Come and Find Me by Elizabeth Robins (Chapter 5)
Come and Find Me by Elizabeth Robins
Hypertext formatting by Joanne E. Gates
Jack Galbraith replied to Mr. Mar's letter by return of post. He apologized for not writing more at length, but he was up to his eyes in proof-correcting. He was seeing through the press--"Yes, yes, but all that was singularly irrelevant")--book about his experiences ("Hum! hum!"), "extreme northern Siberia." (" Siberia, forsooth!"); no white man had ever been there before. ("And to think he might have spent that time in Alaska!") He was "making a genuine contribution to science"-- oh, yes, quite so--"most travelers too imperfectly equipped." ("He could n't have had my letter when he wrote this.") The implication was, of course, that Galbraith's own equipment left nothing to be desired. He even touched airily upon his claims to be considered geographer as well as navigator, electrician, geologist, philologist, biologist, and the Lord knows what, beside. Yes, Jack had a large way of envisaging human endeavor, especially his own. But certainly their letters had crossed. Hum! he had "covered areas in science never before exploited by a single man." The result Mar should presently see. For Galbraith would leave word that a copy of the great work should be sent to his old friend. It would be two years before he himself could
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see the thing in book form ("What's this?") "Off again, to join an expedition!" And was n't it strange? He was going to the arctic as Mar was recommending. Not precisely to Norton Bay, but ("Then he had got the letter!") "with the Swedish explorer Nordenskjöld to see if by good luck" they could find the North Pole. And why should n't they "come home via Norton Bay?" he asked, with irresponsible arrogance, adding characteristically: "I 'll mention it to the Swede. Perhaps we 'll crawl over the crown of the world and coast down the shore of Alaska till we come up against your Anvil Rock. If we do, I promise to go and see after the gold mine for you. Thank you for saying I 'm to have my share--but thank you most of all for telling me such a mighty fine story when I was a kid. It had a great deal to do with the shaping of my ambition, and the direction of my multifarious studies."
AND this was Galbraith's goodbye.
These events had taken place nearly two years before Bella Wayne began her meteoric career at the Valdivia School for Young Ladies.
If Hildegarde had recovered somewhat from her disappointment at Jack's failure to visit California, her father had not ceased silently to lament, and secretly to contemn Galbraith's wounding flippancy in his choice of a route to Alaska.
When Madelaine Smulsky's family took her away to live in Wyoming, Hildegarde would have been even more desolate but for her espousal of Bella Wayne's cause, and consequent preoccupation with that not altogether satisfactory protégée.
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For Miss Bella had "ways" that were distinctly rasping. She was abominably selfish, and her big family of brothers and sisters had spoiled her from the day she could toddle. She was, besides, the uncomfortable kind of little girl in whose eyes you always saw reflected whatever was amiss with you. You might have on a hat of ravishing beauty, but if your belt had worked up and your skirt had worked down, Bella's glances ignored your highly satisfactory top and fastened on your middle. Not until after she had known Bella Wayne for some months did Hildegarde begin to divine her own shortcomings in the matter of dress. No gulf of years, or respect for high standing in the school, deterred Bella from letting Miss Mar know that she could never, never wear with success a checked shirt-waist. Why not? Because. And for the same excellent reason, Miss Mar must have her things made plainer. No puffing; no shirring. "I can wear 'fluffery,' but you can't. You 're much too like an old goddess or Boadicea, or some whacking 'person like that," which was tepid and discreet in comparison with many of her deliverances. She would ask you a highly inconvenient question as soon as wink, and her own frankness was a thing to make you cold down your back. An eye that nothing escaped, the keenest of little noses for a secret, a ruthless finger for any sensitive spot-- that was Bella Wayne at twelve. It was the second time that she was being so kindly helped by Miss Hildegarde, and yet more than at the reduction of "those disgusting fractions" Bella looked at her new friend, bent so low over the slate that her sole ornament, a silver locket, swung against the dado of dragons, without whose scaly support
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Bella could never hope to bring her mind down to mathematics for a moment. She reflected that she had never seen Miss Mar without that locket. Was there anything inside it? Her fingers itched to open it and see. It was suspended round the smooth neck on a narrow velvet ribbon. Bella, supposed to be following the course of reasoning by which it was demonstrated that "since 100 pounds of coal cost $0.33 per hundredweight, 385 pounds (which are equal to 3.85 times 100 pounds) will cost 3.85 times $0.33," she was in reality making mental calculation of a quite different character, as she studied the little black velvet bowknot that rested on the milk white nape of Miss Mar's neck, just underneath a flaxen ring of hair. One end of the bow was longer than the other.
