ContraryMary CHAPTERI In Which Silken Ladies Ascend One Stairway, and a Lonely Wayfarer Ascends AnotherandComesFacetoFaceWithOldFriends.
Thebighouse,standingonahighhillwhichoverlookedthecity,showedin the moonlight the grotesque outlines of a composite architecture. Originally it had been a square substantial edifice of Colonial simplicity. A later and less restrained taste had aimed at a castellated effect, and certain peaks and turrets had been added. Three of these turrets were excrescences stuck on, evidently, withanideaofadornment.Thefourthtower,however,roundedoutandenlarged a room on the third floor. This room was one of a suite, and the rooms were knownastheTowerRooms,andwereheldbythosewhohadoccupiedthemto bethemostdesirableinthebarn-likebuilding. To-night the house had taken on an unwonted aspect of festivity. Its spaciousness was checkered by golden-lighted windows. Delivery wagons and automobilescameandwent,somedischargingloadsofdeliciousnessattheback door,othersdischargingloadsoflovelinessatthefront. Followinginthewakeofoneofthefrontdoorloadsofflutteringfemininity cameasomewhatsomberpedestrian.Hisstepslaggedalittle,sothatwhenthe big door opened, he was still at the foot of the terrace which led up to it. He waiteduntilthedoorwasshutbeforeheagainadvanced.Intheglimpsethathe thus had of the interior, he was aware of a sort of pink effulgence, and in that shining light, lapped by it, and borne up, as it were, by it toward the wide stairway, he saw slender girls in faint-hued frocks—a shimmering celestial company. Ashereachedthetopoftheterracethedooragainflewopen,andhegavea somewhathesitatingreasonforhisintrusion.
"IwastoldtoaskforMissBallard—MissMaryBallard." It seemed that he was expected, and that the guardian of the doorway understood the difference between his business and that of the celestial beings whohadprecededhim. Hewasshownintoasmallroomattheleftoftheentrance.Itwassomewhat bare, with a few law books and a big old-fashioned desk. He judged that the roommighthavebeenputtoofficeuses,butto-nightthedeskwasheapedwith openboxes,andoddpiecesoffurniturewerecrowdedtogether,sothattherewas leftonlyasmalloasisofclearedspace.Ontheonechairinthisoasis,thesomber gentlemanseatedhimself. Hehadafancy,ashesattherewaiting,thatneitherhenorthisroomwerein accordwiththethingsthatweregoingoninthebighouse.Outsideoftheclosed door the radiant guests were still ascending the stairway on shining wings of light. He could hear the music of their laughter, and the deeper note of men's voices,risingandgrowingfainterinasortoftranscendentharmony. Whenthedoorwasfinallyopened,itwasdonequicklyandwasshutquickly, andthegirlwhohadenteredlaughedbreathlesslyassheturnedtohim. "Oh,youmustforgiveme—I'vekeptyouwaiting?" If their meeting had been in Sherwood forest, he would have known her at onceforagoodcomrade;ifhehadmetherintheGardenofBiaucaire,hewould haveknownheratonceformorethanthat.But,beingneitheraheroofballad norofoldromance,heknewonlythatherewasagirldifferentfromthesilken ladieswhohadascendedthestairs.Herewasanairalmostoffrankboyishness,a smile of pleasant friendliness, with just enough of flushing cheek to show womanlinessandwarmblood. Evenherdresswasdifferent.Itwassimplealmosttothepointofplainness. Its charm lay in its glimmering glistening sheen, like the inside of a shell. Its draperies werecaught uptoshow slender feetinlow-heeledslippers. Aquaint capofsilvertissueheldcloselythewavesofthickfairhair.Hereyeswerelike theseainastorm—deepgraywithaglintofgreen. These things did not come to him at once. He was to observe them as she madeherexplanation,andashefollowedhertotheTowerRooms.Butfirsthe
