Part 2 out of 8
Eileen looked at Linda steadily, trying to see to the depths of
her soul. She saw enough to convince her that the young creature
in front of her was in earnest.
"Hm," she said, "have I been so busy that I have failed to notice
what a great girl you are getting?"
"Busy!" scoffed Linda. "Tell that to Katy. It's a kumquat!"
"Perhaps you are too big," continued Eileen, "to be asked to wait
on the table any more."
"I certainly am," retorted Linda, "and I am also too big to wear
such shoes or such a dress as I have on at the present min. ute.
I know all about the war and the inflation of prices and the
reduction in income, but I know also that if there is enough to
run the house, and dress you, and furnish you such a suite of
rooms as you're enjoying right now, there is enough to furnish me
suitable clothes, a comfortable bedroom and a place where I can
leave my work without putting away everything I am doing each
time I step from the room. I told you four years ago that you
might take the touring car and do what you pleased with it. I
have never asked what you did or what you got out of it, so I'll
thank you to observe equal silence about anything I choose to do
now with the runabout, which I reserved for myself. I told you
to take this suite, and this is the first time that I have ever
mentioned to you what you spent on it."
Linda waved an inclusive hand toward the fully equipped, dainty
dressing table, over rugs of pale blue, and beautifully decorated
walls, including the sleeping room and bath adjoining.
"So now I'll ask you to keep off while I do what I please about
the library and the billiard room. I'll try to get along without
much money in doing what I desire there, but I must have some new
clothes. I want money to buy me a pair of new shoes for school.
I want a pair of pumps suitable for evenings when there are
guests to dinner. I want a couple of attractive school dresses.
This old serge is getting too hot and too worn for common
decency. And I also want a couple of dresses something like you
are wearing, for afternoons and evenings."
Eileen stared aghast at Linda.
"Where," she inquired politely, "is the money for all this to
"Eileen," said Linda in a low tense voice, "I have reached the
place where even the BOYS of the high school are twitting me
about how I am dressed, and that is the limit. I have stood it
for three years from the girls. I am an adept in pretending that
I don't see, and I don't hear. I have got to the point where I
am perfectly capable of walking into your wardrobe and taking out
enough of the clothes there and selling them at a second-hand
store to buy me what I require to dress me just plainly and
decently. So take warning. I don't know where you are going to
get the money, but you are going to get it. If you would welcome
a suggestion from me, come home only half the times you dine
yourself and your girl friends at tearooms and cafes in the city,
and you will save my share that way. I am going to give you a
chance to total your budget, and then I demand one half of the
income from Father's estate above household expenses; and if I
don't get it, on the day I am eighteen I shall go to John Gilman
and say to him what I have said to you, and I shall go to the
bank and demand that a division be made there, and that a
separate bank book be started for me."
Linda's amazement on entering the room had been worthy of note.
Eileen's at the present minute was beyond description.
Dumbfounded was a colorless word to describe her state of mind.
"You don't mean that," she gasped in a quivering voice when at
last she could speak.
"I can see, Eileen, that you are taken unawares," said Linda. "I
have had four long years to work up to this hour. Hasn't it even
dawned on you that this worm was ever going to turn? You know
exquisite moths and butterflies evolve in the canyons from very
unprepossessing and lowly living worms. You are spending your
life on the butterfly stunt. Have I been such a weak worm that
it hasn't ever occurred to you that I might want to try a plain,
everyday pair of wings sometime myself ?"
Eileen's face was an ugly red, her hands were shaking, her voice
was unnatural, but she controlled her temper.
"Of course," she said, "I have always known that the time would
come, after you finished school and were of a proper age, when
you would want to enter society."
"No, you never knew anything of the kind," said Linda bluntly,
"because I have not the slightest ambition to enter society
either now or then. All I am asking is to enter the high school
in a commonly decent, suitable dress; to enter our dining room as
a daughter; to enter a workroom decently equipped for my
convenience. You needn't be surprised if you hear some changes
going on in the billiard room and see some changes going on in
the library. And if I feel that I can muster the nerve to drive
the runabout, it's my car, it's up to me."
"Linda!" wailed Eileen, "how can you think of such a thing? You
"Because I haven't dared till the present is no reason why I
should deprive myself of every single pleasure in life," said
Linda. "You spend your days doing exactly what you please;
driving that runabout for Father was my one soul-satisfying
diversion. Why shouldn't I do the thing I love most, if I can
muster the nerve?"
