Mary Ware In Texas, Chapter 8: "Die Kleinen Teufel"

MARY WARE IN TEXAS
by Annie Fellows Johnston (1863-1931)

Published 1910

Illustrated by Frank T. Merrill

Title Page

 

CHAPTER VIII.
"DIE KLEINEN TEUFEL"

CHRISTMAS was followed by a week of small calamities. Some of them would have been laughable, counted singly, but taken all together they assumed a seriousness not to be considered lightly.

In the first place, Mary, attempting to tie the boat at the usual landing, slipped on the muddy bank and dropped the chain. In her effort to recover it she stepped into the water. Her shoes were soaking wet when she reached home, and as they were her only good ones she stuffed them carefully with paper and hung them over the little drum stove in the living room to dry. That evening Jack read aloud while they washed the dishes, so they were all in the kitchen when the smouldering log in the drum stove, having reached the blazing point, suddenly burst into flame.

Presently a smell of burning leather made them all begin to sniff inquiringly, and Mary rushed in to find that one of her shoes had dropped from the string to which she had tied it by the laces, and was scorching to a crisp on the red-hot stove. Her old shoes were so shabby that the immediate need of new ones, left her figuring over the family accounts until bed-time. It was hard to cut down a list of expenses already reduced to low water mark.

The next day a wet "Norther" blew up, bringing the first cold weather of the winter. After weeks of almost summer-like heat, the mercury dropped to freezing point in just a few hours, and roaring fires in both the kitchen and drum stoves failed to warm the little cottage. Like most houses in that section it had not been built with a view to excluding the cold. The wind blew in under the north door, lifting the rugs until they shifted with a wave-like motion across the floor. Jack had to have a blanket hung behind his chair, and when Mrs. Ware sat down to write her weekly letter to Joyce the draughts that rattled the windows set her to sneezing as if she never could stop.

Mary, full of resources, brought her pink sunbonnet and perched it on her mother's head, pulling its ruffled cape well down on her shoulders.

"There!" she exclaimed, laughing at the jaunty effect. "That will keep 'the cauld blasts' from giving you a stiff neck. Do look in the mirror and then draw a picture of yourself for Joyce. Tell her that the Sunny South is a delusion. The mercury is only dawn to freezing, but I am sure that there isn't an Esquimau in all the Arctic Circle as cold as we are this blessed minute. That wind goes through a body like a fine-pointed needle."

"These little stoves fairly eat up the wood," she grumbled a few minutes later, glancing into the empty wood-box which Norman had piled to the top before he left that morning.

"Norman will be back soon," said Mrs. Ware, looking out from her aureole of pink ruffles, which she had found such a comfortable shield from the draughts that she left it as Mary had placed it. "He'll fill the box again as soon as he comes."

But Mary had slipped into a coat and was tying a veil over her ears. "It isn't safe to wait," she answered. "We'd be stiff and stark as icicles in no time if we were to let the fires go out. I don't mind being stoker. It's good exercise."

She skipped out to the wood-pile gaily enough, but the tune she was whistling changed to a long-drawn note of surprise and dismay when she saw what inroads they had made on it since the last time she had noticed it.

"We'll have to have another cord right away," she thought. "I never dreamed that fuel would be such a big item of expense, away down here so far South. But if we have much more weather like this it will be a very serious item."

The discovery sent her back to her account book again, but this time she took it to her own room where Jack could not see her figuring. The butcher raised the price of meat that week. Both butter and eggs went higher, and Jack's rubber air-cushion sprung such a leak that it collapsed hopelessly. A new one was a necessity. Then the cold Norther made Jack's rheumatism so much worse that he had to stay in bed, and several visits from the doctor and a druggist's bill had to be added to the list of the week's calamities.

The last straw was reached when Joyce's letter came, deploring the fact that the check which she was enclosing was only half the size which she usually sent. She had some unexpected expenses at the studio which she was obliged to meet, but she hoped to send the customary amount next month. This information was not in the letter which Mrs. Ware promptly sent in to Jack by Norman, but in a separate postscript, folded inside the check. Mary read it with startlled eyes

"Whatever are we going to do?" she asked in a despairing whisper.

Mrs. Ware shook her head and sat folding and unfolding the check in an absent-minded way for several minutes. Then she went into her room for pen and ink to endorse it, so that Mary, who was going down into the town that afternoon, could cash it. She was gone a long time and when she came back she had two letters ready to post.