hadtosethimselfstraightwithher,sohesaid:"Iwassorrytointerruptyou.But yousaid—seven?" "Yes. It was the only time that the rooms could be seen. My sister and I occupythem—andConstanceistobemarried—to-night." This,then,wasthereasonfortheeffulgenceandthesilkenladies.Itwasthe reason,too,forthelovelinessofherdress. "I am going to take you this way." She preceded him through a narrow passage to a flight of steps leading up into the darkness. "These stairs are not oftenused,butweshallescapethecrowdsintheotherhall." Her voice was lost as she made an abrupt turn, but, feeling his way, he followedher. Upandupuntiltheycametoathird-floorlanding,whereshestoppedhimto say,"Imustbesurenooneishere.WillyouwaituntilIsee?" Shecameback,presently,toannouncethatthecoastwasclear,andthusthey enteredtheroomwhichhadbeenenlargedandroundedoutbythefourthtower. Itwasabigroom,ceiledandfinishedindarkoak,Thefurniturewasroomy and comfortable and of worn red leather. A strong square table held a copper lampwithalowspreadingshade.Therewasafireplace,andonthemantelabove itabustortwo. ButitwasnotthesethingswhichatoncecaughttheattentionofRogerPoole. Liningthewallswereoldbooksinstoutbinding,newbooksinclothandfine leather—thepoets,thephilosophers,theseersofallages.Ashiseyessweptthe shelves, he knew that here was the living, breathing collection of a true booklover—not a musty, fusty aggregation brought together through mere pride of intellect.Theownerofthislibraryhadcountedtheheart-beatsoftheworld. "Thisisthesitting-room,"hisguidewastellinghim,"andthebedroomand bathopenoutfromit."Shehadopenedaconnectingdoor."Thisroomisawfully tornup.ButwehavejustfinisheddressingConstance.Sheisdown-stairsnowin the Sanctum. We'll pack her trunks to-morrow and send them, and then if you shouldcaretotaketherooms,wecanputbackthebedroomfurniturethatfather
had.Heusedthissuite,andbroughthisbooksupaftermotherdied." He halted on the threshold of that inner room. If the old house below had seemed filled with rosy effulgence, this was the heart of the rose. Two small white beds were side by side in an alcove. Their covers were of pink overlaid with lace, and the chintz of the big couch and chairs reflected the same enchanting hue. With all the color, however, there was the freshness of simplicity.Twotallglasscandlesticksonthedressingtable,afewphotographs insilverandivoryframes—theseweretheonlyornaments. Yeteverywherewaslovelyconfusion—delicatethingswerethrownhalf-way into open trunks, filmy fabrics floated from unexpected places, small slippers were held by receptacles never designed for shoes, radiant hats bloomed in boxes. Onachairlayabridesmaid'sbunchofroses.ThisbunchMaryBallardpicked up as she passed, and it was over the top of it that she asked, with some diffidence,"Doyouthinkyou'dcaretotaketherooms?" Didhe?DidthePerioutsidethegatesyearntoenter?Herewithinhisreach wasthatfromwhichhehadbeencutoffforfiveyears.Fiveyearsinboardinghouses and cheap hotels, and now the chance to live again—as he had once lived! "I do want them—awfully—but the price named in your letter seems ridiculouslysmall——" "ButyouseeitisallIshallneed,"shewasasblissfullyunbusinesslikeashe. "I want to add a certain amount to my income, so I ask you to pay that," she smiled, and with increasing diffidence demanded, "Could you make up your mind—now?ItisimportantthatIshouldknow—to-night." Shesawthequestioninhiseyesandansweredit,"Yousee—myfamilyhave no idea that I am doing this. If they knew, they wouldn't want me to rent the rooms—butthehouseismine—-IshalldoasIplease." Sheseemedtoflingitathim,defiantly. "Andyouwantmetobeaccessorytoyour—crime."
