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Full text of ""Who is Sylvia ?""

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"WHO IS SYLVIA?" 



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Books by Marion Ames Taggart 



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'WHO IS SYLVIA?" 



MARION AMES TAGGART 
—i — 



ILLUSTRATED 

BY 
VERA CLERE 



GARDEN CITY NEW YORK 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 
1922 



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144546B 

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copyucHT, 191 a, bv 

SOUBLXDAY, PAGE & COUPAHy 
i BIGHTS SZSKKVED, INCLUDlNa TOAI OP TRANSLATION 
TO VOBXICH I.ANGUAGEE, tHCLUSDIG T1 



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f 






TO 
MARTHA MACDONALD 

WITH LOVE 



"Who i. Sylvia? WhatM«he, 
That all our twains commend hetl 
Holy, fair and wise is ihe; 
The Heaven such grace did lend her. 
That she might admired be. 

"Is she kind ai she is fair, — 
Foi beauty lives with kindneis: 
Love doth to her eyes repair, 
To help him of his blindneis; 
And being helped inhabits there. 

"Then to Sylvia let us sing. 
That Sylvia is excelling; 
She excels each monal thing 
Upon the dull earth dwelling: 
To her garlands let us bring." 



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CONTENTS 

I. "Who is Sylvia?" i 

II. "What IS She?" 15 

III. " That All Our Swains Commend 

Her?" 31 

IV. "Holy. Fair " 46 

V. " And Wise is She " 59 

VI. "The Heaven Such Grace Did Lend 

Her" 75 

VII. "That She Might Admired Be " . . 94 

VIII. "Is She Kind AS She IS Fair?" . . no 

IX. "For Beauty Lives With Kindness" 136 

X. "Love Doth to Her Eyes Repair" . 143 

XI. "To Help Him OF His Blindness" . 159 

XII. "And Being Helped " .... 175 

XIII. " Inhabits There " 191 

XIV. "Then to Sylvia Let Us Sing" . . 206 
XV. " That Sylvia IS Excelling " ... 221 

XVI. " She Excels Each Mortal Thing " 237 

XVII. "Upon the Dull Earth Dwelling" . 254 

XVIII. "To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 270 



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

"She turned back and waved her hand; both 

hands, to him " Frontispiece 

"'Take me home, Lloyd!' Sylvia said, spring- 
ing to her feet " 46 

"'Is there anything in the world like it?*" . 134 

"'Father, I am happy!' cried Sylvia" . . . 222 



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"WHO IS SYLVIA?" 



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'fVho Is Sylviaf 



CHAPTER I 
"Who Is Sylvia?" 

'TpALL, graceful, and remarkably pretty, her 
■*■ "shining morning face" full of a nameless 
charm, radiating happiness, Sylvia Bell came down- 
stairs and out on the piazza on the morning after her 
eighteenth birthday. 

Her adoring Irish terrier, who had been lying with 
his nose stretched out on his paws, scowling from the 
intentness with which he listened for her step, 
jumped up to meet her in a rapture so keen that no 
words could have expressed it, consequently his 
whines answered as well as words to welcome her. 

"The top of the morning to you, Charles O'Malley 
the Irish Dragoon 1" cried Sylvia, heartily returning 
his caresses. "That was a fine party we had yester- 
day entirelyl I'm not a bit tired after it, thank you. 
I'd be ready for another in three days — but not if I 
had to be a year older in three daysl I might have 
an unbirthday party, did you say? True, O'Malley; 
you've been reading 'Alice', or you wouldn't have 



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2 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

thought of it! Caught you that time! Oh, what a 
dear thing you arel That wasn't a particularly 
funny joke, yet how heartily you laugh at it! It 
doesn't take much to make you and me laugh, does 
it, my broth of a hoy f That shows how happy we 
are, dog of the world ! But we know we're happy. 
And we're not infirm, not one bit, although you are 
five years old and I am eighteen; I'm afraid five is 
older for a terrier than eighteen is for a — terror!" 

She turned away from her dog, softly whistling: 
" Believe Me if All Those Endearing Young Charms." 
Her father was coming downstairs and Sylvia's face 
grew still brighter as she stepped back to the door 
and waited for him, leaning against the casement. 

"I don't quite, altogether, fully believe that, 
Fatherums, do you? Good morning, nicest of 
scientists!" she said. 

"Good morning, dearest of scientists' assistants," 
retorted her father kissing her. "Don't believe 
what? That I am nicest of scientists? Certainly 
not!" 

Sylvia gave his arm a little shake. 

"You don't have to believe that! 'Faith is a 
virtue infused into our souls by which we believe 
without doubting' — Oh, I didn't mean to be irrever- 
ent! Well, then! You believe on faith what your 
senses do not reveal to you. So you don't believe that 
you are the nicest of scientists; your sense — common 
sense, anyway! — shows you that," she ended her 
definition triumphantly. 



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"ff^ho Is Sylvia?" 3 

"Nothing of the sort; I believe it on faith precisely; 
on your authorityl" retorted Mr. Bell. "What is it 
you don't Believe, then?" 

"I forget," said Sylvia, frowning. "Oh, yesi If 
you'd paid attention to my beau-ti-ful whistling 
you'd have known, sir! I don't believe the man in 
that song. I'm awfully afraid that if 'all those 
endearing young charms' had faded away like fairy 
gifts, that she would not 'still have been adored as 
that moment she was,' and his heart's every wish 
would not 'entwine itself still around the dear ruins.' 
I s'pect he thought he meant it, but I'm afraid he 
would have got tired of ruins. What do you think, 
rather-nice Father?" 

"Sylvia, why this dawning cynicism? Why this 
doubt of human nature's constancy?" demanded 
Mr. Bell in pretended consternation. "Is this the 
result of attaining eighteen, or is it the party?" 

"I think they like them pretty, Daddy," replied 
Sylvia, demurely. 

Mr. Bell threw back his head to laugh. 

"True, my dear; they del But they also like them 
bright, and true, and generally all-around sweet and 
agreeable to have about. You never have struck 
me as particularly interested in calling forth nor 
retaining admiration. Anything new?" Mr. Bell 
hinted. 

"Nothing tellable, or I'd tell you; I tell you every- 
thing, silly and sensible," said Sylvia. "Well, then," 
she added, taking a sudden resolve to tell the untell- 



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4 "ff^ho Is Sylvia?" 

able, " it's that new boy from New York, Jack Jarvis. 
He took a fancy to my dear little Ruth Hapgood. I 
hadn't met him till yesterday, and then, just because 

Well, Daddy, my gown was becoming to me ! And 

Jack Jarvis hovered; didn't remember Ruth, just 
because I was a new girl and he thought I looked 
nice I " 

Her father's eyes, resting on her full of pride and 
admiration of her exquisite charm, her fineness of 
feature and expression, her vivacity and freedom 
from damaging self-consciousness, said for him that 
he hardly blamed Jack Jarvis. But all that his lips 
said was: "Perhaps when he sees you a second time 
and you are less a novelty, he will not 'hover,' But 
will return to his admiration of Ruth." 

"He'd better," declared Sylvia with resolute com- 
pression of her lips. "I won't have it. The ideal 
Ruth is a perfect little peach, not tearingly pretty, 
but quite pretty enough; I love the way she looks 
at you, and she has an adorable nose, and lovely 
eyes! And, anyway, she is a darling! Jack Jarvis 
thrice over ought to be glad to be allowed to dust 
her shoes — even suede shoes, that you can't really 
dust! And, what's more, I won't have it I And what's 
still more I'll make it quite clear to him that Sylvia 
Bell is a cross and crabbed maiden lady, who doesn't 
care for his weathercock admiration!" 

"I suppose you can't hang and quarter a young 
chap for admiring one girl sincerely and then admir- 
ing another still more, and quite as sincerely? You 



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"Who Is Sylvia ?" 5 

know this Jarvis is new 'in our midst,' as the news- 
papers would say, as if we were cannibals! — and his 
honour is not involved in continued fidelity to the 
first girl he met," hinted Mr. Bell, not daring to be- 
tray how amused he was by Sylvia's unmistakable 
disgust. 

"What you are dying to say, my proud parent, is: 
'How could he admire any one else when my daughter 
is in sight?' All very fine for you to look at it — and 
me — that way, but no one shall drop my little Ruth 
for me! Not that it matters; Ruthie is jiot crying 
for admiration, but any boy who snubs her for ine 
must do it over my dead body ! " declared Sylvia with 
a laugh, but nevertheless in earnest. 

"Well, dear, I should think that would effectually 
put an end to your rivalry! Are we to breakfast this 
morning?" Sylvia's father suggested. 

" Poor little 'bused Daddums I" Sylvia said. " Did 
it starve to death on its own piazza, almost quite to 
death, while its selfish child discussed nonsense?" 
Then, with a new swift realization of what she had 
often felt before, Sylvia said, tucking her hand into 
her father's arm, preparatory to a trip dining-roonv 
ward; "How dear you are. Father, always to under- 
stand, never to tire of what interests me, nor to find it 

triviall What a lucky girl I am! And all the 

time the laboratory is waiting for us, with the Great 
Experiment under way!" 

"My only Sylvia, I have often told you that what 
interests you, interests me, without merit or effort on 



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6 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

my part. How could it be otherwise, since you are 
my one possession ? And important as I feel that our 
laboratory research is, what experiment can possibly 
compare with the truly Great Experiment you and I 
are making in turning my little girl into a useful, 
noble womanF" Mr. Bell asked. 

"It's beyond anything to knowthat'strue. Father," 
said Sylvia, in a low voice. 

An instant later she was slipping her hand out of 
her father's arm, with an excuse for deserting him, 
and was running through the house calling: "Cassiel 
Cassan-dra Bil — lings! The family is arrived, all 
the way from the sunny south, the front piazza! Is 
there a fine worm for these early birds? Ugh-h! 
If there is I do not want it ! I get enough of worms 
in the lab., those squeeshy, unfascinating sea cu- 
cumbers!" 

Cassandra Billings, devoted to the grown Sylvia as 
she had been to the motherless baby who had fallen 
to her care, the care to which Sylvia owed much of 
her physical strength and not a little of her moral 
fibre, came out of the kitchen to answer Sylvia. She 
was gaunt and tall, her colour and thinness suggested 
that she had been cut out of parchment, but, as 
Sylvia said, "all her expansion had been inward; her 
whole life was bound up in devotion to Mr. Bell and 
the little girl whom she had watched over and reared. 

" If a chop would do as well as an early worm, Miss 
Sylvia," Cassandra said, "there may be one ready 
in about seven minutes. Mind ; I don't say there will 



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"Who Is Sylvia?" 7 

be, but I do hope there may be. If your father' II 
eat his strawberries kind o' slow, connections may 
be close. I got some good berries last night; crate 
just come in. But as true's I'm standin' here this 
one's the worst yet, strong's that statement is." 
Cassandra lowered her voice and came nearer to 
Sylvia. " I was goin' to have those little sausages for 
breakfast, turned my back on the kitchen long 
enough to take a look into the ice box, and she 
burned 'em to a crisp! To — a — crisp, Sylvia Bell! 
Talk of early worms! That's about what those 
sausages looked like when I came back — gnurly 
wormsl Little, and shrivelled, and black!" Cas- 
sandra chanted her adjectives in crescendo of pitch 
and. accent. "This one's the worst of all. I said 
I couldn't stand her predecessors, but I can't so much 
as stand tryin' to stand Norah Leiry." 

Sylvia laughed, though she instantly checked 
herself. Since Susie, the girl who had gone away to 
be married two and a half years before, there had 
been what seemed like a moving-picture film of a 
procession of assistants to Cassandra marching 
through the Bell kitchen. Sylvia was used to 
Cassie's announcing that the one who chanced to be 
halted for that moment was the worst of all. Cas- 
sandra was kind, but Cassandra's requirements in the 
unfortunate young person who worked under her 
would have been attained only by a composite of 
Psyche's industry, Athena's wisdom, and Sabrina's 
spotlessness "sitting under the glassy, cool, translucent 



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8 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

wave." Sylvia was often moved to pity the hapless in- 
cumbents; several times she had felt sure that she 
could have managed them, and managed with them 
satisfactorily, but she knew that interference would 
make matters worse, so she stifled her opinions and 
contented herself with charitable suggestions, as 
now. 

"I've thought Norah looked bothered, Cassie," 
she said, gently. "Poor Uttle thing, so far from 
home and all her kindred! I'm sorry about the 
sausages, but they are not an irreparable loss; it 
only sets breakfast late a few moments. I'd burn 
sausages, too, if I were worried." 

"And you'd find excuses for people if it was the 
house they'd burned down! You don't know that 
the girl's bothered, for that matter. I fed those 
sausages to O'Malley and he sniffed at 'em good 
before he'd touch 'em. I do believe he thought I 
was tryin' to feed him black lead pencils!" said 
Cassandra, scornfully. 

This time Sylvia's laugh rang out frankly. "In 
the meantime the chops may bum," she suggested. 

"Jerusalem Halifax, gentleman ! That's the truth; 
they may!" cried Cassie, rushing away. 

Sylvia joined her father in the dining room, still 
laughing, but she only laid her finger wamingly on 
her lips when he looked his inquiry as to what amused 
her. 

It was agreeable to find the chops unbumed when 
Cassie brought them in a few minutes later, and 



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"ff^ko Is Sylvia?" 9 

Sylvia announced that she felt ready and fit for work 
when she had disposed of her share of them. 

Her father's laboratory — in which he had won 
victories in research work and an honourable name 
for himself among contemporaneous scientists, and 
in which the experiment from which he hoped the 
greatest result of his life was now under way in 
successive stages of experiments — stood but a short 
distance from the house, down a well-trodden 
gravelled walk, under noble old elms planted by 
past generations of the Bell family. Short as the 
distance was to the laboratory, Sylvia took her 
father's arm for the walk, but when she crossed the 
threshold she became wholly the laboratory assistant, 
which it was her chief pride and joy to be. 

"Good morning, Eben," she said to the morose 
man whom her father employed to do what might be 
called the muscular work of the place, and whose 
jealous objection to Mr, Bell's admission of his 
daughter to the laboratory, three years before, Sylvia 
had completely overcome by her deft work and 
sunny ways. "Good morning, Eben. We are a 
little late, but the early rising mornings are only 
begun. I wish I knew a way to be here at work and 
out on the bay in my boat at the same time. I 
suppose I shall begin sailing before breakfast, get 
up by four o'clock. How are our patients in the 
tanks?" 

Sylvia had been enveloping herself in her laboratory 
uniform, pulling on her protecting sleeves, tying the 



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lo "Who Is Sylvia?" 

strings of her full-length pinafore with business-like 
jerks, Eben Tompkins watching the process with 
the engrossed attention which he daily gave it. 

"Our patients^ Miss Sylvia," he said, slowly, "are 
to the naked eye exactly as they was when you last 
investigated 'em. In Statue Co., I think is correct, 
meanin' as I take it, remainin' fixed, like a statue, 
yet in their own company, all together, I believe it was 
once so explained to me; from the Latin, as I re- 
member, but I'm ready to be set right." 

"Not for the world, Eben," said Sylvia, with 
admirable gravity. "The usual translation is not 
nearly as picturesque, and it comes to much the same 
thing." 

She went down the long room, with a slight glance 
at her father as she passed him, to make sure that 
he had not missed Eben's erudition, and bent over the 
farthest of the lineof tanks that stood along the wall, 
on one side of the laboratory. With an absorbed 
intentness of expression she lifted starfish from the 
tanks, carefully measured each one, made a note of 
her measurements on a chart which she kept, record- 
ing each day's results of similar measurements. Its 
lines ran up into varying points like the record of a 
fever chart, or the profile of mountain peaks in an 
outhne drawing of comparative geographical aspects 
of countries. The starfish experiments Sylvia en- 
joyed. It was interesting to watch the variation of 
their development under differing conditions of food 
and environment, conditions that were to lead to 



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"IVko Is Sylvia?" ii 

valuable conclusions as to what best contributed to 
the building up of cells, the basis of all animal tissues 
and life. The starfish were pleasant to handle, but 
Sylvia had to conquer repeatedly her repugnance to 
the holothurians which were her father's delight, 
being excellent mediums for his experiments. 

"Squeeshy old things!" Sylvia said, inaudibly, 
as she often said, when she came to the fat, black, 
moist, and unlovely sea cucumbers tn their tanks. 
" But you do your duty nobly contributing to 
science, and I will do my duty by you." 

The holothurians betrayed neither gratitude nor 
pride as Sylvia proceeded to investigate them and 
record her results. 

When her task of record-making was finished for 
that morning she went over to the long table that 
stood on the other side of the room from the tanks, 
and fell to colouring specimens for the microscope 
slides, with complete absorption in this part of her 
daily morning work. 

The hquids which were to indicate and emphasize 
the variations in the cellular tissues she applied with 
deft Bngers, working rapidly and accurately. She 
was a lovely picture in the clean, bare room, itself an 
incongruous yet effective setting for her youthful 
beauty, the strong white light of the room in no wise 
detracting from the perfection of her colouring and 
the texture of her oval cheek, and of her slender, 
graceful throat rising out of its ugly laboratory 
pinafore quite unharmed by its lack of adornment. 



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12 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"Whistles are blowing for the noon hour, as- 
sistant," said Mr. Bell after three and a half hours of 
intent work by father and daughter, carried on in 
absolute silence. Sylvia looked up to greet this 
little jesting fonnula of his with a smile. 

"Just give me ten extra minutes. Chief," she be^ed. 
" I'll have this slide ready in eight more, I think." 

She was as good as her word. In eight minutes by 
her father's watch, timing her, Sylvia finished the 
tinting of the specimen on which she was working, 
and she used her two minutes, left over from the ten 
for which she had asked, in straightening the work 
table. Then she arose, raised both arms over her 
head in a frank, refreshing, and thoroughly little- 
girlish stretch. 

"My! Don't tell me that science broadens one; 
it's fearfully cramping!" she said. "Father, mine, 
how is the Experiment coming on?" 

" Daughter, mine, it's coming on all right, as far as 
advance is concerned. Impossible to tell whether it 
will prove what I set out to prove or not; to tell yet, 
I mean," Mr. Bell replied, helping Sylvia with a 
refractory pinafore string midway between her 
shoulders. 

"Oh, dear! Who ever first said patient waiters 
were no losers? They are; they lose — patience!" 
Sylvia laughed at herself. "I'm crazy to know the 
result." 

"So long a laboratory assistant and still impatient 
of a laboratory's slow processes! When will you learn 



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"^Ao Is Sylvia?" 13 

to be one of the patient waiters, Sylvia?" her father 
reproached her. 

"Not at eighteen!" Sylvia cried. "I think people 
can't really be patient waiters till most of their 
patient waiting is behind them." 

Mr. Bell opened the laboratory door and stepped 
aside, waiting with bent head for Sylvia to precede 
him. 

"I will humbly follow a philosopher with such 
deep experience of life," he said. 

"You foolish father I Even O'Malley would know 
that! I'll race you to the house; beat you to iti 
Good-bye, Eben, for to-day," Sylvia called back as 
she sprang after her father, who accepted her chal- 
lenge as soon as it was spoken, and to whom she could 
afford to allow no start, young and long and strong of 
limb though she was. 

They reached the foot of the steps warm and dis- 
hevelled and neck-and-neck, with O'Malley added to 
them, wildly cavorting and barking. 

Cassandra Billings met them in the doorway, her 
face expressing that mixture of disapproval and ad- 
miration which one who never has played accords 
to the childish ones whom she loves but cannot 
understand. 

"The Hapgoods called up to say they can go sailing 
with you this afternoon. Miss Sylvie. Something or 
other happened that lets 'em go, after all. I couldn't 
get what 'twas; that listenin' Mrs. Hinderson had her 
receiver down," Cassie said. 



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14 "ffho Is Sylvia?" 

Sylvia laughed, and patted her arm soothingly. 
It infuriated Cassie that one of their neighbours made 
"a shadowy third" at all the Bells' telephone talks. 
It only partly assuaged Casste's feelingsto change her 
name from Henderson to "Hinderson," as more ap- 
propriate to their half-defeated messages. 

"Never mind, Cassie dear; the main thing is that 
Ruth and Lloyd will go. I was going to be a good 
girl, and call in line raiment on that new girl! Now 
I can hurry into old duds and go sailing. Isn't that 
just like having a white china mug, lettered in gilt: 
To A Good Child' given you! I can't see why 
people say this is an unjust world! I'll be ready for 
lunch in five minutes, Cassie, so don't say what you 
were going to say!" 

Sylvia rushed upstairs singing at the top of her 
voice one of the vigorous old sailor chanteys which 
her great friend, the retired seaman, Gabriel Gaby^ 
had taught her. 



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CHAPTER II 

"What Is SheF"- 

"^JOW," announced Sylvia after lunch, her 
■^ ^ father having returned alone to the labora- 
tory, "now, Cassie, my tried and true, Fm going 
to don my briny clothes." 

"It's true that I'm tried right enough," said Cas- 
sandra with the look that one could have imagined 
worn by the banqueters under the sword of Damocles 
when — or if — another guest had jested beneath it. 
"I suppose there's no more use appealin' to you this 
time than any other time you went out sailin', but 
why under the canopy, Miss Sylvia Bell, you can't 
look like Miss Sylvia Bell I'd like to be told F You 
might dress plain, but not " 

"With this other kind of plainness, like the 
hippopotamus'? Don't you remember that story 
I told you about the dear old woman at the zoo 
looking at the hippopotamus, and saying; 'Ain't 
he plain?'? I love that story," Sylvia chuckled. 
"Cassie, dear, I've got to wear the disreputable 
things you hate, or I'd capsize! If I tried to look 
young-ladylike and picturesque I couldn't — well, I'd 
handle my boat in a young-ladylike manner, dis- 



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l6 "fTko Is Sylvia?" 

grace my good old Gabriel Gaby-teacher, and go 
down to Davy Jones's locker, blushing! You don't 
want me to Be a mortified ghost? Believe me, 
Cassie, there's something in it. They say the hand- 
somer the sash the poorer the serve and return, 
in tennis, and I know that the shabbier the togs, the 
better the sailor. Don't mind, poor Cassie I Ruth 
and Lloyd are used to me, and to-morrow, at the 
party, I'll do you credit." 

Sylvia went to her room, divested herself of her 
becoming morning gown, Brushed and knotted tight 
back from her face her wealth of fine brown hair, that 
shone with a soft lustre, Hke a horse chestnut. She 
pulled down over her sleek head a khaki skirt to 
which salt water could do no harm, having already 
done its worst, and followed the skirt with a white 
middy blouse, spotless, but with its blue collar and 
cuffs faded by many washings. 

All the while she kept up what she called a duet 
with herself, performed By simultaneously humming 
and whistling. The duet afforded Sylvia more 
pleasure than it would have given an audience, had 
there been one, but she got out of it a sort of empty- 
minded satisfaction which seemed not unlike the 
satisfaction a fly gets out of humming against a win- 
dow pane. 

Finally Sylvia pulled down over her hair a round 
soft felt hat, its brim turned down, its blueness 
whitened by long exposure, and this she did with a 
sigh of utter content, for no boy loves a shabby old 



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"fFhai Is She?" 17 

soft felt better than Sylvia did; she never wore any 
other sort of hat, saihng. On the whole, Cassie was 
right; Sylvia had succeeded in transforming herself 
from a wondrously pretty and dainty girl into a 
figure that might have been taken for almost any- 
thing in the world but that. And yet a second glance 
at her as she turned to run downstairs would have 
proved that not all her indifference to appearance 
and choice of shabby clothes could totally eclipse a 
charm that was essentially Sylvia. 

O'Malley found her good to look upon when she 
came out and whistled to him. Nothing Sylvia 
could wear, nothing she could do, not even had she 
unexpectedly abused him, could have made O'Mal- 
ley's worship of her waver, but best of all he Hked to 
see her in this uniform, for it foretold a sail, and 
O'Malley never got enough of sailing. 

"Surest thing that ever was, O'Malley! We are 
going sailing!" Sylvia saluted her dog, bending down 
to him in recognition of his fidelity to the law that 
forbade him to jump up on her, however strong his 
emotions. "I should not have named you for the 
Irish Dragoon, but for a sailor. If I'd known how 
you'd turn out, my blessed pup, I'd have called you 
Barry, after the Revolutionary Irish Commodore! 
Too late, dog of the world! Doubly too late, for 
there are Ruth and Lloyd." 

Sylvia crossed the lawn to meet her friends, who 
were taking a short cut toward her. Ruth Hapgood 
was a tiny girl with a sweet face, pretty in a delicate, 



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i8 "Who Is Sylvia r" 

womanly little way of her own; a face cut with the 
fineness of a shell cameo, tinted as beautifully as an 
arbutus. Her appearance bore out the facts of her 
character. Ruth was the sort of small person whom 
one might easily overlook in a crowd, but once seen, 
her sweet face grew upon one, and so did the qualities 
of her mind. Not a brilliant girl, but a thoroughly 
lovable one, the sort of girl spoken of by her friends, 
justly and emphatically, as "a nice girl." 

Ruth's cousin Lloyd had been for two years giving 
his attention to growing. He had shot up into a 
stalwart boy, lacking his full six feet of height by less 
than half an inch and broadening as he grew tall, till 
he had attained splendid proportions and because of 
these proportions looked older than his years. He 
had an honest face, not handsome, but most attrac- 
tive; it met the world truthfully, fearlessly; looked 
good-tempered, clean, and kind, yet had a set of jaw 
and line of lips that meant courage and determi- 
nation. 

In live minutes* talk with him one would have 
gauged all the essential facts of Lloyd Hapgood's 
make-up; that he had a good brain, but was not a 
genius; that hc' could be depended upon to any ex-> 
tent for sane judgments and efficient action. That 
he had an extraordinary capacity for dogged loyalty 
and truthfulness was the first thing about him that 
any one meeting him for the first time instinctively 
felt. 

Sylvia was fonder of these two friends than of any 



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"fFkat Is She?" 19 

of the young people of her neighbourhood. This 
would he the fourth summer and the third year in 
which Ruth and Lloyd had spent the summer at 
Paxton-on-the-Sea with their childless aunt, Mrs. 
Leveritt, who to an increasing extent, since the 
cousins' presence in her house had brought Sylvia 
also into it, had supplied to the motherless girl the 
mother-lack. Sylvia's face brightened as she saw 
the big boy and the tiny girl coming toward her. 
She waved her arm Uke a semaphore, though they 
were within hailing distance and she was shouting: 

"Hal-loH}, Big and Little One I So glad you could 
go, after all!" 

" So are we," began Ruth. " We didn't seem really 
to be back here till we'd been out with you, and " 

"And we Uke to be out with youj it's tiresome to 
keep on so monotonously pleasant year in and year 
out," Lloyd interrupted his cousin. 

"H'ml I wonder what you'd do if you really did 
fall out with me I" remarked Sylvia, apparently to 
O'Malley whom she patted as she spoke. "Lloyd 
Hapgood, you are the biggest thing, really 1 When 
you were coming, just now, you loomed. That's the 
one word for it; you loomed I Nothing makes me 
reaUze how old I — we all are getting as you do when 
you first get here and I haven't been seeing you. I 
can't bear to grow up, Lloyd!" 

"Well, don't do it; you never will grow up as far as 
I have, though you're not a stunted plant youiself, 
Sylvia," said Lloyd, amused. "We're all showing 



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20 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

the bleak effects of time — though I can't see that you 
feel 'em. In those unlovely but well-beloved togs, 
Tinker Bell, you look just exactly as you did that 
first summer when I nicknamed you Tink, and we 
hunted the counterfeiter in his lair." 

"Yet I do feel the effect of time, and I'm not quite 
the same, and you are a freshman " 

Sylvia got no farther. 

"Great Scott, TinkI" Lloyd interrupted her with 
a disgust partly feigned, but to a degree genuine. 
"What is the use? Sophomore. That's all the 
credit a fellow gets for hustling! Didn't I hustle to 
please you, too? I'd have been a fresh, this year if 
you hadn't begged me to get a move on and not waste 

time. Republics are never grateful Say, Tink, 

are you a republic, by the way? I think all men 
are equal in your eyes." 

"I'm a limited monarchy, decidedly hmited, but 
a monarchy. And as a monarchy is supposed to 
issue orders I command you to start down to the 
beach. But, honestly, Lloyd, I beg your pardon! 
It was pretty bad to call you a fresh, in your second 
year! I said fresh., but upon my honour I had 
sophomore in mind. And, as the Irish say, *a slip of 
the tongue is no fault of the mind.' Don't the Irish 
say that, my Irish terrier?" Sylvia ended with an 
appeal to O'Malley accompanied by the hug with 
which all such apj^als to her dog were punctuated. 
"Come along, crew; why do we waste time talking 
nonsense here?" 



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"What Is She?" 21 

"Where could we go to save time talking non- 
sense?" inquired Ruth, unexpectedly. "But come. 
It was only you and Lloyd delaying us, Sylvia; I 
haven't wasted a second talking nonsense." 

"You couldn't, Ruthie — speck! You're just a pill- 
box of common sense," declared Sylvia, tucking the 
small girl under her arm and leading the way to the 
beach. 

The path over the dunes which skirted the beach, 
rising steeply from it, was as delightful a walk now as 
it had been to Ruth and Lloyd when they had Brst 
seen it; as bordered with impressionistic colours in 
the wiry grass; as Blled with the sense of freedom 
and faery, as if one were walking on the edge of the 
sky, colour and light overhead, colour and fresh 
growth below, with a brisk breeze to unite earth and 
sky, which mingled their boundaries beyond. 

The path descended precipitously to the beach, 
terminating where the duneside itself ended. At the 
foot the path delivered its travellers to the beach 
just above a tiny shack in which Gabriel Gaby, once 
a sailor, now merely a philosopher, lived in a solitude 
shared only by his cat. Mate. 

Gabriel was, as usual, sunning himself in front of 
his residence; so was Mate. But Gabriel did not 
hear the approaching footsteps; Mate did. Catching 
the patter of a dog's feet she looked up, prepared to 
run. Then she recognized CMalley, and having 
been taught by experience that Sylvia could be 
trusted to curb any anti-cat tendencies in her dog. 



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22 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

Mate seated herself again in precisely her former 
position and resumed her occupation of watching a 
sand spider, occasionally stirring it up with delicate 
pats of her white paw when it lagged in its duty of 
entertaining her. 

"Gabriel Gaby, awake from your slumbers," sang 
Sylvia, and the rotund little sailor jumped to his 
feet, his small, bluest of blue eyes gleaming with the 
pleasure that the sound and sight of Sylvia always 
brought to him. 

"I was not asleep, Sylvie," he denied her musical 
allegation. "Don't you think a man can meditate 
better, Lloyd, when he closes his eyes an' shuts out 
the turmoil of the world, so to speak F" 

Lloyd threw an eloquent glance over the deserted 
beach. 

"Turmoil of the world ? Yes, Gabriel, if I could 
shut it out, I'd want to, if I were going in for real 
deep, meditative meditation," he said. 

Gabriel Gaby chuckled. "Well, call it a cat-nap, 
if you want to," he generously conceded. "It's 
meditatin', anyhow. I get a sight of wisdom when 
I'm neither awake nor asleep. I've got the notion 
that a man's mind's something like his soup kittle; 
you get the best strength outer it when 'tain't 
boilin^ too hard, nor yet set off altogether; when it 
simmers right along, not showin' much turbulosity, 
so to speak, but extractin' the goodness — simmerin's 
the word." Gabriel glanced at Sylvia for approval. 

^'Sounds most convincingly true, Gabriel, but I'm 



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"What Is She?" 23 

not an authority," she said, promptly. " I always seem 
to be tremendously awake, or tremendously asleep." 

"No doubt o' that, Sylvia, no sort o' doubt o' 
that!" Gabriel Gaby chuckled. "But you're not 
a retired seaman yet; you're still on your first voyage, 
an' on the first tack of it at that! Was you goin' 
sailin' now? But I see you've got your sea-goin' 
rig on." 

"Yes. And I want my tiller. Did you get it 
done?" asked Sylvia, 

"Well, I will! Qean forgot it. Yes, I fixed it. 
Wa'n't much wrong with it; loose, that's about all." 
Gabriel went into his house and came out with the 
tiller. "Here you are, Captain Sylvia, an' a good 
voyage an' safe port to you." 

"Thank you, Gabriel. What should I ever do 
mthout you?" said Sylvia, but the question was an 
acknowledgment, not a query to be answered, for 
Sylvia was starting down the beach on a little nm as 
she asked it; she never had outgrown her habit of 
running where another girl would walk. 

The changes of time were marked by Lloyd's 
unfastening Sylvia's tender, in which they were to go 
out to the sailboat, and running it down the beach. 
When she had first known him, and had been but 
fifteen, Sylvia revelled in independence. Now, at 
eighteen, she had learned that young masculine 
creatures like to render service, to feel that a pretty 
girl depends upon them, so Sylvia stood back and 
let Lloyd serve her, though she was entirely able to 



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24 "ff'ho Is Sylvia r" 

do her own work, and it took considerable self- 
discipline to play the role of a dependent. 

Lloyd also rowed out to the pretty catboat bowing 
and half turning in the small waves rippling around 
her, though Sylvia's fingers tingled to get hold of the 
oars. 

"Nice boy to want to," she thought as she 
caught at the gunwale of her sailboat, welcoming the 
chance to do something, "but I'll get up early one of 
these mornings and get some old-time sails, with no 
boy to bother me!" 

Sylvia drew an unbendable line of prohibition on 
the re«t of the tasks. No one could handle her boat 
for her; she resolutely refused to give her over into 
other hands. She unfurled the sail — though Lloyd 
helped with this; hauled it up, her trained eye on the 
peak to insure no sagging; Btted the repaired tiller 
into its socket, and jammed it down hard, trying not 
to mind that Lloyd had made the tender fast to the 
mooring, and had cast off. 

O'Malley went carefully, stepping along the deck 
to his post in the bow beside the mast. The sheet 
tautened, the boat lay over prettily, and they were 
off. 

"Now,thenl" breathed Sylvia, in supreme content, 
pulling her hat down farther over her head and 
stretching out her slender length of limb with a 
boyish movement of physical well-being. 

"You do Hke it, don't you, Sylvia?" said Ruth, 
watching her smiHngly. 



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"JFkat Is She?" 25 

"Like it? Like sailing? Why, Ruth, that's no 
word for it t I am sailing. I mean it is part of me. 
I've never lived anjrwhere else but beside this 
blessed ocean and its inlets. My boat and I are one, 
like a centaur, don't you know?" Sylvia tried to 
express what words failed to express — ^words being 
extraneous while her sea-love was intrinsic. 

"You stick to The Walloping Window Blind, don't 
you?" suggested Lloyd. "Thought you might set 
up a new craft this season." 

"What for?" demanded Sylvia. "Gabriel Gaby 
— of course Father, but that is natural — even Gabriel 
talked a new boat to me. Why should I have one ? 
The Walloping Window Blind is just as good as new. 
I had her when I was thirteen; five years, six sum- 
mers, I've had her. That constitutes an old friend- 
ship. She's as pretty a model as you could find; she's 
been kept scraped and painted and overhauled; there's 
nothing wrong with her. She's the size I like, and — 
well, why should I throw over the good little cat ? " 

Sylvia patted the graceful little catboat, whose 
ridiculous name she had bestowed to conceal her 
inordinate pride in owning and sailing a boat when 
she was a little girl, and Ruth and Lloyd looked as 
though they found this loyalty worthy of the girl 
whom they both admired beyond all others. 

"I hope you'll stick to all old friends. Captain 
Sylvia, always. What about that young medical 
meddler. Doctor Ritchie?" hinted Lloyd. 

Sylvia was annoyed with her circulation; she felt 



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26 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

it mount into her cheeks, and the old hat did not 
come down over her entire face I 
" Precisely," she said, however. 
"Eh? What do you mean by 'precisely'?" Lloyd 
demanded. 

"I mean 'precisely'! What about him?" Sylvia 
repeated. 

"He's hovering, Tink!" Lloyd suggested. 
Sylvia shoved her shabby hat back with a sweep of 
her hand and faced him. 

"Lloyd Hapgood, if you want to spoil a nice 

sail, dandy breeze and everything right, say so, 

and I'll put about," she said, disgustedly. "That's 

all nonsense, of course. No good my pretending 

not to know what you mean, but it's nonsense. 

Anyway, if a girl's eighteen I suppose she's got 

to set her teeth and stand it. Goodness knows 

I'm not looking for that sort of trouble I Doctor 

Ritchie — you all will call him doctor, but he has 

two more years before he gets his degree — is fine; I 

like him. But he isn't 'hovering' I Or if he is, it's 

only to fill up vacation time, and he knows I loathe 

silliness! I can talk lab. to him; he understands all 

It the experiments. It's starfish and sea cucum- 

, messy old holothurians, as much as met" 

ia stopped to laugh, then, being an honest 

ia, she added: "Anyway, Lloyd, I can't help 

nd I wish you wouldn't be horrid and talk about 

I'd tike to go along like Kim, and be a little 

id to all the world for a long, long rime yet." 



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"mat Is She?" 27 

"Poor pretty Sylvia! They won't dare let a girl 
like you go along unmolested in your friendly way 
too long," said tittle Ruth. 

" Ruth, you're such a morsel, yet you seem older 
than I do! You've grown up a lot this past year," 
said Sylvia, glad to turn the talk upon Ruth. 

"Don't you think that's because I don't do any- 
thing but girlish things, and you have so many 
outlets, are so free and daring and outnsf-doorsy that 
it keeps you boyishly young? And then there's all 
your laboratory interest," said Ruth. 

"But I sew and do home — house — things!" pro- 
tested Sylvia. 

"The point is, not what you do, nor what you are, 
Sylvia," said Lloyd, doggedly. "The point is: Are 
you going to stick to old friends, like them best, as 
you stick to The Walloping Window Blind ? I don't 
know how I, how Ruth and I, can stand it if you go 
and let these new ones get in on the ground floor, and 
we have to take what's left of you." 

Sylvia jumped up to bring her boat around. She 
turned on Lloyd vigorously. 

"You may as well wait till you see symptoms of 
it, Lloyd Hapgood," she said with asperity. " Such 
a nuisance! Here we're exactly the chums we al- 
ways were and you fuss I When I do so want to have 
a good time, just the same old good time, nothing 
spoiling it! Why, we're almost like one family; 
you can't tell which are cousiner cousins, you and 
Ruth, or you and Ruth and I! And your blessed 



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28 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

aunt is even more like my aunt than she is like yours, 
because I haven't any mother! And you talk about 
newcomers!" 

"Well, you see " began Lloyd, but stopped. 

He realized that it would never do to hint that 
this family aiFection had its drawbacks. 

"Glad you stopped, Lloyd," said Sylvia. "Now 
I'm coming about on another tack. At the same 
time, leave that silly stuff, and we don't go back to it; 
do you see?" 

"Aye, aye. Captain Sylvia," said Lloyd, so good 
naturedly and so humbly that Sylvia was appeased. 

"Poor Lloyd!" she said, settling down on her 
seat beside the tiller and drawing in the sheet 
till the sail "peaked up," full to the top. "I'm a 
vixen!" 

"Not a bit of it. You're Dear Lady Disdain, 
instead of Sylvia," Lloyd retorted. 

"I cave!" cried Sylvia. "That was exceedingly 
well answered, and I'm proud to note your familiarity 
with Shakespeare." 

The little Walloping Window Blind cut happily 
through the waves, speeding along at a great rate, 
and Sylvia revelled in her obedience to the helm, her 
swift motion. 

She took the Hapgoods up into a little bay that 
made in from the sea and brought them home with- 
out a mishap, having covered many knots in three 
hours. The wind held, freshening as time went on, 
and Sylvia was in her element. 



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"mat Is She?" 29 

"Pretty decent little craft; why should I change 
her?" Sylvia said as they came ashore. 

They met Jack Jarvis strolling along the beach as 
they came in. He was attired in faultless summer 
array, and he stood stock still to stare aghast at 
Sylvia. 

"Miss Bell! Is it really Miss Bell?" he asked, 
forgetting his manners as he surveyed the khaki, 
faded and whitened, and now wet with spray; the 
much-washed middy waist; the sea-stained hat. 

Sylvia laughed and pulled olF the offending hat, 
revealing her tight-drawn hair. "No, Mr. Jarvis; 
that is my incognito. I'm Captain Sylvia, of The 
Walloping Window Blind, at your service, and I 
may be promoted to a whaler! Good-bye, Ruth and 
Lloyd. See you at the dance — if they'll let me in I" 

Sylvia ran off down the beach, whistling to O'Mal- 
ley and laughing as she ran. "And Ruth looks as 
nice as a little trim dewdrop!" Sylvia thought, 
happily. "He'll see that second thoughts are not 
always best. How lucky she is to have hair that 
turns up at the ends, instead of getting horrid in salt 
dampness!" 

Jack Jarvis turned to Ruth with a puzzled frown. 

"She struck me as a beauty the other day, and 
awfully high-bred, and all that. Why do her people 
allow her to go about like that?" he demanded. 

"When you've known Sylvia Bell longer you'll 
discover that it isn't so easy to say what she is," 
Ruth answered with a flash. " She's the most truly 



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30 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

high-bred of any girl I know; she's a princessi 
And at the same time — she's everything else!" 
Ruth waved her hands to encompass what she could 
not say. 

"You ar^ friends!" said young Jarvis. "Miss Bell 
sings your praises equally. I hope I'll biow both of 
you better. But all the same it's a shame for such a 
pretty girl as Miss Bell to spoil herself. You must 
like her tremendously?" 

"Like her! Like Sylvia Bell!" Ruth laughed. 
"I wonder why you put that as a question?" 



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CHAPTER III 

" — ^That All Our Swains Commend Her?" 

AT DINNER that night the telephone rang and 
■^^ Sylvia sprang up to answer it. Her father 
heard her laughing over the message, and smiled in 
sympathy. "Evidently it was her own call," he 
thought and looked up inquiringly as Sylvia came 
back, still laughing. 

"What was at the other end of the wire. Miss 
Bell?" he asked. 

"A much-mortified and somewhat scared Lloyd 
was at the other end, Mr. Bell," repHed Sylvia. 
"He had forgotten to ask to escort me to the dance 
to-night! How's that for gallantry? Not altogether 
flattering to your lovely daughter, is it, Mr. Bell? 
However, Lloyd was overcome by his remissness. 
And it isn't unflattering; we're such good friends he 
could forget. The other boys try to be so exceed- 
ingly well-mannered; Lloyd's restful," 

"But he was too late, of course? You had 
promised to let someone else take you?" hinted 
Mr. Bell. 

"No, I hadn't," Sylvia said, blushing a little under 
a suspicion of her father. "Doctor Ritchie asked 



3.n.llffidbyG6'Og[C 



32 "ff^ho Is Sylvia?" 

me to go with him, but I said if I didn't join the 
Hapgoods I'd get there alone, and I wouldn't prom- 
ise because I thought it Hkely I should go with 
them." 

"I see. So Lloyd will take you and Ruth? Well, 
after he gets you there he won't be over-burdened," 
said Mr. Bell, with apparent innocence. 

"No. It seems that Jack Jarvis asked Ruth to go 
with him ever so many days ago," Sylvia said, trying 
not to smile. 

"Sylvia, take care I You will offend the eligible 
youths of your acquaintance if you play tricks like 
this," her father warned her, enjoying Sylvia's dawn- 
ing bellehood, as she quite well knew he did. 

She shut her eyes tight now, a new and pretty way 
she had fallen into when she wanted to hide their 
laughter. 

"It won't hurt Gerald Ritchie, M. D. — stands 
for 'Most Doubtful' we girls say! — to be kindly and 
considerately snubbed. Besides, I can sooth his 
wounded feelings in a jiffy, if he has any ! I must get 
ready now, Father-mine. I wish you were going! 
You can't imagine how much nicer you are than any 
youth — any other youth there, unless you go to make 
the comparison." 

Sylvia had come around behind her father's chair, 
and he stretched up his hands, imprisoned hers and 
drew them around his neck, her cheek against his. 
"But I do know that if 'all our swains commend' 
Sylvia, as Shakespeare said, none of them can com- 



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" — That All Our Swains Commend Her?" 33 

mend her as her father does," he said, the thrill in his 
voice testifying to his sincerity. 

"You blessed scientist!" said Sylvia, kissing the tip 
of his ear, being at a disadvantage. 

Upstairs in her own room she went about her 
preparations for the dance with the same impersonal 
interest that she had shown in getting ready to go 
sailing. Just as blithely as she had donned old 
clothing which hid her beauty, she assumed gar- 
ments of exquisite materials and design which would 
enhance it. It was evident that Sylvia was intent 
solely upon having a good time, and that whatever 
contributed to that end was welcome, its effect upon 
her appearance being of no consequence. 

O'Malley, that pampered Irishman, lay on Sylvia's 
couch watching her from under the wiry brows of 
his thatched head that lay down tight on his front 
paws. He knew quite well that this sort of dressing 
on his mistress's part betokened going where he 
might not follow. Sylvia surveyed her white silk 
stockings and slender white dancing pumps with 
a satisfaction that could not have been predicted 
from her sailing uniform. 

"I tell you, O'Malley-dog, tan walking shoes are 
to be respected, but white dancing shoes are to be 
worshipped I I wonder why shoes are so much more 
attractive than hats, or gowns, or gloves F All girls 
love shoes, O'Malley, dear," she said. O'Malley 
wagged his tail cordially, but did not raise his head. 
He indulged his Sylvia's liking for dancing shoes, but 



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34 "IFho Is Sylvia?" 

why should he Hke that in which she danced away 
from him? 

Sylvia's shining masses of dark hair were a problem 
to arrange. Her only consolation was that it did 
not require elaborate dressing. 

She let her hair fall like a soft, dusky curtain over 
her white kimono, brushed it till it was tractable and 
silky, then braided it and coiled it across the back of 
her shapely head, letting it ripple back from her 
broad forehead, shading her temples in a way that 
was all her own. 

She surveyed the result in the mirror critically. 

" I wouldn't mind one, exactly right rose behind 
that ear, Mr. O'Malley, but I never thought of 
flowers! I'd hate to buy them to wear, for myself 
to fade," she said. Sylvia let her kimono slide to the 
floor and threw carefully over her hair a floating mass 
of white Georgette crepe, which, settling into place, 
developed into a full skirt with hemstitched tucks and 
a waist that crossed and took her into its embrace in 
a surplice, outlining her throat in a long line of open- 
ing. There were wing-like sleeves that spread and 
flowed outward as she moved, showing the curves of 
her Arm round young arms. 

"Not so bad, is it, O'Malley?" Sylvia asked her 
confidant, blamelessly pleased with what her mirror 
told her. "She's made it beautifully. I'll send the 
other girls to her; she needs work. Now I'll call up 
my other Irish friend to finish me; Norah loves to see 
my fine feathers." 



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" — That All Our Swains Commend Her?" 35 

Sylvia went to the head of the stairs at the lear 
of the hall and touched an electric button. A voice 
from below called up: 

"Did you ring, Miss Sylvia?" 

"Yes, Norah. I'm all ready but finishing. Won't 
you please come up and fasten hooks? Tell Cassie 
to come to see my new gown," Sylvia called back. 

In a moment a brown-eyed, brown-haired Irish girl, 
with a sweet pale face that wore a look so anxious 
that it needed a second glance to see that she could 
be, at the most, not more than four years Sylvia's 
elder, dropped a small, shy curtsey in the doorway. 

"Oh, Miss Sylvia, it's a vision you are in that 
white mist of a thing," cried Norah, wonder and 
admiration in her eyes. "You look like a Month of 
May procession, at home in Ireland, whin the young 
maidens march to the shrines. But they'd be wearin' 
veils and wreaths." 

