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The midland journal. (Rising Sun, Md.) 1885-1947, February 02, 1934, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060136/1934-02-02/ed-1/seq-3/

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Part One
“There were four mulberry trees.
They grew around the fountain In the
center of the Square. Their leaves
were rough and heart-shaped and
wheu it was ripe the purple fruit
dropped of Its own accord into the
grass. The . . ."
“Janie 1"
That was Mother calling from down
stairs. Janie sat very still and al
most held her breath. If she didn’t
answer, perhaps Mother would think
she had gone out somewhere. She
smiled, thinking how, at nineteen, the
subterfuges of her childhood still
clung. Silence I No sound but the
wind in the locusts and a hand-organ
playing in the Square . . . “My
wild Irish rose, The sweetest flower
that grows” . . . No sound from
Mother. Janie drew a long deep
breath and dipped her pen In the Ink
“The mulberry trees were very old.
There was a legend about them. One
of the early settlers, a certain Sir
Godfrey Ballard, from whom our fam
ily is descended —’’
That sounded like bragging. If It
was accepted, I’rofessor Vail might
read It aloud to the class. Every one
would think she was putting on airs.
Janie drew her pen through the clause
and continued.
••—brought them from his English
garden to grow In the virgin soil of
New Kingston, then a tiny settlement
on the banks of the Delaware.”
Janie's eyes, hazel eyes, spaced wide
apart under brows like slender wings,
lifted from the “theme,” strayed out
through the window and down into
the Square. Little girls were playing
house under the mulberry trees as she
and Celia and Muriel had played there
a very long time ago. Janie and Celia
and Muriel . . . Cleaner than the
little girls who played there now.
Starched white petticoats, sashes,
slippers tied with bows. Muriel’s gov
erness watching them from a nearby
bench. Joseph bringing the pony cart.
Janie and Celia and Muriel. Sailing
boats In the fountain . . .
Mother again. Another Interval of
waiting. Another long sigh of relief.
Janie’s attention returned to the
“It is said— ’’ She crossed that out
and substituted—“ Sir Godfrey Ballard,
so runs the legend, grew them from
cuttings taken from a mulberry tree
in Shakespeare’s garden at Stratford.”
There. That should make an impres
sion on Professor VaiL Perhaps it
was true. . . .
How fragrant the locust blossoms
were! Like lilies on Easter Sunday.
It must be dull for Celia at the shore
with Great-aunt Rose. Lovely to
. smell the ocean, though and watch the
waves curve up In scallops on the
sand. Lilies made you think of Celia.
White and gold. “Little Saint Ce
celia!” Rats! . . .
Very loud this time. Coming closer.
Footsteps climbing the third floor
stairs. Janie began to scribble with
furious haste . . . “Rats—Rats—
Rats. Three blind mice. See how they
run" . . . Shingled brown head bent
over the table. Ja vs set. Forehead
wrinkled Into a frown. Ink on her
nose and her fingertips. A lady ab
sorbed in literary efforts and lost to
the world outside.
Mother opened the door.
“Janie!" she said reproachfully.
“I've called you half a dozen times.
What in the world are you doing?”
“Writing a theme. If it’s good
enough, I may get into Professor Vail's
short-story class next year."
“That’s splendid, dear." The re
proach changed into enthusiasm.
Mother wanted Janie to write. Since
She wasn’t pretty like Celia, she had
to do something of the kind. “What
is the topicT' Mother was beaming.
“What are you writing about?”
“The Square."
“Well for Heaven's sake!” Mother
no longer was beaming. “I should
think you could find a more Interest
ing subject than that.”
Janie’s enthusiasm wilted like a
pricked balloon. You couldn't make
Mother understand. She hated the
Square now that everybody who mat
tered at all had moved out to Manor
Street and Delaware Heights. Well,
Father would understand. Janie
brightened a little. She would tell
him about It tonight . . .
“Going somewhere?” she asked, no
ticing that Mother wore her second
best hat with roses around the brim.
“I want to get the material for
Celia's dress." Mother was drawing
on white silk gloves a little yellowed
from washing. “The sample was In
her letter. That’s why I called you
Do you know where it Is?”
“Here, I think.” Janie pulled open
the drawer of her writing table. Yes,
there it was. Celia’s dainty nandwrlt
ing on a hotel envelope . . . Haddon
Hall . . . That was a pretty name
, . , Dorothy Vernon of Haddon
Hall ... In England they made
cider out of apples mixed with mul
berry juice .