She gave him a startled glance. "Oh, do you look at it—that way? Please don't.Notifyoulikethem." Foramoment,only,hewavered.Therewassomethingdistinctlyunusualin acquiringavineandfigtreeinthisfashion.Butthenheradvertisementhadbeen unusual—itwasthatwhichhadattractedhim,andhadpiquedhisinterestsothat hehadansweredit. And the books! As he looked back into the big room, the rows of volumes seemedtosmileathimwiththefacesofoldfriends. Lonely, longing for a haven after the storms which had beaten him, what bettercouldhefindthanthis? AsforthefamilyofMaryBallard,whathadhetodowithit?Hisbusiness waswithMary Ballard herself,withherfranklaughandher friendliness—and herarmsfullofroses! "IlikethemsomuchthatIshallconsidermyselfmostfortunatetogetthem." "Oh, really?" She hesitated and held out her hand to him. "You don't know howyouhavehelpedmeout—youdon'tknowhowyouhavehelpedme——" Againshesawaquestioninhiseyes,butthistimeshedidnotanswerit.She turned and went into the other room, drawing back the curtains of the deep windowsoftheroundtower. "Ihaven'tshownyouthebestofall,"shesaid.Beneaththemlaythelovely city,starredwithitsgoldenlights.Fromeasttowesttheshadowydimnessofthe Mall, beyond the shadows, a line of river, silver under the moonlight. A clock towerortwoshowedyellowfaces;thegreatpublicbuildingswereclear-cutlike cardboard. Rogerdrewadeepbreath."Iftherewerenothingelse,"hesaid,"Ishouldtake theroomsforthis." Andnowfromthelowerhallcametheclamorofvoices. "Mary!Mary!"
"Imustnotkeepyou,"hesaidatonce. "Mary!" Poisedforflight,sheasked,"Canyoufindyourwaydownalone?I'llgoby thefrontstairsandheadthemoff." "Mary——!" With a last flashing glance she was gone, and as he groped his way down throughthedarkness,itcametohimasanamazingrevelationthatshehadtaken hiscomingasathingtobethankfulfor,andithadbeensomanyyearssincea doorhadbeenflungwidetowelcomehim.
CHAPTERII In Which Rose-Leaves and Old Slippers Speed a Happy Pair; and in Which SweetandTwentySpeaksaNewandModernLanguage,andGivesaReasonfor RentingaGentleman'sLibrary.
InspiteofthefactthatMaryBallardhadseemedtoRogerPoolelikeawhitewinged angel, she was not looked upon by the family as a beauty. It was Constancewhowasthe"prettyone,"andtonightasshestoodinherbridalrobes, gazingupathersisterwhowasdescendingthestairs,shewasmorethanpretty. Her tender face was illumined by an inner radiance. She was two years older than Mary, but more slender, and her coloring was more strongly emphasized. Her eyes were blue and her hair was gold, as against the gray-green and dull fairnessofMary'shair.Sheseemedsurrounded,too,byasortoffeminineaura, sothatoneknewataglancethatherewasawomanwhowouldloveherhome, herhusband,herchildren;whowouldleanuponmasculineprotection,andsuffer frommasculineneglect. Of Mary Ballard these things could not be said at once. In spite of her simplicity and frankness, there was about her a baffling atmosphere. She was
like a still pool with the depths as yet unsounded, an uncharted sea—with its mysteryofundiscoveredcountries. The contrast between the sisters had never been more marked than when Mary,leaningoverthestair-rail,answeredthebreathless,"Dearest,wherehave youbeen?"withhercalm: "There'splentyoftime,Constance." AndConstance,soothedasalwaysbyhersister'stranquillity,repeatedMary's wordsforthebenefitofaponderouslyanxiousPersonageinambersatin. "There'splentyoftime,AuntFrances." That Aunt Frances was a Personage was made apparent by certain exterior evidences.Oneknewitbythesetofherfineshoulders,thecarriageofherhead, bythediamond-studdedlorgnette,bythestringofpearlsaboutherneck,bythe