tolerant but contemptuous pity.

Mr. Wackernagel and the doctor both sat at table in their shirt-sleeves, the proprietor wearing a clean white shirt (his extravagance and vanity in using two white shirts a week being one of the chief historical facts of the village), while the doctor was wont to appear in a brown cotton shirt, the appearance of which suggested the hostler rather than the physician.

That Fairchilds should "eat in his coat" placed him, in the eyes of the Wackernagels, on the high social plane of the drummers from the city, many of whom yearly visited the town with their wares.

"And Teacher he didn't press 'em none, up at Jonas Hershey's, to take him in, neither, he says," Mrs. Wackernagel pursued.

"He says?" repeated Mr. Wackernagel, inquiringly. "Well, that's like what I was, too, when I was a young man," he boasted. "If I thought I ain't wanted when I went to see a young lady-if she passed any insinyations-she never wasn't worried with ME ag'in!"

"I guess Lizzie's spited that Teacher's stoppin' at our place," giggled Rebecca, her pretty face rosy with pleasurable excitement in the turn affairs had taken. She sat directly opposite Mr. Fairchilds, while Amanda had the chair at his side.

Tillie could see that the young man's eyes rested occasionally upon the handsome, womanly form of her very good-looking cousin Amanda. Men always looked at Amanda a great deal, Tillie had often observed. The fact had never before had any special significance for her.

"Are you from Lancaster, or wherever?" the doctor inquired of Mr. Fairchilds.

"From Connecticut," he replied in a tone that indefinably, but unmistakably checked further questioning.

"Now think! So fur off as that!"

"Yes, ain't!" exclaimed Mrs. Wackernagel. "It's a wonder a body'd ever be contented to live that fur off."

"We're had strangers here in this HOtel," Mr. Wackernagel began to brag, while he industriously ate of his fried sausage and fried potatoes, "from as fur away as Illinois yet! And from as fur south as down in Maine! Yes, indeed! Ain't, mom?" he demanded of his wife.

"Och, yes, many's the strange meals I cooked a'ready in this house. One week I cooked forty strange meals; say not, Abe?" she returned.

"Yes, I mind of that week. It was Mrs. Johnson and her daughter we had from Illinois and Mrs. Snyder from Maine," Abe explained to Mr. Fairchilds. "And them Johnsons stayed the whole week."

"They stopped here while Mr. Johnson went over the county sellin' milk-separators," added Mrs. Wackernagel. "And Abe he was in Lancaster that week, and the Doc he was over to East Donegal, and there was no man here except only us ladies! Do you mind, Rebecca?"

Eebecca nodded, her mouth too full for utterance.

"Mrs. Johnson she looked younger than her own daughter yet," Mrs. Wackernagel related, with animation, innocent of any suspicion that the teacher might not find the subject of Mrs. Johnson as absorbing as she found it.

"There is nothing like good health as a preserver of youth," responded Fairchilds.

"HOtel-keepin' didn't pay till we got the license," Mr. Wackernagel chatted confidentially to the stranger. "Mom, to be sure, she didn't favor my havin' a bar, because she belonged to meetin'. But I seen I couldn't make nothin' if I didn't. It was never no temptation to me-I was always among the whisky and I never got tight oncet. And it ain't the hard work farmin' was. I had to give up followin' farmin'. I got it so in my leg. Why, sometimes I can't hardly walk no more."

"And can't your doctor cure you?" Fairchilds asked, with a curious glance at the unkempt little man across the table.

"Och, yes, he's helped me a heap a'ready. Him he's as good a doctor as any they're got in Lancaster even!" was the loyal response. "Here a couple months back, a lady over in East Donegal Township she had wrote him a letter over here, how the five different kinds of doses where he give her daughter done her so much good, and she was that grateful, she sayed she just felt indebted fur a letter to him! Ain't, Doc? She sayed now her daughter's engaged to be married and her mind's more settled-and to be sure, that made somepin too. Yes, she sayed her gettin' engaged done her near as much good as the five different kind of doses done her."

"Are you an Allopath?" Fairchilds asked the doctor.

"I'm a Eclectic," he responded glibly. "And do you know, Teacher, I'd been practisin' that there style of medicine fur near twelve years before I knowed it was just to say the Eclectic School, you understand."

"Like Moliere's prose-writer!" remarked the teacher, then smiled at himself for making such an allusion in such a place.