As Mary went down the road a while later, she glanced at the first envelope which was addressed to Joyce, admiring as she always did her mother's penmanship.

"It's just like her," she thought," so fine and even and ladylike." Then she gave an exclamation of surprise as she saw that the second envelope was addressed to Mrs. Barnaby.

"Whatever can she be writing to her about?" she wondered. "It's queer she never said anything about it, when we always talk over everything together, even the tiniest trifles."

She puzzled over it nearly all the way to the post-office till she remembered that she had heard her mother say that she was not altogether satisfied with the new doctor's treatment for Jack, and that she wanted to ask Mrs. Barnaby whom to call inconsultation. Satisfied with that solution, Mary thought no more about the matter till the following Friday, when she came back from a short call at the rectory, to find that Mrs. Barnaby had just driven away from the house. She was disappointed, for these visits were always hailed as joyful events by the entire household.

"I wouldn't have missed her for anything!" exclaimed Mary, following her mother into their bedroom." She's so diverting. What particularly funny things did she say this time? What's that?"

Her glance and question indicated a bundle that her mother had brought in from the back doorstep and laid on the bed. Mrs. Ware shook her head meaningly, and closed the door into Jack's room before she answered. Then she said in a low tone:

"It's some linen and lace that Mrs. Barnaby brought this afternoon. I wrote to her asking her if she had any fine hand-sewing that I could do. Sh!"she whispered, lifting a warning finger, as Mary's cry of " Why, Mamma Ware!" interrupted her.

"Jack will hear you, and he is not to know. That's why I had Pedro take the bundle to the back door. Mrs. Barnaby understands. Something had to be done, and under the circumstances sewing is the only thing I can turn my hand to at home."

"But mamma!" exclaimed Mary, so distressed that she was almost crying. "Your eyes are not strong enough for that any more. You nearly wore yourself out trying to support us when we were little, and I'm very sure we're not going to allow it now. Joyce would be terribly distressed, and as for Jack --- I know perfectly well that he'd just rather lie down and die than have you do it. We'll bundle that stuff right back to Mrs. Barnaby, and I'll go down town and see if I can't get a position in one of the stores."

Mrs. Ware's answer was in such a low voice that it went no farther than the closed door, but it silenced Mary's protests. Only a few times in her remembrance had the gentle little woman used that tone of authority with her children, but on those rare occasions they recognized the force of her determination and the uselessness of opposing it. Mary turned away distressed and sore over the situation. She said nothing more, but as she went about her work she kept wiping away the tears, and a fierce rebellion raged inwardly.

There would have been little said at the supper-table that night if Norman had not come home in a talkative mood. He was to start to the public High School the following Monday, at the beginning of the new term, and had recently made the acquaintance of a boy lately come to Bauer, who would enter with him.

"Ed Masters is his name," Norman reported, raising his voice a trifle, so that Jack, who was taking his supper at the same time from a bedside table in the next room, might be included in the conversation.

"I like him first rate, and it will make it lots easier for me at school, not to be the only new boy. The only trouble is, he doesn't know whether his folks are going to stay in Bauer long enough to make it worth while for him to start or not. They came for the whole winter, but they say that they can't stand it at the hotel many more days if something isn't done to those Mallory kids. Ed says they're regular little imps for mischief. They've been here only two weeks, but they're known all over Bauer as 'die kleinen teufel.'"

"Which being interpreted, "laughed Jack from the next room, "means the little devils. What have they done to earn such a name?"

"It might be easier to tell what they haven't done," answered Norman. "There's two of them, the boy seven and the girl eight, but they're exactly the same size, and look so much alike everybody takes them for twins. They put a puppy in the ice-cream freezer yesterday morning, Ed says, and Miss Edna, the landlady's daughter, almost had a spasm when she went to make ice-cream for dinner and found it in the can.

"Yesterday afternoon the delivery wagon stopped at the side entrance of the hotel (it's the Williams House where Ed is staying), and those children waited until the boy had gone in with a basket of groceries. Then they climbed up into the delivery wagon and changed the things all around in the other baskets so that the orders were hopelessly mixed up, and nobody got what he had bought. There was a ten gallon can of kerosene in the wagon, the kind that has a pump attachment. The boy stopped to talk a minute to Mrs. Williams, and by the time he got back they had pumped all the kerosene out into the road, and were making regular gatling guns of themselves with a bushel of potatoes. They were firing them out of the basket as fast as they could throw, in a wild race to see which would be first to grab the last potato.

