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Amarilly of clothes line alley

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Title:AmarillyofClothes-lineAlley
Author:BelleK.Maniates
PostingDate:November3,2011[EBook#9988]ReleaseDate:February,2006
FirstPosted:November6,2003
Language:English
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AMARILLYOFCLOTHES-LINE
ALLEY
BYBELLEK.MANIATES
AUTHOROFDAVIDDUNNE.
WITHILLUSTRATIONSBYJ.HENRY


1915

LISTOFILLUSTRATIONS
Hewasgazingintoherintenteyeswithalookofadoration
"Youmayall,"shedirected,"lookatAmarilly'swork"


To-nighthefoundhimselflessablethanusualtocopewithhercaprices
"BenicetoMr.St.John!"whisperedthelittlepeacemaker

[Illustration:Hewasgazingintoherintenteyeswithalookofadoration]

AMARILLYOFCLOTHES-LINEALLEY

CHAPTERI
Thetiny,trivialtouchofDestinythatcausedtheturninAmarilly'sfate-tide
cameonemorningwhen,inhercapacityasassistanttothescrubladiesatthe
BarlowStockTheatre,sheviewedforthefirsttimethedressrehearsalofA
TerribleTrial.Heretoforethepatientlittleplodderhadfoundinheroccupation
onlythesordidsatisfactionofdrawingherwages,butnowtheresplendent
costumes,thetragedyinthegesturesofthevillain,thelanguidgraceofLord
Algernon,andthehaughtytrebleoftheleadingladystruckthesparkthatfired
ambitioninhersluggishbreast.
"Oh!"shegaspedinwistful-voicedsoliloquy,assheleanedagainsthermopstickandgazedaspiringlyatthestage,"IwonderifIcouldn'trise!"
"Surething,youkin!"derisivelyassuredPeteNoyes,venderofgumatmatinées.
"I'llspeaktodemaniger.Mebbyhe'llletyousescrubdegalleries."
Amarilly,case-hardenedagainstraillerybyreasonofthepossessionofa
multitudeofyoungbrothers,paidnoheedtothebanteringscoffer,butresumed
herworkindoggeddejection.
"Say,Mr.Vedder,Amarilly'sstage-struck!"calledPetetotheticket-seller,who
chancedtobepassing.
Thegrayeyesoftheyoungmanthusaddressedsoftenedashelookedatthe


small,eagerfaceoftheyoungestscrubber.
"Stopattheofficeonyourwayout,Amarilly,"hesaidkindly,"and
I'llgiveyouapasstothematinéethisafternoon."
Amarilly'syoungheartflutteredwildlyandsentawaveofpinkintoherpale
cheeksasshevoicedhergratitude.


Shewasthefirsttoenterwhenthedoorsopenedthatafternoon,andshekept
closetotheheelsoftheusher.
"Heain'tagoin'togivemetheslip,"shethought,keepingwarywatchofhislithe
formashesliddowntheaisle.
Intheblazeoflightandblareofinstrumentsshescarcelyrecognizedher
workadayenvironment.
"Housesoldout!"shemutteredwithprofessionalprideandenthusiasmasthe
signalfortheraisingofthecurtainwasgiven."MebbyI'dortergiveupmyseat
soastheycouldsellit."
Therewasamoment'sconflictbetweenthelittlescrubber'sconscienceandher
newlyawakeneddesires.
"Iain'tagoin'to,though,"shedecided.Andhavingsodetermined,shegaveher
conscienceashovetotheremotestbackground,yieldingherselftothefull
enjoymentoftheplay.
Therehearsalhadbeeninspiringandawakening,butthis,"therealthing,"as
Amarillyappraisedit,boreherintoalandofenchantment.Shewasblindand
deaftoeverythingexceptthescenesenactedonthestage.Onlyoncewasher
passionateattentiondistracted,andthatwaswhenPeteinpassinggaveheran
emphaticnudgeandafriendlygrinashemunificentlybestoweduponhera
packageofgum.Thissheinstantlypocketed"ferthechillern."
AtthecloseoftheperformanceAmarillysailedhomeonwavesofexcitement.
ShewastheeldestoftheHouseofJenkins,whosescions,numberingeight,were
allwage-earnerssaveIry,thebaby.AfterschoolhoursFlaminguswasadistrict
messenger,Gusmilkedthegrocer'scow,Miltonworkedinashoe-shining
establishment,BobbyandBudhadpaperroutes,whileCory,commonlycalled


"Co,"wipeddishesataboarding-house.Notwithstandingallthesecontributions
tothefamilyrevenue,itbecameasorestruggleforthewidowofAmericanus
Jenkinstofeedandclothesuchanumerousbrood,soshesoughtfurthermeans
ofmaintenance.
"I'vetookaboarder!"sheannouncedsolemnlytoAmarillyonherreturnfrom
thetheatre."He'saswitchmanandI'magoin'tofixuptheatticferhim.Idon't
jestseehowweairagoin'tomanageaboutfeedin'him.Thar'snoroomtothe
tablenow,andtharain'tdishesenoughtogoaround,butyou'resocontrivin'like,
Ithoughtyoumightfindoutaway."Memoriesofthefootlightswere
temporarilybanisheduponhearingthiswonderfulintelligence.Apuzzledpucker
camebetweenthebrowsofthelittlewould-beprimadonnaandremainedthere
untilatlasttheexigencywastriumphantlymet.
"Ihevit,ma!When'shecomin'?"
"To-morrerferbreakfast."
"Thenwemustrayhearseto-nightaforewekinputitonright.Come,allyouuns,tothekitchentable."
TheJenkinschildren,accustomedtothevernacularoftheprofession,wereeager
toparticipateinarehearsal,andtheyscamperedboisterouslytothekitchen
precincts.Amarilly,asstagedirector,providedseatsatthetableforherself,her
mother,Flamingus,Gus,thebaby,andtheBoarder,thelong-suffering,manyrôledfamilycatpersonatingthelatterasunderstudy.Behindtheirchairs,save
thoseoccupiedbytheBoarderandthebaby,werestationedMilton,Bobby,Bud,
andCory.Thisouterrow,Amarillyexplained,wastobefedfromtheplatesof
theirelderswithfoodconvenientaswasElijahbytheScripturalravens.This
planliftedthestrainfromthelimitedtableappointments,butmetwith
oppositionfromtheoutpostwhorebelledagainsttheirstations.
"Iain'tagoin'tostandbehindFlamorGus,"growledMilton."Iwon'tstandno
showfergrubatall."
"Iain't,neither,"and"Nitferme!"chorusedtheneartwins,Bobbyand
Bud.
"Iwanttosetatthetableandeatlikefolks!"sobbedCory.


