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That was the beginning of weeks
of nightmare for Jim Bryce. Each
week, after the "Sentinel" had come
out, he lived in terror of meeting the
little old woman with her persistent
questions. He went home through
side streets, he dodged every little
figure in black bombazine, and he
seemed to develop an uncanny in
stinct of knowing when any female
of advanced age was coming round a
corner. Fortunately the office in
which 'the 'Sentinel' was prepared for
publication was at the top of two high
flights of stairs, and Mrs. Saunderson
However, the issue could not long
be postponed. He had encountered
her three times, and each time he had
put her off with excuses. He had
given almost a promise that the poem
should appear in the next issue of his
paper. And he felt driven against the
wall; he saw no escape except to de
liver such a brutal blow as should put
an end to her persecution forever.
Come what might, he could not give
such drivel to the educated readers of
He was seated in his office about
four o'clock on the afternoon suc
ceeding the appearance of the "Sen
tinel" when the familiar, hated figure
appeared through the door.
"Ah, good afternoon, Mrs. Saun
derson," said Jim. "What can I do
for you today?"
"You ought to know well enough
why I come," answered the old wo
man, holding her sides and panting.
"Just wait till I get my wind again.
There! I'm feeling better now. My,
but those stairs are steep. Now then,
when's that poem of mine going to
"Why, Mrs. Saunderson, wouldn't
you like to try us with something a
little less gloomy?" inquired Jim.
"You know," he added, with what
seemed a clever thought, "often the
best poets in the world find difficulty
in having their earlier work accepted."
"Accepted? But you have accept
ed it!" shrilled Mrs. Saunderson.
"Well, madam, an accepted poem
has to wait till it can find its place,"
said Jim. "You see, we have so much
news nowadays, with the political
campaign coming on "
"Jim Bryce," said the old woman,
"when you was a little boy I fouLd
you sitting in my apple tree eating
one of my County Greens, and when
I axed what you were doing there you
said you'd gone up to see if it was
a-going to rain, and you was eating
an apple that you'd found in the
grass. And it's my belief that you're
prevaricating now, just as you did
then. Come, speak up like a man and
tell me when that poem's going to
"Never!" answered Jim angrily. "I
didn't want to hurt your f eelings, but,
since you insist, it isn't good enough
for the 'Sentinel.' "
"It isn't, eh?" mocked the old lady,
producing a small volume from under
her arm and opening it. "Read that."
Jim Bryce looked at the volume. It
was the Poems of Wordsworth, and,
on the page indicated, he found the
two stanzas, intact, except that the
original version had the name Ruth
instead of Jane.
Wordsworth! He stared incredu
lously at the verses. .Certainly they
did look better on the printed page.
"Now, I've caught you fair, Jim
Bryce," said Mrs. Saunderson. "They
told me an editor didn't know good
poetry from bad, and I thought I'd try
you out, and I've done so. Now you
can't find no excuse for refusing to
print my verses."
She pulled a bulky package from
under the bombazine.
"Here's one on our calf, Sally, what
took sick but is getting better," she
said, unfolding the scrawly papers.
"And here's one to the new moon.
And here's one about my grandson
William, on cutting his first tooth.
And here's one on our pet rooster,
what came to an untimely end
ttAv & .