ospreyinherwhitehair,bythegoldenbucklesonhershoes. "Itisfiveminutestoeight,"saidAuntFrances,"andGordoniswaitingdownstairswithhisbestman,thechorusisfreezingonthesideporch,andeverybody hasarrived.Idon'tseewhyyouarewaiting——" "Wearewaitingforittobeeighto'clock,AuntFrances,"saidMary."Atjust eight, I start down in front of Constance, and if you don't hurry you and Aunt Isabellewon'tbethereaheadofme." The amber train slipped and glimmered down the polished steps, and the goldenbucklesgleamedasMrs.Clendenning,pantingalittleandwithasenseof outragethathernervousanxietyoftheprecedingmomenthadbeenfornaught, madeherwaytothedrawing-room,wheretheguestswereassembled. AuntIsabellefollowed,gentlysmiling.AuntIsabellewastoAuntFrancesas moonlight unto sunlight. Aunt Frances was married, Aunt Isabelle was single; AuntFrancesworeamber,AuntIsabellesilvergray;AuntFrancesheldupher headlikeaqueen,AuntIsabelledroppedhersdeprecatingly;AuntFrances'quick ears caught the whispers of admiration that followed her, Aunt Isabelle's ears wereclosedforevertoallthemusicoftheuniverse. Nosoonerhadthetwoauntstakentheirplacestotheleftofafloralbower
than there was heard without the chanted wedding chorus, from a side door steppedtheclergymanandthebridegroomandhisbestman;thenfromthehall came the little procession with Mary in the lead and Constance leaning on the armofherbrotherBarry. They were much alike, this brother and sister. More alike than Mary and Constance.Barryhadthesamegoldinhishair,andblueinhiseyes,and,while onedarednothintit,inthefaceofhisbroad-shoulderedstrength,therewasan almost feminine charm in the grace of his manner and the languor of his movements. Therewerenobridesmaids,exceptMary,butfourprettygirlsheldthebroad whiteribbonswhichmarkedanaisledownthelengthoftherooms.Thesegirls worepinkwithclosecapsofoldlace.Onlyoneofthemhaddarkhair,anditwas thedark-hairedone,who,standingverystillthroughouttheceremony,withthe ribbon caught up to her in lustrous festoons, never took her eyes from Barry Ballard'sface. Andwhen,aftertheceremony,thebrideturnedtogreetherfriends,thedarkhairedgirlmovedforwardtowhereBarrystood,alittleapartfromthewedding group. "Doesn'titseemstrange?"shesaidtohimwithquick-drawnbreath. Hesmileddownather."What?" "Thatafewwordsshouldmakesuchadifference?" "Yes.Aminuteagoshebelongedtous.Nowshe'sGordon's." "Andhe'stakinghertoEngland?" "Yes. But not for long. When he gets the branch office started over there, they'llcomeback,andhe'lltakehisfather'splaceinthebusinesshere,andletthe oldmanretire." Shewasnotlistening."Barry,"sheinterrupted,"whatwillMarydo?Shecan't liveherealone—andshe'llmissConstance." "Oh, Aunt Frances has fixed that," easily; "she wants Mary to shut up the
houseandspendthewinterinNicewithherselfandGrace—it'sagreatchance forMary." "Butwhataboutyou,Barry?" "Me?" He shrugged his shoulders and again smiled down at her. "I'll find quarters somewhere, and when I get too lonesome, I'll come over and talk to you,Leila." The rich color flooded her cheeks. "Do come," she said, again with quickdrawn breath, then like a child who has secured its coveted sugar-plum, she slipped through the crowd, and down into the dining-room, where she found Marytakingalastsurvey. "Hasn'tAuntFrancesdonethingsbeautifully?"Maryasked;"sheinsistedon it,Leila.Wecouldneverhaveaffordedtheorchidsandtheroses;andtheicesare charming—pinkheartswithcupidsshootingatthemwithsilverarrows——" "Oh,Mary,"thedark-hairedgirllaidherflushedcheekagainstthearmofher tallerfriend."Ithinkweddingsarewonderful." Mary shook her head. "I don't," she said