"But I thought you were engaged
to him, my dear," said Miss Har
rison. Belle laughed derisively.
"I guess he's just good for the
movies,' " she said. "No, Miss Har
rison, I'm too wise to fall for married
life in furnished rooms."
"If only you could know that you
are just a foolish girl!" thought the
other, but she refrained from speech.
She could dp nothing, in fact did
nothing until a few nights later, when
she saw Belle and Mr- Jones in earn
est consultation outside a milliner's
window on a street much frequented
by shoppers. They were laughing,
and Belle was pointing to a' magnifi
cent hat, with a long, drooping
plume, the whole creation being
Miss Harrison's, mind was made up
quickly. She, too, bad-been through
similar temptations, but she was of
stronger fiber than Belle. She detain
ed her next evening, under some pre
text, until the rest of the girls had
gone home. Then she accompanied
her to the room in which they
"Belle, I want you to come home
with me tonight," she said.
"I can't, Miss Harrison," said the
"Why not, my dear?"
"I have a date," said the other,
pertly slipping Into her coat and mov
ing toward the door. Miss Harrison
turned the key.
"You are going to meet Mr. Jbnes,"
Belle's eyes widened with alarm.
She looked at the locked door.
"Suppose I am," she faltered. "You
open that door at once. Miss Har
rison," she continued angrily. "What
business "is it of yours?"
"You shall not meet him," answer
ed Miss Harrison. "He is a married
"Open that door or I shall scream
for help. Who are you to tell me who
I shall meet?"
"My dear," said Miss Harrison sad-"
ly, unlocking the door, "you can go
if you ir '.L But you need a friend
more just as this moment than you
have ever needed one."
Belle halted, andthe ready tears
gushed from her eyes. She sank into
a chair. "I am so miserable," she
"Tell me about it, Belle," she said.
"It's all right for you, with your
$500," sobbed the girl. "I just set my
heart on having a plume, and I can't
ever save the money. And he he
promised me one if I would just have
supper with him what's the harm?"
"Belle, do you know the history of
those ostrich plumes?" Miss Harrison
asked. "Well, listen, then. Those
fine, long, knotted feathers are tied
by poor girls, poorer than you, by
day and night, to adorn vain women's '
hats. But the girls whq make them,
they know they'd rather toil and
labor than wear them and lose their
souls and the respect of men and
women. It's only silly, thoughtless
women who put an ostrich feather
above their characters. Belle, dear,
you are loved by an honest man. Isn't
his love better than Mr. Jones' with
his fajs,e words and flattery?"
"I know!" cried Belle. "But how
can I marry Frank and live like a
drudge? It may be all right for some
women, Miss Harrison, but I just
can't do it. And he will-never be
anything but an underpaid clerk.
What is there before us? I tell you,
I'd rather have ostrich feathers and
no character, and no real love, than
be a poor man's wife. Oh, if only we
had a little money of our own just
something to put heart into us in
stead of this long round of drudgery,
day after day, till we grow old and
"If you had money," said Miss Har
rison, gently, "what would you do
"Frank used to talk of a chicken
farm," she said. "But he doesn't hope
for anything now. It's no use, Miss
Harrison; I may be bad, but I must
have that ostrich plume."
xml | txt