Her Father's Daughter
Gene Stratton-Porter

Part 5 out of 8

Donald waved his hand in the direction of a formation of stone
the size of a small house.

"Been rolling that to the top of the mountain," he said lightly.
Linda's eyes narrowed, her face grew speculative. She looked at
Donald intently.

"Is it as difficult as that?" she asked in a lowered voice as if
the surf and the sea chickens might hear.

"It is just as difficult as that," said Donald. "While you're
talking about peculiar things, I'll tell you one. In class I
came right up against Oka Sayye on the solution of a theorem in
trigonometry. We both had the answer, the correct answer, but we
had arrived at it by widely different routes, and it was up to me
to prove that my line of reasoning was more lucid, more natural,
the inevitable one by which the solution should be reached. We
got so in earnest that I am afraid both of us were rather tense.
I stepped over to his demonstration to point out where I thought
his reasoning was wrong. I got closer to the Jap than I had ever
been before; and by gracious, Linda! scattered, but nevertheless
still there, and visible, I saw a sprinkling of gray hairs just
in front of and over his ears. It caught me unawares, and before
I knew what I was doing, before the professor and the assembled
classroom I blurted it out: 'Say, Oka Sayye, how old are you?'
If the Jap had had any way of killing me, I believe he would have
done it. There was a look in his eyes that was what I would call
deadly. It was only a flash and then, very courteously, putting
me in the wrong, of course, he remarked that he was 'almost
ninekleen'; and it struck me from his look and the way he said it
that it was a lie. If he truly was the average age of the rest
of the class there was nothing for him to be angry about. Then I
did take a deliberate survey. From the settled solidity of his
frame and the shape of his hands and the skin of his face and the
set of his eyes in his head, I couldn't see that much youth.
I'll bet he's thirty if he's a day, and I shouldn't be a bit
surprised if he has graduated at the most worthwhile university
in Japan, before he ever came to this country to get his English
for nothing."

Linda was watching a sea swallow now, and slowly her lean fingers
were gathering handfuls of sand and sifting them into a little
pyramid she was heaping beside her. Again almost under her
breath she spoke.

"Donald, do you really believe that?" she asked. "Is it possible
that mature Jap men are coming here and entering our schools and
availing themselves of the benefits that the taxpayers of
California provide for their children?"

"Didn't you know it?" asked Donald. "I hadn't thought of it in
connection with Oka Sayye, but I do know cases where mature Japs
have been in grade schools with children under ten."

"Oh, Donald!" exclaimed Linda. "If California is permitting that
or ever has permitted it, we're too easy. We deserve to become
their prey if we are so careless."

"Why, I know it's true," said Donald. "I have been in the same
classes with men more than old enough to be my father."

"I never was," said Linda, industriously sifting sand. "I have
been in classes with Japs ever since I have been at school, but
it was with girls and boys of our gardeners and fruit dealers and
curio-shop people, and they were always of my age and entitled to
be in school, since our system includes the education of anybody
who happens to be in California and wants to go to school."

"Did my being late spoil any particular plan you had made,

"Yes," said Linda, "it did."

"Oh, I am so sorry!" cried Donald. "I certainly shall try to see
that it doesn't occur again. Could we do it next Saturday?"

"I am hoping so," said Linda.

"I told Dad," said Donald, "where I wanted to go and what I
wanted to do, and he was awfully sorry but he said it was
business and it would take only a few minutes and he thought I
could do it and be on time. If he had known I would be detained
I don't believe he would have asked it of me. He's a grand old
peter, Linda."

"Yes, I know," said Linda. "There's not much you can tell me
about peters of the grand sort, the real, true flesh-and-blood,
bighearted, human-being fathers, who will take you to the fields
and the woods and take the time to teach you what God made and
how He made it and why He made it and what we can do with it, and
of the fellowship and brotherhood we can get from Nature by being
real kin. The one thing that I have had that was the biggest
thing in all this world was one of these real fathers."

Donald watched as she raised the pyramid higher and higher.

"Did you tell your father whom you were to go with?" she asked.

"Sure I did," said Donald. "Told the whole family at dinner last
night. Told 'em about all the things I was learning, from where
to get soap off the bushes to the best spot for material for
wooden legs or instantaneous relief for snake bite."

"What did they say?" Linda inquired laughingly.

"Unanimously in favour of continuing the course," he said. "I
had already told Father about you when I asked him for books and
any help that he could give me with Oka Sayye. Since I had
mentioned you last night he told Mother and Louise about that,
and they told me to bring you to the house some time. All of
them are crazy to know you. Mother says she is just wild to know
whether a girl who wears boots and breeches and who knows canyons
and the desert and the mountains as you do can be a feminine and
lovable person."

"If I told her how many friends I have, she could have speedily
decided whether I am lovable or not," said Linda; "but I would
make an effort to convince her that I am strictly feminine."

"You would convince her of that without making the slightest
effort. You're infinitely more feminine than any other girl I
have ever known "

"How do you figure that?" asked Linda.

"Well," said Donald, "it's a queer thing about you, Linda. I
take any liberty I pretty nearly please with most of the girls I
have been associated with. I tie their shoes and pull their
hair--down if I want to--and hand them round 'most any way the
notion takes me, and they just laugh and take the same liberties
with me, which proves that I am pretty much a girl with them or
they are pretty much boys with me. But it wouldn't occur to me
to touch your hair or your shoe lace or the tips of your fingers;
which proves that you're more feminine than any other girl I
know, because if you were not I would be treating you more like
another boy. I thought, the first day we were together, that you
were like a boy, and I said so, and I thought it because you did
not tease me and flirt with me, but since I have come to know you
better, you're less like a boy than any other girl I ever have

"Don't get psychological, Donald," said Linda. "Go on with the
Jap. I haven't got an answer yet to what I really want to know.
Have you made the least progress this week? Can you beat him?"

Donald hesitated, studying over the answer.

"Beat him at that trig proposition the other day," he said. "Got
an open commendation before the class. There's not a professor
in any of my classes who isn't 'hep' to what I'm after by this
time, and if I would cajole them a little they would naturally be
on my side, especially if their attention were called to that
incident of yesterday; but you said I have to beat him with my
brains, by doing better work than he does; so about the biggest
thing I can honestly tell you is that I have held my own. I have
only been ahead of him once this week, but I haven't failed in
anything that he has accomplished. I have been able to put some
additional touches to some work that he has done for which he
used to be marked A which means your One Hundred. Double A which
means your plus I made in one instance. And you needn't think
that Oka Sayye does not realize what I am up to as well as any of
the rest of the class, and you needn't think that he is not going
to give me a run for my brain. All I've got will be needed
before we finish this term."

"I see," said Linda, slowly nodding her head.

"I wish," said Donald, "that we had started this thing two years
ago, or better still, four. But of course you were not in the
high school four years ago and there wasn't a girl in my class or
among my friends who cared whether I beat the Jap or not. They
greatly preferred that I take them motoring or to a dance or a
picture show or a beach party. You're the only one except Mother
and Louise who ever inspired me to get down to business."

Linda laid her palm on the top of the sand heap and pressed it
flat. She looked at Donald with laughing eyes.

"Symbolical," she announced. "That sand was the Jap." She
stretched her hand toward him. "That was you. Did you see
yourself squash him?"

Donald's laugh was grim.

"Yes, I saw," he said. "I wish it were as easy as that."

"That was not easy," said Linda; "make a mental computation of
all the seconds that it took me to erect that pyramid and all the
millions of grains of sand I had to gather."

Donald was deeply thoughtful, yet a half smile was playing round
his lips.

"Of all the queer girls I ever knew, you're the cap sheaf,
Linda," he said.

Linda rose slowly, shook the sand from her breeches and stretched
out her hand.

"Let's hotfoot it down to the African village and see what the
movies are doing that is interesting today," she proposed.

CHAPTER XXI. Shifting the Responsibility

On her pillow that night before dropping to almost instantaneous
sleep Linda reflected that if you could not ride the King's
Highway, racing the sands of Santa Monica was a very excellent
substitute. It had been a wonderful day after all. When she had
left Donald at the Lilac Valley end of the car line he had held
her hand tight an instant and looked into her face with the most
engaging of clear, boyish smiles.

"Linda, isn't our friendship the nicest thing that ever happened
to us?" he demanded.

"Yes," answered Linda promptly, "quite the nicest. Make your
plans for all day long next Saturday."

"I'll be here before the birds are awake," promised Donald.

At the close of Monday's sessions, going down the broad walk from
the high school, Donald overtook Linda and in a breathless
whisper he said: "What do you think? I came near Oka Sayye
again this morning in trig, and his hair was as black as jet,
dyed to a midnight, charcoal finish, and I am not right sure that
he had not borrowed some girl's lipstick and rouge pot for the
benefit of his lips and cheeks. Positively he's hectically
youthful today. What do you know about that?"

Then he hurried on to overtake the crowd of boys he had left,
Linda's heart was racing in her breast.

Turning, she re-entered the school building, and taking a
telephone directory she hunted an address, and then, instead of
going to the car line that took her to Lilac Valley she went to
the address she had looked up. With a pencil she wrote a few
lines on a bit of scratch paper in one of her books. That note
opened a door and admitted her to the presence of a tall, lean,
gray-haired man with quick, blue-gray eyes and lips that seemed
capable of being either grave or gay on short notice. With that
perfect ease which Linda had acquired through the young days of
her life in meeting friends of her father, she went to the table
beside which this man was standing and stretched out her hand.

"Judge Whiting?" she asked.

"Yes," said the Judge.

"I am Linda Strong, the younger daughter of Alexander Strong. I
think you knew my father."

