Newspaper Page Text
housemaid. -Most any girl would be."
"Hold your .tongue and don't be
speaking .disrespectfully of your bet
ters;" cried Mrs. Simmons, who. is
It was about five days after that
that Mr. James won the first battle of
- the war. He brought Miss Ryland up
to the house and I was fortunate
enough to be in the dining room when
Mrs. Stacey swept J,down to receive,
her. She wouldn'tfhave her in her
sacred reception room 5 suppose she
thought she would steal something.
"Humph!" she said, lookingat her
through her lorgnette. "So you are
the young woman whom my son
wishes to marry!" v
"Yes, Mrs. Stacey," answered Miss
Polly demurely. I should have
thought her looks would iiave soft
ened anybody's heart, but not hers.
"James, you mayeave us," said his
niother.fend James, who knew when
to yield, left the room submissively. I
caught the look of surprise upon.Miss
"Now, my dear young woman,"
said Mis. Stacey, dropping her airs,
"let us have a frank talk. William!"
William's me, .and that meant I
wasn't meant to hear. But I did hear.
Eavesdrop?. Not a bit of it, sir. I
was uncorking wine in the back din-,
irig room beside the dumb-waiter, and
if I oyerheard that was no fault of
"I understand that my son wishes
to marry you," Mrs. Stacey says. "I
suppose you wish to marry my son?"
I didn't hear MissTolly's answer,
"It would be, a great change from
your present mode of life," said -Mrs.
Stacey scornfully, "and let me say
that you never will. marry James.
Now don't . misunderstand,, me. Of
course, if you two choose to elope
I cannot preyent it, but the property
is mine absolutely and if you marry
him not a penny will go to him. Is-it
worth while to ruin his life? Remem
ber, I am a woman of. my word. 'I
never have changed and 1 never will
. I couldn't hear the answer, but I
heard the rising note jn Miss Polly'f
voice. I think Mrs. "Stacey had me'a'nt
to offer her money 'but changed her
plan in time. Anyway, by- the time.
Mr. James came in both women were
crying and there was a three-corner-v
ed fight in progress. Miss Polly ih
sis'ted that James should take her out "
of the house forever! T
The next thing I"have to tell you is
that, having said she never changed?
like'alLsu'ch persons, Mrs. Stacey did
change." I guess her love for Mr.
James was pretty deep after all. A
couple of weeks later Miss Polly was
installed in the Stacey house and had
given up her work at" the store.
This was the agreemeht'Miss Pol
ly was. to be "educated" for one whole
year to see whether she. could shake
off her commonness sufficiently to
make her marriageable to Mr. James.
Of course nobody was to meet her,
but ..then the Staceys hadn't any
friends anyway they weren't that
kind. A few acquaintances, and-pnce
in a while one of them to dinner.; -!But
even then they wouldn't meetf'Mfss
Polly, and if they did they wouldn't
know, because she came to us as a
companion to Mrs. Stacey. -t
Think of that, su to make your
Son's future wife, a companion. And
she was to study-and have aitutor and
learn deportment but it was all done
in such a -sly, malicious manner I
don't see how any girl could have
stood for it.
But Miss Polly was a brick. She
knew that Mr. James loved her and
she was willing to undergo a .good
deal, for him. I know "that he went
down on his knees to her when she
refused at. first and begged hereto
overlook' his mother's oddities.
"When we are married it will be dip
ferent, dear," he said. . 4.
Arid if Mr. James had been the
right sort it mightn't have mattered
much; because, after all, we can
make pretty1 nearly what we wish'of
ourselves. But between them they
gradually crushed all' the spirit-and
. " i