“Hurry, dearl Is the sample in
Janie produced the precious scrap
and Mother tucked it Inside her bag.
“It’s probably all gone now,” she
said with a plaintive sigh. “Such a
lovely shade of lilac 1”
Janie smiled to herself. Mother al
ways worried about things like that
She was sure the cream was sour be
fore she tasted It, that the pipes would
burst next winter and that every un
opened letter contained distressing
news. It was remarkable, she thought,
that Mother had managed to keep her
youthful prettiness In spite of such
mountains of worry. She was plump.
In a dainty fashion, and not much
taller than Janie. Her skin was
smooth and fair. There were few
threads of gray In her wavy light
brown hair. Her eyes were the high
lovely blue of a picture post card lake
and seldom shadowed with real anx
iety. Worrying, with Mother, Janie
decided, was merely a habit, like put
ting on your left stocking first and
picking up pins In the street
“I hate to walk up town.” Mother
was looking at herself In Janie's mirror.
“The sun is so hot."
"Don’t go then,” Janie advised . . .
No, Mother didn’t worry inside. She
was preening herself like a pretty
pigeon . . .
“But I promised Celia I’d send her
another dress.”
“She Isn’t exactly In rags and tat
ters.” Janie remembered the bags
and the shiny new hat box. “She
should be able to manage.”
“You don’t understand, dear." Moth
er’s blue eyes were reproachful. “Celia ■
is sensitive. She can’t take too many
favors from dear Aunt Rose.”
“Rats!” said Janie—but not out
“It’s hard for her to be dependent.”
Mother powdered her nose. “And
she’s always so brave about it Celia,”
she added tenderly, “has a beautiful
Janie made no comment. Celia’s
courage was a family myth. So was
her sweet disposition. There were
other myths about Celia. Celia was
delicate. Celia was a martyr to cir
cumstances. Celia, in a setting more
glamorous than Mulberry Square,
could marry anyone she pleased.
Mother believed all the Celia myths.
Useless to argue. It only provoked
a scene. Janie changed the subject
"There are some French silk flow
ers In Leland’s window marked less
than half price,” she said. “You want
ed one for Celia’s dress.”
Mother remembered her errands up
“It is hot, Isn’t It?” She picked up
her bag and her flowered silk parasol.
“I hate the belt-line trolley. If only I
had a car of my own.”
“I’ll go for you,” Janie offered.
“No, thank you, dear.” Mother’s
tone Indicated that the mission was
too important to be entrusted to Janie.
“There’s a sale at Allen’s. I might
be able to pick up something or other.”
Janie did not Insist. Mother, she
knew, liked shopping and sales. In
the stores she was almost sure to meet
somebody who would tell her how
clever she was to make Celia’s dresses
or how pretty Celia looked at the last
club dance. Mother liked that She
wore such bits of praise like medals
pinned on her chest.
"There are wicker porch sets In the
sale at Allen’s. Goodness knows we
need one.” Mother considered a mo
ment, her lower I!p caught in her
teeth. “I might get It on Installments."
“Father hates Installments,” Janie
reminded her. “You promised him,
“Father has no idea how dreadful
It is to be shabby.” Mother’s voice
was sharp. “Sometimes I think he
doesn’t care about us at all.”
Janie set her lips. She adored Fa
ther. It was hard to hear Mother
pick at him without flaming to his
defense. But what was the use?
There were myths about Father which
Mother also firmly believed. Father
might have been a famous surgeon.
Father was foolish to bury himself
In Mulberry Square. Father cared
more about the foreigners and the
poor white trash in Vine and Juniper
streets than be did for his own dear
children. Mother believed those things.
No use to argue. Nothing to do but
change the subject again.
“The forget-me-nots were darling,”
she said. “I think £elia would like
them best.”
“They’ll probably be gone by the
time I get there," Mother said merely
from force of habit. “Help Rachel
with dinner, Janie, if I’m not back
by five. This Is her lodge meeting
night She’s as cross as a bundle of
Mother disappeared in a flutter of
flowered voile. Her slim high heels
tapped sharply on the stairs. A scent
of violet perfume lingered for a mo
ment on the air, grew fainter, vanished
completely. Presently the front door
closed. Janie looked down from the
window. The afternoon was a little
spoiled. She lost her interest In the
“theme.” and sat looking down into the
Square. It was dingy and down at
the heel. The benches, shaded by
locust and maple trees, needed a coat
of new green paint very badly. The
lamp posts staggered like tipsy old
men with their lantern-top hats askew.