Linda arose, and walking over to a table, picked up a magazine
lying among some small packages that Eileen evidently had placed
there on entering her room.
"Are you subscribing to this?" she asked.
She turned in her hands and leafed through the pages of a most
attractive magazine, Everybody's Home. It was devoted to poetry,
good fiction, and everything concerning home life from beef to
biscuits, and from rugs to roses.
"I saw it on a newsstand," said Eileen. "I was at lunch with
some girls who had a copy and they were talking about some
articles by somebody named something--Meredith, I think it was
--Jane Meredith, maybe she's a Californian, and she is advocating
the queer idea that we go back to nature by trying modern cooking
on the food the aborigines ate. If we find it good then she
recommends that we specialize on the growing of these native
vegetables for home use and for export--as a new industry."
"I see," said Linda. "Out-Burbanking Burbank, as it were."
"No, not that," said Eileen. "She is not proposing to evolve new
forms. She is proposing to show us how to make delicious dishes
for luncheon or dinner from wild things now going to waste. What
the girls said was so interesting that I thought I'd get a copy
and if I see anything good I'll turn it over to Katy."
"And where's Katy going to get the wild vegetables?" asked Linda
"Why you might have some of them in your wild garden, or you
could easily find enough to try--all the prowling the canyons you
do ought to result in something."
"So it should," said Linda. "I quite agree with you. Did I
understand you to say that I should be ready to go to the bank
with you to arrange about my income next week?"
Again the color deepened in Eileen's face, again she made a
visible effort at self-control.
"Oh, Linda," she said, "what is the use of being so hard? You
will make them think at the bank that I have not treated you
"_I_?"said Linda, "_I_ will make them think? Don't you think it
is YOU who will make them think? Will you kindly answer my
"If I show you the books," said Eileen, "if I divide what is left
after the bills are paid so that you say yourself that it is
fair, what more can you ask?"
"What I ought to do is exactly what I have said I would do," she
said tersely, "but if you are going to put it on that basis I
have no desire to hurt you or humiliate you in public. If you do
that, I can't see that I have any reason to complain, so we'll
call it a bargain and we'll say no more about it until the first
of the month, unless the spirit moves you, after taking a good
square look at me, to produce some shoes and a school dress
"I'll see what I can do," answered Eileen.
"All right then," said Linda. "See you at dinner."
She went to her own room, slipped off her school dress, brushed
her hair, and put on the skirt and blouse she had worn the
previous evening, these being the only extra clothing she
possessed. As she straightened her hair she looked at herself
"My, aren't you coming on!" she said to the figure in the glass.
"Dressing for dinner! First thing you know you'll be a perfect
CHAPTER VI. Jane Meredith
When Eileen came down to dinner that evening Linda understood at
a glance that an effort was to be made to efface thoroughly from
the mind of John Gilman all memory of the Eileen of the previous
evening. She had decided on redressing her hair, while she wore
one of her most becoming and attractive gowns. To Linda and Katy
during the dinner she was simply charming. Having said what she
wanted to say and received the assurance she desired, Linda
accepted her advances cordially and displayed such charming
proclivities herself that Eileen began covertly to watch her, and
as she watched there slowly grew in her brain the conviction that
something had happened to Linda. At once she began studying
deeply in an effort to learn what it might be. There were three
paramount things in Eileen's cosmos that could happen to a girl:
She could have lovely clothing. Linda did not have it. She
could have money and influential friends. Since Marian's going
Linda had practically no friend; she was merely acquainted with
almost everyone living in Lilac Valley. She could have a lover.
Linda had none. But stay! Eileen's thought halted at the
suggestion. Maybe she had! She had been left completely, to her
own devices when she was not wanted about the house. She had
been mingling with hundreds of boys and girls in high school.
She might have met some man repeatedly on the street cars, going
to and from school. In school she might have attracted the son
of some wealthy and influential family; which was the only kind
of son Eileen chose to consider in connection with Linda.
Through Eileen's brain ran bits of the conversation of the
previous evening. She recalled that the men she had intended
should spend the evening waiting on her and paying her pretty
compliments had spent it eating like hungry men, laughing and
jesting with Linda and Marian, giving every evidence of a
satisfaction with their entertainment that never had been evinced
with the best brand of attractions she had to offer.