Mrs.Jenkinsadvocatedimmediatesurrender,butthediplomaticlittlegeneral,
whosepolicywaspacification,inshrill,appealingvoicereassuredandwheedled
theyoungmutineersbackintotheranks.
"It'stheonlywaywecantakeaboarder,"shepersuaded,"andifwegithim,
we'llhevmoretoeatthanjesthotpertatersandbreadandgravy.Thar'llbemeat,
freshorhottedup,onctaday,andpieonSundays."
Thedeserterstoamanreturnedfromtheirignominiousretreat.
"Now,Co,youstandbehindme,andwhenyougittired,youkinsetonhalfmy
chair.Milt,gitbehindma,andBudandBobby,standbackofFlamingusand
Gus.Iftheydon'tdivvyupeventhey'llhevtochangeplaceswithyou.Now,to
places!"Thisconciliatoryarrangementprovingsatisfactory,supperwasserved
onthenewplanwithnumerousdirectionsandadmonitionsfromAmarilly.
"Noself-helpin's,Milt.Bud,ifyouknockFlammy'selbow,heneedn'tgiveyou
anythingtoeat.Bobby,ifyouswipeanotherbitefromGus,I'llspankyou.Co,
quityerself-reachin's!Flammy,youhevgottopasseverythingtotheBoarder
fust.Now,everymealthatIdon'thevtospeaktooneofyouseinthebackrow,
yousekinhevmerlassesspreadonyerbread."
Therehearsalsupperfinishedandthekitchen"redup,"Amarilly'sthoughts
againtookflightandinfancyshewingedherwaytowardagloriousfutureamid
theglowandglamorofthefootlights.Totheattentivefamily,whohunginan
ecstasyofapprovalonhervividportrayal,shegraphicallydescribedtheplayshe
hadwitnessed,andthendramaticallyannouncedherintentionofgoingonthe
stagewhenshegrewup.
"Youkindoitfine,Amarilly,"saidthemotheradmiringly.
"Andwe-unskingitinfree!"criedBobbyjubilantly.InthemorningtheBoarder,
apleasant-voiced,quiet-facedmanwithalookofkindlinessabouthiseyesand
mouth,madehisentranceintothefamilycircle.Hecommendedthetable
arrangements,praisedthecoffee,andformedinstantaneousfriendshipswiththe
children.Allthedifficultiesofthecuisinehavingbeensmoothedoveror
victoriouslymet,Amarillywenttothetheatrewithalightenedheart.WhenMr.
Veddercameuptoherandaskedhowshehadenjoyedtheperformance,shefelt
emboldenedtoconfidetohimherprofessionalaspirations.


Theyoungticket-sellerdidnotsmile.Therewasnothingaboutthisdiligent,illfed,littleworkerthatappealedtohissenseofhumor.
"Itwillbealongtimeyet,Amarilly,beforeyoucangoonthestage,"he
counselled."Besides,youknowthefirstthingyoumusthaveisaneducation."
Amarillysighedhopelessly.
"Ican'tgittogotoschooltilltheboyshevmorelarnin'.Ihevtoworkhere
mornin'sandhelpmawiththewashin'sinthearternoon.Mebby,arteralittle,I
kingitintosomenight-school."Astage-handworkingnearbyoverheardthis
conversationanddisplayedinstantinterestinthesubjectofAmarilly'sschooling.
"Couldn'tyougitoffSaturdayarternoons?"heasked.
"Yes,Icoulddothat,"assuredAmarillyeagerly."IstharaSaturdayarternoon
school?"
"Yes,"repliedtheman."Thereisachurchguild,St.Mark's,thathasaschool.
Mylittlegalgoes.Shelarnssewin'andsingin'andwaitin'ontableandsuchlike.
You'dbettergowithherto-morrow."
"Ikinsewnow,"saidAmarilly,repeatingthisconversationtothefamilycircle
thatnight,"andI'dliketosing,ferofcourseI'llhevtowhenI'monthestage,but
Igitenoughwaitin'ontabletohum.I'drutherlarntoreadbetterfustofall."
"Iain'tmuchofascholar,"observedtheBoardermodestly,"butIcanlearnyou
readin',writin',andspellin'some,andfiggerin'too.I'llgiveyoulessons
evenin's."
"We'llbeginnow!"criedthelittletyroenthusiastically.
TheBoarderapprovedthispromptness,andthatnightgavethefirstlessonfrom
Flamingus'sschoolbooks.
ThenextmorningAmarillyproudlyinformedtheticket-sellerthathereducation
hadbegun.ShewasconsequentlyratherlukewarminregardtotheGuildschool
proposition,butthelittledaughterofthestagehandpicturedtheschoolandher
teacherinmostenticingfashion.


"Youkinbeinourclass,"shecoaxedpersuasively."Wehevanewteacher.She's
arealswellandwearsadiamon'ringandherhairismoreyallerthanthewig
whattheplayladywears.Shebedusuptoherhousetoasupperlastweek,and
tharwasvelvitcarpitsandice-creamandlotsofcakebutnopie."
Amarilly'scuriositywasaroused,andherred,roughenedhandfirmlygrasped
theconfidingoneofherlittlecompanionasshepermittedherselftobeledtothe
Guildschool.