Once It had been lovely . . . Janie
and Celia and Muriel . . . Muriel
would be coming back soon. She’d
probably be too grand to remember her
poor relations In Mulberry Square . . .
Janie crossed to the mirror. Strange
that people always called her “plain."
Horrid word! She wasn’t really so
bad. Eyes sort of nice. Chestnut hair
that dipped in a peak on her forehead.
Brownish skin with pink underneath.
Sort of solemn looking. But she did
hare a lovely smile. Everybody said
that Too small ever to be queenly or
wear a bridesmaid’s hat Not so bad
though. Only Celia was so beauti
ful .. .
The Ink didn’t help any. She cold
creamed it off and powdered her nose.
She used a lip stick lightly. Nice to
Strange That People Always Called
Her “Plain."
be beautiful. Pleasant to know you
can marry anybody you please . . .
“Bobby Shaftoe’s gone to sea. Silver
buckles on his knee” . . . Now what
made her think of that? It didn’t mat
ter any longer. She was nineteen
years old and grown up past “Mother
Goose.” Celia was twenty-one. She
would marry somebody pretty soon.
Maybe then . . .
That was Father!
“Thank you, dear.” Father was
washing his hands at the bowl In the
office. “Did you mind very much?”
“No.” That was a fib. Janie’s
knees were shaking. Her stomach felt
empty and queer. The smell of ether
always made her sick. But her hand
had been steady. Father didn’t know.
“Will he be all right?" Poor Tony
Silver. Beads of sweat on his fore
head . . .
“Of course. If he doesn’t try to
walk on It” Father was packing
fresh rolls of gauze into his bag. “I
suppose though,” he added, “you can’t
afford the luxury of a broken leg If
you have ten children to feed.”
“Are you going out again?”
Father’s eyes were tired. He ought
not to work so hard. His shoulders
were stooped and his hair was almost
entirely white. He looked twenty
years older than Mother Instead of
only Just ten. “Why don’t you stay
home and rest?"
“Can’t, baby." He paused on his
way to the door and put his arm
around Janie. “1 appreciate your help
ing me out Feel ln„my pocket” he
Janie found a paper bag and In
vestigated its contents.
“Gum drops!” A lump crept Into
her throat Father was never too
busy to remember the things that she
“So long as you stick to gum drops.”
He tilted her chin and smiled down
Into her eyes. “When your taste
turns to French bon-bons, you’ll have
to find a wealthier beau.”
“I’ll always love you best"
“Nonsense. You don’t mean that."
His voice was very gentle. “But I
like to hear It, of course. Now off
with you and your gum drops. I’ve
got to be on my way."
The office door closed. Outside a car
spluttered and rattled into motion.
Janie walked from the oflice Into the
ball, through the living room and out
on the shady side porch. She felt
better now. The fragrance of mock
orange blossoms banished the ether
smell. She lay In the hammock
propped up against a heap of cushions.
There was a book on the bamboo table.
She opened it and began to read. Wor
ries forgotten, Janie read on and on.
Presently the words seemed Jumbled
and confused. Janie’s eyelids began
to droop. Janie’s lashes Guttered
down against her cheeks. She sighed
softly and slipped over the border into
the drowsy country of dreams.
Footsteps aroused her, bow mueh
later she did not know. Janie’s eye
lids were weighted with lead. Lifting
them required a tremendous effort
She decided Just to wait. The foot
steps came nearer, halted for a mo
ment seemed to be walking towards
her up to the side porch steps. A
voice said, "Good afternoon.
It was a man’s voice, low and pleas
ant and ever so faintly amused. More
over, It was entirely unfamiliar. Janie
opened her eyes.
A young man was standing on the
top porch step holding his hat in his
hands. Her first impression was a
sleepy Jumble of broad tweed shoul
ders, brown eyes, sunburn, a nose that
was Just a nose, a wide mouth, a
square sort of chin and a golden
brown necktie that looked expensive.
Janie Jerked up from the cushions.
“This is Doctor Ballard's residence,
isn’t It?” he asked.
Janie nodded.
“Is the doctor at home?”
"Not now,” she answered, "and
t’:e office door is around at the other
"I’m not a patient.” He smiled down
at the small grave person in the ham
mock. Her hair was tousled. Her
cheeks were flushed. She looked,
though she did not know it, very
sleepy and cross and Just about twelve
years old. “I’m Hugh Kennedy,” he
said, as though the name might serve
as a passport into any small person’s
It did. Janie glanced with new In
terest at this smiling young man.