Eileen was willing to concede that Marian Thorne had been a
beautiful girl, and she had known, previous to the disaster, that
it was quite as likely that any man might admire Marian's
flashing dark beauty as her blonde loveliness. Between them then
it would have been merely a question of taste on the part of the
man. Since Marian's dark head had turned ashen, Eileen had
simply eliminated her at one sweep. That white hair would brand
Marian anywhere as an old woman. Very likely no man ever would
want to marry her. Eileen was sure she would not want to if she
were a man. No wonder John Gilman had ceased to be attracted by
a girl's face with a grandmother setting.
As for Linda, Eileen never had considered her at all except as a
convenience to serve her own purposes. Last night she had
learned that Linda had a brain, that she had wit, that she could
say things to which men of the world listened with interest. She
began to watch Linda. She appraised with deepest envy the dark
hair curling naturally on her temples. She wondered how hair
that curled naturally could be so thick and heavy, and she
thought what a crown of glory would adorn Linda's head when the
day came to coil those long dark braids around it and fasten them
with flashing pins. She drew some satisfaction from the
sunburned face and lean figure before her, but it was not
satisfaction of soul-sustaining quality. There was beginning to
be something disquieting about Linda. A roundness was creeping
over her lean frame; a glow was beginning to color her lips and
cheek bones; a dewy look could be surprised in her dark eyes
occasionally. She had the effect of a creature with something
yeasty bottled inside it that was beginning to ferment and might
effervesce at any minute. Eileen had been so surprised the
previous evening and again before dinner, that she made up her
mind that hereafter one might expect almost anything from Linda.
She would no longer follow a suggestion unless the suggestion
accorded with her sense of right and justice. It was barely
possible that it might be required to please her inclinations.
Eileen's mind worked with unbelievable swiftness. She tore at
her subject like a vulture tearing at a feast, and like a vulture
she reached the vitals swiftly. She prefaced her question with a
dry laugh. Then she leaned forward and asked softly: "Linda,
dear, why haven't you told me?"
Linda's eyes were so clear and honest as they met Eileen's that
she almost hesitated.
"A little more explicit, please," said the girl quietly.
"WHO IS HE?" asked Eileen abruptly.
"Oh, I haven't narrowed to an individual," said Linda largely
"You have noticed a flock of boys following me from school and
hanging around the front door? I have such hosts to choose from
that it's going to take a particularly splendid knight on a snow-
white charger--I think 'charger' is the proper word--to capture
my young affections."
Eileen was satisfied. There wasn't any he. She might for a
short time yet cut Linda's finances to the extreme limit.
Whenever a man appeared on the horizon she would be forced to
make a division at least approaching equality.
Linda followed Eileen to the living room and sat down with a book
until John Gilman arrived. She had a desire to study him for a
few minutes. She was going to write Marian a letter that night.
She wanted to know if she could honestly tell her that Gilman
appeared lonely and seemed to miss her. Katy had no chance to
answer the bell when it rang. Eileen was in the hall. Linda
could not tell what was happening from the murmur of voices.
Presently John and Eileen entered the room, and as Linda greeted
him she did have the impression that he appeared unusually
thoughtful and worried. She sat for half an hour, taking slight
part in the conversation. Then she excused herself and went to
her room, and as she went she knew that she could not honestly
write Marian what she had hoped, for in thirty minutes by the
clock Eileen's blandishments had worked, and John Gilman was
looking at her as if she were the most exquisite and desirable
creature in existence.
Slowly Linda climbed the stairs and entered her room. She slid
the bolt of her door behind her, turned on the lights, unlocked a
drawer, and taking from it a heap of materials she scattered them
over a small table, and picking up her pencil, she sat gazing at
the sheet before her for some time. Then slowly she began
It appeals to me that, far as modern civilization has gone in
culinary efforts, we have not nearly reached the limits available
to us as I pointed out last month. We consider ourselves capable
of preparing and producing elaborate banquets, yet at no time are
we approaching anything even to compare in lavishness and
delicacy with the days of Lucullus. We are not feasting on baked
swans, peacock tongues and drinking our pearls. I am not
recommending that we should revive the indulgence of such lavish
and useless expenditure, but I would suggest that if we tire with
the sameness of our culinary efforts, we at least try some of the
new dishes described in this department, established for the sole
purpose of their introduction. In so doing we accomplish a
multiple purpose. We enlarge the resources of the southwest. We
tease stale appetites with a new tang. We offer the world
something different, yet native to us. We use modern methods on
Indian material and the results are most surprising. In trying
these dishes I would remind you that few of us cared for oysters,
olives, celery--almost any fruit or vegetable one could mention
on first trial. Try several times and be sure you prepare dishes
exactly right before condemning them as either fad or fancy.