"Five times three are fifteen. Five and carry one--see Bella?"
"Yes." What Bella saw, with that look of luminous intelligence, was that the silver locket was sliding into Miss Mar's lap.
"Eight times three--oh!" But before Hildegarde could close her fingers on the fallen trinket, Bella had snatched it up and carried it away behind the syringas.
"Give me back my locket!" called Hildegarde. "Give it back this minute!"
Bella had made off to a remoter fastness. Hildegarde pursued her. But Hildegarde could never catch anybody, and Bella was already champion runner of the school. "Bella, I never show that to anybody. I won't forgive you if You open it."
"Oh, I must see why you say that!" Bella stopped and tried the fastening. Hildegarde rushed at her, but
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Bella fled at each approach. At last the big girl stopped breathless, and tried moral suasion. The little girl only laughed, and standing just out of reach had the effrontery to open the locket and make unseemly comment upon what she found within.
"My gracious! Is n't he a sweet? Where does he live? Does he go to church? I 'm sure I 've never seen this bee-yew-tiful young man before. Girls, do you want to look at Miss Mar's sweetheart? Come and see this darling duck!" She summoned the laughing group that had been looking on.
But Bella only pretended to show them. Every time anybody came near, she covered the face with her thumb. But Hildegarde, lacking the small satisfaction of knowing that , worn out with the race and scarlet with indignation, breathless, outraged, pursued the fleet little villain from group to group, and after the bell rang, from garden to hall. In vain.
When Bella appeared at the breaking up of school that day, and restored the locket, Miss Mar received it in a lofty silence, refusing even to look at a little girl so ill mannered and ungrateful.
But the next day Bella, much subdued by one of her recurrent attacks of homesickness, red-eyed, a little pinched looking and woebegone, begged pardon so prettily, that Miss Mar's heart was melted.
"And I did n't really show it to the others. Ask anybody. I would n't do that. Oh, no!" And then betraying the true ground of this pious self-control, "Is it your brother?"
"No." Hildegarde bent her head over the slate.
"Who is it?"
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"a friend of my father's."
"Do you love him dreadfully?"
Of course not. I never saw him." "What makes you wear his picture?"
"I only put it in my locket because i had n't anything else the right size. That's all."
"Then why did you make such a fuss when I--"
"Because I thought it very rude of you to look into someone else's locket without permission. And it might have been something that mattered.
There was that in the unconverted look on the the little face which made Hildegarde hot to the ear-tips.
But Bella said not a word, only smiled with that returning interest in life that so readily revives in the breast of the shrewd observer. And without a "please" or a "will you?" Bella handed the big girl her slate, with its two day s accumulation of fractions and of dragons. Hildegarde's sensibilities were once more so outraged that for a moment she hesitated to accept the task so coolly put upon her.
"I believe you 're a little monster," said Miss Mar, in her slow way. "I don't see why I should trouble myself about you or your arithmetic."
"I know why," returned Bella unmoved.
"Because you 're the nicest of the big girls."
Hildegarde tried to conceal the fact that she was somewhat softened by this tribute. "I 'm not really the nicest," she said, trying to be modest.
"Well, perhaps you 're not the nicest, but you 've got the longest eyelashes. It 's a good thing they are n't as light as your hair, is n't it?"
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"Well, I don 't know. Fives into--"
"Yes, you do, you know you 'd cry your eyes out if your winkers were nearly as white as your hair is. What do you do to make your eyelashes so long?"
"Nothing. Now pay attention. You reduce thirty-three and a third to thirds and--"
"Did your mother keep them cut when you were a baby?"
"I believe she did." The next day Miss Bella appeared without eyelashes. Every individual hair snipped to the lid.
I mean to have mine just like Miss Mar's," she told the group gathered about Hildegarde's desk. "Hers are so immense they trail. I 'm sure they must get awfully in the way sometimes."
"Then I wonder why you run such a risk. You 'd better to have left yours as they were." "Oh, if mine grow out as long as that, of course I shall plait them and tie them up with blue ribbons."
But it was not always with admiration to which she treated her patron.
She was once twitted quite groundlessly with feeling herself obliged to "mind" Miss Mar.