"Homesick, Norah?" asked Sylvia. "Hard to be 
here alone?" 

"Oh, Miss, it's that and more! Will I fasten your 
gown, Miss Sylvia, and where will the places be 
needin' it?" said poor little Norah, checking a sob. 

"Down the side, under this drapery, and the 
surplice where it crosses in the back, and then the 
girdle over that," Sylvia directed her. "I'm going 
to get you to tell me all about it, and I'm going 
to straighten it, whatever it is that troubles you. 
You're not to feel friendless in a strange land, Norah; 
you'll seel" 



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36 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

This time Norah could not repress the sob. 

"God bless you, Miss, for bein' unspoiled and 
gentle whin you've the whole world smilin' on ye," 
she heard the girl murmur. And after Norah had 
finished the hooks which Sylvia had considerately 
left for her to do, she saw her pale maid lift the edge 
of her white drapery and kiss it, thinking the action 
unseen. 

"That's a dear way to start to have a good time, 
blessed and trusted," thought Sylvia, taking up her 
gloves and fan and leaving her coat for Norah to 
carry. 

Cassie waited for her downstairs. 

"You look very nice, Miss Sylvie," she said, her 
voice indifferent, but her eyes proud. "Most girls 
wear their skirts a bit shorter, but that looks nice. 
Hope you have a good time. Don't stay late. And 
remember whatever anybody else may do, you're 
Sylvia Bell, and 'nohlessy obligay.' I read that 
expression somewhere ; it's French. It means if 
you're noble, you're under obligations to live up to 
it." 

"Thank you, Cassie. I will try not to disgrace 
you," said Sylvia, meekly. 

She shpped into the hbrary where her father was 
reading, and revolved before him on her toes, chal- 
lenging him by her silence to say that she was not 
satisfactory. Mr. Bell laid down his book and put 
his arms around her, gingerly,for fear of crushing her, 
yet most tenderly. 



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" — Tkea All Our Swains Commend Her?" 37 

"Dear heart, I hope the world will be kind to you," 
he whispered, kissing her. And Sylvia felt that a 
second time that night she had received a bene- 
diction. 

"Lloyd's come for you," announced Cassie, calling 
from the hall. 

Sylvia ran out to meet her escort. She found 
Lloyd impressive but self-conscious and embarrassed 
in evening clothes. He carried a long box, un- 
mistakable in character. 

"Flowers, Tink?" he said, thrusting the box 
toward her. " Didn't know whether you'd have 'em. 
Aunt Helen told me she thought this sort would be 
best." 

"Why, Lloyd, I wanted some! I'll love theml" 
cried Sylvia, taking from the box long-stemmed, half- 
opened buds of creamy white, with golden hearts that 
gave out a delicious odour. 

She pinned the roses in her belt, but one more 
perfect than all the others' perfection she fastened at 
the side of her heavy coils of hair, so that it lay 
against the darkness like a star. 

"Is that right?" Sylvia asked with unintentional 
coquetry, turning to the silent boy. 

"All right," said Lloyd, but he looked at Sylvia 
not at the rose. 

"You never brought me flowers before, Lloyd; 
indeed I thank you," said Sylvia. 

"No, I never did," said Lloyd. 

For an instant they looked at each other, wonder- 



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38 "ffko Is Sylvia?" 

ing at a sense of a great change. Then Sylvia caught 
up her gloves and loose coat, which Lloyd did not 
offer to help her to put on. 

"I don't need it, going. Come, Lloyd," Sylvia 
said, with a quick intaking of her breath. 

The dance was given by Mrs. Gayton in honour of 
her only daughter Maida's nineteenth birthday. 

The Claytons were part of the summer colony 
which was rapidly increasing in numbers along the 
beautiful dunes that bordered the ocean at Paxton. 
This was their second season in their stone house, a 
house called a "bungalow" for no reason whatever, 
unless because it could not be called a house in a 
city block. It was long, wide, and most imposing, 
its second story broken by many interpolations of 
sleeping porches and turrets, its ground floor flanked 
by porte-cocheres and pergolas. Its dancing space 
surpassed any other in the neighbourhood, formed as 
it was by the combination of several rooms divided 
only by sliding doors. 

Maida Clayton was a slender, dark-eyed girl, 
extremely vivacious, beside whom Ruth and Sylvia 
seemed to be — as indeed they were — mid-way out of 
childhood. Maida had acquired an air of experience 
that made her considerably more than her one actual 
year older than Sylvia Bell and her friends. Mothers 
felt vaguely that Maida's influence was not quite 
wholesome for their young folk, yet they never could 
verify the impression. The conservative old families 



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" — That Ml Out Swains Commend Her?" 39 

of Paxton-on-the-Sea decided to attribute it to the 
Claytons' new riches. Maida was not in perfectly 
good taste: it was probably no more than that. 

The two seasons that the Claytons had so far spent 
in Paxton had made considerable difference in the 
place. They dearly loved to entertain and to enter- 
tain lavishly; nowhere else could a dance be given 
with such reckless extravagance as at "High Tide," 
the Claytons' "bungalow." 

Sylvia and Lloyd heard the quivering sweetness of 
the violins as soon as Lloyd stopped the engine of his 
roadster under the porte-cochere. 

"I'll take her around to the garage myself," Lloyd 
told the competent person who was waiting to 
render this service to those who drove their own cars 
to the dance. Lloyd would never allow any one but 
himself to look after "Gwendolen" as he had 
christened his cherished car. 

"I'll be right in, Sylvia," he added, coming around 
to help Sylvia get out. "Say, I forgot to engage 
'most all of your dances I I want all of them, but 
please give me most of them, and don't let any one 
else fill up your card, if I happen to get held up in the 
garage, or anywhere." 

Sylvia laughed. "Well, Lloyd Hapgood, of all 
the shrinking modesty! So shrunken you can't 
wear it at all I How do you know I wouldn't rather 
dance with other boys? I'm not going to prom- 
ise dances now; it isn't fair. Goodness! That 
sounds as though my own modesty weren't too evi- 



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40 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

dent! I don't mean that I think it matters, but I 
think it's fairer to begin at the beginning — of the 
dance." 

"Matters all right! Well, I'll hurry. Say, Tink, 
sort of hang around upstairs, then, to let me start 
without a handicap," said Lloyd, jumping into his 
car and getting under way before the end of his short 
plea. 

Sylvia ran gaily up the three broad steps of the 
entrance, enveloped in a shaft of opaline light from 
the great electric lantern just within the door. 

The violins, with a harp accompanying, were play- 
ing a concert waltz, full of the longing pathos of that 
class of composition. 

"Not dancing yet," thought Sylvia as she went up 
the stairs, glad not to miss one step of the pleasure 
which she enjoyed with all her music- and motion- 
loving nature. 

It did not take her more than three minutes to 
make sure that Gwendolen had not disarranged her 
hair, nor her draperies, so, impatient as she was to 
get downstairs, it was good of her to dawdle in the 
dressing room in order to let Lloyd have the time for 
which he had asked to catch up with her, 

A shy little creature who said that she knew no 
one, but whom, she said, Maida Clayton had met at 
one of the hotels and had invited to her dance, was 
loitering upstairs, dreading to go down, and Sylvia 
promptly took her under her wing. 

"I'll introduce all the boys to you, and start you 



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" — That All Out Swains Commend Her?" 41 

comfortably with the girls; it won't be hard to get 
acquainted, you'll Bnd, if you dance welt. Do you ? " 
Sylvia asked with her boyish air of friendly pro- 
tection. 

"I ought to have told you," murmured the girl. 
"I said Miss Clayton met me at the Sea Girt. So 
she did, but — I'm a professional." 

"Oh," said Sylvia, at a loss what else to say. 
Then she rallied. "You dance professionally? Then, 
of course, you'll be in demand. That won't make it 
harder, surely." 

"You are very kind," said the girl. She looked 
pale and timid, not in the least as Sylvia would have 
expected a girl to look who followed this mysterious 
calling. She found it quite exciting to meet a pro- 
fessional dancer. 

" Miss Clayton told me to come down and meet her 
guests, and dance like the rest of you, I mean as if I 
were a guest myself. But I have taught her a fancy 
dance and, later in the evening, we are to dance it 
together and I am to do some solo dancing." 

"Great!" cried Sylvia, heartily. "What fun it 
will be I Maida Clayton always does something 
no one would have expected. We never had any- 
thing of this sort here; not in a private house. I 
never saw fancy dancing; not off the stage." 

The little dancer looked up into Sylvia's clear blue 
eyes, which looked out on the world from under their 
dark lashes with fearless directness, crystal no 
more shadowless than they, the true mirror of a 



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42 "fFho Is Sylma?" 

mind that disdained anything unworthy of stainless 
maidenhood. 

"I hope you will like the dances/' the girl said, and 
Sylvia felt a chill of apprehension. 

"Why not? I love dancing. Shall we go down? 
Come down with me and we'll make our bow to Mrs. 
Clayton and Maida," Sylvia suggested, shaking ofF 
the discomfort. 

"What a dear you are, Sylvia Bell, to look after 
my little geniusl" Maida cried as she welcomed 
Sylvia. "This is Miss Hermione Elmsley, Miss 
Bell. She's a wonder, Sylvia. By and by we're 
going to show you something, she and I, that will 
make this little resort sit up and take notice! Intro- 
duce her, that's a dear. I've got to see to heaps of 
things. We're going to dance right away. If you'll 
start Miss Elmsley, she'll do the rest. Dancing with 
her is like getting wings when you'd no notion of it." 

Sylvia turned away. Around her in an instant 
gathered a group of would-be partners, all eager to 
secure as many dances as she would give them. At 
the same time the girls beamed on her, few of them 
grudging her the inevitable triumph she received. 
Sylvia did not try to win admiration; she tried only 
to have a good time, and, having it, diffused it around 
her. No girl ever suspected that Sylvia was trying 
to get the best of her; she had no desire to pull out the 
plums for herself, Jack Homer-wise, so the girls wisely 
joined the boys in admiring her and following where 
she led. "What Sylvia Bell says, goes," they all 



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" — That All Our Swains Commend Her?" 43 

agreed; her opinions carried an influence which she 
neither sought nor realized, because her standards 
were true, her sense of justice keen. 

Somehow Lloyd was not the first to get hold of 
Sylvia's dance card. Gerald Ritchie, the young 
medical student, out-generalled him. He was five 
years older than Lloyd, six years older than Sylvia, 
a big, handsome, attractive person, never ill-natured, 
always carrying his point. Lloyd reluctantly ad- 
mired him, though he felt particularly youthful and 
crude before htm. For reasons that he never ana- 
lyzed it made him heavy-hearted when he saw that 
Sylvia also admired Gerald Ritchie. 

"Oh, Mr, Ritchie, wait!" Sylvia protested. 
"You're one of the big boys, grown up and desirable, 
I can't let you take more than four; it isn't fair!" 

She laughed, but recaptured her card none the 
less, and the younger boys gratefully accepted and 
filled up with their names the spaces she had secured 
to them, each obediently taking only those which she 
allowed to him. 

Gerald Ritchie had the first dance. The small 
orchestra was perfect and he was the best dancer in 
the place, Sylvia's dress was new and becoming, her 
shoes entranced her eyes every time she looked down 
at them; altogether, it was a blissful Sylvia that 
glided over the faultless floor on the arm of Gerald 
Ritchie. "Isn't it perfectly inexpressible to dance 
to such musicF" Sylvia asked. "I love dancing! 
Oh, I am having such a good timet" 



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44 "ffho Is Sylvia?" 

The young man looked at her as if he were enjoying 
it, too. 

"You dance like a dryad, Sylvia. The sea winds 
are in your veins and the rhythm of tree branches," 
he said, inspired to poetry. " I never saw any human 
being with such a capacity for enjoyment. Tell me, 
is there anything in the world that you don't like to 
do?" 

"Dam stockings," said Sylvia, promptly. "I 
don't mind sewing, but I want something new to 
show for it when I'm through." 

Gerald laughed. "All the same, I think it would 
be pretty hard to find anything active for brain, or 
hands, that wouldn't give you pleasure." 

He left her at the end of the dance with a reluctance 
that everyone noted, except Sylvia, who went on the 
floor with Lloyd for the next dance with the same 
eager joy that Gerald had hoped was partly due to 
himself. 

Never wearying, never flagging, Sylvia danced on 
and on, her eyes black with excitement, her cheeks 
glowing, every inch of her tall, slender frame palpi- 
tating with pleasure. 

"Oh, I am grateful to you, Maida, for this lovely, 
lovely dance, the house, the floor.the fairy musicians!" 
Sylvia cried, pausing beside her hostess. "And your 
Miss Elmsley is having a good time; she hasn't missed 
one number." 

Jack Jarvis took Sylvia out to the buffet supper. 

"It's a perfect shame you Hve here in the winter," 



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" — That All Our Swains Commend Her?" 45 

he said. "You must let me show you to New York! 
You're made for the world." 

"Am I? I feel to-night as though it were made for 
me, just for me," cried Sylvia, gaily. "It's such a 
dear, beautiful, happy world 1 Don't you think it's 
wonderful to have it 'so full of a number of things,' 
and to 'be as happy as kings' — with not one least 
little defect in it? To be grown up — almost — and 
still " she hesitated. 

"Innocently light-hearted, Hke a kid?" Jack said, 
looking at the radiant girl with something like ven- 
eration. " Indeed, it is, Miss Bell! I wonder — well, 
I wonder if you'd like the world if I could show 
it to you? It isn't all just like thisi" 

Sylvia's shining eyes met his trustingly. 

"Don't you suppose one can keep it so, if they love 
nothing different?" she asked. 



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CHAPTER IV 

"Holy, Fair — " 

OYLVIA and Jack Jarvis returned to the dancing 
^ to find a one-step half over and Reggie Clayton, 
who was to dance it with her, looking everywhere for 
Sylvia. 

"I didn't want to miss a bit of it any more 
than you did; I don't want to miss a bar of this 
glorious music," Sylvia said, wondering why her 
partner's manifest sulkiness did not hft, and not 
seeing that she had attributed her regret to an un- 
flattering cause. 

There were but two more dances before a heavy 
silk portiere which hung across the end of the danc- 
ing room was drawn aside. It revealed a stage, its 
background soft draperies hung in deep folds, after 
the approved method of preparing a stage for fancy 
dancing, while calcium lights, placed in a gallery of 
the drawing room, threw lovely colours over the stage 
in professional effects. 

Maida's guests fell back and massed themselves in 
unconsciously beautiful groups, like great flower beds, 
to see what their hostess had provided for them. 

Sylvia tried to get with Ruth, but failed. She 
46 



b.Goo'^lc 



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"Holy, Fair — " 47 

found hei^elf flanked by Gerald Ritchie and Lloyd, 
Jack Jarvis behind her. She was slightly separated 
from Sally Meade, a girl whom she liked, by a small 
table that had been pushed back to get it out of the 
way. 

The little professional dancer, no longer pale, but 
necessarily made-up for her work, ran bare-footed 
out from between the deep folds of the background, 
her Greek draperies fluttering, and made profound 
obeisance to her audience, her sleek, filleted head 
almost touching the floor. And then she danced! 

How she did dance I She seemed more like a 
winged creature than a human girl, skimming lightly 
over the floor, hardly touching it, her lithe, straight 
little Bgure bending in all directions as if it were 
superior to the restrictions of muscles. 

The first dance was lovely, interpreting Mendel- 
ssohn's "Spring Song," beautifully played by two 
violins, a flute, and a harp. 

Sylvia was in ecstasies. 

" Oh, how lovely, lovely !" she cried, clapping 
breathlessly. "Can't you see the jonquils and hear 
the birds?" 

"That little girl is good for an engagement on 
Broadway^ all right," said Jack Jarvis, with the air 
of a man of the world. 

The next dance was an Impromptu of Chopin's. 
It was beautiful, yet, for some reason that she could 
not define, Sylvia liked it less than the "Spring Song." 
Several solo dances followed, all illustrating Chopin, 



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48 "ff^ko Is Sylvia?" 

Debussy, and Russian composers. They were won- 
derful, but Sylvia grew quiet as she watched them. 
Something that she did not like she vaguely felt, and 
she began to feel sorry for so young a girl who earned 
her living by dancing for more fortunate girls. 

At last Hermione Elmsley repeated the deep 
obeisance of her entrance and ran, light-footed as a 
nymph, into the folds of the rear draperies, her own 
full, diaphanous gauzes melting into them. 

During a brief interlude the orchestra played a 
throbbing Slavic air, that penetrated through the 
murmur of enthusiastic comments on the dancing 
which surrounded Sylvia and irritated her nerves. 

At last two figures stole out on the stage from 
among the draperies, a shaft of mauve light enfolding 
them. Sylvia caught her breath in a frightened little 
gasp that Gerald Ritchie and Lloyd heard and in- 
wardly echoed. 

One of the figures was Hermione in a gauze chiton 
that hung from one shoulder, clinging to her till she 
looked like a little blade of white, highly tempered 
steel. With her was Maida Clayton, in a short 
Grecian tunic, her hair covered with a wig crowned 
with a laurel wreath, to represent a Greek youth, 
presumably a victor in the Olympic games. And 
they danced something that represented, so the au- 
dience was told, a votive dance to Athene for victory, 
and an invocation. 

It was wonderful dancing, marvellous grace and 
muscle control, but it was not Greek, nor represen- 



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"Holy, Fair — " 49 

tative of Athene's worship, nor was the accompany- 
ing music in the least Greek. 

Sylvia, inexperienced and exquisitely young, felt 
numb with pain, a pain too new to her for her then to 
recognize it as shock. She knew that Ruth must 
hate this strange, new dancing, too, and she wished 
that she were near her. The girls around her seemed 
to be carried beyond criticism by their admiration 
for the skill of the dancers. It was marvellous 
skill, but — it hurt! Oh, why had Maida danced like 
this? Why had she spoiled this perfect evening? 
Why, Sylvia thought, did she feel miserable, alone, 
as if her very self had been taken from her ? 

In a whirlwind of applause Matda and Hermione 
ran off the stage at last. They were getting an 
encore; they would return. 

Sylvia would not look at Gerald Ritchie, though 
she felt his eyes gravely and kindly resting upon her. 
She turned to Lloyd and forced herself to look at 
him, a dumb look of tortured appeal of which she was 
not conscious- 
Lloyd responded to it instantly, like her old 
brotherly chum. 

"Want to get out of it, Tink? I'll take you," he 
said. 

"Oh, yes I Take me home, Lloyd!" Sylvia said, 
springing to her feet, not realizing that she almost 
sobbed as she spoke, and that her rising then made 
her conspicuous. 

"Go get on your coat, and I'll have the car 



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so "JVko Is Sylvia?" 

around by the time you're down," Lloyd said. 
"I'd get Ruth, but she's in Jack Jarvis's care, 
and it's up to her to tell him if she wants to go." 

Lloyd tucked Sylvia into the roadster with the ut- 
most care when she appeared. He did not attempt 
to talk to her during the short drive home, for which 
she was grateful. 

When they stopped at the Bell house Sylvia 
aroused from her thoughts. "I came away without 
saying good-night to Mrs. Clayton; of course Maida 

wasn't about. I hate to be rude, even " Sylvia 

stopped. 

" Even under provocation ? " suggested Lloyd. 
"I've no doubt, Tink, you'll have all the chance to 
explain you want. You've witnessed to the truth 
that is in you, in one way, and I've no doubt you'll 
be called upon to testify in another way." 

"I don't want to act as if I were better than " 

Again Sylvia checked herself. 

"You're dead right, Sylvia Bell, and you know it," 
said Lloyd, warmly. "It isn't setting yourself up; 
it's standing pat. People stand for a whole lot 
they'd better cut out. They say: "What's the harm f* 
There is plenty of harm if it hits a girl like you, who 
isn't used to it, as hard as it hit you to-night. We 
were having a fine time; we weren't looking for 
trouble. What was the use of dragging in trash?" 

"Lloyd, you are a comfort!" said Sylvia, consoled 
by this boyish way of understating, of dodging the 
strong terms of condemnation which Sylvia knew this 



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"Holy, Fair — " 51 

manner of Lloyd's covered. "That's exactly what I 
feel. I was so happy to-night, so childishly happy; 
it was all so joyous and perfect! And suddenly 
they stole the joy away from us, and the childishness, 
tool I feel defrauded of my birthright." 

"Dear old Tink, that's precisely what that sort of 
people do," said Lloyd, with profound feeling. " But 
thank the good Lord, they can't steal your birthright 
if you hang fast to it as you do! You have a right to 
be let alone; you're dead right. That show was 
beastly bad taste. Rather nice that whatever leaves 
a bad taste always is in bad taste, in the other sense I 
Now don't worry, Sylvia. It was all right to come 
away. Mark my words, there won't be any more 
of that in our crowd. What Sylvia Bell does sets the 
pace, you know. Say, Tink, I wish you'd let me 
tell you how glad a boy is to have girls like you to 
bank on." 

"Good old Lloydl" responded Sylvia, as another 
boy might have done. "You are a trump, and I'm 
no end grateful. You always did stand by when 
needed I Good-night." 

By a compact of the evening before Mr. Bell and 
Sylvia came down early in the morning after the 
dance. The series of experiments upon which 
hung Mr. Bell's hope of estabhshing a theory, 
upon which he had worked intermittently for 
years, was far advanced toward completion in the 
laboratory. He and his assistant were to give long 



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52 "Who Is Sylvia?'* 

forenoons to it, rising early for that purpose, Sylvia 
no less interested in the result to come than her 
father was. 

"Are you tired from your gaiety, dear? You look 
a little pale. I heard you come in last night con- 
siderably earlier than I had expected you. Did you 
enjoy the dance?" asked Mr. Bell, as quick now to 
note a change in his girl's face as he had been oblivi- 
ous to her when she was younger. 

" It's a great house to dance in. Father; so big when 
the rooms are thrown together, and the floors are 
like mirrors, and you never saw such an orchestra — 
I suppose I mean heard one. I surely enjoyed danc- 
ing there," Sylvia replied. 

"But ?" suggested her father, missing some- 
thing from her reply. 

"Yes, I suppose so, sharp Father," Sylvia admitted, 
"Matda had a professional dancer to entertain us, 
and Maida danced with her — Greek, they called it." 

"Well, my dear?" her father hinted, having waited 
a moment. 

"Not very well, thank you," said Sylvia. "It 
disagreed with me. I suppose I looked miserable, 
for Lloyd asked if I wanted to go home, and I did. 
Came away and forgot to say good-night I We girls 
have our Hospital sewing meet this afternoon. I'll 
be unpopular, I suppose." 

"Sylvia, dear child, it sounds serious!" Mr. Bell 
looked anxious. 

"It is. Father I We never had anything like it 



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"Holy, Fair — " 53 

here before. They'll say it wasn't sensible to mind 
it, but, Father, it was! And I did mind it ! And 1*11 
keep on minding. And we are a nice lot of happy 
girls, and if I can help it we aren't going to spoil that I 
So there I" Sylvia looked defiant. 

"Your first encounter with another world than 
ours! I'm sorry, dear child: I'd gladly ward it off, 
but you've got to see and decide for yourself, Sylvia. 
I'm not afraid you'll decide wrong. If the girls 
discuss it with you, don't be severe, but don't strike 
your colours. Never do that, Sylvia — and make 
your colour white I" Mr. Bell laid an arm affection- 
ately across his tall girl's shoulders as they went to 
the laboratory. 

"When her shoulders are so nearly level with 
mine, I can't hedge her in like a baby," he was 
thinking. 

A long morning of engrossing work, in which 
Sylvia could not help knowing that she was truly 
helpful to her father, went far toward healing her 
wounded sensitiveness. No young girl would want 
to seem to set herself up as a critic of others, nor 
would she enjoy feeling that her comrades were open 
to just criticism. Sylvia dreaded the afternoon, but 
she forgot it in the laboratory work that was march- 
ing triumphantly toward its climax. 

Ruth came early, before any one else could get 
there. She ran to greet Sylvia with a vehement hug; 
to reach her neck she stood on tiptoe. 

"You are a perfect darling, Sylvia!" Ruth cried. 



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54 "f^ho Is Sylvia?" 

"Lloyd and I told Aunt Helen about it, and she says 
you are right, beautifully right. She says you 
needn't have come away as you did, but that she can, 
understand your running away, and that it was all 
right to do it, if you wanted to. And I saw Sally 
Meade, and she says she wishes she decided things 
the way you do; she says it takes her till it's too late 
to find out what she thinks about anything. But we 
stand by you, so if the girls — Maida — pitches into 
you, don't worry." 

"I'm not worrying," Sylvia smiled down on her 
small champion. " But X don't want to try to look 
Uke a guidepost, if I am tall enough to be one." 

The girls gathered rapidly in the big room up- 
stairs which Sylvia had taken for post-war Red 
Cross work ever since they had organized a junior 
unit before the Armistice was signed. 

Maida Clayton did not come. The other girls 
talked fast, but never alluded to the dance of the 
previous night, an omission that told eloquently of 
how much it was in their minds. Whispered con- 
jectures as to whether or not Maida would come flew 
about when Sylvia seemed to be too busy to hear 
them. 

At last, impressively late, Maida came. 

Sylvia went to meet her. "Maida," she said, 
blushing furiously, "I want to apologize for not 
saying good-night to your mother last night. I 
could not get at you to speak to you, but I'm sorry 
I forgot to thank her. Will you tell her, please?" 



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"Holy, Fair — " 55 

Maida tossed her head, her small dark eyes snap- 
ping with temper. 

"Very nice of you to admit you could do wrong," 
she said. "We all supposed Sylvia Bell incapable of 
even a mistake. But of course when one is running 
away from contagion, one forgets trifles like man- 
ners." 

"Why did she come here if she was going to be 
horrid ? " Ruth murmured, wrathfully. 

"To be horrid," said Sally Meade. "I hope 
Sylvia settles herl" 

"Maida," said Sylvia, quietly, though her voice 
shook and her eyes flashed, "I am sorry you meet 
me like this. I cannot quarrel with you in my own 
house, at a Hospital sewing meeting, if I wanted to — 
and I don't want to. If you will take my message 
to your mother I'll be much obliged. I apologized 
only for forgetting her." 

"If you weren't an inexperienced baby, in spite of 
your eighteen years, you'd know that was a clever 
dance, if I do say it, and that interpretative dancing 
is the latest," said Maida, contemptuously. "That 
was Greek, symbolic." 

"Are all symbols alike, Maida ? Doesn't it 
matter what a girl wears, how she wears it, how she 
dances?" Sylvia asked. "I did not like your dance; 

it was not even a pretty thing, and But 

there's no use discussing it! If you don't feel what 
I'd think any girl would feel about it, no one else can 
make you understand. It seems dreadful to pay 



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56 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

another girl, no older than yourself, to dance like 
that." 

"Good gracious! Listen to Miss Bell! Sylvia, 
that girl was precious glad of my check," cried 
Maida. 

"I suppose so," said Sylvia, mournfully. "If only 
she had it for not dancing that dance, I mean! Oh, 
Maida, wouldn't you rather help that little thing out 
of all that?" 

"You do get notions, Sylvia," said another girl, 
Una Garland, timidly, plainly trying to support 
Maida with an eye to the future. "Remember that 
novel you returned to me, and wouldn't read it ? I 
never got over that. Why, that author is simply the 
most popular writer! He's great!" 

Sylvia swung around with an impetuous move- 
ment. 

" He's a beast ! " she cried. " He writes abominable 
stuff, and the worst of it is that it does sell, and then 
the worst is that he could write well if he would, 
for he once did. He sells his talent, turns it into 
poison-gas manufacturing!" 

"Well, if you are so afraid of poison, why don't you 
go into a convent and have done with it?" Maida 
said, disgustedly. 

"Girls!" cried Sylvia, letting herself go, "am I 
goody-goody? Don't I love fun? And don't I have 
it, plenty of it : sail, swim, race, play games, dance, 
frolic like any boy? Tisn't fair to come to me as if 
I were a cantankerous old sour drop! But when it 



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"Holy, Fair—" 57 

comes to what is wrong to do, or to like " 

She waved her hands outward as if casting some- 
thing from her. 

"Sure you're a cut-up, Sylvia!" cried Sally Meade. 
"You're the most daring, liveliest girl in this place, 
and it's dandy to know you're straight and fine with 
it! You're dead right, and everyone of us knows it, 
no matter what she says." 

"Oh, Sally!" protested Sylvia, embarrassed. "I 
only meant no one can call me goody-goody. If 
when we're older we have to come up against dreadful 
things, because it is our business to help out of them, 
somehow, why then we'd be wrong to be afraid to do 
it. But that isn't the same thing. Oh, I don't want 
to preach! It's dreadful! And it isn't in my line. 
But if you ask me, this is the way I feel." 

"Well, Sylvia," persisted Una Garland, "why 
wouldn't you read that novel?" 

"I have a white crepe-de-chine blouse," said Syl- 
via, with apparent irrelevance; the girls stared as if 
they thought she was delirious. "I threw ink all 
over it, just to see how black stains would look on it." 

"Oh, Sylvia! Oh, Sylvia, you darling!" cried 
Ruth in a rapture, instantly perceiving Sylvia's 
parable. 

"Well, Sylvia Bell, you surely have bigger wheels 
in your head than I thought!" cried Maida, openly 
triumphing over Sylvia's folly. 

"Do you mean " began Sally Meade, feeling 

her way. 



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58 *'frho Is Sylvia?" 

"Yes, I mean!" laughed Sylvia. "I didn't throw 
ink over a white crepe-de-chine blouse! That's a 
parable, my sisters! If I had, you'd have thought 
me silly, wouldn't you? Yet the blouse would be 
worth, probably, about seven dollars, and you might 
get the stains out with salts of lemon; at the worst, it 
wouldn't be a great loss. I don't think we can afford 
permanent spots on what never wears out." 

" Put it to vote, a rising vote," cried little Ruth, de- 
lighted, seeing that her idol had won her cause. "All 
who agree with Sylvia Bell and pledge themselves 
to stand by her in this, please rise." 

All the girls except Maida Clayton arose, though 
Una Garland, having risen, cast a frightened took at 
frowning Maida and sat down again. 

"Oh, goodness, girls, don't !" cried Sylvia, crimson 
and uncomfortable. 

"We came to make surgical bandages, and we've 
done some amputating," whispered Ruth to her, and, 
in spite of her discomfort, Sylvia had a warm sense 
of pleasure in having had the courage to stand by her 
guns. 

She ran away to fetch a big box of candy with 
which she had provided herself for this meeting. 

"Pretty white girl, Sylvia Bell is!" said Sally 
Meade. "I think she's a lot hke Jeanne d'Arc, 
afraid of nothing except of disobeying her Voices." 



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CHAPTER V 

" — And Wise Is She" 

TV^'ISS SYLVIA," said Cassandra when Sylvia 
•'■■*■ returned late one afternoon of the following 
week from making calls in all the propriety of an 
eighteen-year-old Miss Bell, "there was a telephone 
call during your absence, long distance. Your 
aunt's coming." 

"Oh, Cassiet When?" cried Sylvia, sitting down 
to take off her gloves, thus betraying how the mes- 
sage dismayed her. 

"The day after to-morrow, on the 3:25 train. 
You no need to look so shocked, Miss Sylvia. Your 
Aunt Emily doesn't bother you nowadays as she used 
to. I think she thinks highly of you," observed 
Cassandra. 

" She's very nice to me," admitted Sylvia. " I got 
better acquainted with her in the winter, visiting her. 
I'm ashamed to look sorry she's coming, ashamed to 
feel so, but I always remember that Aunt Emily's 
here when she is here, and it's nicer not to be re- 
strained, Casabianca dear." 

" I do wish you could restrain yourself from calhng 
me that!" said Cassandra. 



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6o "JFho Is Sylvia?" 

"Ctti, Cassie, I beg your pardon! I don't mean to 
do it," Sylvia said, contritely. "It's a flattering 
name, though. And fits. Think how you've stood 
by me ever since I was bom! And no fires below 
your deck would make you budge. I think that's a 
fine tribute, to call you Casabianca! I'll try not to, 
though. Oh, Cassie, I've just thought of something! 
Do you suppose that getting 'cold feet' and quitting, 
dates back to the boy that stood on the burning deck ? 
Because he couldn't have had cold feet, and he didn't 
quit?" 

Cassandra showed no interest in Sylvia's specula- 
tive researches. 

"Miss Sylvia," she said, "what do you expect me 
to do about Norah ? She gets more 'n more tryin'. 
And with Miss Bell comin', I'll have hard work to 
put up with it," 

Sylvia, the housekeeper, arose to the surface at 
this summons upon her. 

" I meant to talk to Norah days before this," she 
said. " It has been crowded out. I'll get her up in my 
room after dinner and see what I can do with her. 
But you know, Cassie, there isn't the smallest ravel- 
ling of a desirable maid to be found now when the 
hotel and cottage season has begun! And as to 
Aunt Emily, why, in such things as Norah's mistakes 
I don't mind her one bit." 

"Because I try to fill in the gaps Norah leaves," 
Cassandra said, severely, but Sylvia was on her way 
upstairs and did not turn back. 



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"—And Wise Is She" 6i 

That evening Sylvia found in her wardrobe a 
pretty gown to give Norah, and one in which she could 
make a few alterations for herself, enough to interest 
Norah in pinning into place the altered drapery. 

" If pretty clothes won't win a girl to talk, I don't 
know how to do it," she thought, and called Norah 
up to her room. 

Norah knelt and pinned assiduously the places 
Sylvia indicated, but her eyes did not smile when her 
lips politely smiled, and beyond the respectful : "No, 
miss," "Yes, miss," required by Sylvia's efforts to 
make her talk, pale young Norah was silent. 

"Thank you, Norah I You have done that 
beautifully. You'd make a perfect maid. I'd like 
to have you to dress me, and mend me, and make for 
me — since I must dress 1 Norah, to be honest, I 
love old clothes best!" laughed Sylvia. 

"Yes, miss. Tis wonderful, so it is, to see you so 
beautiful, and not carin' tuppence about adornin'," 
said Norah, this time smiling with eyes and lips both. 

"Oh, I want to look nice when I have to, but 
freedom is a great thing. Now, Norah, here's a 
little dress that I think will be pretty for you to wear. 
Go into my dressing room and slip it on: don't you 
want to? And we'll look it over," suggested Sylvia. 

To her consternation Norah's lips quivered, and 
her eyes brimmed with tears. "You're by far too 
good to me, Miss Sylvia," she said. "I needed no 
present for pinning your skirt. Sure, it's a privilege, 
so it is, to do for you." 



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62 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"Nonsense, Norah! I didn't give you the dress 
for what you did; I gave it because I wanted to! 
I know I'll like it on you," said Sylvia. "Norah- 
girl, won't you tell Miss Sylvia what is troubling 
youF She'd Uke so very much to try to cure it." 

"Oh, God bless you, miss, for that, but how can 
you?" sobbed Norah. "Miss Sylvia, I don't suit 
here, and it's myself that knows it but too well, 
Cassandra doesn't want me, and I've been tryin' to 
get me courage up to sayin' I'd be leavin'." 

"Cassandra is hard to please, Norah. She is kind 
and good, but she wants everything done precisely as 
she has always done it. I think you make mistakes 
because your mind is filled with some worry, and that 
if it were cleared up you'd be a fine little helper for 
Cassandra. Tell me all about it, Norah. I am a 
young girl, too," coaxed Sylvia, her voice irresistibly 
sweet. 

Norah looked up and Norah looked down. "Oh, I 
can't I" she said, feeling herself on the point of 
yielding. 

"Is it anything about your own people? Or a 
lover? Or not being well, Norah?" Sylvia urged, 
seeing victory almost hers. 

" I'm never sick, miss, and a lover's a thing I've not 
a bit of," said Norah. "It's my young sister at 
home in Ireland." 

"Have you a little sister over there? And is she 
alone?" asked Sylvia. 

"Oh, that's it, miss, that's it!" cried Norah in a 



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"—And Wise Is She" 63 

burst of confidence at last. "She is alone, bidin* 
the time when I'll be able to be sendin' for her to 
come out. She's but fifteen years, miss. And the 
woman that's keepin' her doesn't want her, and little 
Roseleen is that unhappy she do be writin' me to sind 
for her till I have me heart wrung by her." 

"What would you do with her here, Norah? 
Maybe she is safer in Ireland till she is older," sug- 
gested Sylvia. 

"No, miss, for there's a fine woman would take 
her in and look after her till she'd be old enough an* 
learned enough to go to service. It's no kin of ours, 
but a fine, good, pious woman, came from the same 
place we did, and that's near as good as kin, off* so far. 
Roseleen would be all right here, entirely, and I was 
savin' up to bring her out " 

"Now don't say you lost the money, Norah!" 
cried Sylvia, as Norah hesitated. 

" I lent it, miss, for one week only, to a pleasant, 
smart young man, who talked that nice, missi But 
soira a satisfaction can I get out of him since, an' it's 
three months — no, four months an' better! — since 
he got it! He had it at Candlemas. He laughs at 
me, tells me when I ask him for it not to love money 
like the Yankees, or I'll be spoiled," Norah ended 
ruefully. "He's not Irish, miss," she added, hastily 
defending her own race from suspicion. "He's one 
of those that might be anything, barrin' a Chinese." 

"What have you for security?" asked Sylvia, feel- 
ing herself businesslike in asking. 



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64 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"Is it a paper you mean, miss?" asked Norah. 
"Not a sign of onel" 

"Oh, Norah! What is this young man's name? 
Does he live here?" cried Sylvia, 

"Yes, miss, he does. He's called Enos Coffin," 
Norah replied, hopeful of Sylvia's knowing him. 

"Surely not Irish any more than Chinese! I don't 
know him," said Sylvia, shaking her head hard. 
"But I will know him! I'll see what can be done 
about getting back your money. In the meantime, 
Norah, listen to me: I'll lend you the money to send 
over to your Roseleen to pay her passage, and if I 
can make this too-winning Enos Coffin behave him- 
self, you can return it at once. If not, some day! 
I'm not afraid to trust such a good little girl as you 
are." 

"Oh, Miss Sylvia, Miss Sylvia!" Norah gasped, 
going down on her knees in a sobbing heap of grati- 
tude, her face in her hands on the seat of Sylvia's 
willow chair. "Oh, Miss Sylvia, it's not the payin' 
back with money! But how could I ever pay you 
back for seein' and carin' that the heart was ate out 
of me with worryin', an' comin' quick to help me, 
like little Roseleen's guardian angel in a lovely 
human shape? For there's no other young girl in 
County Cork as pretty as little Roseleen, and I 
promised our mother I'd look after her till she'd not 
be needin' it. Miss Sylvia, I'll never repay you, but 
it's better havin' God owin' you for your kindness 
than the likes of me! I'll do me best to show you 



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"~Jnd Wise Is She" 65 

what it means to me. An', oh, Miss Sylvia dear, with 
the load off me heart, sure Cassandra will never find 
me mind cloudin' me eyes an' me ears whin she tells 
me instructions. No more burnt sausages, Miss 
Sylvia, thanks be to you, an' the angels that's guidin' 
youl" 

Norah was too true an Irish girl not to laugh with 
Sylvia at this mingling of earth and heaven, and at 
the memory of Cassandra's wrath, sorry as Norah 
was for her wool-gathering. 

Norah gathered up her new dress, which neither 
she nor Sylvia thought again of trying on her. 

Sylvia heard her singing down the back stairs an 
air so truly Irish and minor that she rightly construed 
it to be a hymn of rejoicing springing out of her 
leaping Irish heart. 

"Well, that was an hour well spent I" thought 
Sylvia, no less happy than her maid. "Oh, isn't it 
heavenly to be youngi I may have nearly sixty 
years to Uve, and I can make people happy lots of 
times, in every one of themt How beautiful Ufe is!" 

Sylvia ran downstairs to join her father on the 
piazza. She welcomed a chance to steal an evening 
away from the good times going on among the 
young people in order to spend it swinging luxuriously 
in the hammock with O'Malley's head on her knees 
and her father close beside her, the rip of his cigar 
glowing in the dusk as they chatted. Much as 
Sylvia enjoyed all the delights of her age, she better 
loved her inrimacy with her father. 



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66 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

But Sylvia Bell's high spirits, daring fun, and 
pretty face were too much in demand for many of 
these evenings to be allowed to pass without inter- 
ruption. So it was without surprise, though with 
a sigh, that Sylvia saw Gerald Ritchie coming in at 
the gate before she had been comfortably ensconced 
in the hammock a half hour. 

"Ah, Sylvia! Glad I found you at home! Good 
evening, Mr. Bell," he said. " Pretty much all the 
rest of our generation is seeing the new films for the 
Hospital benefit to-night; how does it happen you're 
not, Sylvia?" 

"I like an evening at home sometimes, and I didn*t 
want to see the films. Don't you think we're all 
doing our little best for the new Hospital, and 
wouldn't you prescribe a domestic evening occasion- 
ally?" asked Sylvia. 

"I would say it was wise," said the doctor-to-be. 
"We all know that you are helping your best; we 
don't call it a 'little best,* though! Sylvia, I'm going 
over to North Paxton in the morning, to see a woman 
whom my mother talks of employing. It's a lovely 
drive along shore, you know. Will you go with me ? " 

"I'd like to go a great deal, Mr. Ritchie, but I 
can't. You see the morning is lab. time, and every 
day is important there now. Sorry!" said Sylvia, 
and looked so. 

"Forgot all about the laboratory!" cried Gerald 
Ritchie, contritely. "I'll make it afternoon. Can 
you go then?" 



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"—And Wise Is She" 67 

"Yes, thank you, glad to, but perhaps your mother 
is in a hurry about her errand?" suggested Sylvia. 

"Oh, well, half a day can't matter. Shall it be 
about half-past two, Sylvia? My car isn't up to 
Lloyd's, but we'll get there. And you can wait out- 
side while I talk to the Coffin lady," said Gerald. 

"Coffin I" echoed Sylvia, swinging herself back 
with the force with which she brought her feet to the 
floor. 

"Why this emotion?" asked Gerald Ritchie. "Do 
you know the Coifins?" 

"No, and that's why this emotion," retorted 
Sylvia. "I want to. Isn't it curious how if you 
hear of a thing for the first time, and it interests 
you, you always hear of it soon again f I never knew 
there were Coffins in Paxton, not till to-night, and 
now you invite me to drive to see them ! And I want 
badly to see them, one of them. Is the woman young 
and is her husband a young man named Enos?" 

"No, the woman is middle-aged, and is getting the 
middle over on the wrong side, at that. Her son is 
Enos; will that do?" asked Gerald. 

" Perfectly well," Sylvia agreed. " Indeed I'm 
doubly glad to go with you; I didn't know how to 
find him." 

"Explanations are in order, Sylvia. Your father 
is consumed with curiosity," hinted Mr. Bell. 

"Smoulder just a little while. Father mine! I'd 
like to try my luck before I tell any one about it," 
begged Sylvia. 



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68 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"The Sphinx was a lady, Ritchie; they all love 
riddles," sighed Mr. Bell. 

"The Sphinx was not a perfect lady, Father; 
you must admit that her hands weren't like these." 
Sylvia held up her shapely tanned hands to prove it. 
"Now I am a perfect lady, and I will solve my own 
riddle later! The Sphinx wouldn't so much as allow 
hers guessed. Mine is a nicer riddle, leads to more, 
too. Though it has something to do with someone 
going on all fours; not walking erect, apparently." 

"If you won't enlighten me, cruel girl, at least 
don't deepen my mental darkness," Mr. Bell im- 
plored, trying to speak piteously. 

"I Hke Gerald Ritchie, Sylvia. He has character 
of the right sort, a nice mind, and quiet, good breed- 
ing. I should imagine he would make a valuable 
physician," Mr. Bell said, standing with his hand on 
Sylvia's shoulder watching away the guest to whom 
they had just said good-night. 

"I like him, too, Fatherums. I catch myself 
treating him respectfully, which is queer, for he 
isn't so fearfully much older than I am and he's a 
Paxton product! He's that kind, though. Yes, I 
like him. But I like an evening alone with you! 
However, that will be a lovely drive, and I do want 
to find that Coffin — drive a nail in himl" Sylvia 
ended with a laugh. 

Gerald Ritchie was punctual to the hour appointed 
for the drive. His car was a small touring car, and 



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"—And Wise Is She" 69 

Sylvia, fresh and pretty in a blue pongee with white 
collar and cufFs and a knowing little close hat, chose 
to sit in the front with her host. "I don't think it 
chums one up half as much, and, anyway, I do hate 
to be the sole survivor in a tonneau," she declared 
swinging herself up without taking Gerald's proffered 
help. 

"Coquetry, or consideration would make you let 
me help you, Sylvia Bell," remarked Gerald, follow- 
ing her and pushing over his gears. 

"I've no desire to be a coquette, Mr. Ritchie," 
said Sylvia, ignoring the implication that she was 
inconsiderate. 

"Why Mr. Ritchie, Sylvia?" asked Gerald. "Am 
I so patriarchal?" 

"I know; the rest call you 'Doctor,' but I thought 
it wasn't the thing to do until you were a doctor," 
said Sylvia. And possibly she was not quite free 
from coquetry in this reply that dodged his meaning 
which she well knew. 

" Won't you say 'Gerald' ? You used to when I was 
a big boy and you were a small girl. Remember the 
day you stayed too long on the rocks and the tide 
came up, and caught you unawares, like the mother 
of the little girl who had a little curl? And I came 
along and got you off triumphantly and carried you 
to the beach pick-a-back? You must have been 
ten, or a little less, for I was sixteen then." Gerald 
looked as though he enjoyed the reminiscence. 

"Surely I remember!" cried Sylvia. "I was 



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70 "If ho Is Sylvia?" 

scared to bits. But afterward I so much enjoyed 
having been scared that I went out on the rocks and 
sat there till high tide, all alone, just to see if I should 
drown. I didn't! But I am willing to admit that 
I was the wettest kiddie outside *The Water Babies.' 
I used to do the craziest things, playing alone as I 
did. I wonder I lived to grow up, though dear old 
Cass was almost as good as an accident policy! She 
took such care of me! But she couldn't cover all my 
wanderings." 

The young medical student laughed, and let out 
his car. 

"You like speeding up to the limit. How about it, 
Sylvia? Shall I be the same big boy I used to be; 
'Gerald,' not 'Mr. Ritchie'?" he persisted. 

"Of course, if you like," said Sylvia, carelessly. 
"It's because you've been away so much, college 
and medical college, that you come back a formal 
stranger. It's not sensible. I'm having a fine drive, 
Gerald. I Hke this car. Is it much farther?" 

"Not much; a mile. If that means you'd Hke a 
longer drive we'll take one after we've made our call," 
suggested Gerald, looking pleased. 

They swung into a street of small houses, before 
one of which they stopped. "Will you come in, or 
shall I send your victim out to you?" asked Gerald, 
holding the door pending Sylvia's answer. 

"Send him out, please. I have to talk to htm 
alone; it's a most serious matter." Sylvia laughed, 
but she looked anxious. 



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"—And Wise Is She" 71 

In a moment a heavy young man, light-haired, 
light-€yed, with a shambling gait, came out of the 
house and lunged toward her. There was something 
vaguely familiar about him, a shadowy half recollec- 
tion, as of someone seen in a dream. 

"Are you Enos Coffin?" Sylvia asked. 

"Yes, Miss Bell. Pleased to see you again and 
lookin' so well. Got that dog yet? What was it, 
now, you called him? Some name, 'twas, but I 

can't Oh, yes! Mahoney, or Moriarty, wa'n't 

it?" the surprising Enos asked. 