"Ed says they ride up and down the hotel galleries on their tricycles till it sounds like thunder, when the other boarders are trying to take a nap, or they'll chase up and down hooting and slashing the air with switches. If people don't dodge and scrooge back against the wall they'll get slashed too.

"I suppose every merchant on Main Street has some grievance against them, for they haven't the slightest regard for other people's rights or property, and they're not afraid of anything. The little girl went into the livery stable the other day and swung onto the tail of one of those big white 'bus horses, and pulled a handful of hairs out of it. It's a favorite trick of theirs to climb into any automobile left at the curbstone, and honk the horn till the owner comes out. Then they calmly sit still and demand a ride."

"They must be the children that Doctor Mackay was telling me about," spoke up Jack. "He came in here one day, furious with them. He had caught them smearing soap over the glass wind shield of his new machine. They had climbed all over the cushions with their muddy feet, and tinkered with the clock till it couldn't run. He threatened to tell their father, and all they did was to put their thumbs to their noses and say: 'Yah! Tattle-tale! You can't tell! He's a thousand miles away!'"

""Isn't any one responsible for them?" asked Mrs. Ware.

"Yes," said Norman," there is a colored girl at their heels whenever they don't give her the slip. But their mother is ill --- came here for her health, Ed says, and their grandmother who tries to look after them is so deaf that she can't hear their noise and their saucy speeches. They're so quick that she never sees them making faces and sticking their tongues out at people. They do it behind her back. She thinks they are little angels, but she'll find out when they're asked to leave the Hotel. Ed says it's coming to that very soon --- either the Mallorys will have to go, or everybody else will. They got into his box of fishing tackle, and you never saw such a mess as they made. He is furious."

With her mind intent on her own troubles, Mary did not listen to the recital of other people's with her usual interest, although what she heard that night was recalled very clearly afterward. All evening she brooded over her grievance, trying to discover some remedy. She could not take the sewing away from her mother and do it herself, for while fairly skilful with her needle, she had not learned to make a fine art of her handiwork. The garments Mrs. Ware made were as beautifully wrought as those fashioned and embroidered by the French nuns.

"I know Mrs. Barnaby never would order anything so fine and expensive, "thought Mary bitterly, "if she didn't know that we need the money so badly. She did it because mamma asked her, and felt that she couldn't refuse. That is a sort of charity that kills me to accept, and I sha'n't do it one minute longer than I have to."

It was easier to make such a resolution, however, than to carry it out. A short call on Mrs. Metz next morning, showed her that her first plan was not feasible. The old woman being related to nearly half of Bauer by birth or marriage, and knowing the other half with the intimacy of an "oldest inhabitant," was in a position to know each merchant's needs and requirements, also what wages he paid each employee. Most of them had no occasion to hire outside help. Their own families furnished enough. It was a necessary requirement of course, that any one applying for a position must speak German. That one thing alone barred Mary out, and she went home anxious and disheartened. Still, even if she could have spoken a dozen tongues, the position she had coveted did not seem so desirable, after she learned the small amount the clerks received.

All that day and the next she worried over the matter, and finally decided to go to Mrs. Rochester and ask her advice. On the way up to the rectory she stopped at the. post-office. The mail was being distributed, and while she stood waiting for the delivery window to open, the rector himself came in. As he turned away from his locked box, in which only papers had been deposited so far, he saw Mary and went over to her with a cordial greeting.

"I'm looking for something," he said with a twinkle of fun in his eyes. "Maybe you can help me. It is as hard to find as the proverbial needle in the haystack, but I must have it before sundown if possible. Some one as patient as Job, as tactful as a diplomat, with the nerve of a lion-tamer and the resources of a sleight-of-hand performer --- the kind who can draw rabbits out of a silk hat if necessary."

Mary laughed. "What are you going to do with such a wonderful creature when you find it?"

"Turn it loose on those Mallory children," answered Mr. Rochester, lowering his tone. "I was sent for yesterday, presumably to see their mother who is an invalid, but I found that the real reason was to give some advice to Mr. Mallory about the children. The hotel refused to harbor them any longer, and he had been summoned hastily by telegraph. He has moved his family to a furnished cottage near the hotel. Their meals will be sent in to them, and his mother can look after his wife, but he is desperate about the children.

