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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, March 06, 1917, LAST EDITION, Image 18

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1917-03-06/ed-2/seq-18/

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By Mary Parrish
(Copyright, 1917, W. G. Chapman.)
Old Mrs. Townsend was "undenia
bly eccentric. Everybody in Centre
ville said so. And where there is so
much smoke there must be some fire.
The old lady lived alone with one
servant in a red brick house at the
edge of the town. She was not
known to be rich,. just "comfortably
off." Her four nieces made occasion
al visits and were sometimes invited
together to teas or dinners. Two of
them, Bertha Townsend and Sybil
Wells, were orphans, and the only
daughters of a brother and sister of
Mrs. Townsend. The other two,
Mary and Adele Fancher, were chil
dren of a sister living in the same
In the scale of worldly possessions
Bertha had rather the least of any
of them. At the age of 19 she was
still working in the millinery "parlor"
of Mme. Louise, or rather in the back
room, trimming the "latest importa
tions," where she had been for three
years. Sybil Wells, a year or two
older, was teaching in the academy
and the other two girls were away at
a fashionable schooL
Bertha seemed to be the favorite
of her Aunt Townsend, and people
wondered why she did not take her
into her home instead of allowing
the girl to live in a boarding. house.
But once, when a neighbor suggest
ed it, she gave such an emphatic ex
position of "her reasons that, the
neighbor being something of a gos
sip, no one had again attempted to
mention the subject. ,
Was she to have her mode of life
all upset, her times for meditation
broken up and chaos let loose in her
home? Not while she lived and was
a free agent. So people laughed,
frowned, sniffed or agreed that she
had a right to do as she pleased ac
cording to their several natures.
Meanwhile Bertha was happy in
her boarding house, which gave her
more freedom to see and entertain
her small circle of friends than her
aunt's home would have been likely
to afford. She had a joyous temper
ament, and a fine sense of humor,
and the talent for telling a good
story, which made her a welcome f
guest where jealousy did not abide.
Her Aunt Fancher, whose superior
social position precluded anything
like jealousy, and who regarded Ber
tha as the "poor relation," invited
Sometimes She Lighted the Candle.
her on legal holidays, when families
are expected to dine together, but did
not always think of her on other fes
tive occasions. " v
It was at a Christmas dinner when
the girls were home for the holidays
that Bertha met Murray Powers. He
had been traveling in Europe with
his mother after his college gradua
tion some two years before. His
strong, wholesome face and bright
talk, together with a certain fineness

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