"O'Maliey? Where did you ever see O'Malley, or 
hear his name ? Oh, now I know! You took us, my 
dog and me, home in your cart once, ever so long ago, 
when O'Malley had cut himself chasing a cat over a 
cold frame!" Sylvia suddenly recalled the youth and 
a brief acquaintance with him. " I told you to come 
back to let me give you grapes, when they were ripe, 
but you did not come." 

"No, Miss Bell," said the young man, "far be it 
from me to have did so. I laughed over that dog's 
name, and the way you held his head up in your 
lap, a-settin' flat on my cart bottom, with his leg 
tied up with fancy embroideraries, which I thought 
then and ever after you'd tored ofTn your own self, 
till I'm safe to say I'd of had to pay not less'n thirty- 
five cents to have laughed so hard at movies. I was 
more'n satisfied with what I made out of it, if you 
was." 

"I was perfectly satisfled," replied Sylvia, gravely, 



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72 "JFko Is Sylvia?" 

not pointing out that her satisfaction did not flow 
from the same source. "You were kind, and helped 
me out once, so I hope that you will make it easy for 
me to say what is hard for me to say to you now. Do 
you know a nice Irish girl, Norah Leary?" 

Enos's face changed. "I may say that I do," he 
admitted. 

"She is in my employ," said Sylvia, gently. "I 
came to ask you when you expected to repay the 
money which you borrowed of her? You know, 
Mr. Coffin, she earns her money with her own hands, 
and she needs it. When can she have it?" 

"Well, it's like this," began Enos, visibly em- 
barrassed. "That money isn't anywheres now, as 
money. It's where I can't get it." 

"It would be possible to get the same amount in 
other money, wouldn't it? Norah does not care 
about having back the same bills. You say it does 
not exist now as money ? " Sylvia tried not to laugh 
at this view of finances. 

Enos shook his head till it hardly seemed safe. 
" It's now a ring," he said, 

"Oh," cried Sylvia, and could not check a rippling 
laugh that ran away from her. " Do you mean that 
you borrowed from a poor girl to buy a ring?" she 
asked, sobering down to her task. 

"You couldn't, not noways, Miss Bell, you 
couldn't, buy a cheap ring for the lady you was 
lookin' forward to givin' so much more as your whole 
self, now could you? And my Alhmetta's that 



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"—And Wise Is She" 73 

partic'Iar you'd never think how she'd critter-size 
a ring that fell short. So, as I'd fell short myself 
about along then, I borrowed from that lady what 
works for you, you say, and I don't see my way to 
settlin' for it soon. I'm buyin' on installments a 
phonograph talkin' machine, and records, lottin' on 
havin' a happy home, if my lady friend stands pat, 
so to speak." 

Sylvia choked; it was an instant before she dared 
to attempt to take up her argument. Then she 
said: 

"Do you think your AlHmetta — didn't you say 
Allimetta? — would care to have you borrow from a 
girl to buy her a ring? I think not, if she is honour- 
able." 

Enos's inexpressive face took on a distinct look of 
alarm. 

"Great cats, Miss Bell, you won't let it leak out, 
will you? Not the way you think, she'd mind, but, 
oh, my salted codfish, ain't she the jealous one ! She's 
that jealous of me you couldn't believe! And I 
don't never look at any other girl, to admire her, 
not since I first asked Allimetta to leave me call 
around." 

Sylvia was suffering. Her throat ached from 
suppressed laughter. The image of an Allimetta 
jealously watchful of this flabby Enos was hard to 
regard unmoved. But she saw her opening, and took 
it. 

"I will not go to see your Allimetta, provided that 



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74 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

you repay to Norah the money you borrowed. If 
you do not, I must see that she understands that in 
reality it was Norah Leary, not you, who bought 
the ring she wears," Sylvia said, sternly. 

"I haven't got it now, that's honest, Miss Bell. 
But rU try to raise it. Say, it's a lulu ring! Awful 
lot of small, small diamonds put right in a mask, so to 
speak. So's to make a dinner ring — but AUimetta 
wears it most after supper. It shines great! It's 
what the man called a marked-keys ring; search me 
why I Say, Miss Bell, keep it a secret between us, 
and I'll do my best for Miss Leary. I'll get extra 
work; I can," 

"Very well. Let her hear from you a week from 
to-day as to what you are going to do for her," said 
Sylvia, like a second Portia, but feeling that Enos 
was more unfortunate than wicked, and that his 
Allimetta was not worthy of his simple, albeit mis- 
applied, devotion to her. 

"Hurry away, Gerald," Sylvia said under her 
breath, as Gerald jumped into his car. "I've but a 
few moments to live unless you can get me to where 
I can laugh I" 

As they drove off, Enos, at the gate watching 
them with a woebegone face, seemed to rebuke 
Sylvia's sense of humour. 



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CHAPTER VI 

"The Heaven Such Grace Did Lend Her" 

/^UT of sight of the melancholy Enos draped 
^-' over his low gate, when the car had turned the 
comer, Sylvia fell back with her face against the 
leathern cushion, and laughed and laughed. 

Gerald laughed with her from the contagion of her 
merriment. 

" I enjoy the joke, Sylvia, still I should like to know 
what it is,' he remarked. 

"Allimetta is dreadfully jealous of Enos Coffin," 
sighed Sylvia, wiping her eyes and straightening her 
demoralized hat. "Enos has borrowed money of our 
pretty Irish Norah in order to buy his Allimetta a 
marked-keys ring — he said so, Gerald, truly I A 
marked-keys ring! Exceedingly glittering and re- 
splendent! And Norah might continue to supply 
Allimetta's glory if Allimetta were not jealous. 
But I hope and beheve that fear of my telling 
Allimetta its source will arouse Enos to an effort to 
pay for his ladye faire's ring! Isn't that a pretty 
plot for a comedy?" 

Gerald Ritchie stared at Sylvia, then he laughed, 
throwing back his head and giving himself up to it. 



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76 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

Sylvia said that what she liked best about Gerald 
Ritchie was the thorough way he laughed. 

"It's a peach, Sylvia! But so are youl" Gerald 
said, admiringly. "What a girl you are for sailing 
right in!" 

"Comes from being Captain Sylvia, and having a 
boat of my own from my earliest daysF" su^ested 
Sylvia. "But that doesn't sound nice, Gerald; I 
don't, I surely do not like meddlesome spinsters!" 

"Spinsters of eighteen aren't so worse," observed 
Gerald. "You know perfectly well it isn't meddling, 
but a knightly instinct to rescue the friendless! I'm 
shocked to Bnd you insincerely fishing. Miss Bell! 
Can a girl be a knight errant?" 

"You seem to have packed a good deal into that 
one sentence. Doctor Ritchie-to-be!" retorted Sylvia. 
"And I think a girl can be a knight errant, at least in 
spirit." 

"Brave, loyal, tender, and pure. That's about the 
knightly ideal, isn't it? Sure she can be, and some- 
times she is," agreed Gerald, unexpectedly. Then, 
as if he felt that his eyes were applying his words too 
strongly to the " brave, loyal, and pure" girl at his side, 
he added hastily: 

"Got to do the mater's errand. It's to drive up to 
North Beach for a fresh lobster for supper. Do you 
mind?" 

"Mind! Not a bit. I'd gladly drive to Maine in 
this breeze, if I hadn't obligations of my own," cried 
Sylvia, "Aunt Emily Bell is coming co-night to 



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"The Heaven Suck Grace Did Lend Her" 77 

visit us, and I must be home in time to make myself 
fit properly to receive her." 

"Seems to me I remember your aunt when I was 
that big boy and you were that small girl we spoke 
of, and that all of us stood in dread — ^well, we'll say 
awe — of her!" hinted Gerald. 

"Indeed we did I She's grown ever so much nicer; 
at least she thinks I have, which comes to the same 
thing for me, yet I can't get over the old habit of 
feeling squelched when she's coming." Sylvia sighed 
involuntarily. 

"When two people are as happy as you and your 
father are, or the mater and I, it's not much fun 
having any one come in to make a new note in the 
harmony. And I suppose it's worse yet when you 
don't live harmoniously and someone comes to catch 
you at it," added Gerald with his jolly laugh. 

They found that the lobster fishermen had not 
been long ashore with their haul. The lobsters des- 
tined for the hotels near by were boiling; it was 
necessary to wait till they were done to get one for 
Mrs. Ritchie. 

Sylvia and Gerald strolled along the beach, whiling 
away this time of waiting, and Sylvia recurred to 
what Gerald had said as they were driving over. 

"Father and I are perfectly happy together, 
Gerald," she said. "Sometimes I wonder if it is 
selfish, wrong, to be so much so." 

"You, Sylvia, asking yourself morbid questions!" 
cried Gerald. "They're not in your line, and it's 



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78 "fTko Is Sylvia?" 

surely morbid to doubt its being right to be happy — 
in your particularly right way at that! Sure it's 
right, beautifully right, and you know it." 

Sylvia smiled at Gerald's emphasis. 

"Oh, well, I don't mean that I don't know how 
lovely it is for a father and a daughter to be such 
chums as Mr. and Miss Bell are, but it does make me 
selBsh. It wouldn't trouble me greatly if I had no 
other friend on earth than my splendid fatherl And 
I don't care about any visitor staying more than a 
week — to be honest! That must be selfish; people 
ought to want to share their good things." 

"Aunt Emily?" hinted Gerald, suggestively. "Is 
she the cause of your conscience awakening?" 

Sylvia laughed. "I s'pecti" she admitted. 

"What's wrong with her?" asked Gerald. 

"Nothing in all this world. She's the most perfect 
perfect-iady I ever sawl She truly is a nice woman, 
and a good one; she does everything precisely as it 
should be done; helps the poor; does a lot of charity 
work; contributes to no end of worthy causes; ab- 
hors dishonour as much as she does untidiness; al- 
ways would speak the truth though the sky fell; 
never has a smudge on her gloves, nor one point of 
her collar the least speck higher than the other! She 
used to die over me, my shabby tramp clothes, and 
my unladylike pursuits — sailing my boat and running 
wild, as she called it! I used to dread her visits, be- 
cause I did hate like everything to be the text and 
the congregation, both, to one long, every-day ser- 



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"The Heaven Suck Grace Did Lend Her" 79 

mon! Aunt Emily was sure I'd never ieam to sew, 
or to cook, or to do a single thing I ought to do I But 
now that I'm housekeeper, and make my simpler 
gowns, she is quite approving me. It must be a toad 
ofFher mind ! She's almost respectful to me, and really 
affectionate, in her way. Poor Aunt Emily! So it's 
mere selfishness that makes me dread her visit; she's 
fine to mel But she never will Uke O'Malleyl" 
Sylvia ended her long statement of the case with a 
sigh more sincere than her carefully favourable con- 
struction of her aunt. 

Gerald threw back his head with the same ringing 
laugh. 

"Now we tap the milk in the cocoanut!" he cried. 
"There the truth leaked out! You and your Aunt 
Emily are not what the Italians call simpatica." 

"1 like dogs," admitted Sylvia. "I suppose that 
stands for something! Dogs are not formal, and they 
certainly are democratic. Aunt Emily is most for- 
mal, and if she didn't feel afraid to lose her soul by 
denying the Declaration of Independence she'd never 
admit anybody was equal to a Bell. She does admit 
it, because she knows the whole duty of an American, 
but she doesn't believe it!" 

Again Gerald laughed. "You won't grow into 
one of the clever ladies who say smart things, will 
you, Miss Bell?" he suggested. 

Before Sylvia could prophesy her own develop- 
ment, Gerald continued: "My mother and I are 
cronies, speaking of happy families. She likes you a 



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8o "IVko Is Sylvia r" 

lot, Sylvia. She said the other day that she wanted 
you to come to dine with us." 

"That's kind of her," said Sylvia, absent-mindedly. 
"Do you think the lobster is ready?" 

"We can go back and see," said Gerald, hurt by 
her indifference to his mother's intentions, which in- 
volved, and were meant to supplement, his own. 

"Mother is not well, Sylvia. She hesitates about 
asking you to visit her, thinks you'd find her dull." 

"Why, I like your mother! She's as nice as she 
can be, and is always interesting. Of course she 
couldn't be dull if she tried," cried Sylvia, heartily, 
arousing to an appeal to her pity, as she always did. 

" I'll tell Mother you said that; thank you, Sylvia," 
said Gerald, gratefully. "And you'll come? I want 
you to come; you know that, don't youf" 

"Of course. 'Ever the best of friends, aren't usE' 
Like Pip and Joe Gargery," laughed Sylvia, looking 
up at him with the frank friendliness that is the 
surest discouragement of sentiment. 

Perhaps Sylvia was aware of this and put up the 
barrier intentionally; the least conceited of girls 
usually is aware of the approach of sentiment. 
Then she reverted to her own affairs, partly because 
of the look in Gerald's eyes, partly because they 
really were supremely interesting to her. 

"I can't speak of laboratory doings, Gerald, to 
any one. There'd be no use in speaking of them 
where it could do no harm, because no one would 
know what I was talking about. And if they did 



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"The Heaven Such Grace Did Lend Her" 8i 

understand there'd be a risk of secrets leaking out. 
But there's no harm in telling you that Father thinks 
he's proved a theory which he's held for a long time, 
a valuable discovery, a triumph!" 

Gerald looked admiringly into the girl's eyes, 
shining with joyful pride. "I'm safe, Captain 
Sylvia," he said. "I might be able to understand, 
but I surely would not betray the secret. Is it near 
publication?" 

"Yes, near," said Sylvia, nodding hard. "The 
specimens are developing beautifully in the tanks, 
and most of the slides are done. Gerald, you can't 
imagine what it feels like to help in a thing like that I " 

"Can't I? I think I can. You're a lucky girl, 
Sylvia. You've always been interested in something 
worth while. Even when you were a kiddy it was 
sailing, rowing, gardening, reading; you never have 
had vacancies like other growing girls. It's great for 
you, but your friends feel that it rather excludes 
them. It sets you free in spirit; nothing gets hold of 
you to tie you down, but the very thing that turns 
you into a kind of young Diana shuts out people like 
a high wall. Every corner of your mind is rented, 
furnished!" Gerald laughed as he spoke, but there 
was no mistaking the sincerity of his complaint. 

"Nonsense-nonsensical!" cried Sylvia, impatiently. 
"I like people fully as well as they like me. Any- 
way, I never advertised vacant apartments for 
lodgers I There's your lobster, Gerald! I can't 
distinguish his features, but they're taking a lot out 



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82 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

of the pot, and he's among them. I believe I'll 
take one home to Cassie, if there are two out of a 
situation. Aunt Emily would like lobster salad for 
lunch to-morrow I'm sure — because I would." 

"Momin', Captain Sylvia," said one of the lobster 
fishermen as Sylvia came up. He was a droll person, 
with heavy bent shoulders and a funny tight sort of 
face, covered with a wrinkled skin, pickled in brine, 
out of which his light blue eyes twinkled Uke bubbles 
on the surface of the pickle. 

"Morning, Mr. Benjy Lobster," returned Sylvia, 
using the name which in her babyhood she had 
bestowed upon him. "We, Mr. Ritchie and I, want 
luscious lobsters. Have you any to spare?" 

"Well, Sylvia, any we have, but a lot we have noti 
The Surf House is goin' to have big doin's to-night 
and it engaged most of our haul. I couldn't let you 
have more'n, say, a dozen an' a half lobsters to save 
me, not if I was to regard my given word," said "Mr. 
Benjy Lobster" without a smile, but twinkling at 
Sylvia. 

She twinkled back at him, also unsmiling. "We'll 
struggle along with two apiece, if they are a re- 
spectable size," she said. 

"I clearly an' distinctly remember you came one 
momin' after a lot of unwholesome sweet stuff to 
take out in your boat; this was to Peter Barnes's 
store you come, an' me an' the rest of us was settin* 
there; about the time you captured them counter- 
feiters, more'r less single-handed, this was. An' I 



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"Thi Heaven Suck Grace Did Lend Her" 83 

told you I'd got a lobster so little he'd of made a 
watch charm for you, an' I'd chucked him back in the 
water an' told him to grow big enough to make you a 
salad. Well, he carried out my instructions, an' this 
momin' he qome back into my pot. 'How'll I do 
now for Captain Sylvie's salad?' he inquired, alt 
green an' side-steppin'. 'Fine!' says I. 'Come in 
out of the wet.' He's a-grown up into a credit to his 
country, Sylvie, an', with another medjum-sized 
one, will make you a salad worth it." 

"Can you give me a pair, also; even if they aren't 
lobsters you've known from their youth?" suggested 
Gerald, enjoying the fisherman as much as Sylvia did, 
to whom "Mr. Benjy Lobster's" dialogues with his 
haul had been an unspeakable delight from her 
earliest days. 

" I've got a pair named Romeo an' Julyet. Romeo 
he told me not for anything to let him get parted 
from Julyet, salad, or ally Noohurg. I guess you'd 
like that sort of a lobster," said Mr. Benjy, solemnly, 
but chuckling inwardly as he watched the colour rush 
to Gerald's hair. 

At last the adolescent lobster and his lesser compan- 
ion and Gerald's "Romeo and Juliet" were wrapped 
in a coarse, greenish-brown paper and stowed away 
in the car, and Gerald sped away at a higher speed 
than he would have chosen, because Sylvia was 
nervously afraid of being late to prepare for her 
Aunt Emily's arrival. 

"Had a fine drive and accomplished a tot. Thanks, 



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84 "fFho Is Sylvia?'* 

Gerald, ever so much!" Sylvia said, giving her hand 
to Gerald at the car door. 

"I wish I could always have you with me when I 
drive, Sylvia I" Gerald burst forth, not as if he meant 
to say it and immediately looking red and frightened. 

Wise young Sylvia laughed carelessly, though she 
blushed as she said: "Life isn't all beer and skittles, 
they say I Nor all sailing and motoring, either. 
I'm a busy old lady, Gerald, what with my house- 
keeping, my sewing, and my laboratory! Why, it 
seems to me I hardly read a thing lately! But this 
drive was hne. Good-bye; thanks over again!" 

Sylvia ran up the walk and into the house and 
almost into her Aunt Emily, coming out of the 
Ubrary door to meet her. 

"Oh, Aunt Emily!" Sylvia cried, stopping short, 
aghast at this apparition. "I am so sorry not to 
have been here to receive you I I surely thought that 
I'd get back sooner, but I also thought that you'd not 
get here till the last train." 

"I made a prodigious effort to take the early 
one, Sylvia," replied Miss Bell, kissing her niece 
with an alteration in her manner that Sylvia in- 
stantly felt. "I was impatient to get here. How 
well you are looking, and how pretty, child!" 

If the ceiling had fallen Sylvia could not have 
been more amazed. Aunt Emily did not say 
gracious things, and she wholly disapproved of com- 
pliments. 

"Why, Auntie I" she exclaimed. "I'm glad if 



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"The Heaven Suck Grace Did Lend Her" 85 

you think that, but I'm afraid I look most untidy. 
I cannot keep my hair in order like other people 
when I drive or sail. And there's a strong breeze 
along the beach. We went after lobsters; Cieratd 
Ritchie took me." 

"So Cassandra told me. He's an excellent young 
man, I fancy. Will you come into the library at 
once, Sylvia? I want to talk to you. I — I 
need you, Sylvia; your advice, your help, your 
sustaining youthful strength." Miss Bell's voice 
shook and she turned without another word, pre- 
ceding Sylvia into the Hbrary. 

"What can it bel" thought Sylvia, following her 
aunt and considerably startled. "It must be some- 
thing awful to change Aunt Emily like this! Fancy 
her needing me I Appealingtomfforhelp,foradvicel" 

Miss Bell went back into the library, dropping 
her small belongings, her handkerchief, a glove, 
her pocketbook, as she went. Sylvia, picking them 
up and retaining them till her aunt was seated, 
wondered, as she so often had before, at this pecu- 
liar helplessness in her self-reliant aunt. Now it 
seemed, from what she had just said, that Miss 
Bell was about to reveal in another way that she 
was not equal to carrying her burdens alone. 

Miss Bell dropped with a long sigh into an en- 
veloping chair. Sylvia drew close to her a low chair 
and gently divested her aunt of her hat and hand- 
bag. Then she took the low chair herself, and 
leaned forward, her face on her hand. 



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86 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"You look tired, Aunt Emily. Is anything 
wrong?" she asked, softly. "Won't you let me 
have tea for you and a biscuit?" 

Miss Betl caught at Sylvia as she started to rise. 

"Not between meals! Not even tea. I don't 
approve of eating between meals," she said as if 
Sylvia had proposed something shocking. "Sit 
down, child. I'm sure I don't know why I'm going 
to consult a girl of your age, unless it is that I have 
no other kindred and your father would not under- 
stand. After all, a woman is a woman, and at eigh- 
teen a girl is almost a woman." 

"I'll do my best, Aunt Emily," said Sylvia, 
wondering more and more, but adjusting herself 
in body and mind to the role of confidante. 

"Well, Sylvia, to begin with, when I was not 
much older than you there was someone — I knew a 
young man very well — I — in a word, I expected to 
marry," said Miss Bell. 

Her Aunt Emily hesitating, embarrassed, and 
over such a revelation, was to Sylvia so amazing 
that she could hardly credit her eyes and ears. 

"Oh, Aunt Emilyl Really? Were you engaged?" 
she cried. 

" No, I had not pledged my word. He had 
several times asked me to marry him, but I was 
reluctant. I think girls were more coy then, don't 
you? Than now, I mean?" said Miss Bell. "I 
had fully made up my mind. I knew that I should 
be miserable to live without him, but I clung to my 



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"The Heaven Such Grace Did Lend Her" 87 

individuality, if I may so express it. Yet of course 
he knew that I should at last say 'y^s', since if I had 
not meant to I should have ended it at once. The 
girls of my generation were more reserved than 
yours." 

" Hard on the man ! " said Sylvia, cheerfully. 
"I can't imagine liking any one well enough to marry 
him and leave Father, but if I liked him well 
enough I can't imagine not saying so and marrying 
him I " 

"You are not at all the sort of girl I was!" sighed 
Miss Bell. "It was one of those situations for 
which there is no exact word. An understanding 
comes nearest to fitting it. I was not engaged, but 
we both understood that one day I should marry 
this man. And then, my dear, there came along 
the other girl!" 

"Aunt Emily! How dramatic! How awfuU" 
Sylvia hastily amended her comment, realizing that 
she was betraying her enjoyment of a situation fa- 
miliar in novels. 

"Dramatic it may have been. Awful, outrageous, 
it certainly was," said Miss Bell. "Sylvia, she was 
a girl in the worst possible taste. Her colouring, 
her manners, her voice, her costumes were all flam- 
boyant, loud — really, my dear, I'm afraid I must 
say vulgar. One doesn't like to condemn strongly 
a person who But she was common, quite com- 
mon, Sylvia. It is true. I was indignant, humiliated, 
that I, Emily Bell, could appear in the belittling 



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88 '* Who Is Sylvia?" 

position of a rival to a person not in any way of my 
own class. Sylvia, it was galling. He was attracted 
from the first." 

"Very likely she said funny things and made 
things lively. Girls like that often are amusing, and 
boys like to be amused," said young Sylvia, indis- 
creetly, remembering how Miss Bell had always 
disapproved her own romping, and might have been 
a dull girl. 

"Amused! I assure you, my dear, that the girl 
was impossible, quite impossible!" said Miss Bell, 
rigid with protest against Sylvia's explanation. "I 
made him clearly understand that I would not for an 
instant submit to being put upon even an apparent 
comparative equality with this — this girl I He must 
choose. Sylvia, he chose. Perhaps, more correctly 
speaking, he drifted in the direction easiest to follow. 
He came to see me, but I knew that he went the 
evening before to call on her. He came to see me 
again, but I was not at home to him. I never 
received him again. He married that dreadful, 
common person. He could not have been happy. 
Sylvia, I have not been happy; I have been a lonely 
woman, and I sometimes have blamed myself for 
not having more patiently tried to show him his 
fatal error." 

"Poor Aunt Emily! I had no idea you'd had 
trouble like this! I never would have guessed you'd 
ever thought of marrying! He almost had to go to 
the other house, didn't he, when you shut your door 



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"The Heaven Suck Grace tHd Lend Her" 89 

to him?" said Sylvia, whose directness and inex- 
perience made her unable to cope with this con- 
Bdence. 

"Ah, my dear, that is precisely it!" cried Miss 
Bell, nevertheless finding this suggestion a balm to 
her pride. "I drove him to desperation; I drove 
him from me. It was because my ideal was too 
high to tolerate the least 'little rift within the lute*, 
but I surely 'made the music mute'." 

"Tennyson's rather milk-and-watery for such a 
dreadful thing as a big love gone wrong, isn't he?" 
cried boyish Sylvia. "Well, Aunt Emily, you can't 
help it now. What's the use of bothering over it? 
I'm sorry you had such a tumble when you were 
young, but look what a nice life you've had, after all, 
and you do enjoy being Miss Bell. You'd have 
lost that if you'd been Mrs. Whatever-it-was. It 
was all long ago, wasn't it?" 

"It doesn't seem so to me, because one always 
continues to live in the atmosphere of her most vital 
experience," said Miss Bell, "but it was when your 
father was four years old, and I was nearly twenty. 
I distinctly recall that I was making his first kilts 
the day that I saw this young man for the last time. 
Little boys of that period wore plaid kilts as a sort 
of vestibule to manly habiliments, donned between 
their white skirts and first trousers, and I was mak- 
ing Clement's little Stuart plaid kilt when I last saw 
my lover." 

Sylvia looked helpless at this statement. It 



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90 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

seemed to relegate the whole affair into the period 
of Mary Stuart's love affairs to picture her father 
getting a Stuart plaid kilt, at the age of four, when 
it all happened. 

" But you hinted that there must be some point 
in my telling you this story," Miss Bell went on. 
"Yes, my dear, there is. Though I never saw these 
people again I have known of their history. The 
woman died some eight years ago, leaving her 
husband with a little girl less than a month old. 
Other children had died; this was the only living 
one. Now the child's father also is dead." 

Miss Bell paused. Sylvia saw her aunt's lips 
twitch, her face twist convulsively. Her Aunt 
Emily, severe, selfcontained, proud Miss Bell, 
wanted to weep for the man whom she had loved all 
these years, who had preferred another to her. 
Sylvia put out her hand and patted Aunt Emily's, 
understanding at last, though dimly, something of 
the vitality of love and the pang of loneliness and loss. 
Miss Belt accepted her silent sympathy gratefully. 
She clasped the long, strong, sun-browned hand and 
held it as if it sustained her. 

"Sylvia," she resumed, "that child is friendless, 
and, Sylvia, her father named her Emily I I won- 
der — I came to ask you if you thought that it is my 
duty to take her, bring her up? It would be a risk; 
she might be like her mother." 

"Aunt Emily, I do think you should take her!" 
cried Sylvia, unhesitatingly. "As to being like her 



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"The Heaoen Such Grace Did Lend Her" 91 

mother, people are quite unlike their nearest rela- 
tives. See how unHke father and me you are I 
And I've heard — Gerald Ritchie was saying just the 
other day — ^that it's a fact that girls nearly always are 
like their father's side, not the mother's. Wouldn't 
it be great for you to have a little daughter eight 
years old! And she would be your daughter, really, 
if things hadn't gone wrong I Do take her, Aunt 
Emily, dol" 

"Sylvia I" gasped Miss Bell, aghast at this rapid 
decision and its manner of making. "It's too serious 
a matter to decide ofF-hand." 

"Not a bit of it!" declared Sylvia. "Here you are 
a lonely woman. Here is a lonely child, named for 
you, having a claim upon you. And here's a chance 
to make reparation if you weren't patient enough, 
didn't coax the little girl's father, when you were a 
girl, but just laid down a regular ultimatum — like 
the Allies'! — and the unladylike girl got him. So 
why in the world shouldn't you hurry to make every- 
thing nice all around ? What in the world is there to 
wait for?" 

"Sylvia, my small fortune would be yours. If I 
take this child I shall undoubtedly feel compelled to 
provide for her, instead. Her father never got on. 
It is only just that I should tell you that you may 
lose by this step. I will never put aside the claims 
of my nearest of kin. If you object to this adoption 
you are within your rights to do so, and I will not 
deprive you, nor run the chance of ultimately de- 



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92 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

priving you, without your full knowledge and con- 
sent." 

"You dear old thing," cried Sylvia, kissing her 
aunt to the suq>rise of them both, for caresses were 
not common between this pair of relatives. "If 
that's all, take twins I" 

She jumped up, laughing and stretching out Her 
arms above her shining brown head that surmounted 
her slender five feet seven of height. 

"What do you suppose I want of your money, 
dear Aunt Emily?" she cried. "Haven't I enough? 
I have my home and plenty, and Father will never 
squander it, nor I. And if I got quite poor, couldn't 
I earn a noble livelihood as a pilot in this harbour? 
Why, Aunt Emily, I don't care that for money! I 
could be happy on the least little income with my 
health, my books, my catboat, my O'Malley, and, 
maybe, with my fatherumsl I don't care that for 
money, truly!" 

Sylvia snapped her fingers high above her head 
and swung around in a few steps of a dance 
measure. 

"How perfectly lovely it is that you'll take the 
little girl! Shall you call her Emily Bell, or let her 
keep her own name? If she remembers her father — 
and at eight she must — she'd rather keep his name. 
It would be nicer for her to call you auntie, anyway. 
I'm awfully pleased, delighted I Aunt Emily, you will 
let her romp, won't you? Get dirty, tear around? 
Please let me put in a word for her, and beg you to 



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"The Heaven Such Grace Did Lend Her" 93 

let her have dandy, dirty, free times — even overalls, 
if she wants them!" 

"Was I such a dragon to you, Sylvia?" asked 
Miss Bell, wiping away tears which she would not let 
fall, and half laughing. 

"Pretty bad. Aunt Emily. You never approved 
me, and I was not half so black as you painted me, 
neither my morals nor my little grubby hands," 
cried Sylvia. "Thanks for trusting me and con- 
sulting me now. Aunt Emily. I consider that a 
promotion. I hear my father and your brother 
coming in from the lab. like one man, in perfect 
unanimity. Shall we go meet him?" cried Sylvia, 
turning joyously, as she always did, toward the 
steps which she heard in the hall. . 



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CHAPTER VII 

"That She Might Admired Be" 

T WASN'T looking for you, Emily, for at least two 
■'■ months. You never can be trolled from the 
mountains till everyone else considers the seashore 
unseasonable — I'm glad you came when it is at its 
best, but how did you happen to descend from the 
White Mountain peaks?" asked Mr. Bell when he 
and his much older sister were estabhshed on the 
piazza after tea, Sylvia in the piazza couch at the end> 
with O'Malley slowly insinuating himself closer, in- 
tending ultimately to get up beside her. 

"I didn't descend. I did not ascend this year, 
Clement," replied Miss Bell, "I've been at home. 
This is because I've expected what has happened. Do 
you remember Hubert Anstruther?" asked Miss Bell. 
"Why, I recall the name," said Mr. Bell, slowly, 
considering. " I don't remember its bearer. Seems 
to me — weren't you engaged to him? I have an 
idea — —" 

was engaged to him!" Miss Bell inter- 
with a snap, while Sylvia wondered that 
:her, who so delicately handled his labo- 
mens, could be so masculinely clumsy. 



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"That She Might Admired Be" 95 

"He is dead. His wife died eight years ago, and 
the baby she left is now alone. Her name is Emily. 
I came to consult Sylvia about taking her to bring 
up. You, too, of course, but chiefly Sylvia. A 
woman, however young, has more sense than a man 
in these things. Sylvia approves warmly. But if 
this child stayed with me as my adopted daughter 
I should leave her what I have. This would deprive 
Sylvia. She is supremely indifferent to money 
now, but she has no experience of its value. I want 
you to consider this aspect of it for her, Qement. 
I have no intention, nor desire, to be unjust to 
Sylvia. I admire her exceedingly and am very 
fond of her, fonder of her than of any one in the 
world, in fact." Miss Bell made her statements 
without the least display of feeling behind them, 
nevertheless Sylvia was utterly amazed by this 
last one. She knew that her aunt's "conversation 
was yea and nay," and that if she said that she was 
very fond of Sylvia, very fond she was, and also that 
she admired her when she said she did, but it struck 
Sylvia as unbelievable, so long had she been op- 
pressed as she grew up by Miss Emily Bell's dis- 
approval of her boat-sailing, old-clothes wearing, 
untrammelled manner of life. 

" Aunt Emily, it's mighty nice of you to say that, " 
cried Sylvia, upsetting at once O'Malley's plans and 
his body by springing to her feet and shaking out her 
thin white skirt. " I hear one of the boys coming, 
and I'll take him around to the other side of the 



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96 *'IFho Is Sylvia?" 

piazza, or maybe he wants me to go somewhere. 
You and Father can settle the finances; as far as I'm 
concerned they are settled." 

"How could you hear a boy coming? Where is 
he?" demanded Miss Betl. 

"He hasn't come around the comer yet, but I 
heard him on the next street." Sylvia laughed 
delightedly over her mystery, and fled without ex- 
plaining it. But as she went she heard her father 
say: "The Paxton boys have fallen into the way 
of announcing themselves by whistling: "Who is 
Sylvia?' as they approach. I often wish some of 
them had a truer ear; it's rather beyond some of them 
to compass that air. Sylvia doesn't need your 
money, Emily. I'm not ambitious for wealth 
for my girl. She'll have enough to keep up our 
present manner of life, which to my mind is pre- 
cisely the right manner; plenty even for pretty 
clothes, pleasure, books, and moderate travel; not 
enough to be burdensome, nor tempt to excess in 
any way. Take your little girl, by all means, with- 
out hesitating on account of my big girl." 

Sylvia had been standing at the head of the steps, 
awaiting her guest whom she had heard, as her father 
had explained, whisthng the air of Shakespeare's 
praise of another Sylvia before he turned into the 
street upon the comer of which the Bell place stood. 

To her surprise the visitor proved to be Jack 
Jarvis, the new-comer to Paxton; she had expected 
to see Lloyd, or Gerald Ritchie, and perhaps it was 



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"That She Might Admiud Be" 97 

a slight disappointment that made her say, a trifie 
sharply : 

"Well, Mr. Jarvis, I thought it would be one of 
our* own crowd. Where did you learn — or did you 
whistle that song by chance? At least you do 
whistle it correctly." 

"Where did I leani that the 'swains who commend 
her* whistled *Who is Sylvia?' when they were coming 
here f " said Jack Jarvis, coming up the steps. 
"Why, I came here once with Lloyd Hapgood, and 
he \^histled it. Then I came with Gerald Ritchie, 
and he whistled it, and I caught on. It's not so 
hard, once you know what that song's about. You'd 
be surprised to find some of the New Yorkers not so 
bad at catching on to harder clues than that! Say, 
Miss Bell, won't you take me in, among the other 
young folks? Call me Jack, you know? Mr. Jarvis 
sounds so ridiculous, especially in a nice seashore 
place like this. And I'd no end tike to call you 
Sylvia!" 

"I don't want to," said Sylvia, frankly. "I'm 
beginning to feel old enough to make distinctions; 
I'm eighteen, you see. I met you at my birthday 
party when I became eighteen, so it seems fitting 
that you should be a boundary mark!" 

Then seeing that Jack Jarvis's pleasant young 
face really took on a hurt expression, and being a 
girt who was friendly to all things, biped and 
quadruped, and who was also almost devoid of co- 
quetry, or the least desire of conquest, Sylvia re- 



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98 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

lented. "Maybe we'll get first-name chummy after 
a little while, but just wait a minute! You're 
Ruth Hapgood's friend, or you know her better 
than me, and any one that Ruth approves, or who 
has sense enough to appreciate Ruth, I'll take for a 
friend, too." Sylvia hoped that this announcement 
would delicately convey to Jack Jarvis that he would 
be admitted to her friendship only by admiring 
Ruth more than he did herself. 

Jack laughed a little; Sylvia doubted her skill 
as she recognized perception of her purpose in Jack's 
laugh. Perhaps New Yorkers were better at "catch- 
ing on" than she would have had them. 

"Great girl, Miss Sylvia Bell!" Jack Jarvis said 
with a comical look. "Loads of fun to be a shuttle- 
cock or a tennis ball I Ruth drives over the net 
herself, but balls don't always drop on the last 
stroke into the court you're hitting them up fori 
I wish you'd come to New York this winter. 
Ruth, too, of coursel" Jack added, hastily, with a 
laugh. "My sister's young, married, has an apart- 
ment right in the middle of things, and takes 'em 
all in — box at opera, all the shows, in fact, the whole 
show I She'd be crazy to get you down, and maybe 
I wouldn't like to trot you around! Not half bad, 
little old New York, when you know how to get at 
it. I'll have Peggy — Peg o' My Heart, I call her — 
come here when she's back, before she goes to the 
Berkshires; she's in London, went in May, comes 
back about the first of September, unless she takes 



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"That She Might Admired Be" 99 

in Scotland till October. Anyway, October's not 
too tate. Peg's a peach, beauty, too, if she is my 
sister, and I know you'd get on, and the way she's got 
all the good times going right on her chatelaine's 
a sight! Would you come down, Syl — Miss Bell?" 

"Mercy me!" cried Sylvia. "Must I refuse, or 
accept on the spot an invitation from someone who 
doesn't know I'm alive to be invited? And your 
poor sister now sleeping in bHssfuI ignorance over 
in London! I'm sure I can't say what I'd do if 
everything that never has happened did happen. 
I suppose you acquired this pace crossing New York 
streets? Father is entertaining his sister on the 
moon end, the east end of the piazza. Sorry, but 
won't you come and sit on the west end ? No moon 
and no sea on that side, but there's a breeze there." 

"Sure's death and the taxes, I forgot I was sent 
on an errand I" exclaimed Jack. "Sally Meade — 
she doesn't mind first names — sent me after you. 
Most of your crowd is there and she, they, want 
you. Some of the other fellows were coming to fetch 
you, but I wanted to, and that peacherino of a Ruth 
Hapgood engineered it so I got the contract. Will 
you come?" 

"Yes, I think Aunt Emily won't mind; she wants 
to see Father alone, I'm sure," said Sylvia. "Aunt 
Emily," she added, going back to the east end of the 
piazza, "Sally Meade sent for me. Do you mind 
if I go around to her house for a while? I won't 
stay late." 



r:,- ..k..C00qIc 

144516B 



loo "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"Not at all," said Aunt Emily, graciously. "I 
shall stay here a few days. Are you properly 
dressed? Is it a dance P" 

"Nothing special on, is there, Mr. Jarvis?" asked 
Sylvia, turning back to the messenger. "Aunt 
Emily, this is Mr. Jarvis, spending the summer here. 
My aunt. Miss Bell, Mr. Jarvis. Please look after 
him while I do something to my hair; it's probably 
all over the lot; it usually is!" 

Sylvia ran away, she rarely walked, and came 
back with her masses of shining brown hair crown- 
ing her head in the individual way that she always 
dressed it, partly because its quantity allowed 
little choice, partly because she was Sylvia, who 
imparted to everything about her that effect of its 
being peculiar to herself. 

It chanced that the thin white frock which she 
wore that evening, simple though it was, suited her 
to perfection. Tall and slender, brown of tint, yet 
flecklessly fair; her dark blue eyes alight with 
happiness and sweetness under their long, dark 
lashes; her delicate, straight nose the least bit tilted 
upward above her full curving lips; her handsome 
head home up on her slender neck with a pretty 
poise of dignity to offset the sensitive gentleness of 
her lips, Sylvia Bell was a picture as she stood in the 
doorway, the lovelier that she did not seem in the 
least aware of her effect. 

"I'm ready," she announced. "Sorry to be so 
long, but I found I couldn't make myself tidy with 



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"That She Might Admired Be" loi 

merely adjusting hairpins, had to take the whole 
thing down! But you didn't deHver your message, 
Mr. Jarvis, or we'd have been there by now. I 
took these shoes; you never can tell! Only at 
Sally's we're more likely to dance than anywhere I 
know. Mrs. Meade plays for dancing better than 
any one in this world, and she's always willing." 

"Give me your shoes." Jack Jarvis put out his 
hand for Sylvia's bag of wide blue ribbon, brocaded 
with crushed pink roses, and stuck it in his pocket. 
Then he laid over her shoulders her long cape of an 
indescribable shade of American Beauty red broad- 
cloth; his face, invisible to Sylvia as he stood behind 
her, was clearly seen by her father and aunt. 

"Good-bye, Parent and Guardian!" said Sylvia, 
kissing them both good-night, without a thought for 
her perturbed escort. "Be quite good while I'm 
gone, and don't lock up when you go to bed. 
Though I truly will not stay late. O'Malley, dog of 
the world, you may come, if it's any satisfaction to 
he on Sally's piazza waiting for me, and I know it 
is, old Devotion. Sally never minds." 

Sylvia ran down the steps, O'Malley rejoicingly 
rushing after her. She waved the corner of her 
cape at him for him to catch, paying slight attention 
to Jack who came after the girl and the dog in a sort 
of daze of delight. 

"That young man is falling in love with Sylvia; 
who is heF" said Aunt Emily, the instant they 
were beyond hearing. 



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102 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

"He is Jack Jarvis ; his father is fabulously wealthy; 
they are prominent in many important matters in 
New York, and he seems a nice boy. Heaven help 
him, if he falls in love with Sylvia! I wouldn't dare 
conjecture what she would do to him. He rather 
fancied little Ruth when he first came, and Sylvia 
will have him drawn and quartered if he attempts 
to veer to her," laughed Mr. Bell in high delight 
over his loyal and high-spirited girl.. 

" But a brilhant marriage, wouldn't it be,dement ?" 
Miss Bell suggested. 

"Oh, yes, it would be," said Mr. Bell, indifferently. 
"If it were right in other, more important ways. 
Sylvia will never marry for ambition — if she marries. 
It certainly is far from her thoughts now." 

Sally Meade hailed Sylvia with acclaim. "Thought 
you'd never get here and had murdered Jackie 
into the bargain!" she declared, almost [dragging 
Sylvia into the house after her. 

Sally was not only not pretty; she was downright 
plain, a swarthily dark girl, with square features and 
chin, or at least her forehead and the end of her 
nose were square, and her thick midnight dark hair 
heightened the effect by the way she arranged it. 
Sally was mannish, whereas Sylvia was boyish; Sally 
lacked all the delicate girlish ways which, in Sylvia, 
were always cropping out to offset her boyish- 
ness. Sally was Uke a daughter of Vulcan; Syl- 
via was like Diana, free of restraints, but always 
maidenly. 



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"That She Might Admired Be" 103 

Sylvia heartily liked Sally Meade; she truly said 
of her that "you always knew where to find Sally; 
that she struck right out from the shoulder, and sent 
her balls straight to centre field; no fouls were 
batted backward by Sally." 

"You're needed, Sylvia, my duck," declared 
Sally as she forcibly towed Sylvia into the house. 
"Maida Clayton got the crowd together over at High 
Tide, and they wanted to dance. There wasn't any 
one to play, so they decamped for my willing mother 
and our house. Maida has the little Elmsley girl 
along. I don't know, but I suspect she means to 
get back at you, and you notice you didn't get 
a telephone call from High Tide to come over; 
some of the rest did ! Sylvia, Maida Clayton has 
it in for you since you decamped from that beast 
of a dance and she'll never rest till she pays you 
back." 

"Mercy, I didn't know there was a feud on!" 
cried Sylvia, stopping short. "I wouldn't have 
come for a scrap; I thought it was just our usual 
sort of time. Maybe I'd better go back, Sally; 
no one has seen mel" 

"You'll not go back not one inch, and there's no 
scrap on, nor will be, though it's sort of feudy on 
Maida's side. What do you suppose I'd he doing 
with a scrap in my own house f Not for your little 
Sally-ratusI Especially against you. Captain Syl- 
via, head of this Paxton force!" declared Sally, 
warmly. " If you want to know how Maida Clayton 



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104 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

would like to crush you, I'll tell you: By swiping 
Gerald Ritchie, but that young medicine man's got 
his eye out for cases!" 

"Oh, Sally Meade, how silly I " Sylvia cried, 
shrugging back her shoulders to let Sally catch her 
cape from them. "It's so ridiculous to talk as 

if I tell you, Sally Meade, I simply will not grow 

up!" 

"Five feet seven, eighteen her last birthday, 
everybody dippy over her! .Where are the snows of 
yesterday?" chuckled Sally, admiringly. 

"Oh, for goodness' sake!" Sylvia protested. 
"What's Maida's game?" 

"Penochle — knuckle under," said Sally. 

"Sally, you're getting feeble-minded! Let's go 
in," said Sylvia, giving up Sally's case as hopeless. 

In spite of her own deficiency of good looks, 
Sally Meade felt for Sylvia a sort of adoration; 
she exulted in her beauty, her talents, her character. 
Now she did what few girls would, or could, have 
done, but Sally sought nothing for herself which 
other girls seek; she had made up her mind that they 
were not for her, and if she minded it no one ever 
knew it. Yet Sally won her own sort of admiration, 
well worth having. She held it lightly as most of 
us hold what we have, denied something that seems 
to us better worth the having. Now Sally de- 
liberately placed her rather dumpy figure and her 
plain face beside Sylvia's graceful height and beauty, 
and came into the room with her as a foil to set 



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"That She Might Admired Be" 105 

off the girl whom she worshipped. Sylvia guessed 
nothing of this, but came forward smiling, not 
realizing that she looked, in her floating, spotless 
white, hke a nymph who had become a part of her 
forest streams and early morning dewy skies. 

"Hallo, girls and boys!" Sylvia cried. "I nearly 
missed it, but Sally sent for me. My aunt, Miss 
Bell, came to-day and I was kept in; I suppose 
I'd have stayed in, if Sally hadn't sent Mr. Jarvis 
with a witch hazel wand to hnd me." 

"Quite sure it would have been a loss and that 
everybody wanted her, " said Maida Clayton, vin- 
dictively, into the ear of Hermione Elmsley, the 
little dancer. 

"Everybody does want her! She is a great, 
great loss when she stays away!" said Hermione, 
to Maida's boundless amazement. "Feel the differ- 
ence in this room since she came into it, so tall, so 

beautiful, so, so How shall I say it? So white 

and shining!" 

"For the love of Pete, Miss Hermione Elmsley! 
I fail to see it," said Maida. 

"I won't dance. Miss Clayton," persisted Her- 
mione. "I will not do that dance." 

"For fear Captain Sylvia Bell, the belle of Paxton 
and the Bell Wether of its idiotic back-numbers of 
girls and boys, won't appreciate it!" cried Maida, 
so angry that she forgot caution. 

"For fear Miss Bell may not like it," said Her- 
mione, firmly. "I don't think it's in good taste 



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lo6 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

myself; I don't like to do it, ever, but you know I 
need money. I'd die if I saw Sylvia Bell look as 
she did that night at your house I I will take ofF my 
costume, and come down and do anything else I 
can to please you; not for pay." Hermione drew 
around her a long white cloak in which she was 
wrapped, and started to her feet. 

"Anything wrong? Sick?" asked Sally Meade, 
swooping down on their comer with keen suspicion 
in her dark eyes. 

" Hermione 's feet are too cold to dance," said 
Maida, in a towering rage. "You went and sent 
for that angelic lanky girl you're all tagging after, 
and she's so snowy white she's given Hermione 
cold feet!" 