"Won't you have some more sliced radishes, Teacher?" urged the hostess. "I made a-plenty."

"No, I thank you," Fairchilds replied, with his little air of courtesy that so impressed the whole family. "I can't eat radishes in the evening with impunity."

"But these is with WINEGAR," Mrs. Wackernagel corrected him.

Before Mr. Fairchilds could explain, Mr. Wackernagel broke in, confirming the doctor's proud claim.

"Yes, Doc he's a Eclectic," he repeated, evidently feeling that the fact reflected credit on the hotel. "You can see his sign on the side door."

"I was always interested in science," explained the doctor, under the manifest impression that he was continuing the subject. "Phe-non-e-ma. That's what I like. Odd things. I'm stuck on 'em! Now this here wireless teleGRAPHY. I'm stuck on that, you bet! To me that there's a phe-non-e-ma."

"Teacher," interrupted Mrs. Wackernagel, "you ain't eatin' hearty. Leave me give you some more sausage."

"If you please," Mr. Fairchilds bowed as he handed his plate to her.

"Why don't you leave him help hisself," protested Mr. Wackernagel. "He won't feel to make hisself at home if he can't help hisself like as if he was one of us that way."

"Och, well," confessed Mrs. Wackernagel, "I just keep astin' him will he have more, so I can hear him speak his manners so nice." She laughed aloud at her own vanity. "You took notice of it too, Tillie, ain't? You can't eat fur lookin' at him!"

A tide of color swept Tillie's face as the teacher, with a look of amusement, turned his eyes toward her end of the table. Her glance fell upon her plate, and she applied herself to cutting up her untouched sausage.

"Now, there's Doc," remarked Amanda, critically, "he's GOT good manners, but he don't use 'em."

"Och," said the doctor, "it ain't worth while to trouble."

"I think it would be wonderful nice, Teacher," said Mrs. Wackernagel, "if you learnt them manners you got to your scholars this winter. I wisht 'Manda and Rebecca knowed such manners. THEY're to be your scholars this winter."

"Indeed?" said Fairchilds; "are they?"

"'Manda there," said her father, "she's so much fur actin' up you'll have to keep her right by you to keep her straight, still."

"That's where I shall be delighted to keep her," returned Fairchilds, gallantly, and Amanda laughed boisterously and grew several shades rosier as she looked boldly up into the young man's eyes.

"Ain't you fresh though!" she exclaimed coquettishly.

How dared they all make so free with this wonderful young man, marveled Tillie. Why didn't they realize, as she did, how far above them he was? She felt almost glad that in his little attentions to Amanda and Rebecca he had scarcely noticed her at all; for the bare thought of talking to him overwhelmed her with shyness.

"Mind Tillie!" laughed Mr. Wackernagel, suddenly, "lookin' scared at the way yous are all talkin' up to Teacher! Tillie she's afraid of you," he explained to Mr. Fairchilds. "She ain't never got her tongue with her when there's strangers. Ain't, Tillie?"

Tillie's burning face was bent over her plate, and she did not attempt to answer. Mr. Fairchilds' eyes rested for an instant on the delicate, sensitive countenance of the girl. But his attention was diverted by an abrupt exclamation from Mrs. Wackernagel.

"Oh, Abe!" she suddenly cried, "you ain't tole Teacher yet about the Albright sisters astin' you, on market, what might your name be!"

The tone in which this serious omission was mentioned indicated that it was an anecdote treasured among the family archives.

"Now, I would mebbe of forgot that!" almost in consternation said Mr. Wackernagel. "Well," he began, concentrating his attention upon the teacher, "it was this here way. The two Miss Albrights they had bought butter off of us, on market, for twenty years back a'ready, and all that time we didn't know what was their name, and they didn't know ourn; fur all, I often says to mom, 'Now I wonder what's the name of them two thin little women.' Well, you see, I was always a wonderful man fur my jokes. Yes, I was wery fond of makin' a joke, still. So here one day the two sisters come along and bought their butter, and then one of 'em she says, 'Excuse me, but here I've been buyin' butter off of yous fur this twenty years back a'ready and I ain't never heard your name. What might your name BE?' Now I was such a man fur my jokes, still, so I says to her"-Mr. Wackernagel's whole face twinkled with amusement, and his shoulders shook with laughter as he contemplated the joke he had perpetrated-"I says, 'Well, it MIGHT be Gener'l Jackson'"-laughter again choked his utterance, and the stout form of Mrs. Wackernagel also was convulsed with amusement, while Amanda and Rebecca giggled appreciatively. Tillie and the doctor alone remained unaffected. "'It might be Gener'l Jackson,' I says. 'But it ain't. It's Abe Wackernagel,' I says. You see," he explained, "she ast me what MIGHT my name be.-See?-and I says 'It might be Jackson'-MIGHT be, you know, because she put it that way, what might it be. 'But it ain't,' I says. 'It's Wackernagel.'"

