Page images


[ocr errors]

THE congregation of Euclid Avenue Church and began to "arrive." For the Euclid was not given to doing unusual things. Con- Avenue people loved their scholarly pastor tent with the good sermons it listened to each and his gentle wife and proved it in substanweek, mildly approving its own component tial fashion. parts, and satisfied with conditions in gen- So it came to pass that one fine day Barbie eral, it pursued the even tenor of its way, stood at the manse gate blinking her vision feeling that it amply justified its existence. clear as she tried to get one more glimpse of If anything bewildering did arise, were there a certain vanishing motor-car. not Dr. and Mrs. Lynn, who knew the wise “There, it 's turned into State Street, and tactful thing to do-and did it? Why that 's the last, Barbie," said Mrs. Hale,

— worry the laity over matters obviously be- cheerfully. “Now my dear, you are never longing to the clergy?

going to give way." There were times when, in the strict seclu- Barbie blinked again with determination sion of the manse family, Barbie and Dayton "I am not,” she remarked with dignity. expressed doubts as to the general worth- “It 's the chance of a lifetime for your whileness of this complacency. “Our people parents, and it would be sheer selfishness—never get anywhere," Dayton once affirmed, Mrs. Hale stopped as Barbie caught her arm pounding his assertion down on the study and whirled her about. table with a belligerent fist. “They remind “Come on in a little while,” the girl me of a merry-go-round-always riding and begged; "just till I get my bearings. Whew never arriving. Can't you stir 'em up, -but is n't this house an empty place? Dad?”

You'd think all the furniture had been Barbie shook her head. “He won't try, moved out, instead of only two slim people Date. He thinks they're peaches and and a steamer-trunk.” cream. I wish he'd turn me loose, once. "But,” Mrs. Hale was still intent on her I'd open their eyes to the way they impose argument. on Mother. She camouflages the abuse out “You need n't,” Barbie interposed. “I of sight, and not one human church person know every word and believe it all. It is sees that she's wearing herself to a hopeless simply dear of you church members to give frazzle."

my father and mother this six months' vaca"Hush, children! you are disloyal to our tion and all that money to spend. I would friends," Mother told them. “When there n't put a straw in their way, Mrs. Hale, not is any 'stirring to be done, we 'll let you one rye straw. I don't care if it is lonesome know.”

—they've never had any selfish good times in But after all, it was the mother herself their devoted lives and I hope they are going who did the stirring. She fainted quietly in to learn how. Don't you think I 'm going church one Sunday morning in the very mid- to spoil things by wailing!” dle of a most carefully prepared sermon, and The neighbor leaned back, relieved. frightened her preacher quite out of his dig- “That 's right, Barbie.

"That 's right, Barbie. You young folks nity and his pulpit, and her son and daughter have depended on your mother so out of their wits. In fact, she spoiled the pletely, I thought you might feel a little service completely, and was followed across blue over her absence.' the churchyard by a stream of anxious pa- “Not I. My work is cut out for me, anyrishioners, who knew that it had taken some- way. My problem is Date." thing very much out of the ordinary to make “Problem?" Mrs. Lynn interrupt her husband's "sec- “Yes, I 'm afraid he is going to be hard to ondly."

manage. Things, thus jolted out of their rut, began Mrs. Hale smiled. Is n't your brother happening fast enough to suit even Dayton. old enough to manage himself, Barbie?" she It only needed Dr. Green's assertion con- asked amusedly. “It is possible he may

“ cerning rest and change and congenial com- think so." panionship to set the ball rolling. The "He will—he does.” Barbie

Barbie nodded. merry-go-round" ceased its rotary motion "He's the dearest old brother in the world,

[ocr errors]


but he is headstrong; and I mean to curb ful, though, when it strikes in, as Mother's him some, now that Mother is gone. He did, and scares the whole town pale.” really needs it, Mrs. Hale."

"You must agree that it was n't dear Mrs. “May I offer a bit of advice, Barbie?" the Lynn's patience that hurt her, but other caller asked slowly. "Be just a little careful folks' stupidity,” said Mrs. Hale, warmly.

"You are going to get

on splendidly, dear, SK

only remember that CENNE

Dayton is pretty sure to be right some of the time

"And I 'm equally sure to be wrong some of the time? Maybe. Well, if I can make waffles as good as Mother's, I shall possess a reward of merit and a weapon of defense, all at once. Mrs. Hale, that twin of mine is a perfect waffle-fiend, if you 'll believe it.”

The visitor laughed gaily. "If that's his worst fault, your work is easy," she declared. "If you run out of buttermilk, let me know. For pity's sake, give the lad his waffles!"