CHAPTERII
TheteacherattheGuildwasevenmorebeautifulthanAmarilly'sfancy,fedby
thelittlegirl'svividdescription,hadpictured.
"Herhairain'tboughten,"decidedthekeen-eyedcriticasshegazedadoringlyat
thegoldenbraidscrowningthesmallhead.Thecolorofhereyeswasopento
speculation;whentheyhadchangedfromgraytogreen,fromgreentohazel,and
fromhazeltopurple,Amarillygaveuptheenigma.Thecolorofhercomplexion
changed,too,inthevaryingtintsofpeaches.
"Idob'lievesheain'tgotnomake-upon,"declaredAmarillywonderingly.
Thelittledaughterofthestage-handhadnotoverappraisedthediamond.
Itshoneresplendentonaslender,shapelyhand.
"MissKing,I'vebrunganewscholar,"introducedthelittlegirlimportantly.
"She'sAmarilly."
Assheglancedathernewpupil,theyoungteacher'seyesbrightenedwith
spontaneousinterest,andawelcomingsmilepartedherlips.
"I'mgladtoseeyou,Amarilly.Here'sanicelittlepileofbluecarpetragstosew
andmakeintoaball.WhenyouhavemadealotofballsI'llhavethemwoven
intoaprettybluerugforyoutotakehomeandkeep."
"FortheBoarder'sroom!"thoughtAmarillyjoyously,asshewentatherwork
withtheaviditythatmarkedallherundertakings.


Presentlyasmallseamstressaskedforinstructionastothepropermethodof
puttingthestripstogether.Thefairfaceoftheyoungteacherbecamecloudedfor
amoment,andshewasunmistakablyconfused.Herwavering,dubiousglance
felluponAmarillysittingtenseanduprightasshemadequick,forceful,and
effectivestabswithherneedle,bitingherthreadvigorouslyandresonantly.The
stitchesweremicroscopicandeven;thestripssymmetricallyandneatlyjoined.
Theteacher'sfaceclearedasshesawandseizedheravenueofescape.
"Youmayall,"shedirected,"lookatAmarilly'sworkandsewthestripsjustas
shedoes.Hersareperfect."
[Illustration:"Youmayall,"shedirected,"lookatAmarilly'swork."]
Amarilly'swanlittlefacebrightened,andsheproceededtoshowthechildren
howtosew,bringingthesameeaseandeffectivenessintohertutoringthatshe
displayedwheninstructingherbrothersandCory.
Thesewinglessoncontinuedforanhour.Thenthechildrensangsongstoa
pianoaccompaniment,andtherefollowedalessonincookingandtheproper
settingofatable.Allthisinstructionwassucceededbyaninformalchat.
"Iwantyoualltotellmewhatyouaregoingtodowhenyougrowtobe
women,"saidMissKing.
Inmostcasestheoccupationsoftheirparentswerechosen,andthenumberof
washerwomen,scrubbers,andseamstressesinembryowasappalling.
"Andyou,Amarilly?"sheasked,addressingthenewpupillastofall.
Amarilly'smienwaslofty,hervoiceconsequential,assherepliedindramatic
dénouement:
"I'mgoin'onthestage!"
Theyoungteacherevincedamosteagerinterestinthisdeclaration.
"Oh,Amarilly!Weallhaveastage-longingperiod.Whendidyoufirstthinkof
suchacareer?"


"I'mintheperfesshunnow,"repliedAmarillypompously.
"Really!Tellmewhatyoudo,Amarilly."
"IscrubattheBarlowTheatre,andIwenttothematineedayaforeyisterday.I
hedapassgivetome."
ThesestatementsmadesuchavisibleimpressiononheraudiencethatAmarilly
waxedeloquentandproceededtodescribetheplay,warmingtoherworkasshe
gainedconfidence.ThegesturesofLordAlgernonandtheleadingladywere
reproducedfreely,fearlessly,andfaithfully.
Withaglimmerofmischiefdancinginhereyes,theyoungteacherlistened
appreciativelybutapprehensivelyasshenotedtheamazedexpressiononthe
facesoftheteachersofadjacentclasseswhenAmarilly'strebletoneswere
waftedtowardthem.Fortunately,therealisticrenderingofLordAlgernon's
declarationoflovewasinterruptedbytheaccompanimenttoasong,whichwas
followedbythedismissaloftheschool.
"KinItakemystripshometosewon?"askedAmarilly.
"Oh,no!"repliedMissKing."Thatisnotpermitted."
Seeingthelookofdisappointmentinthechild'seyes,sheaskedinkindlytone:
"Whyareyouinsuchahurrytofinishthework,Amarilly?"
"We'vetookaBoarder,"explainedAmarilly,"andIwanttherugferhisroom.
It'lltakeanorfullongtimetogititdoneifIonlyworkonitanhouronctaweek.
He'ssogoodtome,Iwanttodosomethingtomakehisroomlookneat,sohe'll
feeltohum."
Theyoungteacherreflectedamoment.
"I'lltellyouwhatwe'lldo,Amarilly.Iwillbuyoneoftherugsthataretobeon
saleatthechurchfairthisweek.Theyhavesomeverynicelargeones.Iwill
giveittoyou,andwhenyoursisfinishedyoumaygiveittomeinreturn."
"Oh,thankyou!"criedAmarilly,hercountenancebrightening,"Butwon'tyou
needitaforeIkingitthisonedone?"


