Amarilly of Clothes-line Alley
Belle K. Maniates
Part 3 out of 4
"Colette," he said whimsically, "only three persons connected with this
affair have taken my remarks as personal, you, Brother Washington, and
With this remark John, despairing of his ability to fathom the mystery
of the article or to follow the caprices of Colette, dropped the matter
At half past eight on the morning indicated, Amarilly's ring at the door
of the studio was answered by Derry, whose face was covered with lather.
"Hello, Amarilly!" he exclaimed heartily, extending his hand in genial
comradeship. "I am glad to see you again. Been pretty well through the
summer? Well, come on into the butler's pantry, and see what you can do
in a coffee way while I finish shaving."
Amarilly had been receiving instruction in domestic science, including
table service, at the Guild school. Colette, interested in the studio
work, had provided some minute muslin aprons and a little patch of linen
for the head covering of the young waitress, advising her that she must
wear them while serving breakfast. So when Derry emerged from his
dressing-room, a trimly equipped little maid stood proudly and anxiously
"Why, bless your heart, Amarilly! I feel really domesticated. You look
as natty as a new penny, and the little white cap is great on your hair.
I see you have remembered how to fix it."
"Thank you, Mr. Derry, but please sit down while your coffee is hot."
"'Deed I will, and if it tastes as good as it smells, I shall raise your
He pronounced the coffee delicious, the grapefruit fixed to his liking,
the toast crisp, and the eggs boiled just to the right consistency.
"And have you had breakfast, Amarilly?"
"Yes, Mr. Derry, at half past five."
"Jiminy! you should be ready for another. Now talk to me while I eat.
Tell me about your reverend friend who was so daffy on the subject of
pockets. Has he located any yet?"
Amarilly looked troubled.
"Miss King said I wa'n't to talk to you while I was serving."
"Tell Miss King with Mr. Phillips' compliments that artists are not
conventional, and that you and I are not in the relation to each other
of master and maid. We are good friends, and quite _en famille_. You are
such a fine cook, I think I shall have you serve me luncheon at one
o'clock. Can you?" "Oh, yes; I should love to, Mr. Derry."
"I'll stock the larder, then. No; I can't be bothered, and I'd feel too
much like a family man if I went about marketing. I'll give you _carte
blanche_ to order what you will."
"What's that, Mr. Derry?"
"Good! We mustn't neglect your education. I am glad you asked me. You
might have always supposed it a breakfast-food."
He proceeded to explain elaborately what the words meant, and then asked
her if she had remembered her previous lesson.
"Yes; ain't you--goin'--"
"Stop right there. Your next word to be eliminated is 'ain't.' You must
say 'aren't' or 'isn't.' And you must remember to put 'g' on the end of
every word ending in 'ing.' Don't let me hear you say 'goin', again,
I'll teach you one new word every day now. You see the measure of a maid
is her pure English."
Amarilly looked distressed.
"What's the matter, Amarilly? Don't you want to learn to speak
"Yes, I do, Mr. Derry; but Miss King--she don't want me to speak
diff'rent. She likes to hear me talk ignorant, and she said she was
afeard you'd make me brom--"
"Brom?" he repeated.
"There was some more to it, but I fergit."
"Bromidic," he said triumphantly, after an instant's pondering. "You can
never under any circumstances be that, and I shall develop your
imagination and artistic temperament at the same time. Miss King is
selfish to wish to keep you from cultivating yourself for the purpose of
furnishing her entertainment. By the way, I am to meet her to-night at a
dinner, and I think we shall have a mutual subject for conversation. I
must get to work, now. Clear away the dishes. And finish the rest of
this toast and coffee. It would be wicked to waste it."
Amarilly substituted a work apron for the little white covering, and was
soon engaged in "redding."
At eleven o'clock the place was in perfect order, and she went into the
studio where Deny was at work.
"Shall I go get the things fer lunch?"
"Luncheon, if you please, Amarilly. I like that word better. It seems to
mean daintier things. Here's a five-dollar bill. Get what you consider
proper for a simple little home luncheon, you know. Nothing elaborate."
Amarilly, feeling but not betraying her utter inability to construct the
menu for a "simple little home luncheon," walked despondently down the
"The Boarder," she reflected, "takes bread and meat and hard biled eggs
when they ain't--aren't too high, and pie when we hev it."
Some vague instinct of the fitness of things warned her that this would
not be a suitable repast for Derry. Then a light shone through her
"I'll telephone Miss Vail," she decided.
So she called up her teacher at the Guild, and explained the situation.
She received full instructions, made her purchases, and went back to the
At one o'clock she again garbed herself in cap and apron and called
Derry to a luncheon which consisted of bouillon, chops, French peas,
rolls, a salad, and black tea served with lemon.
"Amarilly," he announced solemnly, "you are surely the reincarnation of
a chef. You are immediately promoted from housemaid to housekeeper with
full charge over my cuisine, and your wages doubled."
"And that's going some for one day!" Amarilly gleefully announced to the
family circle that night.
Her teacher, greatly interested and gratified at her pupil's ability to
put her instruction to practical use and profit, made out on each Monday
a menu for the entire week. She also gave her special coaching in
setting table and serving, so Derry's domestic life became a thing of
pride to himself and his coterie of artists. He gave little luncheons
and studio teas in his apartments, Amarilly achieving great success in
her double role of cook and waitress.
Her work was not only profitable financially, but it developed new
tastes and tendencies. Every day there was the new word eagerly grasped
and faithfully remembered. "Fer," "set," "spile," "orter," and the like
were gradually entirely eliminated from her vocabulary. Unconsciously
she acquired "atmosphere" from her environment. In her spare moments
Amarilly read aloud to Derry, while he painted, he choosing the book at
random from his library.
"I want to use you for a model this afternoon," he remarked one day as
she was about to depart. "Braid your hair just as tight as you can, the
way you had it the first day you came. Put on your high-necked, long-
sleeved apron, and get it wet and soapy as it was that first day, and
then come back to the studio with your scrubbing brush and pail."
Amarilly did as she was bidden with a reluctance which the artist,
absorbed in his preparations for work, did not notice.
"Yes; that's fine," he said, glancing up as she came to him. "Now get
down here on your knees by the--what kind of boards did you call them,
Amarilly? Mopboards? Yes, that was it. Now try and put your whole mind
on the memory of the horror you felt at the accumulation of dirt on that
first day, and begin to scrub. Turn your head slightly toward me, tilted
just a little--so--There, that's fine! Keep that position just as long
and just as well as you possibly can."
Derry began to paint, mechanically at first, and then as he warmed to
his subject and became interested in his conception, with rapidity and
"There!" he finally exclaimed, "you can rest now! This may be my chef-
d'oeuvre, after all, Amarilly. Won't you be proud to be well hung in the
Academy and have a group constantly before your picture. Why, what's the
matter, child," springing to her side, "tears? I forgot it was your
first experience in posing. Why didn't you tell me you were tired?"
"I wan't tired," she half sobbed.
"Well, what is it? Tell me."
"I'm afeerd you'll laugh at me."
"Not on your life! And your word for to-day, Amarilly, is afraid.
Remember. Never _afeerd_."
"I'll remember," promised Amarilly meekly, as she wiped her dewy eyes.
"Now tell me directly, what is the matter."
"It'll be such a humbly picture with my hair that way. I'd ought to look
my best. I'd rather you'd paint me waiting on your table."
"But a waitress is such a trite subject. It would be what your friend, I
mean, our friend, Miss King, calls bromidic. An artist, a real artist,
with a soul, Amarilly, doesn't look for pretty subjects. It's the truth
that he seeks. To paint things as they are is what he aims to do. A
little scrub-girl appeals to the artistic temperament more than a little
waitress, don't you think? But only you, Amarilly, could look the part
of the Little Scrub-Girl as you did. And it would be incongruous--
remember the word, please, Amarilly, in-con-gru-ous--to paint her with
stylishly dressed hair. You posed so easily, so perfectly, and your
expression was so precisely the one I wanted, and your patience in
keeping the pose was so wonderful, that I thought you had really caught
the spirit of the thing, and were anxious to help me achieve my really
"I have--I will pose for you as long as you wish," she cried penitently,
"and I will braid my hair on wire, and then it will stand out better."
"Good! You are a dear, amenable little girl. To-morrow afternoon we will
resume. Here, let me loosen your braids. Goodness, what thick strands!"
She stood by the open window, and the trembling, marginal lights of a
setting sun sent gleams and glints of gold through her loosened hair
which fell like a flaming veil about her.
"Amarilly," exclaimed Derry rapturously, "I never saw anything quite so
beautiful. Some day I'll paint you, not as a scrub-girl nor as a
waitress, but as Sunset. You shall stand at this window with your hair
as it is now, and you'll outshine the glory of descending Sol himself. I
will get a filmy, white dress for you to pose in and present it to you
afterward. And as you half turn your head toward the window, you must
have a dreamy, reflective expression! You must think of something sad,
something that might have been a tragedy but for some mitigating--but
there, you don't know what I am talking about!"
"Yes, I do, Mr. Derry. I know what you mean, even if I didn't ketch--"
"Catch, Amarilly; not ketch."
"But my word for to-day is 'afraid,'" she said stubbornly. "I wasn't to
have but one word a day. I'll say 'ketch' until to-morrow."