Mr. and Mrs. Wackernagel and their daughters leaned back in their chairs and gave themselves up to prolonged and exuberant laughter, in which the teacher obligingly joined as well as he was able.

When this hilarity had subsided, Mr. Wackernagel turned to Mr. Fairchilds with a question. "Are you mebbe feelin' oneasy, Teacher, about meetin' the school directors to-night? You know they meet here in the HOtel parlor at seven o'clock to take a look at you; and if you suit, then you and them signs the agreement."

"And if I don't suit?"

"They'll turn you down and send you back home!" promptly answered the doctor. "That there Board ain't conferrin' William Penn on no one where don't suit 'em pretty good! They're a wonderful partic'lar Board!"

After supper the comely Amanda agreed eagerly to the teacher's suggestion that she go with him for a walk, before the convening of the School Board at seven o'clock, and show him the school-house, as he would like to behold, he said, "the seat of learning" which, if the Board elected him, was to be the scene of his winter's campaign.

Amanda improved this opportunity to add her word of warning to that of the doctor.

"That there Board's awful hard to suit, still. Oncet they got a Millersville Normal out here, and when she come to sign they seen she was near-sighted that way, and Nathaniel Puntz-he's a director-he up and says that wouldn't suit just so well, and they sent her back home. And here oncet a lady come out to apply and she should have sayed [she is reported to have said] she was afraid New Canaan hadn't no accommodations good enough fur her, and the directors ast her, 'Didn't most of our Presidents come out of log cabins?' So they wouldn't elect her. Now," concluded Amanda, "you see!"

"Thanks for your warning. Can you give me some pointers?"

"What's them again?"

"Well, I must not be near-sighted, for one thing, and I must not demand 'all the modern improvements.' Tell me what manner of man this School Board loves and admires. To be in the dark as to their tastes, you know-"

"You must make yourself nice and common," Amanda instructed him. "You haven't dare to put on no city airs. To be sure, I guess they come a good bit natural to you, and, as mom says still, a body can't help fur their dispositions; but our directors is all plain that way and they don't like tony people that wants to come out here and think they're much!"

"Yes? I see. Anything else?"

"Well, they'll be partic'lar about your bein' a perfessor."

"How do you mean?"

Amanda looked at him in astonishment. "If you're a perfessor or no. They'll be sure to ast you."

Mr. Fairchilds thoughtfully considered it.

"You mean," he said, light coming to him, "they will ask me whether I am a professor of religion, don't you?"

"Why, to be sure!"

"Oh!"

"And you better have your answer ready."

"What, in your judgment, may I ask, would be a suitable answer to that?"

"Well, ARE you a perfessor?"

"Oh, I'm anything at all that will get me this 'job.' I've got to have it as a makeshift until I can get hold of something better. Let me see-will a Baptist do?"

"Are you a Baptist?" the girl stolidly asked.

"When circumstances are pressing. Will they be satisfied with a Baptist?"

"That's one of the fashionable churches of the world," Amanda replied gravely. "And the directors is most all Mennonites and Amish and Dunkards. All them is PLAIN churches and loosed of the world, you know."

"Oh, well, I'll wriggle out somehow! Trust to luck!" Fairchilds dismissed the subject, realizing the

injudiciousness of being too confidential with this girl on so short an acquaintance.

At the momentous hour of seven, the directors promptly assembled. When Tillie, at her aunt's request, carried two kerosene lamps into the parlor, a sudden determination came to the girl to remain and witness the reception of the new teacher by the School Board.

She was almost sick with apprehension lest the Board should realize, as she did, that this Harvard graduate was too fine for such as they. It was an austere Board, hard to satisfy, and there was nothing they would so quickly resent and reject as evident superiority in an applicant. The Normal School students, their usual candidates, were for the most part, though not always, what was called in the neighborhood "nice and common." The New Canaan Board was certainly not accustomed to sitting in judgment upon an applicant such as this Pestalozzi Fairchilds. (Tillie's religion forbade her to call him by the vain and worldly form of Mr.)

