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Instantly her eyes welled, brimmed better than life on the hill farm, these Lo, she was one of those women whose
find for themselves in the towns opporeye can brim
and never leak. Admirable tunities to “work out.” creatures. For between that brimming “Little homesick for the farm?” Arand that leaking a man's heart can slip peggio at length deduced. “I tell you away, nor find the trail return.
what. How'd you like to go out and "Champain County,” said Mamie- spend a day by yourself on some farm oh, wistful.
around? Sure. I can fix it. I'll speak “Little lonely?" Arpeggio inquired. to Miss Granger,” added Arpeggio. She nodded, looking down.
Mamie palpitated. “Sure,” Arpeggio "Farm, was it?” he divined.
sustained it. It was a farm. Mamie told about it. More than an hour had passed in talk. The spring, the dairy, the herd, the Two hours had passed since Arpeggio's orchard, the school-house dances, the arrival. The sweet May day went on bareback rides. She was, then, that fre about its concerns of perfume and wisquent Middle West phenomenon — (it dom. Wagons went by, dogs trotted and would seem so much more feminine to barked, some one was beating a carpet. say phenomena!)—the daughter of a Over on the next street a band of strollcountry landowner who has become ing musicians, with May in their blood, such a devoted beast of burden that the throbbed and breathed in rhythms. yoke is an heirloom. And since to have Arpeggio leaned back in his chair and graduated from eighth grade is acknowl- rocked, and smiled at Mamie. “Gosh! edged to fit young women for something this is nice," he observed.
VOL. CXXXVI.–No. 811.9
The word brought her fluttering back
needed volume. It being all a person can do from her absorbed contemplation of to live in a place when same does not yield commissionerhood. She must go.
a public liberary. “Oh, set still,” Arpeggio besought
Hopeing this will not interfere with you, her. “I want you should tell me what
it being very necessary, I am, indeed, books you'd like to like to read."
A. Shadd, City Commissioner. When the Angelus sounded on the rich He walked down to the post-office, air, Arpeggio reluctantly rose.“Well,” holding his letter and humming. This
you c'n tell Miss Granger I ought to start the subject of a library come. Yes, Shadd. Tell her I'll happen naturally. This would permit him to in again. And, Mamie
repeat his visit without it looking as if Yes? She was tiptoe, shining, and, oh, something was meant. Returning, he so pink!
walked round by the Granger home. It Don't you go and forget I'm goin' to was brightly lighted, and bore an air of send you out to the farm for a day!” pleasant preoccupation in a multitude of Was she likely to forget?
affairs-that air which effectually shuts “Tell you what: If you want a little out the casual passer from participation. country, you go over some time and What delicate things were they doing? see my garden. I got a big garden- What was she doing? Arpeggio recalled nice strawberry-bed in it. Nobody 'd her smile, her white, white glove. She be there. Just drop in on it if you want. had a pleasing hand to shake. But he
Oh, but she'd like that. Indeed she had not taken her hand! That hand was would. She bloomed
Mamie's. He passed the house and thought for her.
slipped within the May night, dreaming “Good-by, Mamie!” He put out his miscellaneous dreams. hand.
When three days had passed without She touched it, withdrew, fled. reply, Arpeggio took account of himself.
Arpeggio strolled to the gate and up What was the matter with him, anythe golden road. “Wasted the hull after- way! Women! Women had no part in noon,” he thought-"and what of it?" his life. He was forty-six. He was ab
He stepped into the kitchen of his sorbed in that part of his commissionerhome just as his mother set hot johnny- ship which had to do with the people cake on the table.
not the mathematics of his town. He “Ma,” he said, “I been to call on was intent on his doves and his strawMiss Granger."
berries. What had set him thinking “That's nice,” she observed, placidly about Edith Granger, anyway? He put ---and in that instant christened her first on his old hat and went down to the grandchild. “What kind of a girl has office, business in his eye, his gait, his she got to be?”
air. Women, indeed—and he a comPretty,” said Arpeggio, dreamily. missioner. “Little. Shy. Her upper lip smiles first. Stack Mayhew stood over the commisHer name's Mamie."
sioners' table with a letter whose super“I thought her name was Edith," said scription he was frankly scrutinizing. his mother, as one who now remembered “Here's some female wants her taxes that she was wrong.
dawdled down to nothin',” Stack haz"Nope,” said Arpeggio. “Mamie.” arded, and tossed the letter.
After supper he lifted the bracket Arpeggio caught, divined, retired to a lamp to an end of the dining-table, window and rapturously read: She had spread a newspaper, found the ink on the been in town for a few days. Certainly clock-shelf and the pen in a shaving-mug he was free to use the library whenever in the cupboard, brought sheets of paper he wished. Perhaps they might talk of and envelopes from under the big Bible, this matter of a town library? and set himself to write a letter.
A delicious interval of wistful waiting Miss GranGER, MY DEAR Friend she said): having brought him no confidence, -Understanding that you have quite con
Stack lost his hold. “That's it. Grin siderable of a liberary in your home, beg your
like a Cheshire cheese and keep your leave to look through same for a much
mouth shut," he grumbled.
