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Newspaper Page Text
ftilE STORYOF "POPPY" BROWN fHEREAMEti
BY JANE WHITAKER
'Toppy" Brown Bnatched his coat from the rack and faced the boys
"angrily, his little body twitching convulsively -with his fury.
" "What do you know about the sanctity of marriage," he cried, with a
hysterical break In his voice. "You're all sports and rounders. Not one
of you has a home, or a wife, or a child. You spend ydur money like fools;
you jiever deny ypursqlves a single thing Nfor another human being and!
then you talk about women as if there wasn't a good one left. Why, my
He pSused, and again his voice broke. Then his eyes, dimmed by
twenty years spent pouring over figures under artificial light,, softened,
and he triad to straighten ms Dent
"I've got four children," he said,
more softly, "and my wife "
He started to cough, a nasty little
hacking cough, and with one more
glance of angry derision, he opened
the office ddorand slammed it behind
There was a moments silence,
which Tilden broke, as he lit a
"Whew! Holy smoke k"
Sanderson scowled. "Why the
Devil did you bring up that subject?
You 'must have known it makes- him
crazy. He's a dreamer, that fellow.
Go ahead and laugh it. sounds
ludicrous enough to think of old
Poppy having any dreams, but he's
..-full of them.
"He thinks his wife is a Raphael
Madonna, and if you get him to talk
on such a holy subject, he will pic
ture some etherial being seated on a
pedestal, with four cherubs cluster
ing 'round her skirls. I don't .know
what part he plays in the picture.
He looks like the King's FooL"
"I didn't know," Tilden began,
"Well, you.11 know in the future.
We gave him his nickname because
of his love for his kids."
"Hejs a lucky devil " Tjlden mut
tered. Sanderson laughed sardonically.
"Depends 0n your idea of luck.
He's got consumption, hi3 days are
numbered, and from what I have observed-of
Mrs. Brownrl wouldn't class
her in the angel band. She looks,,
pretty sour and disappointed. It isn't'
what "Poppy's got It's what he
thinks he has. Well, so long. I'm go
ing to Guff ariti's for a pint of red ink
wine and a spaghetti dinner."
Meanwhile, Poppy Brown had
caught the 5:51 train to Edmonton;
seated himself beside a verv stout
j person who"-already occupied three-
fourths of the space; opened his even
ing paper and glanced at the glaring
headlines of a society divorce, snort
ed with disgust, and closed his eyes
until the -conductor called "Edmon
ton." It was a summer night. Twilight
had fallen. .Already the crimson
splash of the sinking sun was dying
out of the sky and tiny specks of
light twinkled here and there in the
blue canopy. Birds were hurrying
homeward, chirping their goodnight
song, and the air was'heavy -with the
olor pt dying roses" and ripening ap
ples. Poppy bent bis shoulders forward,
as he habitually did when he started
on the walk of a mfle and a half to
his home, and he jogged along In the
yellow mud that was soft from a re
cent rain until his breath began to
come in gasps and beads of perspira
tion stood tin his forehead. At last he
stopped weakly, leaning against a
fence that ran along a. meadow.
"I gUess '11 build a seat here some
Sunday," he mused aloud. '"It would
be fine tp sit down a spelL Funny this
little cough leaves one so weak. I