xt7kpr7mq12g https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7kpr7mq12g/data/mets.xml Johnston, Annie F. (Annie Fellows), 1863-1931. 1903  books b92-247-31689508 English L.C. Page, : Boston : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Cicely  : and other stories / by Annie Fellows Johnston ; illustrated by Sears Gallagher and others. text Cicely  : and other stories / by Annie Fellows Johnston ; illustrated by Sears Gallagher and others. 1903 2002 true xt7kpr7mq12g section xt7kpr7mq12g 



               Works of

 Annie Fellows Johnston
The Little Colonel .     .    .   .50
The Giant Scissors.  .   .         .50
Two Little Knights of Kentucky  .    .50
  (The three stories above are also published in one
volume. entitled The little Colonel Stories, 1.50.)
The Little Colonel's House Party  .  1.00
The Little Colonel's Holidays .  .  1.50
The Little Colonel's Hero      net, 1.20
The Little Colonel at Boarding-School
                  ,2t          net, 1.20
          OTHER BOOKS
Big Brother .      .      .        .50
Ole Mammy's Torment                .50
The Story of Dago                  .S0
Cicely .       .     .    .      , .40
Aunt 'Liza's Hero...          .et, .40
Asa Holmes .1.00
Flip's "Islands of Providence"    1.00
Songs Ysame .     .     .         1.00

   200 Summer Street, Boston, Mass.

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                                  (See Sage 75)


        AND CoTHer STOiEs

    C I C ME L Y


    Annie Fellows Johnston
             Author of
",The Little Colonel's House Party,"" The Little
  Colonel's Holidays," - Two Little Knights
          of Kentucky," etc.

      Illustrated by
Sears Gallagher and others

Boston it o At at
L. C. Page & Company
t -X X  X -  1903


             Cropyright, 19o0

             Copyright, 1902
       BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
              (INCORPOR A TED)

            All rights reserved

            Published, May, 1902

               Colonfal trets
Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
           Boston, Mass., U. S.A.



  These stories first appeared in the Youth's Com-
fianion and Forward. The author wishes to acknowl-
edge the courtesy of the editors in permitting her to
republish them in the present volume.
  Messrs. L. C. Page & Company wish also to acknowl-
edge the courtesy of the editors, by which they were able
to arrange for the use of the original illustrations.

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CICELY                                    I I

ALIDA'S HOMELINESS                     -  35

THE HAND OF DOUGLAS                       59

ELSIE'S " PALMISTRY EVENING"              87


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   (See piage 73)                 Frontispiiece
   FORTED HER                            31
   THEM'                                 67
   SO MANY ADMIRERS                      83
   DAY"      ..                          103
   ENCES'"                               108
PAUSING IN HER SCRUBBING"               1 i6
    HER TRAVELS"                          122
    WARD LOOK"                            127
    SHE WHISPERED, DEFIANTLY"  .     .    133

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              C I C E LY

  THERE was a noisy whir of sewing-machines
in Madame Levaney's large dressmaking estab-
lishment.  Cicely Leeds's head ached as she
bent over the ruffles she was hemming. She
was the youngest seamstress in the room, and
wore her hair hanging in two long braids.
  It seemed a pity that such girlish shoulders
should be learning to stoop, and that her eyes
had to bear such a constant strain. The light
was particularly bad this afternoon. Every cur-
tain was rolled to the top of its big window, but
the dull December sky was as gray as a fog.
Even the snow on the surrounding housetops
looked gray and dirty in the smoky haze.
  Now and then Cicely looked up from her
work and glanced out of the window. The cold
grayness of the outdoor world made her shiver.
It was a world of sooty chimney-tops as she