after a moment's silence. "I think they'rehorrid.IlikeGordonRichardsonwellenough,exceptwhenIthinkthat heisstealingConstance,andthenIhatehim." Butthebride wascomingdown,withallthemurmuringvoicesbehindher, andnowthesilkenladiesweredescendingthestairstothedining-room,which took up the whole lower west wing of the house and opened out upon an oldfashionedgarden,whichto-night,underachillOctobermoon,showeditsrows ofboxandofformalcedarslikesharpshadowsagainstthewhiteness. Intothisgardencame,later,Mary.AndbehindherSusanJenks. Susan Jenks was a little woman with gray hair and a coffee-colored skin. Beingneitherblacknorwhite,shepartooksomewhatofthenatureofbothraces. BackofherAfricangentlenesswasanalmostYankeeshrewdness,andthefirm willwhichnowandthendegeneratedintoobstinacy. "Thereain'tnoluckinaweddingwithoutrice,MissMary.Thesepaperroseleafthingsthatyou'vegotinthebagsaremightypretty,buthowareyougoing
toknowthattheybringgoodluck?" "AuntFrancesthoughttheywouldbecharmingandforeign,Susan,andthey lookveryreal,floatingoffintheair.Youmuststandthereontheupperporch, andgivethelittlebagstotheguests." Susanascendedtheterracestepscomplainingly."Yougorightinoutofthe night,MissMary,"shecalledback,"an'youwithnothin'onyourbareneck!" Mary,turning,camefacetofacewithGordon'sbestman,PorterBigelow. "Mary," he said, impetuously, "I've been looking for you everywhere. I couldn'tkeepmyeyesoffyouduringtheservice—youwere—heavenly." "I'm not a bit angelic, Porter," she told him, "and I'm simply freezing out here.IhadtoshowSusanabouttheconfetti." Hedrewherinandshutthedoor."Theysentmetohuntforyou,"hesaid. "Constancewantsyou.She'sgoingup-stairstochange.ButIheardjustnowthat you are going to Nice. Leila told me. Mary—you can't go—not so far away— fromme." Hishandwasonherarm. Sheshookitoffwithalittlelaugh. "Youhaven'tathingtodowithit,Porter.AndI'mnotgoing—toNice." "ButLeilasaid——" Her head went up. It was a characteristic gesture. "It doesn't make any differencewhatanyonesays.I'mnotgoingtoNice." Once more in the Tower Rooms, the two sisters were together for the last time.Leilawassentdownonahastilycontrivederrand.AuntFrances,arriving, wasurgedtogobackandlookaftertheguests.OnlyAuntIsabellewasallowed toremain.Shecouldbeofuse,andthethingswhichweretobesaidshecould nothear. "Dearest," Constance's voice had a break in it, "dearest, I feel so selfish—
leavingyou——" Mary was kneeling on the floor, unfastening hooks. "Don't worry, Con. I'll getalong." "Butyou'llhavetobear—things—allalone.Itisn'tasifanyoneknew,and youcouldtalkitout." "I'dratherdiethanspeakofit,"fiercely,"andIsha'n'twriteanythingtoyou aboutit,forGordonwillreadyourletters." "Oh,Mary,hewon't." "Oh, yes, he will, and you'll want him to—you'll want to turn your heart insideoutforhimtoread,tosaynothingofyourletters." She stood up and put both of her hands on her sister's shoulders. "But you mustn't tell him, Con. No matter how much you want to, it's my secret and Barry's—promiseme,Con——" "But,Mary,awifecan't." "Yes,shecanhavesecretsfromherhusband.Andthisbelongstous,notto him.You'vemarriedhim,Con,butwehaven't." AuntIsabelle,gentleAuntIsabelle,shutofffromtheworldofsound,could not hear Con's little cry of protest, but she looked up just in time to see the shimmeringdressdroptothefloor,andtoseethebride,sheathedlikealilyin whiteness,buryherheadonMary'sshoulder. Aunt Isabelle stumbled forward. "My dear," she asked, in her thin troubled voice,"whatmakesyoucry?" "It's nothing, Aunt Isabelle." Mary's tone was not loud, but Aunt Isabelle heardandnodded. "She's dead tired, poor dear, and wrought up. I'll run and get the aromatic spirits." WithAuntIsabellaoutoftheway,Marysetherselftorepairthedamageshe