“Oh,” she said. “You’re Father’s
“You might call me that, I suppose.”
He continued to smile. It crinkled his
eyes and made them friendly. Janie
approved of his eyes.
“We do,” she confessed. "Just In
the family, of course.”
"I wrote Doctor Ballard. Doesn't
he expect me?”
“Father is careless about letters,”
Janie explained. "It's probably In on
his office desk under a book about
bones and a couple of bills from the
plumber. Sit down,” she added, re
membering her manners.
“Thank you.” He settled himself
into a rocker beside the hammock.
“Are you Doctor Ballard’s little girl?”
“I’m Janie,” she answered, “and al
most entirely grown up."
“How grown up? Older than twelve
and a half?”
“I’m a Moral Influence,” she said to
Impress this smiling young man. “I
keep little boys from breaking win
dows and shooting craps. I’m the as
sistant director of the community play
“I beg your pardon," he apologized.
“I thought you were a child.”
“People do.” Janie sighed plain
tively. “1 had to produce a birth cer
tificate before they would give me the
playground Job even though I’ve lived
here all my life. And the policeman
down there Is always getting me
mixed up with the urchins. It makes
life very difficult.”
He laughed at that His teeth were
even and very white. Viewed singly,
as they emerged from the sleepy
jumble, his features were not unat
tractive. His hair, Janie decided, Just
escaped being red. His mouth quirked
humorously at the corners. He wasn’t
exactly handsome but he looked like
somebody It would be pleasant to
know. She began to enjoy herself.
She was so seldom permitted to oc
cupy the center of the stage. Celia
saw to that. But Celia, thanks to dear
Aunt Rose, was safely out of the way.
Janie became expansive.
"Actually meeting you,” she said,
“is like seeing the prince of Wales or
Billy Sunday or— You know, some
body you've heard of all your life
but never expected to behold with
your very own eyes. Father never
told us much, except that your father
had asked him to let you work here as
his assistant when you finished at the
hospital. And then later there was a
letter from a lawyer in New York.”
“It’s legal all 'right,” he said a
bit grimly. “My sister Louise did her
best but it wasn't any use. She wept
over me as though I had been sen
tenced to prison.”
Janie bridled.
“New Kingston Isn't as bad as that
Or even Mulberry Square.”
“I’m sure It Isn’t.” He shrugged
his shoulders. "Anyway, I’m here to
stay for a year.”
“Father needs somebody,” Janie said
gravely. “He works too hard all the
time." ...
“He’s splendid.” Young Doctor Ken
nedy's voice sounded warm and sin
cere. “He came for Commencement
when I graduated from Jeff. He and
my dad were classmates, you know.
Dad was pretty fine, too. He died
eight years ago. I never knew exactly
why he wanted me to come here ex
cept that he admired Doctor Ballard
and always said he was a credit to the
Janie fairly glowed. Praise for Fa
ther made her feel happy inside. Her
liking for Father’s young doctor in
creased with a sudden bound. His
eyes were the color of sherry wine.
Red hair meant a temper, perhaps,
and the thrust of bis chin was stub
born. That was all right Janie had
no respect for people who acted like
door mats. He looked expensive—his
shoes, his Panama hat, the golden
brown necktie knotted in a careless
but knowing fashion . . ,
“Well, what have you decided about
me?” he asked with a crinkly smile.
Janie was conscious of the fact that
she had been staring. A warm pink
flush stained her cheeks.
“Tell me,” he urged.
“Some time, maybe,” she com
promised. "When I’ve found out if
I am right. You’ll stay for dinner,
of course,” Janie borrowed the voice
that Mother used when she wanted to
be especially gracious. “I’ll speak to
the cook.”
"You weren’t expecting me,” he ob
jected. “I’d better find a hotel.”
“It will be all right." Janie fer
vently hoped that she was telling the
truth. “We’ll Just set another place."
“Thank you.” He settled back in
the rocker.
“Excuse me for Just a minute.”
Janie rose Intending to make a grace
ful and dignified exit The gum drops
prevented that. Brushed by her skirt,
the paper sack opened and sent them
rattling down to the floor. Impossible
to be dignified surrounded by scurry
ing gum drops, tiny ones, pink and
yellow and green. If they had been
bon-bons she wouldn’t have minded so
much. But gum drops were childish.