saw it, with a few chilly sparrows huddled in a
disconsolate row along the eaves. It would
soon be time to be going home, and the only
home Cicely had now was a cheerless little back
bedroom  in a cheap boarding-house.    She
dreaded going back to it. It was at least warm
in Madame Levaney's steam-heated workrooms,
and it was better to have the noise and confusion
than the cold solitude.
  Cicely's chair was the one nearest the entrance
to the parlour where madame received her cus-
tomers, and presently some one passing through
the door left it ajar. Above the hum of the
machines Cicely could hear a voice that she
recognised. It was that of Miss Shelby, a
young society girl, who was one of madame's
wealthiest customers.
  " I've brought my cousin, Miss Balfour,"
Cicely heard her say, "and we want to ask such
a favour of you, madame. You see my cousin
stopped here yesterday on her way East, intend-
ing to remain only one night with us, but we've
persuaded her to stay over to our party on New
Year's eve. Her trunks have gone on, and of
course she hasn't a thing with her in the way
of an evening dress. But I told her you would





come to the rescue. You are always so clever,
-you could get her up a simple little party
gown in no time. So, on the way down, we
stopped at Bailey's, and she bought the material
for it. Show it to madame, Rhoda. It's a
perfect dream ! "
  Cicely heard the snapping of a string, the
rustling of paper, and then madame's affected
little cry of admiration. But at the next word
she knew just how the little Frenchwornan was
shrugging her shoulders, with clasped hands and
raised eyebrows.
  "But, mademoiselle," Cicely heard her pro-
testing, "d it is impossible ! If you will but step
to ze door one instant and obsairve ! Evair'
one is beesy. Evair' one work, wvork, work to
ze fullest capacitee.  Look! All ze gowns zat
mus' be complete before ze New Year dawn,
and only two more day ! "
  She stepped to the door, and with a dramatic
gesture pointed to the busy sewing women and
the chairs and tables covered with dresses in all
stages of construction.
  "Only two day, and all zese yet to be feenish
for zat same ball! Much as I desire, it is not
possible ! "

I 5



  Every one looked up as the two girls stood
for a moment in the doorway. Miss Shelby
glanced around in a coldly indifferent way,
holding up her broadcloth skirt that it might
escape the ravellings and scraps scattered over
the floor. She was a tall brunette as elegantly
dressed as any figure in madame's latest Parisian
  ",Why can't you put somebody else off to
accommodate me just this once  " she said.
"It is a matter of great importance.  My
cousin has already bought the material on my
promise that you would make it up for her. I
think you might make a little extra effort in this
case, madame, when you remember that I was
one of your first customers, and that I really
brought you half your trade."
  The little Frenchwoman wrung her hands.
-I do remember, mademoiselle ! Indeed! In-
deed! But you see for yourself ze situation.
What can I do "
  "Make some of the women come back at
night," answered Miss Shelby, turning back into
the parlour, "and have them take some of the
work home to finish. I'm sure you might be
obliging enough to favour me."


  Miss Balfour had taken no part in the con-
versation. She stood beside her cousin, fully
as tall and handsome as she, and resembling
her in both face and figure, but there was
something in her expression that attracted
Cicely as much as the other girl had repelled
  Miss Shelby had not seemed to distinguish
the sewing women from their machines, but
Rhoda Balfour noticed how pallid were some of
the faces, and how gray was the hair on the
temples of the old woman in the corner bending
over her buttonholes. When her glance reached
Cicely, the appealing little figure in the black
gown, she could not help but notice the admi-
ration that showed so plainly in the girl's face,
and involuntarily she smiled in response, a
bright, friendly smile.
  As she turned away she did not see the sud-
den flush that rose to Cicely's cheeks, and did
not know that her recognition had sent the
blood surging warmly through the sad and dis-
couraged heart. It had been two months since
Cicely Leeds had been left alone in the strange
city, and this was the first time in all those
weeks that any one had smiled at her.