"Oh, Amarilly, such system as you have! You are right though; but tell
me what it was I meant." "You mean I am to think of something awful that
would have been more awful but for something nice that happened. I'll
think of the day last summer when we couldn't pay the rent. That was sad
until the bishop came along and things got brighter."
"Exactly. You have the temperament, Amarilly, but you should have
written to your twin brother in such a dilemma. It's late now, or it
will be when you get home. I am going to walk with you."
"No; I am not afraid."
"It makes no difference; I am going with you. To think that, intimate
friends as we are, I have never seen your home, your numerous brothers,
and the Boarder. I am going to spend the evening with you."
"Oh, no!" she protested, appalled at the prospect. "You mustn't."
"Why, Amarilly, how inhospitable you are! I thought you would be
"I guess you couldn't stand for it."
"Stand for what, Amarilly?"
"Why, you see, I am not ashamed of it, but it's so diff'rent from what
you're used to, and you wouldn't like it, and I'd feel uncomfortable
like with you there." "Why, Amarilly!" A really pained look came into
his boyish eyes. "I thought we were friends. And you let Miss King and
your minister come--"
"But you see," argued Amarilly, "it's diff'rent with them. A minister
has to go everywhere, and he's used to seeing all kinds of houses; and
then Miss King, she's a sort of a--settlement worker."
"I see," said Derry. "But, Amarilly, to be a true artist, or a writer,
one must see all sorts and conditions of life. But I am not coming for
that. I am coming because I like you and want to meet your family."
"Well," agreed Amarilly, resigned, but playing her last trump, "you
haven't had your dinner yet."
"We had a very late luncheon, if you remember, and I am invited to a
supper after the theatre to-night, so I am not dining."
Amarilly did not respond to his light flow of chatter on the way home.
She halted on the threshold of her home, and looked at him with despair
in her honest young eyes.
"Our house hasn't got any insides or any stairs even. Just a ladder."
"Good! I knew you wouldn't--that you couldn't have a house like anyone's
else. It sounds interesting and artistic. Open your door to me,
Slowly she opened the door, and drew a sigh of relief. The big room was
"tidied" ("redded" having been censored by Derry some time ago) and a
very peaceful, homelike atmosphere prevailed. The Boarder, being an
amateur carpenter, had made a very long table about which were grouped
the entire family. Her mother was darning socks; the Boarder, reading
the paper preliminary to his evening call on Lily Rose; the boys, busy
with books and games; Cory, rocking her doll to sleep.
Their entrance made quite a little commotion. There was a scattering of
boys from the table until Derry called "Halt" in stentorian tones. "If
there's any gap in the circle, I shall go."
Then he joined the group, and described to the boys a prize-fight so
graphically that their eyes fastened on him with the gaze of one
witnessing the event itself. He praised Amarilly to the mother, gave
Cory a "tin penny" which she at once recognized as a silver quarter, and
talked politics so eloquently with the Boarder that for once he was
loath to leave when the hour of seven-thirty arrived.
"You've gotter go now," reminded Cory sternly. "You see," turning to
Derry. "he's gotter go and spend his ev'nin' with Lily Rose. She's his
"Oh! Well, why not bring her here to spend the evening?" suggested
Derry. "Then you'll have an excuse for two nice walks and an evening
"That's a fine, idee!" acknowledged the Boarder with a sheepish grin.
He at once set out on his quest accompanied by Bobby, whom Derry had
dispatched to the corner grocery for a supply of candy and peanuts.
The Boarder and Lily Rose came in laden with refreshments. The Boarder
bore a jug of cider "right on the turn," he declared, "so it stings your
throat agoin' down."
Lily Rose had brought a bag of sugared doughnuts which she had made that
afternoon (a half holiday) in her landlady's kitchen.
When Mrs. Jenkins learned from Amarilly that Derry and she had had
nothing to eat since half past one, she brought forth a pan of beans and
a pumpkin pie, and they had a genuine New England supper. The Boarder
recited thrilling tales of railroad wrecks. Derry listened to a solo by
Bud, whose wild-honeyed voice was entrancing to the young artist.
Altogether they were a jolly little party, Lily Rose saying little, but
looking and listening with animated eyes. Mrs. Jenkins declared
afterwards that it was the time of her life.
"Amarilly," said Derry, as he was taking leave, "I wouldn't have missed
this evening for any other engagement I might have made."
"That's because it was something new to you," said Amarilly sagely. "You
wouldn't like it for keeps."
When Cory secured a place as dish-wiper at a new boarding-house near,
and Gus realized that he and Iry alone were dependent upon the others
for their keep, shame seared his young soul. He had vainly tried to
secure steady employment, but had succeeded only in getting occasional
odd jobs. He had a distinct leaning towards an agricultural life and
coveted the care of cows.
"The grocer has sold his'n," he lugubriously lamented; "thar ain't no
one else as wants a caretaker for their critters around here."
After a long rumination on the discouraging problem of his future, he
sought his confessor, the corner grocer.
"I'm too big to peddle papers or be runnin' about with telergrafs," he
declared. "I'd orter be goin' into business on my own account. I ain't
goin' ter be allers workin' fer other folks."
"Well, you'll have to wait a while before you can work for yourself,"
counselled his confidant. "You are young yet."
"This is a hurry-up age," was the sagacious assertion, "and ef you air
agoin' to git any-whar, you've got ter go by wire instead of by mail,
and you can't start too soon."
"You can't start nothing without capital," argued the grocer
"Oh," admitted the young financier, "a little capital mebby. I've got a
dollar I've saved up from odd jobs."
"What line was you thinking of taking up?"
"I'm going into the dairy business. Thar's money in milk and butter, and
it's nice, clean work."
"The dairy business on one dollar! How many cows and wagons and horses
was you figuring on buying with your dollar?"
"Don't git funny," warned Gus impatiently. "Some day I'll hev a farm of
my own and a city office, but I'll begin on one cow in our back lot and
peddle milk to the neighbors."
"That wouldn't be a bad beginning, but I reckon you'll find the start
will cost you more than a dollar. You can't get a cow at that figure."
"Then I'll start with a calf."
"Well, I guess calves cost more than a dollar."
"Say, you've got that dollar on the brain, I guess," retorted the lad
with the easy familiarity that betokened long acquaintance with the
lounging barrels and boxes of the corner grocery. "I bet it'll build a
shed in our back yard. Thar's the lumber out of our shed that blowed
down, and the Boarder can build purty near anything."
"But how are you going to buy a cow?" persisted his inquisitor.
"I ain't got that fer yet," admitted the young dairyman.
"Your dollar'll buy more than the nails for your cow-house. You can put
the balance into feed," said the grocer, with an eye to his own trade.
He wanted to add that it wouldn't cost much to feed an imaginary
critter, but he was a little fearful of the temper back of the lad's
hair, which was the same hue as Amarilly's.
"That's a good idea. Well, the shed starts to-morrow, and of course you
won't say nothin' about it."
"Trust me for not talking in this neighborhood. It ain't safe even to
think. First you know your thoughts are being megaphoned down the
Gus consulted the Boarder who instantly and obligingly began the
erection of a building in the farthest corner of the Jenkins's domain.
This structure was a source of mystery and excitement to the neighbors.
"What on airth do you suppose them Jenkinses air aputtin' up now? Mebby
it's a wash-house for the surpluses," speculated Mrs. Huce.
"It can't be they air agoin' to keep a hoss!" ejaculated Mrs. Wint.
"You never kin tell nuthin' about them Jenkinses. They're so sort of
secretin' like," lamented Mrs. Hudgers.
The Jenkins family were fully as ignorant as were their neighbors of the
nature of the contemplated occupant of the new edifice commonly referred
to as the "cow-house," The Boarder put up a very substantial shed with a
four-paned window and a door that locked though not very securely. The
grocer had on hand a small quantity of green paint which he donated to
the cause of the coming cow.
"Thar ain't enough to more'n paint two sides of it," criticized Gus, "so
I'll paint the front and west sides."
"Thar's a can of yaller paint out in the woodshed," informed Mrs.
Jenkins. "You can paint the other two sides with that."
Then the Boarder made a suggestion:
"If I was you, I'd paint a strip of yaller and then one of green.
That'll even it up and make it fancy-like."
Amarilly protested against this combination of colors so repellent to
artistic eyes, but the family all agreed that it "would be perfickly
swell," so she withdrew her opposition and confided her grievance to
Derry's sympathizing, shuddering ears.
Gus proceeded to bicolor the shed in stripes which gave the new building
a bedizened and bilious effect that delighted Colette, who revelled in
the annals of her protegés.
Each member of the Jenkins family had a plan for utilising this fine
domicile, as there seemed to be a general feeling of skepticism
regarding the ability of Gus to produce a cow in the flesh. This
sentiment, however, was not openly expressed, as the lad was found to be
decidedly sensitive and touchy on the subject.
"Mebby a cow'll jest walk right into the back yard and make herself to
hum in the new shed," prognosticated Mrs. Jenkins optimistically. "It's
such a beautiful place. I'll bet there is cows as would ef they knowed
"I perpose," suggested Flamingus patronizingly, "that we start a cow
fund and all chip in and help Gus out."
"Sure thing!" declared the generous Amarilly. "He can have all my
savings. We ought to all help Gus get a start."
"I'm in," cried Bobby.
"You kin hev all you want from me, Gus," offered Bud.
Firmly and disdainfully Gus rejected all these offers and suggestions.
"Thar ain't agoin' to be no pardner business about this," he announced.