"Yes," she said laughing a little wickedly. "I must you see. She 's so massive. Just look at her shoulders. Look at her hips. Even her hair is massive. See what wobs it goes into." This conversation took place in the cloak-room. "Everything about her is so big, it scares a little person like me. Look at that hat. You 'd know it must belong to Miss Mar. If it was anybody else's it would be a parasol. But you can tell it 's a hat because
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it 's got an elastic instead of a stick. And just look at the size of that elastic. Why it 's a s broad as my garter."
Now and then she would startle Hildegarde's self possession by an outburst of torrential affection. And so it came about that in spite of Bella's blithe impertinence, Hildegarde even in those early days thought of her with sympathy as a lonely little being who was in reality very grateful for the big girl's friendship. She would follow at Hildegarde's heels like a pet dog, walk with her down to the gate every day after school, and invent one ingenious pretext after another to keep Hildegarde standing there a moment longer. Sometimes, when at last she said "good-by," there was not regret alone but tears as well in Bella's pretty eyes.
"It must have been a little girl at boarding school that found out Friday was one unlucky day," she announced on one occasion. "It 's the miserablest, blackest day of the week. Yes it is Miss Mar. It 's just hellish."
"Why Bella Wayne! What awful language."
"Well, you have to get hold of awful language when your thinking of an awful thing. All tonight, and all to-morrow night, and all Sunday, and all Sunday night, to live through before I see you again!" The small face worked with suppressed emotion, the small mind with suppressed arithmetic. Both eventually found outward expression. "Sixty-six hours!" she said while two tears rolled out of her eyes. "Sixty-six hours till you 're back here again. I don 't honestly think I can bear it this time. I shall die. I know I shall. I feel very strange already. Would you care if I died? W-would you come to the funeral?"
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She choked. "W-what would you wear? You 'd look perfectly bee-yew-tiful in black. Do wear black. Oh, I wish I was dead. It would be so nice to see how you look in black."
Hildegarde was touched to find how wildly delighted the homesick little girl was at the idea of being invited to spend Saturday afternoon at the Mars-- a little anxious, too, was Miss Mar, lest the occasion should not come up to such ecstatic expectation. Not that the Mar house was at all the forlorn and dingy place it had been when Mrs. Mar struggled alone, with a scant income and three babies. The general impression was that the Mars boys already contributed generously to the family resources. But the fact was that their mother was ingeniously making the very most of what "the boys" added to the common purse. The amount was as yet quite trifling--"of necessity," she would have added, for they were both young men who looked ahead. But it was really to Hildegarde that the little house owed its air of immaculate freshness and good taste. If she cod n't play or sing, she could paint--bookshelves, the floors, even the woodwork. Several years ago she proved that she could paper a room. She managed to cover the old furniture with charming chintz "for a song," and she made curtains out of nothing at all. No one could arrange flowers better or grow them half so well. When she was given money for her clothes, she often spent it on something for the house. Not fully realizing her genius for domestic affairs, she told herself the reason she did all this was to make the house pretty "for when Jack comes back." He might arrive quite suddenly. He did everything without warning. I may come home from school
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any day to find him here! Oh, it lent a wonderful zest to life to remember that.
Bella was pleased to like Miss Mar's garden immensely, but even more she liked Miss Mar's room, with its white curtains and dimity-covered toilet-table, and the scant and simple furniture that looked so nice and fresh since Hildegarde had herself enameled it. When the little visitor looked round with that quick-glancing admiration and said: "Oh, it 's much prettier than mine at home."
"What 's yours like? asked Miss Mar, politely.
"Oh, it 's all pink silk, and I 'm sick of it. What made you think of having everything white?"
"This, I believe," said her hostess, nodding at the climbing white roses that looked in at the window. "But it 's partly that I like things that wash and that don't fade."
"Well, I simply love your house. I 'd no idea it would be like this."
"Why, what did you think it would be like?"
"Oh--a kind of--no, I shan't say. You 'd misunderstand."
Hildegarde felt it prudent not to insist. If you did, with this young person, you were exposed to the most mortifying results.
Who are these?" Bella demanded, inspecting the pictures.
"My brothers. That 's Trenn and this is Harry."
"Will they be at tea?"
"No, they 're on a ranch in Tulare County."
Why we 've got a ranch in Tulare County." she was still looking round as if expecting to find something
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that as yet escaped her eye. "Where 's--where--a--Show me your--your ribbons and things."
"I have n't got any. We can't afford ribbons in this family."
"Let me see your collars and ties, then." Hildegarde opened her top drawer. In the course of turning over collars and handkerchiefs and little boxes the silver locket came to light.