"Oh, come, Maida Clayton, no good having 
apoplexy I " said Sally. " Do you suppose my mother 
and I would let you put over anj^thing that Sylvia 
wouldn't like? I mean if she hadn't been here, do 
you imagine we'd stand for — for what we wouldn't 
stand for? Mother's down on anything not lady- 
like, and that night at your house I hated your cos- 
tume and dance and the whole show — if you want 
to know. If I'd had my wits about me I'd have 
got out as Sylvia did, but I'm such a chump about 
getting myself together to act in time on my con- 
victions. Convict all right, Just the same. And 
as to Sylvia Bell, why wouldn't we tag after her? 
She doesn't try to pull us. She just goes right 
along, only she always seems to go along a foot and 



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"That She Might Admired Be'* 107 

a half, or two feet above our level. Not a mean, 
a shady, a doubtful thing about Sylvia. And 
bubbling over with fun. And pretty. Well, say! 
Don't have to look to see it. Everybody admires 
her, old and young, men and women. Paxton's 
proud of Sylvia Bell, Captain Sylvia! So don't 
you imagine you can come in here and change any- 
thing, because we know what we've got. We don't 
grudge her anything, though every boy in the place 
has a case on her, more or less, and Gerald Ritchie's 
seems to be more!" 

Wicked Sally knew where to plant her arrow. 
Maida flushed, and was about to say something 
angrier than before when Sylvia came over to 
them. 

"You're a nice hostess, Sally Meade!" she said. 
"They're all waiting for you to decide whether to 
dance or play games! Some of them want to 
play regular foolish, forfeit games. Going to Jeru- 
salem, and that kind. Come, start something. 
But Miss Elmsley — maybe she was going to dance 
for you, Sally?" 

"Yes, come upstairs with her and me, Sylvia! 
Miss Elmsley was just going up to get ready; weren't 
you? Come," cried Sally, hastily, for she knew that 
in an instant Maida would say something to Sylvia 
which would be outrageous, and which, as hostess, 
she would be obliged to resent. "No good turning 
the house into a regular old Flanders field!" thought 
Sally, the incorrigible. 



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lo8 "Who I J Sylvia?" 

To her relief Sylvia turned away; she had looked 
smilingly at Maida, whom she had not seen since 
the Hospital sewing meeting when Maida had been 
so furious with her. She had not known whether 
Maida would speak to her or not, and evidently 
she would not. Sylvia had turned away to avoid 
trouble, and Sally drew a long breath. 

Sally's guests fell to playing old-fashioned games 
with great zest, the majority proving to be in a 
capricious mood that sent them to bridging the not- 
long distance backward into their childhood. 

No one but Sally Meade knew that Maida Clay- 
ton had left the house in a violent temper, followed 
by little Hermione Elmsley in tears. Sally did 
not say anything to any one that night, but she 
resolved to get to the bottom of the little dancer's 
troubles the next day. She would get Sylvia, and 
perhaps Ruth Hapgood, to help her. "If Sylvia 
gets busy Hermione Elmsley will sing Lucrezia 
Borgja: 'It's better to laugh than be sighing'," 
thought admiring Sally. 

As there was no dancing Sylvia had not needed 
her dancing shoes till just before she was going 
home. It was flying in the face of opportunity 
to leave that house where such a pianist, and such 
a player of dance music as Mrs. Meade was, with- 
out one dance; the guests begged for one. 

Mrs. Meade was ready — she was always ready 
to give the Paxton young folk pleasure — when 
Sylvia discovered that one of her dainty white 



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"That She Might Admired Be" 109 

silk pumps had been lost out of the bag which Jack 
Jarvis handed to her when she asked him for it. 

"Oh, dear! They are such comfy, such pretty 
onesl" sighed Sylvia, regretting her loss. "My 
shoes aren't heavy, but they're street shoes. Do 
you mind, Sally?" 

"Only if it bothers you, Sylvia," Sally had an- 
swered, and Sylvia danced in her white kid street 
pumps, not so agreeably, but not badly incom- 
moded. 

The Hapgoods were going home with Sylvia. 

"Why mayn't we form a bodyguard, and all 
escort Sylvia?" suggested Jack Jarvis. 

"I can look after Ruth and her both," Lloyd 
growled, but Sylvia pulled his sleeve. 

"Let Jack Jarvis come, too, and walk with Ruth, 
you goose!" she whispered. 

Lloyd was helpless, so he submitted with what 
grace he could command. 

"Goose yourself, Tink!" he said after they were 
out on the street, dropping behind the other pair. 
"Ruth nothingi Don't you know he's swiped your 
dancing shoe?" 

"Lloyd, I'd box your ears if he wouldn't see me!" 
cried Sylvia, stopping short in real annoyance. "He 
has not! What for?" 

"How do I know? Ever hear of Cinderella?" 
growled Lloyd, annoyed himself. 



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CHAPTER VIII 

"Is She Kind As She Is Fair?" 

CYLVIA was up the next morning and out 
*^ early to look for her lost dancing pump. 

"It's too provoking!" she thought after a fruit- 
less search along the way that she had gone to the 
Meade house the night before. "I've not only 
lost my beloved shoe — and I never had a pair 
I liked so well — but I've lost my sail. I never missed 
so many mornings since I owned The Walloping 
Window Blind as I have this summer. I wonder 
if it can be growing up, creeping in around me when 
I'm not looking. It shall not! I'll look from now 
on. I am having more to do with the girls and 
boys. I'm not so solitary and free as I was. I 
never thought about it. Sylvia Bell, my poor 
bhnd, doting, trusting creature, eighteen years old 
will get you if you don't watch out I" 

She turned from the foot of Sally's steps and began 
to retrace her course, still looking on either hand and 
poking in the grass along the sidewalks as she went, 
although a white shoe could not be hidden; the turf 
was kept short. 

"Could it possibly be that Lloyd guessed right?" 



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"Is She Kind As She Is Fair?" iii 

thought Sylvia. "No; he wouldn't! Why should 
he? So utterly silly in the first place, and, besides, 
what would he want of my shoe? He'd better be 
sensible! Flubdub! Stealing a shoe! Fancy! If 

there's anything sillier than silliness " Sylvia 

became conscious of the phraseology of her thoughts, 
laughed, and raced O'Malley for their home, throw- 
ing her annoyance to the winds with a practical re- 
solve to stay a young girl. 

Sally Meade came over immediately after lunch; 
Ruth was already there. These days which were 
passing were important ones in the laboratory, to the 
experiment drawing toward its completion. It was 
understood by the girls that Sylvia would not be 
free til! afternoon. 

"Have some fudge, Sally," said Ruth, the instant 
Sally appeared. "I made a lot, and it's too warm 
to keep it; I brought some with me; it's turning 
sugary." 

"No apologies necessary, Ruthie!" laughed Sally. 
"Fudge is sufficient reason for offering anybody 
fudge! Sylvia, I came to talk about Hermione 
Elmsley." 

"I rather suspected there were things to say about 
that girl. Nice, isn't she?" asked Sylvia. 

"She's awfully nice," Sally said, emphatically. 
"She's an orphan. An uncle's wife brought her 
up, and now the uncle is dead and she hasn't any one 
really related to her. The aunt had her taught 
dancing, trained to be a professional; Hermione 



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112 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

showed talent and she really loved to learn. She 
loves to dance still, but she's grown up and there's 
a lot about it to bother her. People like the Qay- 
tons, who don't seem to see any more than moles! 
You know interpretative dancing can be perfectly 
lovely, or perfectly ugly, and its ugliness lots of 
people don't mind. We do, but lots of people are 
colour-blind. Maida Clayton and her mother, for 
instance — costumes and all, they don't see, or else 
they don't care, what's in good taste and what 
isn't. Hermione has taken the greatest liking to 
you, Sylvia, and she refused Maida when she wanted 
a dance Hermione kpew you'd hate. So Maida's 
mad as hops with Hermione, and she won't give her 
a rather big check she had promised her for private 
work for Maida this summer. Hermione needs that 
check like everything. She has her engagement at 
the hotel, but it doesn't pay enough, and she needs 
money, yet she has thrown over Maida. Now I 
think it's up to us to stand by her. She says she's 
going to be a true artist, and a true girl, and not use 
her art except for really beautiful effects — she meant 
effects on minds, as well as eyes. Now we ought to 
help her out, I say; especially you who set this 
matter going by bolting that night from Maida's, 
and whom Hermione sets up as a sort of conscience." 
"Oh, dear! I didn't stop to consider that night 
at Maida's; just felt like getting out, and got out, 
with Lloyd to back me up and take me. I don't 
like it one bit to seem to have set myself up for a 



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"Is She Kind As She Is Fair?" 113 

censor! And I didn't, truly, I didn't I" cried Sylvia, 
distressed. " But I don't mean I was wrong in the 
other way. You can't be wrong when something 
'goes against you,' as Cassie says. If it's food it'll 
harm you, and if it's bigger than that, it's still 
worse for you. But I'm only Captain Sylvia, and 
captains have no business preaching, especially girl 
captains at my age. But we ought to stand by 
Hermione. She's a good deal of a trump. How 
shall we do it?" 

"Naturally, she won't take money unless she's 
earned it. I haven't been able to see the way 
myself, but I expect you to. You're like Senti- 
mental Tommy in finding a way, Sylvia," declared 
Sally. 

"It's not so easy," began Sylvia, but Ruth in- 
terrupted her with a little cry of triumph. 

"Small, insignificant Ruth has it, " she cried. "I 
wouldn't have it, but that I already had it — the 
idea, I mean. Let's have a fete. Let's get the 
Yacht Club people interested, and the night of the 
fete have all the yachts, trimmed up and lighted, to 
carry spectators across to Hen and Chickens Island, 
and charge quite a good deal for tickets to see it, and 
announce that the money was for expenses, and then 
make part of the expense paying Hermione Elmsley 
for training us." 

"Ruth, for pity's sake! Training us! For what? 
To sail over to Hen and Chickens by night? And 
what would the spectators see? The island? The 



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114 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

boats? One another? Of all programmes! But 
it does seem as though you'd left out something," 
cried Sylvia, while Sally fairly shrieked with laugh- 
ter. 

"Only the whole thing!" Ruth cried, laughing, 
but half annoyed. "We'd have a Dance of the 
Dryads and Naiads — or something on that order." 

"Too bad, but I don't believe there are any more 
creatures of that sort ending in 'ad'! But it begins 
well, Ruthie," said Sylvia. 

"Have a floor laid down over on the island, and a 
place fixed up for an orchestra — I suppose the string 
quartette from Baytide, with the two flutes added 
which we have when we want to outdo ourselves!" 
Ruth went on with growing enthusiasm. "And 
all the dancers in costume, Greek, dryad and 
naiad style." 

."What did they wear? Draperies, chiefly; I'd 
look well as either of those before-mentioned lassies, 
now wouldn't I!" said Sally. "However, I don't 
have to take part. Pretty nice scheme, and a big 
one for a small thing like you to originate, Ruth 
Hapgood." 

"My brain is large however small my body may 
be," declared Ruth, witheringly. "You certainly 
would take part, Sally Meade; you're a dream of 
a dancer! I suppose chitons are the proper thing, 
but awfully nice ones, very full and floating; not 
that sheeting eff'ect they usually have in school 
stunts. I saw a Greek play once — cotton chitons, 



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"Is Shi Kind As She Is Fair?" iij 

gilt-paper hair fillets and belts — girdles. Girls, 
it was awful! Funny, though! We'd make the 
boys take part, and we'd dress them up in more 
solid stuff, but ours would be — misty I " Ruth 
waved her hands to express the zephyr qualities 
words did not fully convey. 

"Well, but Hermione!" insisted Sylvia. "Where 
does she come in ? Pretty nice fancy-dress ball you've 
sketched, but Hermione ? Is only her name to fit 
into your Grecian pattern F I thought we set out to 
do something for her?" 

"Didn't I say she should train us?" Ruth pro- 
tested. "She'll teach us fancy dances, tableaux 
vivants, and we'll pay her what she's lost by crossing 
Maida — or more. And what we take in will go for 
expenses. Paxton will be satisfied to help us to a 
good time; everybody will love it! And no one but 
ourselves need ever know that we got up the whole 
thing in order to have expenses — Hermione's pay." 

"Ruth Hapgood, I didn't suppose you had it in 
you," declared Sally Meade, who saw with delight the 
whole harmonious plan unfolded before her. 

"It's truly great, Ruthie, you little wonder," cried 
Sylvia. "When would it come off? I suppose that 
would be decided after we saw how rapidly we took 
to our training." 

" It should be the night of the August full moon," 
said Sally. "That's when the hotels are fullest, and 
that would give us most profit. Though if we did 
run behind our expenses, it wouldn't matter. We'd 



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Ii6 "IFko Is Sylvia?" 

like to make up a purse for Hermione, only she 
wouldn't have it, so we won't care if we club together 
to pay for the training for the dance. Isn't it great 
to have settled anything so big in such a short time ? " 

" If the rest, especially the boys, see it. We won't 
tell any one but Lloyd about our reason for wanting 
this. Maybe they won't help out with it," suggested 
Sylvia. 

"You know as well as I do that they follow your 
lead as if you were Mary and they the lambs, Sylvia 
Belli" said Sally. "Though Maida Clayton turns 
that around, and calls you 'the Bell Wether,' because 
they follow you. But it's the same idea." 

"Stretch of politeness to call it an ideal" com- 
mented Sylvia. *' I'd say it was idealess. Sally and 
Ruthie, I'm going to have a caller. I see Enos 
Coffin coming this way." 

"Who in the world *' began Sally, but Ruth 

cried: 

"The person you went with Doctor Ritchie to 
hunt up. I know. Come along, Sally; it's most 
private and confidential I " 

"Go sailing with me in the morning, but very, very 
early?" Sylvia called after them, as Ruth and Sally 
went down the steps. 

"Not I, thanks!" Sally called back. "No early 
bird gets this worm, 'cause it's a prudent worm that 
stays in its comfy worm hole in the early dawn." 

"I'll go, Sylvia. May Lloyd comeF" Ruth said. 

"If he wants to. I don't mind Lloyd and you; 



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"Is She Kind As She Is Fair?" 117 

it's old timesy," said Sylvia, and turned to greet the 
approaching Enos Coffin. 

"Are you rooting for Lloyd, Ruth?" hinted Sally, 
as the two girls gained the sidewalk. 

"I haven't a brother, and Lloyd's almost like one 
to me. Wouldn't you want Sylvia as near to you as 
you could get her? She doesn't see one bit how 
Lloyd feels, she's so used to him," said Ruth. 

"Far be it from me to blame you for trying to 
capture the splendidest girl in the world," said Sally, 
heartily. "But it's not only that she doesn't see 
Lloyd as she would a stranger. She won't see any 
one, not that way I Sylvia Bell is more like Diana, 
and Atalanta, and Daphne, and all that lot, than 
any one I ever saw." 

"To tell the truth, she's the only one I ever saw in 
the least like them," said Ruth, whose quiet mousey 
ways covered considerable straight seeing. 

" Precious few girls arc like a clear, western breeze, 
that won't let itself be tangled up in anything less 
than a cloud, or a tall pine tree. That's Sylvia!" 

"Poetical, maybe, but true surely," agreed Sally 
Meade. 

In the meantime ,Sylvia was saying: 

"How do you do, Mr. Coffin f I am glad that you 
came; I was wondering if I must look you up — or 
AlKmetta." 

,,"It would of made a wreck of my lifetime, Miss 
Bell, if you'd of done so, as to Allimetta. My life- 



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Ii8 "JFho Is Sylvia?" 

time and happiness is bound up in her, if I may so 
strongly express it." Enos Coffin looked at Sylvia, 
his expression so much more lugubrious than his 
name that she marvelled at it. 

"It doesn't seem to be too strong a way to express 
it," said Sylvia. "Not if it is true. I suppose a 
person may be necessary to happiness." 

"Miss Bell, that's the truest thing you ever said," 
Enos sadly assured Sylvia. "How's the dog? How 
are you, Mahoney? Or was it Muldoon you called 
him? Mulligan! That's him; Mulligan! Miss Bell, 
Allimetta's done it herself. She's wrecked my life- 
time. Gone back on me, give me back the ring. 
Here's the money your young lady workin' for you 
loaned me. Allimetta's told me she'd rather have 
someone dif'rent. No special one, just in genrul. 
Would it be int'rusting to you to see the ring?" 

"Yes," said Sylvia, having difficulty with her lips, 
and being painfully conscious that her cheeks were 
crimson from her struggle to achieve a suitable ex- 
pression. "I'm sorry to hear this, but perhaps 
Allimetta will think better of her decision. It's 
some comfort that she has not found your successor. 
That gives you hope." 

"The word and me is strangers, Miss Bell," per- 
sisted Enos. "My mother went so far as to ask 
Allimetta and I to live with her." He shook his head 
in a long pause. "Nothing doing!" be added at 
last. 

Sylvia was closely examining the ring which Enos 



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"Is She Kind As She Is Fair?" 119 

offered her, set with a great many tiny diamonds 
massed together to make the marquise setting which 
poor Enos had described to her as "marked keys." 

"Sorry!" she murmured: "I never saw a ring Hke 
this. Shall I call Norah Leary to acknowledge this 
money?" 

"No, miss; I have all confidences that you will 
hand it to her," said Enos. "You might count it 
in front of me; then there can't come up a statement 
of my being error oneus." Enos made two distinct 
words of the one he mispronounced. "What I'd 
like to the tune of being gratified, would be if you was 
to see Allimetta and urge her to see that till she gets 
another sort of Coffin she can't get any one better'n 
I to marry. Not to marry," Enos repeated after a 
full stop, as if, had Allimetta wanted a chauffeur or a 
gardener, it might have been another matter. Sylvia 
choked so peculiarly that Enos eyed her anxiously. 

" It would be a serious responsibility to urge any 
one to marry if she were in doubt," she said. " But 
if ever I meet Allimetta ?" 

" Briggs," Enos supplied the last name eagerly. 

"Allimetta Briggs," Sylvia gravely accepted it, 
"I will see if anything can be done." 

"I will make certain that you see her, miss, and I 
sure am grateful. Paxton-by-the-Sea has awful 
respect for Miss Captain Sylvia Bell, and your 
recommend would be, as I might say, a. boost. I 
will take my departures." Enos bowed himself 
toward the steps, and Sylvia, hastily adding the last 



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I20 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

bills to those she had already counted, finding the 
sum correct, bade Enos Coffin good-bye and ran into 
the house, O'Malley at her heels, to throw herself 
face downward into the pillows of the library couch 
and laugh till she cried, waving her feet and clicking 
her heels together as she did so, finding outlet for her 
mirth inadequate. 

"Sylvia, my dear girl, what and why?" cried Miss 
Bell, disapprovingly. 

"Oh, I wonder what! And I'm sure I don't know 
whyl" gasped Sylvia. She turned over on her side 
and told her aunt about Enos Coffin's call with 
renewed outbursts of glee. 

Miss Bell laughed; Sylvia had been afraid that she 
would not find it funny. "You are an extraordinary 
girl," Miss Bell said, not abandoning her disapproval 
nevertheless. "You seem to get mixed up with the 
most bizarre affairs, and to know the most un- 
necessary people. Now when I was a girl, I never 
stepped beyond my own proper sphere." 

"There, Aunt Emily, that's iti Now I under- 
stand. I never could quite make it out before. 
You sort of inherited your experiences, while I go 
around collecting them, like the people gathering 
seaweed in the fall," Sylvia cried, triumphantly. 
"Of course that's it! But, oh, dear me, Aunt Emily, 
they are necessary people. How could they be so 
funny if they weren't necessary? Funny things 
are so — so — vitally necessary ! I must go find 
Norah and tell her that she has the money to send for 



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"Is She Kind As She Is Fair?" 121 

her little Roseleen. Not that Roseleen is not on the 
ocean this moment, coming over, because she is. 
I lent Norah the money, but she'll be relieved to have 
her own to return to me. Nice girl, Norah. " 

"Suppose you wait a moment and tell me this 
part of the story also," suggested Miss Bell, laying 
her hand detainingly on Sylvia's arm. 

Sylvia willingly sat down again and did as her 
aunt requested, telling the story of Norah's anxiety, 
her devotion to the younger sister left alone at home, 
too pretty to leave unguarded, and of Norah's 
promise to their dead mother, and how she, Sylvia, 
had come to the rescue and lent foolish Norah the 
amount she had, so unwisely, let Enos Coffin have, 
and of how within a >week little Roseleen would 
arrive. 

She told it so well, so simply, yet with such 
literary instinct for the points of the story and its 
inherent pathos, though she slighted her own part in 
it, that Miss Bell looked moved when she had 
finished. 

"Sylvia, my dear, I am truly proud of you," 
she said, amazingly. "I objected strongly to your 
Paxton nickname of Captain Sylvia, but I begin 
to see that it may be a name of profound and beauti- 
ful significance. A ship's captain looks after the 
welfare of all the passengers. I begin to think, my 
dear, that you will grow into a woman who looks after 
the welfare of the passengers upon your course of 
voyage through life, and that you may easily be 



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122 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

Captain Sylvia, who steers straight and ministers 
to her fellow voyagers." 

"Aunt Emily! How nice, how very, nice! And 
how nice of ybu to see such a chance for me!" cried 
Sylvia, moved by her aunt's visible emotion in mak- 
ing this prophecy for the girl whose youthful ways 
she had disapproved, and to whom she had been a 
thorn in the flesh, only less hurting because it was 
usually withdrawn to a distance. Then Sylvia went 
happily singing down the wide hall to And Norah 
and make her happy. 

"See, Norah, see!" she cried, coming into the kit- 
chen, with Enos Coffin's roll of bills in her hand, 
holding it aloft. "Here's your nice, tight wad of 
wealth. The sad Enos Cofiin mourned his way 
hither and has paid his debts. So now you needn't 
feel that Roseleen is not sailing toward you on your 
own provision for her." 

" 'Deed, then, miss, she'd not be on her way but 
for you," said Norah, taking the money absent- 
mindedly, but instantly offering it back to Sylvia. 

"Keep it, miss; 'tis yours, so 'tis, an' not mine, 
an' that, nor anything else, cannot pay my debt to 
you." 

"Nonsense, Norah! What is it to lend to anyone 
for a wee little time? I'll tell you! Keep that 
money, and let me keep back a dollar or so now and 
then from your wages, rather than pay it all at once. 
When Roseleen comes you may want to buy her new 
clothes. Sometimes people from across seas have 



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"Is She Kind As She Is Fair?" 123 

other fashions, when they come, from what we're 
wearing here, and you'll need money to fit your 
pretty little Roseleen out like American roses — 
American Beauties, I suppose they must be) 
Wouldn't that be better?" Sylvia suggested her 
plan delicately, afraid of offending Norah. 

But there was no need of such fear. Norah's eyes 
filled, and she looked down, then she looked up, and 
the same eyes laughed. 

"You don't say the half of it, missl" she cried. 
" 'Deed I was a queer one when I come over, with me 
sturdy boots and me heavy dresses I But 'twas good 
an' long-wearin' they was, an' I had the sense not to 
discard 'em entirely, as some girls do, comin' in. But 
I took care to wear 'em where the fine ladies born 
here an' workin' in houses round about me wouldn't 
be seein' 'em. Miss Sylvia, dear, it's the kindest 
heart you have I ever had the luck to meet, an' it's 
the kindness that thinks of small things many's the 
one would pass over as nothin' that does be countin ', 
to my way of thinkin', more than the big things that 
everyone can see clear, an' more by token, never may 
come your way to be doin' at all, at all! Sure, I'll 
be glad to have money to buy for Roseleen what she'll 
bewantin';1etherbeHke other girls, as all girls is like 
one another in such matters. That's sayin' it don't 
inconvenience you to keep back on my wages, an' 
let me pay here an' there the part of my debt that can 
be paid, leavin* the rest to God, who is better to be 
owin' you than such as Norah Leary." 



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124 "ffho Is Sylvia?" 

"Norah, it doesn't bother one bit to straighten this 
up slowly. I'm watching the shipping news and 
when Roseleen's ship is due, off you go to New York 
to meet her. About a week, a Uttle less, it should 
be, Norah. Are you happy?" cried Sylvia. 

"Happy, miss! How'lt I be sayln' it? Sure I sing 
all the day long, till I think Cassandra 'tl put me out, 
an' I waken in the night tremblin' an' cryin' with my 
arms around Roseleen in my dream, fair dyin' with 
happiness, an' callin' on her to tell me is she really 
here," said Norah. "An' alt the while I'm singin' by 
day, yet is my heart callin' on God to let a few 
guardian angels, whose people are not in any danger 
from accident, nor temptation, to go join Roseleen's 
angel to keep from the ship she's on tempest an' 
lightnin', icebergs, explosions, an' the like. Sure 
it's a time of the joyfulness that's sharpened with 
fear, an' makes it hard waitin'I" 

"Norah, you're a dear!" cried Sylvia. "I'll let 
my guardian angel help for a few days, and be extra 
careful of myself till Roseleen's landed." 

"Miss Sylvia," said Cassandra, and motioned 
Sylvia into the pantry with sundry backward tosses 
of her head, as if Norah could not construe this to 
mean that she wanted to say something that Norah 
must not hear. 

"It's only this," murmured Cassie very low, when 
Sylvia had followed her, and the swinging door into 
the kitchen was shut. "I wanted to tell you that 
you were correct as to Norah. It was worry that 



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"Is She Kind Js She Is Fair?" l%$ 

ailed her. She is never forgetful now; does all, and 
more that 1 want done, in my own way, too, and is 
thoroughly satisfactory. I may say now that I 
prefer her to Susie, who I did not expect would be 
replaced." 

"Fine, Cassiel I thought it would be so!" said 
Sylvia, patting the gaunt woman who adored her and 
had faithfully watched over her from her birth. 

Sylvia ran off through the kitchen, waving her 
hand to Norah in token of the joyful hours which 
were just ahead. Norah turned to Cassandra, 
wiping her eyes on the comer of her apron. 

"Beautiful she is, Miss Sylvia, Cassandra, but she 
is as kind, and kinder than she is beautiful. God 
love her, as He does I What is it to be as fair as one 
of the angels, an* kind an' pityin' like them?" 

"It's very nice, indeed," said Cassandra, the New 
Englander. 



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CHAPTER IX 

"For Beauty Lives With Kindness" 

YOU'RE right, 'Charles 0*Malley, the Irish 
■*■ Dragoon,' by Charles Leverl" cried Sylvia, 
running downstairs in her sea-stained, shabby, well- 
loved costume for sailing to be met by O'Malley with 
leaps and yelps of delight. "You are right entirelyl 
I am going out, and, if you like, so are you. Oh, dog 
of the world, isn't it great at something before six on 
a morning like this?" 

O'Malley clearly expressed his opinion that it was 
indeed great. O'Malley never became dulled to the 
joy of sailing, nor for that matter ever lost the first 
keen rapture of his youth when his mistress invited 
him to go anywhere with her, by land or sea. 

"It's not only alive with birds this morning, but 
it turns clumsy things with feet into birds! Don't 
you feel winged, my terrier?" Sylvia asked, taking 
O'Malley's head between her palms and rumpling it 
delightfully till O'Malley could hardly endure his 
excessive joy. 

"Come, then, and let's be off. If Ruth and Lloyd 
keep me waiting I don't know what I'll do to them 
afterward!" 



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"For Beauty Lives With Kindness" 127 

Sylvia started on a run down the steps, down the 
long walk, out the gate and over on the dunes, 
O'Malley bounding ahead of her, but proud to 
belong to a girl so tall and fleet of limb that it made 
it worth while to exceed her speed. 

Sylvia ran tike a deer. She did have a great deal 
of the Diana likeness, even of likeness to the west 
wind, to which her friends, Ruth and Sally, had 
compared her. Her skirt was of heavy linen, sea- 
stained, faded; her hat was a soft felt pulled down 
close over her hair, and yet thus costumed, she 
looked like a nymph as she ran free and fast across 
the dune-top, with the ocean stretched out to her 
left. 

Sylvia slowed up a little, descending the precipi- 
tous path from the dune to the beach, but still she 
came down so recklessly that Gabriel Gaby, watching 
her from his customary seat in front of his shack on 
the sands, Mate purring on his shoulder, drew a 
sharp breath inward. 

"My gracious grandmotherl That girl must keep 
the angels that have charge of her pretty busy lest 
she dash her foot against a stonel" he muttered. 
"Comin' down a path like that's if 'twas Pawl Mawl 
in London, or one of the Paris bul'vardsl" 

O'Malley dashed ahead of Sylvia, to greet Gabriel 
Gaby and whine at Mate, whose every appearance 
was a new pang to him that she was protected from 
being chased. Mate herself thought O'Malley ex- 
tremely silly and temperamental; she had long out- 



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128 "JVho Is Sylvia?" 

lived the time when she feared he might make things 
unpleasant for a cat of her rank. 

"Sylvie, you'H land a com-plete wreck at the 
bottom o' that dune some day," Gabriel remon- 
strated. "Why can't you walk?" 

"I don't know, Gabriel Gabyl Still less do I 
know why I can't fly; 1 fee! like flying," said Sylvia. 
"I'm going out. Seen Ruth and Lloyd anywhere?" 

"No, I haven't, not till this minute," Gabriel 
twinkled at her. "What's that a-comin' down the 
beach this minute? Looks to me Hke a pair of 
cousins, last name Hapgood. Sylvia, do you know 
what? I kinder miss your harmonicum. Why 
don't you bring her down an' blow us a toon, Matey 
an' me? I miss it. Miss you, too; you don't seem to 
be anywheres lately!" 

"Really, Gabriel Gaby, you've said it I" cried Syl- 
via. "I don't get time to do arjrthing nice, nor 
consecutive. I don't know why. Do you suppose 
it's because I've been grown up such a short time, and 
haven't learned how to place it? I will bring my 
harmonica and play to you — play with you. Didn't 
we use to have beautiful duets when I was still 
young, and you taught me?" 

Gabriel Gaby nodded hard. "Twas a pleasant 
time, but I don't see why you can't keep it up, 
once'n a while 't least. I sit here — Mate'n me — 
meditatin', one of us purrin', t'other smokin', an' 
the harmonicum'd fit in like it al'ays did, pretty neat. 
You blew wonderful. Lot's o' girls don't have the 



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"for Beauty Lives With Kindness" 129 

wind, nor the gen'us for to blow steady an' ex- 
pressive on that instrument." 

"Gabriel, truly I'll try to come," Sylvia assured 
him. "I haven't been to see my dear Mrs. Leveritt 
in I don't know when." 

"You certainly have not, Sylvia," Ruth coming 
up corroborated her. "Aunt Helen said the other 
day that she would be pleased to meet you again." 

"Good morning," said Sylvia. "I know, Ruthie, 
and I would rather see her than any one in Paxton — 
of course Mr. Clement Bell excepted ! She did more 
for me than I could say that summer when you Brst 
came to visit her and I was a wild hobbledehoy of 
fifteen, needing her gentle hints, and her dear ways, 
and teaching. But she knows I tove her and want to 
go. Aunt Emily leaves to-morrow; that will give me 
the afternoon." 

Lloyd had been untying Sylvia's pretty shellacked 
tender, and had run her down to the water's edge to 
go out to The Walloping Window Blind, tugging at 
her mooring, much as O'Malley would have tugged 
if he had been tied up and had seen his mistress on the 
beach, coming to him. 

"She's so impatient I" laughed Sylvia, pointing to 
her beloved little craft. 

The three young people went out to the catboat in 
the tender. Sylvia would not let Lloyd row. 

"No, Lloyd," she said. "This is my day. I'm 
going to be fifteen years old and do precisely as I did 
when I first knew you. Then you didn't feel it 



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IJO "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

incumbent on you gallantly to do my work. If every 
dog has his day, then the owner of such a dog as you 
should have her day, isn't it so, my O'Malley? Sit 
down, Lloyd, and be a boy who never sailed in a cat- 
boat in all his life before, and hasn't reached the 
point of thinking girls worth serving, anyway I" 

"Girls may not be, stilll" muttered Lloyd with 
significant emphasis. 

Sylvia ignored him, and also tried to ignore the 
annoyance in herself which this hint called forth. 
Sylvia "hated nonsense," as she was always telling 
herself, not caring to define what constituted non- 
sense. To be a good comrade; to have happy days 
filled with good times that entailed no responsibilities, 
no consequences; to be light-hearted, free, gaily 
affectionate to everyone whom she liked, Hking no 
one enough to make her breath come one bit faster at 
his approach; this would have described Sylvia's 
ideal if she had put it into words. Sally Meade was 
right; Sylvia was at the Atalanta stage of her develop- 
ment, running away from what might entangle her 
fleet-footed joy. 

Sylvia got up the sail of her catboat unaided, but she 
did concede to Lloyd the privilege of unfastening the 
painter that held The Walloping Window Blind fast. 

"Now, we're off!" she sighed, settling down into 
the stem, pulling her hat over her eyes and jamming 
her tiller down hard to swing around free of the red 
buoy that danced foolishly on the top of the water 
just beyond her mooring. 



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"For Beauty Lives With Kindness" 131 

O'Malley went forward and took his customary 
place beside the mast, braced and cautious, though he 
would dearly have liked a swim, provided he had not 
got it by falling overboard. 

"Is there anything in all the world Uke it?" Sylvia 
murmured, stretching out her length, which was 
great, and bracing her feet, while she loosened her 
skirt at her knees with her old-time boyish motion. 

"A car's not so bad, either," said Lloyd. "Gtoen- 
dolen and I are coming after you at two to-day, Tink, 
and you're going with me for such a spin in Gwen- 
dolen as you never had yet; maybe to Boston. We'd 
have dinner there at night and get back here by ten 
or eleven. I've been having it in mind this long 
while; to-day is the day when it will happen." 

Sylvia shook her head. " I'm going to lunch with 
Mrs. Ritchie to-day, Lloyd. No such mad trip for 
me," she said. 

" Break the engagement," growled Lloyd, looking 
cross. 

"To lunch? An engagement a week old, and with 
an invalid old enough to be my mother?" remon- 
strated Sylvia, and was annoyed with herself that 
her colour, always quick to come and go, mounted 
at the thought suggested by her saying that Mrs. 
Ritchie might be her mother. 

Ruth pounced on the word. 

"Sure she doesn't want to be? Why does she ask 
you to lunch, Sylvia?" she said. 

"Yes. When fellows rope their mothers in to 



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132 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

back them up with a girl, that's another thing from 
trotting a girl around and just making it jolly on 
both sides," added Lloyd. 

"Oh, dear; oh, dear me!" cried Sylvia, tears of 
vexation springing into her eyes. "When it's such 
a morning for sailing, and it's so perfectly great to be 
out! Didn't I tell you it was to be one of our first 
summer times? It's heaps worse than helping me 
with the boat — I mean heaps less like ourselves that 
first summer, to be suspecting such perfectly dis- 
gusting things! Even you joining in, Ruth! Mrs. 
Ritchie likes a young thing around, I suppose; {xrar 
soul, shut in and suffering! You'd think if you two 
find me such a marvel as you try to make me believe 
I am, you'd be less puzzled to account for someone's 
wanting me to come to see her. I think it's per- 
fectly horrid, and I've a mind to put about and go 
in!" 

"Why, Sylvia, dear, please, please forgive me! 
I'm terribly sorry!" cried Ruth, going over gingerly — 
she never had quite come to feel that a boat was safe 
to move about in — and putting her arms around 
Sylvia, who passively allowed it, but made no 
response. 

"Most people wouldn't think it reflected discredit 

on a girl to have a mother want her for Oh, I 

won't, Iwon't say it, Sylvia!" Ruth cried,eagerly, for 
Sylvia twitched herself away from her embrace. "Of 
course poor Mrs. Ritchie would love to have you 
come there if she were an elderly spinster, or the 



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"For Beauty Lives With Kindness" 133 

widow she is, with ten daughters, and no You 

know what, Sylvia! I don't dare say the word!" 

In spite of herself Sylvia laughed. "But it is 
horrid to suspect things," she insisted. 

" I don't see any use in sticking your head m a hay- 
mow, and let a horse kick your feet off, declaring all 
the time there isn't a horse because you don't see 
him," growled Lloyd, not ready to jKeld his point. 
"A fact is a fact, whether you like it or not, and if a 
thing is so, the best way is to face it and act accord- 
ingly." 

"Oh, what stupid things boys are!" cried Sylvia, 
this time laughing with such enjoyment of sulky 
Lloyd that her ruffled feelings were smoothed. 
"That's just like a boy to insist on facts, and want 
labels stuck all over the place; making it impossible 
to see anything except in one way! Of course that's 
not the way to treat facts, you foolish boy! The 
way to do is to ignore them, treat them as if they 
were just the opposite of what they are, and the first 
thing you know they'll feel forced to behave like that 
other thing you call them, and where'll your fact 
be — gone to pieces and reassembled in a new form I 
Silly Lloyd!" 

Lloyd stared at Sylvia, then reluctantly smiled. 

"I'll be blessed if that's not exactly what you do. 
Tinker Bell. And now I think of it, it does work. 
But it doesn't suit me; I'd rather face things," he 
said. 

"And wring their little necks if they won't do what 



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134 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

you want them to," Sylvia supplemented him, mak- 
ing him a derisive little grimace. "Sure you would I 
You're downright honest, but a wee bit bossy, my 
little lad. I'm outright enough, but I know you 
come out better, and a long distance farther, if you 
lead things with a pretty ribbon around their necks, 
than if you wring their necks!" 

" It's true that a girl can make things go her way 
by pretending she doesn't see how they're headed," 
added Ruth, going over to Sylvia and abandoning 
Lloyd without shame or hesitation. 

"I'll be darned if 1 see how this deep wisdom 
hitches up with Mrs. Ritchie, or Gerald Ritchie," 
said blundering Lloyd. 

"Whose name no one has mentioned," hinted 
Sylvia, sweetly. "Never mind, Lloyd, if you can't 
see things always. Blind people are usually happy, 
they say. Do you see that tallest tree over there on 
Hen and Chickens Island ? Look out for your heads 
when the boom swings over; I'm going to head her 
for that tree." 

Sylvia put her catboat about; it minded the helm 
"Hke a breeze," as she said, and they settled down 
to a long tack, dropping unpleasant subjects, and 
enjoying the glorious morning, or its earliest hours, 
for Sylvia had to get back to her father, and the 
laboratory and the preceding breakfast, by eight 
o'clock. 

It was a perfect morning; The Walloping Window 
Blind did herself and her skipper credit, and of 



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"For Beauty Lives With Kindness" 135 

course the three on board — four, for O'Malley de- 
served counting — had a good time. 

" But if you really want a decent sail you have to 
go alone, with your dog, I'm discovering," thought 
Sylvia after she had brought her small craft to her 
mooting, had bidden Ruth and Lloyd good-bye and 
was, rather slowly for her, walking home across the 
dune. "If Ruth had come alone it wouldn't have 
been half spoiled. Even if she did start a silly 
notion, she wouldn't have mattered. I see one 
thing: After you are grown up you've got to get girls 
by themselves if you want a good time — unless it's a 
dance, or car-driving, of course. But you can't 
have a good time with boys around after you're past 
sixteen or sol They fuss, they — they get silly I Boys 
spoil everything after you're past sixteen." 

With which piece of philosophy, from which some 
girls of eighteen might have vehemently differed, 
Sylvia cheered up and ran into the house to hurry into 
land clothing, a pretty morning gown. Even though 
her Aunt Emily had come to approve her, Sylvia 
knew that it would risk a relapse from her favour if 
her aunt were to see her tall niece in these shabby 
garments which she still loved to wear. 

" Short hours for your assistant to-day, Mr. Bell f " 
hinted Sylvia, having eaten breakfast, seen her aunt 
off to a round of calls in the summer colony, and 
started, her hand in her father's arm, to walk with 
him over the beautiful turf of the Bell place to the 
laboratory. 



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136 "fflio Is Sylvia?" 

" Must she be early dismissed ? Why ? " asked Mr. 
Bell, smiling into Sylvia's dark blue eyes, so like his 
own, and so little below the level of his. 

"To lunch with Mrs. Ritchie. She has sent me an 
urgent invitation; I like her a great deal, and I felt 
that I could hardly say 'no/ She's so ill, and so 
patient, Fatherl" replied Sylvia. 

"I know. She's a sweet woman, patient, as you 
say, and suiFering. I'm glad to lend her my tall girl. 
But, Sylvia, tread carefully! I can easily imagine 
any one wanting my treasure for her own sake, but 
Mrs. Ritchie is Gerald's mother, and a mother can 
be a great assistance to her son," hinted Mr. Bell. 

"Oh, Fatherl You, tool" cried Sylvia, blushing 
painfully. "It takes all the snap out of being decent 
and friendly!" 

"My deatisait does!" cried Mr. Bell,self-reproach- 
fully. " Never mind your cruel parent. Daughter, and 
go your frank, honest way, unafraid. I'm better 
fit to deal with specimens in the laboratory than 
with fine issues of brain and heart, my Sylvia. " 

"Father! How can you? That's worse than sus- 
pecting that people want to steal your assistant for 
their medical student sons," cried Sylvia. 

Sylvia worked attentively in the laboratory until 
noon, as she always worked. Her interest in this 
work increased steadily, and now that the experi- 
ment over which her father had dreamed and la- 
boured for years was nearing its completion, which 
would prove it a triumph, or a failure, Sylvia often 



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"For Beauty Lives With Kindness" l^y 

found herself tense with excitement during her 
working hours. She was too young, too full of life 
to keep her work before her during playtime. 

At twelve o'clock Sylvia left her table, her carefully 
coloured slides, recording progress of the specimens 
under observation, dropped a swift kiss on her 
father's head as she passed him, not disturbing him, 
and hastened to dress for lunch. 

Gerald Ritchie had arranged to fetch her in his 
car at half-past twelve, but a half hour was enough 
time to dress for Sylvia, who never made a long 
business of her toilette. 

She coiled her dark masses of hair around her head, 
pulling it, soft and drooping, over the tips of her 
pretty ears. Sylvia's hairdressing was always in- 
dividual, a pretty, almost old-fashioned effect of soft, 
lustrous tresses, full of natural ways of their own. 
A shade of blue crepe meteor, which matched and 
brought out the dark blue of her eyes, was her dress; 
it fell in straight folds around her figure, simple 
tucks its only adornment, and a fichu collar of finest 
embroidered organdie came down to her belt, crossing 
below the base of her shapely neck. 

She put on a white Panama hat, trimmed with a 
bow of wide velvet ribbon on one side, and took her 
gloves in her hand to put them on in the cool library, 
for the day had grown warm as the sun mounted. 

" I feel particularly young-ladyfied, " thought 
Sylvia. "It must be going to lunch with a lady of 
fifty, and wearing a darker dress I I do like white!" 



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138 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

But in her secret heart Sylvia knew that the feeling 
of maturity had its root in the several warnings that 
she had had of the possible object of this invitation, 
and that she was waiting, not quite calmly, for 
Gerald to take her in his car to lunch with his mother. 

Gerald was prompt to the moment. Sylvia could 
not know that he had waited near by for fifteen 
minutes in order to be so. 

He looked Sylvia over with unmistakable approval, 
from her lovely face, flushed with a natural blush ; her 
simple, fine gown; her remarkably good Panama 
hat; her shoes, pretty, yet fit to walk in; her entire 
effect of sweet maidenhood and absence of vanity. 

"You don't wear tilted-stilt shoes, Sylvia," re- 
marked Gerald, helping Sylvia out of the car at his 
own gate. 

"Well, you see I'm so likely to run, Gerald, I 
couldn't," Sylvia answered, demurely, but her eyes 
laughed. 

Mrs. Ritchie's hair was snowy white. Her face, 
which must have been remarkably pretty, was white 
and thin; her whole drooping frame was eloquent of 
the constant endurance of pain. But she greeted 
Sylvia almost gaily, and not once during her visit 
allowed her to feel the oppression of an invalid host- 
ess. 

Sylvia forgot all about herself in quick recognition 
of this courage. She set herself to entertain this 
poor lady, and in the invalid lost sight of Gerald 
Ritchie's mother. 



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"For Beauty Lives With Kindness" 139 

Sylvia had the gift of amusing, as she had the gift 
of sympathy. She made Mrs. Ritchie laugh more 
than once with her account of Cassandra's fidelity 
and its cast-iron quality which made Sylvia call her 
Casabianca. Yet she never made Cassie absurd, 
only funny in a way that was at the same time 
admirable. O'Malley came in for his full share of 
Sylvia's chatter. She found that Mrs. Ritchie truly 
loved dogs; after that there was no trouble in paint- 
ing O'Malley as he was — an amusing, dear fellow. 
Gerald watched and listened, his shining eyes, his 
mounting colour, his gentle, happy smile revealing 
what he felt when he saw his mother made cheerful, 
laughing, plainly enjoying and yielding herself up to 
loving admiration for — Sylvia Belli 

"What a girl! What a girl!" was all that Gerald 
found to say to himself, but he said that so often, 
with such fervour, that it included all that might have 
been said of lovely Sylvia. 

Gerald disappeared after lunch for a time; it did 
not occur to Sylvia, till she had returned home, that 
it was not an accidental disappearance. 

"You have been a dear, a most dear, unselfish girl, 
to come here to-day," said Mrs. Ritchie, drawing 
Sylvia down beside her on a couch. "You can't 
guess what a pleasure it has been to me, how much 
you have given me out of your abundance of youth, 
health, wit, and loveliness! My dear child, I do 
thank you." 

"Oh, Mrs. Ritchie, please!" Sylvia remonstrated. 



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140 "IVko Is Sylvia?" 

"It is kind of you to bother with a girl who can't 
interest you much." 

"You have interested me a great deal, but, my 
dear, you know it's even more the joy of living that 
goes out from you that refreshes me. You are a 
lovable child, Sylvia Bell. I see almost no one but 
Gerald. To be sure there never was such a son as 
Gerald! From his childhood he has been truthful, 
kind, chivalric, brave. You don't know what a 
boy Gerald is; it's not a mother's partiality; it is 
true!" Mrs. Ritchie spoke eagerly. 

"I always thought he was nice," said Sylvia, trying 
not to seem ill at ease. "When I was a small girl 
I liked him; I didn't like most of the big boys; I was 
afraid of them, but Gerald was always nice to the 
small fry." 

"Ah, that's it. That is Gerald," cried Gerald's 
mother. "He is patient, sympathetic. He is a 
devoted son to me, a hopeless invalid, and sick people 
burden most boys, and many men. Don't you 
think it speaks volumes for my son merely to say he 
is everything that both a daughter and a son could 
be?" 

"I think many good qualities must go to make up 
that great virtue, Mrs. Ritchie," said Sylvia, gently. 
"I am glad that you have this comfort." 

"Are you willing to play for my mother, Sylvia?" 
asked Gerald Ritchie, returning at that moment. 
"She would be glad of a little Beethoven and Schu- 
mann, I knof<r." 



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"For Beauty Lives With Kindness" 141 

"Surely I will play, and I'd rather play Beethoven 
than any one else, though he's beyond my depth," 
said Sylvia, rising instantly to go to the piano. 

She had but taken her place and touched a few 
chords by way of introduction to the instrument 
when a gasp of pain frightened her, and she whirled 
around to see Gerald catch his mother in his arms, 
raise her as if she were a child, and go toward the 
door. 

"One of her seizures, Sylvia. Don't be frightened. 
Don't come. Her maid and I will be enough. 
Amuse yourself till I come back. Come to see 
Mother again, soon," he said. 

Mrs. Ritchie raised herself in Gerald's arms, halt- 
ing him by a gesture. 

"Sylvia, yes, come! We need you here. Be kind 
to us both," she managed to say, but by a supreme 
effort, her face dreadfully contorted with agony. 

" Sylvia is always kind. Mother," said Gerald, and 
carried his mother away. Sylvia sat motionless, 
awaiting his return, hot liking to leave without seeing 
him again, liking no more to carry out the arrange- 
ment by which he was to take her home in his car. 