"Yes," said the Judge, "I knew him very well indeed, and I have
some small acquaintance with his daughter through very
interesting reports that my son brings home."

"Yes, it is about Donald that I came to see you," said Linda.

If she had been watching as her father would have watched, Linda
would have seen the slight uplift of the Judge's figure, the
tensing of his muscles, the narrowing of his eyes in the swift,
speculative look he passed over her from the crown of her bare,
roughened black head down the gold-brown of her dress to her
slender, well-shod feet. The last part of that glance Linda
caught. She slightly lifted one of the feet under inspection,
thrust it forward and looked at the Judge with a gay challenge in
her dark eyes.

"Are you interested in them too?" she asked.

The Judge was embarrassed. A flush crept into his cheeks. He
was supposed to be master of any emergency that might arise, but
one had arisen in connection with a slip of a schoolgirl that
left him wordless.

"It is very probable," said Linda, "that if my shoes had been
like most other girls' shoes I wouldn't be here today. I was in
the same schoolroom with your son for three years, and he never
saw me or spoke to me until one day he stopped me to inquire why
I wore the kind of shoes I did. He said he had a battle to wage
with me because I tried to be a law to myself, and he wanted to
know why I wasn't like other girls. And I told him I had a crow
to pick with HIM because he had the kind of brain that would be
content to let a Jap beat him in his own school, in his own
language and in his own country; so we made an engagement to
fight to a finish, and it ended by his becoming the only boy
friend I have and the nicest boy friend a girl ever had, I am
very sure. That's why I'm here."

Linda lifted her eyes and Judge Whiting looked into them till he
saw the same gold lights in their depths that Peter Morrison had
seen. He came around the table and placed a big leather chair
for Linda. Then he went back and resumed his own.

"Of course," said the Judge in his most engaging manner. "I
gather from what Donald has told me that you have a reason for
being here, and I want you to understand that I am intensely
interested in anything you have to say to me. Now tell me why
you came."

"I came," said Linda, "because I started something and am afraid
of the possible result. I think very likely if, in retaliation
for what Donald said to me about my hair and my shoes, I had not
twitted him about the use he was making of his brain and done
everything in my power to drive him into competition with Oka
Sayye in the hope that a white man would graduate with the
highest honors, he would not have gone into this competition,
which I am now certain has antagonized Oka Sayye."

Linda folded her slim hands on the table and leaned forward.

"Judge Whiting," she said earnestly, "I know very little about
men. The most I know was what I learned about my father and the
men with whom he occasionally hunted and fished. They were all
such fine men that I must have grown up thinking that every man
was very like them, but one day I came in direct contact with the
Jap that Donald is trying to beat, and the thing I saw in his
face put fear into my heart and it has been there ever since. I
have almost an unreasoning fear of that Jap, not because he has
said anything or done anything. It's just instinctive. I may be
wholly wrong in having come to you and in taking up your time,
but there are two things I wanted to tell you. I could have told
Donald, but if I did and his mind went off at a tangent thinking
of these things he wouldn't be nearly so likely to be in
condition to give his best thought to his studies. If I really
made him see what I think I have seen, and fear what I know I
fear, he might fail where I would give almost anything to see him
succeed; so I thought I would come to you and tell you about it
and ask you please to think it over, and to take extra care of
him, because I really believe that he may be in danger; and if he
is I never shall be able to rid myself of a sense of

"I see," said Judge Whiting. "Now tell me, just as explicitly as
you have told me this, exactly what it is that you fear."

"Last Saturday," said Linda, "Donald told me that while standing
at the board beside Oka Sayye, demonstrating a theorem, he
noticed that there were gray hairs above the Jap's ears, and he
bluntly asked him, before the professor and the class, how old he
was. In telling me, he said he had the feeling that if the Jap
could have done so in that instant, he would have killed him. He
said he was nineteen, but Donald says from the matured lines of
his body, from his hands and his face and his hair, he is certain
that he is thirty or more, and he thinks it very probable that he
may have graduated at home before he came here to get his English
for nothing from our public schools. I never before had the fact
called to my attention that this was being done, but Donald told
me that he had been in classes with matured men when he was less
than ten years of age. That is not fair, Judge Whiting; it is
not right. There should be an age specified above which people
may not be allowed to attend public school."

"I quite agree with you," said the Judge. "That has been done in
the grades, but there is nothing fair in bringing a boy under
twenty in competition with a man graduated from the institutions
of another country, even in the high schools. If this be the

"You can be certain that it is," said Linda, "because Donald
whispered to me as he passed me half an hour ago, coming from the
school building, that TODAY Oka Sayye's hair is a uniform,
shining black, and he also thought that he had used a lipstick
and rouge in an effort at rejuvenation. Do you think, from your
knowledge of Donald, that he would imagine that?"

"No," said Judge Whiting, "I don't think such a thing would occur
to him unless he saw it."

"Neither do I," said Linda. "From the short acquaintance I have
with him I should not call him at all imaginative, but he is
extremely quick and wonderfully retentive. You have to show him
but once from which cactus he can get Victrola needles and
fishing hooks, or where to find material for wooden legs."

The Judge laughed. "Doesn't prove much," he said. "You wouldn't
have to show me that more than once either. If anyone were
giving me an intensive course on such interesting subjects, I
would guarantee to remember, even at my age."

Linda nodded in acquiescence. "Then you can regard it as quite
certain," she said, "that Oka Sayye is making up in an effort to
appear younger than he is which means that he doesn't want his
right questioned to be in our schools, to absorb the things that
we are taught, to learn our language, our government, our
institutions, our ideals, our approximate strength and our
only-too-apparent weakness."

The Judge leaned forward and waited attentively.

"The other matter," said Linda, "was relative to Saturday. There
may not be a thing in it, but sometimes a woman's intuition
proves truer than what a man thinks he sees and knows. I haven't
SEEN a thing, and I don't KNOW a thing, but I don't believe your
gardener was sick last week. I believe he had a dirty job he
wanted done and preferred to save his position and avoid risks by
getting some other Jap who had no family and no interests here,
to do it for him. I don't BELIEVE that your car, having run all
right Friday night, was shot to pieces Saturday morning so that
Donald went smash with it in a manner that might very easily have
killed him, or sent him to the hospital for months, while Oka
Sayye carried off the honors without competition I want to ask
you to find out whether your regular gardener truly was ill,
whether he has a family and interests to protect here, or whether
he is a man who could disappear in a night as Japs who have
leased land and have families cannot. I want to know about the
man who took your gardener's place, and I want the man who is
repairing your car interviewed very carefully as to what he found
the trouble with it."

Linda paused. Judge Whiting sat in deep thought, then he looked
at Linda.

"I see," he said at last. "Thank you very much for coming to me.
All these things and anything that develops from them shall be
handled carefully. Of course you know that Donald is my only son
and you can realize what he is to me and to his mother and

"It is because I do realize that," said Linda, "that I am here.
I appreciate his friendship, but it is not for my own interests
that I am asking to have him taken care of while he wages his
mental war with this Jap. I want Donald to have the victory, but
I want it to be a victory that will be an inspiration to any boy
of white blood among any of our allies or among peoples who
should be our allies. There's a showdown coming between the
white race and a mighty aggregation of colored peoples one of
these days, and if the white man doesn't realize pretty soon that
his supremacy is not only going to be contested but may be lost,
it just simply will be lost; that is all there is to it."

The Judge was studying deeply now. Finally he said: "Young
lady, I greatly appreciate your coming to me. There may be
NOTHING in what you fear. It MIGHT be a matter of national
importance. In any event, it shows that your heart is in the
right place. May Mrs. Whiting and I pay you a visit some day
soon in your home?"

"Of course," said Linda simply. "I told Donald to bring his
mother the first time he came, but he said he did not need to be
chaperoned when he came to see me, because my father's name was a
guarantee to his mother that my home would be a proper place for
him to visit."

"I wonder how many of his other girl friends invited him to bring
his mother to see them," said the Judge.

"Oh, he probably grew up with the other girls and was acquainted
with them from tiny things," said Linda.

"Very likely," conceded the Judge. "I think, after all, I would
rather have an invitation to make one of those trips with you to
the desert or the mountains. Is there anything else as
interesting as fish hooks and Victrola needles and wooden legs to
be learned?"

"Oh, yes," said Linda, leaning farther forward, a lovely color
sweeping up into her cheeks, her eyes a-shine. She had missed
the fact that the Judge was jesting. She had thought him in
sober, scientific earnest.

"It's an awfully nice thing if you dig a plant or soil your hands
in hunting, or anything like that, to know that there are four or
five different kinds of vegetable soap where you can easily reach
them, if you know them. If you lose your way or have a long
tramp, it's good to know which plants will give you drink and
where they are. And if you're short of implements, you might at
any time need a mescal stick, or an arrow shaft or an arrow,
even. If Donald were lost now, he could keep alive for days,
because he would know what wood would make him a bow and how he
could take amole fiber and braid a bow string and where he could
make arrows and arrow points so that he could shoot game for
food. I've taught him to make a number of snares, and he knows
where to find and how to cook his greens and potatoes and onions
and where to find his pickles and how to make lemonade and tea,
and what to use for snake bite. It's been such fun, Judge
Whiting, and he has been so interested."

"Yes, I should think he would be," said the Judge. "I am
interested myself. If you would take an old boy like me on a few
of those trips, I would be immensely pleased."

"You'd like brigand beefsteak," suggested Linda, "and you'd like
cress salad, and I am sure you'd like creamed yucca."

"Hm," said the Judge. "Sounds to me like Jane Meredith."

Linda suddenly sat straight. A dazed expression crossed her
face. Presently she recovered.

"Will you kindly tell me," she said, "what a great criminal judge
knows about Jane Meredith?"

