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   Chapter 38 AT LE BATEAU.

Tracy Park By Mary Jane Holmes Characters: 30927

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


Harold got his own breakfast the next morning, and was off for his work just as the sun looked into the windows of the room where Jerrie lay in a deep slumber. She had been awake a long time the previous night, thinking over the incidents of a day which had been the most eventful one of her life, but had fallen asleep at last, and dreamed that she had found the low room far away in Wiesbaden, with the wall adorned with the picture of a young girl knitting in the sunshine, and the stranger watching her from a distance.

It was late when she awoke, and Peterkin's clock was striking eight when she went down to the kitchen, where she found Mrs. Crawford sewing, and a most dainty breakfast waiting for her on a little round table near an open window shaded with the hop-vines. There was a fresh egg for her, with English buns, and strawberries and cream, and chocolate served in a pretty cup which she had never seen before, while near her plate was lying a bunch of roses, and on them a strip of paper, on which Harold had written:

"The top of the mornin' to ye, Jerrie. I'd like to stay and see you, but if I work very hard to-day, I hope to finish the job on Monday and get my fifteen dollars. That's a pile of money to earn in three days, isn't it? I hope you enjoyed the garden-party. If I had not been so awfully tired I should have gone for you. Grandma will tell you that I went to bed and to sleep before that shower came up, so I knew nothing of it. I wonder you got home; but of course Dick came with you, or Billy, or possibly Tom. I hear you entertained all three of them at the washtub! Pretty good for the first day home! Good-bye till to-night. I only live till then, as they say in novels.

"HAROLD."

This note, every line of which was full of affection and thoughtfulness for her, was worth more to Jerrie than the chocolate, or the bun, or the pretty cup and saucer which Harold had bought for her the night before, going to the village, a mile out of his way, on purpose to get them and surprise her. This, Mrs. Crawford told her, as she eat eating her breakfast, which she had to force down because of the lump in her throat and the tears which came so fast as she listened.

'You see,' Mrs. Crawford began, 'Mr. Allen paid Harold two or three dollars, and so he came home through the village, and bought the eggs, and the buns, and the chocolate, which he knew you liked, and the cup and saucer at Grady's. He has had it on his mind a long time to get it for you, but there were so many other things to pay for. Don't you think it is pretty?'

'Yes, lovely!' Jerrie replied, taking up the delicate bit of china, through which the light shone so clearly. 'It is very pretty; but I wish he had not bought it for me,' and Jerrie wiped the hot tears from both her eyes, as Mrs. Crawford continued:

'Oh, he wanted to. He is never happier than when doing something which he thinks pleases you or me. Harold is the most unselfish boy I ever knew; and I never saw him give way, or heard him complain that his lot was hard but once, and that was this summer, when he was building the room, and had to dismiss the man because he had no money to pay him. That left it all for him to do, and he was already so tired and overworked; and then Tom Tracy was always making fun of the addition, and saying it made the cottage look like a pig-sty with a steeple to it, and that you would think so too; and if it were his he'd tear the old hut down and start anew. Peterkin, too, made remarks about its being out of proportion to the rest of the house, and wondered where Harold got the money, and why he didn't do this and that, but supposed he couldn't afford it, adding that "beggars couldn't be choosers." When Harold heard all that, he was tired, and nervous, and sick, and discouraged, and his hands were blistered and bruised with hard work. His head was aching, and he just put it on that table, where you are sitting, and cried like a baby. When I tried to comfort him, he said, "It isn't the hard work, grandmother; I don't mind that in the least; neither do I care for what they say, or should not, if there was not some truth in it; things are out of proportion, and the new room makes the rest of the cottage look lower than ever, and I'd like so much to have everything right for Jerrie, who would not shame the Queen's palace. I wish, for her sake, that I had money, and could make her home what it ought to be. I do not want her to feel homesick, or long for something better, when she comes back to us."'

Jerrie was crying outright now; but Mrs. Crawford, who was a little deaf and did not hear her, went on:

'If you were a hundred times his sister he could not love you more than he does, or wish to make you happier. He would have gone for you last night, only he was so tired, and I persuaded him to go to bed. I knew somebody would come home with you, Dick, wasn't it? I thought I heard his voice.'

'Yes, it was Dick,' Jerrie answered, very low, returning again to her breakfast, while her grandmother rambled on:

'Harold slept so soundly that he never heard the storm or knew there was one till this morning. Lucky you didn't start home till it was over. You'd have been wet to the skin.'