She was almost decided to steal away when Gerald 
returned. 

"It's over now, Sylvia, for this time," he said. 
"I am sorry you had to be so frightened. I hoped 
she might get through the day without an attack, 
though she rarely escapes one each day. She is 
asleep; there will be no more trouble for another 



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142 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

twenty-four hours, probably; at least not for some 
time. I'm sorry, Sylvia! ' 

"Goodness, Gerald, not for mef" cried Sylvia. 
"I'm sorry enough, if it comes to that. Poor 
Gerald! It's hard." 

"Yes," said Gerald, simply. "This is why I'm 
studying medicine. I've seen so much that I want to 
be of some use; not only to Mother, to others." 

And Sylvia felt her casual liking for this older boy 
deepen into respect, admiration, and warm into real 
friendliness. 

"Fine old Gerald!" she said, as a boy would have 
spoken, her eyes moist. "Now let me walk home; 
I don't want to bother you." 

"Do you honestly think that's the way not to 
bother me?" asked Gerald with a little smile, and 
Sylvia instantly yielded her point, warned by a note 
of tenderness in his voice not to argue it with him. 



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CHAPTER X 

"Love Doth to Her Eyes Repair" 

CYLVIA, I've decided to take the morning 
*^ train," announced Miss Bell at bedtime. "It 
allows me more leisure, I can do errands in Boston 
which I'm anxious to attend to, and still get to New 
York before dinner." 

"Oh, Aunt Emily, I wonder — would it bother 
you too dreadfully to take Norah with you? Rose- 
leen — her little sister — gets into New York to-mor- 
row, and Norah must be there to meet her. She 
was going alone, but she's afraid of her life, and 
I don't like to let her go alone. She doesn't know 
the first thing about New York. Would tt be too 
great a burden on you to see her safely there?" 
Sylvia hesitated, but uttered her plea. 

"If it were," said Spartan Aunt Emily, "I think 
that would be no reason for not doing it. Of course 
I will take the girl to New York. She is pretty, and 
doesn't appear to be in the least fit to look after 
herself. See how she lent her savings to the first 
creature that asked her! I will not only take her 
with me, but I will go with her to the ship. Unless 
someone guarantees the young thing coming, no 



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144 "^Ao /j Sylvia?" 

one could conjecture where she may bring up. The 
Ellis Island people may crate her and deport her! 
I'll go with Norah to get her admitted; she's not the 
one to face those immigration officers. I will stay 
over a day in New York and see the matter through." 

"Aunt Emily, aren't you splendidi" cried Sylvia. 
"I think that's great of youl" 

"The note of surprise in your voice, Sylvia Bell, 
is not flattering," remarked Aunt Emily, dryly. 
"I'm not in the least a sentimental woman, but I 
hope that I recognize the obligation an elderly 
gentlewoman has of looking after ignorant young 
girls. Noblesse oblige, Sylvia. I am a Bell. Always 
remember that you, also, are a Bell." 

Miss Bell went with great dignity upstairs, and 
Sylvia and her father looked at each other with 
similar merriment in their eyes. 

"Sort of like a tocsin, to be that sort of a Bell, 
isn't it, Fatherums?" suggested Sylvia. "But really, 
that's fine of Aunt Emily to see Norah and her 
Roseleen through!" 

"There never was a deficiency in your aunt's 
principles, my dear. She does many unselfish, 
fine acts. Rather she suJTers from a sort of rigour 
and excess of principles. She fits them over every- 
body's head, regardless of their age, size, or previous 
condition of servitude," laughed Mr. Bell. "But 
it would be an exceedingly well-regulated world if 
Emily could get her principles adjusted on every- 
body in it I" 



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"Lovf Doth to Her Eyes Repair" 145 

Thus on the following morning Miss Bell went 
away, with meek Norah in her neat blue serge suit 
and her small round straw hat. 

Norah was duly grateful that she was to be 
protected, and Roseleen brought into the country 
without delays, but she was in mortal terror of the 
coming hours under Miss Bell's relentless kindness, 
and strove to shrink into a smaller space than her 
body actually demanded. 

"Good-bye, Sylvia Bell," said Miss Bell, pre- 
senting her cool, pale cheek to Sylvia's warm young 
lips. "I shall take little Emily Anstruther, then, 
to bring up. It may, very likely will, end in her 
being my heir. You are sure that you are willing?" 

"More than willing, Aunt Emily; glad that you 
will have her to love you," said Sylvia. "You know 
that was all settled. But, Aunt Emily, plisase let me 
say it! Do give the child heaps of fun, free fun, you 
know — old clothes, romping, a dog, all those genuine, 
sporty, lovely things! Then she'll be happy and 
adore you. You don't think all that harmed me, after 
all, do youf" 

"No, Sylvia," replied Aunt Emily. "It did not. 
I am willing to admit that your manners are ex- 
cellent, quite simple and without self-consciousness 
and, above all, without smartness. I loathe smart- 
ness! And there is a dewy innocence about you that 
is a great gift. I am willing to admit that you un- 
doubtedly owe it to your solitary hours in the boat 
and in the woods. And you have become a com- 



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I4fi "If ho Is Sylvia?'* 

petent housekeeper, a graceful hostess. Very well, 
Sylvia, I will give the little Emily something of 
your sort of childhood, as far as I can. She may 
not have your tastes; I hope she may have! Next 
winter I shall insist on your coming to me. A young 
girl like you would have an immense influence on 
a child; she would adore you and try to imitate 
you. I only hope that she is not like her mother. 
In any case, come and see what you think of your 
adopted cousin. Good-bye, Sylvia. Good-bye, Clem- 
ent. I feel much better for this visit and decision.'* 

With this valediction Miss Bell followed Norah 
into the taxicab, where she was timidly waiting for 
her, and the guest was gone. 

"Father, did you ever expect Aunt Emily to 
want the hoydenish, hopeless Sylvia to visit her to 
influence her adopted child?" asked Sylvia, tucking 
her hand into her father's arm as usual on their 
way to the liaboratory. 

" I can't say, my dear, that I ever expected your 
aunt to adopt a child. That seems to me so amazing 
that you as an influence pale beside it," said Mr. Bell. 

"Don't you see. Father, that Aunt Emily has 
loved the child's father all her life and has mourned 
his defection under the spell of the girl he married ? 
Isn't it strange ? AuntEmilyt" Sylvia said, thought- 
fully. 

"Surely I see that," Mr. Bell answered. "Yes, 
strange, perhaps, yet I don't know. Emily is not a 
person to change. Her emotions so turn inward 



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"Love Doth to Her Eyes Repair" 147 

that they are bound to strike their roots all through 
her. Be carefut how you begin to love, my daugh- 
ter!" 

"I'm not one bit afraid of the love in mel And 
as to beginning, I'd have you know, Mr. Bell, that 
the man I adore I began to love — " Sylvia paused 
and made a rapid calculation — "seventeen years 
and nine months ago, to the best of my knowledge 
and belief!" she ended, triumphantly. 

Mr. Bell shook his head with great melancholy. 

"That's a long time, Miss Bell; nearly all your 
life! That would mean that you began this in- 
fatuation at the age of four months. I'm afraid, 
very seriously afraid, that you will never outlive your 
premature misfortune," he said. 

"It wasn't premature; it was exactly on time! 
And it's the greatest luck, not a misfortune!" 
Sylvia cried, shaking her father's arm. "You're 
no good as a confidant 1 A confidant's business is 
to murmur: 'How sweet! How lovelyl How for- 
tunate!' every time there's a half pause in the 
story!" 

Sylvia thought that she was going to have a 
chance to test her theory that afternoon. She had 
been to see Mrs. Leveritt, Ruth and Lloyd's lovely 
Aunt Helen, who had been a great comfort and help 
to the motherless girl in the days when she had been 
lonely, in spite of O'Malley's devotion, when he was 
her chief friend, and when the father, whom Sylvia 
worshipped afar, did not realize fully the existence 



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148 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

of his baby g^rl as a young creature shooting up 
into womanhood. 

Mrs. Leveritt had given Sylvia, as far as lay in 
her power, the woman's understanding sympathy, 
the counsel, the love that she lacked, supplying 
what Cassandra's devotion could not compass. 
Mrs. Leveritt was childless, and between the woman 
and the young girl, with their supplementary lack, 
there sprang up a deep and lasting attachment. 
Sylvia thought, rightly, that there were few such 
gracious women as she whom Sylvia called Aunt 
Helen, echoing Ruth and Lloyd, with a sense of 
kinship to her at least equal to theirs. 

Sylvia had found Mrs. Leveritt alone, and she 
was glad of this, welcome as Ruth always was to her. 
Ruth and Lloyd were off with Sally Meade on some 
preUminary affair in connection with theGrecian Fete- 
to-be, which was engrossing Sally completely. Sylvia 
had told Mrs. Leveritt all about her luncheon at 
Mrs. Ritchie's, with its pitiable ending. 

"Gerald showed truly fine, dear, but — try not to 
let pity sway you beyond its proper scope," Mrs. 
Leveritt warned her. "It's not a durable motive 
power if you let it turn in the wrong direction, or 
go too far." 

"Aunt Helen, I know thati" cried Sylvia. "After 
I came home, and thought it over, it almost seemed — 
I hate conceited rash judgments, but it did almost 
seem as if that poor sick lady, nice as she is — she's 
very nice! — ^was " Sylvia stopped. 



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"Love Doth to Her Eyes Repair" 149 

"Winding her weakness around you to draw 
you in?" Mrs. Leveritt ended her sentence for her. 
"Possibly. She knows that she must die — and 
leave Gerald. After all, it is pardonable in a mother 
to want to see her son safe and happy. But, Sylvia, 
I would not be swayed too far by pity. In the end 
it would not be kind to any one. My tall Sylvia 
would not be happy looking down; she is framed by 
nature to look up. Pity is always akin to con- 
descension. You must admire the man you love, 
Sylvia; not be sorry for him — if the day ever comes 
at which we are hinting. " 

"1 was sorry for Gerald, dreadfully sorry, but I 
did admire him heaps, Aunt Helen. He was so 
kind, so simple, so — so — nice. You can be sorry for a 
person you admire, you know. Oh, I don't want 
to think about these things. Aunt Helen. I'm as 
happy and contented as I can be with Father and 
O'Malley and my boat. Why can't people stay 
where they belong, play in their own yards?" 
cried Sylvia, impatienLly. 

"Let you remain Comrade Sylvia? Well, dear, 
one has to pay the penalty for all gain. People .have 
a way of wanting to acquire what they see is de- 
sirable, whatever it may be — house, pictures, horses, 
yachts, cars — and Captain Sylvia I Never mind, 
lass, dearl If you don't want to let any one in to 
curtail your precious freedom, go your way serenely. 
There's no reason in the world why any one should 
intrude upon it." Mrs. Leveritt laughed as she 



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I50 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

spoke and kissed Sylvia good-bye, feeling sure that 
someone would one day alter her mind, and secretly 
cherishing the hope that it might be her nephew, 
Lloyd. 

Sylvia, on her way home, heard a voice calling; 
"Miss Bell! Miss Bell! Oh, Captain Sylvia!" 

She looked around and saw Jack Jarvis hastening 
after her. He waved his hand as she looked around, 
being hatless. 

"Miss Bell, there's something I've got to tell 
you," said Jack, coming up. 

"Me? About the fete?" asked Sylvia. 

"What fete? Oh, that! The Greek Fakel I 
call it *fake,' not 'fete' ! Not bad, is it ? I'd be willing 
to bet my dukedom that it'll be a fake, all right! 
Takes training and experience of the stage to get a 
whole lot of people to do a thing like that well. 
Take the one comparatively small matter of walking 
well on the stage; why it simply can't be done by 
amateurs! Dancing may go all right; that's dead 
easy comparatively, but walking, standing around, 
all that sort of thing; messy, by amateurs! Do you 
suppose these fellows and girls here will walk like 
Greeks?" Jack Jarvis waxed eloquent, and exhib- 
ited strong feeling. 

"I've got to own up, Mr. Jarvis," said Sylvia, 
humbly, but dropping her lashes in the hope of 
veiling the laughter which she knew was in her eyes, 
"there's no use in my pretending! I never saw 
Greeks walking in all my life! I've seen them 



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"Love Doth to Her Eyes Repair" 151 

in Kandy Kitchens — spelled with a K, like 'Kal- 
ends' — but they were behind the counter, I've 
seen casts of the Parthenon frieze, but it doesn't give 
me much idea of how those people walked. So per- 
haps our audience won't be any wiser." 

"You're a great jollier!" said Jack Jarvis, ad- 
miringly. "You're always on. I never met a 
girl any more thoroughly on than you arel And 
what 1 like about you — one of the things; there's 
no end of 'em! — is that you won't be on at all unless 
you like the subject. Say, I do wish you'd come 
down this winter to New York and let Peggy and 
me trot you out. 1 do wish iti" 

"I'm grateful for my share of that wish; I don't 
know how your sister and New York would feel about 
it," laughed Sylvia. "You said you wanted to 
tell me something?" 

"So I did," said Jack, who, after all, in spite of 
his metropolitan existence, was only a boy of twenty- 
one, and an honest, quite simple boy at that. "I've 
got quite a lot of money coming to me. Seems a 
beastly thing to say, but I wanted you to know." 

"I did know it," said Sylvia. "It's a fine thing 
to have, if a person is able to get its value out of it." 

"There you arel" cried Jack, admiringly. "I'm 
not. I've been over, over to England and on the 
Continent. They sent me over with a tutor when 
I was sixteen; I stayed two years, I wouldn't 
go to college. I don't care what they tell you about 
college frats and friendships and stuff, I can find all 



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15* "tVho Is Sylvia?" 

the friends I want, and frats — rot I When a fellow 
has it to spend he can get into clubs enough, and 
college is all tommyrot when you're not going in 
for study. Outside that, clubs'll do the trick, and 
save those four years. And I didn't care a whoop 
about the galleries, nor lots I saw on the other side. 
I liked some things, of course; they knew how to 
build, those old chaps; I'm quite nutty over Gothic 
cathedrals — for me, that is I What I was over for 
was to have been over, see? Get the polish and 
et cetera! Notice it on me? Well, what am I to 
do? I've got all I want to spend, and more than 
is good for me. I don't want to take my capital, 
and influential name, and go into business to make 
more ! Low-down trick. Let the other fellow 
have a whack at it, I say! I wouldn't mind going 
in for some decent thing, but what I do is to enjoy 
myself. I like golf, and sort of harmless things, 
I guess, but if I had someone to steer me I'd sort 
of like jacking up poor beggars, or orphans, or 
anything." 

He paused and looked anxiously at Sylvia, who 
found herself smiling at him with genuine Hking 
for this artless autobiography, even while she was 
wondering why it was recited to her. , 

"Why don't you ask Ruth Hapgood to advise 
you? She's the girl with the big heart, and the 
sane brain to set you on your way. She's a lot 
more than the pretty little, charming little thing 
you see at first," said Sylvia. 



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"Love Doth, to Her Eyes Repair" 153 

Jack Jarvis almost groaned. 

"Say, Miss Bell, what makes you ring in Ruth 
Hapgood all the time?" he asked, despairingly. 
"Honest to goodness, it gives me the willies! I 
like to see girls stick up for each other, be pals and 
stand pat, and all that, but you know when you're 

talking to a girl about something well, don't you 

see?" Jack said, yielding finally to the despair. 

Sylvia could not ignore his cry for mercy. 

"But I was trying to think of the best way for 

you to find yourself, and Ruth Well, I won't, 

then!" she hastily interrupted herself, seeing Jack's 
protesting gesture. "Was this what you wanted 
to say? I don't quite see " 

"You will see when I've told you what I wanted 
to tell you. No; it wasn't about myself, or at 
least that part of myself. I wanted you to know 
that first, so when I told you what I was going to 
tell you, you'd be wise to the sort of fellow I am, 
so you'd know better how to regard me," said 
poor Jack, floundering. "What I had to tell you — 
to own up to — ^to confess " 

He stopped short. 

"Yes," said Sylvia, impatiently, "those all mean 
about the same. You sound like 'Soule's English 
Synonyms.*" 

"Gee, how can you guy me!" cried Jack, so 
sincerely that Sylvia was ashamed. 

"Indeed I won't guy you! I never can help ■ 
seeing things like that, but you are nice, and I 



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< 



154 "^Ao ^J Sylvia?" 

do think so," Sylvia said, more kindly than dis- 
creetly. 

"Oh, say!" gasped Jack, fervently. "You — 
you — Sylvia! What I had to tell you is that I know 
about your mule. There!" 

"You know — about — my — mule!" exclaimed Syl- 
via, slowly. "My mule? What mule? I'm not ac- 
quainted with a single mule. I haven't so much as 
a horse, or a Ford. Only an Irish terrier!" 

"Oh, say!" gasped poor Jack again. "It isn't a 
mule! I got mixed up with those bedroom things; 
all toes, no heels. It's a pump." 

"Oh, my pump! My dancing pump!" cried 
Sylvia, enliglitened, and in spite of her effort to 
keep sober, going off into a gale of laughter over her 
mistake. "What do you know about it? Find it?" 

"No. I couldn't find it, because I stole it. I 
have it. I thought I had to own up," said Jack. 

"You certainly had to!" said Sylvia, severely. 
"What a perfectly foolish thing to do! What good 
could a white silk dancing pump, my size, do you? 
Please return it. I've another pair now, of course, 
but please return that pump." 

"I'd rather buy another pair," urged Jack. "You 
wouldn't ask what good it did me if I stood any 
chance with you. You'd see ! Isn't there any hope 
for me, Sylvia?" 

"It certainly doesn't sound hopeful, but you may 
come around in time, said Sylvia, really angry, 
"I don't know much about mental trouble but, to 



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"Love Doth to Her Eyes Repair" 155 

keep a pump, a silly silk pump — my goodness! 
Such feeble feeble-mindedness ! Of course you mayn't 
buy another pair, and of course you must re- 
turn it I Do you suppose I want one of my shoes 
wandering off by itself in your possession? Lloyd 

said that night " Sylvia caught herself up, but 

Jack pounced on her. 

"So Lloyd Hapgood was on!" he cried. "It's 
always that sticking-around Lloyd Hapgood I I'd 
like to take him out and show him some little dodges 
I learned to do when I was abroad. I'd whip him 
well! Oh, Sylvia, let me keep the pump, and you 
join it. I'll give you everything you ever could 

want! I'll, I'll I never saw your match, a patch 

on you I Sylvia, you did say you thought I was 
nice I" 

"But I won't join any pump I" cried Sylvia. 
"Bring that shoe back, Jack Jarvis, as soon as you 
can get it. And be sensible, please. You are nice, 
but it isn't nice to want to beat up Lloyd, whom 
I've known this ever so long, and who is my good 
old chum. And it's still less nice to steal my shoe 
and pretend you're interested in it. Now, only 
think: A shoe I A mere white silk pump. Such 
lunacy 1 I do loathe nonsense I Brace up. Jack. 
Jarvis, and then we'll be friends. As it is you're 
an object of charity, and that's not pleasant for 
you or me. You know I never in all my life have 
stood for sentimental philandering, so don't you try 
itl Nice boy, Jack Jarvis, but go home and i^ one!" 



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156 "IVko Is Sylvia?" 

"You talk like a kid!" said Jack, with wrath 
and considerable justice. "I'm past twenty-one. 
Do you suppose a fellow can fall in love with a girl 
and — and — stand everything ? Do you suppose, 
Sylvia Bell, that nothing means anything F" 

"I don't know one least thing about it, Jack 
Jarvis, and I'm not supposing! And if I talk Uke 
a kid, I suppose it's because I still am a kid, or at 
least I hope so. I'm five feet seven inches, and 
eighteen years old, but that's all of me that's grown 
up, and I'm clinging with both hands to my youthful 

teens. Run along home, and — and I don't mean 

to be nasty, Jack, and I'm sorry if you're sorry, for 
I do like you, especially this afternoon when I've 
got better acquainted with you. You'll be all 
right soon. Brace up! It's just as you said: you 
need something to occupy your mind. Sorry, Jackl 
I don't think it's my fault." 

"No, it isn't," Jack admitted, dolefully. "You've 
never shown the least interest in me. But I've 
never known a girl like you, and you couldn't 
expect me not to go head over heels dippy over 
you. I'd like to show you to New York. Say, don't 
let this make any diiFerence. I'll bring back the 
pump, and you come on down anyway; Peggy'U 
be as dippy over you as I am, in her way, and we'd 
give you the time of your life. And maybe, if you 
stopped being a kid, why, who knows? You'll stop 
sometime; you've got to grow up, you know." 

Jack Jarvis wrung Sylvia's hand and turned 



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"Love Doth to Her Eyes Repair" 157 

sadly away. She continued down the beach to which 
she and Jack had walked to talk without inter- 
ruptions. 

"It does seem to me," thought Sylvia, walking 
so slowly that O'Malley sat down to let her get a 
start to allow him a chance to run, "that Jack 
Jarvis is quite a nice boy. The boys are nice, 
honest and earnest, and nice. Lloyd and Gerald, 
and now this one, all with a family resemblance, 
although they aren't one bit alike. I like them 
all three, and in the same way — of course not Jack 
hke the two I've known. And it seems to me that 
Jack, for all he is sitly, is nearer right than I am, and 
sees what I can't see. Which is curious, too, for 
I've read a hundred books for his one! Sylvia, my 
dear, if you were entirely truthful with yourself, 
you would admit that it isn't book lamin' that 
teaches ! " 

Which admission made to her own satisfaction, 
Sylvia delighted O'Malley by breaking into a run 
and racing him to Gabriel Gaby's shack. 

" I brought my harmonica, Gabriel, " Sylvia 
cried. "I'm going to sit here with you one hour 
by my wrist watch, which will barely get me home 
in time to get ready for dinner. I'm going to play 
to you, my Retired Seaman, till you think that the 
Lorelei has come up to sit on the end of this log 
beside you. It will be wonderful music to celebrate 
an event that marks my coming of age! To-day, 
Gabriel Gaby, I was promoted. I have assumed 



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158 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

my toga virilis, or whatever is the girls' equivalent 
to that garment." 

"Leetle mite touched by the sun, hey, Sylvie?" 
hinted Gabriel Gaby, significantly indicating his 
brow with his stubby forefinger. "T has been 
warm. Maybe you know what you're alludin' to, 
Sylvie, but I'll be everlastingly keel-hauled 'f I 
do I" 

Sylvia pulled her old harmonica out of her pocket, 
wiped it with her handkerchief, and blew a few 
notes from it as she had done, to the unbounded 
joy of Gabriel Gaby, when she was growing up and 
he had been her master in this plebeian art. 

"I'm talking about what makes the world go 
'round 1" Sylvia said, deferring her performance to 
reply. 

"They say it's love, but I notice my world kinder 
spins along, an' love hain't bothered me this long 
time," said Gabriel Gaby. 

"Oh, Gabriel, how we do agree I" sighed Sylvia, 
and straightway felt to playing. 



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CHAPTER XI 

"To Help Him of His Blindness " 

"VTR. BELL was called to the city by the neces- 
■''"'■ sities of his work the following morning, and 
Sylvia had a holiday. 

She began it by getting up at an unlikely hour 
for a solitary sail, solitary except for O'Malley. 
However fond she was of her friends, Sylvia found 
little joy to compare with one of these early voyages 
in the swift little Walloping Windoto Blind, without 
any other human being to talk and be calked to, to 
make her conscious of another mind that might be 
affected differently from her own. 

She settled down beside the tiller, stretched out 
with her feet braced against the centreboard casing, 
her disreputable hat pulled down over her eyes, her 
skirt comfortably hitched up across her knees, the 
sheet in her hand ready to be played out and hauled 
in as the fitful but strong breeze might demand 
it handled. 

"Pretty nice, Charles O'Malley, my beloved," 
Sylvia su^ested. "The wind is southwest." She 
thrust a forefinger into her mouth till it was warm and 
moist, and held it up to test the wind's direc- 



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l6o "Who Is Sylvia?" 

tion; it blew, of course, against the side that cooled 
first. 

"Sou'west by sou', dog of the world." Sylvia 
announced the result to O'Malley, who politely 
wagged his tail in assent, but evinced no absorbing 
interest in the wind's direction. "That's a puffy 
wind, so you see I don't make fast the sheet, but 
hold it ready to play and preserve us alive, my Irish 
Dragoon. O'Malley, it's not half bad when we can 
get off by ourselves like this, is it? A box of fudge 
and you upon the bow — Omar Khayyam didn't get 
that quite right, did he?" 

O'Malley, who had gone forward to his particular 
post beside the mast, could . no longer sit quietly 
at the bow while Sylvia propounded questions to 
him and began to paraphrase Omar's Rubaiyat for 
him. He came aft whining and twisting himself, 
till, after Sylvia had petted him and explained that 
her conversation needed no replies, he went back 
to the bow and braced himself beside the mast 
again. Sylvia stood over across on a long tack, 
the wind on the quarter, sail tight hauled, then she 
made many short tacks and, by means of them, 
beat as far in the other direction, till she had covered 
seven miles, and it was time to come in. 

" My fudge has not spoiled my appetite, doggums," 
observed Sylvia. "We are taught a great deal 
that we have to unlearn. You weren't! All the 
education I gave you was practical, and there's 
where you score over your teachers, who are brought 



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"To Help Him of His Blindness" i6l' 

up in superstition and not ignorance. Fudge be- 
fore breakfast does not spoil my appetite, and 
Casabianca always said it would. I've got to go 
in and connect with rolls and coffee, and I hope a 
chop and raspberries. Norah is coming back to- 
night with her Roseleen; did you know that? 
Roseleen is fresh from Ireland, my dear. You're 
one of the rare Irishmen, bom in this country, 
who haven't the least interest in the home of their 
fathers; you are wholly devoted to your native 
land. So you don't care about that, do you ? No- 
rah gives you tidbits, O'Malley; she says it's for 
your name, which was her mother's maiden name, 
so you should be interested in her return, though." 

Once more O'Malley, catching reproach in Syl- 
via's voice, came aft, and this time he sat down to 
stay beside her, leaning heavily and inconveniently 
against her knee. 

Gabriel Gaby was waiting to help Sylvia haul 
the tender of The Walloping Widow Blind up on 
the beach, and, also, to ask her a favour. 

"Seen you go out, Sylvie, an' knew your father'd 
gone to Boston, an' sort o' made out you'd not 
be in the laboratory this momin'," he greeted 
her. "Would you feel like patchin' me or have 
you another fish on your hook?" 

Sylvia made it her business to mend her old 
friend's clothes. He had no one to do these ser- 
vices for him, and he was sixty-six years old. Sylvia 
was truly fond of the funny little ex-sailor, and 



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i62 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

took it upon herself to give him what comfort it 
lay in her power to give. He had taught her to 
sail and to row; had taken her fishing countless 
times when she was a child; had amused her with 
his philosophy as she grew older, and had enter- 
tained her with his stories and queer expressions all 
her life. Quietly Sylvia returned to him all that 
she had received, with interest. 

"No, I have no particular fish on my hook, only 
a little one which I can throw, off into the water," 
she said. " I'll be down, Gabriel, with my sewingkit." 

"Pack up your thimble in your old kit bag," 
Gabriel Gaby hummed the words to the familiar 
air. "You're a good little craft, Sylvie, an' you 
sail well on any tack." 

"I'll be down, Gabriel; about ten or so," Sylvia 
called back, acknowledging his compliment with 
a wave of her hand, running off toward the dune 
path as fast as she could. 

At ten minutes after ten Sylvia, in a becoming 
pale blue chambray, with a deep fichu of dotted 
Swiss and deep cuffs to match, bareheaded and 
trim, came speeding down the steep path from the 
dune, O'Malley after her, toward Gabriel Gaby, on 
the lookout for her. 

"What's the patch to go on this time?" Sylvia 
asked, dropping down on the log, and getting out 
her sewing tools without loss of time, waiting to 
decide on the colour of her thread when she knew 
what she was to mend. 



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"To Help Him of His Blindness" 163 

"It's on the elber of my short coat," said Gabriel 
Gaby. "Wore clean through. An' you know, 
Sylvie, I ain't a scold, so it can't be from sharp 
elbers." 

"No. More likely from wear," assented Sylvia. 
"You know that you've worn that coat since I 
was nine; I remember you had it when I had my 
ninth birthday, and even amputated elbows would 
wear out a coat, nibbing on one spot for nine years!" 
She threaded her needle with black silk, made a 
knot in the end, and laid the coat over her knee to 
adjust neatly the piece of cloth which Gabriel Gaby, 
frugal and methodical, had kept for all the time of 
the coat's existence to mend it when mending became 
necessary. 

"Where's Lloyd Hapgood, Sylvie?" asked Ga- 
briel, suddenly, as Sylvia bent frowningly over her 
work. 

"Where?" cried Sylvia, quickly straightening 
herself. "Oh, you said: Where is Lloyd Hapgood; 
I thought you said: There. Why, he's all about, 
Gabriel; nowhere in particular; just as he always is." 

"You ain't seein' him so much," said Gabriel. 

"I'm not? Yes, I think I am; I don't know," 
said Sylvia, honestly. "He's always to be seen. 
Perhaps he hasn't been visible so often lately; I 
hadn't thought about it." 

"Better think about it, Sylvie," advised Gabriel 
Gaby. "There's a sight of young chaps can swing 
a cane more nobby, an' cut a wider swathe with, 



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l64 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

or without that cane, mebbe, than Lloyd kin, but 
when it comes to an anchor that'll hold, Lloyd's 
it." 

"Right you are, Gabriel," Sylvia heartily en- 
dorsed him. "But it wouldn't occur to me to 

label him. Lloyd is Why, he's Lloyd I Just that, 

and just there I You take him for granted much 
as you do the lower light out yonder." 

"I suppose a girl of eighteen hain't lived long 
enough, nor seen enough of what kind o' things 
people can turn themselves into, to know the full 
valyer of what you've just said, Sylvie, It's all 
true, every word, an' just what it stands fer you 
can't begin to realize," said Gabriel Gaby, im- 
pressively. 

"I suppose that may be, but I realize a little 
bit," said Sylvia with a warm smile for Gabriel's 
praise of Lloyd. "If I don't see much of him 
just now, still I see him a good deal, and I'll never 
be any less glad to see him. You nice Gabriel 
Gaby, to defend him, if he needed defence. But 
he doesn't!" 

"Better not let any one supersede Lloyd with 
you, Sylvie; cut him out, in plain language. Know 
what Shakespeare said? 'Tlie friends thou hast, 
an' their adoption tried, grapple 'em to thy soul 
with hooks of steel'. 'Hamlet'; I see that acted once 
by Edwin Booth, when I wasn't much more'n a 
boy, an' I read it after. Good advice, too, though 
it was a queer kind of duffer, called Polly-onius, 



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"To Help Him oj His Blindness" 165 

gave it. He got stabbed, stuck like a pin-cushion 
shortly after, but he had sense in what he told 
his son." Gabriel Gaby endorsed Shakespeare with 
a solemn shake of his head. 

"Gabriel, dear, what has set you off?" cried 
Sylvia. "Lloyd is Lloyd; haven't I said so? And 
that covers it! There's nothing wrong between us. 
Gabriel, who is that girl I see down the beach? 
I don't know her," 

"That," said Gabriel Gaby, "is Allimetta, Alli- 
metta Briggs." 

"Never!" cried Sylvia. "Oh, Gabriel, do you 
know her? And can you get her here without letting 
her know I wanted her?" 

" Why, I don't just see how. Nor do I know what 
you want o' her; she's a kind o' a goin'-along crea- 
ture," said Gabriel Gaby, frowning perplexedly at 
Sylvia. 

"That's what I want of her. To persuade her to 
go along," laughed Sylvia. "She is breaking a de- 
voted heart, and I promised, if ever I met her, to urge 
her to be merciful. " 

"Enos Coffin I" exclaimed Gabriel, at once under- 
standing. "He's no better'n what she is, Sylvie; 
what's the odds? They won't be happy, anjTvay. 
Wasn't I married, an' am I such a clam as Enos? 
An' I assure you Mrs. Gaby wa'n't like Allimetta." 

"She was too energetic, I understood from what 
you told me. Maybe two people who are rather 
limp may be more simpatica, Gabriel. Anyway, 



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l66 "JFho Is Sylvia?" 

they'll think they're happy and that's all that 
matters," said philosophic Sylvia. "Can you get 
her?" 

"She's tumin' this way now. She was comin* to 
see if I'd sail her an' some friends o' hers over to 
Baytide, supposin' she could get a boat. I guess 
she's set out for here, but Allimetta wouldn't sail 
straight, free o' the wind, 'f she could tack; that's 
Allimetta's build," said Gabriel. 

Sylvia sewed in silence, hemming down her neat 
patch on the sleeve of Gabriel's coat, and watching 
Allimetta Briggs's slow approach. 

When she was near Sylvia's task was done; she 
held up the coat for Gabriel Gaby to admire. 

"Fit for a retired seaman?" Sylvia asked, 

"Fit for a retired admiral of the fleet, Captain 
Sylvie!" returned Gabriel. "You are what I'd 
call a soarin' sewerl An' to think Cassandra Bill- 
ings was worried green not so awful long ago, fearin* 
you'd grow up so's t' not be able to thread a needle, 
hardly!" 

Allimetta Bri^s by this time was within speak- 
ing distance. She was a lackadaisical-looking 
girl, with a kind of helpless prettiness about her 
common little thin face, and she was wonderfully 
dressed in a cotton pongee-like material embroidered 
in many colours in "lazy-daisy stitch," with a 
deep collar of imitation lace of an emphatic pattern, 
surmounted by a large satin hat, with immense 
flat flowers of three colours applied along the brim. 



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"To Help Him of His Blindness" 167 

"Make you acquainted with Miss Sylvia Bell, 
Allimetta; Miss Briggs, Miss Bell." Gabriel Gaby 
made the presentation, rising and putting his heels 
together in the first position, evidently feeling that 
some formal attitude was demanded of him. 

"Miss Bell of the Bell mansion?" asked AUimetta, 
elegantly. "Delighted to see you. I've heard tell a 
lot of you, how you sail, an' everything." 

"And I've heard of youl" cried Sylvia, with im- 
mense enthusiasm, throwing warmth into a voice 
that always charmed with its quality, at once ring- 
ing and soft. " I know someone who thinks there's 
no one in all the world comparable to Miss Allimetta 
Briggs!" 

It is a foregone conclusion that a correct pro- 
nunciation and English construction, uttered in a 
cultivated voice, will have one of two effects upon 
people of Alllmetta's sort. Either it will stir them 
to envious wrath, resistance to superiority, or it 
will impress them and tend to make them ready 
to follow where that superior leads. Fortunately 
for Sylvia's success, Allimetta was of the latter 
sort. Instantly she recognized that Sylvia was greet- 
ing her in a way that she could never hope to attain, 
and she regarded her admiringly. 

"I expect it's a gentleman friend of mine," she 
said, simpering. 

"Yes, Mr. Coffin," cried Sylvia. "Long ago, 
when I was fifteen, and my chum here, O'Malley, 
the terrier, was quite young, the dog was badly cut 



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( 



i68 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

and Mr. Cofl^ took him — me, too! — home in his 
cart. So I've never forgotten that I owe Mr. 
G>ffin a debt of gratitude which I cannot, or have 
not had a chance so far, to repay." 

"He told me about that," said Allimetta. "He 
and I was asked once to look on at a hop to the 
hotel, an' you was dancin'; then he tole me. Him 
an' me kep' steady comp'ny at that time." 

"Oh, yes, I knowl" Sylvia's sympathy was 
profound. "And now you are separated I It is 
very sad. Mr. Coffin had an errand at my father's 
house lately and he told me that you were not 
going to be married. He showed me the perfectly 
wonderful ring that he bought for your engagement. 
It is so painfully sad to be separated! Miss Bri^s, 
why, oh, why won't you be kind to poor, heart- 
broken Mr. Coffin?" 

"Honest? Do you think I'd oughter make 
up?" cried Allimetta. "Well, if a young lady like 
you says he's the thing — I don't care! I don't 
mind! To be sure I had another plan. There was 
a butcher; him and me rode out in the delivery 
truck Sundays; it was kinder nice. But I don't 
know — I don't care if I do many Enos! But how'd 
I fix it up ? A perfect lady don't never tip a feller 
off she's ready, does she?" 

"Dear me, no; she doesn'tl" cried Sylvia, grate- 
ful to herself for smothering a laugh. "I'll see 
that Mr. Coffin understands. Will you be ready 
if he comes to-morrow, or the next evening ? Ready 



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"To Help Him of His Blindness" 169 

for him to put that marvellous ring back on your 
finger?" 

AUimetta hung her head in a blushing attitude, 
although she did not blush. 

"I'll say it's some ring!" she admitted. "Yes, 
Miss Bell, you can send him, if you want to." 

"And now I must go home," said Sylvia, throwing 
upon the crimson and suffering Gabriel Gaby a 
look that nearly upset his heroic efforts to hold 
back laughter. "So glad you happened along, 
Miss Briggs! It's a great thing to feel that one 
has made love less blind." 

"Say, ain't she elegant?" cried AUimetta, as 
Sylvia started away, and almost at once broke into 
a run which Gabriel Gaby correctly interpreted as 
flight to get where she could laugh her fill. "T 
anybody was to ask me what I called a perfect 
lady I'd stick my finger — all my finger's far's that 
goesl — right out at Miss Sylvia Bell." 

Ruth sat on the piazza when Sylvia reached her 
home, and beside her on a chair was a package, 
opened, containing a box, and in that box was 
Sylvia's lost white silk pump> now haloed with 
Romance. 

"Oh, Ruthl" exclaimed Sylvia, stopping short 
with such a look of dismay that Ruth, jumping up 
to greet her, stepped back, shocked that Sylvia 
seemed sorry to see her. 

"Anything wrong?" Ruth asked. "Don't you 
want me?" 



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I70 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"I always want you," said Sylvia, "and you 
know it. But — did he give that to you to bring 
to me?" 

"Is that all?" cried sharp little Ruth, instantly 
guessing what was in Sylvia's mind. "No, he did 
not. If he had I'd not have opened it! It was 
here when I came; Cassie had it undone, and was 
holding an indignation meeting over it all by herself. 
She admitted me to the meeting, said he ought to be 
ashamed of himself, and wondered if they had no 
idea in New York of what was nice and respectful, 
not to say sensible. Sylvia, evidently you knew 
about that pump. Aren't you going to tell your 
best friend?" 

"I didn't know till yesterday, Ruth. Yes, I did 
know then. Lloyd guessed right. But, Ruth, it's 
just a boy's sentimentality; it's really nothing. 
He'll forget all about it in a minute. It was you he 
was attracted to first, and that's what counts. He 
probably sort of noticed me because I was new — 
they do, you know — and so tall. But he admires 
you and I can see he Hkes you." Sylvia spoke 
eagerly, selecting her words carefully, not sure 
whether there might be in little Ruth some hurt 
pride in being passed over for Sylvia, half fearing 
that Ruth might have been attracted by Jack 
Jarvis. 

"It doesn't seem one bit so, but you never can 
tell," thought Sylvia, anxiously, 

Ruth looked at Sylvia with an inscrutable ex- 



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"To Help Him of His Blindness" 171 

pression, that she tried to make sober. "Sylvia, 
he has discarded me completely and you know it, 
so why try to gloss it over? I love you well enough 
not to grudge you anything; I don't blame him one 
bit for liking you better And, if you do learn to 
care for him, think what you can do as the mistress 
of all that wealth!" she said, pensively. 

"Oh, Ruth, dear Ruth, it isn't more than a pass- 
ing fancy. Learn to care for him? He's a nice 
boy; I'd learn to love him if you loved him and 
he loved you, but not in the way you mean," cried 
Sylvia, eagerly. "And it's silly for you to think 
he really likes me, Ruth; all that he longs for is to 
show me New York. He said so over and over." 

" Doesn't that mean everything? Doesn't he 
want to give you the best he knows, and isn't New 
York the best thing in the world to him?" de- 
manded Ruth, sadly. But she could not keep it 
up. With a scream of laughter she threw herself 
on Sylvia and hugged her, laughing till she sobbed. 

"Oh, Sylvia, I never dreamed you could be so 
foolish, so funny," she gasped. "You were afraid 
I cared and you've tiptoed around my dying bed! 
Dying of a broken heart! Not your small Ruth! 
Sylvia, Sylvia, it is funny! Why, you dear goose, 
you're welcome to all the Jack Jarvises there are 
from the Battery to the Bronx, or you would be if 
I didn't wane you to do something worlds nicer 
than to marry him! Jarvis wealth, Jarvis power^ 
Jarvis social position" — Ruth waved her hands. 



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172 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"Not a bit do I care, Sylvia, and it's been the 
funniest thing in ages I Lloyd and I knew that 
night Jackie had purloined your pump. What else 
could have happened to it? It made Lloyd mad, but 
I loved it. Do you know, Sylvia, clever as you 
are and with your dear old regal head cratmned with 
booklore, I often see quicker and farther, and un- 
derstand some things better than you doF" 

"I believe that is true, Ruthie," admitted Sylvia. 
"I think in some ways, and for eighteen years old, 
I'm quite stupid and crude." 

"Well, I wouldn't use those adjectives, but you 
do go your way something like Una. I never read 
Spenser, but we got that in literature lectures. 
She had other things to think of, wasn't interested 
in young men," said Ruth, finding herself uncertain 
of her ground. 

"That's not it!" cried Sylvia. "I'm not one bit 
like Una, unless it was that she had a lion chum 
and I have an Irish terrier. Then you don't mind, 
not the least bit, that Jack Jarvis switched over and 
fancied that he wanted my pump, not yours? Not 
the least bit, small Ruthie?" 

For answer Ruth danced Sylvia down the length 
of the piazza, and Sylvia, infected at last by Ruth's 
glee over the whole episode, danced her back again, 
almost spinning the little maid off her feet. 

After which, half breathless, they stopped and 
hugged each other, laughing like the children that 
they had been such a little while before. 



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"To Help Him of His Blindness" 173 

Then Sylvia pulled herself together, but instantly 
began to laugh again. 

"Oh, Ruthie, do you remember in 'An Old-Fash- 
ioned Girl' that it says: 'Polly held her close' — that's 
Fanny Shaw, you know! — 'saying in that tender 
voice of hers : "I didn't mean to let a lover part this 
pair of friends, if I couM help it?"' When I was 
about ten I thought that was the most glorious, 
touching speech, perfectly scrumptious; didn't you? 
I could almost recite every word of that book, and 
of 'Little Women.' And do you know, that's been 
ringing in my ears these past weeks, and I've been 
feeling rather fine and lovely, acting Polly toward 
you! Isn't that too delicious? I nearly quoted 
it to Jack Jarvis, altering the sentence to suit, 
of course, when I remembered in time that it 
wouldn't do to hint to him you were in love with 
him ! " 

"Well, rather not!" cried Ruth. "Sylvia, doesn't 
that prove you're only a little girl? It didn't mean 
one thing to you, but acting out a story." 

"That's true," said Sylvia, despondently, as if 
oppressed by her deficiency. Then she cheered up. 
"But, Ruth, what could it mean when it didn't 
mean anything?" she cried, and they both began to 
dance and to laugh all over again with the joy of 
this absurdity. 

"I've got to go, Captain Sylvia, my darling,'* 
said Ruth, who seemed happy over Sylvia's frus- 
trated romance, for some reason. 



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174 "^Ao t^ SylviaV 

"I'm going up to straighten my hair; it's shaken 
almost down with our romping." 

The girls ran up to Sylvia's room where Ruth made 
herself tidy for her walk back to Mrs. Leveritt's. 

Sylvia and she halted a moment at the top of 
the steps before Ruth went down them. 

"I'll have Norah's young Roseleen on my hands 
to-night, by the last train," said Sylvia. "I don't 
suppose she'll be on my hands, but Norah is to 
bring her here to stay till we can decide what's 
to be done with her. And, Ruthie, please tell 
Lloyd I've got to go over to North Paxton to find 
that Enos Coffin to-morrow, and ask him if he'd 
like the honour of driving me over in Gwendolen ?" 

"I can answer for that, and for that matter, so 
can you I I'll tell him," said Ruth, at last departing. 



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CHAPTER XII 

"And Being Helped — " 

lylSS SYLVIA BELL: At Home?" Mr. Bell 
■^'* remarked, inquiringly, putting out his hand 
to draw nearer to his the chair that Sylvia was 
preparing to use on the piazza after tea. 

"Yes, Father. Miss Bell is at home this evening, 
but not in the sense of receiving. Why, yes, she 
is, too," Sylvia added, discovering that this was 
precisely what she was doing. 

"Norah is coming back to-night. She will bring 
her sister, just landed. Roseleen is fifteen, and I 
don't know what Norah will do with her. I thought 
I ought to be here when, they come to set the girl 
at ease, make Norah comfortable in her mind, be- 
sides. I told Cassie that Norah might keep Rose- 
leen with her here till we could find out where she 
would fit in the new land. Cassie is really kind, but 
she does detest innovations! She agreed with me 
that we ought to help Norah with the youngster, but 
she would be glad to help her at longer range, if 
there were a way to it." 

Mr. Bell looked with great pride at his girl, though 
Sylvia, her eyes fastened on the brilliant west, did 



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176 "ffho Is Sylvia?" 

not see it. Only three years ago she had been a 
"youngster" of fifteen herself, and one that it seemed 
impossible ever to get interested in domestic affairs, 
one whose utter contempt for a needle tried conscien- 
tious Cassandra's soul, vainly struggling to train the 
girl into fitness for womanhood. And now! Not 
merely skilful with the once-despised needle, compe- 
tent to do much delicious cooking, a gracious young 
head of her father's house, but taking responsibility 
for the welfare of this little immigrant, betraying the 
sweet womanliness whose first divine instinct is to 
protect and help. 

"Beautifully right, Sylvia!" her father approved 
her. "Norah is a good, faithful girl, and if Provi- 
dence had made Sylvia Roseleen, and Roseleen 
Sylvia, I should be glad, in my grave, that Sylvia 
was fallen among friends in a strange land." 

"Father, you nice thing!" cried Sylvia, swinging 
around to face him. "You understand so much that 
is quite different from lab. things! That's precisely 
it! I always wonder that people don't see it. I 
was bom with all sorts of advantages back of me, 
but I might not have been, and I didn't give them to 
myself. Doesn't it seem obvious that advantages 
are a debt to be paid to any one coming along with a 
lean bank account, in the coin in which you are 
rich ? " 

"I would say, dear, that the greatest advantage of 
all was to be bom with a soul capable of recognizing 
that stupendous tmth and to have been taught it," 



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"Jnd Being Helped—" 177 

said Mr. Bell. "You are a happy child, tall little 
daughter! " 

"Mercy, yes. Father!" cried Sylvia. "I'm so 
happy that I try to be afraid; everybody says that 
it's dangerous to be too happy! But I can't manage 
it. And it's ungrateful not to get every least drop 
of it, don't you think? So I go on from day to day 
getting a little happier, like the Aged Man a-sitting 
on the gate, only he was 'thinking of a way to get a 
little fatter'! And come to think of it, it wasn't the 
Aged Man at all, but the other man telling us about 
him. " 

"Sylvia, I think it's because you are mildly insane 
that you are safe to enjoy your happiness to the full! 
The fates and furies probably go around the feeble- 
minded without molesting them. What can you be 
talking about? What Aged Man, and who told you 
about him? Sounds like a quotation," cried Mr. 
Bell. 