"No;IamsureIshallnot,"repliedtheyoungladygravely.
Whentheyleftthebuildingtheteacherpausedasshewasabouttostepintoher
electricbrougham."Wheredoyoulive,Amarilly?"
Amarillygaveherstreetandnumber.
"Youmustlivefartherawaythananyoftheotherchildren.Getin,dear;Iwill
takeyouhome."
Shehadopenedthedoorasshespoke,andthelittlescrubber'seyesweredazzled
bytheeleganceoftheappointments—asilvervasefilledwithviolets,asilver
card-case,and—butAmarillyresolutelyshuthereyesuponthisproffered
grandeurandturnedtotheleanbutlonginglittledaughterofthestage-hand.
"Yousee,Icomewithher,"sheexplainedsimplyandloyally.
"Thereisroomforyouboth.Myrtiecansitonthislittleseat."
Overawedbythesplendorofherenvironment,Amarillyheldherbreathasthey
glidedswiftlythroughthestreets.Therewasotherglory,itseemed,thanthatof
thefootlights.WhenthehappylittleMyrtlehadbeenleftatherhumblehome
theyoungteacherturnedwitheageranticipationtoAmarilly.
"Tellmemoreaboutyourself,Amarilly.Firstofall,whoisthe
Boarder?"
Amarillyexplainedtheiraffairs,eventothe"double-deckerdiner,"asthe
Boarderhadcalledthetablearrangement.
"Andwhathashedoneforyou,Amarilly,thatyouaresoanxiousheshouldhave
arug?"
"He'slarnin'mereadin',writin',spellin',andfiggers."
"Don'tyougotoschool?"
"No;Ihevtobringinwagesandhelpmawiththewashin's."
"I'llteachyou,Amarilly,"shesaidimpulsively."I'msureI'mmoreproficientin


thosebranchesthantheBoarder."
"Hesez,"admittedAmarilly,"thatitwon'ttakehimlongtolarnmeallhe
knows;butyousee—"Shespokewithdelicatehesitancyandevident
embarrassment."It'sorfulgoodinyoutowanttolarnme—buthemightfeel
hurt-likeifIwastoquithim."
"Youareright,Amarilly.Youarealoyallittlegirl.ButItellyouwhatwewilldo
aboutit.WhenyouhavelearnedallthattheBoarderfeelshecanteachyou,you
shallgotonight-school.ThereisoneinconnectionwithSt.Mark's.Iwillsee
thatyouenterthere."
"Ididn'tknowtharwasonefergirls,"saidAmarilly."I'mgladthar'sawayfer
metogiteddicated,ferImusthevlarnin'aforeIkingoonthestage.Mr.Vedder,
theticket-sellertoBarlow's,toldmeso."
"Amarilly,"—andanearnestnotecreptintothegay,youngvoice—"youmay
findthingsthatyouwillliketodomorethantogoonthestage."
"No!"assertedtheyouthfulaspirant,"Tharain'tnuthin'elseI'dlikesowell."
"Amarilly,Iamgoingtotellyousomething.Once,notlongago,Ihadthestage
fever,butIthinkIknownowthereissomething—somethingIshouldlike
better."
"What?"queriedAmarillyskeptically.
"Ican'ttellyounow,butyouhavealongtimeyetinwhichtodecideyourfuture.
TellmewhatIcandotohelpyourmother."
"Ifyoucouldgitusmorewashin's,"exclaimedAmarillyeagerly,"itwouldhelp
heaps.Wecouldtakeinlotsmorethanwedonow."
"Letmethink.Youseewekeepalaundress;but—doesyourmotherdoupvery
finethings—likelaces—carefully?"
"Shedoes,"repliedAmarillyglibly."Shekindo'emorfulkeerful,andwedry
thecoloredstuffsintheshade.Andourclo'escomeoutsnow-whiteallers,and
wenevertearslacesnorgitintoomuchbluin'orstarchthewaysomefolks
does."


"ThenI'llgiveyoumyaddressandyoucancomeformyfinewaists;andletme
see,IamsureIcangetSt.Mark'slaundryworkforyou,too."
"You'reorfulgood,MissKing.Thisiswherewehevtoturndownthis'ere
court."
The"court"appearedtoMissKingmorelikeanalley.Theadventofthe
broughaminthelittlenarrowright-of-wayfilledeverywindowwithhawk-eyed
observers.AbouttheJenkins'sdoorstepwasgroupedtheentirehouseholdfrom
theBoardertothebaby,andthelight,musicalvoicesofchildrenfloating
throughthesoftspringairfellpleasantlyupontheearsoftheyoungsettlement
worker.
"Sothisiswhereyoulive,Amarilly?"sheasked,hereyessparklingasshe
focussedthemonthefamily."Youneedn'tcomeforthewashingthefirsttime.I
willbringitmyselfsoIcanseeallyourlittlebrothers.Besuretocometothe
GuildnextSaturday,andthenI'llhavetherugforyoutotakehome.Goodbye,
dear."
Knowingthatshewasobservedbymyriadeyes,Amarillysteppedloftilyfrom
thebroughamandmadeasweepingstagecourtesytoherdepartingbenefactress.
"Areyouonthestagenow,Amarilly?"askedCoeagerlyasshecametomeether
sister.
"No;butshe,"withawaveofherhandtowardtheswiftlyglidingelectric,"is
agointohelpmegiteddicated,andshehasgivemeabeautifulrugferthe
Boarder,andwe'reagoin'tohevherwaiststowash,andMr.St.Mark'sclo'es,
andshetoldallthescholarstosewlikeme'cause'Isewedthebest,andI've
larnedhowtosetourtable.Wemustn'tstackuptheknifeandforkandspoonon
endsanymore.Theknifegoestotheright,theforktotheleftoftheplate,and
thespoongoesbackofitandthetumblerandthenapkin,whenyouhas'em,to
theright."
"Idodeclare,Amarilly,ifitain'tjestlikeafairystory!"cried
Mrs.Jenkinsenthusiastically."Youallersdidstrikeluck."
"Youbet!"criedBobbyadmiringly."ThingsgosomewhereAmarillyis."
Amarillywashappiereventhanshehadbeenonthenightoftheeventful


matinéeday.Theelectricbroughamhadseemedaveritablefairygodmother's
coachtoher.Butitwasnottheridethatstooduppermostinhermemoryasshe
layawakefarintothenight;itwasthelittlewordofendearmentutteredin
caressingcadence.
"Nooneain'tevercalledmethatafore,"shemurmuredwistfully."Is'posema
ain'thedtime,andtharwasnooneelsetokeer."
Impulsivelyandtenderlyherthinlittlearmencircledthebabysleepingbeside
her.
"Dear!"shewhisperedinanawedtone."Dear!"
Iryansweredwithasleepy,cooingnote.