"He acknowledges he could not cope with them even if he could stay here all the time away from his business. His wife has never allowed them to be punished, and has foolishly humored them till they are past being controlled. He besought me to find some one who could take them in hand for a part of the day at least."

"But what could an outsider do with them if their own family has failed?" queried Mary.

"Ah, that's where the lion-tamer and the sleight-of-hand performer combination gets in his work. He must quell them with his eye, and draw ways and means out of his silk hat. Mrs. Mallory would like to have them taught to read and write if it can be done without crossing the little dears, but I inferred that their father would be glad simply to have them taken in hand and tamed sufficiently to keep them from being public nuisances."

Mary's pulses began to pound with the excitement of a daring thought, but she managed to appear unconcerned, and asked him in a joking way, "And if you can't find this Job-like, diplomatic lion-tamer they want, they'll have to take some ordinary person?"

"They'll be obliged to. But I'm afraid that a quest even in that direction will prove fruitless. It's a field for real missionary effort, though. Some one might be willing to approach it in that spirit."

The delivery window flew up, and as the waiting line began moving along towards it, Mr. Rochester lifted his hat and turned away. But before he could fit his key in the lock of his box, Mary was at his side.

"One moment, please," she exclaimed, her face flushing. She spoke very fast. "If you think that I can fill that position will you tell them about me? I've really got lots of patience with children, and" laughing nervously ---" last summer I partly tamed a young wild-cat. I could at least tell the children stories, and teach them all sorts of woodlore that would keep them busy and interested out of doors. Besides," she flushed still deeper, "I must find some way to earn some money soon. My very need of it would make me try all the harder to fill the place. I am on my way now to see Mrs. Rochester and ask her advice about what to do."

A few minutes later she and Mr. Rochester were walking rapidly along the road in the direction of the Williams House. As they crossed the wide foot-bridge which spans the creek, and climbed the hill on the other side, she told him of the work she had done the previous summer under the noted naturalist, Professor Carnes.

"He had arranged to send his fifteen-year-old niece to Lone Rock this winter," she added, "but her physicians decided at the last moment that she needed a milder climate. She was to have boarded near us, and I had promised to devote my mornings to keeping her out of doors and teaching her in an indirect way that would not suggest books or study hours. Maybe the fact that such a man as Professor Carnes thought me competent to do that, and was willing to pay me a grown teacher's salary, might have some weight with the Mallorys. Oh, I hope they won't think seventeen and a half is too young," she exclaimed, with an anxious glance at her companion, as if to discover his opinion.

"If I'd only known such an important interview was ahead of me I'd have worn my blue suit. I look lots older in that because it's longer than this one."

"I don't think you need worry about that," the rector answered. He spoke gravely, but the face he turned away from her twitched with suppressed amusement.

They passed the Williams House, and turned in at the gate of a gray cottage, where Mr. Mallory himself met them at the door. He was a prosperous young broker with an affable manner and the self-confident air that some people acquire from the carrying of a fat bank-book. He ushered them into the room where Mrs. Mallory was lying on a couch. She was very young and blue-eyed and soft-haired. Curled up among the cushions under a blue and white afghan, she made Mary think of a kitten. She seemed so helpless and incapable, as if she had never known anything but cushions and cream, all her life.

Two children were playing quietly under a table, in the corner. Mary could not see what they were doing, for they were lying on their stomachs with their heads towards the wall. Only their little black-stockinged legs and slippered feet protruded from under the table, and they were waving back and forth in mid-air above their backs.

When Mr. Rochester introduced Mary as the young lady they were so desirous of finding, one pair of small legs stopped waving, and their owner backed hastily out into the room. Humping along on all fours until she reached her mother's couch, she sat on the floor beside it and began studying the visitors with a quiet intense gaze. She was an attractive child, with rather a wistful little face. Her hair was cut short in Buster Brown fashion, and she was remarkably strong and sturdy looking for a girl. Otherwise there was nothing in her appearance to justify one's belief that she had done all the tom-boy things ascribed to her.

To Mary's surprise Mrs. Mallory discussed the children as freely as if they were not present, repeating their pranks and smart sayings as if they were too young to understand what was being said, and frankly admitting her inability to control them.