Jerrie made no answer, for she could not tell of that interview under the pines, or that she had been wet to the skin, and felt chilly even now from the effects of it. It seemed that Mrs. Crawford would never tire talking of Harold, for she continued:

'He was up this morning about daylight, I do believe, and had his own breakfast eaten and that table laid for you when I came down. He wanted to see you before he went, and know if you were pleased; but I told him you were probably asleep, as it was late when you came in, and so he wrote something for you, and went whistling off as merrily as if he had been in his carriage, instead of on foot in his working-dress.'

'And he shall have his carriage, too, some day, and a pair of the finest horses the country affords, and you shall ride beside him, in a satin gown and India shawl. You'll see!' Jerrie said, impetuously, as she arose from the table and began to clear away the dishes.

The spell was upon her strongly now, and as her grandmother talked, the objects around her gradually faded away; the cottage, so out of proportion, and so humble in all its surroundings, was gone, and in its place a house, fair to look upon, fair as Tracy Park and much like it, and Harold was the master, looking a very prince, instead of the tired, shabbily dressed man he was now.

'And I shall be there, too,' Jerrie whispered, or rather nodded to herself. 'I know I shall, and I do not believe one word of the Maude affair, and never will until he tells me himself, or she; and then-well, then, I will be glad for them, until I come to be really glad myself.'

She was moving rapidly around the kitchen, for there was a great deal to be done-the Saturday's work and all the clothes to be ironed, and then she meant to get up some little surprise for Harold, to show him that she appreciated his thoughtfulness for her.

About half-past ten a servant from Le Bateau brought her a note from Ann Eliza, who wrote as follows.

'Dear Jerrie:-Have pity on a poor cripple, and come as soon as you can and see her. I sprained my ankle last night in that awful storm, and Tom had to bring me home in his arms. Think of it, and what my feelings must have been. I am hardly over it yet-the queer feelings I mean-for, of course, my ankle is dreadful, and so swollen, and pains me so that I cannot step, but must stay in my room all day. So come as soon as possible. You have never seen the inside of our house, or my rooms. Come to lunch, please. We will have it up here. Good-bye.

'From your loving friend,

'ANN ELIZA.

'P.S.-I wonder if Tom will inquire for me.'

'Tell her I will be there by lunch time,' Jerrie said to the man, while to her grandmother she continued: 'The baking and cleaning are all done, and I can finish the ironing when I get back; it will be cooler then, and I do want to see the inside of that show-house which Harold says cost a hundred thousand dollars. Pity somebody besides the Peterkins did not live there.'

And so, about twelve o'clock Jerrie walked up to the grand house of gray stone, which, with its turrets, and towers, and immense arch over the carriage drive in front of a side door, looked like some old feudal castle, and flaunted upon its walls the money it had cost. Even the loud bell which echoed through the hall like a town clock told of wealth and show, as did the colored man who answered the summons, and bowing low to Jerrie, held out a silver tray for her card.

'Nonsense, Leo!' Jerrie said, laughingly, for she had known the negro all her life and played with him, too, at times, when they both went to the district school. 'I have no card with me. Miss Ann Eliza has invited me to lunch, and I have come. Tell her I am here.'

With another profound bow, Leo waved Jerrie into the reception-room, and then started to deliver her message.

Seated upon one of the carved chairs, Jerrie looked about her curiously, with a feeling that the half had not been told her, everything was so much more gorgeous and magnificent than she had supposed. But what impressed and at the same time oppressed her most was the height of the walls from the richly inlaid floor to the gayly decorated ceiling overhead. It made her neck ache staring up fourteen feet and a half to the costly center ornament from which the heavy chandelier depended. All the rooms of the old house had been low, and when Peterkin built the new one, he made ample amends.

"I mean to lick the crowd," he said; and a man was sent to Collingwood, and Grassy Spring, and Brier Hill, and lastly to Tracy Park, to take the height of the lower rooms. Those at Tracy Park were found to be the highest, and measured just twelve feet, so Peterkin's orders were to "run 'em up-run 'em up fourteen feet, for I swan I'll get ahead of 'em."