"The cow won't come till she's mine--all mine--and when she does, I'm
agoin' to pay the Boarder for his work."
"If he wants to be so all-fired smart, we won't help him git no cow,"
declared Flamingus, "and the shed kin be used for a summer kitchen arter
This use of the new building had been the fondest dream of Mrs. Jenkins,
who deemed it an ideal place in which to keep her tubs, mops, boiler,
and wringer. Milt had designs upon it for a boy's reading-room and club;
Flamingus coveted a gymnasium. Bobby, Bud, Cory, and Iry had already
appropriated it as a playhouse.
Amarilly openly and ably defended Gus and his cherished, illusory plan.
Of all her brothers, he was the one to whom her heart most inclined. For
Bud she possibly had a more tender, maternal feeling on account of his
being so delicate. She paid homage to the good points of Flamingus, but
he was too cut and dried, "bromidic," she classified him, for Derry had
carefully explained the etymology of the word. Milt was honest, but
selfish and "near." Bobby was disposed to be fresh, but Gus was just
such a boy as Amarilly herself would have been, reincarnated. He was
practical, industrious, thrifty, and shrewd, and yet possessed of the
imagination and optimism of his sister. She called him aside one day for
a private consultation.
"Say, Gus, your scheme's all right. Go ahead and get your cow. I'll let
you have my savings, and the other boys needn't know. You can pay me
when you get ready to."
"That's bully in you, Amarilly, but I'm agoin' to see this thing through
alone and start in without no help front no one," firmly refused Gus,
and his sturdy little sister could but admire him for his independence.
He locked up his new possession very carefully, putting the key in his
pocket every morning before going to the business precincts to pick up a
job. The children, however, were not dispossessed by this precaution,
finding ingress and egress through the window. Gus most opportunely
secured a week's job driving a delivery-wagon, and he instantly invested
his wages in the provisioning of the cow quarters.
"The feed'll git stale by the time the cow comes," objected Milt.
"Mebby it's fer bait to ketch a critter with," offered Bobby.
After all, it was the miracle predicted by Mrs. Jenkins that came to
pass and delivered the cow. Early one morning, when Gus went as usual
with fond pride to view his sole asset, he found installed therein a
young, corpulent cow, bland and Texas-horned, busily engaged in
partaking of the proceeds of Gus's last week's wages. She turned
inquiring, meditative eyes toward the delighted lad, who promptly locked
the door and rushed into the house to inform the family of the new
"She's lost or strayed, but not stolen," said Amarilly.
"Bobby, you put an ad in that paper you deliver at once," commanded Mrs.
Jenkins. "Some poor people air feelin' bad over the loss of their cow."
It was considered only fair that the cow should pay for her meal. She
was overstocked with milk, and graciously and gratefully yielded to
Gus's efforts to relieve her of her load. The children were each given a
taste of the warm milk, and then the little dairyman started right in
for business. The milkman had not yet made his morning rounds, and the
neighbors were so anxious to cross-examine Gus that they were more than
willing to patronize him. Excitement prevailed when it was learned that
the Jenkins family had a cow, and the lad's ingenuity in dodging
questions was severely taxed. He avoided direct replies, but finally
admitted that it was "one they was keepin' fer some folks."
A week went by, with no claim filed for the animal that had come so
mysteriously and seemed so perfectly at home. Gus established a
permanent milk route in the immediate neighborhood, and with his ability
once more to "bring in" came the restoration of his self-respect.
"It's funny we don't git no answer to that ad," mused Mrs. Jenkins
perplexedly. "How many times did you run it, Bobby?"
For a moment silence, deep, profound, and charged with expectancy
prevailed. Then like a bomb came Bobby's reply:
"I ain't put it in at all."
Everybody was vociferous in condemnation, but Bobby, unabashed, held his
ground, and logically defended his action.
"I got the news-agent to look in the 'losts' every night, and thar want
nothin' about no cow. 'Twas up to them as lost it to advertise instead
of us. If they didn't want her bad enough to run an ad, they couldn't
hev missed her very much."
"That's so," agreed the Boarder, convinced by Bobby's able argument.
"Most likely she doesn't belong to any one," was Amarilly's theory. "She
just came to stay a while, and then she'll go away again."
"She won't git no chanst to 'scape, unless she kin go out the way the
chillern does," laughed Mrs. Jenkins.
One day the Boarder brought home some information that seemed to throw
light on the subject.
"One of the railroad hands told me that a big train of cattle was
sidetracked up this way somewhar the same night the cow come here. The
whole keerload got loose, but they ketched them all, or thought they
did. Mebby they didn't miss this ere one, or else they couldn't wait to
look her up. Their train pulled out as soon as they rounded up the
"I guess the cow-house looked to her like it was a freight car,"
observed Milt, "and she thought she hed got back where she belonged."
The cow, meanwhile, quietly chewed her cud, and continued to endear
herself to the hearts of all the Jenkins family save Cory. Every time
Bobby spoke her name he called to her, "Co, boss! Co, boss," just as Gus
did when he greeted the cow.
As for the little dairyman himself, he gave his charge the best of care.
He took her for a little outing every day to a near-by lot where she
could graze, being careful to keep a stout rope attached to her,
although they walked to and from the recreation ground side by side.
Derry painted a little picture of the pair as he saw them returning from
a jaunt. Gus's arm was lovingly thrown around the neck of the gentle
creature, and her Texas horns were adorned with a wreath of brown-eyed
Susans woven by Cory.
It remained for Mrs. Jenkins to christen the creature.
"'Cowslip,'" she declared triumphantly, "'cause she just slipped in."
Amarilly's pace in learning English from Derry during the following
winter was only excelled by her proficiency in mathematics. "Figgerin'"
the Boarder declared to be his long suit, and his young pupil worked
every example in Flamingus's arithmetic, and employed her leisure
moments in solving imaginary problems. Then came an evening when she put
her knowledge to practical use and application. She had been working
absorbedly with pencil and paper for some time when she looked up from
her sheet of figures with a flushed race and a Q.E.D. written in each
"Say!" she announced to the family who were gathered about the long
Instantly they were all attention, for they always looked to Amarilly
for something startling in the way of bulletins.
"I've been setting down and adding up what we all bring in each week.
Ma's washings, the Boarder's board, my studio work, Flamingus' and
Milt's wages, Gus's cow, Bud's singing, Co's dish-washing, and Bobby's
papers. What do you suppose it all amounts to?"
She allowed a few seconds of tragic silence to ensue before she gave the
"Land sakes! Who'd 'a thought it!" exclaimed Mrs. Jenkins.
"We'd orter hev ice-cream and pie every day," reproached Cory.
"It would be reckoned a purty big salary if one man got it all,"
speculated the Boarder.
"We are rich!" exclaimed Bobby decisively.
"I'll tell you what we'll do," pursued Amarilly. "We must start a
"What's that, a show?" demanded Flamingus.
"No; I heard the artists down to the studio talking about it, and Mr.
Derry explained it. He said when a lot of folks put their cash on hand
together in one pile, they can buy something big and do more than as if
they spent it separate."
"Well, I ain't a goin' to put my money in with Co's," said Milt
sarcastically. "Wouldn't be much profit for me in that."
"You don't catch on," replied Amarilly. "If you should put in one
dollar, and Co should put in ten cents, at the end of a certain time,
you'd draw out ten dollars and Co would only draw out one. See?"
"I do," said the practical Gus.
"Well, now let's put our money into something and all own it together,
each one's share according to what we put in. Let's buy this house!"
They all stared in amazement.
"Buy a house! You are sure crazy, Amarilly!" exclaimed Milt.
"We could buy it cheap," continued Amarilly unabashed. "I heard the
grocer saying yesterday that property around here was at a low figure
now. We could put our savings together and make a payment down, and
instead of paying rent let it go on the balance each month. Before we
knew it we'd own the house, and the deed could be made out to show how
much of it each one owned."
"I choose the pantry!" cried Cory.
"I guess if you could buy a window-pane with what you've got, you'd do
well," observed Milt in a withering tone.
"That's a splendid idee, Amarilly!" declared the Boarder
enthusiastically. "I don't know what better investment you could make."
"It would be fine," sighed Mrs. Jenkins, "to own your own place and feel
that no one could turn you out."
"You've got a great head, Amarilly," complimented Gus.
"We could borrow on the house if we ever got hard up, or the fever
struck us again," said Flamingus.
"Well," proposed Amarilly, the ever-ready, "let's get right at it. I'll
set down our names, and when I call the roll, tell me how much you've
saved and will put in the house."
There was a general rush for bank-books, for ever since the preceding
fall, the six oldest children had paid their board, clothed themselves,
and saved the balance of their earnings.
From her washings, the revenue from the board of the children and
Boarder, Mrs. Jenkins had paid the rent and the household expenses. By
thrifty management she had also acquired a bank account herself.
"Ma!" called Amarilly expectantly.
There had been much urging on the part of
Deny in his zeal for language reform to induce his young pupil to say
"mother," but in this sole instance Amarilly had refused to take his
will for law.
"She's always been 'ma' to me, and she always will be," declared
Amarilly emphatically. "If I were to call her anything else I'd feel as
if I had lost her--as if she didn't belong to me."
Ma triumphantly announced: "Forty-seven dollars and fifty-one cents."
"A fine starter," commended Amarilly, "Flamingus?"
"Forty dollars," he announced with pride.