No one noticed the pale-faced girl as, after placing one lamp on the marble-topped table about which the directors sat and another on the mantelpiece, she moved quietly away to the farthest corner of the long, narrow parlor and seated herself back of the stove.

The applicant, too, when he came into the room, was too much taken up with what he realized to be the perils of his case to observe the little watcher in the corner, though he walked past her so close that his coat brushed her shoulder, sending along her nerves, like a faint electric shock, a sensation so novel and so exquisite that it made her suddenly close her eyes to steady her throbbing head.

There were present six members of the Board-two Amishmen, one Old Mennonite, one patriarchal-looking Dunkard, one New Mennonite, and one Evangelical, the difference in their religious creeds being attested by their various costumes and the various cuts of beard and hair. The Evangelical, the New Mennonite, and the Amishmen were farmers, the Dunkard kept the store and the post-office, and the Old Mennonite was the stage-driver. Jacob Getz was the Evangelical; and Nathaniel Puntz, Absalom's father, the New Mennonite.

The investigation of the applicant was opened up by the president of the Board, a long-haired Amishman, whose clothes were fastened by hooks and eyes instead of buttons and buttonholes, these latter being considered by his sect as a worldly vanity.

"What was your experience a'ready as a teacher?"

Fairchilds replied that he had never had any.

Tillie's heart sank as, from her post in the corner, she heard this answer. Would the members think for one moment of paying forty dollars a month to a teacher without experience? She was sure they had never before done so. They were shaking their heads gravely over it, she could see.

But the investigation proceeded.

"What was your Persuasion then?"

Tillie saw, in the teacher's hesitation, that he did not understand the question.

"My 'Persuasion'? Oh! I see. You mean my Church?"

"Yes, what's your conwictions?"

He considered a moment. Tillie hung breathlessly upon his answer. She knew how much depended upon it with this Board of "plain" people. Could he assure them that he was "a Bible Christian"? Otherwise, they would never elect him to the New Canaan school. He gave his reply, presently, in a tone suggesting his having at that moment recalled to memory just what his "Persuasion" was. "Let me see-yes-I'm a Truth-Seeker."

"What's that again?" inquired the president, with interest. "I have not heard yet of that Persuasion."

"A Truth-Seeker," he gravely explained, "is one who believes in-eh-in a progress from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity."

The members looked at each other cautiously.

"Is that the English you're speakin', or whatever?" asked the Dunkard member. "Some of them words ain't familiar with me till now, and I don't know right what they mean."

"Yes, I'm talking English," nodded the applicant. "We also believe," he added, growing bolder, "in the fundamental, biogenetic law that ontogenesis is an abridged repetition of philogenesis."

"He says they believe in Genesis," remarked the Old Mennonite, appealing for aid, with bewildered eyes, to the other members.

"Maybe he's a Jew yet!" put in Nathaniel Puntz. "We also believe," Mr. Fairchilds continued, beginning to enjoy himself, "in the revelations of science."

"He believes in Genesis and in Revelations," explained the president to the others.

"Maybe he's a Cat'lic!" suggested the suspicious Mr. Puntz.

"No," said Fairchilds, "I am, as I said, a Truth-Seeker. A Truth-Seeker can no more be a Catholic or a Jew in faith than an Amishman can, or a Mennonite, or a Brennivinarian."

Tillie knew he was trying to say "Winebrennarian," the name of one of the many religious sects of the county, and she wondered at his not knowing better.

"You ain't a gradyate, neither, are you?" was the president's next question, the inscrutable mystery of the applicant's creed being for the moment dropped.

"Why, yes, I thought you knew that. Of Harvard."

"Och, that!" contemptuously; "I mean you ain't a gradyate of Millersville Normal?"

"No," humbly acknowledged Fairchilds.

"When I was young," Mr. Getz irrelevantly remarked, "we didn't have no gradyate teachers like what they have now, still. But we anyhow learnt more ACCORDING."

"How long does it take you to get 'em from a, b, c's to the Testament?" inquired the patriarchal Dunkard.

"That depends upon the capacity of the pupil," was Mr. Fairchilds's profound reply.