CHAPTERIII
ColetteKingwasnotonewhomthevoiceofthepeopleofSt.Mark'swould
proclaimasthepersonificationoftheiridealofapastor'swife,yetJohn
Meredithlovedherwiththelovethatpassethallunderstanding.Perhapsthe
secretofhercharmforhimlayinthefactthatshetreatedhimasshedidother
men—menwhodidnotwearasurplice.Andyethissurpliceandallthat
pertainedtheretoweremattersofgreatmomenttotherectorofSt.Mark's.Little
tracesofhisindividualitywereevidentinthefashioningofthisclericalgarment.
Apocketforhishandkerchiefwasstitchedontheleftside.
Theflowers,thebaptismalfont,thealtarcloth,andtherobesofthevestedchoir
heinsistedshouldbeimmaculateinwhiteness.White,thecolorofthelily,he
declared,wastheemblemofpurity.Thereweremembersofhisflocksoworldly
mindedastowhisperinsinuatinglythatwhitewasextremelybecomingto
ColetteKing.Manywasherwomenhadappliedforthetaskoflaunderingthe
ecclesiasticallinen;manyhadbeentriedandfoundwanting.Soafterher
interviewwithAmarilly,ColetteaskedtherectorofSt.Mark'stocallather
house"onimportantbusiness."
FromthetimehewastenyearsolduntilhebecamerectorofSt.Mark's,
JohnMeredithhadbeenamemberofthehouseholdofhisguardian,Henry


King,andhadevercheerfullyandgladlybornewiththecapricesofthe
littleColette.
Heansweredthepresentsummonspromptlyandpalpitatingly.Ithadbeentwo
weekssincehehadremonstratedwithColetteforthesurprisinglysudden
announcement,madeinseemingseriousness,thatshewasgoingtostudyopera
withaviewtogoingonthestage.Thefactthatshehadalight,sweetsoprano
adaptedonlytotherenditionofdrawing-roomballadsdidnotlesseninhiseyes
theprobabilityofhercarryingoutthisresolve.
Shehadmethisreprovingexpostulationsinaspiritofbanteringrailleryand
repliedwithadefianceofhisopinionthathadpiercedhisheartwitharrow-like
swiftness.Sincethenshehadstudiouslyavoidedmeetinghim,andhewasnot
surewhetherhewasnowrecalledtolistentoareiterationofherintentionsorto
receiveananodyneforthebitternessofherremarksattheirlastinterview.
"Isentforyou,John,"shesaiddemurelyandwithoutpreamble,"toseeifyou
havefoundasatisfactorylaundressyetforthesurplices."
"Colette!"heexclaimedinrebukingtone,hisfacereddeningatherquestion
whichhesupposedtobemadeinmeremockery.
"IamnotspeakingtoyouasColetteKing,"sherepliedwithalookhalfcajoling,
halfflippant,"butasateacherintheYoungWoman'sAuxiliaryGuildtothe
rectorofSt.Mark's.YouseeInolongerleadafoolish,futilelife.Hereisthe
evidenceinthecase,"holdingupaslenderpinkforefinger."Seehowitis
pricked!ForthreeSaturdayafternoonsIhaveshownlittlegirlsthatsmelledof
friedpotatoeshowtosew.Ishallreallylearnsomethingmyselfaboutthe
feminineartofneedleworkifIcontinueinmypresentstraight,domesticpath."
"Colette,youcannotknowhowgladIamtohearthis.Whydidyoutrytomake
methinkthelaundryworkwas—"
"Butthelaundryworkisthemainissue.YesterdayIhadquitedecidedtogiveup
thisuninterestingwork."
Watchinghimwarily,shelettheshadowinhiseyeslingeramomentbeforeshe
continued:
"Andthentherecameintomyclassanewpupil,poorlycladandignorant,butso


redolentofsoapsudsandwithsuchafreshlylaunderedlookthatIrenewedmy
inclinationstocharity.Itookherhomeinmyelectric,andshelivedatadistance
thatgavemeampletimetolistentothecompletechroniclesofheryounglife.
Herfatherisdead.Hermotherwasleftwitheightchildrenwhomshesupports
bytakinginwashing.Theyhaveaboarderandtheygoaroundthedining-room
tabletwice.Mynewpupil'snameisAmarillyJenkins,andshehaseducational
longingswhichcannotbesatisfiedbecauseshehastowork,soIamgoingto
enterherinSt.Mark'snight-schoolwhenshehasfinishedaspecialcoursewith
theprivatetutorshenowhas."
"Colette,"saidtheyoungministerearnestly,"whydoyoucontinuallytrytoshow
yourselftomeinafalselight?Itwassweetinyoutotakethislittlegirlhomein
yourbroughamandtofeelaninterestinherimprovement."
"Notatall!"protestedColette."Mytrendatpresentmayappeartobecharitable,
butAmarillyandIhaveacommoninterest—afellowfeeling—thatmakesme
wondrouskind.Webothhavelongingstoappearinpubliconthestage."
Atthissuddenchallenge,thissecondloweringoftheredflag,John'sfacegrew
stern.
"Amarilly,"continuedtheliquidvoice,—"hashadmoreexperienceinstagelife
thanIhavehad.Shehascommencedatthelowestroundofthedramaticladder
offame.ShescrubsattheBarlowTheatre,andsheisquitefamiliarwithstage
lore.HerheroisthemanwhoplaystheroleofLordAlgernoninATerrible
Trial."
Hemadenoreply,andColettepresentlybrokethesilence.
"Seriously,John,"shesaidpracticallyandinatonefardifferentfromherformer
one,"theJenkinsfamilyarepoorandmostdeserving.Iamgoingtogivethem
somework,andifyouwouldgivethematrialonthechurchlinen,itwouldhelp
themsomuch.Therewasaregulararmyoflittlechildrenonthedoorstep,andit
mustbeastruggletofeedthemall.Ishouldliketohelpthem—togivethem
something—buttheyseemtobethekindofpeoplethatyoucanhelponlyby
givingthemworktoperform.Ihavelearnedthattrueindependenceisfound
onlyamongthepoor."
Johntookalittlenotebookfromhispocket.