"Why, I hear my wife and daughter talking about her," said the

"I wonder," said Linda, "if a judge hears so many secrets that he
forgets what a secret is and couldn't possibly keep one to save
his life."

"On the other hand," said Judge Whiting, "a judge hears so many
secrets that he learns to be a very secretive person himself, and
if a young lady just your size and so like you in every way as to
be you, told me anything and told me that it was a secret, I
would guarantee to carry it with me to my grave, if I said I

One of Linda's special laughs floated out of the windows. Her
right hand slipped across the table toward the Judge.

"Cross your heart and body?" she challenged.

The Judge took the hand she offered in both of his own.

"On my soul," he said, "I swear it."

"All right," bubbled Linda. "Judge Whiting, allow me to present
to you Jane Meredith, the author and originator of the Aboriginal
Cookery articles now running in Everybody's Home.',

Linda stood up as she made the presentation and the Judge arose
with her. When she bowed her dark head before him the Judge
bowed equally as low, then he took the hand he held and pressed
it against his lips.

"I am not surprised," he said. "I am honored, deeply honored,
and I am delighted. For a high school girl that is a splendid

"But you realize, of course," said Linda, "that it is vicarious.
I really haven't done anything. I am just passing on to the
world what Alexander Strong found it interesting to teach his
daughter, because he hadn't a son."

"I certainly am fortunate that my son is getting the benefit of
this," said Judge Whiting earnestly. "There are girls who make
my old-fashioned soul shudder, but I shall rest in great comfort
whenever I know that my boy is with you."

"Sure!" laughed Linda. "I'm not vamping him. I don't know the
first principles. We're not doing a thing worse than sucking
'hunters' rock leek' or roasting Indian potatoes or fishing for
trout with cactus spines. I have had such a lovely time I don't
believe that I'll apologize for coming. But you won't waste a
minute in making sure about Oka Sayye?"

"I won't waste a minute," said the Judge.

CHAPTER XXII. The End of Marian's Contest

Coming from school a few days later on an evening when she had
been detained, Linda found a radiant Katy awaiting her.

"What's up, old dear?" cried Linda. "You seem positively

"So be," said Katy. "It's a good time I'm havin'. In the first
place the previous boss of this place ain't nowise so bossy as
sue used to be, an' livin' with her is a dale aisier. An' then,
when Miss Eileen is around these days, she is beginning to see
things, and she is just black with jealousy of ye. Something
funny happened here the afternoon, an' she was home for once an'
got the full benefit of it. I was swapin' the aist walk, but I
know she was inside the window an' I know she heard. First,
comes a great big loaded automobile drivin' up, and stopped in
front with a flourish an' out hops as nice an' nate a lookin' lad
as ever you clapped your eyes on, an' up he comes to me an' off
goes his hat with a swape, an' he hands me that bundle an' he
says: 'Here's something Miss Linda is wantin' bad for her wild
garden.' "

Katy handed Linda a bundle of newspaper, inside which, wrapped in
a man's handkerchief, she found several plants, carefully lifted,
the roots properly balled, the heads erect, crisp, although in
full flower.

"Oh, Katy!" cried Linda. "Look, it's Gallito, 'little rooster'!"
"Now ain't them jist yellow violets?" asked Katy dubiously.

"No," said Linda, "they are not. They are quite a bit rarer.
They are really a wild pansy. Bring water, Katy, and help me."

"But I've something else for ye," said Katy.

"I don't care what you have," answered Linda. "I am just
compelled to park these little roosters at once."

"What makes ye call them that ungodly name?" asked Katy.

"Nothing ungodly about it," answered Linda. "It's funny.
Gallito is the Spanish name for these violets, and it means
'little rooster.' "

Linda set the violets as carefully as they had been lifted and
rinsed her hands at the hydrant.

"Now bring on the remainder of the exhibit," she ordered.

"It's there on the top of the rock pile, which you notice has
incrased since ye last saw it."

"So it has!" said Linda. "So it has! And beautifully colored
specimens those are too. My fern bed will lift up its voice and
rejoice in them. And rocks mean Henry Anderson. The box I do
not understand."

Linda picked it up, untied the string, and slipped off the
wrapping. Katy stared in wide-mouthed amazement.

"I was just tickled over that because Miss Eileen saw a good-
looking and capable young man leave a second package, right on
the heels of young Whiting," she said. "Whatever have ye got,
lambie? What does that mean?"

Linda held up a beautiful box of glass, inside of which could be
seen swarming specimens of every bug, beetle, insect, and worm
that Henry Anderson had been able to collect in Heaven only knew
what hours of search. Linda opened the box. The winged
creatures flew, the bettles tumbled, the worms went over the top.
She set it on the ground and laughed to exhaustion. Her eyes
were wet as she looked up at Katy.

"That first night Henry Anderson and Peter Morrison were here to
dinner, Katy," she said, "Anderson made a joke about being my
bug-catcher when I built my home nest, and several times since he
has tried to be silly about it, but the last time I told him it
was foolishness to which I would listen no more, so instead of
talking, he has taken this way of telling me that he is fairly
expert as a bug-catcher. Really, it is awfully funny, Katy."

Katy was sober. She showed no appreciation of the fun.

"Ye know, lambie," she said, her hands on her hips, her elbows
wide-spread, her jaws argumentative, "I've done some blarneying
with that lad, an' I've fed him some, because he was doin' things
that would help an' please ye, but now I'm tellin' ye, just like
I'll be tellin' ye till I die, I ain't STRONG for him. If ever
the day comes when ye ask me to take on that Whiting kid for me
boss, I'll bow my head an' I'll fly at his bidding, because he is
real, he's goin' to come out a man lots like your pa, or hisn.
An' if ever the day comes when ye will be telling me ye want me
to serve Pater Morrison, I'll well nigh get on my knees to him.
I think he'd be the closest we'd ever come to gettin' the master
back. But I couldn't say I'd ever take to Anderson. They's
something about him, I can't just say what, but he puts me back
up amazin'."

"Don't worry, ancient custodian of the family," said Linda.
"That same something in Henry Anderson that antagonizes you,
affects me in even stronger degree. You must not get the foolish
notion that any man has a speculative eye on me, because it is
not true. Donald Whiting is only a boy friend, treating me as a
brother would, and Peter Morrison is much too sophisticated and
mature to pay any serious attention to a girl with a year more
high school before her. I want to be decent to Henry Anderson,
because he is Peter's architect, and I'm deeply interested in
Peter's house and the lady who will live in it. Sometimes I hope
it will be Donald's sister, Mary Louise. Anyway, I am going to
get acquainted with her and make it my business to see that she
and Peter get their chance to know each other well. My job for
Peter is to help run his brook at the proper angle, build his
bridge, engineer his road, and plant his grounds; so don't be
dreaming any foolish dreams, Katy."

Katy folded her arms, tilted her chin at an unusually aspiring
angle, and deliberately sniffed.

"Don't ye be lettin' yourself belave your own foolishness," she
said. "I ain't done with me exhibit yet. On the hall table ye
will find a package from the Pater Morrison man that Miss Eileen
had the joy of takin' in and layin' aside for ye, an atop of it
rists a big letter that I'm thinkin' might mean Miss Marian."

"Oh," cried Linda. "Why are you wasting all this time? If there
is a letter from Marian it may mean that the competition is
decided; but if it is, she loses, because she was to telegraph if
she won."

Linda rushed into the house and carried her belongings to her
workroom. She dropped them on the table and looked at them.

"I'll get you off my mind first," she said to the Morrison
package, which enclosed a new article entitled "How to Grow Good
Citizens." With it was a scrawled line, "I'm leaving the head
and heels of the future to you."

"How fine!" exulted Linda. "He must have liked the head and tail
pieces I drew for his other article, so he wants the same for
this, and if he is well paid for his article, maybe in time,
after I've settled for my hearth motto, he will pay me something
for my work. Gal-lum-shus!"

As she opened the letter from Marian she slowly shook her head.

"Drat the luck," she muttered, "no good news here."

Slowly and absorbedly she read:


No telegram to send. I grazed the first prize and missed the
second because Henry Anderson wins with plans so like mine that
they are practically duplicates. I have not seen the winning
plans. Mr. Snow told me as gently as he could that the judges
had ruled me out entirely. The winning plans are practically a
reversal of mine, more

professionally drawn, and no doubt the specifications are far
ahead of mine, as these are my weak spot, although I have worked
all day and far into the night on the mathematics of house
building. Mr. Snow was very kind, and terribly cut up about it.
I made what I hope was a brave fight, I did so believe in those
plans that I am afraid to say just how greatly disappointed I am.
All I can do is to go to work again and try to find out how to
better my best, which I surely put into the plans I submitted. I
can't see how Henry Anderson came to hit upon some of my personal
designs for comforts and conveniences. I had hoped that no man
would think of my especial kitchen plans. I rather fancied
myself as a benefactor to my sex, an emancipator from drudgery,
as it were. I had a concealed feeling that it required a woman
who had expended her strength combating the construction of a
devilish kitchen, to devise some of my built-in conveniences, and
I worked as carefully on my kitchen table, as on any part of the
house. If I find later that the winning plans include these
things I shall believe that Henry Anderson is a mind reader, or
that lost plans naturally gravitate to him. But there is no use
to grouch further. I seem to be born a loser. Anyway, I haven't
lost you and I still have Dana Meade.

I have nothing else to tell you except that Mr. Snow has waited
for me two evenings out of the week ever since I wrote you, and
he has taken me in his car and simply forced me to drive him for
an hour over what appeals to me to be the most difficult roads he
could select. So far I have not balked at anything but he has
had the consideration not to direct me to the mountains. He is
extremely attractive, Linda, and I do enjoy being with him, but I
dread it too, because his grief is so deep and so apparent that
it constantly keeps before me the loss of my own dear ones, and
those things to which the hymn books refer as "aching voids" in
my own life.