"Mr. Mallory and I agree on every subject but the proper way to rear children, and we almost come to blows over that," she said, smiling up at him till the dimples, in her cheeks made her seem more childish and appealing than ever.

"I believe in letting children do exactly as they please as far as possible. The time will come soon enough when they can't, poor little dears. We have not imposed our wishes on them even in the matter of names. It has been a life-long regret with me that my mother burdened me with a name that I despised, and I made up my mind that my children should be allowed to choose their own. Little brother, there, has chosen his father's name, Herbert. But we're slow about adopting it. We've called him Brud so long, his sister's baby name for him, when she was learning to talk, that it is hard to break the habit."

"And the little girl?" asked Mary politely, beginning to feel that she had hastened to shoulder a load which she might not be able to carry.

"Really it's too cunning the way Little Sister does," exclaimed Mrs. Mallory. "One week she announces she's Genevive and the next that's she's Bessie or Maud or Irma --- whatever happens to strike her fancy, and she gets simply furious if we don't remember every time she changes. That was one thing that Miss Edna fell out with us about. She kept calling her Bessie the week that she wished to be known as Marion. Of course the child naturally resented it, and Miss Edna actually caught her and shook her, when she hadn't done a thing but throw a biscuit or some little article like that in her direction."

Mary cast a half-frightened glance at Mr. Rochester, aghast at the prospect before her. The soft voice went on.

"We don't believe in being harsh with children, do we, Beautiful?" She reached down to stroke the little head nestled against her couch. "I want my children to have it to remember of their mother that she never scolded or punished them. You can say that. Can't you, pet?"

Pet only nodded in reply, but she caught the slim white hand in both her own and pressed it lovingly against her cheek. It made a pretty tableau, and Mary found it hard to realize that this affectionate little creature was one of the "kleinen teufel" of Norman's report. But she noticed the satisfied gleam in the child's eyes when her mother went on to retail other instances of Miss Edna's harshness.

Mr. Rochester saw the expression also, and the shrewd, knowing glance that followed when he finally broached the terms of a settlement, asking them to specify exactly what would be expected of Mary and what salary would be paid in return. He mildly suggested that it might be wiser to dispense with a juvenile audience at this point.

He had chosen words that he thought far beyond Little Sister's comprehension, and there was something startling as well as uncanny in the way she spoke up for the first time since his entrance.

"I aren't a-going to leave this room! Nobody can make me!"

Mrs. Mallory looked up at her husband with an amused simper and shook her head as if to say, "Now, isn't that the smartest thing you ever saw?" and Mr. Rochester's suggestion was ignored.

When they rose to go it had been arranged that Mary was to take the children in charge every afternoon, except Sundays, from one o'clock till five, at the same salary Professor Carnes had offered her. She was to teach them anything she could in any way she chose, provided her methods did not conflict with their happiness. The chief thing was that they should be kept interested and amused.

"Then tomorrow at one," said Mr. Mallory, rising with them, "they will take their first lesson. Come out from under that table, Brud, and get acquainted with your new teacher."

Brud waved one leg in token that he heard, but made no further response. Suddenly Sister found her voice again.

"What you going to teach us first? 'Cause if we don't like it we won't go."

Taken thus suddenly, without having had a moment in which to form any plan of action, Mary groped wildly around in her mind for an answer. Slue recognized this as a crucial moment. She could not hesitate long, for Mrs. Mallory's appealing blue eyes were fixed on her also, the while she patted the child's cheek and purred, " Why, of course little Sister will go when the nice lady is planning to give her such a happy time."

"Happy time adoing what?" was the persistent question.

Just then, Meliss, the colored nurse-girl, opened the side door, and there floated in from the hotel kitchen the appetizing smell of pies --- hot mince pies just being lifted from the oven. Mary caught eagerly at the straw of suggestion which the odor offered. At the same time some instinct prompted her that it was foolishness to address this child of eight as if she were an infant, or to talk down to her as her family made a practise of doing. So speaking directly to her as if she were addressing an intelligent and reasonable being she said gravely:

"The kind of school we are going to have is so different from any you've ever heard of, that I can't explain it beforehand. I can only tell you this, --- it is somewhat like a Jack Horner pie. Each day you'll put in your thumb and pull out a plum. But what that particular plum will be depends on so many things that I could not possibly give it a name before it actually happens. It will be a surprise school."