"Whatistheiraddress,Colette?"
Shetookthebookfromhimandwrotedownthestreetandnumber.
"Colette,youendeavortoconcealatenderheart—"
"Andwillyougivethem—Mrs.Jenkins—atrial?"
"Yes;thisweek."
"ThatwillmakeAmarillysohappy,"shesaid,brightening."Iamgoingtheretomorrowtotakethemsomework,andIwilltellMrs.JenkinstosendFlamingus
—hisistheonlynameofthebroodthatmymemoryretains—forthechurch
laundry."
"Hemaycallattherectory,"repliedJohn,"andgetthehouselaundryaswell."
"Thatwillbegoodnewsforthem.IshallenjoywatchingAmarilly'sfacewhen
shehearsit."
"Andnow,Colette,willyoudosomethingforme?"
"Maybe.Whatisit?"sheaskedguardedly.
"Willyouabandontheideaofgoingonthestage,orstudyingforthatpurpose?"
"Perforce.Fatherwon'tconsent."
Alookofreliefdrovethetroublefromthedarkeyesfixedonhers.
"I'llbetwenty-oneinayear,however,"sheaddedcarelessly.
Johnwaswiseenoughtoperceivethewilfulnessthatpromptedthisreply,andhe
deftlychangedthesubjectofconversation.
"Aboutthislittlegirl,Amarilly.Wemustfindhersomethinginthewayof
employment.Theatmosphereofatheatreisn'ttheproperoneforachildofthat
age.Doyouthinkso?"
"Theoretically,no;butAmarillyisnotimpressionabletoatmospherealtogether.
Sheseemsahard-working,staunchlittlesoul,andallthatrelievesthesordidness


ofherlifeandlightensthedrearinessofherworkisthe'theayter,'asshecallsit.
Sodon'tdestroyherillusions,John.You'lldohermoreharmthangood."
"NotifIgivehersomethingrealintheplaceofwhatyourightlytermher
illusions."
"Youcan't.Sunday-schoolwouldnotsatisfyabroad-mindedlittleproletarian
likeAmarilly,sodon'tpreachtoher."
Hewincedperceptibly.
"DoIpreachtoyou,Colette?Isthathowyouregardme—asaprosypreacher
who—"
"No,John.Justasadisturberofdreams—thatisall."
"Adisturberofdreams?"herepeatedwistfully."Itisyou,Colette,whoarea
disturberofdreams.Ifyouwouldonlyletmydreamsbecomerealities!"
"Then,tobeparadoxical,yourrealitiesmightchangebacktodreams,oreven
nightmares.ReturningtosoapsudsandAmarillyJenkins,willyougotherewith
meto-morrowandmakearrangementswithMrs.Jenkinsforthelaundrywork?"
"IndeedIwill,Colette,and—"
"Don'tlooksoserious,John.Untilthatdreadfulevening,thelasttimeyou
called,youalwaysleftyourpulpitpunctiliobehindyouwhenyoucamehere."
"Colette!"hebeganinprotest.
Butsheperverselyrefusedtofallinwithhisseriousvein.Chatteringgaylyyet
half-defiantly,onherfacethewhileabafflingsmile,partlytender,partly
amused,andwhollycoquettish—thesmilethatmaddenedandyetentrancedhim
—shebroughtthemaskofreservetohisfaceandman.Atsuchtimeshenever
succeededinrememberingthatshewasbutlittlemorethanachild,heart-free,
capricious,andwilful.Despairingofchanginghermoodtotheseriousonethat
helovedyetsoseldomevoked,hearoseandbadehergood-night.
Whenhewasinthehallshesoftlycalledhimback,meetinghimwithahalfpenitentlookinhereyes,whichhadsuddenlybecomegazelle-like.


"Youmaypreachtomeagainsometime,John.TherearemomentswhenI
believeIlikeit,becausenoothermandarestodoit""Dares?"hequeriedwitha
smile.
"Yes;dares.Theyallfeartooffend.Andyou,John,youfearnothing!"
"Yes,Ido,"heansweredgravely,ashelookeddownuponher."Thereisone
thingIfearthatmakesmetremble,Colette."
Buthermoodhadagainchanged,andwithamischievous,elusivesmileshe
badehimgo.Inertandmusing,hewanderedatrandomthroughthelightsand
shadowsofthecitystreets,withawistfullookinhiseyesandjusttheshadowof
apanginhisheart.
"Sheisveryyoung,"hesaidcondoningly,answeringanaccusingthought."She
hasbeenalittlespoiled,naturally.Shehasseenlifeonlyfromthesidethat
amusesandentertains.Someday,whensherealizes,asitcomestousalltodo,
thatcareandsorrowbringtheirownsustainingpower,shewillnotdallyamong
thepettythingsoflife;thewilfulwaywardnesswillturntowinning
womanliness."

CHAPTERIV
ThenextafternoonwhenAmarillycamehomefromthetheatre,hermothermet
herwithanotherburstofinformation.
"MissKingandthepreacherwashere.He'sagoin'togiveusallthechurch
surplusestowashandhishouse-wash,too.Flamingusistogoferthemtothe
rectryto-night,andyou'retogotoMissKing'sandgetthewaistsshehastobe
didup.Shelefttwocarticketsferyou."
"Weairjestastubbin'ourtoesonluck,"gaspedAmarilly.
"Thefustpayfromthenewwashin'sshallgoferanewhatanddressferyou,
Amarilly.It'sacomin'toyouallright.'Twasyouasgotthisworkferus."
"No!"wastheemphaticreply."We'llgitsomemorecheers,knives,spoons,