So they were run up fourteen feet, and by some mistake, half a foot higher, looking when finished so cold and cheerless and bare that the ambitious man ransacked New York and Boston and even sent to London for ornaments for his walls. Books were bought by the square yard, pictures by the wholesale, mirrors by the dozen, with bronzes and brackets and sconces and tapestry and banners and screens and clocks and cabinets and statuary, with every kind of furniture imaginable, from the costliest rugs and carpets to the most exquisite inlaid tables to be found in Florence or Venice. For Peterkin sent there for them by a gentleman to whom he said:

'Git the best there is if it costs a fortune. I'm bound to lick the crowd.'

This was his favorite expression; and when his house was done, and he stood, his broad, white shirt-front studded with diamonds and his coat thrown back to show them, surveying his possessions, he felt that he 'had licked the crowd.'

Jerrie felt so, too, as she followed the elegant Leo up the stairs and through the upper hall-handsomer, if possible than the lower one-to the pretty room where Ann Eliza lay, or rather reclined, with her lame foot on a cushion and her well one incased in a white embroidered silk stocking and blue satin slipper. She was dressed in a delicate blue satin wrapper, trimmed with swan's-down, and there were diamonds in her ears and on the little white hands which she stretched toward Jerrie as she came in.

'Oh, Jerrie,' she said, 'I am so glad to see you, for it is awfully lonesome here; and if one can be homesick at home, I am. I miss the girls and the lessons and the rules at Vassar; much as I hated them when I was there; and just before you came in I wanted to cry. I guess my rooms are too big and have too much in them; any way, I have the feeling that I am visiting, and everything is strange and new. I do believe I liked the old room better, with its matting on the floor and the little mirror with the peacock feathers ornamenting the top, and that painted plaster image of Samuel on the mantel. It is very ungrateful in me, I know, when father has done it mostly to please me. Do you believe-he has hunted me up a maid; Doris is her name; and what I am ever to do with her, or she with me, I am sure I don't know. Do you?'

Jerrie did not know either, but suggested that she might read to her while she was confined to her room. 'Yes, she might, perhaps, do that, if she can read,' Ann Eliza said. 'She certainly has pretentions enough about her to have written several treatises on scientific subjects. She was a year with Lady Augusta Hardy, in Ireland. Don't you remember the grand wedding father and mother attended in Allington two or three years ago, when Augusta Browne was married to an Irish lord, who had been bought by her money?-for of course he did not care much for her. Well, Doris went out with her as maid, and acts as if she, too, had married a peer. She came last night, and mamma and I are already as afraid of her as we can be, she is so fine and airy. She insisted upon dressing me this morning, and I felt all the while as if she were thinking how red and ugly my hair is, or counting the freckles on my face, and contrasting me with 'my Lady Augusta,' as she calls her. I wonder if she ever saw my lady's mother, Mrs. Rossiter-Browne, who told me once that I had a very petty figger, but she presumed it would envelope as I grew older. But then people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones,' and Ann Eliza colored a little as she made this reference to her own father and mother, whose language was not much more correct than Mrs. Rossiter-Browne's.

For one brought up as she had been, Ann Eliza was a rather sensible girl, and although she attached a great deal of importance to money, she knew it was not everything, and that with her father's millions there was still a wide difference between him and the men to whose society he aspired; and knew, too, that although Jerrie had not a penny in the world, she was greatly her superior, and so considered by the world at large. She was very fond of Jerrie, who had often helped her with her lessons, and stood between her and the ridicule of her companions, and was never happier than when in her society. So now she made her bring an ottoman close beside her, and held her hand while she narrated in detail the events of the previous night, dwelling at length upon the fact that Tom had carried her in his arms, and wondering if he would call to inquire after her. Jerrie thought he would; and, as if in answer to the thought, Doris almost immediately appeared with his card. She was very fine and very smart, and Jerrie herself felt awed by her dignity and manner as she delivered her message. 'The gentleman sends his compliments, and would like to know how you are this morning.'

'Jerrie, it's Tom! he has come!' Ann Eliza said, with joy in her voice. 'Surely I can receive him here, for this is my parlor.'

Jerrie thought she might, but the toss of the fine maid's head showed that she thought differently, as she left the room with her mistress' message.

'Thunderation! I didn't want to see her. It's enough to have to call,' was Tom's mental comment, when Doris told him he was to walk up stairs.

Indeed, he would not have come at all if Maude, to whom he related his adventure, had not insisted that he mus

t.

'You needn't see her, of course; but you must go and inquire how she is. According to your own statement you are to blame for her mishap; you dragged her along too fast.