"Milt?" Amarilly called his name in faint voice. He was the only tight-
tendencied member of the household, and she feared he might decline to
give. But Milt was envious and emulative.
"Forty-two dollars and sixty-nine cents," he declared in a voice
rendered triumphant by the fact of his having beaten Flam.
Amarilly drew a sigh of relief.
"It's going to add up fine, now. Guess I'll take my own account next. I
haven't got as much as you boys, though." "Shouldn't think you would
have," said Gus sympathizingly. "You don't earn so much, and yet you pay
ma as much, and don't take out nuthin' fer your noon meal. And you give
"I've earned quite a bit," replied Amarilly cheerfully. "Besides what
Mr. Derry gives me, there's what I've had from odd jobs like letting the
artists paint my hair, and taking care of Mrs. Wick's baby afternoons
when she goes to card parties. I've got thirty dollars to put in. Gus?"
"Thirty-five dollars," he replied in a pleased tone.
They all looked expectantly. Bud received ten dollars each Sunday now,
and he had been singing at concerts, organ recitals, and entertainments
all winter. On account of these latter engagements, he had been obliged
to expend a considerable amount in clothes suitable to the occasion.
When Bud donned his "evening clothes," which consisted of black silk
hose, patent leather pumps, black velvet suit with Irish crochet collar
and cuffs, purchased under the direction of Mr. Derry, Amarilly always
"Don't seem fair to Bobby when they're so near twins," she thought.
One day, however, she overheard Bud sweetly offer to buy his near half a
similar outfit. Amarilly listened eagerly for Bobby's answer which
brought a sigh of relief.
"I wouldn't wear one of them rigs on a bet," he had scoffingly answered.
"One hundred and twenty-five dollars," Bud now replied modestly.
"Gee! you take the cake!" said Bobby.
Amarilly was sorry that she had to call Bobby's name next. But Bobby had
a surprise in store for them all.
"Forty-eight dollars!" he cried gleefully, giving Flam, Milt and Gus
exultant glances, "Beat the hull of ye, except Bud!"
"How in the world did you ever do it on paper routes?" asked Amarilly
Bobby winked at his mother.
"Shall we tell our secret?" he asked. "You tell, Ma."
"You see," she explained, "when the clo'es are bilin' arter you hev all
gone to work and to school, I've made twenty little pies and when Bobby
got out of school, he'd come hum and git 'em and take 'em up to the High
School. The girls bought 'em at five cents apiece. The stuff to make 'em
cost about two cents a pie."
"And Bobby got all the profit!" expostulated Milt indignantly.
"Bobby paid me by taking the clo'es offen the line and bringin' them in
every night, and fetchin' the water," she replied chidingly. "We was
goin' to keep it a secret till he got enough to buy a pony."
"But I'd ruther buy a house," said Bobby.
"I ain't got enough to come in no snidikit," sobbed Co. "I ain't saved
"That's because you spend all you earn on candy," rebuked Milt.
"I ain't nuther. I bought me some rubbers and Iry some playthings."
"How much have you got, Co?" asked Amarilly gently.
"Two dollars and ninety-seven cents," she said, weeping profusely.
"I think that's pretty good for a little girl," said Amarilly. "All you
strapping boys ought to chip in out of your cash on hand what isn't in
the bank and give her some so she could be in on it. Here is fifty cents
from me, Co."
"I'll give you fifty, Co," said her mother.
"Me, too," said Flamingus.
The other boys followed with equal contributions, Bud generously
donating a five-dollar bill he had received that day for a solo at a
musicale given by Miss Lyte.
"Here's fifty cents from me," said the Boarder, who had remained very
thoughtful during this transaction.
"Eleven dollars and forty-seven cents for Co," announced Amarilly.
The little girl's eyes shone through her tears.
"Seems too bad that Iry is the only one left out," said Mrs. Jenkins.
"When he gits old enough to work, he can come in," said Milt. "Add her
"Three hundred and sixty-nine dollars and sixty-seven cents!" almost
"Gee!" chorused the boys.
"Purty near buy the old shack," said Flamingus.
"Our landlord," said Amarilly sagaciously, "is a shark, and he'll try to
get the best of us. I am going to get Mr. Vedder to do the business for
us, and he'll get the deed in all our names."
"Put in Iry's too," pleaded Mrs. Jenkins solicitous for her Benjamin.
"I'll put it to vote," said parliamentary Amarilly. "Who's for Iry?"
"Me, me, me," came from all, though Milt's response was reluctant.
"I will see Mr. Vedder to-morrow, so we can begin to let the rent apply
right off," said Amarilly.
"We'll take more pride in keeping it fixed up now," remarked Flamingus.
"I'll mend the windowpanes and the door hinges."
"And I'll build some stairs and put up a partition or two," promised the
"I'll paint it," said Gus, proud of his former work in this direction.
Amarilly secretly resolved to select the color.
"I'll make curtains and rag rugs and sofa pillows," she observed.
"And I'll buy some cheers and a hangin' lamp," said Mrs. Jenkins. "Don't
all this talk make you want to housekeep?" she asked with a knowing
glance in the Boarder's direction.
He shook his head thoughtfully, but when the boys and Cory had gone to
bed, he unfolded a proposition that he had been evolving during their
financial discussion, and which now found overwhelming favor and
enthusiasm with his hearers.
The next day Amarilly called upon Mr. Vedder at the theatre.
"He's got more sound business to him than Mr. Derry or Mr. St. John,"
she shrewdly decided.
"When she told him her plan and showed him her figures, he most heartily
"The house, of course, isn't worth anything," he said, "but land down
that way is a good investment. Who is your, landlord?"
She gave him the name and address.
"I am glad you came to me, Amarilly, instead of to your newer friends."
"Oh, you know more about it than they do," she replied, "and besides,
some way I wouldn't feel as if I were bothering you."
"Not a bit of bother, Amarilly, and I hope you will always feel that
The ticket-seller was prompt, thorough, and shrewd in the matter. He had
a friend in the real estate business, who appraised the property for
him, and he proved most diplomatic in his dealing with the surprised
landlord, who fortunately chanced to be in dire need of some ready cash.
In an incredibly short space of time the bargain was closed.
The Jenkins family including the Boarder and Iry left the house one
noon, each bearing a red bank-book. To the onlookers in the
neighborhood, this Armada was all-impressive.
"Looks like a run on the bank," said the Boarder facetiously, as they
all trooped up the steps to the big stone building.
The payment was made, and the deeds drawn in the names of all the
family, but to the list was also added the name of the Boarder.
"I don't see," observed Colette, on learning of the existence and
development of the syndicate, "why the Boarder is in on it. I thought he
was going to have a Lily Rose garden all his own."
"We thought so, too," replied Amarilly. "He's been saving up to get
married, and he's got a raise now, so the day is set for some time in
June; but he told us the night we were first planning to buy the house
that he wanted to be one of the syndicate. You see Lily Rose works--I
mean she overworks--in a factory, and so the Boarder--you know he is
awful gentle-like to her--says that she mustn't keep house or do
anything but real light work after this. He has an interest in the house
now, and he is going to build on a sort of an annex with a sitting-room
and a bedroom and furnish it up fine, and when they are married, they
are going to live there and take their meals with us. And they want Mr.
St. John to marry them, and they want you to come. And Mr. Derry is
coming. He asked to be invited."
For once Colette did not laugh at the chronicles of the Jenkins family.
A very tender look came into her flashing eyes.
"That is very sweet in him--in the Boarder--to feel that way and to be
so tender with Lily Rose. She ought to be very happy with a love and
protection like that awaiting her."
"Yes," assented Amarilly; "it must be very nice to feel like that, and
Mr. Derry says he really believes that it is only with poor folks like
us and the Boarder and Lily Rose that love runs smooth."
"Then," said Colette musingly, "I wish I were poor--like you and the
Boarder and Lily Rose!"
Amarilly secretly divined that this was merely a thought spoken aloud,
so she made no comment. She had pondered a great deal over the attitude
of her two friends towards each other. The only place she ever
encountered them together was at church and to her observing eyes it was
quite apparent that there was a restraint in their bearing. Amarilly
remained so preoccupied with her thoughts that Colette, looking at her
searchingly, became curious as to the cause.
"Amarilly," she commanded, "tell me what you were thinking of just now--
I mean since I spoke last. I shall know by; your eyes if you don't tell
"Mr. Derry says my eyes will always give me away," evaded Amarilly.
"Of course they will. You can never be a flirt, Amarilly."
"I don't want to," she replied indignantly.
"Well, tell me what you were thinking about?"
"I was wondering if Mr. St. John wasn't trying any more to find that
thing you lost in the surplice pocket."
"Oh, Amarilly, has Mr. Phillips censored that word, too? I was in hopes
he would never hear you say 'surplus,' so he could not correct you."
"I told him you didn't want me to speak correctly," said Amarilly a
"You did!" cried Colette, looking rather abashed. "And what did he say?"
"He said it was selfish in you to think more of your amusement than of
Colette colored and was silent a moment.
"He's right, Amarilly," she said impulsively. "I _am_ selfish to
everyone. All I have ever cared for is to be entertained and made to
laugh. I have been as selfish to St. John as I have to you and--I'll
tell you a secret, Amarilly, because I know that I can trust you. I've
gone just a little bit too far with St. John. I told him he needn't ever
come to see me again until he found what was in the pocket of the
surplice, and he took me at my word."