plates,cups,andtwomoreleavesferthetable,so'sthechillernkinallsetto
tabletoonct."
"That'llbeahulllotmoreconvenient,"admittedMrs.Jenkinshopefully."Co
spillsthingsso,andtheboysquarrelwhenyouandtheBoarderain'theretokeep
peace.Itwasjestorfulthisnoon.Youwasn'thereandtheBoarderkerriedhis
dinner.'CauseFlamputtoomuchvinegaronMilt'sbeans,Miltpoureditdown
Flam'sneck,andwhenIsenthimawayfromthetablehesassedme."
"Jiminy!"protestedAmarillyindignantly."I'dmakeMiltgowithouthissupper
to-night."
"'Tain'thisstummickI'magoin'topunish,"saidMrs.Jenkinssarcastically."I've
laidbyawillerswitchthat'llfeelsharperthanthevinegarhewasted.You'd
bettergotoMissKing'srightaway—and,Amarilly,mindyouridebothways.
It'stoofartowalk.Don'tyousellthetickets!"
ThislastprohibitoryremarkwasmadeinremembranceofAmarilly's
commercialinstincts.
WhenAmarillywasadmittedtothebasementofheryoungbenefactress'shome
atrimly-cappedlittlemaidtookhertoColette'sboudoir.
"Sitdownandtalktome,Amarilly.IwanttohearmoreaboutLordAlgernon
andMr.VedderandPete.Here'saboxofchocolatecreamsthatmustbeeaten
whiletheyarefresh."
Amarillywasslightlyawedatfirstbytheluxuriousappointmentsoftheroom,
butshesoonrecoveredhereaseanddevouredthenovelsweetswithappreciative
avidity.Thensheprovedherselfafascinatingraconteuroftheannalsofaworld
unknowntoColette.ItwasamatterofcoursetoAmarillythattheleadinglady
shouldbesupportinganinvalidsister;thatthelanguidLordAlgernonshouldbe
sendinghissavingstohisoldmotherwholivedinthecountry;thatthe
understudyshouldsewindustriouslythroughrehearsalsandbehindthescenes
betweenpartsforhertwolittlefatherlessgirls;thatPeteNoyesshould"bank"to
buyawheeledchairforhisrheumaticfather;thatthevillainwas"layin'by"for
hisparentstocomefromtheFatherland,andthatthecompanyshouldallchipin
tosendthepropertywoman'ssickchildtotheseashore.ButtoColettethe
homelylittlestorieswerevignettesofanothersideoflife.


"Haveyoubeentotherectoryyet,Amarilly?"sheaskedpresently,when
Amarilly'smemoriesofstagelifelagged.
"No;FlammyhaswentferMr.St.Mark'sthings."
"Mr.St.Mark's!"
Colettelaugheddelightedly.
"Ithoughtyoutoldmethatthepreacher'snamewasMr.St.Marks.Yousaid
mebbyyoucouldgithiswashferus."
"No,Amarilly.Ididnotmeanthat.St.Mark'sisthenameofthechurchwhere
heofficiates.HecouldneverunderanyconditionsbeaSt.Mark."
"Wat'shisname?"
"St.John,ofcourse.Andmostpeoplecallhimarector,butreallyyourname
suitshimbest.Hedoespreach—sometimes—tome."
AttheendoftheweekColetteagainsentforJohn—tocall"onlaundry
business"—herlittlenoteread.
"Icouldn'twait,"shesaidwhenhecame,"tolearnhowMrs.Jenkinspleased
you.Mywaistsweremostbeautifullylaundered.SheiscertainlyaMadonnaof
theTubs."
"Youhaveindeedsecuredatreasureforme,Colette.Thelinenisimmaculate,
andsheshallhavethelaunderingofitregularly."
"Iamsoglad!"exclaimedColettefervently."Theyneeditsomuch,andtheyare
soanxioustoplease.Amarillywassoapprehensive—"
John'sfacehadbecomeradiant.
"Itissweetinyoutobeinterested,Colette,and—"
"Iwishyouwouldseeher,"saidColette,ignoringhiscommendatorywordsand
voice."She'sanoddlittlecharacter.Iinvitedhertoluncheontheotherday,and
thecoursesandsilverneverdisturbedherapparently.Shewatchedmeclosely,


however,andfollowedmymovesaspreciselyasasecondoarsman.Bytheway,
shecalledyouSt.Mark.IknowsomepeopleconsideryouandSt.Mark'sas
synonymous,butIexplainedthedifference.Shetellsmeabsorbinglyinteresting
storiesoftheatrelife—thelifebehindthescenes.Youseethe'scentoftheroses,'
John!"
Theshadowfellagain,buthemadenoresponse.
ThefollowingMondaytheyoungministerchancedtobeintheculinary
precinctsoftherectorywhenAmarillycalledforthelaundry,noneoftheboys
havingbeenavailablefortheservice.
Aninstantgleamofrecognitioncameintohiskindlyeyes.
"YoumustbeAmarillyJenkins.Ihaveheardverygoodaccountsofyou—that
youareindustriousandagreathelptoyourmother."
Amarillylookedathimshrewdly.
"Shetoldyou,"sheaffirmedpositively.
Therewasbutone"she"intheworldofthesetwo,andJohnMeredithnaturally
comprehended.
"She'sorfulgoodtous,"continuedAmarilly,"anditwasthroughher,
Mr.St.John,thatwegotthesurpluses."
"Itwas,indeed,Amarilly;butmynameisnotSt.John.ItisJohn
Meredith."
"Shewasjestkiddin'me,then!"deducedAmarillyappreciatively."Ithoughtat
fustashowyernamewasSt.Mark,andshesaidyoucouldneverbeaSt.Mark,
thatyouwasSt.John.Shelikesajoke.Mr.Reeves-Eggleston(he'splayin'the
partofthejiltedmaninthenewplaythisweek)saysit'seitherfolksasneverhez
hedtheirtroublesorthemashezhedmore'ntheirsharewhatlaughsat
everything,only,hesays,it'sdiffrentkindsoflaughs."
ThereferencetotheplayremindedJohnofadutytoperform.
"MissKingtoldme,Amarilly,thatyouwanttogoonthestagewhenyougrow