haddone."I'vemadeyoucryonyourweddingday,Con,andIwantedyoutobe sohappy.Oh,tellGordon,ifyoumust.Butyou'llfindthathewon'tlookatitas youandIhavelookedatit.Hewon'tmaketheexcuses." "Oh, yes he will." Constance's happiness seemed to come back to her suddenlyinafloodofassurance."He'sthebestmanintheworld,Mary,andso kind.It'sbecauseyoudon'tknowhimthatyouthinkasyoudo." Marycouldnotquenchthetrustintheblueeyes."Ofcoursehe'sgood,"she said,"andyouaregoingtobethehappiestever,Constance." ThenAuntIsabellecamebackandfoundthattheneedforthearomaticspirits wasover,andtogetherthelovinghandshurriedConstanceintohergoingaway gownofdullblueandsilver,withitssabletrimmedwrapandhat. "Ifithadn'tbeenforAuntFrances,howcouldIhavefacedGordon'sfriends inLondon?"saidConstance."AmIallrightnow,Mary?" "Lovely,Con,dear." But it was Aunt Isabelle's hushed voice which gave the appropriate phrase. "Shelookslikeabluebird—forhappiness." AtthefootofthestairwayGordonwaswaitingforhisbride—handsomeand prosperous as a bridegroom should be, with a dark sleek head and eager eyes, andbesidehimPorterBigelow,toppinghimbyahead,andaredheadatthat. AsMaryfollowedConstance,Portertuckedherhandunderhisarm.
he improvised under his breath. "Oh, Mary Ballard, do you know that I am holding on to myself with all my might to keep from shouting to the crowd, 'Maryisn'tgoingaway.Maryisn'tgoingaway.'" "Silly——"
"Yousaythat,butyoudon'tmeanit.Mary,youcan'tbehard-heartedonsuch anightasthis.SaythatImaystayforfiveminutes—ten—aftertheothershave gone——" Theywereoutontheporchnow,andhehadfoldedaboutherthewrapwhich shehadbroughtdownwithher."Ofcourseyoumaystay,"shesaid,"butmuch goodmayitdoyou.AuntFrancesisstayingandGeneralDick—there'stobea familyconclaveintheSanctum—butifyouwanttolistenyoumay." And how the rose-leaves began to flutter! Susan Jenks had handed out the bags,andsecretly,andwithmuchelationhadleanedovertherailasConstance passed down the steps, and had emptied her own little offering of rice in the middleofthebride'sbluehat! It was Barry, aided and abetted by Leila, who brought out the old slippers. There were Constance's dancing slippers, high-heeled and of delicate hues, Mary's more individual low-heeled ones, Barry's outworn pumps, decorated hurriedlybyLeilafortheoccasionwithlovers'knotsoftissuepaper. Anditwasjustasthebridewaved"Good-bye"fromGordon'slimousinethat anewslipperfollowedtheoldones,forLeila,carriedawaybytheexcitement, andhavingatthemomentnoothermissileathand,reacheddown,andplucking offoneofherownpinksandals,hurleditwithallhermightatthemovingcar.It landedontop,andLeila,withagasp,realizedthatitwasgoneforever. "Itservesyouright."Lookingup,shemetBarry'slaughingeyes. Shesankdownonthestep."Andtheywereanewpair!" "Luckythatit'syourbirthdaynextweek,"hesaid."Doyouwantpinkones?'" "Barry!" Her delight was overwhelming. "Heavens, child," he condoned her, "don't lookasifIwerethegrandMogul.DoyouknowIsometimesthinkyouareeight instead of eighteen? And now, if you'll take my arm, you can hippity-hop into thehouse.AndIhopethatyou'llrememberthis,thatifIgiveyoupinkslippers youarenottothrowthemaway." InthehalltheymetLeila'sfather—GeneralWilfredDick.TheGeneralhad