  Sometimes it seemed to her that the loneli-
ness would kill her if she knew it must go on
indefinitely. But Marcelle's promisehelped her
to bear it. Marcelle was her older sister, the
only person in the world left to her, and Mlar-
celle was teaching the village school at home.
In another year the last penny of the debts
their father had left when he died would be
paid, and Marcelle would be free to send for
Cicely then, and life would not be so hard.
Just now there was no other way for Cicely to
live but to take the small wages madame offered,
and be thankf ul that she was having such an
opportunity to learn the dressmaker's trade.
She could set up a little establishment of her
own some day, when she went back to Marcelle.
  Cicely did not hear the final words of Miss
Shelby's argument, but a few minutes later
madame came back to the workroom with a
bundle in her arms.   There was a worried
frown on her face as she unrolled it and called
sharply to her forewoman.
  Every seamstress in the room bent forward
with an exclamation of pleasure as the piece of
dress-goods was unrolled. It was a soft, shim-
mering silk, whose creamy surface was covered

I 8




with rosebuds, as dainty and pink as if they had
been blown across it from some June garden.
Cicely caught her breath with a little gasp
of delight, and thought again of the sweet
face that had smiled on her. Miss Balfour
would look like a rose herself in such a dress.
  The next day Cicely saw the cutter at work
on it, and then the forewoman distributed the
various parts into different hands.  Cicely
wished that she could have a part in making it.
She would have enjoyed putting her finest
stitches into something to be worn by the beau-
tiful girl who had smiled on her. It would be
almost like doing it for a friend. But she wvas
kept busy stitching monotonous bias folds,
  Just as she was slipping on her jacket to go
home that evening, the forewoman came up to
her with a bundle.  ,I am sorry, Cicely," she
said, "but I shall have to ask you to take some
work home with you to-night.    We are so
rushed with all these orders we never can get
through unless every one of you works over-
hours. Miss Shelby's extra order is just the
last straw that'll break the camel's back, I'm
afraid. Try to get every bit of this hand work
done some way or other before morning."




  It was no part of the rose-pink party dress
that Cicely had to work on; only more mo-
notonous bias folds. But as she turned up the
lamp in her chilly little room and began the
weary stitching again, she felt that in a way it
was for Miss Balfour, and she sewed on uncom-
  She had intended to write to Marcelle that
evening in order that her sister might have a
letter on New Year's day, but there would be
no time now. She wrapped a shawl around her
and spread a blanket over her feet, but more
than once she had to stop and wvarm her stiff
fingers over the lamp. It was long after mid-
night when she finished, and she crept into bed,
her head still throbbing with a dull ache.
  "d The last day of the old year! " she said to
herself, as she waded through a newly fallen
snow to her work the next morning. " Oh, Mar-
celle, how can I ever hold out ten months
longer  Nobody in this whole city cares that I
caught cold sitting up in a room without a fire,
or that I feel so lonely and bad this minute that
I can't keep back the tears."
  It seemed to Cicely that she had never had such
a wretched morning. The loss of sleep the night



before left her languid and nervous. Her cold
seemed to grow worse every moment, and ma-
dame and the forewoman were both unusually
cross. She felt ill and feverish when she took
her seat again after the lunch hour.
  Presently madame came in, looking sharply
about her, and walked up to Cicely with the
rosebud silk skirt in her hands.  "' Here! " she
said, hurriedly.  "I Put ze band on zis. Ze ozair
woman who do zis alway have gone home ill.
An' be in one beeg haste, also, for ze time have
arrive for ze las' fitting.  You hear"
  Cicely took it up, pleased and smiling. After
all, she was to have a part in making the beau-
tiful rose gown that would surely give Miss
Balfour such pleasure.  Her quick needle flew
in and out, but her thoughts flew still faster.
  She had had a gowvn like that herself once; at
least it was something like that pattern, although
the material was nothing but lawn. She had
worn it first on the day when she was fifteen
years old, and her mother had surprised her by a
birthday party. And they had had tea out in
the old rose-garden, and had pelted one another
with the great velvety king roses, and she had
torn her hand on a thorn. Ah, how cruelly it