"Can you learn 'em 'rithmetic good?" asked Nathaniel Puntz. "I got a son his last teacher couldn't learn 'rithmetic to. He's wonderful dumm in 'rithmetic, that there boy is. Absalom by name. After the grandfather. His teacher tried every way to learn him to count and figger good. He even took and spread toothpicks out yet-but that didn't learn him neither. I just says, he ain't appointed to learn 'rithmetic. Then the teacher he tried him with such a Algebry. But Absalom he'd get so mixed up!-he couldn't keep them x's spotted."

"I have a method," Mr. Fairchilds began, "which I trust-"

To Tillie's distress, her aunt's voice, at this instant calling her to "come stir the sots [yeast] in," summoned her to the kitchen.

It was very hard to have to obey. She longed so to stay till Fairchilds should come safely through his fiery ordeal. For a moment she was tempted to ignore the summons, but her conscience, no less than her grateful affection for her aunt, made such behavior impossible. Softly she stole out of the room and noiselessly closed the door behind her.

A half-hour later, when her aunt and cousins had gone to bed, and while the august School Board still occupied the parlor, Tillie sat sewing in the sitting-room, while the doctor, at the other side of the table, nodded over his newspaper.

Since Tillie had come to live at the hotel, she and the doctor were often together in the evening; the Doc was fond of a chat over his pipe with the child whom he so helped and befriended in her secret struggles to educate herself. There was, of course, a strong bond of sympathy and friendship between them in their common conspiracy with Miss Margaret, whom the doctor had never ceased to hold in tender memory.

Just now Tillie's ears were strained to catch the sounds of the adjourning of the Board. When at last she heard their shuffling footsteps in the hall, her heart beat fast with suspense. A moment more and the door leading from the parlor opened and Fairchilds came out into the sitting-room.

Tillie did not lift her eyes from her sewing, but the room seemed suddenly filled with his presence.

"Well!" the doctor roused himself to greet the young man; "were you 'lected?"

Breathlessly, Tillie waited to hear his answer.

"Oh, yes; I've escaped alive!" Fairchilds leaned against the table in an attitude of utter relaxation. "They roasted me brown, though! Galileo at Rome, and Martin Luther at Worms, had a dead easy time compared to what I've been through!"

"I guess!" the doctor laughed. "Ain't!"

"I'm going to bed," the teacher announced in a tone of collapse. "Good night!"

"Good night!" answered the doctor, cordially.

Fairchilds drew himself up from the table and took a step toward the stairway; this brought him to Tillie's side of the table, and he paused a moment and looked down upon her as she sewed.

Her fingers trembled, and the pulse in her throat beat suffocatingly, but she did not look up.

"Good night, Miss-Tillie, isn't it?"

"Matilda Maria," Tillie's soft, shy voice replied as her eyes, full of light, were raised, for an instant, to the face above her.

The man smiled and bowed his acknowledgment; then, after an instant's hesitation, he said, "Pardon me: the uniform you and Mrs. Wackernagel wear-may I ask what it is?"

"'Uniform'?" breathed Tillie, wonderingly. "Oh, you mean the garb? We are members of meeting. The world calls us New Mennonites."

"And this is the uni-the garb of the New Mennonites?"

"Yes, sir."

"It is a very becoming garb, certainly," Fairchilds smiled, gazing down upon the fair young girl with a puzzled look in his own face, for he recognized, not only in her delicate features, and in the light of her beautiful eyes, but also in her speech, a something that set her apart from the rest of this household.

Tillie colored deeply at his words, and the doctor laughed outright.

"By gum! They wear the garb to make 'em look UNbecomin'! And he ups and tells her it's becomin' yet! That's a choke, Teacher! One on you, ain't? That there cap's to hide the hair which is a pride to the sek! And that cape over the bust is to hide woman's allurin' figger. See? And you ups and tells her it's a becomin' UNYFORM! Unyforms is what New Mennonites don't uphold to! Them's fur Cat'lics and 'Piscopals-and fur warriors-and the Mennonites don't favor war! Unyforms yet!" he laughed. "I'm swanged if that don't tickle me!"

"I stand corrected. I beg pardon if I've offended," Fairchilds said hastily. "Miss-Matilda-I hope I've not hurt your feelings? Believe me, I did not mean to."

"Och!" the doctor answered for her, "Tillie she ain't so easy hurt to her feelin's, are you, Tillie? Gosh, Teacher, them manners you got must keep you busy! Well, sometimes I think I'm better off if I stay common. Then I don't have to bother."

