Newspaper Page Text
don't talk to the guests!" exclaimed
Miss Jones, bouncing in.
She had always treated Lily like a
dog. She treated her no better now,
when she was failing and the food
was getting worse and worse, and
people were threatening to leave. We
used to hear her scolding in the
kitchen, and once or twice Lily would
come in with her eyes red, as if she
had been crying.
In January Miss Jones took to her
bed. Sne told us that if she didn't
get better in a few days she was
going to try to sell the place, and
asked us to be patient. We were as
patient as was possible, but Miss
Jones got worse, and finally the news
came that Lily was to leave on the
Saturday, and we might go as soon
as we chose.
Then somebody got wind of the
fapt that a speculator was going to
buy the place had bought it, and
was going to raise the prices. You
know how a little thing like that gets
on one's nerves. Some were going
at once, and some were going to wait
and see. Saturday come, and Lily,
crying, said good-by to Miss Jones,
received our taunts and tips with
equal indifference, and went out of
A few minutes later there came a
ring. Lily was back. Rogers opened
the door to her. She came back with
a determined sort of look on her face
and went straight toward Miss Jones'
room, while we snickered.
"I guess she's going 'to strike her
for some money," we said.
Then a cry came from Miss Jones'
room, and before anybody could go
to see whether Lily had been using
her fists on her the little, withered
old woman came toward us. She
was in tears, and walking beside
her, with her arms about her waist,
was Lily, seemingly transforned.
She still had the carroty hair and
the tendenny toward a squint, but
there was a sort of well, action
upon her face, and we were all too
much surprised to speak.
"Lily has bought me out," an
nounced Miss Jones. "She's the party
that was going to take the house
over, and I didn't know."
It was quite true. From waitress
Lily had suddenly emerged into the
proprietress. She had paid Miss
Jones two thousand dollars for the
furniture, fixtures, good-will, and
everything, and was already in
charge. Twelve dollars a month
isn't much, but ten dollars saved
means a hundred and twenty a year,
and in twenty years well, you can
see for yourself. And Lily, without a
thought beyond the boarding house,
had saved herself out of service into
"What are you going to do?" asked
somebody. And he called her "Miss
Bruce." That was a sign of the
times. "You aren't going to raise the
price on us?"
We were all scared to death that
Lily would bundle the pack of us out
side, neck and crop, in return for our
teasing. But Lily wasn't that kind
The old boarders can stay at the
old rates," she said. "At least till
summer. Then we'll see."
It was a sort of tragi-comedy, Lily
laying down the law to us there, and
we listened respectfully. And to cap
the climax who should appear upon
the scene but Sanders, the plumber,
at that very moment.
He was dressed in his Sunday best,
and he stood there, shifting his feet
nervously, and somehow the incon
gruity of the whole scene infected
us, and we burst into hysterical
laughter. All of us, from Miss Har
ris down to the youngest counter
jumper, just sat back in our chairs
and howled. And we looked from
Lily to the .plumber, and we howled
louder and louder.
All the while Lily kept a perfectly
straight face, and the only thing that
happened was that the plumber
ranged himself between Lily and Miss
Jones and looked at us in a half -timid
and half-determined way
fljjgBfej-v.v--'. ' - -.m