"Why don't you wear it any more?"
"Oh, I don't know."
Bella leaned her head with its halo of short, brown curls against her friend, and very softly she beguiled her: "Please Miss Mar, show me that friend of your father's again."
Hildegarde hesitated a moment and then she opened the locket. Jack Galbraith's face smiled out upon the big girl and the little girl.
"Did you say you had n't ever seen him?"
"No, he has n't been here for sixteen years. Not since he was a little boy. And he might have been here always, because he was an orphan and his father was my father's greatest friend. But some relations of his that nobody had ever heard of before, they discovered him when he was nine, and made him come to New York and live with them. But he did n't like it. At least-- I don't know--mother thinks they did n't like it.
"Why does she think that?"
"Because they let him go away to school. And he spent his vacations canoeing, climbing mountains, and doing all sorts of queer things rather than live with his relations. Then he went to Harvard, and then he went abroad and studied. He 's always studying."
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"Gracious! what makes him do that?"
"Oh, he wants to find out about everything. And he 's doing it. He 's written a book with things in it nobody ever heard of before. Father says it 's a work of genius. Mr. Galbraith was coming here two years ago, when he 'd finished the book, only just then--"
"I did n't think," Bella interrupted with a sigh, "I did n't think from his picture he was so awfully old."
"He is n't. He 's barely twenty-five."
But Bella shook her head. "If a person 's over twenty he might just as well be a hundred." "Yes, ordinary people. But it does n't matter how old a genius is. Father 's awfully excited about Mr. Galbraith just now, for he 's been away a year and a half on an arctic expedition and we 're expecting him back next summer. We may be hearing from him any day after the middle of June. Father and I often talk about it when we 're alone together."
"Why don't you talk about it when there 's anybody there?"
"Oh, mother 's always so down on Mr. Galbraith."
"What 's she down on him for?"
"Just because he wants to discover the North pole."
"Well, don't you think yourself that 's rather--"
"No, I don't."
To be wasting two whole years in just hunting around for the Pole? What 's the good of the Pole, anyway?"
Hildegarde smiled a smile of superiority.
"My geography" --Bella invoked authority that even a big girl must respect--"my geography says--"
"You 're too young to understand. It 's not the Pole. It 's the glory."
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"Nobody 's ever yet got there."
"Why should anybody? Lots of nicer places."
"A great many people have tried. A good many have died trying--"
"Well, that 's a good reason for not bothering about it any more."
"Oh, you 're just like--" But filial respect restrained Miss Mar. I agree with Mr. Galbraith. He thinks there's nothing in the world half so interesting to do."
"He must be silly."
No, he is n't! He 's splendid--" But Hildegarde snapped the locket to, and hid it under her best handkerchiefs.
The following Saturday when Bella asked again to see the locket, Miss mar declined to bring it out. Bella begged in vain. She discovered that her big, gentle friend could be immovable.
To Hildegarde's dismay, Bella presently dissolved in tears. "Then may I s-see the work of g-genius?"
"Yes, you may look at his book all you like." She even let Bella take it away to tide her over Sunday." But Mr. Galbraith's "Winter among the Samoyedes" had small success with Miss Wayne. "They make me sick, those people! I can't think how anybody likes hearing about their dirty ways," and she even cast reflections on Jack for wasting his time over such "horrors." However, there was another side to it. "What a relief it 'll be to him to be with us after the Samoyedes!"
"With us!" Hildegarde smiled inwardly.
Sitting by the rose-framed window one Saturday
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afternoon, talking as usual about Mr. Galbraith and how soon he might be expected back from the Pole, Bella suddenly burst out: "I 'm tired to death of saying 'Miss Mar.' I do wish you 'd let me call you "Hildegarde.'"
The big girl's breath was taken away. For the gulf between twelve and sixteen is a thing hardly passable in that stronghold of class distinction, a girls' school. It was rare, indeed, that one of Miss Mar's ripe age stooped to help a little girl over a difficulty in her lessons. It required something of the missionary spirit to take such pity upon homesickness, as occasionally to give the afflicted one the great treat of visiting a big girl on Saturday afternoon,--but really to go to the length proposed--
"I shan't believe you really love me," the little girl rushed on, "unless you say yes. Oh, do say yes. Everything depends upon it. I 'll promise to always say "Miss mar before people. But if you 'll let me call you Hildegarde when we 're alone, I 'll know you 're my best friend. And then I 'll tell you a secret. I 'll tell you two. Tremendous secrets!"
It was finally arranged.