Tom knew there was some truth in this, and so he went the more willingly; and, sending up his card, stood near the open door, ready to leave the moment Leo came down with the message he had received from Doris.

'I shall be cheek by jowl with these Peterkins, if I don't look out,' he thought, as he ascended the stairs to the hall, where Doris stood waiting to show him her mistress' room.

'What! Jerry! You here?' he exclaimed, his face clearing, and the whole aspect of matters changing at once, as she arose to meet him.

With Jerrie there the place seemed different, and he did not feel as if he were lowering himself, as he sat in the luxuriously furnished room, and joined in the dainty lunch which was brought up and served from Dresden china, and linen and cut glass, and was as delicate and dainty in its way as anything he had ever found at the Brunswick or Delmonico's. Mrs. Peterkin prided herself upon her cuisine, which she always superintended, and as Peterkin was something of an epicure and gourmand, the table was always supplied with every possible delicacy.

Tom enjoyed it all, and praised the chocolate, and the broiled chicken, and the jellies, and thought Ann Eliza not so very bad-looking in her blue satin wrapper, with the swan's-down trimmings, and made himself generally agreeable. Maude was better, he said, and could talk a little, and he asked Jerrie to go home with him and see her. But Jerrie declined.

'I have a great deal of work to do yet,' she said, 'I must iron all those clothes you saw upon the line yesterday, and so I must be going.'

Tom frowned at the mention of the clothes which Jerrie had washed; while Ann Eliza insisted that she should stay until the dog-cart, which had been sent to the station for Billy, came back, when Lewis would take her home, as it was too warm to walk. Jerrie did not mind the walk, but she felt morally sure that Tom meant to accompany her, and greatly preferred the dog-cart and Lewis to another tête-à-tête with him, for he did not act at all like a discarded lover, but rather as one who still hoped he had a chance. So she signified her intention to wait for the dog-cart, which soon came, with Billy in it, anxious when he heard of his sister's accident, delighted when he found Jerrie there, and persistent in saying that he and not Lewis would take her home.

'Well, if you will, you will,' she said, laughingly; and bidding Ann Eliza good-bye, and telling Tom to give her love to Maude and say to her that she did not believe she should be at the park that day, she had so much to do, she was soon in the dog-cart with Billy, whose face was radiant as he gathered up the reins and started down the turnpike, driving at what Jerrie thought a very slow pace, as she was anxious to get home.

Something of Billy's thoughts must have communicated itself to Jerrie, for she became nervous and ill at ease and talked rapidly of things in which she had not the slightest interest.

'What of the lawsuit?' she asked. 'Are you likely to settle it?'

'N-no,' Billy answered, hurriedly. 'It will h-have to co-come into co-court in a f-few days, and I am aw-awful sorry. I wa-wanted father to p-pay what they demanded, but he won't. Hal is subpoenaed on the other side, as he was in our office, and is supposed to know something about it; b-but I ho-hope he won't da-damage us m-much, as father would n-never forgive him if he went against us.'

'But he must tell the truth, no matter who is damaged,' Jerrie said. 'Ye-yes' Billy replied, 'of co-course he must, b-but he needn't volunteer information.'

Jerry began to think that Billy had insisted upon coming with her for the sake of persuading her to caution Harold against saying too much when he was called to testify in the great lawsuit between Peterkin & Co., manufacturers in Shannondale, and Wilson & Co., manufacturers in Truesdale, an adjoining town; but she was undeceived when her companion turned suddenly off upon the river road, which would take them at least two miles out of their way.

'Why are you coming here!' Jerrie said, in real distress. 'It is ever so much farther, and I must get home. I have piles of work to do.'

'Co-confound the work,' Billy replied, very energetically for him, and reining his horse up under a wide spreading butternut tree, which grew upon the river bank, he sprang out and pretended to be busy with some part of the harness, while he astonished Jerrie by bursting out, without the least stammer, he was so earnest and so excited: 'I've something to say to you, Jerrie, and I may as well say it now as any time, and know the worst, or the best. I can't bear the suspense any longer, and I got out of the cart so as to stand where I could look you square in the face while I say it.'

And he was looking her square in the face while she grew hot and cold and experienced a sensation quite different from what she had when Tom and Dick made love to her. She had felt no fear of them, but she was afraid of this little man, who stood up so resolutely, with his tongue loosened, and asked her to be his wife, for that was what he did, making his wishes known in a very few words, and then waiting for her answer with his eyes fixed upon her face and a firm, set look about his mouth which puzzled and troubled her and made her uncertain as to how she was to deal with this third aspirant for her hand within twenty-four hours.

