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right have been hers and Ruth's
in part, at least.
"Work? Want -work?" echoed the
landlord's wife, looking at the wom
en. You're American-born, ain't you?
Lord, how should you find work
here? What led you to these parts?"
Mildred Kearney parried her ques
tions. She led her to believe that
they 'had relatives in the neighbor
hood. She would not go to them in
her present condition, she said. They
wanted, to earn a few dollars first.
"Well, now," said the landlord's
wife, her heart warming toward
them, "of course there's work to be
had. They're wanting more women
for berry-picking. But, Lord, it's
Syrians and Italians they want, not
American women. However, I guess
Tim Phillips, the boss, will give you
a job up to Squire Lathrop's, if you
They went to Tim and the foreman
looked at them doubtfully. "Sure,
you cati start in tomorrow if you
think it won't be too hard for you,"
he said with a grin. "There's acres
of strawberries to be picked, and
heaven knows the berries are rotting
on the vines for lack of helpers."
In the morning the mother and
daughter came with their big bas
kets. All day they toiled happily side
by side, and each had made consid
erably over a dollar by evening.
It was just sunset when a young
man came riding by on a white horse.
He stopped and looked at them.
"That's a good basketful," he
said to Ruth.
"We hope so, sir," said the mother.
The young man looked startled.
"You are Americans?" he inquired.
"Don't you find the work hard?"
"A little, sir. But it isn't so hard
as on the wheat fields in the North
west, where we come from."
She could have bitten out her
tongue at the foolish slip. The young
man looked at her more curiously.
Then he looked at the daughter
again, raised his hat without reply
ing and rode on up the avenue to
ward the house. They watched him.
"It's my nephew, Arthur'" ex
claimed Mildred Kearney. "We must
not let him know."
"No, mother," said Ruth. But in
wardly she was already inludging in
the daydreams of youth. She had
had so little realization of any youth.
About noon the next day, when
they were intent on their picking, the
young man rode up.
"I want one of vou women to help
in the hulling room," he said rather
roughly. "No, not both of you. I
think the younger one will do. Prob
ably her fingers are nimbler. What
is your name?" he added.
"Ruth James," said the mother,
catching her child's imploring glance.
And she watched Ruth walk off
besides the young sauire, who rode
at a slow pace stiffly toward the hull
ing shed. But instead of entering he
engaged in a long talk with her.
Where did she come from? Did she
like the work? Was she used to it'
Ruth, who had been afraid of him,
found that he dropped his harshness
of manner as they stood isde by side
and chatted in the sunshine. And,
while she parried his questions she
felt that they were equals, that he
was treating her with the respect a
man owes a woman. And she dared
to dream on.
"This work is too hard for you and
your mother," said young Lathrop
with conviction. "If you want em
ployment we will get you something
easier. How would your mother like
to be my housekeeper? My own has
left and I am looking for a competent
woman. What you tell me convinces
me that she is qualified."
"I I shall have to ask her," fal
tered the girl. "I must go now."
And, heedless of remonstrances,
she turned and ran back to her
mother. Lathrop's eyes followed her
fleeing figure. He was .sorely puz
zled puzzled and pleased. Anyone
could see that