2 I



hurt ! It was a very present pain that made
her cry out now, not the memory of that old
  Some one had overturned a chair just behind
her, and Cicely's nervousness made her jump
forward with a violent start. With that sudden
movement the sharp needle she held was thrust
deep into her hand and two great drops of blood
spurted out.  With that sudden movement,
also, the silk skirt slipped from her lap, and she
clutched it to save it from touching the floor.
Before she was aware of anything but the sharp
pain, before she saw the blood that the needle
had brought to the surface, two great stains
blotted the front breadth of the dainty skirt.
  She gave a stifled scream, and grew white
and numb. Almost instantly madame saw and
heard, and pounced down upon her. "I am
ruin' ! " she shrieked, pointing to the stains.
" Nozzing will take zem out! Mademoiselle will
be so angry I will lose ze trade of her! "
  The irate woman took Cicely by the shoulders
and shook her violently, just as Miss Shelby and
Miss Balfour were announced. They had come
for the final fitting, expecting to take the dress
home with them.




  Madame, still wildly indignant, went storming
in to meet them, and poor Cicely shrank back
into the corner, with her face hidden against the
wall. Never in her life had she been so utterly
friendless and alone.
  Miss Balfour's disappointed exclamation over
the stained dress reached the girl's ears. She
heard madame's eager suggestions of possible
remedies, and then Miss Shelby's cold tones:
  " Now if it had been the bodice, it would not
have been so bad. It could have been hidden
by some of the ribbons or lace or flowers; but
to have it right down the middle of the front
breadth - that's too hopeless! There's nothing
for it but to make over the skirt and put in a
whole new breadth. There isn't time for that,
I suppose, before this evening."
  Madame looked at the clock and shook her
head. " Ze women air rush to ze grave nows,"
she said. " Zay work half ze night las' night.
Zat is why zis girl say she air so nairvous zat
she could not help ze needle stab herself."
  " I could just sit down and cry, I am so dis-
appointed! " exclaimed Miss Balfour. Ad I had
set my heart on going to the party, and in that




  Cicely's sobs shook her harder than ever as
the words reached her, and her tears started
afresh. Miss Shelby's voice broke in:
  Ad I am surprised that you would keep such a
careless assistant, madame. Of course, you will
expect to make the loss good to my cousin. It
will ruin your trade to keep incompetent em-
ployees. It would be better to let the woman
  "It is a young girl which I have jus' take,"
said madame, with another shrug. Ad I have feel
for her because she was an orphan, and I take
her in ze goodness of my heart. Behold how
she repay me !    Disappoint my customers,
ruin my beesness !"
  She was pointing to the stains and working
herself up into a passion again, when Miss Bal-
four interrupted her.
  " I should like to see the girl, madame. Will
you please call her  "
  " Certainenzent! !Willingly, mademoiselle!
Ze plaisure shall be yours for to scold ze care-
less creature."
  Cicely heard and shivered.  It had been hard
enough to bear madame's angry reproaches, but
to have the added burden of Miss Balfour's dis-




pleasure was more than she could endure -
the displeasure of the only one who had smiled
on her since she left Marcelle ! A moment
later madame confronted her, and Rhoda could
hear the girl's sobs.
  "1 Oh, I can't go in ! Indeed I can't, madame!
It nearly kills me to think I have spoiled that
lovely dress, and that she cannot go to-night
after all. I wouldn't have done it for the world,
for it was almost like having her for my friend.
She - she smiled at me - the other day."
  Rhoda looked at her cousin wonderingly.
Could it be some one that she knew, who seemed
to care so much about her pleasure 
  Then her eyes fell on the shrinking Cicely,
whom madame was pushing somewhat uncere-
moniously into the room. Rhoda saw the little
black-gowned figure with the tear-swollen face,
and suddenly the crimson spots on her evening
gown held a new significance.
  It flashed through her mind that the very life-
blood of such girls was being sacrificed for her
own selfish pleasure. If she had not hurried
madame so, there would have been no night-
work for this poor child, no fagged-out nerves
for her the next day.