But there is something you will be glad to hear. That unknown
correspondent of mine is still sending letters, and I am crazy
about them. I don't answer one now until I have mulled over it
two or three days and I try to give him as good as he sends.

I judge from your letters that you are keeping at least even with
Eileen, and that life is much happier for you. You seem to be
broadening. I am so glad for the friendship you have formed with
Donald Whiting. My mother and Mrs. Whiting were friends. She is
a charming woman and it has seemed to me that in her daughter
Louise she has managed a happy compound of old-fashioned
straightforwardness and unswerving principle, festooned with
happy trimmings of all that is best in the present days. I hope
that you do become acquainted with her. She is older than you,
but she is the kind of girl I know you would like.

Don't worry because I have lost again, Linda dear. Today is my
blue day. Tomorrow I shall roll up my sleeves and go at it again
with all my might, and by and by it is written in the books that
things will come right for me. They cannot go wrong for ever.
With dearest love,


Linda looked grim as she finished the letter.

"Confound such luck," she said emphatically. "I do not
understand it. How can a man like Henry Anderson know more about
comforts and conveniences in a home than a woman with Marian's
experience and comprehension? And she has been gaining
experience for the past ten years. That partner of his must be a
six-cylinder miracle."

Linda went to the kitchen, because she was in pressing need of
someone to whom to tell her troubles, and there was no one except
Katy. What Katy said was energetic and emphatic, but it
comforted Linda, because she agreed with it and what she was
seeking at the minute was someone who agreed with her. As she
went back upstairs, she met Eileen on her way to the front door.
Eileen paused and deliberately studied Linda's face, and Linda
stopped and waited quietly until she chose to speak.

"I presume," said Eileen at last, "that you and Katy would call
the process through which you are going right now, 'taking the
bit in your teeth,' or some poetic thing like that, but I can't
see that you are getting much out of it. I don't hear the old
laugh or the clatter of gay feet as I did before all this war of
dissatisfaction broke out. This minute if you haven't either
cried, or wanted to, I miss my guess."

"You win," said Linda. "I have not cried, because I make it a
rule never to resort to tears when I can help it; so what you see
now is unshed tears in my heart. They in no way relate to what
you so aptly term my 'war of dissatisfaction'; they are for
Marian. She has lost again, this time the Nicholson and Snow
prize in architecture."

"Serves her right," said Eileen, laughing contemptuously. "The
ridiculous idea of her trying to compete in a man's age-old
occupation! As if she ever could learn enough about joists and
beams and girders and installing water and gas and electricity to
build a house. She should have had the sense to know she
couldn't do it."

"But," said Linda quietly, "Marian wasn't proposing to be a
contractor, she only wants to be an architect. And the man who
beat her is Peter Morrison's architect, Henry Anderson, and he
won by such a narrow margin that her plans were thrown out of
second and third place, because they were so very similar to his.
Doesn't that strike you as curious?"

"That is more than curious," said Eileen slowly. "That is a very
strange coincidence. They couldn't have had anything from each
other, because they only met at dinner, before all of us, and
Marian went away the next morning; it does seem queer." Then she
added with a flash of generosity and justice, "It looks pretty
good for Marian, at that. If she came so near winning that she
lost second and third because she was too near first to make any
practical difference, I must be wrong and she must be right."

"You are wrong," said Linda tersely, "if you think Marian cannot
make wonderful plans for houses. But going back to what my 'war
of dissatisfaction' is doing to me, it's a pale affair compared
with what it is doing to you, Eileen. You look a debilitated
silhouette of the near recent past. Do you feel that badly about
giving up a little money and authority?"

"I never professed to have the slightest authority over you,"
said Eileen very primly, as she drew back in the shadows. "You
have come and gone exactly as you pleased. All I ever tried to
do was to keep up a decent appearance before the neighbors and
make financial ends meet."

"That never seemed to wear on you as something seems to do now,"
said Linda. "I am thankful that this week ends it. I was
looking for you because I wanted to tell you to be sure not to
make any date that will keep you from meeting me at the office of
the president of the Consolidated Bank Thursday afternoon. I am
going to arrange with John to be there and it shouldn't take
fifteen minutes to run through matters and divide the income in a
fair way between us. I am willing for you to go on paying the
bills and ordering for the house as you have been."

"Certainly you are," sneered Eileen. "You are quite willing for
all the work and use the greater part of my time to make you

Linda suddenly drew back. Her body seemed to recoil, but her
head thrust forward as if to bring her eyes in better range to
read Eileen's face.

"That is utterly unjust, Eileen," she cried.

Then two at a time she rushed the stairs in a race for her room.

CHAPTER XXIII. The Day of Jubilee

Linda started to school half an hour earlier Wednesday morning
because that was the day for her weekly trip to the Post Office
for any mail which might have come to her under the name of Jane
Meredith. She had hard work to keep down her color when she
recognized the heavy gray envelope used by the editor of
Everybody's Home. As she turned from the window with it in her
fingers she was trembling slightly and wondering whether she
could have a minute's seclusion to face the answer which her last
letter might have brought. There was a small alcove beside a
public desk at one side of the room. Linda stepped into this,
tore open the envelope and slipped out the sheet it contained.
Dazedly she stared at the slip that fell from it. Slowly the
color left her cheeks and then came rushing back from her
surcharged heart until her very ears were red, because that slip
was very manifestly a cheque for five hundred dollars. Mentally
and physically Linda shook herself, then she straightened to full
height, tensing her muscles and holding the sheet before her with
a hand on each side to keep it from shaking, while she read:


I sincerely apologize for having waited so long before writing
you of the very exceptional reception which your articles have
had. I think one half their attraction has been the exquisite
and appealing pictures you have sent for their illustration. At
the present minute they are forming what I consider the most
unique feature in the magazine. I am enclosing you a cheque for
five hundred dollars as an initial payment on the series. Just
what the completed series should be worth I am unable to say
until you inform me how many months you can keep it up at the
same grade of culinary and literary interest and attractive
illustration; but I should say at a rough estimate that you would
be safe in counting upon a repetition of this cheque for every
three articles you send in. This of course includes payment for
the pictures also, which are to me if anything more attractive
than the recipes, since the local color and environment they add
to the recipe and the word sketch are valuable in the extreme.

If you feel that you can continue this to the extent of even a
small volume, I shall be delighted to send you a book contract.
In considering this proposition, let me say that if you could not
produce enough recipes to fill a book, you could piece it out to
the necessary length most charmingly and attractively by
lengthening the descriptions of the environment in which the
particular fruits and vegetables you deal with are to be found;
and in book form you might allow yourself much greater latitude
in the instructions concerning the handling of the fruits and the
preparation of the recipes. I think myself that a wonderfully
attractive book could be made from this material, and hope that
you will agree with me. Trusting that this will be satisfactory
to you and that you will seriously consider the book proposition
before you decline it, I remain, my dear madam, Very truly yours,


Editor, Everybody's Home.

Gripping the cheque and the letter, Linda lurched forward against
the window casement and shut her eyes tight, because she could
feel big, nervous gulps of exultation and rejoicing swelling up
in her throat. She shifted the papers to one hand and
surreptitiously slipped the other to her pocket. She tried to
keep the papers before her and looked straight from the window to
avoid attracting attention. The tumult of exultation in her
heart was so wild that she did not surely know whether she wanted
to sink to the floor, lay her face against the glass, and indulge
in what for generations women have referred to as "a good cry,"
or whether she wanted to leap from the window and sport on the
wind like a driven leaf.

Then she returned the letter and cheque to the envelope, and
slipped it inside her blouse, and started on her way to school.
She might as well have gone to Multiflores Canyon and pitted her
strength against climbing its walls for the day, for all the good
she did in her school work. She heard no word of any recitation
by her schoolmates. She had no word ready when called on for a
recitation herself. She heard nothing that was said by any of
the professors. On winged feet she was flying back and forth
from the desert to the mountains, from the canyons to the sea.
She was raiding beds of amass and devising ways to roast the
bulbs and make a new dish. She was compounding drinks from
mescal and bisnaga. She was hunting desert pickles and trying to
remember whether Indian rhubarb ever grew so far south. She was
glad when the dismissal hour came that afternoon. With eager
feet she went straight to the Consolidated Bank and there she
asked again to be admitted to the office of the president. Mr.
Worthington rose as she came in.

"Am I wrong in my dates?" he inquired. "I was not expecting you
until tomorrow."

"No, you're quite right," said Linda. "At this hour tomorrow.
But, Mr. Worthington, I am in trouble again."

Linda looked so distressed that the banker pushed a chair to the
table's side for her, and when she had seated herself, he said
quietly: "Tell me all about it, Linda. We must get life
straightened out as best we can."

"I think I must tell you all about it," said Linda, "because I
know just enough about banking to know that I have a proposition
that I don't know how to handle. Are bankers like father
confessors and doctors and lawyers?"

"I think they are even more so," laughed Mr. Worthington.
"Perhaps the father confessor takes precedence, otherwise I
believe people are quite as much interested in their financial
secrets as in anything else in all this world. Have you a
financial secret?"

"Yes," said Linda, "I have what is to me a big secret, and I
don't in the least know how to handle it, so right away I thought
about you and that you would be the one to tell me what I could

"Go ahead," said Mr. Worthington kindly. "I'll give you my word
of honor to keep any secret you confide to me."