"Oh, you poor, poor little Clement Belli What a 
shame! Did they 'buse him when he was little and 
couldn't 'buse back! Didn't you have 'Through the 
Looking Glass' when you were a little chap ? In a 
land teeming with societies of all sorts of initials to 
prevent all sorts of cruelties? Why didn't Aunt 
Emily get you 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' 
instead of the kilts she told me she made you?" 
Sylvia cried with mock passionate pity. 

"Of course I had itl Both the 'Alice' books, 
but I didn't recognize your allusion," Mr. Bell 



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178 "fTho Is Sylvia?" 

reassured her. "How could I know what I do about 
changes in the laboratory specimens if I hadn't read 
'Alice'?" 

"Qualified I" cried Sylvia, gleefully. "You've 
qualified as an Alician. That was a lovely proof of it. 
Father, do you see what a sunset we're having out 
here, all by ourselves, with nobody else to get one 
tiny fadedest-edge tint of it?" 

"I do," said Mr. Bell. "And that without the 
least desire to share it. Sylvia, I was remembering 
how your mother and I sat just here and watched the 
sunsets in the half summer and one whole one that 
she was here with me. We were married early in 
July. We came to take possession of this house in 
August. A year from the following June, when you . 
were a week old, you know, she left me. I did not 
expect to be happy again; the most I hoped for was 
to learn to bear a loss so great. You are the miracle- 
worker, dear; I am happy, profoundly happy with 
you." 

"Yes, I think that is true, Father-mine," said 
Sylvia, softly. "When people tell me I'm a lucky 
girl and tell me why I am, that I'm pretty, or tall, or 
can make friends, or sail, or play the piano, or sew, 
I smile inside myself and think they don't know one 
thing about it. I am happy, but not for any of those 
reasons. Because you are happy, and such a dear 
that you let me make you so." 

Mr. Bell patted her hand, saying: 

"Your mother was a little creature, not two inches 



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"And Being Helped — " 179 

above five feet tall, but in spite of that, and your 
resemblance to me, I see her in you at every turn. 
You have her nature, and you curiously reproduce her 
small gestures, little mannerisms. It is wonderful 
to me, when she left you, a meaningless little roll of 
flannel, and you have never known her. I am 
thankful that she endowed you with so much of 
herself before she went away. She was constantly 
occupied with my happiness. It is like her to have 
gjven me the best daughter a man could have, with 
a great deal ofher sweet selfin her, to make me happy 
in her stead." 

" Father, you make me feel as if I were part of that 
sunset, shining with gloryl" Sylvia laughed in order 
not to cry, but there was a catch in her voice. "You 
know it was because I wanted to be a wee bit of good 
to you that I began to learn to do things: cook, sew, 
and ptay for you, all that, I suppose I'd have been 
no more good than a floating piece of seaweed if I 
hadn't wanted to be your comrade Sylvia. And I 
see Norah and a girl with her, so there's the end of 
our confab till the stars are out. The other girl — 
young Roseleen — is taller than Norah I" 

Sylvia was as much interested in the coming of this 
fifteen-year-old maid as if she had been a guest at 
one of the hotels, instead of Norah's sister, Roseleen 
Leary, the immigrant. But Sylvia managed to be 
interested in everything and everybody, with a vi- 
tahty in her interest that was, in many of the cases, 
amazing to her friends. Sally Meade had expressed 



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i8o "Who Is Sylvia?" 

this wonder in this connection, the coming of Norah's 
sister, but Sylvia had silenced her, without lessening 
the wonder, by saying: 

"Roseleen is just a girl, and exceedingly pretty, 
Norah says, and Norah is a nice girl. Why should 
I be interested in Maida Clayton, because she lives 
at High Tide, and not in Roseleen, because she 
doesn't yet live anywhere ? Of course I'm interested 
in a pretty, nice young girll" 

"It will end in short hair, spectacles, and a Social 
Settlement," groaned Sally, with pretended horror, 
but she knew that it never would, and that Sylvia's 
kindness was far and away from the scientific, dry 
bones of modem philanthropy. 

"This is your Roseleen, isn't it, Norah?" said 
Sylvia, going to the head of the steps and intercepting 
Norah as she turned toward the side door. 

"Roseleen, I hope you're not too tired from sailing 
and sailing? I never get tired of it myself." 

"No, miss. I'm well, thank you, miss," said 
Roseleen, her head tipped to one side, her lids cover- 
ing her shy eyes. 

She was as pretty as Norah had called her; Sylvia 
thought that she might easily be "the prettiest girl 
in County Cork," unless Cork were richer in beauty 
than most counties, anywhere. Roseleen's tinting 
was delicacy itself, yet it managed to have warmth^ 
not the coldness of extreme delicacy. Her eyes were 
soft, pensive, yet half laughing, hazel brown in 
colour; her dark hair grew in ripples around her brow. 



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"Jnd Being Helped — " i8l 

making "the widow's peak" in the middle of her 
forehead which added greatly to its charm. 

"You must be perfectly happy over here," Sylvia 
warned the girl. "We'll ship you away, perhaps to 
Austraha, if you aren't." 

"Yes, miss," said Roseleen, but she smiled, a tiny 
smile. 

"I'll just step in an' leave me bag, if you please, 
Miss Sylvia, then I'll take Roseleen to the clean, 
decent place I found for her, down in the village. 
I'll not be long, miss, keepin' the house open." 

" Norah, this is a clean, decent place for Roseleen, " 
laughed Sylvia. "I've known it all my life and it's 
perfectly clean, and I think Roseleen would rather be 
with you. Won't you keep her with you till you de- 
cide what she's to do with her little self? She can 
share your room, and not bother any one a bit more 
than would a little green mouse in the wall. Do you 
have green mice in Ireland, Roseleen?" 

"No, miss," said Roseleen, but the look that she 
gave Sylvia was eloquent enough to make up for the 
deficiencies of her tongue. 

Norah cried out joyfully: "Oh, Miss Sylvia, sure 
it's not the Irish alone that has kind hearts, though 
often they do be thmkin' it! Could you but know 
how frightened this poor child was to be goin' out to 
sleep without me in a strange land I But I says to her: 
'Roseleen, it's yourself, an' not Norah, you must be 
leanin' on, an' the sooner you begin it the sooner 
you'll get strong for it.' But if you don't mind my 



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i82 *'Wko Is Sylvia ?" 

Iceepin' her. Miss Sylvia, I'll be thankful to risk her 
stayin* weak awhile longer, just till she gets used to 
the skies above her, an' the way the voices sound on 
this side. Roseleen, have you no word to thank Miss 
Sylvia, who's been your good angel from the start 
of your comin', an' before I'd sent your passage 
money?" 

"I'm that thankful, miss, I can't be sayin' it," 
said Roseleen, faintly. 

"Never mind saying it, Roseleen. The best thanks 
aren't said, but show themselves a little bit at a 
time. It isn't the least trouble to have you. Cas- 
sandra will fill you up with American instructions 
if you're here a few days," Sylvia said. 

Norah permitted herself a small twinkle of under- 
standing with her youthful mistress. 

"Cassandra would have made a fine, competent girl 
of me by now, had it been in me. Miss Sylvia, Maybe 
Roseleen will not be the stupid one I am," she said. 

"Cassandra has a cozy hot supper awaiting you two 
girls," said Sylvia, repenting her trifling lapse to 
Norah that recognized Cassandra's tendency to train 
up everybody in the way they should go. "She's 
always kind, though she hates to make a fuss about 
it. Then get a long night's sleep, and have Roseleen 
rested to get acquainted with Paxton early in the 
morning." 

"Would there be larks here, miss? In Ireland the 
larks do be out early," said Roseleen, unexpectedly. 

"Often there are larks here quite late at night, 



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"Jnd Being Helped — " 183 

Roseleen," Sylvia assured her, as she rejoined her 
father. 

Immediately after lunch the next day Lloyd 
appeared at the Bell gate in Gwendolen. Gwendolen 
was plainly just out from a bath; she shone re- 
splendent in mudless wheels, dustless top, freshly 
polished brass and sides. 

Lloyd ran up the steps and called Sylvia, who came 
out in a white skin and waist, hatless, and pretended 
great surprise at seeing Lloyd. 

"Why, Lloyd, how nicet What brought you 
here?" she exclaimed. 

Lloyd looked at her sharply, then he grinned. 

"Come offi Climb down! Dismount, Tink," 
he said. "I'm on. Didn't you tell Ruth to send 
me around to bury you, or something like that — take 
you to a Coffin?" 

"Poor joke! Frightfully poor joke, Lloyd!" 
Sylvia frowned at him. "I believe I did ask Ruth 
to tell you that I'd let you take me to North Paxton, 
if you wanted to almost beyond endurance, but how 
could I be sure you'd come?" 

" That's a poor joke, if you're talking of poor ones ! " 
said Lloyd. "Get your hat, Tink, or come without 
it, if you like, but don't leave the Lady Gwendolen 
down there eating her heart out — drinking her own 
gas — in mad longing to get you in her midst." 

" I shall wear a hat," said Sylvia with dignity. " I 
shall even wear a new hat, a lovely close-fitting thing 
that I made myself, all of shirred silk with tiny 



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l84 "fflio Is Sylvia?" 

buds around the face, in a flat, bewitching encircling 
wreath. I'm describing it for you, Lloyd, because 
when I appear with it on you are expected to be so 
blinded with admiration that you won't be able to 
distinguish its detaib," 

"Humphl" gnmted Lloyd. "Mixing me up with 
Jarvis, aren't youF I've seen you often enough to 
stand up under a small new hatl" 

Sylvia turned away with splendid disdain and 
sauntered upstairs, taking as much time as possible 
in going. But she must have moved more quickly in 
her own room, for she was down again and out to 
Gwendolen in so short a time as to satisfy even Lloyd's 
impatience. 

The Lady Gwendolen was "feeling particularly 
fit," as Lloyd remarked. Her yellow wheels spun 
at a good rate of speed, and Lloyd "gave her more 
gas," with much satisfaction in her behaviour. 

"I like this car," observed Sylvia, as she had often 
done before. "Take it all around, it's the one I'd 
rather have. Maybe I shall get one next year. Father 
will take lab. easier, so he promises me, after the Ex- 
periment — with a capital E — is done, and it wouldn't 
be half bad to drive him along the shore, all the way 
down to Maine. Yet, on the other hand, I want him 
to take me abroad." 

"Say, Sylvial" Lloyd's tone was seriously re- 
monstrant. "Don't do that! Don't go over yet. 
I'll be graduated in two years more, then I'll go. 
Wait, and make it a family party." 



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"And Being Helped^" 185 

" By that time you'll have other fish to fry, or else 
you'll be eager to make your start in life. And, 
besides," Sylvia hastily went on, seeing Lloyd about 
to interrupt, and not caring to hear what he might 
want to say, "I'm not used to any family but my 
one, solitary father, and I don't want to adopt en- 
cumbrances, thanks." 

"Encumbrances!" echoed Lloyd. "A fat lot I've 
ever encumbered you. Tinker Bell! You need me, 
and it's pretty near time that you recognized that 
little fact." 

"I never thought you were conceited," mused 
Sylvia in a meditative tone, "but yet I knew you 
were subject to human weaknesses, so why not con- 
ceit? Still, it is rather a shock. If you sincerely 
think that I need you, Lloyd, then how do you 
account for your deserting me lately? It would 
seem unkind. Not that I'm sure that you have 
deserted me; I hadn't noticed it, but Gabriel Gaby 
said you hadn't been around with me as usual," 
Sylvia added, hastily. 

"Speaking of unkindness," said Lloyd in a general 
way and to the passing breeze. "You hadn't noticed 
that I hadn't been around f Certainly I hadn't been 
around. Do you think I am going to submit to com- 
petition with rank outsiders? Fellows you hardly 
know, when I'm your tried and trusted?" 

"T. and T.," mused Sylvia aloud. "American 
T. and T. ? I read the market reports to Father some- 
times, and I know that stock. You are tried, I'll 



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i86 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

admit, but trials are good for the sgul, and — yes; 
I do trust you. But as to competition, I haven't 
noticed any, and 'fellows I hardly know' there aren't. 
One — ^Jack. Jarvis — but he's not in your class, Lloyd, 
T. and T." 

"Ritchie?" hinted Lloyd. 

To her annoyance Sylvia felt herself blush. 

"A Paxton boy who used to be good to me when 
I was a reckless little girl," she said. "Do you call 
that hardly knowing him? I know Gerald, and I 
like him a lot, so, Lloyd, what's the use? You like 
him, too." 

"He's fine," said Lloyd, unwillingly, but honestly. 
"Sylvia, it all began with fooling, but, truthfully, I 
hate this summer and all the mixing-upl It's next 
to impossible to have one of our good old times. I 
wish it was we three again — Ruth and you and I — 
and I could get on without Ruth I" Lloyd laughed 
ruefully but he looked more rueful than laughing, 

"The ravages of time, Lloyd," said Sylvia. "It 
was fun to be kids, but that is understood to be — like 
the London firms — Limited I I'm having fun still, 
and not such different fun. I think you can be 
eighteen and not allow your brow to become fur- 
rowed, your damask cheek wrinkled with care. 
You keep on playing, don't think about things — 
that's my rule. " 

"How in the name of sense are you going to keep 
from thinking of anything that you want like 
blazes?" broke out Lloyd. Then he bent over and 



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"And Being Helped — " 187 

wrenched Gwendolen's gears back and forth viciously 
though the little roadster was behaving her best. 

"Don't want anything; I don'tl" cried Sylvia, 
lightly, and managing a gay little laugh as success- 
fully as if her heart were not beating violently with 
fear of what Lloyd might say next. "Funny old 
Lloyd I You always did bother a lot about nothing, 
in spite of your steady way of going along. It's such 
a comfort to have a reliable brotherly chum to bank 
on, Lloyd dear, especially to an unrelated girl like 
me! I'm anxious to hear how Aunt Emily gets 
on with her adopted Emily, by the way. I suppose 
that child will be brought up to call me Cousin 
Sylvia!" 

Lloyd straightened himself and threw Sylvia a 
look that told her that he understood her rapid, 
desultory remarks, but he accepted the role that she 
assigned to him, 

"Why are you going over to hunt Enos Coffin, 
Tinkf " he asked, ignoring her praise of his fraternal 
qualities, which did not strongly appeal to him. 

"To tell him to go to his Allimetta and give her 
once more that 'marked-keys' ring which she re- 
turned," cried Sylvia. "I saw the lady, Lloyd. I 
had no difficulty in persuading her that Enos was the 
man. But I think that she had had a butcher in her 
eye that, for some reason, stayed all in her eye — 
if you'll forgive me for putting it that way. It's 
in the Allimetta key! So she was ready to listen to 
my mission." 



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1 88 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"My aunt I" exclaimed Ltoyd, with a shout of 
lau^ter, as if he had nothing on his mind but a 
boy's enjoyment of the story. "Seems to me you're 
taking a big risk, making that sort of a match!" 

"That's what Gabriel Gaby seemed to think," said 
Sylvia. "I met AlUmetta at his shack; he intro- 
duced us. But it's vrise to combine people of that 
sort: suppose another sort of woman married Enos, 
or a nice man married AlHmettal In union there is 
strength, and that's what they both need." 

"Well, there's the house, and I hope your punish- 
ment may be light ! " said Lloyd, bearing down on the 
small Coffin house. 

"Mr. Coffin," said Sylvia, as Enos loped out to 
salute her, "I have great and glorious news for you I 
I have met the enemy — I mean your friend — and she 
is yours!" 

"Miss Bell, oh, Miss Bell! Do you mean Atti- 
metta? Say, honest to Pete, do you mean AlU- 
metta?" gasped Enos, almost overcome. 

"Honest to Enos, I do I "cried Sylvia, gleefully. 
"I had a little talk with her, and she told me that I 
might send you to her with the 'marked-keys' ring, 
and she will accept you both!" 

Enos turned, and dropped his head down on the 
gate post, sobbing. 

"I can't hardly believe it; I can't," he whimpered. 
"Miss Bell, what have you done? What have you 
done? I'm bustin' with gratitood. You'd ought 
to have a statute in the public square, that's what 



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"Jnd Being Helped—" 189 

you had ought to have! I'll thank you some day 
when I get myself together, so to speak." 

"You need never thank me," said Sylvia. "I 
don't think the credit is mine. I think Miss Briggs 
had missed you." 

Lloyd drove away, choosing a road that would 
take them farther from home before he turned to 
go thither. 

"I don't know that it's so awfully funny after 
all," said Lloyd, his face sober. 

"Nor I," Sylvia admitted. "It's an honour to 
human nature, isn't it, Lloyd, that the funniest ex- 
pression of feeling, even a funny sort of sentiment, 
takes on dignity when it's sincere? I was rather 
ashamed that I had laughed at poor Enos, and had 
pleaded his cause as a little lark." 

"Oh, but you meant it kindly all the while," 
said Lloyd, with conviction. "You have an easy- 
going way of always wanting to straighten people 
up, and to make them happy." 

"It's so horrid to be unhappy!" Sylvia indirectly 
admitted the accusation. " I never had to try 
it long; I was sometimes unhappy, in spite of the 
fun I had, till three years ago, but I'm such a happy 
creature, and so lucky, that I hate like everything 
to see anybody losing one day, crawling around with 
a heavy heart," 

"Didn't Shakespeare ask if Sylvia was 'kind as 
she was fair'? And didn't the song go on to say 
something about her helping something or other?" 



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190 *'^ko Is Sylvia f" 

Lloyd would not speak of "love being helped," but 
he smiled at Sylvia with real, unselfish affection. 
"You help lots, Tinker Bell!" 

"You're a tramp, old Lloyd I" said Sylvia, em- 
phatically. 



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CHAPTER XIII 

" — Inhabits There" 

V^OUNG Roseleen, under training to be useful 
■*■ in ways suitable to her capacity, had brought 
in the morning mail and laid it on the breakfast 
table. There were several letters for Mr. Bell, 
only one for Sylvia. 

Her father, having rapidly disposed of his own, 
looked across to see Sylvia still reading her single 
one, smiling, but drawing her delicate eyebrows to- 
gether over it. 

"You have not a heavy mail for a young person 
who is supposed to be a belle — Sylvia, really, you 
must take my word for it! I did not mean that for 
a pun! I had the final e in my mind when I said 
it, and no ulterior design!" Mr. Bell hastily de- 
fended himself from Sylvia's accusing look. 

"That's a comfort!" Sylvia cried. "You know, 
Father, if I were a belle at all, it could be only in 
Paxton, since I am not often away from home, and 
with a telephone in the house there's nothing to 
write me about. This is from Aunt Emily. For 
such a distinct lady she writes a fearfully indistinct 
hand I It always puzzles me. She is delighted 
with her little Emily! Isn't that good?" 



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192 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

"I only hope that the child will be delighted with 
her," said Mr. Bell. "I can't see Emily giving a 
child that wise admixture of discipline and spoiling 
that all children need to be happy and good." 

"Don't you think it will be different with this 
child? Aunt Emily loved her father and expected 
to marry him. I'd think that would make her 
treat little Emily Anstruther quite differently from 
any other child; named for Aunt Emily, too!" 
Sylvia spoke with her eyes on her aunt's letter, and 
did not see her father's surprised look that Sylvia 
remembered and understood what he had forgotten. 

"She says that she is letting the little girl have a 
garden of her own, and a house in a tree; the car- 
penter put it up for her, and that she tries not to 
see how frightfully dirty she gets. She also says 
that the child looks far stronger, has a better colour 
than when she came to her, and sings all day long. 
It seems that the other day Emily thanked Aunt 
Emily enthusiastically for the good times which she 
was letting her have, and Aunt Emily told her that 
she had never run wild when she was a little girl, 
and that she disliked seeing little girls hoydenish, 
but that she had 'promised her cousin Sylvia to 
let her romp, and would keep her word, and when 
Cousin Sylvia came to see her next winter it was she 
that Emily must thank for her good times', that she 
'would be satisfied if Emily grew up to be like 
Cousin Sylvia.' It may be that I've only one 
letter, Father Bell, but that one is equal to a whole 



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" — Inhabits There" 193 

volume, several volumes! It is a History of Our 
Own Times, and The Triumph of the Modem Girl, 
and An Authentic Account of the Conversion of 
Miss Emily Bell — more, too! Oh, the telephone! 
Maybe it's for me!" 

Sylvia sprang up to answer the call as her father 
said: 

"It's more than merely 'maybe'! I'm rarely 
called." 

"All right, Sally! . . . Yes, at two. I kiiow; I'll 
go! I wondered why we weren't beginning. Good- 
bye," Sylvia replied from her end of the wire. 

"First call to a general rehearsal of the Greek 
Fete, this afternoon," she explained to her father. 
"I don't know, either; maybe it's a rehearsal of the 
solo dances. Oh, I don't know! Anyway, it's a 
rehearsal, so watch me in the lab.. Father; I may 
practise with your starfish while I'm holding them 
up to make them drop off a leg!" 

"Sylvia Bell," Sally Meade began in the middle 
of things, clutching Sylvia when she arrived at the 
Meade house for the rehearsal that afternoon, 
"we've cast you for Diana in the greatest thing 
you ever saw! It's the third from the last dance; 
the last will be a chorus — do you suppose I can 
say that? The ensemble, you know. So we had to 
put a solo or a duet dance just before that, to get 
more contrast, but we want the Diana thing as near 
the last as we can get it, because it's going to be the 
kind that spoils anything that comes after it. Diana 



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194 "^ko Is Sylvia?" 

and Her Nymphs and the Sleeping Endymion! 
Get the idea? Endymion's asleep on the grass; 
you'd guess that I And Diana comes dancing at the 
head of her nymphs and sees him. You know 
Diana, for all her independence, got a case on 
Endymion the moment she saw him. So that's 
the idea; see? Diana dances a sort of admiration 
dance, leading her nymphs, signifying he's the 
prettiest and sweetest — catch on ? It'll be as grace- 
ful as any bed of white lilies in a breeze you ever 
dreamed of] Then Endymion awakes, sits up on 
his elbow, registers: *Am I Really Me?' or words to 
that effect, seeing Diana. Then up he gets, and 
starts in dancing after the nymphs, who dance 
faster and faster, Diana still ahead, flitting away. 
You know Diana's long suit was flitting awayl 
So on till the nymphs flit through the screening at 
the rear, and Diana fools 'em I She slips back, 
and she and Endymion do a turn by themselves, 
signifying 'Pleased to Meet You.' That's good 
history — Grecian Mythology — Diana did slip off to 
meet Endymion, and the moral of that is: Every 
dog has his day, or. There's nothing so sure as 
that no one's secure. Take care, Sylvia I" 

"Sally Meade, you are the craziest girl! You're 
always that, but sometimes you're still crazier!" 
cried Sylvia, laughing. "I'm not sure I like your 
grand dance I Who's to be Endymion?" 

"There you are! Put your finger right on the 
danger spot first pop!" cried Sally, pretending 



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" — Inhabits There" 195 

profound admiration of Sylvia's cleverness. "We 
thought either Doctor Ritchie or Lloyd, but which?" 

"I imagine Lloyd would detest anything of that 
sort," said Sylvia. " I don't know about Mr. 
Ritchie — ^he's not a doctor yet, Sally. They both 
dance well; I suppose it doesn't matter. Gerald's 
older; boys hate to be made conspicuous," 

"It doesn't matter one bit while Endymion's 
asleep, but when he wakes up it does matter. Which 
is a neat little text for your mediations, Captain 
Sylvial" said Sally. "Now come on. They're all 
out in the billiard room, with the table gone, waiting 
for us. We'll put Gerald in as Endymion, then. 
Sylvia, Hermione Elmsley is a little genius, and 
she's pleased to death that we're getting this up. 
She says it will be a great ad. for her; people will 
come from far and near to see it. You know the 
girls' boarding school over at Baytide — Lavender 
Hall? The girls call it the Purple Cow, you knowl 
Well, Hermione has strong hope that the Misses 
Lavender are going to engage her to teach dancing 
there this winter. Isn't that the best ever? Maida 
Clayton was simply ripping about our fete, 
and the way we bolstered Hermione up so she didn't 
need Maida's patronage, but Maida can't stand it 
to be out of it, so she's crawled, and we're going to 
let her dance Juno in one of the tableau dances. 
Juno's so grand and elegant that Maida can't get 
in any of her funny work. She manages to be in 
bad taste, usually, but Juno will put a lid on hert" 



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196 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

"Sally, you're a villain 1" cried Sylvia, laughing 
while she tried to look reproachful. 

Sally, not in the least repentant, took Sylvia out 
to the billiard room and ushered her in with the 
announcement: 

"When Greek meets Greek! Grecians, allow me 
to present the late Grecian nymph, Sylvia. 

"We're going to make you dance Endymion, 
Doctor Ritchie. You've had training in Greek 
plays at college, and Endymion must know how to 
get about in a chiton more particularly than some of 
the other characters," said Sally, to Sylvia's relief. 
She was half afraid of how Sally might explain 
the choice of himself to Gerald. But Sally, though 
she was, as Sylvia had called her, "a villain," set 
a limit to her villainies. 

"Well!" exclaimed Gerald, and said no more, 
but his pleasure in his promotion was unmistakable. 

The rehearsal began, and a short time sufficed 
to show that the work of learning the dances was 
not going to be simple. 

Hermione was a thin little electric wire con- 
ducting the mysterious spark of enthusiasm and 
understanding into the performers. 

"She's a genius! That's the word; a genius I" 
cried Jack Jarvis, applauding Hermione wildly as 
she checked him in his pretty dance with Ruth, 
representing Psyche and Eros, to show him what 
he should do at a certain point of the dance. 

"Wouldn't you like to show her to New York?" 



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" — Inhabits There" 197 

asked Sylvia, finding it hard not to laugh at Jack, 
yet liking him for the qualities which made her want 
to tease him. 

"I sure would!" said Jack, emphatically. "I'd 
like an engagement for her in some bang-up show 
where she could use her head and her feet both, 
and let 'em see how they go together! They'd sit 
up and take notice, I'll say!" 

Sylvia was delighted to find that Jack held no 
grudge against her, evidently had decided to accept 
her terms, and make it comfortable all around by 
being a good loser. Sylvia promptly decided that 
she liked him a great deal. 

Sylvia's dance required rehearsing chiefly for 
the grouping, the pictures which were to be formed 
at intervals by the poses of the nymphs around 
their huntress leader. Sylvia herself, and Gerald, 
and Sylvia's solo dance which she was to g^ve at 
the beginning of the fete, Hermione would teach 
privately, as she must all the dances of that class. 

The twelve girls who were to dance as Diana's 

nymphs were experienced in this sort of work; seven 

of them Hermione had brought with her from the 

hotel where she was one of that summer's enter- 

■ tainers. 

Gerald had, as he said, "a thinking part" in this 
rehearsal of the Diana dance, lying an interested 
spectator of the girls' pretty motions around him, 
and Diana's admiration of him as he lay, supposed 
to be asleep. Sylvia exaggerated her rapture over 



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( 



198 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

the discovery of this wonderful mortal, annoyed to 
find herself embarrassed, less by her part than by the 
other young people's enjoyment of it. All but Lloyd. 
Lloyd gloomed at the whole thing, so helplessly sulky 
that Sylvia was divided in mind between a desire 
to laugh at him and a desire to console him. 

Not being able to do either, Sylvia paid no atten- 
tion to poor Lloyd, but went on dancing and singing, 
getting to like her dance more and more as Her- 
mione's suggestions informed it with pretty sig- 
niEcance. 

When it was going better, the Meades* maid came 
hurrying out to the billiard room with a frightened 
face. 

"Miss Sally, oh. Miss Sally I The 'phone has 
called Mr. Gerald Ritchie. His mother's took 
bad!" she cried. 

Gerald sprang to his feet and was off* like a shot. 
Sylvia, knowing from her experience of the day 
when she had lunched with the Ritchies what he 
was going to, but perhaps not to so happy an out- 
come, cried out compassionately: 

"Oh, poor, poor Geraldl Do you want me to 
go with you?" 

Gerald turned back, but did not halt. 

"Sylvia, yes! God bless you; I always want 
you," he said before them all, eagerly accepting 
her sympathy. After all, Gerald was still quite 
young, not far beyond boyhood, and it was hard 
to go home alone, perhaps to encounter death. 



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" — Inhabits There" 199 

Sylvia ran after him. Lloyd turned toward Ruth, 
looking so unhappy that his little sisterly cousin 
made it in her way to go over to him as soon as she 
could, and speak to him. 

Under the cover of the music for the dance in which 
Maida Clayton was the principal figure, as Juno, 
Ruth said: 

" Lloyd, dear, don't mind so much. That's 
Sylvia, you know. She is moved to pity and to 
help every bit of suffering, in man or beast, that 
she seesi It's not Gerald, it's unhapptness that 
she has gone to, on one of her lovely, quick im- 
pulses." 

"You know what pity's akin to," muttered Lloyd. 
"What's the use, Ruth? She'll be there with 
Gerald if the worst happens, and — well, it's got to 
be borne; can't be helped." 

Sylvia, bareheaded in Gerald's car, the wind of 
its swift motion whipping her hair around her face, 
sat stiff and silent as he drove to the limit 6f his 
car's speed, and far beyond the speed limit of the 
law, to his mother. 

Gerald took Sylvia into the drawing room and left 
her. 

"I'm grateful, Sylvia, but it's not the time to say 
so," he said, and was gone. 

It seemed to Sylvia that it was an endless time 
before Gerald came down again. She looked up 
at him, twisting her fingers nervously, but dared 
not ask a question. Gerald dropped into a deep 



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200 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

armchair with such a look of misery on his face, so 
exhausted, that Sylvia did not know how to construe 
it. 

She waited silently, and Gerald looked at her^ 
mana^g a slight smile. 

"Plucky little Sylvia!" he said, and it came to 
Sylvia that he had said precisely that years before 
when he had taken her off the rocks from the in- 
coming tide. "Scared to death, yet standing by 
in case you could help mel You do help, Sylvia. 
It's no end helpful to know you're down here when 
I'm fighting upstairs; this is the second timel We've 
won out once more, but this was by a narrower 
margin. She's asleep now. Sylvia, there can't be 
many more times." 

"The one thing that would comfort me, in your 
place, is that it's hard for her to keep coming back to 
suiFer over again," said Sylvia. 

"Certainly. Unless one is an utter brute he has 

to be willing to see her free from pain. But " 

Gerald stopped. 

"Yes," said Sylvia, assenting to what Gerald 
could not trust himself to say of his love and need 
of his mother. "It is not yet, anyway, Gerald. 
And now," she added, trying to speak cheerfully, 
"I'm gomg to ask your woman in the kitchen to 
make you a fine cup of coffee, and then you go off to 
rest, while I go home." 

"I'll order the coffee; we'll both have a cup, and 
I'll have it brought in here. Perhaps you'll play to 



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" — iTihabits There" 201 

me a little, and then I'll take you home in the car.*' 
Gerald was on his feet and going toward the door as 
he spoke. 

"I'd rather, much rather walk. I'm sorry I 
came, if you bother over me. I thought, if you 
needed help, letters written, telegrams sent, anything, 
I'd be someone, even I haven't experience," said 
Sylvia, distressed that he should serve her. 

"I know precisely what you thought, Captain 
Sylvia, Comrade Sylvia," said Gerald. "I might 
have needed you badly; I suspect I might have been 
badly bewildered. Stay where you are; don't you 
know it will be good for me to drive after this? 
Mother won't waken; she has to be given morphine, 
you know." 

Gerald went to order the coffee, but was back 
quickly and asked Sylvia to play. "Mother can't 
hear," he said. 

He seemed so much like a big boy that Sylvia was 
surprised. She had hitherto regarded Gerald as 
decidedly grown up; she kept toward him much of 
the attitude of her childhood. But now, under the 
reaction of a respite from his threatened sorrow, 
Gerald seemed a simple, quiet boy; a good boy, who 
was doing what he had been told to do; who might, 
conceivably, have just been punished and so was 
subdued and quiet. She did not mind him now any 
more than Lloyd; there was much of the same honest 
boyhood in him that she liked in Lloyd. Sylvia 
was fast concluding that boys were similar to one 



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202 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

another, while there was no end to the diversity of 
girls. 

Sylvia began to play. She had talent, and her 
touch upon the keys was that singing touch that 
fingers the keys almost as if they were harp strings, 
and brings out of the piano all the legato sweetness 
of which it is capable. 

Sylvia had been as lazy about practice as most 
children are, until, in the year in which, as she said, 
"she met her father," by which she meant the year 
in which they had grown close together, she had 
discovered that Mr. Bell sang. After which she had 
set herself faithfully to practise in the hope of playing 
accompaniments for him and now she played beauti- 
fully. Sylvia rightly judged that Mendelssohn's 
sweet clarity of mood, and Beethoven's sublime 
courage and faith in the eternal solution of earthly 
problems of suffering and wrong, would help Gerald 
now better than anything else that she could 
choose. 

She played movements from the Beethoven 
sonatas, and left them for some of Mendelssohn's 
loveliest Songs Without Words, till, to her delight, 
she saw that Gerald had fallen asleep, utterly worn 
out, his coffee half drunk on the table beside him, 
his head fallen over sideways against the rolled top 
of the big upholstered chair. 

"Poor Geraldl" thought Sylvia. "He'll be per- 
fectly disgusted with me and himself when he wakens, 
but I'm going to steal away!" 



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" — Inhabits There" 203 

She slipped off the piano stool and noiselessly 
crept over the rugs to the door. Then she went 
down the hall and found the maid. 

*'MilIy, I was playing to Mr. Ritchie and he fell 
asleep. He is so tired I Please tell him that I 
slipped out and went home, and not to mind, be- 
cause I truly would rather walk, and that I was de- 
lighted to know that he was resting; will you?" she 
said, 

"Surely, Miss Bell," said Milly. "Mr. Gerald 
has it hard for such a young man, and this his va- 
cation time from hard study, and loving his mother 
as he does. I'll tell him. I heard how lovely and 
quiet you were playing; I listened. He'll be ready to 
have me beaten for not calling him, but you are right, 
and good and kind to spare him." 

Sylvia went homeward slowly, thinking grave 
thoughts, with a sense of adult responsibility upon 
her that was new to her. 

Cassandra met her in the doorway; she had been 
watching for her, 

"Miss Sylvia," she said, "there is trouble." 

Cassie's manner, her expression, was little short of 
tragic. 

"Oh, Cassie, what.'" cried Sylvia, her strained 
nerves making her feel that there was little else in 
the world, so that, unlike herself, she was quick to 
take alarm. 

"It is O'Malley!" said Cassandra. 

Sylvia dropped down on the nearest chair. 



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304 "^ho Is Sylvia?" 

"Cassandra! Not, not O'Malley!" she gasped, a 
band tightening around her heart. 

"O'Malley" — Cassandra repeated the word aw- 
fully — "went up into Norah's room, took Roseleen's 
hat. She heard, and after him. He ran to the 
window, high as it was " 

**Cassiel" gasped Sylvia, clenching her hands and 
shudderingly pressing them across her eyes. 

*' Yes I " said Cassie. " Dropped that hat out the 
window. Turned an* down over the stair's fast's he 
could leg it, out the door, grabbed the hat " 

"Didn't jump out the window? Isn't hurt?" 
fairly screamed Sylvia, leaping to her feet. 

"Jump out? A dog? Now 'f 'twas a cat! Cer- 
tainly he didn't jump," said Cassandra, scornfully. 
'"Course he isn't hurt. But Roseleen's hat is more 
than hurt; it's chewed to bits I An' she's crying her 
eyes out for it, poor little girl; clothes mean so much 
to her, an' Norah bought that hat in New York for 
her, an' it's the apple of her eye." 

"Goodness! I'll buy her a whole orchard for 
each eye!" cried Sylvia, beaming with joy. "I'll 
buy her barrels of apples, or eyes, as to that! 
I'll get her such a hat that she'll have a medal 
struck for O'Malley, Distinguished Service Medal! 
Where is the precious old ninny?" 

"Round about," said Cassandra in high disgust. 
"Ninny he is. If 'twas a puppy you would expect 
no more of him, but a dog near five years old!" 

"He is only four; please, Casabianca, don't in- 



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" — Inhabits There" 205 

crease his agel" Sylvia remonstrated. "I went 
doing Grecian dances and time hung heavy on his 
hands — paws! — and youth leaped in his veins. Oh, 
there he is! Charles O'Malley, the Irish Dragoon, 
come here, dog of the world I Oh, if you had been 
killed ! " Sylvia sat down on the floor to hug O'Malley, 
not grown up after all. 



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CHAPTER XIV 

"Then to Sylvia Let Us Sing" 

f ABORATORY ASSISTANT, I would rather you 
'^ would come to the laboratory at about noon to- 
day, not as early as usual. Would that seriously 
incommode you? You note that I don't mind 
incommodingyou a little? I am afraid that is true." 

Sylvia looked up quickly, thinking that she de- 
tected something out of the ordinary; she knew that 
it could not be many days before the test of her 
father's experiments to prove the theory, upon which 
he had long been at work, would be made. She won- 
dered whether the day, for which she was hardly 
less anxiously eager than he was, could have dawned, 
but her father smiled at her just as he always did; 
she could not see that he looked different, so she de- 
cided against her suspicion. 

"No, Father; it won't put me out one bit, not me 
myself; all I intended to do this afternoon was to 
get at chit»ns for Ruth and me, under Aunt Helen's 
Grecian leadership — she had Greek plays and things 
at college, so she knows the ways of a worthy chiton. 
We can do that any time. I've been aching — and 
dreading I — to overhaul my room. I'll do that till 



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"Then to Sylvia Let Us Sing" 207 

twelve, then I'll call; 'Let me in! Let me in!' like 
the fairy-tale wolf — was it? — at the lab. door. Will 
that suit you, Cruel Parent, who drives away his one 
child?" Sylvia asked. 

" Perfectly. Didn't you ever find out that cruelty 
is often only the reverse side of kindness ? Wait and 
see whether or not I'm cruell " Mr. Bell gathered up 
some loose memoranda sheets which lay beside his 
plate, and went out. 

Sylvia went to the swinging door that led into the 
pantry between the dining room and the kitchen. 

"Roseleen, I'm going up to my room to sort out 
ever so much to be thrown away from still more to be 
kept. Will you come up after an hour or more with 
dusters and broom, and pan and brush, and take up 
the bits I'm sure to scatter?" she called. 

"Yes, miss, and that gladly," said Roseleen, who 
was eager to seize every chance for personal service 
to this young creature who seemed to her like an 
embodiment of all the loveliness that she had ever 
dreamed of as crowning maiden saints and fairy 
princesses, and, best of all, was so kind to little 
Roseleen. 

Sylvia ran singing upstairs. The first thing that 
she did was to tie a white cloth over her dark hair, 
with a slight twist of upstanding ends which made 
it becoming to her sun-browned skin and oval face 
contours. 

She looked around her, standing uncertainly in the 
middle of the room for a moment. Then she decided 



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2o8 "fFko Is Sylvia V 

as it was a foregone conclusion that she would decide, 
to begin on her bookshelves, and dropped tailor-wise 
down on the floor before them. 

" I suppose I ought to clear out a lot of the truck I 
have on top of these shelves," thought Sylvia, taking 
in each hand a toe of each shoe as they came out 
under her skirt on opposite sides from their proper 
right and left hand position. 

She looked up along the low shelves on which was a 
queer mixture of china figures which she had loved 
and played with in her childhood; together with some 
pieces of rare and valuable pottery. There were 
several beautiful little reproductions in colours of 
old Italian madonnas and angels, two architectural 
photographs. Yet with these were three childish pic- 
tures of nursery subjects, chubby babies and highly 
accomplished animals, illustrating fairy tales. 

Across the room were her "sporting goods," as 
she herself said : bat, racquet, poles, net, flanked by 
her "ladylike belongings"; Sylvia's dressing table 
and dresser were covered with the finest linen, beauti- 
fully embroidered; the tools for her toilette upon 
them were handsome with the plainness that only the 
best materials and designs attain. 

"It's a nice room, in spite of itself," thought 
Sylvia. "I do like it, even when I get back to it 
from other girls' pretty rooms, but it certainly is 
piccalilli in design! Perhaps on my twenty-first 
birthday I'll put away all the kiddy things and make 
it consistent. There's that forlorn china cat with 



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*'Tkfn to Sylvia Let Us Sing" 209 

the broken ear tips. I ought to chase her off. But 
how I used to carry her about, and how I loved her! 
She was so smooth to clasp, and so kind to suck when 
things got too bad to be borne, and I had to be con- 
soled! It's mean to go back on her. It's I that have 
changed not she! I don't care how she looks, sitting 
there against that heavenly blue jarl She shall sit 
there awhile longer, anyway. I won't say scat to 
you, so don't be troubled, Pussina, my dearl" 

Sylvia fell upon her bookshelves, having renewed 
this decision, frequently made before, and began to 
take out books, assorting them as she went, into 
three piles: "Certainly. Uncertain. No." So she 
labelled the piles in her own mind, meaning books 
she would not give up, books that she might give up, 
books that she would not harbour. 

" Funny the books people do buy, and strange they 
buy them to give someone else," thought Sylvia. 
"One shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but 
what can be done when the animal seems to be all 
mouth, and comes at you with it stretched high and 
wide ? " Sylvia laughed a little with enjoyment of her 
own picture of the steed upon which she was meditat- 
ing. She had grown up so separated from children 
of her own age by her brotherless and sisterless 
state, and her constant reading, that she had early 
formed the habit of entertaining herself in this way. 

"Oh, Roseleen, I'm nowhere near ready for you," 
Sylvia cried as Roseleen presented herself in the 
doorway. "I've only begun!" 



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2IO "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"Yes, miss, and I didn't come," said Roseleen, 
her meaning clear though she surely was there in her 
proper person. "It's company, miss; someone askin* 
for you, and it's Mr. Ritchie, he told me to say, and 
would you forgive him comin' this early, but he — 

he 'Deed I don't know what it was at all he said 

he came for, but 'twas to see you, 't anyrate." 

"I'll find out, Roseleen," said Sylvia, scrambling 
to her feet, first disentangling one of them from her 
skirt, which had caught it, perhaps to punish a young 
American for sitting like a Turk. 

Sylvia ran out of the room and down the stairs 
before Roseleen could sufficiently recover her pres- 
ence of mind to remind Sylvia of her improvised 
dusting cap. Consequently when Sylvia came into 
the room Gerald Ritchie turned to greet her, but 
laughed with an admiring look of amusement, and 
instead of "good morning" said: 

"Hallo, Beatrice Cenci — or is it Madame Reca- 
mier?" 

"Why either?" asked Sylvia. 

"They both wore their head tied up more or less 
like that," explained Gerald, and, as Sylvia put up 
her hand and started to untie her white covering, he 
added: "Let it alone, Sylvia. It's quite nifty and 
no end becoming. Looks domestic — not lab. to- 
day?" 

"Not yet. It is domestic, excavating my own 
room, and getting ready for the dust of centuries to 
settle on my head — it does on excavators, doesn't 



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"Then to Sylvia Let Us Sing" 21 1 

it ? Did we say good morning, Gerald ? And is your 
mother comfortable ? " Sylvia asked. 

"Good morning, Sylvia," Gerald said, docilely. 
" Mother is rather more comfortable than she often is, 
thanks. Please, Sylvia, let me apologize. When I 
found you'd gone, walked home, and that I'd actually 
fallen asleep with you there, you ! What can I say f " 

"My playing never had such a tribute before," 
said Sylvia. "I tried so hard to make you rest. I 
was perfectly delighted, and as proud as a peacock to 
find I'd made you relax, even to sleep! I liked the 
walk home; it's no distancel Why, you do mind, 
don't youf 1 thought you only felt you ought to 
mind, because it wasn't the correct thing for a host 
to do when he's entertaining a lovely girl I Oh, 
come, Gerald, it wasn't a lovely girl; it was only 
Sylvia, the youngster you've always known. Do 
you suppose I don't know how one drops all down in 
a small heap when there's been such a frightful 
strain, and it's over? I loved to have you go to 
sleep; it was nice and helpful, and I was heartsick 
when I thought I was no sort of good to you!" 

"No good ? Sylvia " Gerald checked himself. 

"Will you come with me, just for a tiny spin — if you 
can't come for a long one — and let me do two things: 
First, let me pretend it was yesterday, and I was 
taking you home. Sort of a consolation prize, don't 
you see ? I'm awfully upset by yesterday, and you 
can't make me feel it wasn't beastly rude. Anyway, 
I don't have you at home so often that I can afford a 



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112 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

nap, waste time. Then, secondly, I want to tell 
you how much good you did do me, what I think of 
your starting right off, leaving the crowd and 
coming along when you knew I was in trouble, like a 
blessed little Sister of Charity! I can tell you better 
when I'm driving, and Td like to tell you. But 
there's still one thing more. Mother wanted me to 
bring you back with me, even if you could not stay 
more than a few minutes. She wants to see you; 
there's something she wants to give you. Mother 
realizes, of course, that she is not sure of an hour. 
She is fond of you, Sylvia ; there is something that she 
would like to say to you in case — before she — ^while it 
can be said, you know." 

Sylvia's first impulse was to run back upstairs, 
whisk off her dust covering, whisk on her hat and a 
long coat over her morning gown, and go with Gerald. 
He looked so cast down with mortification over 
his nap that, though Sylvia thought it foolish, she 
wanted to make him feel better. But as he further 
unfolded the motives of his desire to get her to go out 
with him, Sylvia changed her mind. She did not 
want to be told how Gerald felt about her impube 
to help him in his sorrow; she did not want to hear too 
much of his gratitude to her. And when he went on 
to say that his poor mother wanted to tell her some- 
thing before she died, Sylvia recoiled. She liked 
Mrs. Ritchie; above all, she pitied her, but she shrank 
from a demand upon that pity, instinctively dreading 
the form that demand might take. In stories dead 



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"Then to Sylvia Let Us Sing" 213 

hands sometimes held tight on young lives. Sylvia's 
healthy youth drew back from any attempt that 
might be made to bind her above a grave. 

"I can't go out this morning, Gerald," Sylvia said. 
"I must be in the laboratory before long. Anyway, 
please never thank me for going home with you. It 
was such a little thing to do. Who wouldn't stand 
by when trouble came? I've owed you a debt, any- 
way, since I was ten, for taking me off the rocks I 
Tell your mother I'll go to see her soon. Thank her 
for asking me; tell her I will go soon. Ruth and I 
have talked of going often. But I can't go to-day." 

"There's no need of my reminding you that the 
days to go may be few, Sylvia," Gerald said, sadly. 
" I won't urge you, but Mother wants you. You've 
been too kind for me to be importunate." 

"I wish you wouldn't act and speak as though I 
were coming off a mountain top, Gerald Ritchie," 
crid Sylvia, impatiently. "I'd hke it a lot better if 
you'd act as if I were what I am, Clement Bell's Httle 
Sylvia, grown tall, but no more consequence than 
the ten-year-old snip you used to be nice to, when 
the other big boys couldn't see her from their im- 
mensely superior height!" 

"When a child grows into a woman, a beautiful, 
clever, splendid girl, she is of more consequence. 
You're always fighting that fact, but you've got to 
pay for being the " 

"Give me time then," cried Sylvia, interrupting 
Gerald's hesitating yet emphatic praise. "Pay- 



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214 "H^ko Is Sylvia f" 

ment isn't due yet I If I've got to be broken to har- 
ness, even silken harness, you've got to let the colt 
run wild, or free, for another year or so. Goodness, 
Gerald, I only want to be happy, can't you see that f " 

"You make it clear enough," admitted Gerald. 
"To be happy means to you to be let alone." 

"I've tried that for eighteen years; it worked 
well," Sylvia reminded him. "It's as if all the rest 
of you were taking the watch to pieces to see it run!" 