  Suddenly Miss Balfour crossed the room and,
to her cousin's astonishment, caught Cicely's
cold hands in hers.
  "1 Look up here, you poor little thing," she
said, kindly. "d Now don't cry another tear, or
grieve another bit about this. It's no matter at
all. I'll just get some new stuff to replace the
front of the skirt, and madame can make it over
next week for me and send it on East after me.
I'll pay for it myself, of course, for I'll be very
glad to have the silk that must be ripped out.
Mamma is making me a silk quilt, and the rose-
buds will work in beautifully. I shall have it put
in, blood-spots and all, to remind me that my self-
ish pleasure may often prove a cruel thorn to
somebody else.  I don't want to go through
the world leaving scratches behind me."
  "Why, Rhoda! " gasped Miss Shelby; but
with a proud lifting of her head, Miss Balfour
went on:
  - I realise it is my own fault in rushing you
with the work, madame, and the consequences
of my own unreasonableness are not to be laid
at this girl's door. Do you understand, ma-
dame   Not a cent is to come out of her
wages, and you are to keep her and be good to




her, if you want my good-will. I am coming
back this way in the spring, and this gown is so
beautifully made that I shall be glad to order
my entire summer wardrobe from you."
  "Why, Rhoda Balfour! " exclaimed her cousin
again, while madame bowed and smiled and
bowed again.
  As for Cicely, she went back to the work-
room almost dazed, and tingling with the re-
membrance of Miss Balfour's friendly tones.
It was several hours later when she climbed the
stairs to her little back bedroom to light her
coal-oil stove, and make her toast and tea. Her
eyes were still swollen from crying, but she had
not felt so light-hearted for weeks.
  Just inside her door she stumbled over a big
pasteboard box. There was a note on top, and
she hurried to light her lamp. -I know that
you will be glad to hear I am going to the party,
after all," she read. - I have found a very pretty
white dress in my cousin's wardrobe that fits
me well enough. As long as you have had
such a thorny time on my account, it is only
fair that you should share my roses; so I send
them  with the earnest wish that the coming
year may bring you no thorn without some rose




to cover it, and that it may be a very, very happy
New Year indeed to you. Sincerely your friend,
Rhoda Balfour."
  Cicely tore aside the paraffine paper, and
found six great roses, each with a leafy stern
half as long as Cicely herself.  She caught
them up in her arms and laid her face against
their velvety petals.  For a moment, as she
stood with closed eyes, drinking in their sum-
mer fragrance, she could have almost believed
she was back in the old garden.
  " Marcelle, dear," she murmured, "I can be
brave now! I can hold out a little longer, for
she wrote, ' Sincerely your friend.' "
  The little room was glorified in Cicely's eyes
that night by the flowers she loved best.  She
ate her scant supper as if she were at a festi-
val, sent a little letter of thanks that made the
tears come to Miss Balfour's handsome eyes,
and afterward wrote a bright, hopeful letter to
Marcelle that lifted a burden from the elder
sister's heart.  Marcelle had been half afraid
that Cicely would be growing bitter against all
the world.
  " Think of it, sister! " Cicely wrote. " Amer-
ican Beauties are a dollar apiece, and I have six !




There is a music-teacher who has the room
across the hall from mine.  She is at home
this week with a cold on her lungs, and to-
morrow, when I go to work, I am going to loan
her all my beautiful roses. It's too bad to have
them ' wasting their sweetness on the desert
air' all day while I am gone. So she shall have
them until I come home at night."
  Madame Levaney gave no holiday to her em-
ployees on New Year's day, but Cicely did not
care. She left her roses at Miss Waite's door
with the announcement that they were hers for
the day, but that she would have to call for
them and claim them at night. The oddness of
the arrangement, and the quaint way in which
Cicely made it, won Miss Waite's heart, and
when she heard the girl's step in the hall that
evening, she opened the door.
  "Come right in," she called, cordially. a"I
can't spare the roses until after supper, so you
will have to come in and eat with me. You've
no idea how much I have enjoyed them!
  Cicely paused timidly on the threshold. There
were the gorgeous American Beauties in a tall
vase in the middle of the table, between some
softly shaded candles. And there wvas a bright