"He did all he could to find it," said Amarilly, immediately on the
defence for the rector.
"I know he did, but you see before this I've always had everything I've
asked for, even impossible things, and I didn't want to have him fail
me. I have been selfish and exacting with him, and I think he realizes
"Well, when you're in the wrong, all you've got to do is to say so."
"That isn't easy, Amarilly."
"But it's right."
"Oh, Amarilly, you're like a man with your right and your wrong!"
"But you would make yourself happy, too, if you told him you knew it
wasn't up to him any more to find that."
"I'd rather be unhappy and stick to what I said. I must have my own way,
"Well," said Amarilly, abandoning an apparently hopeless subject, "I
came to ask you to do me--us--the Boarder and Lily Rose, I mean, a
"What is it, Amarilly?"
"Why, as I said, they want Mr. St. John to marry them, and they're
afraid he won't want to because he--well--because he isn't their kind,
you know, and he has such a fashionable church."
"And you don't know St. John better than that?"
"Why, yes; of course _I_ do, but they don't know him at all, you know.
And the Boarder is real shy, anyhow. And so I told him I'd ask you to
"Why don't you ask him?"
"I think it would please him so to have you ask. He likes to have you
take interest in others."
"Amarilly, you are a regular little Sherlock! Well, yes, I will,"
promised Colette, secretly glad of this opportunity for friendly
converse with John once more, "but if the--Annex has to be built first,
there's no hurry."
"Yes, there is. The Boarder wants everything settled now, so they can be
looking forward to it."
"Very well, Amarilly. I'll see him to-morrow night. Will that do?"
"Oh, yes; thank you, Miss King."
"Tell me more about the wedding plans. Are you to be bridesmaid?"
"She isn't going to have one. It won't be a stylish wedding, you know.
Just quiet--like one of our neighborhood evenings. Only when I told Mr.
Derry about it, he said he should come up that afternoon and trim the
house up with greens, and that he should come to see them married."
"And I shall furnish the flowers and the bride's bouquet. Let me see, I
think lilies of the valley and pink roses would suit Lily Rose, don't
"They will be beautiful," said Amarilly, beaming. "And we are going to
have a real swell meal. I have learned to make salads and ices, and then
we'll have coffee and sandwiches and bride's cake beside."
"Some one has to give the bride away, you know, Amarilly, in Episcopal
"I know it. But poor Lily Rose has no one that belongs to her. Her
relations are all dead. That's another reason why the Boarder is so nice
to her. So ma is going to give her away. We're going to ask the
neighbors and you and Mr. Derry and Mr. Cotter, of course. He's the
brakeman friend of the Boarder."
"And are the Boarder and Lily Rose going away?"
"Yes; the Boarder can get a pass to Niagara Falls. They are going to
stay there a week. Lily Rose has never been on the cars. And they are
going to ride to the train in a hack."
"Why, it's going to be quite an affair," said Colette enthusiastically.
"We'll throw an old shoe and some rice after them. And will she be
married in white?"
Amarilly's face fell.
"I am afraid she can't afford a wedding dress. She's got to get a
travelling suit and hat and gloves and shoes, and with other things it
will take all she has saved. She'd like a white dress and a veil and get
her picture taken in it to hang up by the side of the Boarder's in the
surplice. And that makes me think, we want you to ask Mr. St. John if he
will wear our surplice instead of bringing one of his. We'll do it up
nice before the wedding."
"Oh, that prophetic surplice!" groaned Colette. "It's yesterday, to-day
and forever; I wish something would happen to it, Amarilly. I hate that
"I'm sorry, Miss King, but we all love it. And you see it means a good
deal to Lily Rose; because she has looked at its photograph so long."
"Very well, Amarilly. I yield. St. John shall wear his surplice once
more, and when he does--"
A sudden thought illumined her face. "I believe I will tell him--"
Amarilly deemed it a fitting time to depart, and she hastened to assure
Lily Rose that it was "all right."
"Miss King will speak to Mr. St. John about marrying you, and she will
ask him to wear our surplice. She's going to send you flowers--lilies of
the valley and roses. It all would be perfect, Lily Rose, if only you
had a white dress!"
Lily Rose smiled sweetly, and told Amarilly she was glad to be married
in any dress, and that she should not miss the "reg'ler weddin' fixin's"
nearly as much as Amarilly would mind her not having them. When Amarilly
set her head and heart on anything, however, it was sure to be
accomplished. It was a puzzling problem to equip Lily Rose in the
conventional bridal white vestments, for the bride-to-be was very proud
and independent and wouldn't hearken to Amarilly's plea to be allowed to
contribute toward a new dress.
"We're under obligations to _him_, you know," argued Amarilly "and I'd
like to help him by helping you."
Lily Rose was strong of will despite her sweet smile.
Deep down in her heart Amarilly, throughout all her scheming, knew there
was a way, but she chose to ignore it until the insistent small voice
spoke louder and louder. With a sigh of renunciation she yielded to the
inevitable and again sought Lily Rose.
"I've thought out a way to the white dress," she announced.
Lily Rose's eyes sparkled for a moment, and their light died out.
"Yes, there's really a way," persisted Amarilly, answering the unspoken
denial. "You said you could squeeze out slippers and stockings, didn't
"Yes," she admitted.
"Well, there's your new white dress skirt, and for a waist there is my
lovely lace waist that I told you about--the one Miss King gave me."
"Your weddin' waist! No, Amarilly. It's like you to offer, but I
couldn't take it from you."
"No, I'm not giving it to you. Just lending it to you for your wedding.
You couldn't hurt it any wearing it two hours. Then I'll lay it by again
till I'm married. And I'll like wearing it all the more because you wore
it to your wedding. Come over some day and we'll try it on. Then Miss
King is going to give you the bouquet, and for a veil--"
"Oh, the veil! Amarilly, I would love a veil!" Lily Rose cried
"Well, I've got one spoken for. You see, Mrs. Jimmels has been married
so many different ways, I felt sure she must have worn a veil at one of
her weddings, and seeing she had been married so many times, I thought
she couldn't have any special feeling about any one of them, so I asked
her if she wouldn't lend hers to you, and she's glad to have it put to
use again. You'll look just perfectly swell, Lily Rose. And she's going
to give you a pair of white gloves that she had when she was slim-like."
The little renunciator went home feeling amply rewarded by the look of
shining content in the blue eyes of Lily Rose.
* * * * *
The next night Colette in accordance with her promise to Amarilly
summoned John to council. It was not easy to bridge the distance which
had been steadily increasing with the months that had rolled by since
the surplice dénouement, and Colette, formerly supreme in her sway, was
perceptibly timid in making the advance. After writing and tearing up
several notes she called him up by telephone and asked him in a
consciously casual tone if he could find it convenient to call that
evening with reference to a little matter pertaining to their mutual
charge, the Jenkinses.
The grave voice in which he accepted the invitation was tinged with
When he came Colette, fearful lest he should misinterpret her action in
making this overture, plunged at once into the subject.
"I promised Amarilly I would see you and ask you for something in her
"Then it is to Amarilly I am indebted for this call," he remarked
"It's about the Boarder," she continued, gaining ease at the softening
of his brown eyes. "You know he is to be married to Lily Rose, the girl
we saw at the organ recital where Bud made his debut."
"I inferred as much at the time. When are they to be married?"
"In June. Just as soon as the Annex can be added to the Jenkins's
upright. They are to build on two new rooms or rather the Boarder will
do so and he will furnish them for his new abiding-place. But because
she is 'delicate like' and overworked she is to become a Boarderess
instead of a housekeeper, and they will 'eat' with the Jenkins family,
thus increasing the prosperity of the latter. Amarilly says the Boarder
is 'awful gentle of Lily Rose and wants to take good care of her.'"
The expression that moved the frostiest of his flock came into the still
depths of his eyes and brought the wild rose to Colette's cheeks.
"They are going to make quite an affair of the wedding," she continued,
speaking hurriedly and a little breathlessly. "You and I and Mr.
Phillips are to be guests. There is to be a hack to take the bride and
groom to the train and a trip to Niagara Falls, because Lily Rose has
never been on the cars. They are to have salad and ice-cream and
sandwiches and coffee. Mr. Phillips is to act as florist and I shall
furnish the decorations and the bride's bouquet. I'd love to throw in a
bridal gown and veil, but Lily Rose, it seems, is proud and won't accept
"I can find it quite in my heart to admire the reluctance of Lily Rose
to accept them."
"And so can I," replied Colette, the rare sweetness coming into her
eyes. "Underneath all my jests about this wedding, it is all very sweet
and touching to me--the Boarder's consideration for her, the
preparations for the wedding which appear so elaborate to them. And then
the wedding itself seems to mean so much to them. It's so different from
the weddings in our class which often mean so little."
"Colette, I know--I have always known in spite of your endeavor to have
me believe otherwise--anything really true and genuine appeals to you.
"But I haven't told you yet," she said, seized with an unaccountable
shyness, "what your part is to be. The Boarder, Lily Rose, and naturally
all the Jenkinses, want you to perform the ceremony. The Boarder, being
shy and retiring, forbore to ask you, and Amarilly for some reason
desired me to ask you if you would officiate, and I assured her you
would gladly do so."
"I should have felt hurt," replied John with a happy smile, "if they had
asked anyone else to marry them. And you will be there, Colette?"