Linda produced her letter. She opened it and without any
preliminaries handed it and the cheque to the banker. He looked
at the cheque speculatively, and then laid it aside and read the
letter. He gave every evidence of having read parts of it two or
three times, then he examined the cheque again, and glanced at

"And just how did you come into possession of this, young lady?"
he inquired. "And what is it that you want of me?"

"Why, don't you see?" said Linda. "It's my letter and my cheque;
I'm 'Jane Meredith.' Now how am I going to get my money.

For one dazed moment Mr. Worthington studied Linda; then he threw
back his head and laughed unrestrainedly. He came around the
table and took both Linda's hands.

"Bully for you !" he cried exultantly. "How I wish your father
could see the seed he has sown bearing its fruit. Isn't that
fine? And do you want to go on with this anonymously?"

"I think I must," said Linda. "I have said in my heart that no
Jap, male or female, young or old, shall take first honors in a
class from which I graduate; and you can see that if people
generally knew this, it would make it awfully hard for me to go
on with my studies, and I don't know that the editor who is
accepting this work would take it if he knew it were sent him by
a high-school Junior. You see the dignified way in which he ad
dresses me as 'madam'?"

"I see," said Mr. Worthington reflectively.

"I'm sure," said Linda with demure lips, though the eyes above
them were blazing and dancing at high tension, "I'm sure that the
editor is attaching a husband, and a house having a well-ordered
kitchen, and rather wide culinary experience to that 'dear

"And what about this book proposition?" asked the banker gravely.
"That would be a big thing for a girl of your age. Can you do
it, and continue your school work?"

"With the background I have, with the unused material I have, and
with vacation coming before long, I can do it easily," said
Linda. "My school work is not difficult for me. It only
requires concentration for about two hours in the preparation
that each day brings. The remainder of the time I could give to
amplifying and producing new recipes."

"I see," said the banker. "So you have resolved, Linda, that you
don't want your editor to know your real name."

"Could scarcely be done," said Linda.

"But have you stopped to think," said the banker, "that you will
be asked for personal history and about your residence, and no
doubt a photograph of yourself. If you continue this work
anonymously you're going to have trouble with more matters than
cashing a cheque."

"But I am not going to have any trouble cashing a cheque," she
said, "because I have come straight to the man whose business is

"True enough," he said; "I SHALL have to arrange the cheque;
there's not a doubt about that; and as for your other bugbears "

"I refuse to be frightened by them," interposed Linda.

"Have you ever done any business at the bank?"

"No," said Linda.

"None of the clerks know you?"

"Not that I remember," said Linda. "I might possibly be
acquainted with some of them. I have merely passed through the
bank on my way to your room twice."

"Then," said the banker, "we'll have to risk it. After this
estate business is settled you will want to open an account in
your name."

"Quite true," said Linda.

"Then I would advise you," said Mr. Worthington, "to open this
account in your own name. Endorse this cheque 'Jane Meredith'
and make it payable to me personally. Whenever one

of these comes, bring it to me and I'll take care of it for you.
One minute."

He left Linda sitting quietly reading and rereading her letter,
and presently returned and laid a sheaf of paper money before

"Take it to the paying teller. Tell him that you wish to deposit
it, and ask him to give you a bank book and a cheque book," he
said. "Thank you very much for coming to me and for confiding in

Linda gathered up the money, and said good-bye to the banker.
Just as she started forward she recognized Eileen at the window
of the paying teller. It was an Eileen she never before had
seen. Her face was strained to a ghastly gray. Her hat was not
straight and her hands were shaking. Without realizing that she
was doing it, Linda stepped behind one of the huge marble pillars
supporting the ceiling and stood there breathlessly, watching
Eileen. She could gather that she was discussing the bank ledger
which lay before the teller and that he was refusing something
that Eileen was imploring him to do. Linda thought she
understood what it was. Then very clearly Eileen's voice, sharp
and strained, reached her ears.

"You mean that you are refusing to pay me my deposits on my
private account?" she cried; and Linda could also hear the

"I am very sorry if it annoys or inconveniences you, Miss Strong,
but since the settlement of the estate takes place to

morrow, our orders are to pay out no funds in any way connected
with the estate until after that settlement has been arranged."

"But this is my money, my own private affair," begged Eileen.
"The estate has nothing to do with it."

"I am sorry," repeated the teller. "If that is the case, you
will have no difficulty in establishing the fact in a few
minutes' time."

Eileen turned and left the bank, and it seemed that she was
almost swaying. Linda stood a second with narrowed eyes, in deep

"I think," she said at last, deep down in her heart, "that it
looks precious much as if there had been a bit of transgression
in this affair. It looks, too, as if 'the way of the
transgressor' were a darned hard way. Straight ahead open and
aboveboard for you, my girl!"

Then she went quietly to the desk and transacted her own
business; but her beautiful day was clouded. Her heart was no
longer leaping exultantly. She was sickened and sorrowful over
the evident nerve strain and discomfort which Eileen seemed to
have brought upon herself. She dreaded meeting her at dinner
that night, and she wondered all the way home where Eileen had
gone from the bank and what she had been doing. What she felt
was a pale affair compared with what she would have felt if she
could have seen Eileen leave the bank and enter a near-by store,
go to a telephone booth and put in a long-distance call for San
Francisco. Her eyes were brilliant, her cheeks by nature redder
than the rouge she had used upon them. She squared her
shoulders, lifted her head, as if she irrevocably had made a
decision and would not be thwarted in acting upon it. While she
waited she straightened her hat, and tucked up her pretty hair,
once more evincing concern about her appearance. After a nervous
wait she secured her party.

"Am I speaking with Mr. James Heitman?" she asked.

"Yes," came the answer.

"Well, Uncle Jim, this is Eileen."

"Why, hello, girlie," was the quick response. "Delighted that
you're calling your ancient uncle. Haven't changed the decision
in the last letter I had from you, have you?"

"Yes," said Eileen, "I have changed it. Do you and Aunt Caroline
still want me, Uncle Jim?"

"YOU BET WE WANT YOU!" roared the voice over the 'phone. "Here
we are, with plenty of money and not a relation on earth but you
to leave it to. You belong to us by rights. We'd be tickled to
death to have you, and for you to have what's left of the money
when we get through with it. May I come after you? Say the
word, and I'll start this minute."

"Oh, Uncle Jim, could you? Would you?" cried Eileen.

"Well, I'd say I could. We'd be tickled to death, I tell you!"

"How long would it take you to get here?" said Eileen.

"Well, I could reach you by noon tomorrow. Eleven something is
the shortest time it's been made in; that would give me thirteen
--more than enough. Are you in that much of a hurry?"

"Yes," gasped Eileen, "yes, I am in the biggest kind of a hurry
there is, Uncle Jim. This troublesome little estate has to be
settled tomorrow afternoon. There's going to be complaint about
everything that I have seen fit to do. I've been hounded and
harassed till I am disgusted with it. Then I've promised to
marry John Gilman as I wrote you, and I don't believe you would
think that was my best chance with the opportunities you could
give me. It seems foolish to stay here, abused as I have been
lately, and as I will be tomorrow. You have the house number.
If you come and get me out of it by noon tomorrow, I'll go with
you. You may take out those adoption papers you have always
entreated me to agree to and I'll be a daughter that you can be
proud of. It will be a relief to have some real money and some
real position, and to breathe freely and be myself once more."

"All right for you, girlie!" bellowed the great voice over the
line. "Pick up any little personal bits you can put in a
suitcase, and by twelve o'clock tomorrow I'll whisk you right out
of that damn mess."

Eileen walked from the telephone booth with her head high,
triumph written all over her face and figure. They were going to
humiliate her. She would show them!

She went home immediately. Entering her room, she closed the
door and stood looking at her possessions. How could she get her
trunk from the garret? How could she get it to the station?
Would it be possible for Uncle James to take it in his car? As
she pondered these things Eileen had a dim memory of a day in her
childhood when her mother had gone on business to San Francisco
and had taken her along. She remembered a huge house, all
turrets and towers and gables, all turns and twists and angles,
closed to the light of day and glowing inside with shining
artificial lights. She remembered stumbling over deep rugs. One
vivid impression was of walls covered with huge canvases, some of
them having frames more than a foot wide. She remembered knights
in armor, and big fireplaces, and huge urns and vases. It seemed
to her like the most wonderful bazaar she ever had been in. She
remembered, too, that she had been glad when her mother had taken
her out into the sunshine again and from the presence of two
ponderous people who had objected strongly to everything her
mother had discussed with them. She paused one instant,
contemplating this picture. The look of triumph on her face
toned down considerably. Then she comforted herself aloud.

"I've heard Mother say," she said softly, "that everybody overdid
things and did not know how to be graceful with immense fortunes
got from silver and gold mines, and lumber. It will be different
now. Probably they don't live in the same house, even. There is
a small army of servants, and there is nothing I can think of
that Uncle Jim won't gladly get me. I've been too big a fool for
words to live this way as long as I have. Crush me, will they?
I'll show them! I won't even touch these things I have strained
so to get."

Eileen jerked from her throat the strand of pearls that she had
worn continuously for four years and threw it contemptuously on
her dressing table.

"I'll make Uncle Jim get me a rope with two or three strands in
it that will reach to my waist. 'A suitcase !' I don't know what
I would fill a suitcase with from here. The trunk may stay in
the garret, and while I am leaving all this rubbish, I'll just
leave John Gilman with it. Uncle Jim will give me an income that
will buy all the cigarettes I want without having to deceive
anyone; and I can have money if I want to stake something at
bridge without being scared into paralysis for fear somebody may
find it out or the accounts won't balance. I'll put on the most
suitable thing I have to travel in, and just walk out and leave
everything else."