Billy had long had it in his mind that Jerry Crawford was the only girl in the world for him, but he might not have spoken quite; so soon had it not been for a conversation held with his father the previous night, when they were alone in a private room at the hotel in Shannondale, waiting for the train which Billy was to take, and which was half an hour late. Peterkin had exhausted himself in oaths and epithets with regard to the lawsuit and those who had brought it against him, and was regaling himself with a cigar and a glass of brandy and water, while Billy sat by the window watching for the train and wishing himself at Grassy Spring with Jerrie. Peterkin seldom drank to excess, but on this occasion he had taken a little too much. When under the influence of stimulants, he was either aggressive and quarrelsome, or jocose and talkative. The latter mood was on him now, and as he drank his brandy and water he held forth upon the subject of matrimony, wondering why his son did not marry, and saying it was quite time he did so and settled down.

'You can have the south wing,' he said, 'and if the rooms ain't up to snuff now, why, I'll make 'em so. The fact is, Bill, I've got money enough-three millions and better; but somehow it doesn't seem to do the thing. It doesn't fetch us to the quality and make us fust-cut. We need better blood than the Peterkins or the Moshers-need boostin', and you must get a wife to boost us. Have you ever thought on't?'

'Billy never had thought of it in that light,' he said, although he had thought of marrying, providing the girl would have him.

'Have you! Thunderation! A girl would be a fool who wouldn't marry three millions, with Lubber-too thrown in! Who is she?' Peterkin asked.

After a little hesitancy Billy replied:

'Jerrie Crawford.'

'Jerrie Crawford! I'll be dammed! Jerrie Crawford!' and Peterkin's big feet came down from the back of the chair on which they were resting, upsetting the chair and his brandy at the same time. 'Jerrie Crawford! I swow! A gal without a cent, or name either, though I used to have a sneakin' notion that I knew who she was, but I guess I didn't. 'Twould have come out afore now. What under heavens put her into your noddle? She can't boost! and then she's head and shoulders taller than you be! How you would look trottin' beside her! Jerrie Crawford! Wal, I swan!' and Peterkin laughed until his big stomach shook like a bowl of jelly.

Billy was angry, and replied that he did not know what height had to do with it, or name either; and as for boosting, he wouldn't marry a king's daughter, if he did not love her; and for that matter Jerrie could boost, for she stood quite as high in town as any young lady.

Both Nina St. Claire and Maude Tracy worshipped her, while Mrs. Atherton paid her a great deal of attention; and so did the Mungers and Crosbys-enough sight more than they did to Ann Eliza with all her money.

'Mo-money isn't ev-everything.' Billy stammered, 'and Je-Jerrie would make a ve-very different pl-place of Le Bateau.'

'Mebby she would-mebby she would; but I'd never thought of her for you,' Peterkin said. 'I'd picked out some; big bug, who perhaps wouldn't wipe her shoes on you. Jerrie is handsome as blazes and no mistake, with a kinder up and comin' way about her which takes the folks. Yes, it keeps growin' on me, and I presume Arthur Tracy would give her away, which would be a feather in your cap; but lord! you'll have to git a pair of the highest heels you ever seen to come within ten foot on her.'

'She's only two inches t-taller than I am,' Billy said, and his father continued:

'Wall, if your heart's set on her go it, and quick, too, I'm goin' to have a smasher of a party in the fall, and Jerrie'll be just the one to draw, I can see her now, standin' there with the diamonds we'll give her sparklin' on her neck, and she lookin' like a queen, and the sinecure of all eyes. But for thunder's sake don't marry the old woman and all. Leave her to Harold, the sneak! I never did like him, and I'll be mad enough to kill him if he goes agin me in the suit, and I b'lieve he will.'

At this point Peterkin wandered off to the suit entirely and forgot Jerrie, who was to boost the house of Peterkin and make it 'fust-cut.' But not so Billy, and all the way from Shannondale to Springfield he was thinking of Jerrie, and wondering if it were possible that she could ever look upon him with favor. Like Tom and Dick, he could scarcely remember the time when he did not think Jerrie the loveliest girl in the world, and ever since he had grown to manhood he had meditated making her his wife, but had feared what his father might say, as he knew how much importance he attached to money. Now however, his father had signified his assent, and, resolving to lose no time, Billy, on his return next day to Le Bateau, seized the opportunity to take Jerrie home, as the occasion for declaring his love, which he did in a manly, straightforward manner, never hinting at any advantage it would be to her to be the wife of a millionaire, or offering any inducement in any way except to say that he loved her and would devote his life to making her happy. Tom Tracy Jerrie had scorned, Dick St. Claire she had pitied, but this little man she felt like ridiculing.