"Certainly," she declared. "I wouldn't miss it for anything."
"And--you will go with me, Colette?"
She colored, and her eyes drooped beneath his fixed gaze.
"Yes," she said, "I will go with you."
"Thank you, Colette," he answered gently, realizing what a surrender
this was, and deeming it wise not to follow up his victory immediately.
And at his reticence Colette was conscious of a shade of disappointment.
She began to feel an uncomfortable atmosphere in the silence that
ensued, so she broke it, speaking hastily and confusedly.
"Oh, John, there is something else they want of you. The request is made
by unanimous desire that you wear their surplice--that awful surplice!"
A shadow not unlike a frown fell athwart John's brow, and he made no
The introduction of the unfortunate topic made them both self-conscious,
and for the first time Colette acknowledged to herself that she had been
in the wrong in the matter of the surplice. John, misinterpreting her
constraint, and fearing that the reference to the garment had revived
all her old resentment, arose to depart.
"I will wear it if they wish," he said stiffly.
"I, too, wish you would wear it," she said in a voice scarcely audible.
He looked at her in surprise, hope returning.
"To please them," she added, coloring.
"Colette!" There was a pleading in his voice that told her all she
longed to know. "Colette, don't you think I have been patient? Won't you
be friends again?"
"I will," she said, "after--the Boarder's and Lily Rose's wedding!"
Work on the Boarder's Annex was begun with frantic zeal, each and every
member of the Jenkins family lending a helping hand. The Boarder, as
boss carpenter, worked after switching hours until it grew dark; then
the children took turns, in holding a lantern for him. The savings of
the Boarder being taxed by the trip to "Niagry" and the furnishing of
the apartment, great economy had to be exercised in the erecting of the
Annex. He strictly adhered to his determination not to touch the "rainy
Amarilly pleaded for a bay window, but the Boarder felt this
ornamentation to be quite beyond his means, so they finally compromised
on a small and simple porch on which Lily Rose could sit of a summer
night while the Boarder smoked by her side. Mrs. Jenkins, moved to
memories long dormant of the home of her youth, suggested blinds instead
of window-shades, but the Boarder after much figuring proved adamantine
in resistance to this temptation.
Lily Rose was the only one who made no suggestions. Anything the Boarder
might construct in the way of a nesting place was beautiful in her eyes.
"She'd be too sorter modist-like to tell me if she was sot on any
perticler thing about the new place," he confided wistfully to Amarilly,
"You're so sharp I wish you'd kinder hint around and find out what she
wants. Jest put out some feelers."
Amarilly diplomatically proceeded to put out "feelers," and after much
maneuvering joyously imparted to the Boarder the information that Lily
Rose loved to look at the one solitary tree that adorned the Jenkins
lot, because to her it meant "the country."
"So that's the way she loves to look out," informed Amarilly, "and, you
see there isn't any window on that side of your rooms."
"There shall be one," declared the Boarder firmly.
"Couldn't you make it a bay?" again coaxed Amarilly, "It's on the side
the sun comes in most, and the doctor said Lily Rose should get all the
sunlight she could. If she could sit in that bay window sunny days next
winter it would be better than medicine for her."
The Boarder sighed.
"Don't tempt me, Amarilly. There ain't a cent more I kin squeeze out."
"I'll think out a way," thought Amarilly confidently.
She took the matter to Colette, who instantly and satisfactorily solved
the problem, and Amarilly returned radiant.
"She says you've saved too much out for furniture, and to build the bay
window from the furniture fund."
The Boarder shook his head.
"I thought of that, but thar ain't a thing I can take out of that. I got
the figgers on the price of everything from the House Furnishers'
"But you see, Miss King says no one ever comes to a wedding without
bringing a present. That it wouldn't be et--,--dear me! I have forgotten
what the word is. And she says not to buy any furniture till all the
presents come, and then I can settle the rooms for you while you and
Lily Rose are away. Lots of the things you are expecting to buy will be
"It's risky," said the Boarder dubiously. "We'll most likely git casters
and bibles and tidies. That's what I've allers seen to weddin's."
"Well, I see I have got to put a flea in your ear, but don't tell Lily
Rose. Let it be a surprise to her. Miss King is going to give you a
handsome base-burner coal stove. So you can take that off your list."
The Boarder looked pleased and yet distressed.
"She shouldn't go fer to do that!" he protested.
"Well, she wants to give you a nice present because you've been nice to
us, and she thinks Lily Rose is sweet, and she says she believes in
making sensible presents. She asked Mr. Meredith what to get, and he
told her to get the stove so you see it's all right if he says so. She
thought you wouldn't need a stove till next winter, but I told her you
wanted the rooms furnished complete now."
"Then," said the Boarder beamingly, "the bay winder shall be cut out
"Don't cut it _out_!" said Amarilly alarmed.
"I don't mean in a slang way," he said, laughing. "I mean cut out with a
When Lily Rose was brought over one starlight night in budding May to
see the beautiful aperture that would eventually become a bay window and
face the solitary tree, two dewy drops of joy came into her eyes. Before
them all she raised her pale, little face for a kiss which the Boarder
bestowed with the solemn air of one pronouncing a benediction, for Lily
Rose was chary of outward and visible expressions of affection, and he
was deeply moved by this voluntary offering.
The Annex grew rapidly, but its uprising was not accomplished without
some hazard and adventure. There was an exciting day when Cory fell
through the scaffolding where she had been climbing. She suffered a
moment of unconsciousness and a bump on her head.
"An inch nigher her brain, and it would have killed her!" exclaimed the
mother in tragic tones.
"An inch of miss is as good as a mile," said the Boarder
There was also a thrilling moment when Iry thrust his head through the
railings of the new porch. Satisfied with his outlook, he would fain
have withdrawn, but was prevented by an unaccountable swelling of his
pate. Flamingus, coming to the rescue and working seemingly on the
theory that his skull might be compressible, tried to pull him backward,
but the frantic shrieks of Iry caused this plan of ejection to be
"The rest of him is smaller than his head," observed Amarilly
practically, as she arrived upon the scene and took a comprehensive view
of the case, "Push him through, Flam, and I'll go around on the other
side and get him."
Iry, safely landed in Amarilly's arms, laughed his delight, and thinking
it a sort of game, was about to repeat his stunt of "in and out."
"It's time something was done to you," said Amarilly determinedly,
"before you get killed in this place. I am going to spank you, Iry, and
Co, too. I am going to spank you both fierce. And you are to keep away
from the new part."
In spite of wailing protests, Amarilly administered a spanking to the
two younger children that worked effectually against further repetition
of their hazardous performances. But Bobby tobogganed down the roof
during its shingling and sprained his ankle, which necessitated the use
"He can break his neck if he wants to," remarked Amarilly, when besought
by Co to punish him too.
Mrs. Jenkins lost a finger-nail by an injudicious use of the hammer. Bud
sat down in the paint pot, and had to go to bed while his clothes were
cleaned. In fact Lily Rose was the only one of the whole family circle
to suffer no injury, but the Boarder guided her so tenderly over every
part and plank of the Annex that there was no chance for mishap.
When the lathing and plastering were completed, the little bride-elect
began to tremble with timidity and happiness at the consciousness of the
nearness of her approaching transfer to the Home.
The plan of the Boarder had been to leave the walls rough and unfinished
till their settling process should be accomplished, but Amarilly,
absorbed heart and soul in this first experience of making a nesting
place, pleaded for paper--"quiet, pretty paper with soft colors," she
implored, Derry's teachings now beginning to bear fruit in Amarilly's
development of the artistic.
"Amarilly, we can't hev everything to onct," he rebuked solemnly. "The
paper'll crack as sure as fate, if you put it on now."
"Let it crack!" defied Amarilly. "Then you can put on more. You're away
nearly all day, and the rest of us are at work, but if Lily Rose has to
sit here all day and look at these white walls that look just like sour
bread that hasn't riz"--Derry had not yet discovered this word in
Amarilly's vocabulary--"she'll go mad."
"Amarilly," sighed the Boarder, "you'll hev me in the poorhouse yit!"
"Oh, dear!" sighed Amarilly. "I'll have to let you into another secret.
Mr. Meredith is going to give you and Lily Rose a handsome centre-table
and an easy-chair. There won't be any surprises left for you by the time
the wedding is over, but you're so set, I have to keep giving things
away to you."
"That makes me think," remarked the Boarder. "I was going to ask you
what I'd orter give the preacher fer marryin' Lily Rose and me. The
fireman of Number Six told me he give two dollars when he was spliced,
but you see Mr. Meredith is so swell, I'd orter give more."
Amarilly gazed reflectively into space while she grappled with this
"Do you know," she said presently, with the rare insight that was her
birthright, "I don't think Mr. Meredith would like money--not from you--
for Lily Rose. You see he's a sort of a friend, and you'd better give
him a present because money, unless it was a whole lot, wouldn't mean
anything to him."
"That's so," admitted the Boarder, "but what kin I give him?"
Amarilly had another moment of thought.
"Make him a bookrack. Mr. Derry will draw you the design, and you can
carve it out. You can do it noons after you eat your luncheon, then you
won't lose any time building the house."
"That's jest what I'll do. So with the fee saved and the cheer and table
out, I kin paper the rooms. You find out what kind Lily Rose wants and
help her pick it out."
"She'll choose blue," lamented Amarilly, "and that fades quick."