"I'm afraid I'd better take myself off, Sylvia, and 
let you go back to your work." Gerald smiled, but 
not happily. "I wish you could come with me. 
May I come soon to take you out? And am I for- 
given for my stupid rudeness?" 

"You aren't forgiven for dropping off when you 
were completely worn out, because that was the 
rightest sort of right thing, but I suppose you must 
be for^ven for making a fuss about nothing, though 
that's always a little hard for me." Sylvia laughed, 
but she meant it. "Good-bye, nice Gerald. I do 
like you a lot: you know that. And give my love to 
your mother. I'll go to see her soon, quite soon, 
truly." 

Gerald took the hand Sylvia held out. She gave 
his hand a hearty squeeze of sympathy, knowing that 
he was saying to himself: "It is not safe to delay 
coming." Poor Gerald! And about this great 
matter he was entirely simple, making no appeal for 
sympathy, no outcry over his gnawing pain. 

Gerald went slowly away, got into his car, and 



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"Then to Sylvia Let Us Sing" 215 

drove off, without looking back to the house where, 
upon the piazza, Sylvia stood waiting to give him a 
final farewell wave, 

"She likes me enough, and not too much to say so 
frankly. She wrings my hand like the best sort of a 
boy chum, standing shoulder to shoulder, and sorry 
if I'm hiti Comrade Sylvia she is, the best sort of a 
loyal, devoted comrade, but love I Sylvia Bell puts 
up her frank friendship as a barrier against it, and 
that's a barrier that can't be broken through," 
thought Gerald, sadly and wisely. 

Sylvia, going slowly back to her room, felt a little 
hurt that Gerald had not given her a chance to wave 
to him. 

"He is fine," she thought. "I never knew him 
till this summer, wasn't enough consequence to be 
knownl He's the finest boy I know — ^well, of course 

Lloyd! " Sylvia interrupted her own thoughts 

to say aloud to Roseleen, whom she found waiting for 
her: "There's no use going on this morning, Rose- 
leen. My father wants me in less than an hour. I'll 
have to put off my unlucky room again. We'll 
bundle back these books I took out — except these 
which I'm going to send to the poor heathen, if 
there are any heathen I've a grudge againsti Rose- 
leen, callers in the morning, however nice, are hold- 
backs!" 

"You've but to look for it, miss, when you're 
young an' lovely. Once you're married you'll be 
let do housework with no one interruptin' you," said 



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2i6 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

young Roseleen, with the philosophy of one still 
fifteen and untroubled. 

Sylvia set back the books which were to remain 
on her shelves, and threw herself across the bed, 
watching Roseleen dust the room, carefully taking 
up and setting down on the same spot exactly each 
of the incongruous articles which years had drifted up 
on Sylvia's shelves, and which sentiment had held 
there. 

"Roseleen, I forgot to tell you that I think Mrs. 
Leveritt will take you on as a sort of second-second 
maid — say. two-and-a-half maid," Sylvia said, sud- 
denly. "She'll teach you the best ways in all the 
world of doing the best things in the world for you to 
do, and in all the world I don't know another such 
lovely, dear, sweet woman! I've been hoping she 
might take you, and I think she will. You'll be a 
lucky Roseleen if she willl" 

"Do you go there a great deal, miss? You do, to 
see Miss Ruth. Then I'll Be glad to go, since you 
can't make room for me," said Roseleen, and Sylvia 
felt that she had received a compliment that was 
worth having. As Thackeray long ago pointed out, 
a servant has great opportunity to know his employer, 
and his criticism is not based on conjecture. 

"Twenty-five minutes to twelve, Roseleen! As 
everybody always says: Where has this morning 
gone ? " sighed Sylvia, indolently pulling herself erect. 

"It's gone to join the first momin' that ever was, 
in the Garden of Eden, miss; that's what Sister 



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*'Then to Sylvia Let Us Sing" 217 

Aquinas used to tell us, at home in school, did one of 
us ask that, an' she'd say they was all one, now, 
when they'd slipped past us into eternity," replied 
Roseleen. 

"Why, Roseleen, that's a beautiful answer, and 
most profound!" cried Sylvia, delightedly. "Did 
the children take it inf" 

"Oh, yes, miss, in a general way," said Roseleen, 
calmly. "We do Be hearin' many of such answers at 
school. Often we'd not pay attention, but it comes 
to you later on; like that now." 

Sylvia smiled, but she looked thoughtful as she 
went into her dressing room to prepare for laboratory. 

"I may dress for dinner, I'm sure," she thought. 
" Father must be playing some sort of game with me. 
I'm not to work at this hour, that's sure." 

So she put on a white dress, and fastened into 
place a narrow ribbon belt of the most delicate blue 
around her waist. 

"My best-beloved loves blue. He told me once 
that my mother wore it a great deal," Sylvia said 
when Roseleen expressed her pleasure in the line of 
lovely colour falling into the snowy film of her skirt. 
"I like to wear blue and white for Father. All 
through, Roseleen? I expect your hat to-night. I 
ordered one from Baytide, described what I wanted 
on the telephone, and I'll be disappointed if it is 
not even nicer than the one Charles O'Malley tore to 
pieces. Would you expect an Irish terrier to tear up 
a little Irish immigrant's hat, Roseleen?" 



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2l8 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"It's hard tellin' what any Irish'll Be at, miss," 
said Roseleen, to Sylvia's delight, "let alone a terrier 

dog." 

Sylvia carried out her programme, and went to 
the laboratory door, where she meekly announced 
herself with three distinct knocks on the door. 

Eben Tompkins opened it; he looked, for him> 
excited — Eben was a phlegmatic person. "Come in. 
Miss Sylvia; we was lookin' for you," he said, and 
Sylvia wondered, for Eben was too true a Yankee to 
call her Miss under ordinary conditions. 

"Welcome, Assistant!" said Mr. Bell, coming 
forward to greet Sylvia. He took her hand as if 
she had been a ceremonious caller, and, holding it, 
brought her into the laboratory. 

"Assistant, I have an announcement to make to 
you in which you are deeply concerned " 

"Father I" cried Sylvia, trying to clasp her hands, 
forgetting that her father held one of them. "It's 
done? It's a success?" 

"It is done; it is a successi" her father echoed her. 
"Miss Bell, you have helped to establish a scientific 
fact which will be of immense service to the world." 

"Did you get the last result this morning? Is it 
exactly as you expected ? What shall you do about 
it?" cried Sylvia, 

"I was ready to clinch it last night, but it was 
better to wait till this morning. It has worked out, 
developed precisely as I foresaw that it would. My 
guess has proved to have been correct. I shall 



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''Then to Sylvia Let Us Sing" 219 

publish the history of our process, its development, in 
a pamphlet that will be sent to all the scientists in the 
world who are interested in our line of investigation. 
'Clement Bell. Laboratory Assistant Sylvia Bell,' 
That's the way the pamphlet will be signed I Those 
names will be printed clear and black, directly under 
the title of the discovery, on the cover page. How 
about it, Assistant?" cried Mr. Bell. 

"Oh, Father! Heavenlyl" cried Sylvia. Then 
she reconsidered. "No; not me, no! It's too ab- 
surd. A girl like me, who only did what you told her 
to, who doesn't know beans!" 

"It was not beans, if you recall it; it was the lower 
forms of sea life with which we worked it out, my 
dear," said Mr. Bell, gravely. "I would not take it 
upon myself to pretend to the world that you knew 
beans, but I'm going to have my girl's name on the 
title page of that pamphlet announcing this discovery, 
if only to gratify a certain feeling I have toward her. 
Sylvia, dear, aren't you the innermost associate of 
everything that I do. In the deepest sense, but, in 
this special thing, have you not worked with me 
toward my end?" 

"Yes, Father," said Sylvia, swallowing hard. 
"I'm — I'm pleased and happy; don't mind me." 

"As though I didn't know," cried Mr. Bell. 
"Sylvia, we dine out to-night! Invite Ruth, Lloyd, 
and who else " 

"Gerald Ritchie!" cried Sylvia, promptly, "He's 
having such a hard time. And — oh, that's enough!" 



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220 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

"And we'll celebrate our triumph at the hotel 
in a dinner that probably will not be so good as 
Cassie's, but will mark an Occasion," Mr. Bell ended 
his sentence. 

"Father, I am happy!" cried Sylvia. "I don't 
see how I can be so happy, when there's only one of 
me! I feel like at least twelve people, all filled to 
overflowing!" 

She flung herself rapturously on her father's neck, 
who had been wondering at the delay of this part of 
the reception of his news. 

"You seem to be at least twelve, Daughterkins ! 
You are a vigorous young person!" he gasped. 

But it was easy to see that he did not object to the 
onslaught, and that to him Sylvia counted, not for 
twelve, but for the world. 



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CHAPTER XV 

"That Sylvia Is Excelling" 

/^ASABIANCA, I feel much stranger^and more 
^^^ like a stranger to myself — than the little old 
woman did who had been to market 'her eggs for to 
sell' and fell asleep by the highway. She had only 
her skirts cut off. I've had a whole laboratory cut 
off. You can't imagine how strange it is not to go 
out there every morning to work," Sylvia said one 
morning three weeks after the dinner in honour of 
Mr. Bell's triumph. 

"It must," said Cassandra. "Habits bind us, 
which is why we have to take care to make 'em the 
right kind. Ain't your father going on with those 
nasty things, out there?" 

"Oh, he could never drop his work," cried Sylvia. 
"But he will not go on this summer; not this summer 
and perhaps not for much longer. Maybe we'll 
'sail away for a year and a day to the land where the 
bong-tree grows'l Maybe we'll go abroad. Would 
that be too hard on you, Casabianca dear? You'd 
always stand by? Would you mind dreadfully if we 
went away.Father and I, and didn't stay on the burn- 
ing deck with you — were gone more than a year, 
you real Casabianca?" 



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222 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

"I do wish. Miss Sylvia, you'd drop that foolish 
name, which is near enough like Cassandra to be 
the worse for it. It was bad enough when you were 
younger, but now a great girl like you! How do 
you suppose it sounds?" Cassie cried, her long- 
standing grievance breaking out anew. 

"Nice and silly, but no end flattering," said Syl- 
via, promptly. "Would you grieve for us, Casa — 
Cassandra?" 

"Miss Sylvia, I'm a rational human being, I hope, 
and I couldn't expect you never to go about, but 
stay right here, now you've grown to be eighteen 
and five feet seven. I am steeled to what may 
arise. But your dog is not," said Cassandra. 

"No," said Sylvia, sadly. "O'Malley would pine. 
He'd get into the papers as one of those unbearable 
cases of the dog dying of a broken heart, longing for 
his owner. I told Father I wouldn't go unless we 
could first be sure that O'Malley would be reason- 
ably contented. What I want to do is to get a car, 
learn to drive it, take it over with us, and let 
O'Malley go, too. Then travel about in our own 
car, O'Malley on the front seat beside me. Father in 
the back. And who do you suppose beside himf 
Cassandra Billings ! How's that for a programme ? 
And Father says it's feasible I" 

"Me! In Europe!' cried Cassandra, turning a 
dark red. "Miss Sylvia, how could I? I never 
approved of Europeans. Lots of 'em can't speak 
English. I misdoubt people of other races. I've 



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3.n.llzedbyGOOg[C ] 



"That Sylvia Is Excelling" 223 

been brought up from my birth to believe that the 
English tongue sort of brought a blessing to its 
users, so to speak, and that other countries had to 
get along in some sort of a makeshift way. What 
do you suppose they know in It'ly about the 
Pilgrim Fathers and how they cast off their shackles 
into the breaking waves, dashing high, so to speak?" 

Sylvia deserved credit for the gravity with which 
she heard this rhetorical question. 

"Sadly little, I'm afraid, Cassie, but on the other 
hand there are people here who haven't read Dante, 
and would fall down badly in an examination in — 
say the Ghiberti gates in the Baptistery at Florence, 
or what happened when Clovis became king of 
the Francs I We won't take Bunker Hill monument 
over to measure things by. Wouldn't you love to 
go, Cassie?" she cried. 

"I missed my own bed when I went to Niagara 
Falls that time. Yet I might go. I'd hate to feel 
there wasn't any one to look after you, if you got a 
sore throat, or your father, either," Cassie admitted. 

"Father is honoured, recognized, I mean, at last, 
Cassie 1" Sylvia said. "He's had the nicest letters 
frpm the scientific schools. He announced the 
result of his work to them first, by letters. Dear 
me, I've no business to stand here talking to you, 
with all that must be done for the Greek Fete to- 
night!" 

Sylvia fled, but as she went Cassie said, proudly, 
yet contemptuous of the rest of the world : 



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224 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

"I never knew what your father was at til! you 
explained it to me, Miss Sylvia, but I knew's well's 
I do now that he was great enough, if that's alll" 

"Casabianca!" Sylvia called back. "Burning 
decks wouldn't budge you!" 

It was the day of the fete, come at last. August 
was in its third week; the summer had flown, crowded 
with nothing of moment, apparently, yet crowded, 
so Sylvia felt, with nameless moments which were 
signiBcant, combining to work changes. The island 
which was named "Hen and Chickens" lay off 
Paxton, not far from shore. It had received its 
name from being one central island, with several 
small hummucks connected with it which had once ' 
been separate small islands, but which had been re- 
vealed by the subsidence of the tide waters to be 
basically connected with the largest mother island. 
This was some four acres large, rising up from the 
water to a plateau top, upon which the dances were 
to be given. 

It was an ideal place for a thing of the sort. The 
audience would be scattered at the "Hen's" base, 
filling all the "Chickens," and the dances against 
a summer sky on the top of the hill of the main 
island would be visible equally all around the tiny 
archipelagian group. The moonlight, supplemented 
by electricity, would clearly illumine the theatre, 
while clothing it with the mystic poetry of their 
rays. 



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"Thai Sylvia Is Excelling" 225 

The treasurer reported a large sum of money, the 
proceeds of the sale of tickets. The Yacht Club 
had bought tickets to a man, and for all the members 
of their families. The yachts were turning out in 
great numbers, not merely Paxton's fleet, but those 
from the neighbouring colonies along the shore, and 
from Baytide, the considerable town near by. 

The performers, shrouded in cloaks, gathered at 
the rear — if there be a rear to a round island — of 
the Hen, brought over in the generously offered 
yachts. 

There were dressing rooms improvised amid the 
trees. The collective island was abundantly wooded 
up its sides and over the Chickens, which heightened 
the opportunity for effective pictures on the plateau 
top of the main island by throwing the base into 
heavy shadow, contrasting with the clear, bril- 
liantly lighted space on the top. 

Hermione Elmsley was in her element, yet so 
nervous that the girls pitied her. 

"I want it to be good! Oh, I do want it to be 
good!" she repeated, not reaUzing that she spoke 
her wish aloud. 

"If you ask me, I think most of it is punk," said 
Maida Clayton. "You've made a mistake. Miss 
Elmsley; you'll see it too late. You can't expect 
amateurs to put a big thing Hke this across. Lots 
of these people never leamt fancy dancing. What 
will you do next, especially if this is no good?" 

"I shall teach in Baytide, whether it's good or 



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226 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

bad," said Hermione, trying not to mind what she 
knew was spite. 

Jack Jarvis was standing by, listening to Maida 
with a scowl. 

"She'll come to New York, that's what she'll dot" 
he said, "She won't teach anywhere if I can help 
it! Little peach 1" 

"WhatI" cried Maida, staring in sheer amazement. 

" Do you mean — I see you mean But it was 

Sylvia Bell!" 

"Yes, it was," Jack admitted. "Anybody that 
saw Miss Bell and didn't admire her — chump ! 
But she shied oiF, and I hadn't got it hard enough to 
die. Sylvia Bell's straight; she didn't let me get 
hard hit. Now I'm done fori We weren't going to 
say a word yet, but you need to be told, Miss Clayton, 
that Miss Elmsley has a permanent engagement. 
I'm going to show her to New York, and she'll spend 
her time teaching me to dance her steps, to her own 
music. Congratulate me I" 

"My gracious grandmother!" gasped Maida. 
"The Jarvis millions!" 

"Oh, say, Miss Clayton, I hate that, don't you 
know! Am I such a mess that you think only of 
Dad's ducats?" cried honest Jack in real distress. 

" You're a dandy good fellow, Jack Jarvis I Who's 
belittling you?" cried Gerald Ritchie, slapping 
Jack on the back as he came up in time to hear only 
what Jack said. 

"Say! Go light on your taps! A chiton's miles 



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"That Sylvia Is Excelling" 227 

thinner than a coat," remonstrated Jack. "I 
didn't like Miss Clayton's implying that Hermione 
wasn't getting much but cash, which I don't mean 
to allow to be all that she gets. Congratulate me, 
doc-elect: Hermione's going to marry me!" 

"By all that's wonderfull" cried Gerald. "I 
certainly do congratulate you, but even if it isn't 
the custom, I congratulate Miss Elmsley as much. 
He's a pippin. Miss Elmsley, and believe me I'm 
already a dandy at this sort of diagnosis!" 

"Oh, dear me, Jack, why did you say anything 
before the dances?" cried Hermione. "I didn't 
want any one to know yet ! Besides, I wanted to 
tell Sylvia Bell first, myself." 

"Don't mind me," laughed Gerald. "Miss Qay- 
ton and I can hold our tongues, for that matter, but 
let us tell I Won't we all dance gloriously in your 
honour, now!" 

There was not time for more than a swift rush of 
all the girls upon Hermione, and some rapid hand- 
shaking with Jack on the part of the boys, before 
the opening tableau was staged. 

It was a beautiful grouping of all the performers, 
and if its title: "On the Acropolis," left something 
to be desired in the way of Grecian architecture, at 
least the brow of the hill under the moonlight, with 
the sea glimmering around, beyond the picture, was 
soul-satisfying in its beauty. 

The group broke up into motion, a beautiful 
ballet of all the dancers, like an opening chorus. 



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228 "Who Is Sylvia r" 

Then followed the dances of one, two, and more 
performers. By the time three of these had been 
given there was no longer doubt as to the success 
of the fete. 

The audience was enthusiastically encoring the 
numbers, repetitions were necessary; the entertain- 
ment bade fair to last beyond midnight. 

Little Ruth Hapgood had a charming dance in solo, 
preceding her dance with Jack Jarvis, and introduc- 
ing it. Ruth's solo dance was The Search of Psyche, 
and it merged into the dance of Eros and Psyche, 
with Jack. 

Ruth was more like a fairy in her flowing white 
chiton than like a Greek. 

"Isn't she a darling?" cried Sylvia, waiting with 
Cierald for their dance, always ready with enthu- 
siastic admiration for Ruth. "She's so exquisite, 
so delicate, so like a shell cut in cameo I Could any 
one help loving her?" 

"It wouldn't be hard to love her," Gerald said, 
smiling, but his eyes rested on Sylvia, not on Ruth, 
kindling into pleasure in her joy in Ruth. 

"It's a base libel to say that girls are always 
jealous of one anotherl" 

"Of course!" Sylvia scorned the accusation. 
"I'm jealous for Ruthie; never of herl" 

"Yes, but she's not jealous of you, which is more 
meritorious," said Gerald. | 

"FuffI" cried Sylvia. "No hinted compliment 
over little Ruth's pretty head! I'd be lucky to 



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"That Sylvia Is Excelling" 229 

measure up to that small creature in one way, 
though I'm half a foot higher in the other sensel" 

Lloyd sauntered over to them. 

"Having a good time, Tink?" he asked. "You 
look pleased." 

"I am. You?" returned Sylvia. 

"Oh, yes; pretty good. It's a good show. I'll 
bee it's a dream seen from down there where the 
audience is. But they paid to see it; we didn't," said 
Lloyd. "Any special plan for getting home, Sylvia ? " 

"No. Father is here, of course, and Cassandra; 
Norah and Roseleen, for that matter. I'll have 
plenty to see me safe," said Sylvia. 

"Count me in, Tink. In fact, count the others 
out, and me in I I have Gwendolen here, and I 
want to drive you back," said Lloyd. 

"How did you get her over here?" asked Sylvia, 
with apparent innocence. 

"Over at the Club House, when the yacht brings 
you across. Poor thing! So young, yet her mind 
quite gone! Thinks Gwendolen can be driven on 
the ocean! She's not a submarine, my child; she's 
a super-terra!" Lloyd said, severely. 

"What it is to be in college and know Latin 
derivatives!" sighed Sylvia, "But I knew Gwen- 
dolen was some kind of a terror! All right, Lloyd- 
boy; I'll go home in Gwendolen, and I'm properly 
grateful." 

"We're called, Sylvia. The Diana-Endymion & 
Co. dance is next," said Gerald. 



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230 "ffho Is Sylvia ?" 

His face had clouded over. Sylvia treated Lloyd 
like her old-time comrade, which he was; they talked 
impertinent nonsense to each other, far removed 
from sentiment, yet Gerald felt that it stood for 
profound aifection and trustful, mutual under- 
standing. It seemed to push him off into the ranks 
of the outsiders. In vain he reminded himself that 
in this familiarity lay his best hope of one day 
winning from Sylvia the sort of love he wanted from 
her, that Lloyd was to her almost a brother. The 
fear of it lingered with him; he told himself that 
he "did not like it." 

There was no possible way to arrange a drop 
curtain before this island stage, as indeed, if there 
had been one, it must have been hung all around the 
crown of the hill, the audience being placed com- 
pletely around "the Hen" and on all the encircling 
"Chickens," the performers turning on all sides as 
they danced. Therefore it was necessary for the 
dancers to take the stage and assume their positions 
in the eyes of the spectators as a sort of tableaux 
vivant. Gerald, as Endymion, strolled out, wan- 
dered about a moment, then lay down and fell asleep. 
After the briefest space of time Diana came out, 
leading her nymphs, who emerged on all sides from 
among the trees, and began their dance. 

Tall Sylvia, in her floating Grecian draperies, 
clasped at the shoulders by rhinestones that gleamed 
almost like precious gems; a luminous crescent above 
her dark head, carried regally on her slender neck. 



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"That Sylvia Is Excelling" 231 

above her strong, shapely young shoulders; her bow 
in her hand, her quiver on her hip, was so lovely a 
sight that a subdued murmur rippled through the 
massed spectators, breaking into applause quickly 
subdued. 

Diana's nymphs were selected with especial ref- 
erence to throwing into full effect the beautiful 
young goddess's height. They were closely matched ; 
all at least half a head shorter than Diana; graceful, 
accomplished dancers; not one incompetent, for this 
was one of the most charming and important of the 
evening's numbers. As she danced in a swift run- 
ning step, with sudden significant pauses, bending low 
as if espying game coursing the forest, Sylvia was the 
embodiment of girlhood; free, innocent, and glad, 
and, streaming after her, came many white-robed 
maidens, all moving rapidly, with an indescribable 
effect of joy in life, and in living green things, and in 
stars and winds. 

But suddenly Diana stopped, poised as if for 
flight, one foot tipped on the toes, in the pose of 
the Diana of the Louvre. 

Then she began to move in a totally different way, 
in swaying waltz time, to a plaintive waltz, played 
delicately by one violin. She had seen EndymionI 
Around and around the sleeping youth Diana and 
her nymphs danced, admiring him, till he wakened, 
and, rising on his elbow, he watched the goddess and 
her train. 

As he started up to join them, Diana and her 



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232 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

nymphs fled, their flight made like the flight of 
doves, white draperies flowing backward, white 
arms curved above their heads, rhythmically run- 
ning in long, gliding steps, from the mortal. 

The applause that arose was interspersed with 
enthusiastic cries of: "Braval" "Again!" "Encore!" 
"Come Back!" 

Diana came dancing in alone and, prefaced by the 
prettiest play of unwillingness, coyness, yielded her 
hand to Endymion and danced with him a beautiful 
dance of joy expressing that, goddess and mortal, 
each was lovely in the eyes of the other. 

Gerald danced as few young men can, or will 
let themselves dance, being for the most part too 
self-conscious for this sort of art. Gerald danced 
as Endymion, forgetting Gerald. Sylvia was a 
vision; her slender grace, her willowy height, her 
lovely face alight with eagerness, enjoying her own 
motion, made a picture that no one who saw her 
would ever forget. 

"What a girl you have there, Clement!" said 
an old Paxton man to Sylvia's father. "Other 
girls may have something that she has, but Sylvia 
Bell alone excels in all ways; as a loving daughter, 
in beauty, cleverness, grace, and — most of all — in 
her happy innocence!" 

"Yes," said Mr. Bell, tremulously, for Sylvia thus 
set before him on the hilltop seemed to him newly 
revealed to him. "It's contrary to convention for 
me to say, but who is like her? God keep her thus!" 



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"That Sylvia Is Excelling" 233 

Sylvia and Gerald were held before their audience 
to the utmost limit of possibiHty, but at last they 
were allowed to disappear. 

Gerald turned to his partner with a look, half 
smiling, half near to tears. 

"They didn't want us to stop, EHanal I wish 
we never mightl" he said. 

Lloyd, looking miserable, came up to congratulate 
Sylvia. Ruth, first of all the girls crowding up 
to celebrate her triumph, reached up and pulled 
down to her Diana's crescent-crowned head. 

"It was so wonderful, my darfing, that I adore 
you for it, but, oh, Sylvia, don'tl Here's our 
blessed old Lloyd I" 

There were but two other numbers to follow the 
Diana and Endymion dance. The final one, like 
the opening dance, brought together all the per- 
formers for a sort of ballet finale. 

It was hardly over, indeed the audience was 
clamouring for at least a partial repetition, when 
Mrs. Leveritt came hurrying up the side of the 
hill with a distressed face. 

"Geraldl Where is Gerald Ritchie Oh, here 

you arel Gerald, your mother is ill. The doctor 
is there. It is not her ordinary seizure. She has 
asked for you, and for Sylvia BelL I am going 
with you. Sylvia, get your cloak; you must go 
as you are; no time to losel Come, poor Gerald!" 
she said. 

Hardly realizing what washappening, thus snat- 



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234 "^Ao ^J Sylvia r" 

ched from triumphant enjoyment, Sylvia obeyed, 
caught up her cloak, and, with Mrs. Leveritt, 
followed by Gerald, made her way down to the 
beach where a small sailboat was waiting to take 
them to the mainland. 

It was only when they were part way across 
that Sylvia realized that Lloyd was with them. 

"Gtoendolen's a roadster, but we can all hang 
on somehow, and I'll run you up quicker than 
any one else, so I came along," he said, quietly. 

There was scarcely a word spoken going across. 
Suddenly Sylvia asked: 

"Does Father know?" 

"Yes; I totd him. He understands," said Mrs. 
Leveritt, and no one spoke again. 

Mrs. Leveritt took Sylvia on her lap in Lloyd's 
roadster, Gerald stood on a running board, Lloyd 
drove. It never occurred to any one to think how 
the car must have looked, driven by a youth in a 
Greek chiton, another Grecian youth on the run- 
ning board, Diana on a modem American lap within 
the car. Too great a matter lay before them to let 
them remember incongruities. 

"Gerald, my son," said Mrs. Ritchie, clearly. 
"You are here!" 

TTiis was her welcome to Gerald in words, but 
she put her arms over his shoulders, as he dropped 
on his knees before her, and smiled feebly at Mrs. 
Leveritt. 

"Leave us, please. Sylvia, stay," she said. 



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"That Sylvia Is Excelling" 235 

"Dortor, this is not as usual. Is it " Gerald 

began as Mrs. Leveritt left the room. 

"This is the last time," his mother answered 
for the doctor, who confirmed her by a nod to 
Gerald. 

"Sylvia," said Mrs. Ritchie, speaking slowly but 
quite clearly, "this is my ring, my betrothal ring. 
Promise me that, by and by, when he is graduated, 
you are ready, you will marry Gerald. Promise 
it, Sylvia Belli I am dying. Let me die happy. 
Take the ring." 

"I can't; oh, I can't!" cried Sylvia, shrinking. 

"You love Gerald," said the mother. 

"No. I don't love any one but Father. I Hke 
Gerald, like him ever so much, but I can't promise 
thatl" Sylvia sobbed miserably. 

"You are too young to know. It will be right; 
you will be happy. There's no one like Gerald. 
Promise, promise I How can you deny me this, 
now?" cried the dying woman, taking Sylvia's hand. 

"Oh, I prom I can't!" cried Sylvia. 

Gerald arose to his feet. He had been over- 
whelmed by this unexpected scene. 

" Mother, you must not ask it. I did not know 

Sylvia,, go, dear; go awayl" 

Gerald gently, firmly, pulled Sylvia up on her 
feet, took her by the shoulders and pushed her be- 
fore him to the door. He opened it, thrust her 
through it, and closed it behind him. 

Sylvia, bent and choking with sobs, found Mrs. 



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236 "Who Is Sylvia?" 

Leveritt anxiously awaiting her; Sylvia dropped 
into her loving arms. 

"Aunt Helen, Aunt Helen I I have refused to 
let a dying woman have her last drop of comfort! 
I wouldn't promise! And now I almost could 
promise for the beautiful thing Gerald has done in 
sending me away, sparing me; and he is there alone I" 
she sobbed. 

"Thank Heaven, dearest! She had her heart 
set on this, and did not realize the wrong she tried 
to do! Thank Heaven, you have not promised! 
It would have been wrong, horribly wrong! Such 
a promise must not be given out of pity to the 
dying but out of love for the living. If, later, 

you give Gerald that promise for his own sake 

Never mind, Sylvia, dearest child! It is cruelly 
hard, but entirely right!" Mrs. Leveritt comforted 
her. 



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CHAPTER XVI 

"She Excels Each Mortal Thing" 

TN A white skirt and middy blouse, with her 
■*■ newly washed hair tied at her neck with a blue 
ribbon, Sylvia, sitting on the upper step, curled 
up with one foot under her so that her height was 
not perceptible, looked minus three of her eighteen 
years. In fact, she felt eighteen plus three years, 
for sitting there, little-girl fashion, she had been 
thinking long and serious thoughts. 

Her reason for this place and position was that 
O'Malley had been stoned into the yard by a pass- 
ing boy, merely because there were stones at hand 
and a dog to throw them at, and not from personal 
animosity against O'Malley. 

O'Malley's psychology did not make this clear to 
him; his feelings were deeply hurt, and his mistress 
had dropped down thus near to his level in order 
to take his head in her lap, and with a palm on either 
side of it, rub out from his brain his sense of injury. 

"Yet you do know, Charles O'Malley, that it 
is not your way to be meek under wrongs. You 
are by nature a scrapper, my terrier. Own up. 
You don't know that boy, and you don't really 



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238 "fFko Is Sylvia r" 

care much what he does, but you grieve over not 
getting a chance to bite his legsl Vm sorry about 
that myseif; he'd no reason to attack you. But 
you might have been shot as a dangerous character, 
if you had done it, so it's better as it is. It's an 
unjust world, Dragoon-of-my-Heart, in which punish- 
ment does not always fall on the guilty." 

O'Malley took a closer hitch to Sylvia as she talked 
to him, bringing not only his head but his shoulders 
into her lap, heaving a great sigh as a bid for further 
sympathy, which more than compensated the poseur 
for his lost peace of mind — and not a stone had 
struck him. 

But that little piece of acting was wasted by 
O'Malley. Cassandra came out and said: 

"Miss Sylvia, Ruth Hapgood called. I couldn't 
get all she said because that Mrs. Henderson — and 
Hinderson's what I call her and it suits her betterl — 
had her receiver down, listening in, as usuati But 
whatever I lost don't matter much, for Ruth said 
she was coming over." 

"That's good, Cassie. I'd like to see her," 
said Sylvia. "It's rather empty when Father's 
away. It doesn't seem as though he would be 
back to-morrow. But he's having a beautiful time 
seeing his scientific brethren ! It would be fun 
to get Father to have this telephone Une taken 
out and put in a private wire! Mrs. Henderson 
would lose us as source of information! I'm told 
she's particularly curious here, tool Yet it would 



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"She Excels Each Mortal Thing" 239 

be a shame; people who listen to other people's 
telephone messages must be sadly in need of enter- 
tainment! I was thinking, Cassie, if I feel lost 
and lonely when Father's gone less than a week, 
how must Gerald Ritchie feel, knowing his mother 
cannot come back? And he has no one that really 
belongs to him; and a young man left atone is so 
much more helpless than a girl. A girl would have the 
care of her house. Don't you think lonely women 
often make a house stand for family?" 

"I know it, but I don't see how you do," said 
Cassandra. "On the other hand, he'll go back to 
college and get taken up studying, and derive com- 
fort from cutting up folks." 

*'0h, Cassandra!" Sylvia was honestly shocked. 
"I don't think you altogether like Gerald." 

"Do, tool" declared Cassandra, with an obstinate 
look. "Or I would 'f I didn't like Lloyd Hapgood 
so well. You're sort of taken up with Gerald 
Ritchie, and he's a fine boy. I'm willing to admit 
that, older and all, he sort of outshines Lloyd. But 
Lloyd's young, and he hasn't an ounce of conceit 
to help him show off, though to my way of looking 
at it, there's just about ten times as much to be 
seen where 'tain't shown than where 'tis. Lloyd's 
what I call real estate; solid investment, won't 
run off, nor fail you." 

"Yet real estate can depreciate in value. It 
depends so much on what happens in the neighbour- 
hood," said Sylvia, with a desire to tease Cassie. 



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240 "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

"However, Cassie, no one need defend Lloyd to 
me. I always say that he is just Lloyd, and that 
covers it. I'm as fond of him as I could be if his 
last name was 'Bell'." 

"Not the other way about?" Cassandra suggested. 

Sylvia chose to ignore the suggestion. Instead 
of answering it, she said: 

"You always see stra^ht, and you brought me 
up and know me better than any one else does, 
Cassie. Do you think I am cruel not to have 
given that promise to poor, dying Mrs. Ritchie? 
I keep thinking and thinking about it, and I do 
feel dreadfully. You see, I needn't have kept it 
for a long time. Gerald has two years more in 
medical college, then hospital time to put in, so 
perhaps, before I had to face the consequences he*d 
have seen someone he liked better, and no harm 
would be done." Cassandra gave a short laugh. 

"Sylvia," she said — and that showed that she 
was profoundly interested, for she would never 
accept her privilege of calling her charge by her 
first name without its prefix — "Sylvia, you do seem 
like a little girl, seen in one of those glasses that 
pull a body out long and out of proportion! But 
you're not such a silly as to ask seriously if you 
ought to gjve such a promise as to marry any one, 
trusting to luck to get out of keeping your word! 
And whole volumes and 'tombs' as I've heard 'em 
called, though why books should be called ^tombs' 
I don't see, however solemn the subjects, couldn't 



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"Shf Excels Each Mortal Thing" 241 

tell you any plainer whether 'twould be right for 
you to say you'd some day marry Gerald Ritchie 
than you tell yourself when you hope, maybe, he'd 
like someone else better I Girl alive, that's the 
last thing in the list you could hope if you was 
anywhere near to liking him enough!" 

"That's true, Cassiel That is true!" cried 
Sylvia, evidently relieved by the light thus shed 
upon her darkness. "I've read such numbers of 
stories, too. I ought to know how the heroine 
walks the floor nights if the hero sees another girl 
ever so far ofTl I'd be delighted if Gerald would 
fall in love with Rutht And there's no way I 
could praise him higher. I really didn't quite 
want Jack Jarvis for her, though he is nice. I 
didn't want her slighted for me, that was all. But 
Gerald is good enough for any one, even for blessed 
little Ruthikins." 

"Suppose Lloyd liked Sally Meade, or someone, 
best?" said Cassandra. 

"That's different," said honest Sylvia after a 
slight pause. "He couldn't, because he is Lloyd. 
Being Lloyd means never changing, and Lloyd 
and I were chums from the start." 

" Chums 1 H'mt Here's Ruth," said Cassandra, 
turning away. 

"Sylvia, going out sailing?" asked Ruth, coming 
up the steps. "Why are you sitting here?" 

"I was going sailing; I dressed for it. O'Malley 
has been asking me if I weren't going, but I had to 



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241 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

disappoint him," said Sylvia. "I sat on the steps 
to cuddle him after a bad boy stoned him, and 
I was too lazy to get up. Cassie came out and talked 
to me, so I just continued to sit. She told me 
you called up to say you were coming over. Any- 
thing on? Mercy, lend me your hand and pull, 
Ruth I My foot is dead; IVe been sitting on it 
so long!" 

"The triumph of mind over matter!" observed 
little Ruth as she pulled Sylvia to her feet by 
the hands which she held up to her. Then, as 
Sylvia clasped a piazza post and swayed around it, 
holding up her numb foot from contact with the 
floor, Ruth said: 

"I want to talk to you about the proceeds of the 
fete. We're rather uncertain. You see we cleared 
more than we expected to make. Sally arranged 
with Hermione, and we were to pay her three hun- 
dred for training us. We have a little over five 
hundred clear. What shall we do with it?" 

"Don't bother about it; give it to Hermione, 
she won't mind! Ruth, I'm crippled for life!" 
cried Sylvia. 

*'Yes, but Hermione is going to marry Jack Jar- 
vis," Ruth reminded her. "It doesn't seem sen- 
sible to hand over to her two thirds as much again 
as she was to get, if she's to have the Jarvis fortune." 

"Pay her three hundred, and buy her a wedding 
present with the other two. Or a wedding present 
for Enos Coffin and his Allimetta. Send it to a 



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"She Excels Each Mortal Thing" 243 

home for cripples — that appeals to me nowl" 
Sylvia hopped about on one foot, gjngeriy trying 
the returning circulation of the afflicted one by 
putting it down and instantly drawing it up again. 

"If the committee would agree I'll tell you ser- 
iously what I'd like to see it used for," Sylvia cried. 
"I'd like to see it spent for something nice for 
Gabriel Gaby." 

"Sylvia, he wouldn't take it," cried Ruth. "I'd 
like that, too, if he would." 

"Of course he wouldn't take it as a cash present, 
but he would take a gift, bought and sent to him, 
wrapped up in pretty words, telling him how every- 
body respected and loved him. Gabriel has a 
soft heart, susceptible to afFection. See if the rest 
would think well of that," cried Sylvia, carried 
away with the idea and the picture it painted before 
her of the old man, whom she truly loved, beaming 
with delight over his tribute. 

"They won't mind; the rest, I mean. They 
don't care who has the money as long as they had 
the fun," said Ruth. "I love the ideal But, Sylvia, 
what would you get him?" 

"Nothing that he really needs," said Sylvia 
promptly. "He has enough to live on in his own 
funny little, clam-like way, and he gets most of 
his wood on the beach, when the autumn winds and 

tides blow in the drift. We Father sends him 

things to eat; Cassie, or someone in our house, 
cooks and takes him savoury little messes often. 



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244 "^o I J Sylvia?" 

Gabriel is stark mad about music. You know how 
he makes his harmonica do unheard-of feats. I say 
send him a small organ; six octaves would be 
more than he'd ever need, an^l his shack is tiny. 
But send him an organ) He would be the happiest 
man on the coast, and on the opposite coast of 
Great Britain I He'd play and sing when the storms 
blew around him, and, when one of us dropped in 
on him, we'd play to him. Oh, truly, Ruth, that 
would be a great thing to do! He wants a clock 
badly, too. If we can manage it, let's get a little 
parlour organ and a clock for dear old Gaby!" 

"Sylvia, what is the reason you beat us as you 
do?" Ruth beamed on the girl for whom she felt 
a sort of adoration. "We were racking our brains, 
and we couldn't hit on an idea that any one really 
liked, not even the person suggesting it! So Sally 
Meade said: 'Go ask Sylvia what she thinks; she'll 
hit on some peachy thing that no one else would 
ever see'. You seem to feel what will set people 
up rather than to think of it! I wonder whyF" 

"Oh, Ruth, for goodness' sakel I don't know! 
How can I know when it isn't so? And besides, if 
it were, who knows Gabriel Gaby as I do, of you 
all? Wasn't he my sailing teacher, my harmonica 
music-master, and my philosopher and friend? 
'Course I'd think of him! We're intimate friends," 
cried Sylvia, impatiently. "You'd ruin me if I 
didn't have a wee bit of sense! I'd be hke that 
woman George Ade wrote of, whose shirtwaist 



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"She Excels Each Mortal Thing" 145 

was all over pinholes from the medals that had 
been pinned on it — only she pinned on her own 
medals I Two hundred is not much for an organ, 
but a little one — and not too magnificent F Per- 
haps we can! I wonder if Baj^ide might have 
one second-hand? The sort of parlour organ I 
mean, worked by pedals, would be likely to be 
sold second-hand, I'd think! Only people like Gabriel 
would want one; he'd love it madly!" 

"We'll get Lloyd to drive us over," declared 
Ruth. "Or— or— Gerald, Sylvia?" 

"His car is a touring car; Lloyd's a roadster. 
Sally ought to go." Sylvia refused to hear Ruth's 
implication. "What does Hermione say? About 
everything, you know? It is a surprise! You 
don't mind the Jarvis millions ? It is hard on nice 
old Jack to speak only of his money; he was rightl" 

"I mind I They never came anywhere near me I" 
cried Ruth. "Do you mind?" 

"/ mind? I never once thought of it in that 
wayl" cried Sylvia, and they both laughed. 

"Hermione doesn't say much. She looks per- 
fectly happy. I'm sure she doesn't think first 
of the millions," Ruth then answered. "Jack is 
perfectly happy, too. We'll have a magnificent 
wedding in Paxton, because here's where it happened ; 
such a wedding as this town never saw, at Christmas. 
I shall come back for it. The New York part of 
the affair will be here, of course. You'll see Jack's 
sister Peggy, Sylvia, but it will be too late! I 



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«46 "ff^ho Is Sylvia?" 

know you're to be asked to be maid of honour, and 
I'll be a bridesmaid, with half a dozen more — dear 
me! Talk about glory and fun I Oh, me I" 

"Luscious!" cried Sylvia, gleefully, too thoroughly 
a girl not to smack her lips over this coming feast. 
"It may not be so bad to be grown up, after all, in 
winter! In summer that sort of good time wouldn't 
be so good, but in winter, when The Walloping 
Window Blind is pulled up and covered, and all 
the rest of the boats, too, then a grand wedding 
will come in fine. Ruth, I never saw one! You may 
have, at your home, but I never did I" 

"I never did, either, except pretty weddings j 
nothing magniBcent. And I never took part in 
one, never!" declared Ruth. 

"Then it isn't true that you are a widow?" 
cried Sylvia, with amazement considerably exag- 
gerated. 

She caught little Ruth's hand, tucked it through 
her arm, and began to parade the piazza, bending 
down toward Ruth with an air of complete devotion, 
and both girls sang the "Bridal March" from Lohen- 
grin through closed teeth, fondly believing it sounded 
a Httle like a pipe organ. 

"Sylvia, we are losing our minds!" declared 
Ruth, stopping their nonsensical march. 

"Ruthie, we had none to lose!" retorted Sylvia. 

"Come upstairs and make yourself pretty, and 
let us lay our plan before the committee, and then 
get one of the boys to drive us over to Baytide 



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• "She Excels Each Mortal Thing" 247 

to stalk an organ and a clockl That is, if they 
approve, but I know they will. If the organ costs 
two hundred, we'll all chip in to buy the clock, 
anyway. Your father is away; come and lunch 
with us. Aunt Helen grumbles all the time that 
we can hardly catch a gHmpse of you nowadays." 
Ruth turned toward the house as she spoke, and 
Sylvia docilely followed her, O'Malley bringing 
up the rear with a downcast air, knowing that his 
hope of a sail, called into being by Sylvia's middy 
blouse and duck skirt, was dashed for the morning. 

"It's a grand and glorious plan, Captain Sylvial" 
declared Sally Meade when she had heard the sug- 
gestion for the use of the unexpected funds. 

"Take me to Baytide with you! We want to 
get our three hundred for Hermione in gold. And 
we want to have a jollification to present it to her, 
and celebrate her engagement. Say, wasn't that 
a surprise, though! Here were we plotting to help 
Hermione stand for her principles and perceptions, 
against Maida's lack of these valuable possessions, 
and by and by we shall all contrive to speak care- 
lessly of knowing well Mrs. Jack — ^John Jarvis, and 
be hoping she'll invite us to her box at the opera! 
Virtue wasn't its own reward this time; there's 
a lot more to it, but it's come out on top, that's 
sure!" 

"It's a nice fairy-tale ending," said Sylvia. 

"Not a grim tale?" hinted Sally, but Sylvia 
and Ruth practised upon her their method of pun- 



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248 "fflto It Syhiaf" 

ishment which they called "ignoring." It con- 
sisted of a haughty turning away of the up-tilted 
head, and a baleful stare of contempt straight into 
the punster's eyes. It was anything but ignoring; 
it clearly conveyed the enormity of a pun. 

Sylvia and Ruth went to Mrs. Leveritt's, leaving 
Sally with the understanding that they were to 
pick her up to drive to Baytide at half-past two. 
In the meantime, Sally was to see the other four 
girls of their committee, and if there were any ob- 
jection to the plan of a gift for Gabriel Gaby she 
was to telephone to Mrs. Leveritt's to say so. 

"I can't take you all," said Lloyd, mournfully. 
"Why did I choose a roadster? I had my choice; 
Father told me to take whatever I wanted in that 
line. What a chump I was! Yet it has advantages 
at times! I'll hire a car, a touring, same make, 
and then you can all go. Aunt Helen, too." 

"We want to ask Gerald Ritchie to drive us, 
Lloyd," said Sylvia, somehow feeling the explanation 
incumbent upon her. "He needs to get out. He 
might not go for pleasure, but he will go to 
take us." 

"If you want him, of course, Sylvia," said Lloyd, 
stiffly. Then his natural kindness asserted itself; 
he was ashamed of being churlish. 

"Right you are, as usual. Captain Sylvial" he 
said, heartily. "Poor old doc is having a hard 
time. He looks finished. There's no one there 
with him but the two servants. It seems he hasn't 



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"She Excels Each Mortal Thing" 249 

so much as an aunt, and though we know what 
aunts are, don't we, Sylvia?" — Lloyd frowningly 
shook his head toward his beloved Aunt Helen to 
signify what a trial an aunt might be — "though 
we know aunts are hard to endure, still it would 
be something to have one, when you're left like 
Gerald. He's arranging to close the house when 
he goes to college, and that makes it worse. A 
shut-up house ts the gloomiest thing this side of 
the Styx. Call up Gerald, and put it to him strong 
that we need him to help us out." 

"You, Ruth!" said Sylvia, with a smile for . 
Lloyd that was sufficient reward. Ruth called 
up Gerald, and got so speedy an answer that it 
showed him at hand when the bell rang, and she 
said: 

"Gerald, are you too busy to be charitable this 
afternoon? We want to go to Baytide, Sylvia, 
Sally, Lloyd, and I, to invest the proceeds of the 
fete. We have no car: would you take us? Bless 

you! I knew you would and Hold the wire, 

Gerald! Aunty, shall I get him here to lunch 
with us, poor boy?" asked Ruth, turning back to 
the room, her hand over the mouth of the instru- 
ment. 

"Gerald," Ruth resumed when Mrs. Leveritt 
had said a hearty Yes, "are you there? We are 
going to take lunch here, at Aunt Helen's. Please 
bring the car around and lunch with us, then we can 
Stan right away afterward. . . . Nonsensel Just 



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250 "ffko Is Sylvia f" 

ourselves and Sylvia! . . . That's right, Gerald I 
Surely we want you! . . . Indeed you're not a 
Itilljoy, ever! Besides, we are only going to eat infor- 
mally, just as always at home, and then go on a 
charitable errand! There's no question of a frolic. 
Good-bye! Thanks, Gerald!" 

Gerald came. He was thinner, pale, his eyes 
cloudy, Sylvia thought. She had not seen him, 
except at the funeral, since the night his mother had 
died, the night when, but a short time before her 
death, Gerald had danced the Endymion role to her 
Diana. 