'Oh, Billy,' she said, laughing merrily. 'You can't be in earnest. Why I'm head and shoulders taller than you are. I do believe I could pick you up and throw you into the river. Only think how we should look together; people would think you my little boy, and that I should not like. So, I can never be your wife.'

Nothing cuts a man like ridicule, and sensitive as he was with regard to his size, Billy felt it to his heart's core; and as he stood nervously playing with the reins and looking at Jerrie sitting there so tall and erect in all the brightness of her wonderful beauty, it flashed upon him how impossible it was for that glorious creature ever to be his wife, and what a fool he had made of himself.

'For-gi-give me, Jerrie,' he said, his chin beginning to quiver, and the great tears rolling down his face, 'I know you ca-can't, and I ou-oughtn't to have ask-asked it, bu-but I d-did love you so much, that I f-forgot how impossible it was f-for one like you to lo-love one li-like me. I am so small and insig-insignificant, and st-stutter so. I wish I was dead,' and laying his head upon the horse's neck, he sobbed aloud.

In an instant Jerrie was out of the dog-cart and at his side, talking to and trying to soothe him as she would a child.

'Oh, Billy, Billy,' she said. 'I am so sorry for you, and sorry I said those cruel words about your size. It was only in fun. Your size has nothing to do with my refusal. I know you have a big, kind heart, and next to Harold and Dick, and Mr. Arthur, I like you better than any man I ever knew; but I cannot be your wife. Don't cry, Billy; it hurts me so to see you and know that I have done it. Please stop, and take me home as quickly as possible.'

With a great gulp, and a long sigh like a grieved child, Billy dried his tears, of which he was much ashamed, and helping Jerrie into the cart drove her rapidly to the door of the cottage.

'I should not like Tom, nor Dick, nor Harold to know this,' he said to her, as he stood a moment with her at the gate.

'Billy!' she exclaimed, 'do you know me so little as to think I would tell them, or anybody? I have more honor than that,' and she gave him her hand, which he held tightly in his while he looked earnestly into the sweet young face which could never be his, every muscle of his own quivering with emotion, and telling of the pain he was enduring.

'Good-bye. I shall be more like a ma-man, and less a ba-baby when I see you again,' and springing into his cart he drove rapidly away.

Jerrie found her grandmother seated at a table and trying to iron.

'Grandma,' she said, 'this is too bad. I did not mean to stay so long. Put down that flat-iron this minute. I am coming there as soon as I lay off my hat.'

Running up the stairs to her room, Jerrie put away her hat, and then, throwing herself upon the bed, cried for a moment as hard as she could cry. The look on Billy's face haunted her, and she pitied him now more than she had pitied Dick St. Claire.

'Dick will get over it, and marry somebody else, but Billy never,' she said.

Then, rising up, she bathed her eyes, and pushing back her tangled hair, stood for a moment before the mirror, contemplating the reflection of herself in it.

'Jerrie Crawford,' she said, 'you must be a mean, heartless, good-for-nothing girl, for it certainly is not your Dutch face, nor yellow hair, nor great staring eyes, which make men think that you will marry them; so it must be your flirting, coquettish manners. I hate a flirt. I hate you, Jerrie Crawford.'

Once when a little girl, Jerrie had said to Harold, 'Why do all the boys want to kiss me so much?' and now she might have asked, 'Why do these same boys wish to marry me?' It was a curious fact that she should have had three offers within twenty-four hours; and she didn't like it, and her face wore a troubled look all that hot afternoon as she stood at the ironing table, perspiring at every pore, and occasionally smiling to herself as she thought, 'Grassy Spring, Le Bateau, Tracy Park, I might take my choice, if I would, but I prefer the cottage,' and then at the thought of Tracy Park her thoughts went off across the sea to Germany, and the low room with the picture upon the wall, and her resolve to find it some day.

'Far in the future it may be, but find it I will, and find, too, who I am,' she said to herself, little dreaming that the finding was close at hand, and that she had that day lighted the train which was so soon to bear her on to the end.

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