The door leading from the bar-room opened suddenly and Jacob Getz stood on the threshold.

"Well, Tillie," he said by way of greeting. "Uncle Abe sayed you wasn't went to bed yet, so I stopped to see you a minute."

"Well, father," Tillie answered as she put down her sewing and came up to him.

Awkwardly he bent to kiss her, and Tillie, even in her emotional excitement, realized, with a passing wonder, that he appeared glad to see her after a week of separation.

"It's been some lonesome, havin' you away," he told her.

"Is everybody well?" she asked.

"Yes, middlin'. You was sewin', was you?" he inquired, glancing at the work on the table.

"Yes, sir."

"All right. Don't waste your time. Next Saturday I 'll stop off after market on my way out from Lancaster and see you oncet, and get your wages off of Aunty Em."

"Yes, sir."

A vague idea of something unusual in the light of Tillie's eyes arrested him. He glanced suspiciously at the doctor, who was speaking in a low tone to the teacher.

"Look-ahere, Tillie. If Teacher there wants to keep comp'ny with one of yous girls, it ain't to be you, mind. He ain't to be makin' up to you! I don't want you to waste your time that there way."

Apprehensively, Tillie darted a sidelong glance at the teacher to see if he had heard-for though no tender sentiment was associated in her mind with the idea of "keeping company," yet intuitively she felt the unseemliness of her father's warning and its absurdity in the eyes of such as this stranger.

Mr. Fairchilds was leaning against the table, his arms folded, his lips compressed and his face flushed. She was sure that he had overheard her father. Was he angry, or-almost worse-did that compressed mouth mean concealed amusement?

"Well, now, I must be goin'," said Mr. Getz. "Be a good girl, mind. Och, I 'most forgot to tell you. Me and your mom's conceited we'd drive up to Puntz's Sunday afternoon after the dinner work's through a'ready. And if Aunty Em don't want you partic'lar, you're to come home and mind the childern, do you hear?"

"Yes, sir."

"Now, don't forget. Well, good-by, then."

Again he bent to kiss her, and Tillie felt Fairchilds's eyes upon her, as unresponsively she submitted to the caress.

"Good night to you, Teacher." Mr. Getz gruffly raised his voice to speak to the pair by the table. "And to you, Doc."

They answered him and he went away. When Tillie slowly turned back to the table, the teacher hastily took his leave and moved away to the stairway at the other end of the room. As she took up her sewing, she heard him mount the steps and presently close and lock the door of his room at the head of the stairs.

"He was, now, wonderful surprised, Tillie," the doctor confided to her, "when I tole him Jake Getz was your pop. He don't think your pop takes after you any. I says to him, 'Tillie's pop, there, bein' one of your bosses, you better make up to Tillie,' I says, and he sayed, 'You don't mean to tell me that that Mr. Getz of the School Board is the father of this girl?' 'That's what,' I says. 'He's that much her father,' I says, 'that you'd better keep on the right side of him by makin' up to Tillie,' I says, just to plague him. And just then your pop up and sayed if Teacher wanted to keep comp'ny he must pick out 'Manda or Rebecca-and I seen Teacher wanted to laugh, but his manners wouldn't leave him. He certainly has, now, a lot of manners, ain't, Tillie?"

Tillie's head was bent over her sewing and she did not answer.

The doctor yawned, stretched himself, and guessed he would step into the bar-room.

Tillie bent over her sewing for a long time after she was left alone. The music of the young man's grave voice as he had spoken her name and called her "Miss Matilda" sang in her brain. The fascination of his smile as he had looked down into her eyes, and the charm of his chivalrous courtesy, so novel to her experience, haunted and intoxicated her. And tonight, Tillie felt her soul flooded with a life and light so new and strange that she trembled as before a miracle.

Meanwhile, Walter Fairchilds, alone in his room, his mind too full of the events and characters to which the past day had introduced him to admit of sleep, was picturing, with mingled amusement and regret, the genuine horror of his fastidious relatives could they know of his present environment, among people for whom their vocabulary had but one word-a word which would have consigned them all, even that sweet-voiced, clear-eyed little Puritan, Matilda Maria, to outer darkness; and that he, their adopted son and brother, should be breaking bread and living on a footing of perfect equality with these villagers he knew would have been, in their eyes, an offense only second in heinousness to that of his apostasy.

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