Janie felt as though she had been
caught stealing jam.
She looked up from the gum drops
to Father’s young doctor. He was
smiling. Not making fun, she was
grateful to him for that, but smiling
the way you would smile at a child
you rather liked. Janie smiled, too.
Straight up into his startled eyes she
smiled her wide gay gorgeous smile
that every one said was lovely.
"Whewl” The exclamation was
long whistling sound of surprise
“What happened? What did that?"
“I smiled,” Janie explained and felt
foolish a moment afterwards.
“Was that It?” His voice sounded
bewildered. “I thought somebody ha>.
turned on a moon. Do you do it
“Not very.”
"You should!” He looked at her as
though he hadn't seen her before.
“It’s a marvelous smile. Why did
you do It then?”
“I was thinking,” Janie confessed,
"that whenever I try to be dignified,
J only succeed In acting exactly like-
She knew he was watching her as
she crossed to open the door. She
prayed that she wouldn’t trip over the
sill. Her prayer was answered. She
The kitchen of the old brick house
was ruled by a grumpy queen. Rachel
was a fat elderly colored woman who
had lived with the Ballards since
Janie was a baby. She was devoted
to all of them though you would never
have guessed It from her grumpy com
plaining manner. Rachel was a pearl
beyond price but Rachel was also a
When Janie entered the kitchen, she
was paring potatoes.
“What are we having for dinner?”
Rachel glanced up. The gold
brimmed spectacles, which were the
pride of her heart, gave her the look
of a plump and indignant brown owl.
"Hash,” she answered briefly, "and
het over apple dumplin's."
“We’re having company, Rachel.”
Rachel was not concerned. Janie
explored the ice box.
“Here’s tomorrow’s chicken," she
called back over her shoulder. “You
can fry It and make some tea cakes.”
“What yo’ maw gwine say If there’s
nothin’ but bones fo’ Sunday dinnah?”
Rachel grumpily inquired.
“Mother won’t care. Please, Rachel
“You go set the table.” Rachel
lumbered over to the Ice box and low
ered herself with a grunt
“You’re a darling!" Janie embraced
Rachel, the chicken and a bunch of
asparagus with equal and ardent
“Go on wld you!” Rachel gave Janie
a gentle shove. “How Ah’m gwine
make any progress wld you clamped
tight to mah neck? Jest you set de
table pretty whilst Ah th'ow dls bird
In de pan.”
Before she set the table with Grand
mother Ballard’s silver and what was
left of the rose-spray china, Janie did
a curious thing. She walked Into the
living room and took from the shelf
of the old-fashioned square piano a
photograph of Celia. It was a beauti
ful photograph, expensively framed In
sliver. Janie studied it thoughtfully.
Celia was lovely. The light shining
through her hair gave her an ethereal
look. You thought of a Christmas
card angel. You thought of a porce
lain saint In a silver niche . . .
For a moment she hesitated. Her
hand moved to replace the photo
graph. She changed her mind. With
a small bronze ornament she shattered
the glass In the silver frame. Then
she carried It out into the hall closet,
wrapped it In a raincoat and buried It
under a pile of old galoshes. Janie
was honest and hated deceit; but
Janie was only human.
Russians Easily Lead
World as Tea Drinkers
Of the three great national drinks
of Russia, tea is first in the affec
tions of the Russians, vodka second
and kvas third. Russians take their
tea viciously hot, in glasses. For
butter-fingered foreigners there are
tea glass holders of flligreed silver.
To make tea in the Russian style
you must get whole leaves—small,
but not crushed —of the choicest
quality. Pour boiling water into youf
glass with your left hand as you sift
In a few leaves from your right. As
the leaves settle, fragrant amber
trails arise. Let it strengthen to
your taste. If you like sugar, take It
tween your teeth and sip the tea
as the peasants do—hold a lump be
through it.
The tea habit Is everywhere; It
grew because Russian water is bad—
needs boiling. The first time I was
on a Russian train and it stopped
at away station, all the Russians got
off and ran like the devil. So I got
off and ran like the devil, too —with
no idea why, or where to. I found
myself in line at a faucet of boiling
water. There is one on the platform
of every sizable railroad station In
The passengers take this water, In '
a variety of containers, and go back
to their seats to make tea. It forti
fies them for the rigors of travel on
railroads which remain the world’s
most haphazard.—AV. B. Courtney In
Collier’s Weekly.
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