Lily Rose was easily persuaded to let Derry be consulted. He promptly
volunteered to tint the walls, having studied interior decorations at
one time in his career. He wrought a marvellous effect in soft grays and
browns with bordering graceful vines.
Lily Rose by taking advantage of a bargain sale on suits saved enough
from her trousseau to curtain the windows in dainty blue and white
Derry then diverted the appropriation for an ingrain carpet to an
expenditure for shellac and paint with which he showed Amarilly how to
do the floors. Some cheap but pretty rugs were selected in place of the
At last the Annex was ready for painting. Lily Rose wistfully stated
that she had always longed to live in a white house, so despite the fact
that the Jenkins house proper was a sombre red, the new part was painted
"'Twill liven the place up," Amarilly consoled herself, while Colette
breathed a sigh of relief that the Annex was not to be entirely
At Amarilly's suggestion, the woodwork was also painted white.
"Hard to keep clean," warned Amarilly, divided in her trend of
practicality and her loyalty to St. John's favorite color. White won.
The moment the paint was dry and the Annex announced "done," the Boarder
took Lily Rose to view their prospective domicile. They were
unaccompanied by any of the family, but it took the combined efforts of
Mrs. Jenkins, Amarilly, and Flamingus, whose recent change in voice and
elongation of trousers gave him an air of authority, to prevent a
stampede by the younger members.
Lily Rose returned wet-eyed, sweetly smiling, and tremulous of voice,
but the Boarder stood erect, proud in his possessions.
Colette vetoed the plan for Amarilly to settle in the absence of the
groom and bride.
"If you have it all furnished beforehand," she argued, "there will be
just so much more room to entertain in on the night of the wedding."
And then Lily Rose confessed that "she'd love to be 'to hum' in her own
"But they won't be furnished," argued Amarilly.
"Oh, yes, they will," assured Colette. "It's etiquette--" she paused to
note Amarilly writing the word down in a little book she carried--"for
people to send their presents before they come, and you can settle as
fast as they come in."
The wedding gifts all arrived the day before the wedding. The base-
burner, though not needed for some months, was set up, because the
Boarder said he would not feel at home until he could put his feet on
his own hearth. John Meredith sent an oaken library table and an
easy-chair. Derry's offering was in the shape of a beautiful picture
and a vase for the table.
The best man, who fortunately had appealed to Amarilly for guidance,
gave a couch. The Jenkins family, assessed in proportion to their
respective incomes, provided a bedroom set. Lily Rose's landlady sent a
willow rocker; the girl friends at the factory a gilt clock; the
railroad hands, six silver spoons and an equal number of forks. Lily
Rose's Sunday-school teacher presented a lamp. A heterogeneous
assortment of articles came from the neighbors.
These presents were all arranged in the new rooms by Lily Rose, and the
elegance of the new apartment was overwhelming in effect to the
"It looks most too fine to feel to hum in," gasped the Boarder. "It
makes me feel strange!"
"It won't look strange to you," assured the bride-elect, looking shyly
into his adoring eyes, "when you come home and find me sitting here in
my blue dress waiting for you, will it?"
"No!" agreed the Boarder with a quick intake of breath, "'Twill be home
and heaven, Lily Rose."
Shyly and perversely Lily Rose had postponed the trying on of her
borrowed wedding waist until the day preceding the great event.
"There won't be time to fit it," pleaded Amarilly.
And Lily Rose had smiled a faraway smile and said her veil would cover
it anyway. But finally Amarilly's pleas prevailed and the beloved
garment was brought forth.
Amarilly took it reverently from its wrappings and held it up to view.
After many exclamations of wonder and admiration, Lily Rose, who had
removed her dress, essayed to try it on.
"Why, Amarilly," she said, struggling to get her arm into the sleeve,
"there's something the matter! It's sewed together, or something."
Amarilly hastened to investigate.
"Oh!" she gasped, after thrusting her hand within, "to think it should
be in here, for I am sure this is what Miss King has been looking for so
long. Wait until I go and ask ma about it."
She hurried to the kitchen precinct of the house.
"Oh, Ma, do you know how this came in Miss King's lace waist? The one
that was here through the fever?"
"Why, didn't you ever take that home?"
"Yes," informed Amarilly, "but she made me a present of it, and I put it
away to keep till I was--grown up. And I want to lend it to Lily Rose to
be married in. And when she went to try it on, she found this in the
Mrs. Jenkins paused in the sudsing of a garment.
"Let me see!" she said, surveying the object with reminiscent scrutiny.
"Oh, yes, I remember now. I found it on the floor the day she was here,
afore the waist was ready for her. I thought she had dropped it, and so
I pinned it in the sleeve of her dress, and was goin to tell Gus to give
it to her, but he didn't take the waist hum, and then so much happened,
it went clean out of my mind."
"I'll go right over to her house with it now," said Amarilly.
Lily Rose, adorned in the filmy, white waist, entered the kitchen.
"See, Amarilly," she said delightedly. "It's a beautiful fit!"
But Amarilly had something on her mind of more moment even than Lily
Rose's wedding garments.
"I am glad it fits," she said hurriedly, scarcely vouchsafing a glance
toward Lily Rose as she caught up her hat, and hastened as fast as the
street-cars would take her to Colette. Orders had been given for the
admittance of Amarilly at any hour and to any room her young patroness
might chance to be occupying. This morning she was in her boudoir.
"Oh, Miss King!" cried Amarilly, her face aglow. "I guess I have found
Colette's heart began to flutter and the wavering beat became a steady
throb when Amarilly handed her the long lost article.
"Oh, Amarilly, you darling! Yes, yes, this is it! And it evidently has
not been touched. Where did you find it? Who had it?" Amarilly related
the story of its discovery.
"Then, but for your generosity, Amarilly, this would have been in the
waist for years, so I am going to reward you. You shall make Lily Rose a
wedding present of the waist, and when you are married, I shall give you
a real, white wedding gown of white satin with a bridal train!"
"Oh, Miss King! I must get married then, even if I have to do it in a
"Of course you will marry. I shall pick out the bridegroom myself. I
feel like doing almost anything for you, Amarilly."
"Do you, truly?" asked Amarilly. "Then I wish you would--"
"Tell me, dear!" urged Colette. "I'll do anything for you to-day."
"Be nice to Mr. St. John!" whispered the little peacemaker.
"Amarilly! I will, indeed--nicer than you can imagine, or he either. And
tell me, is Lily Rose still happy--very happy?"
"Yes," replied Amarilly. "So happy, and so scared-like, and she's going
to dress at our house and could you come early and fix on the veil? We
don't just know how it goes."
[Illustration: "Be nice to Mr. St. John!" whispered the little
"Of course I will. And now will you take a little note to St. John for
me on your way home?"
"Yes, Miss King. And are you going to tell him it is found?"
"No, Amarilly; not until to-morrow night, so don't say anything about it
The rector looked up with a welcoming smile when Amarilly was shown into
"I came with a note from her," she said with a glad little intonation in
John took it eagerly. His face fell at the first few words which told
him not to call for her to-morrow night on the way to the wedding, but
it brightened amazingly when he read the reason--the adjusting of Lily
Rose's bridal veil; it fairly radiated joy when he read:
"I am not going to be disagreeable to--anyone to-morrow. I shall 'let my
light shine' on Lily Rose and--every one. If you will keep your carriage
to-morrow night, I will send mine away and ride home with you."
On the night of the auspicious occasion, Mrs. Jenkins's home presented a
scene of festivity. Neighbors had loaned their lamps, and the brakeman
had hung out his red lantern in token of welcome and cheer. It was,
however, mistaken by some of the guests as a signal of danger, and they
were wary of their steps lest they be ditched. Mrs. Hudgers ventured the
awful prognostication that "mebby some of them Jenkins brats had gone
and got another of them ketchin' diseases."
When they entered the house there was a general exclamation of
admiration. The curtain partitions had been removed, and the big room
was beautifully decorated with festoons and masses of green interspersed
with huge bunches of June roses.
Derry and Flamingus received the guests. Upstairs the Boarder and the
brakeman were nervously awaiting the crucial moment. The door into the
Annex was closed, for in the sitting-room was the little bride, her pale
cheeks delicately tinted from excitement as Colette artistically
adjusted the bridal veil, fastening it with real orange blossoms.
Amarilly hovered near in an ecstasy which was perforce silent on account
of her mouth being full of pins.
"There's Mr. St. John's carriage," she managed to murmur as she peered
from the window.
Colette dropped her paper of pins, went hastily into the adjoining
bedroom and slipped out again before John Meredith was ushered in where
the surplice immaculately laundered, was waiting to be donned by its
After slipping it on, John's hand from force of habit sought the pocket
and there encountered something. He drew it forth wonderingly. It was a
small, silver-monogrammed envelope sealed and addressed to him in
Colette's handwriting. He read the note once, twice, thrice. Then there
was a knock at the door that led into the Annex sitting-room. He opened
it to admit Amarilly.
"Are you ready?" she asked. "You're to go in with them. They--"
She paused and stared at him. The transformation in his face was
"Yes, I am ready, Amarilly," he replied, and something in his voice
sounded strange to her.
He followed her into the next room where the Boarder, awkward in his
Sunday clothes, but regal in his pride in the little, white-veiled
figure at his side, was awaiting him.
John walked out into the Jenkins's part of the house with them, while
Amarilly slipped home by way of the Annex bedroom.
The entrance was certainly effective to the neighbors.