“She thought I was priggish about Date," Barbie said to herself when she was alone; “but I do feel responsible in a way, and Mother meant I should when she told me this morning to look out for my brother. Queer her advice and Mrs. Hale's were so similar! After a double dose of warning to be patient, I ought to equal Job


where Date is—it 's

time he was home." in the curbing operation. Patience accom- It was a full hour later when the tall lad plishes so much more than fault-finding- came swinging in. “Lonesome, Barb?” he it is a virtue that may be worked to the limit asked. “No end sorry to be gone so long, without fear of harm. It helps over lots of but I've been out on business. Behold behard places."

fore you a man of affairs, Miss Lynn. I'm “I know it does,” Barbie .conceded. “I nobody's school kid from this day forth.” ought to know it, after seeing it exemplified “Dayton Lynn, you never have—” every day of my life. Its benefits are doubt- “Yes, my dear sister, you are mistaken. I

[merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]


Barbie's voice and Dayton answered it Barbie flushed hotly and an angry retort squarely:

trembled on her tongue, but she held it back. "It 's for good and all. I refuse to go to "It looks like working patience almost past school and let Dad work his head off taking its limit to let Date do what I know he care of me any longer,—from this day forth." ought n't," she thought; "but if his mind is

“They will never let you," Barbie began made up, he won't listen to me." severely, then stopped as her brother lifted “Not a word about this when you write, his hand.

remember," Dayton said, again. “They are not to be bothered about it till She tried to speak naturally. “I 'm no they come back. Understand? Not a word. telltale, brother mine." I 'll have time in six months to prove I 'm No, you 're a trump, Barb.” The boy's right and a little pile of cold cash saved up face cl red. “It'll be some fun, believe with which to emphasize my argument. me, to have a fist full of greenbacks to disCollege educations are all to the good for pose of as one chooses. Say, Sis, what do those who can afford 'em, but Dad needs to you want for your birthday?"

[ocr errors]

For one flying moment, Barbie forgot her make it possible to gratify. As a sort of position as mentor. “Oh, Date, if I could concession to his labors toward this desirable have a class ring, I'd be the happiest girl end, she concocted waffles morning after alive. All the rest are to have them-a sort morning. of filagree setting around our class mono- “It does n't matter whether it 's sugar you gram in blue enamel. I 've been just sick put on 'em or honey or syrup-or even plain

' because I knew I ought n't to think of hav- butter," he said one day. "You can't spoil ing one."

a good waffle and yours are crackin' good, Dayton laughed. “Girls are queer,” he Sis. Never mind-something 's going to remarked into space; “getting sick over a happen one of these fine days that 'll show gewgaw like that! Now if it was a first- whether I appreciate your efforts!" class fishing outfit, there might be some Barbie thrilled happily. "I wonder if I sense in it. Sis, I 'm not making promises, ought to let him get it,” she said to herself. but I don't think you'll be sorry that I "It does seem like extravagance, but it won't ‘accepted a position' when the glad day be using any money we'd counted on for heaves in sight. What time will supper be other things.” Once she began a conscienready? No use asking for waffles to-night, tious protest, but it was loftily waved away. I suppose?

“It 'll be your birthday, but it 'll be my No, there are fresh rolls. I'll make stunt, so let it go at that,” he said. them for breakfast, Date. I hope they 'll be "It is dear of him and how I have wanted good.”

it!" Barbie reflected. “I really did n't "These are good, all right," Dayton as- think I 'd ever have it while there were alsured the young cook next morning, as he ways so many needy people coming to the sampled the products of her skill. "They 're manse for every spare penny. I have n't engood as Mother's and that 's going some. I couraged Date, but if he just will get it, how could eat six more if I had time, but we men can I help it? Oh, I am so happy.' of business-ahem!”

It was a queer bundle that lay on her plate Barbie sighed as the gate clicked after that birthday morning—not in the least like him. “It will take more than even my class a ring box. And how very heavy it was! ring to make me sure I 'm doing right,” she Dayton watched her as she untied and unsaid to herself. “Father and Mother are wrapped it. His eyes were shining and his going to be dreadfully grieved if Date does lips were smiling. "She 's a dandy, Barb. I n't go back to school in September. Dad knew you'd be surprised," he said, as the last has tried to have him understand how much wrapper came off, disclosing in all its newmore important his education is than any ness—an electric waffle-iron! “Saw 'em little money he can earn now. I hate to tell down at the place just after I started to tales, and besides, Mother must not be wor- work, and spotted this one then and there. ried about anything--and Daddy could n't No more chasing back and forth to the any more keep it from her, if he knew it, kitchen with those little brown disks!” anthan a—a fish could help swimming." She nounced the donor. giggled a little over her metaphor, realizing Barbie held back her tears of disappointits imperfections, then sighed again. "Oh ment. "It 's a beauty, Date,” she said dear, life 's awfully perplexing sometimes!" steadily. “I hope my waffles will be good

In spite of which fact, the days flew by. enough to justify the expense.” As housekeeper and home-maker, Barbie “The expense is my end of the game,” found her hands full, vacation though it was; Dayton told her. “Glad you like it, Sis. for even with the heads of the house away, Are n't so sorry now that your brother 's a the manse was a place of many interruptions. man of affairs?” Dayton became immediately engrossed in his “It 's a beauty, Date,” she said again. new "job,” and began at once to converse in "Thank you, ever so much." terms of "kilowatts” and “candle-power."I acted patient,” she sobbed to herself As for his sister, her natural interest in what after he had gone; “but I did n't feel patient concerned her twin brother was modified by one bit. I hope Mother will be gladder of a her conviction that Dayton ought to be new waffle-baker than I am. I wonder if it using the days according to the plan his has become easy for Mother to be always father had arranged; and this, in turn, was patient-I think it 's awfully hard myself." seen through the haze of her desire for the There was at least one member of the coveted ring, which Dayton's salary would manse family who appreciated the birthday

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][graphic][subsumed]


« PreviousContinue »