That was what Eileen did. At noon the next day her eyes were
bright with nervousness. Her cheeks alternately paled with fear
and flooded red with anxiety. She had dressed herself carefully,
laid out her hat and gloves and a heavy coat in case the night
should be chilly. Once she stood looking at the dainty, brightly
colored dresses hanging in her wardrobe A flash of regret passed
over her face.

"Tawdry little cheap things and makeshifts," she said. "If Linda
feels that she has been so terribly defrauded, she can help
herself now!"

By twelve o'clock she found herself standing at the window,
straining her eyes down Lilac Valley. She was not looking at its
helpful hills, at its appealing curves, at its brilliant colors.
She was watching the roadway. When Katy rang to call her to
lunch, she told her to put the things away; she was expecting
people who would take her out to lunch presently. In the past
years she had occasionally written to her uncle. Several times
when he had had business in Los Angeles she had met him at his
hotel and dined with him. She reasoned that he would come
straight to the house and get her, and then they would go to one
of the big hotels for lunch before they started.

"I shan't feel like myself," said Eileen, "until we are well on
the way to San Francisco."

At one o'clock she was walking the floor. At two she was almost
frantic. At half past she almost wished that she had had the
good sense to have some lunch, since she was very hungry and
under tense nerve strain. Once she paused before the glass, but
what she saw frightened her. Just when she felt that she could
not endure the strain another minute, grinding brakes, the blast
of a huge Klaxon, and the sound of a great voice arose from the
street. Eileen rushed to the window. She took one look, caught
up the suitcase and raced down the stairs. At the door she met a
bluff, big man, gross from head to foot. It seemed to Eileen
strange that she could see in him even a trace of her mother, and
yet she could. Red veins crossed his cheeks and glowed on his
nose. His tired eyes were watery; his thick lips had an
inclination to sag; but there was heartiness in his voice and
earnestness in the manner in which he picked her up.

"What have they been doing to you down here?" he demanded.
"Never should have left you this long. Ought to have come down
and taken you and showed you what you wanted, and then you would
have known whether you wanted it or not."

At this juncture a huge woman, gross in a feminine way as her
husband was in his, paddled up the walk.

"I'm comin' in and rest a few minutes," she said. "I'm tired to
death and I'm pounded to pieces."

Her husband turned toward her. He opened his lips to introduce
Eileen. His wife forestalled him.

"So this is the Eileen you have been ravin' about for years," she
said. "I thought you said she was a pretty girl."

Eileen's soul knew one sick instant of recoil. She looked from
James Heitman to Caroline, his wife, and remembered that he had a
habit of calling her "Callie." All that paint and powder and
lipstick and brilliantine could do to make the ponderous, big
woman more ghastly had been done, but in the rush of the long
ride through which her husband had forced her, the colors had
mixed and slipped, the false waves were displaced. She was not
in any condition to criticize the appearance of another woman.
For one second Eileen hesitated, then she lifted her shaking
hands to her hat.

"I have been hounded out of my senses," she said apologetically,
"and have been so terribly anxious for fear you wouldn't get here
on time. Please, Aunt Caroline, let us go to a hotel, some place
where we can straighten up comfortably."

"Well, what's your hurry?" said Aunt Caroline coolly. "You're
not a fugitive from justice, are you? Can't a body rest a few
minutes and have a drink, even? Besides, I am going to see what
kind of a place you've been living in, and then I'll know how
thankful you'll be for what we got to offer."

Eileen turned and threw open the door. The big woman walked in.
She looked down the hall, up the stairway, and went on to the
living room. She gave it one contemptuous glance, and turning,
came back to the door.

"All right, Jim," she said brusquely. "I have seen enough. If
you know the best hotel in the town, take me there. And then, if
Eileen's in such a hurry, after we have had a bite we'll start
for home."

"Thank you, Aunt Caroline, oh, thank you!" cried Eileen.

"You needn't take the trouble to 'aunt' me every time you speak
to me," said the lady. "I know you're my niece, but I ain't
goin' to remind you of it every time I speak to you. It's
agein', this 'auntie' business. I don't stand for it, and as for
a name, I am free to confess I always like the way Jim calls me
'Callie.' That sounds younger and more companionable than
'Caroline.' "

James Heitman looked at Eileen and winked.

"You just bet, old girl!" he said. "They ain't any of them can
beat you, not even Eileen at her best. Let's get her out of
here. Does this represent your luggage, girlie?"

"You said not to bother with anything else," said Eileen.

"So I did," said Uncle Jim, "and I meant just what I said if it's
all right with you. I suppose I did have, in the back of my
head, an idea that there might be a trunk or a box--some things
that belonged to your mother, mebby, and your 'keepsakes.'"

"Oh, never mind," interrupted Eileen. "Do let's go. It's nearly
four o'clock. Any minute they may send for me from the bank, and
I'd be more than glad to be out of the way."

"Well, I'm not accustomed to being the porter, but if time's that
precious, here we go," said Uncle Jim.

He picked up the suitcase with one hand and took his wife's arm
with the other.

"Scoot down there and climb into that boat," he said proudly to
Eileen. "We'll have a good dinner in a private room when we get
to the hotel. I won't even register. And then we'll get out of
here when we have rested a little."

"Can't we stay all night and go in the morning?" panted his wife.

"No, ma'am, we can't," said James Heitman authoritatively.
"We'll eat a bite because we need to be fed up, and I sincerely
hope they's some decent grub to be had in this burg. The first
place we come to outside of here, that looks like they had a
decent bed, we'll stop and make up for last night. But we ain't
a-goin' to stay here if Eileen wants us to start right away, eh,

"Yes, please!" panted Eileen. "I just don't want to meet any of
them. It's time enough for them to know what has happened after
I am gone."

"All right then," said Uncle James. "Pile in and we'll go."

So Eileen started on the road to the unlimited wealth her soul
had always craved.

CHAPTER XXIV. Linda's First Party

At the bank Linda and John Gilman waited an hour past the time
set for Eileen's appearance. Then Linda asserted herself.

"I have had a feeling for some time," she said quietly, "that
Eileen would not appear today, and if she doesn't see fit to
come, there is no particular reason why she should. There is
nothing to do but go over the revenue from the estate. The books
will show what Eileen has drawn monthly for her expense budget.
That can be set aside and the remainder divided equally between
us. It's very simple. Here is a letter I wrote to the
publishers of Father's books asking about royalties. I haven't
even opened it. I will turn it in with the remainder of the

They were in the office with the president of the bank. He rang
for the clerk he wanted and the books he required, and an hour's
rapid figuring settled the entire matter, with the exception of
the private account, amounting to several thousands, standing in
Eileen's name. None of them knew any source of separate income
she might have. At a suggestion from Linda, the paying teller
was called in and asked if he could account for any of the funds
that had gone into the private account.

"Not definitely," he said, "but the amounts always corresponded
exactly with the royalties from the books. I strongly suspect
that they constitute this private account of Miss Eileen's."

But he did not say that she had tried to draw it the day

John Gilman made the suggestion that they should let the matter
rest until Eileen explained about it. Then Linda spoke very
quietly, but with considerable finality in her tone.

"No," she said, "I know that Eileen HAD no source of private
income. Mother used to mention that she had some wealthy
relatives in San Francisco, but they didn't approve of her
marriage to what they called a 'poor doctor,' and she would never
accept, or allow us to accept, anything from them. They never
came to see us and we never went to see them. Eileen knows no
more about them than I do. We will work upon the supposition
that everything that is here belonged to Father. Set aside to
Eileen's credit the usual amount for housekeeping expenses. Turn
the private account in with the remainder. Start two new bank
books, one for Eileen and one for me. Divide the surplus each
month exactly in halves. And I believe this is the proper time
for the bank to turn over to me a certain key, specified by my
father as having been left in your possession to be delivered to
me on my coming of age."

With the key in her possession, Linda and John Gilman left the
bank. As they stood for a moment in front of the building,
Gilman removed his hat and ran his hands through his hair as if
it were irritating his head.

"Linda," he said in a deeply wistful tone, "I don't understand
this. Why shouldn't Eileen have come today as she agreed? What
is there about this that is not according to law and honor and
the plain, simple rights of the case?"

"I don't know," said Linda; "but there is something we don't
understand about it. And I am going to ask you, John, as my
guardian, closing up my affairs today, to go home with me to be
present when I open the little hidden door I found at the back of
a library shelf when I was disposing of Daddy's technical books.
There was a slip of paper at the edge of it specifying that the
key was in possession of the Consolidated Bank and was to be
delivered to me, in the event of Daddy's passing, on my coming of
age. I have the key, but I would like to have you with me, and
Eileen if she is in the house, when I open that door. I don't
know what is behind it, but there's a certain feeling that always
has been strong in my heart and it never was so strong as it is
at this minute."

So they boarded the street car and ran out to Lilac Valley. When
Katy admitted them Linda put her arm around her and kissed her.
She could see that the house was freshly swept and beautifully
decorated with flowers, and her trained nostrils could scent
whiffs of delicious odors from food of which she was specially
fond. In all her world Katy was the one person who was
celebrating her birthday. She seemed rather surprised when Linda
and Gilman came in together.

"Where is Eileen?" inquired Linda.

"She must have made some new friends," said Katy. "About four
o'clock, the biggest car that ever roared down this street rolled
up, and the biggest man and woman that I ever see came puffin'
and pantin' in. Miss Eileen did not tell me where she was goin'
or when she would be back, but I know it won't be the night,
because she took her little dressin' case with her. Belike it's
another of them trips to Riverside or Pasadena."