The effort that everyone made at first to be 
natural made the three young people constrained and 
unnatural. Mrs. Leveritt, only, could be her natural 
sweet self, for she was old enough to be Gerald's 
mother, and there was nothing to restrain her impulse 
to treat him with the affectionate pity that she felt 
for him in the loss of his mother. Sylvia could not 
forget that she had refused Gerald's dying mother 
her heart's desire, nor that this must be equally 
Gerald's heart's desire. 

Ruth and Lloyd were embarrassed by the compli- 
cation of many emotions connected with Gerald, and 
also by their inexperience in dealing with grief. 
There is a great disadvantage in feeling a strong 
sympathy when one is too young to know what to 
do with it. 

Gerald, however, did not allow himself long to be 
a burden upon his friends. He threw aside his 



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"She Excels Each Mortal Thing" 251 

sorrow and made his entertainment easy for Ruth 
and Lloyd, even, which was harder, for Sylvia. 

Mrs. Leveritt, watching him, felt herself go out to 
Gerald with great hking for his unselfishness. 

The party for Baytide got off in good time, stopped 
for Sally Meade, and were off, spinning down the 
perfect level road at a speed just enough beyond the 
limit to add interest to the progress. 

They found in Baytide a small organ for which the 
music dealer, who had taken it in part payment for a 
piano, acted apologetic when he said that he "must 
ask them eighty-five dollars, times bein' what they 
were." It was a pleasant-toned little instrument, 
better than the average, and the red felt background 
for its machine-turned ornamentations was unfaded. 
They also found a clock that Sylvia recognized the 
moment that she set her eyes upon it as the clock- 
afiinity of Gabriel Gaby's soul. It was a clock that 
hung on the wall; that struck the half hours, and 
chimed the hours on four bells; which had a clear 
face, with unmistakable Roman numbers, and an 
expression that was a guarantee of character. For 
this clock the dealer asked thirty-five dollars, which 
the committee willingly paid, and with no slight 
satisfaction put the clock in its box in the car. 

"We have eighty dollars left!" cried Sally Meade. 
"I^t's get a rug for Gabriel, as bright coloured and as 
large as our money affords." 

This they found to be an Axminster, eight by 
eight feet square, which in Gabriel's room would 



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252 "Who Is Sylvia t" 

cover all the floor that was visible beyond his furni- 
ture. With five dollars, still unused, they bought a 
coloured print of a ship magnificently surmounting 
waves of the highest sort. 

"I think dear old Gabriel will almost die of joyi" 
cried Sylvia, delighted with this last purchase, her 
own su^estion. 

A truck was to bring the organ and the rug over to 
Paxton the next day, and the five young people, 
refreshed with Baytide's special brand of sundaes, 
started back to where they had left Gerald's car. 

It all happened in an instant. Sylvia started to 
cross the street ahead of the rest. She slipped on a 
spot on the asphalt pavement wet with oil, and went 
down as a motor truck passed over her. 

"Sylvia!" 

It was Sally Meade, only, who could speak. Ruth 
crumpled up on the sidewalk without a sound. 

Gerald and Lloyd threw up their hands, and Gerald 
darted forward. Lloyd, his hands covering his eyes, 
groped his way after him. 

There was the instantaneous crowd around Sylvia 
that an accident seems to evoke, but it let the boys 
through, recognizing by their anguish that Sylvia was, 
in some way, theirs. 

Together they dropped on their knees beside her, 
and Gerald lifted her slightly. "Sylvia!" Lloyd 
spoke her name. 

Sylvia opened her eyes and smiled at him, then at 
Gerald. 



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"She Excels Each Mortal Thing" 253 

"I thought I was dead. I do not believe I am 
hurt," she said. 

It was true. By almost a miracle the great truck, 
which would have crushed her, had spanned Sylvia's 
body as she fell, and there was not a mark upon her 
delicate skin to show that she had escaped a horrible 
death by a margin so slender that it could not be 
expressed. 

The two boys helped Her to her feet; her masses of 
dark hair fell around her, jarred down in her fall. 
She was white to her lips, but she laughed bravely, if 
tremulously, and waved her hand to Sally. 

"What a girl!" "Suppose she'd have been killedl" 
"Isn't she beautiful?" murmured the crowd, falling 
back with joy on every face. 

"It's Sylvia Bell of Faxton, the one they call 
Captain Sylvia I There's not her equal anywhere," 
said someone as Sylvia gained the sidewalk. 

Ruth was in worse state than Sylvia. Gerald 
went after the car and took the girls in from where 
they were. They drove home in silence. What 
could be said i 

But as they stopped at the Bell house, and Ruth, 
who was to stay with her, got out wjth Sylvia, 
Gerald said: "At least it has shown me that I had 
not fully learned to be unhappy." 



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CHAPTER XVII 

"Upon This Dull Earth Dwelling" 

'\J'R. BELL returned unexpectedly the same day 
•^ ■*■ upon which the purchasing committee had 
driven to Baytide. 

Sylvia was alone on the piazza with O'Malley 
when he came. The realization of her danger that 
afternoon, and how, in a brief moment, she would 
have been hurled from her joyous, vivid youth into 
a horrible death, had been increasing with the passing 
hours. Most of all, she thought of how her father 
would have been summoned by telegram and would 
have come home to find only the crushed, broken 
body that had been his girl. The imagination of his 
anguish in that desolation gripped her so strongly 
that she hardly remembered the personal effect of the 
tragedy, had it befallen, upon herself. 

"I should not have been here. I should be dead! 
Sylvia Bell dead! Why, how strange! But, oh. 
Father, Father! How could he have come into this 
empty house I" she thought. Then looking up she 
saw her father, coming unexpectedly in at the gate; 
he had arrived on the last train from Boston. 

She leaped to meet him with a cry that startled 
him, and clung to him, laughing and crying. 



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"Upon This Dull Earth Dwelling" 255 

"Father, Father, my dearest! Oh, I'm so glad, 
glad to see you! So glad you're seeing me I" she 
cried. 

"Sylvia, what has happened?" asked Mr. Bell, 
setting down his bag and taking the largest piazza 
chair. 

Sylvia dropped down upon its arm and laid her 
cheek on her father's head, his arm encircling' her. 

"You might not have found me here. I came near, 
nearer than near, to fail ofwaiting for you!" she said. 
Then she told him what had happened that after- 
noon. Mr. Bell did not speak. He turned and 
gathered Sylvia into his arms, drawing her tight to his 
breast as if she had been a child, and like a little child 
she clung to him speechlessly, like a child that has 
been taken up out of a nightmare in the dark and 
carried into light, into the safety of loving arms. 

"There's no word but: Thank God!" Mr. Bell 
broke a long silence by saying. "We'll have to be 
good, my Sylvia, after this!" 

"That's what I've been thinking. Father," Sylvia 
laughed tremulously. "I've been thinking you and 
I must give up all our bad habits, by way of thanks- 
giving. Only I wasn't sure My strongest habits 

are you, O'Malley, and the catboat. I don't be- 
lieve I must give up these ? And your strongest bad 
habits are me and the laboratory! Father, we seem 
to be quite nice, already, when we take an inventory, 
don't we?" 

"One of us does," said Mr. Bell, tightening his hold 



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256 "Who Is. Sylvia r" 

on his treasure. *' Don't give up me and O'Malley; 
we'd both sufFerl And don't give up The Walloping 
Window Blind, because you'd suffer! I think the 
best thing is to keep straight on in your old way. 
After all, it is a way sufficiently approved to have 
made you preserved to mel" 

"With a sharp look out to improve upon it," 
Sylvia amended the arrangement. "Father, since 
I am here, alive, I'd better see that you don't starve 
to deathi What about a nice, cozy httle supper? 
We didn't expect you; we'd planned to have several 
truly luscious things for you to-morrow night, but I 
know there are two pleasant, cold, soft-shell crabs, 
which will be agreeable, though cold, and new bread, 
and a two-story cake, and some peaches, and I'll 
make coffee in a jiffy. Cassie is out, sO is Norah. 
Roseleen went to Aunt Helen this afternoon, to live 
there." 

"Ihavehad supper, Lady Bountiful," said Mr. Bell. 
"Yours sounds as though having had another was 
a misfortune. You've made me hungry all over 
again!" he added, seeing Sylvia's look of disappoint- 
ment, knowing how dearly she loved to prepare him 
food. "Suppose I forget the other! I'd be made 
happy with all those delectable viands, if you have 
nothing better to do than to get supper for me." 

"There's nothing in the world better to dol" cried 
Sylvia, jumping up with a quick little kiss that was 
aimed at her father's cheek, but lighted on his ear. 
"I'm perfectly happy when I'm seeing you eat any- 



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"Upon This Dull. Earth Dwelling" 257 

thing I get ready, dearest poky Scientist! You 
must tell me all about the other poky scientists, and 
what they said to you, and what you answered back 
— all saucy-like I And what you're going to do next, 
and whether you saw a nicer, taller, better-looking 
girl, whom you liked better than your foolish Sylvia, 
and — and — everything! That will be after the 
crabs, and while you sip the coffee I I've nothing to 
do to-night; I forgot to say. I thought they'd be 
here asking if I was still up and doing, but they're 
not — ^thank goodness!" 

"They?" inquired Mr. Bell. 

"Ruth and Sally, Gerald and Lloyd, who were 
with me," explained Sylvia. " Fatherums, you don't 
know how I like to be at home like this, nobody com- 
ing; just ourselves, and I getting your supper!" 

"I see that is trae," said Mr. Bell. "That's 
another thing for which to be grateful to the extent 
of feeling obliged to be good. There's time enough 
for anything more to intrude, I don't believe I'm 
criminally selfish." 

"There isn't anything more. How can one be 
more than perfectly, blissfully happy? I'd like to 
keep right on as I am for another eighteen years I" 
cried Sylvia, darting through the pantry door into 
the kitchen, snatching down an enveloping bungalow 
apron as she ran and throwing it over her head; it 
was indeed a happy face that emerged through it 
and turned upon Mr. Bell. 

But Mr. Bell shook his head dubiously. 



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258 "fHio Is Sylvia?" 

"Thirty-six! Oh, I'm not so sure of that! You'd 
be twice eighteen then, Sylvia, and that's the sere and 
yellow leaf," he said. 

"FufF!" cried Sylvia. "Gabriel Gaby's sixty-six 
and he's not in the sere, nor yellow; he's in the green 
leaf] He's younger than any one. I'm sure some- 
body tacked the wrong initial on him; that he's 
Gabriel Baby, not Gaby! He's a sort of strayed, 
salt-water cherub, little round Gabriell Father, 
we've bought him an organ, a clock, a rug, and a 
picture, high colours, ship in full sail. I'm sure he'll 
weep for joy and dry his eyes on Mate. She won't 
mind! She's used to salty dampness, that cat!" 

Sylvia bustled about,humming as sheworked,tumed 
on the flame of the gas stove for the cofl^ee, got butter, 
the cold crabs, and fruit from the refrigerator; spread 
the end of the dining table with sundry doilies; got 
out the necessary plates, a cup and saucer, the silver, 
singing and chattering to her father as she hurried 
his supper, choosing to rosh it, under the pleasing 
Action that he was sufl^ering pangs of hunger while he 
watched her. 

Truth to tell, Mr. Bell did discover an appetite as 
he watched Sylvia fly about and caught whifi^s of the 
peaches she was cutting up, the bubbling cofi"ee which 
she prided herself upon making, "as well as a French 
woman," she told him. 

"How she loves the homely, intimate things, this 
beautiful young Diana!" thought her father. "How 
little spoiled she is by praise and admiration! I 



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"Upon This Dull Earth Duelling" 259 

doubt she fully realizes that her crystal purity, her 
fine scorn of all that is not fine, even this womanly, 
domestic side of her, are the inEuence they are upon 
her comrades. What have I done to deserve this 
girl of mine? At home in the clouds, and at home on 
the dull brown earth; that's Sylvia," 

But instead of voicing his thoughts, he said: 

"If you don't hurry, Sylvia, I'll forget everything 
that happened to me on my trip, and youll never 
know what the scientists said to me, nor what I 
answered back!" 

"You ungrateful Clement Bell! Am I not getting 
supper so fast that I expected you to think I was 
Titania, with Puck helping her, instead of Sylvia F 
Come, then, starving father, and see that you don't 
leave so much as one grain of sugar." 

Sylvia took her own place at the head of the table 
to gloat over her father eating. Since she was not 
eating, she permitted herself to rest her elbows on 
the table, framing her flushed face in the support of 
both her palms. She looked warm, but entirely 
happy, her eyes shining with the unspeakable delight 
of a true woman who is supplying the need of food to 
the Dearest Man. 

Mr. Bell looked across at her, and the sudden 
realization of how that lovely young face might 
have looked at that moment if the heavy truck had 
not missed her between its wheels sent the blood back 
against his heart, which stopped for a few beats, 
making him dizzy. But he drove away the horror of 



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26o "Who Is Sylvia?" 

that thought, turning with all his force to enjoyment 
of his great happiness, so nearly turned into incurable 
grief. 

With Sylvia listening, eyes and ears and pride in 
him all active, Mr. Bell told her where he had been, 
whom he had seen, what had been said to him of 
the probable result of his contribution to scientific 
knowledge. 

"I have the first proofs of the pamphlet in my 
bag. Assistant. We'll go over them together. And 
I'm going to take a vacation from further laboratory 
work for a while, perhaps a good while. I shall 
accomplish more for letting myself unconsciously 
mature in my mind another idea that is half formed. 
What would you say to going abroad this autumn? 
Say in October?" Mr. Bell ended. 

"Oh, of course I want to go! Yes, I more than 
want to go!" said Sylvia, slowly. "But — it is dear 
at home! And I could learn more about cathedrals 
and galleries; I'm not so particularly up on them! 
Wouldn't you like better to get a car, let me learn to 
drive it, take Ruth and Cassie and drive to Colorado, 
or California? Or both to California and Colorado? 
Then we could take O'Malley easily; he'd die if we 
went abroad and left him!" 

"I truly believe that is the real ground of your 
preference!" cried Mr. Bell. 

"He would, literally, die I" persisted Sylvia. 
"Not the least doubt of that. And it does seem a 
shame to let a perfectly good, devoted Irish Dragoon, 



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"Upon This Dull Earth Dwelling" 261 

like O'Malley, pine to death. I couldn't enjoy any- 
thing that cost such a friend as O'Malley! And, 
truly, I'd be perfectly wild with joy driving across 
the continenti I can't sail in winter, you see, Father, 
and that would be nearly as much fun. And we'd 
take Ruth, wouldn't we?" 

" 'See America first', the slogan?" suggested Mr. 
Bell. "Also O'Malley go bragh? I must say, I 
couldn't sentence that dog to heartbreak! All right, 
Sylvia. I am entirely ready to agree to your 
substitution. There is plenty of time for Europe — I 
only fear there may not be plenty of Europe for the 
time; things are not encouraging over there. Of 
course we'd take Ruth!" 

"Wasn't that easy to settle?" cried Sylvia, sur- 
prised. "1 think we ought to put that through. 
I'm afraid I'll want to settle down at home when the 
rime comes, be content to drive no farther than 
Boston. I'm quite a setthng-down person, Mr. Bell 
— for a person that's never still. I'm afraid I 
ought to be ashamed!" 

"Not of contentment, and love of home, Lady of 
the House!" said Mr. Bell, positively. "Now, I've 
done almost what you told me to, and I'd not have 
left the grains of sugar, if I didn't drink my coffee 
black. Do you clear away, or leave it for Norah?" 

"I'll -set the butter back into the refrigerator, and 
I'll pile the plates in the pantry sink. I wouldn't 
like to come in at bedtime to find a cluttered table, if 
I were Norah, and it's fair to put yourself in her 



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262 "fFko Is Bylvia?" 

place, Isn't it? Besides, Cassie has a little tiger cat 
out here who came to us, and who doesn't mind 
O'Malley; I suspect because she needs a home too 
badly not to risk a terrier. I'm going to put these 
crab remains out for her," said Sylvia, carrying out 
much of her design as she talked. 

"Consideration for your maid and the little 
beasties. That's right, Sylvia. The merciful ob- 
tain mercy. Perhaps the kindnesses you're fond of 
doing, dear, stood between you and the wheels of the 
truck to-day," said her father. 

"I'm not especially kind, Father. I like everything 
and everybody to be safe and happy, though," 
Sylvia said, putting her hand into her father's arm 
to return to the piazza. 

In the afternoon of the next day the Grecian 
Committee, as it amused them to call themselves, 
was to assemble on the beach and go in a body to 
Gabriel Gaby's shack, escorting the Baytide truck 
when it came over with his pfts. 

It required patient management to combine the 
comminee with the truck, and, waiting for the truck 
to appear, the committee grew nervously afraid that 
Gabriel would sUp through their fingers. 

"He doesn't go out often these days, I know," said 
Sally Meade, "but it would be just the luck if he 
chose to-day to sail to the Isle of Shoals. Or he 
might go out to the lobster catch. Sylvia, you go 
ahead and hold him in your charm till we get there. 



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"Upon This pull Earth Dtoelling" 263 

Don't you give him a hint, but if he tries to go out 
give him a blow; lay him out senseless and then 
drag him into the shack and shut the door! What- 
ever you have to do to him to keep him in, short of 
murder, do it! Trot along, dear Captain Sylvia; 
you're Gaby's prime favourite, anyway, so go down 
and secure him for the presentation." 

"All right; I'll go, but 1 haven't found Gabriel 
out this summerl" Sylvia said, starting off. 

"Be sure he doesn't find you out I About the 
coming event!" warned Sally. 

"Do I let secrets slip?" demanded Sylvia, and was 
gone. 

She found Gabriel Gaby and Mate, just as she 
expected to find them, sunning themselves; the 
smaller of the pair frankly dozing, the larger one 
pretending to be awake whittling, but actually nod- 
ding considerably, with frequent lapses into a doze. 

"Ah, there, Sylviel" cried Gabriel, arousing and 
making a deep gouge in his piece of pine wood as he 
jerked himself upright. "I declare, I was that 
int'rested in my work you made me jump, an' I cut 
her too deep!" 

"Gabriel Gaby, truth is mighty and it prevails! 
You know you were napping, like Mate, but she 
doesn't mind owning up!" Sylvia reproached him. 
"What are you making?" 

"A submarine for a little chap down to the hotel. 
'Cutest little chap you'd ask to see! Hair's bright's 
the newest twenty-dollar gold piece, an' full's nice a 



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264 "fFko Is Syhia?" 

colour; curls all over his head, 'specially when he's 
been in the water. Asked me 'f I couldn't carve 
him a submarine. Says I : 'Surest thing you know, 
only 'twon't be anything but a United States Navy 
boat'. Says he: 'What'd you think I am; a traitor?' 
Traitor, mind you! Must be six, I guess. So he's 
goin' to git his submarine, solely for his country's 
service! I'm goin' to cut it's good's 1 can." 

Gabriel Gaby fell to work in earnest after this 
explanation, fully awake. 

"I wish you'd put that up for a while, and play 
to me on your harmonica," said Sylvia. "I have a 
desire for it that can't wait. The little chap's so 
much younger than I am that he can better afford to 
wait for his submarine than I can for my music!" 

"Land sakes, Sylvie, 'tain't sol You're less'n 
six! You're the same little kid you was at four when 
I used to play for you. Such nonsense 1 You'n' 
my harmonicuml" Gabriel Gaby grumbled, but 
he laid aside his whittling and produced his har- 
monica from his pocket, shaking the loose tobacco 
out of it, as Sylvia remembered that he always did, 
and looking highly flattered by her request. 

Gabriel Gaby played his unpromising instrument 
skilfully; Sylvia sincerely enjoyed it, not precisely 
on her musical side, perhaps, but with her sense of 
time, and by no means without her sense of humour. 

Gabriel was ecstatically performing, his eyes shut, 
his head back, one foot flapping to mark the 
time, tipped upright, its heel dug into the sand. 



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"Upon This Dull Earth Dwelling" 265 

when, just as he had reached the chorus of '*Nancy 
Lee," and was wordlessly declaring on the harmonica 
that "A sailor's wife a sailor's star should be," Sylvia 
cried out, apparently surprised: "Gabriel, there's 
a procession coming down the beach 1 An auto- 
truck and people walking. They look like — they 
arel Ruth, Sally Meade — girls and boys of Paxtonl" 

"Want to knowl" Gabriel managed to ejaculate 
out of one comer of his mouth, not wishing to be so 
rude as to ignore Sylvia's information, but too 
thoroughly an artist to feel interest for the moment 
in anjrthing beyond his tune. 

"Gabriel, do lookl" cried Sylvia. 

Gabriel finished the final "Yo-ho!" of his air with 
a triumphant landing full in the middle of its high 
note, held the note, and ran down an octave for good 
measure, trilled awhile on the octave below the 
highest note, removed his harmonica from his lips, 
opened his eyes, drained the instrument, and ex- 
claimed: "There!" with indescribable satisfaction. 

Then he said: "Now what's botherin' you, Sylvie? 
Well, I declare, quite a number of our youthful feller 
citizens of both, in fact of all the sexes 'pear to be 
steerin' this way! Wonder what under the canopy's 
bringin* 'em in a body, so to speak?" The "youth- 
ful feller citizens" halted before Gabriel and Sylvia: 
Mate retreated to within the shack. The truck, with 
the organ wrapped in burlap, also halted. 

"Gabriel Gaby," said Lloyd, stepping forward, 
"your friends and mine here have told me I had to 



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266 "ffko Is Sylvia?" 

speak a piece at you for them. I'm supposed to 
explain in beautiful language — English language, 
but of the better class!— what's up. But I don't 
seem to see it. I'm di^ng at dead languages in 
college, yet I don't seem to have one bud of flowery 
English. The fact of the matter is we had too much 
money left from our Grecian high jinks. We didn't 
know what to do with it, couldn't divvy it up, 
because it wasn't ours to have and to hold; didn't 
know what to do. Then the girl that you love best, 
Captain Sylvia, suggested that this superfluity gave 
us a chance to do what we'd all like to do, show you 
what a lot we thought of you. So we blew in our 
unsinkable fund in souvenirs from Baytide. They're 
in that truck, all but two, and those we have here. 
Now don't be dismayed! We — or Sylvia did — 
thought you'd find them useful when the wintry 
winds blow o'er your shack and give you shivers 
down your back! Hurrah for Gabriel Gaby I" 

Lloyd led his own proposed cheers; they were an 
inspiration. It would have been hard to say how 
Gabriel was going to take his announcement, but the 
cheers swept away what might have developed into 
annoyance. 

Before they had fairly died out the truck driver 
and his companion had the burlap off the organ, and 
were drawing it forward on the truck. To do this 
the rug first had to be thrown out; the rope that held 
it broke, and it unrolled, displaying its full brilliance, 
on the sand. 



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"Upon This Dull Earth Dwelling" 267 

"Where'll we set it?" asked the man with the or- 
gan balancing against his shoulders, 

"Inside," said Gabriel Gaby, mechanically. 

Then, as the men with the Uttle organ went into 
the shack, Gabriel partly recovered from his stunned 
condition. 

"Sylvie, will you see to it where they put it?" 
he asked. "There ain't room 'less things are 
shifted." 

"Never mind where they put it; we'll straighten 
up," said Lloyd. "Sylvia thought you'd like to 
play and sing in the winter evenings, and she'll 
play and sing for you. Now, here is your clock, 
Gabriel, and a picture." 

"I'll pass right out!" said Gabriel Gaby, staring 
at the clock. "I'd of g^ven my head to dare to 
hope for such a clock as that! The comp'ny they 
aret And useful I Nobody needs a clock's much '5 
the man that never has any need for time, 'cause 
he doesn't go anywheres partic'lar. He's the one 
that gits the full good 'f a clock, which 's the comp'ny 
they are. I always did think it didn't make so much 
difference what a clock said about the time it was, 's 
did the way it said it, tickin' an' strikin' when you're 
alone. Ladies an' gentlemen," said Gabriel, sud- 
denly arousing to the ceremonial obligations of the 
occasion. "If 1 was to talk till the flood come back 
to cover the earth, which we know won't never be, 
I couldn't say what I'm feelin', knowin', also, that 
I'll feel more 'n' more, the further I go in considerin' 



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268 "fFho Is SylviaV* 

what you've done. I do wish an' hope you'll do 
one thing more, an' let yourself know the extent o' 
my appreciation, an' gratitood, fer I can't." 

"Hear, hear!" cried Gerald Ritchie. "Gabriel, 
dear old Gabie Gaby — remember we boys used to 
call you that ? — ^we've had more fun out of it than you 
will have, I am afraid. It was Sylvia Bell who sug- 
gested it, and told us what to get for you." 

"Oh, well, Sylviel I know all about Captain 
Sylviel" said Gabriel, significantly. 

Sylvia came out of the shack in time to hear this. 

"Indeed you don't! But don't tell the dreadful 
things you do knowl" she cried. "The organ is in 
there, Gabriel, but you'll have to decide where to 
put it. I'll be down to-morrow morning, and well 
try it." 

The committee turned to go, Sally took Sylvia's 
arm and drew her along with her. 

Ruth ran after them and seized Sylvia's other arm. 

"My Sylvial" she cried. "No fair, Sally Meadel" 

"I guess I saw her first 1" cried Sally, and the three 
went off down the beach, tall Sylvia in the middle. 

Gerald lingered. He followed Gabriel Gaby into 
the shack, opened the organ, and softly tried it where 
it stood, out of place, on the floor of the crowded little 
room. 

"You'll get it in after you've shifted things a bit," 
said Gerald, pumping with one foot and playing 
harmonies. "It's a good tone; we heard it in Bay- 
tide. Gabriel, tell me; you know Sylvia pretty well. 



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"Upon This Dull Earth Dwelling" 269 

Do you think it would be the least use if I tried ? 
Do you think she cares one bit for me, compared — 
compared to her boat?*' 

"Gerald Ritchie, if you want the truth, no; 1 
don't think 'twould be the least bit o' use," said 
Gabriel Gaby. "I think she likes you, but I don't 
think our girl's like the heft of 'em. She's got the 
happy, innocent heart in her of a little child, an' 
she's flyin' in the sunshine o' her youth, much like 
the gull yonder in the act'yal sunshine. Sylvie's 
as free's air, an' 's clear 's crystal. Her father's all 
she wants — an' her dog. 'Twouldn't be the least 
mite o' use, 'f you ask me!" 

"I want her," said Gerald, turning away. 

"You'd be a dunce not to," said Gabriel Gaby. 
"Best on earth, she isl" 



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CHAPTER XVIII 

"To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 

TT WAS September, with thirteen of its days 
^ left behind; ahnost half the month had slipped 
away. A strong wind was blowing, due west, racing 
over the dune tops, clean of earthly inperfections, 
ozone-charged, a rollicking, racing, high-spirited 
wind that tilled mere mortals with its joyousness. 

Sylvia Bell, who was at all times akin to this free, 
glad wind, especially yielded to it. She started out 
immediately after breakfast to run across the dunes 
with O'Malley, head up, eyes bright, lips parted, 
eager and intensely alive. 

The terrier also found the day inspiriting. Leap- 
ing and running at imaginary game, O'Malley rushed 
ahead of Sylvia, stopping to worry the sticks tossed 
by the wind in his path, or bringing one back to 
Sylvia to be thrown for him, pretending to be ex- 
cited over them, and making a great to-do about 
finding them though the wind was too strong to 
allow Sylvia to send them far. 

"Oh, dognaf-the-world, you make believe as much 
as I dol" cried Sylvia, laughing at O'Malley's pre- 
tense of great doings. "Imagination and honour. 
That's not a bad outfit for a silly terrier brain. " 



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"To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 271 

She ran headlong down the steep dune path and 
across the sands to Gabriel Gaby's shack. 

"Isn'titaday?" sheened in lieu of "good morning." 
"I thought perhaps you'd like to have me play 
'Glory Hallelujah' for you. It feels like thati" 

"Well, to tell the truth, Sylvie, I was sort of wishin' 
I could make that organ shout," Gabriel admitted. 
"The nearest 1 can come to pickin' out a triumphal 
tune is 'My Country Tis of Thee.' And I always 
did feel that was a naytional hymn that sounded 
's if you'd full as lieves be bom somewhere else. 
Sort o' serious, 'specially when it's sung with ex- 
pression. Most folks think it's singin' with feelin' 
to drag an' slur a tune like sin." 

Sylvia laughed, enjoying this criticism. 

"I'll play things as gay as I can. It's hard to be 
gay on a foot-pedalling oigan, but I know some 
marches that are not out of key with a westerly 
wind like this." 

"Wait a minute, Sylvie; wait a minute before you 
go inside," said Gabriel Gaby. 

"It's nice out here. I was just sayin' to Mate 
that for all it's such a glorious day there's a leetle 
mite o' sense o' the solemn in it. The season's 
about bu'st up. Ain't many left in the hotel. The 
little chap 1 whittled out the submarine for, he 
went yest'day. Sort o' solemn when seasons end, 
if you've lived's many summers — ^not to speak o' 
the winters which are longer — 's I have." 

"Nonsense, Gabriell You're far more out of 



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27* "fFho Is Sylvia?" 

key than the most melancholy tune! Why, it's 
a great day, and you're the youngest person I know — 
except myself, and O'Malleyl If our season is 
over, the Berkshire season is just coming on. 
Lots of these people go on to the mountains. To 
tell the trujth, I don't mind the birds of passage 
flitting. I like Paxton best when we have it to 
our own Paxton selves." Sylvia patted Gabriel 
on the arm to infuse him with jollity. "And you 
will be cozy this winter with the warm rug and 
the sociable organ, now won't youf" 

"I shall, Sylvie," said Gabriel. "I shall be. 
Mate 'n' I'll live high ! That wa'n't meant for rhym- 
in', but let it stand ! I guess you won't get a chance 
to whoop it up for the west wind, an' the fine day 
on the organ, Sylvie. I see Jack Jarvis comin'." 

"Oh, Sylvia!" cried Jack, his face lighting up as 
he saw her. "I was going to your house. Are 
you going home?" 

"Yes," Sylvia spoke doubtfully, but reinforced 
her assent. "Yes, Jack; I was going to play and 
sing for Gabriel, but any time will do; I'm only 
out because it's so irresistible. 'Bye, Gabriel; I'll 
be down some time to-day. Anything special to say, 
Jack Jarvis, essentially of New York?" 

"Well, I do like the little burg," Jack admitted. 
"I don't mind how you guy it; we can stand it, 
that village and me I Yes, I wanted to say farewell, 
but not for ever. I'm going off to-morrow early. 
Hermione's gone to that empty hotel. Say, Maida 



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"To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 273 

Clayton wanted her the worst way to stay with her. 
What do you know about that? The Claytons 
will be here late. Hermione said: 'Nay, Nay, 
Pauline', or words to that effect, only spoken 
prettily, of course! We're comitxg to Paxton for 
the wedding, Christmas week. We're going to 
have a wedding that'll be so fine that the account 
of it in the papers will be deposited in the comer 
stones of whatever they build around here next 
year; biggest thing ever hit Paxton I Wait till 
you hear about it I You'll be glad you're maid 
of honour!" 

"Certainly I shall bel I am now, before I've 
heard the wedding plans!" cried Sylvia. 

"I wanted to tell you something else, Sylvia," 
said simple Jack, awkwardly. "I want to say that 
I never in all my life saw, nor expect to see, a girl 
like you, but I'm satisfied as things are. You 
knocked me clean out, but you had the sense to 
knock me in againi When I saw Hermione dance, 
and saw what a plucky little thing she was, I — 
I liked her a whole lot I I wanted you to know 
everything was all right. It wouldn't be fair to 
anybody for you not to know it. It's going to be Just 
A Love Nest for us; we like each other good and 
plenty. I wanted you to know." 

"Good for you, Jack Jarvis ! " cried Sylvia. 
"You're a trump. I'm delighted, and I think 
Hermione Elmsley is going to make you happier 
right along. She's a fine girl, and she'll be a charm- 



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274 "^Ao ^J Sylria?" 

ing mistress over a handsome establishment; she 
has sense and taste, and is clever. Far better for 
you than an old salt like me!" 

"As to that," Jack shook his head, "Hermione 

doesn't mind that I think you're the Well, what 

you are I Sylvia, the whole bunch will be down 
for the wedding. You will meet Peggy, my father, 
the whole Jarvis contingent. Peg will be daffy 
over you; I know Peggy I She'll ask you this 
winter. Please make up your mind you're coming! 
I'd like just as much as ever to show you New York, 
show you to New York I You be ready to tumble 
into Peg's arms when she spreads 'em." 

"I think we shall drive to the opposite ocean this 
winter, good old Jack," said Sylvia. "Maybe not, 
if we have to wait till after the wedding, at Christmas, 
to go. We'll see. Aren't you coming in?" 

"No. I've spoken my little piece, and I'm going 
to take Hermione and Sally Meade for a long drive; 
likely to Boston and back to-night. Good-bye, 
Sylvia. Remember, it's Broadway for you by the 
middle of January I" 

"Or Santa Barbara!" laughed Sylvia. "Good- 
bye, Jack. Tell Hermione I say she's a lucky 
girl, but that I send her my love." 

"And so she is!" thought Sylvia, watching Jack 
down the street as she halted on the piazza. " It's 
not so bad, after all, to be so fond of someone that 
the whole world gets shaken into place around 
them, like spokes around a hub I" 



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"To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 275 

"Miss Sylvia," said Norah, coming out, "Mr. 
Ritchie is waiting for you. He walked down into 
the garden." 

"Ohl" exclaimed Sylvia, with an undefined sink- 
ing at her heart. But she turned, and descended the 
steps to go around the house and out to find Gerald. 

"Ah, Sylvial" was all that Gerald said when he 
saw her; she had come so softly that he had not 
heard her step. It was not necessary to say more; 
his tone expressed his joy in the apparition. 

"Won't you come back to the house, Gerald? 
Sorry I was out," Sylvia said. 

"Would you mind staying here?" asked Gerald. 
"I have not much time left. I'm going away, 
Sylvia." 

He had his eyes fastened upon her face, watching 
it keenly as he spoke, but Sylvia looked up at him 
with kindly, steady eyes, full of sympathy, yet hold- 
ing nothing more for him. 

"Already, Gerald? Your college doesn't open 
for two more weeks, you said," Sylvia suggested. 

"I'm going to spend these two weeks with a 
classmate, a fellow I like awfully. I've had the 
house made ready to close it for the winter. There's 
not much fun staying on in it. A house closed is 
a dreary thing, don't you think?" Gerald asked. 

"Indeed I do!" cried Sylvia. "I don't like to 
pass one, even though I don't know to whom it 
belongs. But try not to remember it as closed; 
try to think of it as it was!" 



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276 "fFko Is Sylvia?" 

"When it is so fundamentally diiFerent than it 
wasp I'm afraid, Sylvia, that's beyond me." Ger- 
ald spoke with quiet sadness, making no bid for 

pity- 

"I know that was a silly speech," said Sylvia, 
contritely. "Don't think I don't understand; I 
do. I love my father well enough to understand 
you. But at least try to believe, even though it 
doesn't seem possible now, that some day you will 
re-open the house to be happy in it." 

"Sylvia, I could imagine itl I could know it 
was true; I could have a foretaste of the truth of 

that hope, if " Gerald checked himself. "I 

don't think you care for me more than Do you 

think, Sylvia, that you would ever — ^want me back?" 

"I shall want you to come back, Gerald," said 
Sylvia, gently. "I shall be glad to see you when 
you do come. I've grown downright fond of you. 
I'm fond of my friends, you know I am! But 
when I have my home, my boat, my chummy dog, 
and then my father, I can't miss any one badly, 

nor I feel like a horrid, selfish, cold-hearted frog/ 

There! But I am happy all the time, whether men 
come or go — like Tennyson's Brook! Even Ruth. 
I love her dearly, but I can't feel sad without her, 
though I often wish she were here when she goes 
home." 

"I am answered more fully than you quite realize, 
perhaps. I knew the answer when I asked the 
question," said Gerald, mournfully. "I wish I 



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"To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 277 

dared think it was only that you are still the steep- 
ing princess of the fairy tale, and that I might come 
back and waken you. But something tells me that 
it will not be I, if ever someone does break through 
the growth of thicket that shuts you away in your 
friendly, sweet, inaccessible young girlhood. What 
about it, Sylvia?" 

"I don't think I know, Gerald," said Sylvia, 
looking up at him, for Gerald was six feet tall, and 
a little more. Her eyes were wistful, and a trifie 
sad. "I am, as you say, shut away in my girlhood, 
just as much as I was ten years ago. Things and 
people keep calling me to waken, but I don't; I 
shut my eyes tight and turn away. I am per- 
fectly happy when they let me alone; when I hear 
them calling it troubles me — but I do not move. 
Gerald, I ought to be truthful to you, because 
you are so unselfish, so fine, I like you so much! 
I don't know what will happen to Sylvia when 
she — if ever she wakes up, but it seems to me that 
it will not be you who wakens her. I may never 
waken; I hope I may not! I'd gladly stay here as 
I am, Sylvia Bell, her father's girl, and still childish, 
though so talir' 

"I'll go, Sylvia," said Gerald, huskily. "You 
are crystal clear, so sweetly kind and true I How 
can I help wanting you? God keep you, dear. 
Good-bye, Sylvia." Gerald left the garden by 
its rear gate, Uttle used. Sylvia watched him 
away, standing motionless where he had left her. 



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878 "fFho Is Sylvia f" 

"I love him dearlyl" she thought, mopping the 
tears on her cheeks with her finger tips, having 
groped vainly for her handkerchief. "I do love 
him, and I — I sort of revere him! I wonder what 
it all is about that it is so much and so tittlel I 
wonder why I cry because he's so desirable, and yet 
don't want him to stay — to stay inside, I mean!" 

"I'm going sailing this afternoon, Cassie," Sylvia 
announced. "I seem to need the wide, wide sea!" 

"Yes," said Cassandra, intelligently. "I saw 
Gerald waiting in the garden, and you come in with- 
out him, so I concluded you'd let him go — of course 
I mean by the rear gate! These things are wearing. 
I never was the kind to get worn in this way a whole 
lot, as it doesn't need a prophet to see you're going 
to be, but I had one experience, and it was worse 'n 
having a tooth out. If it's any consolation to you 
to know, he said he'd kill himself, but he never did. 
He got married, and is the happy head of a many- 
headed family — nine, I believe, there were; children." 

Sylvia laughed, and felt unexpectedly better for it. 
Cassandra was useful in all sorts of ways, but not 
least in her sensible way of seeing the events of life, 
and her unintentional humour in discoursing of them. 

" I won't go out looking too disreputable," thought 
Sylvia, regarding wistfully her water-stained, sun- 
faded duck middy and its khaki skirt. "It's not 
like early morning to go out in the afternoon; I may 
see people capable of being shocked, and I suppose 



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"To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 279 

Aunt Emily is right, also Casabianca, in saying that 
I'm less Captain Sylvia now than Miss Sylvia Bell." 

The result of this conscientious awakening was that 
Sylvia sallied forth looking particularly pretty in a 
white flannel dress and a close, small blue cap. She 
went so far as to adorn O'Malley with the marvellous 
collar which had been given to Sylvia for him three 
years before, in gratitude for the service that she 
had, somewhat accidentally, done her country in un- 
covering the lair of counterfeiting rascals who had 
ensconced themselves in the old Willis house at 
Paxton. Sylvia rarely allowed O'Malley to wear 
this collar, too Ene for common use, or for safety from 
theft; a green leather collar, with silver trimmings, 
set with green tourmalines, in the form of shamrocks, 
artistically conveying recognition of O'Malley as an 
Irish terrier. 

Sylvia ran along the beach, paused at Gabriel 
Gaby's shack, and was surprised to find Mate atone 
in charge. She ran on, O'Malley gleaming greenly 
around his neck as the tourmalines caught the sun's 
rays. 

"You're not going to try it alone, are you?" said 
someone, and Sylvia faced around to see Lloyd be- 
hind her. 

"You didn't make the least soundl" Sylvia said, 
half aggrieved; no one quite hkes to be soundlessly 
come upon. 

"Sneaks on the sands — invisible, inaudible," said 
Lloyd. 



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28o "Who Is Sylvia?" 

"Not invisible!" retorted Sylvia, scanning Lloyd's 
feet. There was an established dispute between 
them on this subject, Lloyd maintaining that his feet 
were tiny, "for their size"; Sylvia that "their size 
was immense for its number." 

These two found endless pleasure in talking utter 
nonsense. 

"Be that as it may," Lloyd resumed, "were you 
going to try it alone F" 

"Sure-ly! Why not?" said Sylvia. 

'*A seaman like you knows you must reef in this 
wind," Lloyd reminded her. "Hard work to tie the 
knots when the work is done by feeble feminine 
fingers, unaidedl" 

"Feeble masculine minds are not so tremendously 
helpful," observed Sylvia in a general way. 

"I'm going with you, Tink!" announced Lloyd. 

"Are you?" cried Sylvia. "Why didn't you say 
so in the first place, and save me from making that 
last remark? How could I even remotely suspect 
that you thought of going? And what I said must 
have sounded to you — having this hidden intention — 
almost personal." 

"Oh, dear me, no! No, indeedl How could it?" 
cried Lloyd. "Here, hands off that rowboati I run 
her down to the water and row you out. Know 
that, Tink?" 

"Efficiency that surpasses the German!" mur- 
mured Sylvia to the air, but she let Lloyd have his 
way. 



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"To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 281 

Out on the little fFalloping Window Blind Sylvia 
and Lloyd worked together putting in one reef. 
The wind was not so high as in the morning; one reef 
was enough, but that one was needed. 

"Now here's where I come into my ownl" said 
Sylvia after the catboat was cast off from her mooring, 
as she took the tiller and the sheet and ensconced 
herself in the stem, with the long breath that she 
usually breathed when she was off on her favourite 
pursuit. 

"Where is Ruth? I wish we had her with us," 
Sylvia said, for the first time, if the truth were told, 
remembering that Ruth was missing. 

"She has gone with Gerald Ritchie. He had a 
Baytide errand, something to do with insurance 
permit to close the house," said Lloyd, visibly 
hesitating as he spoke of Gerald. 

" Ruth has seen him a good deal lately. She has 
helped him with his mother's personal belongings, 
and in other ways. She Ukes him a lot, and you 
know Ruth's a bom helper and comforter." 

Sylvia tumed upon Lloyd a beaming face. 

"She certainly is!" she cried. "If there's a 
creature in this world put into it to smooth rough 
paths and to console, it's sweet little Ruth Hapgood! 
Say, Lloyd, you don't suppose — after a while, you 
know! Wouldn't it be the best thing ever happened ? 
Gerald is as splendid as — as splendourl And Ruth 
is — her dear little self! Wouldn't it be great if they 
did, you know?" 



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282 "Who Is Sylvia^" 

"Sylvia! Well, Sylvia I You look set up by the 
mere possibility. Would you like it? You would 

likeitl Well,myaunt! Ithought — Iwasafraid " 

Lloyd stopped. 

"I'd grudge Ruth something? Not anythingi" 
cried Sylvia. "And of all things thati I'd be so 
glad I'd have to be reefed myself, or I'd tip over! 
I'm so sorry for Gerald that I achel" 

"By all that's wonderful! And to have it come 

out so accidentally when I was " Lloyd checked 

himself. He knew Sylvia too well to continue on that 
line. 

"Sylvia, do you mind changing the subject 
abruptly? Or — ^well, you can decide later whether 
it is really changing it! I've got something to tell 
you, kind of a gift for you, if you'll look at it so. 
I've been at work all summer on a special course in 
EngHsh. Oh, not grammar!" he cried, seeing Sylvia 
about to interpolate a comment. "Now stop fooling; 
I'm serious! I took a course, and I've had special 
exams, and all that, and I've written a poem — or 
that's what they call it! And it's taken honours in a 
competitive affair. And there's a novelette, and an 
essay that they've been brooding over at college, and 
they've landed me high on the glittering sands of 
fame — or they may! Anyhow, I'm going back to 
college teith my shield, not on it." 

"Lloyd! Why, Lloyd! I never in all my life!'* 
cried Sylvia, so amazed that she had to recall herself 
quickly from letting her boat go o(F her course. 



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"To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 283 

"You've been at work all summer, since vacation? 
And you dug like mad last year, at college, I know 

thati And you've written You! Lloyd, you 

don't write, you know!" Sylvia said, bewilderedly. 
"I've wondered why you went in for helUs lettret 
at all, why you weren't in a scientific, or eyen a me- 
chanical course." 

"That's about what I thought you'd say," said 
Lloyd, not minding. "But you see, Tink, you're 
nuts on books and reading, so I had to try it. Then 
I liked it. Now they say I have talent, and shall 
make my mark — they don't mean a smudge, either!" 

"How could you write a poem?" said Sylvia. 

"If I tell you, I'm afraid you won't like it," said 
Lloyd. " Promise not to get offended. I thought of 
you, the way you move, your face, your ways — it 
wasn't hard, Sylvia!" 

Sylvia looked into Lloyd's face> the colour slowly, 
painfully creeping up into her own face, her eyes full 
of wonder, and a dawning new expression, that was 
not unmixed with fear. 

"Did you do it all for me?" she asked, softly. 

"I had to do and be what I could for you, didn't . 
I, 'Hnk?" Lloyd said, using the old nickname under 
these dawning new, miraculous conditions. 

He hummed a line of music, the Sylvia song, that 
they all called her own song. 

"To her garlands let us bring,' isn't it? I had 
to get some garlands," Lloyd said. 

"Sylvia — ^Tinker Bell — don't you think one of 



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a84 "IFko Is Sylvia?" 

these days, when you get big enough to like someone 
an awful lot, maybe it will be Lloyd Hapgood^' 

"1 don't knowl I almost — think — maybel" SyU 
via said, still looking at Lloyd with wondering eyes. 
"I don't seem to understand — but you're Lloyd — and 
you're notl" 

"Oh, yes, I am! Straight Lloydl" he cried. 
" But I'm not much older than you, and there's a lot 
to be done. I wanted to know if you didn't think, 
when it was done, that you'd like me a good deal; say 
as well as your father? And that you don't think 
you're ever going to like any one else better than me ?" 

"I know that I couldn't! Isn't it strange? I 
didn't know that tilt just now, Lloyd, but it is truel 
I shall like you best, always, you and my father." 

Sylvia drew the back of her hand across her dazed 
eyes in the boyish way that still was hers, and 
jammed her tiller hard down so that the boat swung 
around. " I'm going in, Lloyd. I'm going home," 
she said. 

"Why,Tink,dear, you're not You don't mind, 

do you? You're not offended? It's all clear happy 
and — and great, Tink! Haven't we always been 
fondof each other?" cried the lad, groping his way in 
a mystery new, also, to htm. 

"Not like thisi I want to go to my father. It's 
all right, Lloydl I'm not mad; it isn't your fault, 
but — ^I'm awfully afraid it may be growing up! 
Let's go in!" cried Sylvia. 

On the beach she bade Lloyd a speedy good-bye. 



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"To Her Garlands Let Us Bring" 285 

and ran toward the dune path, yet at its foot she 
turned back and waved her hand, both hands, to him. 
Then she ran homeward, and into the house. Her 
father, in the Hbrary, heard her, and called: 
"Is that Sylvia? Is that my little girl?" 
"Yes, oh, yes, Father, it is I" cried Sylvia, hurrying 
to him. "It's your little girl, Sylvia, Nothing in 
all this world but your girl, Sylvia I And don't let 
anything catch her. It's dear to be tall, little 
Sylvia Bell!" 



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