lamp on the open piano, and a glowing coal
fire in the grate. The little table was spread
for two, and a savoury smell of oysters stole
out from the chafing-dish Miss Wade had just
  " We'll celebrate the New Year together, and
drink to our friendship in good strong coffee,"
said Miss Waite, lifting the steaming pot from
the hearth. "d Draw your chair right up to the
table, please, while everything is hot."
  Only one who has been as cola and hungry and
homesick as Cicely was, can know how much
that evening meant to her, or how the cheer
and the warmth of it all comforted her lonely
little heart. The best of it was that it was only
a beginning, and there were few nights after-
ward, during that long winter, when the warmth
and light of Miss Waite's room was not shared
for awhile, at least, with the little seamstress.
  The roses lasted more than a week; then
Miss Waite helped Cicely to gather up the petals
as they fell, and together they packed them
away in a little rose-jar, according to an old rec-
ipe that Miss Waite read out of her grand-
mother's time-yellowed note-book.
  Then Cicely brought 1liss Balfour's note.









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                    CICELY                  33

,,I want to preserve this, too," she said, drop-
ping it in among the dried rose-leaves. " You
told me that Rhoda means ' little rose,' and
that line, ' Sincerely your friend,' was as sweet
to me that day as the flowers themselves. As
long as I live I shall think of her as an ' Amer-
ican Beauty.'"
  She lifted the little rose-jar for one more
whiff of its faint, sweet fragrance, and said,
slowly, as she closed it again, "m And as long as
I live the thought of her will help to take the
sting out of all my thorns."

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  WITH a sigh of relief Alida Gooding saw the
dentist put away his instruments. Her nerves
seemed all aquiver as she slowly rose and went
into the little dressing-room to put on her hat
and coat, and to wait for the family carriage
which was to cat, for her at this hour.
  She was a plain-looking girl of eighteen, with
homely, irregular features, a sallow complexion,
and a reserved, haughty manner that tended to
repel all friendly advances. All that clothes
could do to improve a girl's appearance had cer-
tainly been done for her. Every part of her
costume, from her fashionable gown to her sty-
lish hat, indicated wealth and good taste ; but
the face that looked wistfully back at her from
the little dressing-room mirror was not pretty.
  The door into the adjoining parlour was slightly



ajar, and she could hear some one pacing rest-
lessly about, awaiting his turn. -I'll be ready
for you in about three minutes, Charley ! " called
the dentist from the inner room; and Alida
heard the reply, "iNo hurry. I want to speak
to one of the boys I see coming down the
  The voice was a familiar one. She recognised
it as belonging to Charley Jarvis, a friend of her
sister. The next instant she heard a window
thrown up, and a shrill whistle sounded out on
the snowy air. Peering cautiously out of the
wvindow where she stood watching for the car-
riage, she saw another acquaintance, Phil Bently,
look up and wave his hand in response to the
whistle. A moment later he came bounding up
the stairs, three steps at a time, and into the
adjoining parlour.
   "XVhat's up, old fellow" he asked. "XWhat's
wanted now"
   "d I've been trying to see you for three days,"
answered Charley, "but they told me that you
were out of town when I inquired at the office.
Mrs. Lancaster has a pretty little girl visiting her
from Alabama, and she intends to give an old-
fashioned valentine party for her entertainment




next week. I am helping with the invitations.
Here's the list of the boys she wants, and each
one is to bring one of the girls of our set as his
valentine, in fancy costume, you know. I've
seen all the boys but you and Ben Fuller, and
they've chosen the girls they want to invite."
  "m Who's left for us  " queried Phil. "s Let me
see the list a minute. Nannie Mason," he read,
slowly. " No wonder she was left to the last;
she's such a silly little thing and does nothing
but giggle. Alida Gooding,! Jarvis, you haven't
left me much choice. Alida's the homeliest girl
in town. It is a pity that she is so ugly when
her sister May is such a beauty. Now if it were
only May who was one of the leftovers, I'd jump
at the chance. Any fellow would be proud to
take her."
    But you see," interrupted Charley, with A
tantalising drawl, "s May is my valentine. Come
on, now, which do you choose-Nannie Or
Alida Ben is good-natured; he'll take who-
ever is left."
  ,,Well, then - Nannie," said Phil, in a mar-
tyrlike tone. " Ben can escort the comic valen-
tine. "
  " Oh, I say, Bently," exclaimed his friend,