"Very likely," said Linda quietly. "Katy, can you spare a few

"No, lambie, I jist can't," said Katy, "because a young person
that's the apple of me eye is havin' a birthday the day and I
have got me custard cake in the oven and the custard is in the
makin', and after Miss Eileen went and I didn't see no chance for
nothin' special, I jist happened to look out, one of the ways ye
do things unbeknownst to yourself, and there stood Mr. Pater
Morrison moonin' over the 'graveyard,' like he called it, and it
was lookin' like seein' graves he was, and I jist took the bull
by the horns, and I sings out to him and I says: 'Mr. Pater
Morrison, it's a good friend ye were to the young missus when ye
engineered her skylight and her beautiful fireplace, and this
bein' her birthday, I'm takin' the liberty to ask ye to come to
dinner and help me celebrate.' And he said he would run up to the
garage and get into his raygimentals, whatever them might be, and
he would be here at six o'clock. So ye got a guest for dinner,
and if the custard's scorched and the cake's flat, it's up to ye
for kapin' me here to tell ye all this."

Then Katy hurried to the kitchen. Linda looked at John Gilman
and smiled.

"Isn't that like her?" she said.

Then she led the way to the library, pulled aside the books,
fitted the key to the little door, and opened it. Inside lay a
single envelope, sealed and bearing her name. She took the
envelope, and walking to her father's chair beside his library
table, sat down in it, and laying the envelope on the table,
crossed her hands on top of it.

"John," she said, "ever since I have been big enough to think and
reason and study things out for myself, there is a feeling I have
had--I used to think it was unreasonable, then I thought it
remote possibility. This minute I think it's extremely probable.
Before I open this envelope I am going to tell you what I believe
it contains. I have not the slightest evidence except personal
conviction, but I believe that the paper inside this envelope is
written by my father's hand and I believe it tells me that he was
not Eileen's father and that I am not her sister. If it does not
say this, then there is nothing in race and blood and inherited

Linda picked up the paper cutter, ran it across the envelope,
slipped out the sheet, and bracing herself she read:


These lines are to tell you that your mother went to her eternal
sleep when you were born. Four years later I met and fell in
love with the only mother you ever have known. At the time of
our marriage we entered into a solemn compact that her little
daughter by a former marriage and mine should be reared as
sisters. I was to give half my earnings and to do for Eileen
exactly as I did for you. She was to give half her love and her
best attention to your interests.

I sincerely hope that what I have done will not result in any
discomfort or inconvenience to you.

With dearest love, as ever your father,


Linda laid the sheet on the table and dropped her hands on top of
it. Then she looked at John Gilman.

"John," she said, "I believe you had better face the fact that
the big car and the big people that carried Eileen away today
were her mother's wealthy relatives from San Francisco. She must
have been in touch with them. I think very likely she sent for
them after I saw her in the bank yesterday afternoon, trying with
all her might to make the paying teller turn over to her the
funds of the private account."

John Gilman sat very still for a long time, then he raised tired,
disappointed eyes to Linda's face.

"Linda," he said, "do you mean you think Eileen was not straight
about money matters?"

"John," said Linda quietly, "I think it is time for the truth
about Eileen between you and me. If you want me to answer that
question candidly, I'll answer it."

"I want the truth," said John Gilman gravely.

"Well," said Linda, "I never knew Eileen to be honest about
anything in all her life unless the truth served her better than
an evasion. Her hair was not honest color and it was not honest
curl. Her eyebrows were not so dark as she made them. Her
cheeks and lips were not so red, her forehead and throat were not
so white, her form was not so perfect. Her friends were selected
because they could serve her. As long as you were poor and
struggling, Marian was welcome to you. When you won a great case
and became prosperous and fame came rapidly, Eileen took you. I
believe what I told you a minute ago: I think she has gone for
good. I think she went because she had not been fair and she
would not be forced to face the fact before you and me and the
president of the Consolidated today. I think you will have to
take your heart home tonight and I think that before the night is
over you will realize what Marian felt when she knew that in
addition to having been able to take you from her, Eileen was not
a woman who would make you happy. I am glad, deeply g]ad, that
there is not a drop of her blood in my veins, sorry as I am for
you and much as I regret what has happened. I won't ask you to
stay tonight, because you must go through the same black waters
Marian breasted, and you will want to be alone. Later, if you
think of any way I can serve you, I will be glad for old sake's
sake; but you must not expect me ever to love you or respect your
judgment as I did before the shadow fell."

Then Linda rose, replaced the letter, turned the key in the lock,
and quietly slipped out of the room.

When she opened her door and stepped into her room she paused in
astonishment. Spread out upon the bed lay a dress of georgette
with little touches of fur and broad ribbons of satin. In color
it was like the flame of seasoned beechwood. Across the foot of
the bed hung petticoat, camisole, and hose, and beside the dress
a pair of satin slippers exactly matching the hose, and they
seemed the right size. Linda tiptoed to the side of the bed and
delicately touched the dress, and then she saw a paper lying on
the waist front, and picking it up read:

Lambie, here's your birthday, from loving old Katy.

The lines were terse and to the point. Linda laid them down, and
picking up the dress she walked to the mirror, and holding it
under her chin glanced down the length of its reflection. What
she saw almost stunned her.

"Oh, good Lord!" she said. "I can't wear that. That isn't me."

Then she tossed the dress on the bed and started in a headlong
rush to the kitchen. As she came through the door, "You blessed
old darling!" she cried. "What am I going to say to make you
know how I appreciate your lovely, lovely gift?"

Katy raised her head. There was something that is supposed to be
the prerogative of royalty in the lift of it. Her smile was
complacent in the extreme.

"Don't ye be standin' there wastin' no time talkie'," she said.

"I have oodles of time," said Linda, "but I warn you, you won't
know me if I put on that frock, Katy."

"Yes, I will, too," said Katy.

"Katy," said Linda, sobering suddenly, "would it make any great
difference to you if I were the only one here for always, after

Katy laughed contemptuously.

"Well, I'd warrant to survive it," she said coolly.

"But that is exactly what I must tell you, Katy," said Linda
soberly. "You know I have told you a number of times through
these years that I did not believe Eileen and I were sisters, and
I am telling you now that I know it. She did not come to the
bank today, and the settlement of Father's affairs developed the
fact that I was my father's child and Eileen was her mother's;
and I'm thinking, Katy, that the big car you saw and the opulent
people in it were Eileen's mother's wealthy relatives from San
Francisco. My guess is, Katy, that Eileen has gone with them for
good. Lock her door and don't touch her things until we know
certainly what she wants done with them."

Katy stood thinking intently, then she lifted her eyes to

"Lambie," she whispered softly, "are we ixpicted to go into
mourning over this?"

A mischievous light leaped into Linda's eyes.

"Well, if there are any such expectations abroad, Katherine
O'Donovan," she said soberly, "the saints preserve 'em, for we
can't fulfill 'em, can we, Katy?"

"Not to be savin' our souls," answered Katy heartily. "I'm jist
so glad and thankful that I don't know what to do, and it's such
good news that I don't belave one word of it. And while you're
talkie', what about John Gilman?"

"I think," said Linda quietly, "that tonight is going to teach
him how Marian felt in her blackest hours."

"Well, he needn't be coming to me for sympathy," said Katy. "But
if Miss Eileen has gone to live with the folks that come after
her the day, ye might be savin' a wee crap o' sympathy for her,
lambie. They was jist the kind of people that you'd risk your
neck slidin' down a mountain to get out of their way."

"That is too bad," said Linda reflectively; "because Eileen is
sensitive and constant contact with crass vulgarity certainly
would wear on her nerves."

"Now you be goin' and gettin' into that dress, lambie," said

"Katherine O'Donovan," said Linda, "you're used to it; come again
to confession. Tell me truly where and how did you get that

"'Tain't no rule of polite society to be lookin' gift horses in
the mouth," said Katy proudly. "HOW I got it is me own affair,
jist like ye got any gifts ye was ever makin' me, is yours.
WHERE I got it? I went into the city on the strafe car and I
went to the biggest store in the city and I got in the elevator
and I says to the naygur: 'Let me off where real ladies buy
ready-to-wear dresses.'

"And up comes a little woman, and her hair was jist as soft and
curling round her ears, and brown and pretty was her eyes, and
the pink that God made was in her cheeks, and in a voice like
runnin' water she says: 'Could I do anything for you?' I told
her what I wanted. And she says: 'How old is the young lady,
and what's her size, and what's her color?' Darlin', ain't that
dress the answer to what I told her?"

"Yes," said Linda. "If an artist had been selecting a dress for
me he would probably have chosen that one. But, old dear, it's
not suitable for me. It's not the kind of dress that I intended
to wear for years and years yet. Do you think, if I put it on
tonight, I'll ever be able to go back to boots and breeches
again, and hunt the canyons for plants to cook for--you know

Katy stood in what is commonly designated as a "brown study."
Then she looked Linda over piercingly.

"Yes, ma'am," she said conclusively. "It's my judgment that ye
will. I think ye'll maybe wrap the braids of ye around your head
tonight, and I think ye'll put on that frock, and I think ye'll
show Pater Morrison how your pa's daughter can sit at the head of
his table and entertain her friends. Then I think ye'll hang it
in your closet and put on your boots and breeches and go back to
your old Multiflores and attind to your business, the same as

"All right, Katy," said Linda, "if you have that much faith in me
I have that much faith in myself; but, old dear, I can't tell you
how I LOVE having a pretty dress for tonight. Katy dear, the
'Day of Jubilee' has come. Before you go to sleep I'm coming to
your room to tell you fine large secrets, that you won't believe
for a minute, but I haven't the time to do it now."

Then Linda raced to her room and began dressing. She let down
the mop of her hair waving below her waist and looked at it

"That dress never was made for braids down your back," she said,
glancing toward the bed where it lay shimmering in a mass of
lovely color. "I am of age today; for state occasions I should
be a woman. What shall I do with it?"