"Ain't she a lily though!" "Look at that long veil onct!" "Jest like 'a
picter!" "What a swell waist" "That big bo'quet!" "I niver seed sech
flowers afore." "That surplus makes it look like picters!"
All these comments were sweet music in Amarilly's ear. Only one person
had regrets. Mrs. Hudgers was visibly disappointed.
"I thought they'd hev candles a-burnin'," she confided to Mrs. Huce.
"Don't you know no better than that?" scoffed Mrs. Huce with a superior
air. "Them things is only used by Irish folks."
Derry's dancing eyes looked to Colette for appreciation of this
statement, but her eyes and attention were entirely for John.
The ceremony began. John's impressive voice, with its new pervading note
of exultant gladness, reached them all, tempering even Derry's light-
hearted mirth. It gave courage to the little bride whose drooping head
rose like a flower, and a light shone in her eyes as she made the
responses sweetly and clearly. It found echo in the Boarder, whose
stooping shoulders unconsciously straightened and his voice grew clear
and strong as he promised to have and to hold. It found a place in
Colette's heart which sent illumining lights into her starry eyes.
When the solemn ceremony ended, and the Boarder and Lilly Rose were
pronounced man and wife, the guests flocked forward to offer
congratulations. Then they were bidden to adjourn to the Annex that they
might view the bride's domain, while Mrs. Jenkins assisted by many
helping hands set the long tables, a small one being reserved for the
Boarder, the bride, Mr. Cotter, and Mrs. Jenkins and Iry.
"I thought they could eat more natural," whispered the considerate
little Amarilly to Colette, "if there weren't no strangers with them."
Colette, John, and Derry were also honored with a separate table. Mrs.
Hudgers and Amarilly "dished up and poured" in the woodshed, while the
boys acted as waiters, having been thoroughly trained by Amarilly for
"Do you know," laughed Derry, "I was so surprised and relieved to find
that the Boarder had a cognomen like other people. It never occurred to
me before that he must of course have a name."
Colette smiled politely but perfunctorily. She was living too deeply
to-night to appreciate wit. John, too, was strangely silent, his eyes
resting often and adoringly upon Colette. Shrewdly Derry divined the
situation and relieved it by rattling on with a surface banter that
demanded no response.
"These refreshments," he observed, "are certainly the handiwork of my
little maid. They have a flavor all her own. I am proud of Amarilly's
"I wonder," said Colette, "if you are doing quite right, Mr. Phillips,
in improving Amarilly to such an extent? I am afraid she will grow
beyond her family."
"No; even you, pardon me, Miss King, don't know Amarilly as I do. She
couldn't get beyond them in her heart, although she may in other
directions. Her heart is in the right place, and it will bridge any
distance that may lie between them."
John looked up attentively and approvingly.
"Amarilly has too much aptitude for learning not to be encouraged, and I
shall do more for her before long. We have pursued a select course of
reading this winter. She has read aloud while I painted. We began
stumblingly with Alice in Wonderland and are now groping through
After refreshments had been served, Lily Rose went to her bedroom to don
her travelling gown, and when the happy couple had driven away amid a
shower of rice and shouts from the neighbors, John's carriage drew up.
"John," asked Colette, after a happy little moment in his arms, "did you
read my note and did you see what the date was?"
"Colette, surely it was the dearest love-letter a man ever received. If
I could have had it all these dreary months!"
"Do you wonder that I feared its falling into strange hands?"
"Tell me its history, Colette. How you recovered it, and why you thought
it was in the surplice in the first place?"
"I wrote it the day after you asked me--you know--"
There was another happy disappearance and silence before she resumed:
"I was sentimental enough to want to deliver it in an unusual way. I
took it to Mrs. Jenkins's house the day your surplice was to be returned
to you, and I slipped it inside the pocket. I wanted you to find it
there on Sunday morning. I didn't know what to think when you looked at
me so oddly that Sunday--yes, I know now that you were wondering at my
silence. And when we came home in the fall and I learned from Amarilly
that strangers might be reading and laughing at my ardent love-letter,
which must have passed through many and alien hands, I was so horrified
I couldn't act rational or natural. I was--yes, I will 'fess up, John,--
I was unreasonable, as you said and--No, John! wait until I finish
"You want to know how and where it was found? It seems at the same time
your surplice was laundered, a lace waist of mine was at their house. I
didn't care for a 'fumigated waist' so, like you, I made Amarilly a
present perforce. She laid it away in its wrappings to keep until her
wedding day. Out of the goodness of her generous little heart she loaned
it to Lily Rose and yesterday, when they were trying it on, Amarilly
found my note in the sleeve. Mrs. Jenkins was appealed to and remembered
that when the things were ready to be sent home, she found the note on
the floor, and supposing it had fallen from the waist slipped it inside
and forgot all about it. I decided that it should be delivered in the
manner originally planned."
"But, Colette," he asked wistfully, a few moments later, "if you had
never found it would you have kept me always in suspense and never have
given me an answer? I began to hope, that night I called, that you were
"I was, John. Amarilly had been telling me of the Boarder's love for
Lily Rose, and it made me lonely for you, and I determined in any event
to give you your answer--this answer--to-night. And so I did, and--I
think that is all, John."
"Not all, Colette."
The dairy business continued to prove profitable to Gus, the cow
remaining contented, loving and giving. One night, however, there came
the inevitable reaction, and the gentle creature in the cow-shed felt
the same stifling she had rebelled against on the night of the stampede
when she had made her wild dash for liberty. Moved by these
recollections, the sedate, orderly cow became imbued with a feeling of
unrest, and demolishing the frail door was once more at large. In a
frenzy of freedom she dashed about the yard. Her progress was somewhat
impeded by contact with the surplice which, pinned to the clothes-line,
was flapping in the breezes. Maddened by this obstruction which hung,
veil-like, over her bovine lineaments, she gave a twist of her Texas
horns, a tug, and the surplice was released, but from the line only; it
twined itself like a white wraith about the horns.
Then the sportive animal frisked over the low back fence and across the
hill, occasionally stepping on a released end of the surplice and
angrily tearing her way through the garment. She made her road to the
railroad track. That sight, awakening bitter memories of a packed
cattle-car, caused her to slacken her Mazeppa-like speed. While she
paused, the night express backed onto the side track to await the coming
of the eastbound train. The cow, still in meditation, was silhouetted in
the light of a harvest moon.
"This 'ere," a home-bound cattleman was saying to a friend on the
platform, "is nigh onto whar we dropped a cow. I swar if thar ain't that
blasted cow now, what? Know her from hoof to horn, though what kind of a
Christmas tree she's got on fer a bunnit, gits me! Ki, yi! Ki, yi!"
At the sound of the shrill, weird cry, the animal stood at bay. Again
came the well-known strident halloo. A maelstrom of memories was
awakened by the call. Instinctively obeying the old summons she started
toward the train, when from over the hill behind her she heard another
"Co, boss! Co, boss!"
The childish anxious treble rose in an imploring wail.
The cow paused irresolute, hesitating between the lure of the old life
on the plains and the recent domestic existence.
There was a note of entreaty, of affection, in the cry.
After all, domesticity was her birthright. With an answering low of
encouragement the black cow turned and trotted amiably back to meet the
"Well, I'll be jiggered," said the cattleman, as the train pulled out.
"I'd a swore it was old Jetblack. Maybe 'twas. She was only a milker
anyway, and I guess she's found a home somewhere."
Gus with arm lovingly about the cow's neck walked home.
"Bossy," he said in gently reproaching tones, "how could you give me
such a skeer? I thought I'd lost you, and I'd hev sure missed you--you,
yerself--more'n I would the money your milk brings us."
Then for the first time, the lad's eyes noted the decorated horns.
"What in thunder--"
He began to unwind the ribbons of white cloth, the stringed remnants of
"Gracious Peter! It's the surplus! What will Amarilly say--and Lily
Rose? It's only fit fer carpet rags now. Well, if this ain't the end of
the surplus after all it has went through! I wonder what bossy wanted of
it? Thought jest cause she was a cow, she must be a cow ketcher, I
Great was the joy of the Jenkinses at the restoration of the cow, but
there was grievous lament from Amarilly for the fate of the precious
"It was our friend--our friend in need!" she mourned.
"I'm so glad we hev a picter of it," said Lily Rose, gazing fondly at
the photograph of the Boarder in the saintly robes.
"I'll go and tell Miss King," said Amarilly the next morning. "She said
she felt that the surplice would come to some tragic end."
"It was a fitting fate for so mysterious a garment," commented Colette.
"You couldn't expect any ordinary, common-place ending for the surplice.
After officiating at funerals, weddings, shop-windows, theatres,
pawnshops, and bishops' dwellings, it could never have simply worn out,
or died of old age."
"I don't see," meditated Amarilly, "what possessed the cow. She's been
so gentle always, and then to fly to pieces that way, and riddle the
surplice to bits! It was lucky there was nothing else on the line."
"It's very simple," said Colette. "I suppose she wanted to go to the
train. Maybe she expected to meet a friend. And as nearly everyone else
had worn the surplice on special occasions, she thought she could do the
same; only, you see, never having been to church she didn't quite know
how to put it on, and I suppose got mad at it because it didn't fit her
and gave vent to her anger by trampling on it."
Amarilly's doleful little face showed no appreciation of this conceit.
"Don't look so glum, Amarilly. I have something to show you that will
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