"Now for the tremendous secrets." said Hildegarde smiling.
But Bella was portentously grave, even agitated. "Well," she said, bracing herself, "My father 's an Englishman. Don't tell anybody. Cross your heart and hope you may die if you tell the girls."
All right. Cross my heart and hope I may die. But how in the world--:"
"It is n't my fault, you see. And I 'm an American all right. I 've always wanted to explain to you ever
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since you were so angelic about my fractions; it 's because my father 's an Englishman I have to eat milk pudding. Over there"--Bella flicked a small hand across the American continent and over the Atlantic deep, to indicate an inconsiderable island where the natives persist in strange customs--"over there they all do it. Of course, the minute I 'm of age I shall insist upon pie." They discussed the matter in all its bearings.
"Now about the other secret."
"Well"--even the darling Bella caught her breath and paused. "No, not to-day. I 'll keep the tremendousest one for another time. But do get out the silver locket, dear Hildegarde, and let's look at it."
Ultimately she prevailed. The next time Bella came she found a delightful surprise. The low table was cleared of everything but bowls of roses; and against the white wall great ferns printed plain their tall and splendid plumes--leaving free a little space in the middle where, on a gilt nail, hung the open locket.
Bella was delighted with the whole scheme. "It only wants one thing to make it perfect. No, I won't tell you what it is. I 'll bring it next Saturday."
"It' proved to be a paper of Chinese joss-sticks, and a little bronze, perforated holder. "We must each burn one to him every week," she said, setting up her contribution below the dangling locket.
"I don't quite know if we ought," Hildegarde said. "Joss-sticks are prayers you know-- at least the Chinese think so."
"Well, of course they 're prayers. That 's why I brought them.'
While the two joss-sticks sent up into the rose-per-
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fumed air faint spirals of an alien fragrance, the two girls sat in front of the confident young face looking out of the silver locket, and talked endlessly about the owner.
Hildegarde found it suitably intoxicating to have so keen an auditor--a sharer even (to the humble extent possible for an extreme youth) in the great pivotal romance of existence.
And then Bella had such wonderful inspirations. It was she who saw the larger fitness in Mr. Mar's habit of going fishing on Saturday afternoons. What was that but an arrangement of the gods that he should be so effectual out of the way, that Hildegarde might with safety borrow from his desk the Galbraith letters. Sitting close together on a square of Japanese matting, in front of the rose table, an anxious ear listening for Mrs. Mar's return from the missionary meeting, the dark head leaned against the fair, while the two girls read and re-read those precious documents, in an atmosphere charged with incense and palpitating joy. One day, arrived regretfully at the end of the letter they liked best, Bella bent and kissed the signature. Hildegarde's heart gave a great jump. The daring of that deed was well-nigh impious. Hildegarde, when all by herself, had done the same, but that was different.
"Now you know my other secret," said Bella, very pink-- "the tremendousest one of all." When the first shock had died away, Hildegarde was left with a pitiful tenderness before the disarming frankness of such a confession. Poor little Bella! Why Jack did n't know of her existence. He never would, till in some rare idle hour of the glorious future, Hildegarde should tell him of a homesick little girl she had befriended once at school.
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But Bella could be depended on to break in upon such gracious forecasting of the future, with a suddenness that made the picture dance. "Which of the two of us do you suppose Jack 'll fall in love with?"
Hildegarde, almost paralyzed by the presumption this implies, barely managed to bring out, "You 're much too little to think of--"
"I shan't be little always."
"You 'll always be more than twelve years younger than Mr. Galbraith." Hildegarde always said Mr. Galbraith when she wanted to keep an intruder at a distance.
But Bella advanced as bold as brass. " Anyhow I think he 'll fall in love with me."
"Of course a person so modest would be likely to appeal to any gentleman."
"No, it 's not my being modest he 'll mind about. It 's other things."
"What other things?"
"Well--you--of course you 've got your eyelashes, and you 're in the full bloom of womanhood. But I 'm in the first blush of youth. I think he 'll like that best."
It was the second Saturday in June, and school was breaking up next week. Mrs. Mar had finished off the Braut von Messina the dining-room, and barely begun with the Hindu Mission on the other side of the city. Hildegarde had retired to her room to watch, not for Bella's coming (the window did not command the front), but for Mr. Mar's going down to the garden with rod and creel. What made him so dilatory to-day? While Hildegarde wondered, Bella came flying in, shut the door with agitated care, faced about with cheeks of crimson,
"The two girls sat in front of the confident young face looking out of the silver locket"
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hat over one ear and the whisper, "Hildegarde, I 've seen him! I 've seen him! Oh, Hildegarde, he 's here!" Wherewith she precipitated herself upon her friend's neck and hugged her breathlessly.