And then she recalled Katy's voice saying: "Braids round your

"Of course," said Linda, "that would be the thing to do. I
certainly don't need anything to add to my height; I am far too
tall now."

So she parted her hair in the middle, brushed it back, divided it
in even halves, and instead of braiding it, she coiled it around
her head, first one side and then the other.

She slipped into the dress and struggled with its many and
intricate fastenings. Then she went to the guest room to stand
before the full-length mirror there. Slowly she turned.
Critically she examined herself.

"It's a bit shorter than I would have ordered it," she said, "but
it reduces my height, it certainly gives wonderful freedom in
walking, and it's not nearly so short as I see other girls

Again she studied herself critically.

"Need some kind of ornament for my hair," she muttered, "but I
haven't got it, and neither do I own beads, bracelet, or a ring;
and my ears are sticking right out in the air. I am almost
offensively uncovered."

Then she went down to show herself to a delighted Katy. When the
doorbell rang Linda turned toward the hall. Katy reached a
detaining hand.

"You'll do nothing of the sort," she said. "I answered the bell
for Miss Eileen. Answer the bell I shall for you."

Down the hall went Katy with the light of battle in her eyes and
the air of a conqueror in the carriage of her head. She was well
trained. Neither eyelid quivered as she flung the door wide to
Peter Morrison. He stood there in dinner dress, more imposing
than Katy had thought he could be. With quick, inner exultation
she reached for two parcels he carried; over them her delight was
so overpowering that Peter Morrison must have seen a hint of it.
With a flourish Katy seated him, and carried the packages to
Linda. She returned a second later for a big vase, and in this
Linda arranged a great sheaf of radiant roses. As Katy started
to carry them back to the room, Linda said "Wait a second," and
selecting one half opened, she slipped it out, shortened the stem
and tucked it among the coils of hair where she would have set an
ornament. The other package was a big box that when opened
showed its interior to be divided into compartments in each of
which nestled an exquisite flower made of spun sugar. The
petals, buds, and leaves were perfect. There were wonderful
roses with pale pink outer petals and deeper-colored hearts.
There were pink mallows that seemed as if they must have been cut
from the bushes bordering Santa Monica road. There were
hollyhocks of white and gold, and simply perfect tulips. Linda
never before had seen such a treasure candy box. She cried out
in delight, and hurried to show Katy. In her pleasure over the
real flowers and the candy flowers Linda forgot her dress, but
when she saw Peter Morrison standing tall and straight, in dinner
dress, she stopped and looked the surprise and pleasure she felt.
She had grown accustomed to Peter in khaki pottering around his
building. This Peter she never before had seen. He represented
something of culture, something of pride, a conformity to a nice
custom and something more. Linda was not a psychoanalyst.

She could not see a wonderful aura of exquisite color enveloping
Peter. But when Peter saw the girl approaching him, transformed
into a woman whose shining coronet was jewelled with his living
red rose, when he saw the beauty of her lithe slenderness clothed
in a soft, flaming color, something emanated from his inner
consciousness that Linda did see, and for an instant it disturbed
her as she went forward holding out her hands.

"Peter," she said gaily, "do you know that this is my Day of
Jubilee? I am a woman today by law, Peter. Hereafter I am to
experience at least a moderate degree of financial freedom, and
that I shall enjoy. But the greatest thing in life is friends."

Peter took both the hands extended to him and looked smilingly
into her eyes.

"You take my breath," he said. "I knew, the first glimpse I ever
had of you scrambling from the canyon floor, that this
transformation COULD take place. My good fortune is beyond words
that I have been first to see it. Permit me, fair lady."

Peter bent and kissed both her hands. He hesitated a second,
then he turned the right hand and left one more kiss in its palm.

"To have and to hold!" he said whimsically.

"Thank you," said Linda, closing her fist over it and holding it
up for inspection. "I'll see that it doesn't escape. And this
minute I thank you for the candy, which I know is delicious, and
for my very first sheaf of roses from any man. See what I have
done with one of them?"

She turned fully around that he might catch the effect of the
rose, and in getting that he also got the full effect of the
costume, and the possibilities of the girl before him. And then
she gave him a shock.

"Isn't it a lovely frock?" she said. "Another birthday gift from
the Strong rock of ages. I have been making a collection of
rocks for my fern bed, and I have got another collection that is
not visible to anyone save myself. Katy's a rock, and you're a
rock, and Donald is a rock, and Marian's a rock, and I am resting
securely on all of you. I wish my father knew that in addition
to Marian and Katy I have found two more such wonderful friends."

"And what about Henry Anderson?" inquired Peter. "Aren't you
going to include him?"

Linda walked over to the chair in which she intended to seat

"Peter," she said, "I wish you hadn't asked me that."

Peter's figure tensed suddenly.

"Look here, Linda," he said sternly, "has that rather bold
youngster made himself in any way offensive to you?"

"Not in any way that I am not perfectly capable of handling
myself," said Linda. She looked at Peter confidently.

"Do you suppose," she said, "that I can sit down in this thing
without ruining it? Shouldn't I really stand up while I am
wearing it?"

Peter laughed unrestrainedly.

"Linda, you're simply delicious," he said. "It seems to me that
I have seen young ladies in like case reach round and gather the
sash to one side and smooth out the skirt as they sit."

"Thank you, Peter, of course that would be the way," said Linda.
"This being my first, I'm lacking in experience."

And thereupon she sat according to direction; while Peter sat
opposite her.

"Now finish. Just one word more about Henry Anderson," he said.
"Are you perfectly sure there is nothing I need do for you in
that connection?"

"Oh, perfectly," said Linda lightly. "I didn't mean to alarm
you. He merely carried that bug-catcher nonsense a trifle too
far. I wouldn't have minded humoring him and fooling about it a
little. But, Peter, do you know him quite well? Are you very
sure of him?"

"No," said Peter, "I don't know him well at all. The only thing
I am sure about him is that he is doing well in his profession.
I chose him because he was an ambitious youngster and I thought I
could get more careful attention from him than I could from some
of the older fellows who had made their reputation. You see,
there are such a lot of things I want to know about in this
building proposition, and the last four years haven't been a time
for any man to be careful about saving his money."

"Then," said Linda, "he is all right, of course. He must be.
But I think I'm like a cat. I'm very complacent with certain
people, but when I begin to get goose flesh and hair prickles my
head a bit, I realize that there is something antagonistic
around, something for me to beware of. I guess it's because I am
such a wild creature."

"Do you mean to say," said Peter, "that these are the sensations
that Henry gives you?"

Linda nodded.

"Now forget Henry," she said. "I have had such a big day I must
tell you about it, and then we'll come to that last article you
left me. I haven't had time to put anything on paper concerning
it yet, but I believe I have an awfully good idea in the paint
pot, and I'll find time in a day or two to work it out. Peter, I
have just come from the bank, where I was recognized as of legal
age, and my guardian discharged. And perhaps I ought to explain
to you, Peter, that your friend, John Gilman, is not here because
this night is going to be a bad one for him. When you knew him
best he was engaged, or should have been, to Marian Thorne. When
you met him this time he really was engaged to Eileen. I don't
know what you think about Eileen. I don't feel like influencing
anyone's thought concerning her, so I'll merely say that today
has confirmed a conviction that always has been in my heart.
Katy could tell you that long ago I said to her that I did not
believe Eileen was my sister. Today has brought me the knowledge
and proof positive that she is not, and today she has gone to
some wealthy relatives of her mother in San Francisco. She
expressed her contempt for what she was giving up by leaving
everything, including the exquisite little necklace of pearls
which has been a daily part of her since she owned them. I may
be mistaken, but intuition tells me that with the pearls and the
wardrobe she has also discarded John Gilman. I think your friend
will be suffering tonight quite as deeply as my friend suffered
when John abandoned her at a time when she had lost everything
else in life but her money. I feel very sure that we won't see
Eileen any more. I hope she will have every lovely thing in

"Amen," said Peter Morrison earnestly. "I loved John Gilman when
we were in school together, but I have not been able to feel,
since I located here, that he is exactly the same John; and what
you have told me very probably explains the difference in him."

When Katy announced dinner Linda arose.

Peter Morrison stepped beside her and offered his arm. Linda
rested her finger tips upon it and he led her to the head of the
table and seated her. Then Katy served a meal that, if it had
been prepared for Eileen, she would have described as a banquet.
She gave them delicious, finely flavored food, stimulating,
exquisitely compounded drinks that she had concocted from the
rich fruits of California and mints and essences at her command.
When, at the close of the meal, she brought Morrison some of the
cigars Eileen kept for John Gilman, she set a second tray before
Linda, and this tray contained two packages. Linda looked at
Katy inquiringly, and Katy, her face beaming, nodded her sandy
red head emphatically.

"More birthday gifts you've havin', me lady," she said in her
mellowest Irish voice.

"More?" marveled Linda. She picked up the larger package, and
opening it, found a beautiful book inscribed from her friend
Donald, over which she passed caressing fingers.

"Why, how lovely of him!" she said. "How in this world did he

Katherine O'Donovan could have answered that question, but she
did not. The other package was from Marian. When she opened it
Linda laughed unrestrainedly.

"What a joke!" she said. "I had promised myself that I would not
touch a thing in Eileen's room, and before I could do justice to
Katy's lovely dress I had to go there for pins for my hair and
powder for my nose. This is Marian's way of telling me that I am
almost a woman. Will you look at this?"

"Well, just what is it?" inquired Peter.

"Hairpins," laughed Linda, "and hair ornaments, and a box of face
powder, and the little, feminine touches that my dressing table


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