married, in late bachelorhood, a young wife. Leila was like her mother in her darksparklingbeautyanddemuresweetness.Butsheshowedattimesthespirit of her father—the spirit which had carried the General gallantly through the CivilWar,andhadledhimafterthewartomakeasuccessofthepracticeoflaw. HehadbeenforyearstheintimatefriendandadviseroftheBallards,anditwas atMary'srequestthathewastostaytoshareinthecomingconclave. HetoldLeilathis."You'llhavetowait,too,"hesaid."Andnow,whyareyou hoppingononefootinthatabsurdfashion?" "Dad,dear,Ilostmyshoe——" "Herverybestpinkone,"Barryexplained;"shethrewitafterthebride,and nowI'vegottogiveheranotherpairforherbirthday." TheGeneral'soldeyesbrightenedashesurveyedtheyoungpair.Thiswasas itshouldbe,thesonofhisoldfriendandthedaughterofhisheart. He tried to look stern, however. "Haven't I always kept you supplied with pink shoes and blue shoes and all the colors of the rainbow shoes!" he demanded."AndwhyshouldyoutaxBarry?" "But,Dad,hewantsto."ShelookedeagerlyatBarryforconfirmation."He wantstogivethemtome—formybirthday——" "Of course I do," said Barry, lightly. "If I didn't give her slippers, I should havetogivehersomethingelse—andfarbeitfrommetoknowwhat—little— lovely—Leila—wants——" Andtothetuneofhischant,theyhippity-hoppedtogetherupthestairsina huntforsomestrayshoethatshouldfitlittle-lovely-Leila'sfoot! Alittlelater,thesilkenladieshavingdescendedthestairwayforthelasttime, AuntFrancestookherambersatinstatelinesstotheSanctum. Behind her, a silver shadow, came Aunt Isabelle, and bringing up the rear, GeneralDick,andthefouryoungpeople;Leilainapairofmismatedslippers, hippity-hopping behind with Barry, and Porter assuring Mary that he knew he "hadn't any business to butt in to a family party," but that he was coming anyhow.
TheSanctumwasthefrontroomonthesecondfloor.IthadbeentheLittle Mother's room in the days when she was still with them, and now it had been turnedintoaretreatwheretheyoungpeopledriftedwhentheywantedquiet,or where they met for consultation and advice. Except that the walnut bed and bureauhadbeentakenoutnothinghadbeenchanged,andtheirmother'sbooks were still in the low bookcases; religious books, many of them, reflecting the gentlefaithoftheowner.Onmantelandtableandwallswerephotographsofher childreninlongclothesandshort,andthenoncemoreinlongones;therewas Barry in wide collars and knickerbockers, and Constance and Mary in ermine capsandcapes;therewasBarryagaininthemilitaryuniformofhispreparatory school;Constanceinhergraduationfrock,andMarywithherhairupforthefirst time.Therewasapictureoftheirfatheronporcelaininabluevelvetcase,and anotherpictureofhimabovethemantelinanovalframe,withoneoftheLittle Mother's,alsoinanovalframe,toflankit.InthefairnessoftheLittleMother onetracedthefairnessofBarryandConstance.Butthefairnessandfeaturesof thefatherwereMary's. Maryhadneverlookedmorelikeherfatherthannowwhen,sittingunderhis picture,shestatedhercase.Whatshehadtosayshesaidsimply.Butwhenshe hadfinishedtherewasthesilenceofastonishment. Inaday,almostinanhour,littleMaryhadgrownup!WithConstanceasthe nominal head of the household, none of them had realized that it was Mary's mindwhichhadworkedouttheproblemsofmakingendsmeet,andthatitwas Mary'sstrengthandindustrywhichhadsupplementedSusan'swaningeffortsin thecareofthebighouse. "I want to keep the house," Mary repeated. "I had to talk it over to-night, AuntFrances,becauseyougobacktoNewYorkinthemorning,andIcouldn't speakofitbeforeto-nightbecauseIwasafraidthatsomehintofmyplanwould gettoConstanceandshewouldbetroubled.She'lllearnitlater,butIdidn'twant hertohaveitonhermindnow.Iwanttostayhere.I'vealwayslivedhere,andso hasBarry—andwhileIappreciateyourplansformetogotoNice,Idon'tthink itwouldbefairorrightformetoleaveBarry." Barry,alittleembarrassedtobebroughtintoit,said,"Oh,youneedn'tmind aboutme——" "ButIdomind."Maryhadrisenandwasspeakingearnestly."Iamsureyou