"Why, 'he.' He 's here! The only man I ever loved!"
Hildegarde took the dancing dervish by the shoulders. "You don't mean--"
"Yes, yes, I do. He came in just before me. He 's perfectly glorious. Just to look at him makes you feel-- makes you think you 've got windmills shut up inside you. Everything goes whirling round. And when he asked" (Bella lowered her pipe to a masculine depth): "'Is Mr. Mar at home?' it sounded so beautiful, I thought for a moment he was talking poetry. Oh Hildegarde! Hildegarde!" Again she sunk her ecstasy to whispering as she followed her friend out into the hall. Together they hung over the banisters. The visitor was talking more poetry apparently in the dining-room. The two girls stayed suspended there an eternity. At last with thumping hearts, upon Bella's suggestion, they went down into the entry. "We 'll pretend to be putting on our overshoes. I 'll have Mrs. Mar's!" whispered Bella excitedly, ignoring the fact that the continued fine weather and dusty streets lent an air of eccentricity to the proceeding. She stopped after drawing on one big overshoe and shuffled softly to the dining room door. She put her eye to the keyhole. No use. Notwithstanding Hildegarde's whispered remonstrance, she glued her ear to the aperture. The door was suddenly opened and Miss Bella fell sideways into the arms of an astonished young man, who said: "Hello, what 's this?" Hildegarde,
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drowned in sympathetic confusion, helped Bella to regain her equilibrium, while she muttered the explanation, "Overshoes!"
this is my daughter Hildegarde, Mr. Cheviot," said Mr. Mar, "and this is our little friend, Bella Wayne."
"Ch-Cheviot!" stuttered the little friend.
The young man with the laughing eyes said: "Anything wrong with the name?" and having shaken hands with "my daughter Hildegarde," he departed.
"Did you say his name was Cheviot?" Hildegarde asked her father.
"Yes. The new recruit at the bank. Seems to be an intelligent sort of fellow."
With ease and celerity Miss Bella transferred her affections from a faded photograph, a packet of letters, and a book of travels, to a real live young man with a square jaw that looked as if he meant business, but with a ready laugh, too, as if the business were not without its diverting aspect. Then he had the rough brown hair that "fitted" him. Bella would have told you that this was a rarity, most people's beginning too far back from the forehead, or growing to much away from the ears, leaving them with a bare and naked look. Or, it grew in a peak. Or it did n't grow low enough on the neck and was like a badly made wig, that had slipped forward. Or worse than anything, it forgot where to stop and grew down into the collar like Professor Altberg's, prompting the irreverent Bella to whisper to her neighbor (while the grave instructor was sitting with head bent over a Latin
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exercise): "How far do you think it goes? Do you suppose he 's hairy all down his back?
However that might be, Cheviot's hair fitted him. Moreover, he had, in Bella's estimation, a fascinating, if somewhat mocking air toward little girls, and he helped one little girl gallantly through the dismal Sundays by the simple process of sitting in church where she could watch him. Once in a while in coming out, Bella would catch his eye, and he would laugh and give her a nod. On the rare occasions of his encountering Miss Bella at the Mar 's, he never failed to stop and mime at her first greeting, "I 'm 'Ch-Cheviot,' you know. Now what 's the matter with that name?" which was vastly entertaining, not ot say "taking." John Galbraith came back to America that autumn, but he stayed in the East.
Bella did n't much care what he did now, for she was thirteen, and in spite of the ugliness of their Hindu protégée Miss Wayne had joined the Busy Bees. That was because Hildegarde had told her that Louis Cheviot went to their dances. Bella saw at once the fitness of her doing the same. The result was that she seldom waltzed less than twice with the new hero, who, it must be admitted, was a better batsman than dancer. But nobody could help "getting through" with Bella as a partner, because she danced divinely. Cheviot should have been better pleased to get her for his partner, but it was plain that he was unduly preoccupied by "my daughter Hildegarde." Several of the young men were. Bella told herself with a consciousness of native worth, that she had
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never minded in the least before. But this was different. She made up her mind that if "Ch-Cheviot" goaded her much further by this display of misplaced devotion, she would just take the misguided young man alone some day and talk to him "as a friend." She would tell him about Jack Galbraith.
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