"you needn't talk about the girl that way! She
can't help being so plain!
  " That's so. It's brutal of me, and I'm sorry
I said that. But she might at least be jolly,"
answered Phil. "You wouldn't want to take a
girl that wasn't even-"
  Alida did not hear the rest of the sentence.
The moment that she realised they were talking
about her, she had begun to struggle into her
coat in order to leave.  Without looking into
the mirror, -her eyes were too "lull of tears to
see, even if she had done so, -she pinned on
her hat and hurried out into the hall. The
coupe had just drawn up at the curbstone. and
with a curt order to the coachman to drive home
as rapidly as possible, she sank down on the
cushions, shrinking back from the carriage win-
  Mortified by the cruelly careless speech that
she had overheard, she gave herself up to an
uncontrollable fit of crying.  ' I know that I've
always been uh-uh-ugly," she sobbed, " but I
never knew before that people felt and talked
that way about me! I'll never show my face
outside of the house again, and Ben Fuller shall
certainly be spared the mortification of escort-



ing a ' comic valentine' to Mrs. Lancaster's
party. Oh, I would rather be dead than so
homely and unattractive!"
  She was still sobbing when she reached the
house, and stood shivering on the steps in
the chill February wind while she waited for
the front door to open. A cheerful wood fire
blazed in the fireplace in the wide reception hall.
A bowl of hothouse violets greeted her with their
fragrant springlike odour; but heedless of the
luxurious warmth and cheer that pervaded the
house, she hurried up-stairs, with the gloom of
the cloudy winter day in her tear-stained face.
  " Lunch is served, Miss Alida," said the maid,
meeting her in the upper hall.
  " Tell mamma that I don't want any," she
answered, passing into her own room. " I'm
going to lie down. My head aches, and I do
not wish to be disturbed by any one."
  A slight expression of annoyance crossed Mrs.
Gooding's handsome face. She and May were
alone at lunch, and when the servant had left
the room she said impatiently to May: "1 I par-
ticularly wanted Alida to go out with us this
afternoon to call on Mrs. Lancaster's guest.
She takes so little interest in people outside the




family, and it really mortifies me to see how
silent and stiff she is in company. She always
has some excuse to stay at home. She can
never overcome her reticence unless she goes
out more. Oh, May, I wish she were more
like you! "
  As Alida lay up-stairs, battling with her tears
and a throbbing headache, a note wvas brought
to her. It was from Ben Fuller, asking her to
be his valentine at Mrs. Lancaster's party. By
this time she had worked herself up to such a
state of morbid sensitiveness that she could not
even write a gracious refusal. It was so curt
and cool that Ben gave a low whistle of surprise
when he received it.
  As I shall never ask kcr to go anywhere again!"
was his mental comment, as he tossed the note
into the fire.
  All the rest of the week Alida stayed in her
room as much as possible. Phil Bently's speech
so rankled in her mind that she could take no
pleasure in anything, not even in the making of
May's costume, in which all the family were
interested. It was an odd affair -a white silk
gown dotted with red hearts and bordered with
dozens of old-fashioned lace-papctr valentines,




with their bright array of cupids and doves and
flowers; and to May it was most becoming.
  "d Where did you ever get all the things to put
on it  " asked her father as she slowly revolved
before him the night of the party.
  "Oh, I saved them as an Indian brave does
his scalp-locks," she answered. "They were
sent to me ages ago, before I left the nursery.
I had them all packed away, and had forgotten
them until I began planning this costume. I
wonder if Charley Jarvis will recognise that row,
or P