At the mention of pies the legs under the table hastily came down out of the air, and the small boy attached hastily backed out into general view. Planting himself in front of Mary with a swaggering air, his feet wide apart, he announced aggressively.

"I'll bring my new hatchet if I want to, and nobody can make me leave it at home!"

There was something so impertinent in his manner that Mary longed to shake him and say, "Don't be so sure of that, Mr. Smarty!" But remembering the dignified position she now had to maintain, she only remarked in a matter of fact tone:

"If your hatchet has a good sharp edge it will probably be one of the first things you'll need. And you'll find use for a pocket full of medium sized nails, too."

"What for?" he demanded, drawing a little closer to begin a thorough cross examination. But Mary, who had turned to listen to a question of Mr. Mallory's, paid no heed.

"I say," Brud repeated, calling as if she were deaf. "What for? What for? WHAT FOR?"

Mary paid not the slightest attention until she had answered his father, then said deliberately, "I've already explained that in a surprise school you can't know what is going to happen till the time comes."

"Why?" he whined.

"Because," she said, pausing impressively, and then lowering her voice as if she were imparting a mysterious secret, "it's the Law of the Jungle."

The unexpectedness of this mystifying answer and the sepulchral voice in which she gave it, was so different from anything Brud had ever encountered before, that it took him some seconds to recover, and she was gone before he could think of another question.

Mr. Mallory walked to the gate with them. "You've certainly started out well, Miss Ware," he remarked admiringly. "At first I thought we might have some difficulty in getting their consent to go, but they'll be on hand to-morrow all right. You've aroused their curiosity to such a pitch that a regiment armed to the teeth couldn't keep them from satisfying it now." After an instant's pause he added a trifle awkwardly, seeming to feel some explanation was due, "Their mother never sees a fault in them, and my business keeps me away from them so much that --- well, you see yourself how it is."

On the way home neither Mary nor Mr. Rochester spoke till they were halfway down the hill. Then they looked at each other and laughed.

"I hope I haven't got you into too deep water, Miss Mary," he said. "It's a big undertaking. I must confess to a curiosity as great as Brud's. What are you going to do with them?"

"Oh, I don't know!" exclaimed Mary desperately. "Did you see me fencing for time when Little Sister demanded to be told what I'd teach them first? Things had happened so fast that I hadn't had a moment to think, so I had to say the first thing that came into my head. I tremble to think what a long pause there might have been if the smell of those pies had not suggested an answer. I think the first week I'll just play with them as hard as I can. Play Indian maybe, so that if they get too obstreperous it will be part of the game to tie them to a tree and torture them. But after all I  can't help being sorry for the little things after hearing their mother talk to them and about them."

At the end of the foot-bridge where she turned to take the lower road which was the short cut home, she started to thank him, but he stopped her earnest words with an uplifted hand and an amused protest.

"Wait and see how it turns out before you thank me. You may want to wreak dire vengeance on me before the week's over, for getting you into such a predicament."

With a cordial word of parting Mary hurried down the road, and burst into the house with the breathless announcement that she'd consented to go as a missionary; that Mr. Rochester had persuaded her to take the step. She waited a moment to give them a chance to guess what special field it was she was about to enter, but was so eager to tell that she had to burst out with the answer herself

"It's to the heathen at home I am going, I'm to be an apostle to 'die kleinen teufel'!"

Jack gave a loud whistle of surprise and then burst out laughing, but Mrs. Ware looked across at him soberly, with a triumphant nod of the head.

"There! What did I tell you?" she asked.  "Didn't I say that she'd soon adjust herself --- find something to amuse herself and all the rest of us as well?"

Mary, who had been wondering all the way home how her news would be received, had never imagined this --- that her venture would be looked upon merely as an outlet for her surplus energy, but after one gasp of surprise she was glad that her mother had put it that way.

"She did it on purpose," Mary thought. "So that Jack need not have added to his other ills the tormenting thought that he had driven his little sister to a disagreeable task, in order that she might help support him."

An understanding glance from her mother, full of approval and tender appreciation, flashed on her as she drew her chair up to the stove, but all she said was, "I'm sure you had an amusing interview." Then Mary proceeded to recount it, giving a graphic and laughable description of her half hour in the gray cottage. But all the time she was talking and mimicking she was looking forward to the moment when she could escape to a corner of the kitchen, and calculate with pencil and paper what she could never do in her head, the height of prosperity to which this tidal wave of a salary would lift them.

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