up."
"Ididplantogoon,butshesaidwhenIgoteddicated,Imighthearofother
thingstodo—thingsI'dlikebetter.SomebbyI'llchangemymind."
AbeautifulsmilelightenedJohn'sdarkeyes.
"She,wasright,Amarilly.Therearethingsthatwouldbebetterforyoutodo,
andI—we—willtrytohelpyoufindthem."
"Everyonegitsthestagefeversometime,"remarkedAmarillyphilosophically,
"Shesaidso.Shesaidshehaditonceherself,butsheknewnowthattherewas
somethingshewouldlikebetter."
Hissmilegrewsofter.
"Shewouldn'ttellmewhatitwas,"continuedAmarillymusingly.Thena
troubledlookcameintohereyes.
"MebbyIshouldn'ttellyouwhatshesays.FlamingussaysItalktoomuch."
"Itwasallrighttotellme,Amarilly,"herepliedwithradianteyes,"aslongas
shesaidnothingpersonal."
Amarillylookedmystified.
"Imean,"heexplainedgently,"thatshesaidnothingofme,nothingthatyou
shouldnotrepeat.Iamglad,though,toseethatyouareconscientious.Miss
Kingtellsmeyouaretogotothenight-school.DoyouattendSunday-school?"
Amarillylookedapologetic.
"Notreg'lar.Thar'sameetin'-housedownnearusthatwegotosometimes.
FlamingusandmeandGusgiveanickelapiecetowardsgittin'amalodeyonfer
it,butitsqueaksorful.'Tain'tmuchliketheorchestrytothetheayter.Andthen
thepreacherhewhistleseverytimehesaysawordthathasan's'init.You'd
orterhearhimsay:'Letussingtheseventy-seventhpsalm.'"
Atthesuccessionofthesibilantsounds,John'sbrowneyestwinkledbrightly,
andabouthismouthcamecrinkly,telltalecreasesofhumor.


"Andtheysingsuchlonesometunes,"continuedAmarilly,"slowerthantheone
theoldcowdiedon.Iwastellin'thestagemanigeraboutit,andhesaidthey'd
ortergitamantorunthemeetin'-housesthatunderstoodthepropersettin's.
Everything,hesays,ismore'nhalfinthesettin's."
"Amarilly,"wastheearnestresponse,"willyoucometoSt.Mark'snextSunday
tothemorningservice?Themusicwillpleaseyou,Iamsure,andthereareother
thingsIshouldliketohaveyouhear."
Amarillysolemnlyacceptedthisinvitation,andthenwenthome,trundlingabig
cartwhichcontainedthesurplicesandtherectorylaundry.
Colette'sremarks,soinnocentlyrepeatedtohim,madeJohntakehimselftotask.
"Iknew,"hethoughtrapturously,"thatshewaspuregoldatheart.Anditisonly
hersweetwillfulnessthatishidingitfromme."
ThateveninghefoundColettesittingbeforeanopenfireinthelibrary,her
slenderlittlefeetcrossedbeforetheglowingblaze.Shewasinagentle,musing
mood,butathisentrancesheinstantlyralliedtoheroldmirth-lovingspirit.
"IhavemadeAmarilly'sacquaintance,"hesaid."Sheiscomingtochurchnext
Sunday."
"Aconvertalready!AndyouwilltrytosnatchpoorAmarilly,too,fromher
footlightdreams?"
"Colette,"herepliedfirmly,"youcan'tplayapartwithmeanylonger.
You,therealColette,madeitunnecessaryformetoremonstratewith
Amarillyonherchoiceofprofessions.Sheiswaveringbecauseofyour
assurancethattherearebetterthingsinlifeforhertoengagein."
Hewasnotverytall,butstoodstraightandstalwart,withtheairofonebornto
command.Attimesheseemedtotoweraboveallothers.
Sheregardedhimwithanadmiringlookwhichchangedtowonderatwhatshe
readinhiseyes.Inaflashshefeltthestrengthanddepthofhisfeeling,buther
searchingscrutinycausedhimtobecometongue-tied,andheassumedtheselfconsciousmienpeculiartothemannotyetassuredthathisloveisreturned.
Oncemoreagoldenmomentslippedawaywithelfishelusiveness,andColette,


secureinhersupremacy,resumedhertantalizingbadinage.

CHAPTERV
TheJenkinsfamilywasimmediatelysummonedincounciltodiscuss
Amarilly'sinvitationtoattenddivineserviceatSt.Mark's.
"Youairjestmore'nhevin'advantages,"saidMrs.Jenkinsexultingly.
"Fustthematinée,thentheGuild,andnowSt.Mark'sisopentoyou.
Butyou'dorterhevafewfixin'stogotosechagrandplace,
Amarilly."
Amarillyshookherdeterminedlittleheadresolutely.
"Wecan'taffordit,"shesaiddecisively."I'dstaytohumaforeI'dspendanything
onextrysnowwhenwe'reaketchin'upandlayin'by."
"'Twouldbegoodbookkeepin'feryoutergo,"spokeupFlamingus."Youseethe
preacher'sgivin'ushisbusiness,andwe'dorterreturnthefavorandpatrynizehis
church.You'vegotterhustletoholdtradearteryougititthesedays.It'supto
youtergo,Amarilly."Mrs.Jenkinslookedproudlyathereldestmaleoffspring.
"Ideclare,Flamingus,you'vegotarealbusinessheadonyoujestlikeyourpa
hed.He'sright,Amarilly.'Twouldn'tbetreatingMr.Meredithfairnottergo,and
it'sduehimthatyougoright,sohewon'tbeashamedofyou.I'llrigyouup
someway."
ThecostumingofAmarillyinamannerbefittingthegreatoccasionwasanallabsorbingaffairforthenextfewdays.Finally,bythecombinationofMrs.
Jenkins'sindustryandAmarilly'singenuity,aidedbytheBoarderandtheboys,
anelaboratetoiletwasdevisedandexecuted.Miltondonateda"shine"toapair
oftanshoes,thegiftofthegirl"whattookaminorpart."Mrs.Jenkinslookeda
littleaskanceatthe"bestskirt"ofbluewhichhadshrunkfromrepeated
washingstoanear-kneelength,butAmarillyassuredherthatitwasnotasshort
astheskirtswornbytheballetgirls.Shecutuptwooldblousesandfashioneda
new,bi-coloredwaistbedizenedwithgiltbuttons.TheBoarderpresenteda
resplendentbuckle,andFlamingusprovidedagawdyhair-ribbon.


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