"It can't be done, Stack. It's ag’in' cities of the second class. What an nature,” Arpeggio earnestly refuted this opportunity for the expression of public charge.
spirit. What a benefit to the town to Two o'clock found Arpeggio on his
What a delicious little knot of way to the Grangers'-cravat red side hair above a delicately white neck. ... out as
before. As before, Mamie answered his summons and glowed softly. Miss Granger had said that he was to be shown straight to the library.
A pleasant room, with not enough books to put one in some helpless minority, he felt. Open windows, softly stirring muslin curtains, on the table a basket of colored work. Her work!
"All right, Mr. Shad d?" Mamie inquired.
Oh yes; all right. Oh, right indeed!
Left alone, Arpeggio wandered from shelf to shelf, breathing the air of the room, staring at the pictures. Her house. He had not asked for her. Arpeggio's conception of a house was a place whose inmates wander through all the rooms at any moment. That
his mother did. He remained in momentary expectation. A dozen times he started, turned to the door, let his smile die. Where was she? In half an hour the door did indeed open. It admitted a box of odorous polishing stuff and Mamie.
“Will I bother you if I do the andirons ?" she asked, demurely.
“No, no,” he said, and took down a book at random.
Mamie went on her knees before the empty fireplace. Over the top of his volume Arpeggio watched her and waited for Edith Granger. The book which he had elected
“DO YOU LIKE IT-THIS KIND OF A JOB?". to consult proved to be Savings and Saving Institutions. That, he found, was its fascinating title. Ar Arpeggio paused. The deduction did peggio loathed figures, and his attention not seem direct, but it was absolute. wandered. He devised ways in which to He was staring at the symbols. open and continue conversations regard “Mamie,” said Arpeggio, abruptly, ing the founding of public libraries in "how about that day at the farm?"
The delicious knot of hair disappeared “Ah, yes,” said the lady. “She tells and her bright face was there. "Oh,' that
you, too, are interested in she said, "that 'll be all right."
the possibilities of a library for BannNo reply at all. But the uses of a ing. reply are not merely to reply.
Arpeggio leaped within the opening. ‘What's this you're doing?” he would He was, he was. If only somebody know, and walked to the empty fire would set it going. He couldn't set it place and stared down at the andirons going himself. He had set too many winking under her deft hands.
things going already. But if some dis“A-polishing 'em,” she explained. She interested party, now, was to circulate did not say why this process should be a petition, get signers, raise some money necessary at this moment. She only why, then, he, Shadd, would tend to polished, absorbedly.
the commission end of it fair and plenty. “So,” said Arpeggio, musing, “you're Fair and plenty, he impressively rea trained one, are you? Do you like it - peated. this kind of a job?”
Mrs. Granger listened, nodded. She “Why, no sir!" She lifted a surprised was a brisk little being, for all her grayface. "Like this? No, sir." (There
As she listened, a dawn broke in came the “sir" at last, of which she had her face-for hers was one of the faces been capable all along.)
of earth on which dawns can break, and “What all do you want to do?” Ar- these faces are not numerous. Not peggio looked down at her, and there nearly so numerous, indeed, as the dawns crossed his mind something of the infi- which would break were there enough nite pathos and the infinite glory of all positive faces to act, so to say, as negathe little pink-and-white spots in the tives. It was not that she was publicworld liking to do something:
spirited, either. It was chiefly that she “I want to raise plants,” said Ma was brisk. Many brisk ladies pass for mie, "and see 'em grow."
ladies of public spirit. With many "Bless me!” said Arpeggio.
brisk business men it is the same. Mrs. Now there is a community of feeling Granger listened exactly as she might between two who discover each other to have listened to a new recipe. To both love Japanese prints, to follow mountain- she could respond-by reason of her climbing, to collect old furniture, to be- briskness. lieve in a better democracy, but these “I don't know,” she said, “but that are as nothing compared to that well might be something that I could do. of feeling uncovered when two recognize But,” she added, “ you ust not let me in each other the natural lover of the interrupt you. Mamie, you might have soil. Arpeggio had never dreamed of taken some other time=”” this in a woman. To be sure, his mother “Not at all,” said Arpeggio in general. pottered among her flower-pots, but hers The lady took up the basket of colwas no passion. Here was a passion. ored work (not her work at all, then) and
“You must come and see my straw departed. Arpeggio stood blindly lookberry-bed,” he said.
ing along the backs of books. Was it Mamie looked up, looked down, pol- possible that he was not to see her? ished. The door opened and Arpeggio It was the possible, the realized. He whirled. But there advanced no one did not see her. He lingered shamelessly, whose look, whose bow, whose air made fingering many leaves. And as he linmemories. A gray lady was this, gray gered, and fingered, he talked idly with of gown, of hair, of manner, who paused Mamie, polishing. Ah, how she polinquiringly before this tableau.
ished! “Mrs. Granger,” said Arpeggio, and “When will you come to see my garhis ease became exaggerated and bil den?" said he. lowed about him as a cloak. “Mrs. “Thursday's my day out,” replied Granger, I am Shadd, one of the town Mamie, with startling directness, and commissioners." And, as usual, he all Arpeggio was surprised into saying: : but whispered that word "commission "Then—this Thursday?" ers." "Your daughter says I can—" Yes, this Thursday. That much was