These are very real, nourishing and delicious foods that are
being offered you. Here is a salad that would have intrigued the
palate of Lucullus, himself. If you do not believe me, try it.
The vegetable is slightly known by a few native mountaineers and
ranchers. Botanists carried it abroad where under the name of
winter-purslane it is used in France and England for greens or
salad, while remaining practically unknown at home. Boiled and
seasoned as spinach it makes equally good greens. But it is in
salad that it stands pre-eminent.
Go to any canyon--I shall not reveal the name of my particular
canyon--and locate a bed of miner's lettuce (Montia perfoliata).
Growing in rank beds beside a cold, clean stream, you will find
these pulpy, exquisitely shaped, pungent round leaves from the
center of which lifts a tiny head of misty white lace, sending up
a palate-teasing, spicy perfume. The crisp, pinkish stems snap
in the fingers. Be sure that you wash the leaves carefully so
that no lurking germs cling to them. Fill your salad bowl with
the crisp leaves, from which the flowerhead has been plucked.
For dressing, dice a teacup of the most delicious bacon you can
obtain and fry it to a crisp brown together with a small sliced
onion. Add to the fat two tablespoons of sugar, half a teaspoon
of mustard; salt will scarcely be necessary the bacon will
furnish that. Blend the fat, sugar, and mustard, and pour in a
measure of the best apple vinegar, diluted to taste. Bring this
mixture to the boiling point, and when it has cooled slightly
pour it over the lettuce leaves, lightly turning with a silver
fork. Garnish the edge of the dish with a deep border of the
fresh leaves bearing their lace of white bloom intact, around the
edge of the bowl, and sprinkle on top the sifted yolks of two
hard-boiled eggs, heaping the diced whites in the center.
Linda paused and read. this over carefully.
"That is all right," she said. "I couldn't make that much
She made a few corrections here and there, and picking up a
colored pencil, she deftly sketched in a head piece of delicate
sprays of miners' lettuce tipped at differing angles, fringy
white with bloom. Below she printed: "A delicious Indian salad.
The second of a series of new dishes to be offered made from
materials used by the Indians. Compounded and tested in her own
diet kitchen by the author."
Swiftly she sketched a tail piece representing a table top upon
which sat a tempting-looking big salad bowl filled with fresh
green leaves, rimmed with a row of delicate white flowers, from
which you could almost scent a teasing delicate fragrance
arising; and beneath, in a clear, firm hand, she stroked in the
name, Jane Meredith. She went over her work carefully, then laid
it flat on a piece of cardboard, shoved it into an envelope,
directed it to the editor of Everybody's Home, laid it inside her
geometry, and wrote her letter to Marian before going to bed.
In the morning on her way to the street car she gaily waved to a
passing automobile going down Lilac Valley, in which sat John
Gilman and Peter Morrison and his architect, and as they were
driving in the direction from which she had come, Linda very
rightly surmised that they were going to pick up Eileen and make
a tour of the valley, looking for available building locations;
and she wondered why Eileen had not told her that they were
coming. Linda had been right about the destination of the car.
It turned in at the Strong driveway and stopped at the door.
John Gilman went to ring the bell and learn if Eileen were ready.
Peter followed him. Henry Anderson stepped from the car and
wandered over the lawn, looking at the astonishing array of
bushes, vines, flowers, and trees.
From one to another he went, fingering the waxy leaves, studying
the brilliant flower faces. Finally turning a corner and
crossing the wild garden, to which he paid slight attention, he
started down the other side of the house. Here an almost
overpowering odor greeted his nostrils, and he went over to a
large tree covered with rough, dark green, almost brownish,
lance-shaped leaves, each branch terminating in a heavy spray of
yellowish-green flowers, whose odor was of cloying sweetness.
The bees were buzzing over it. It was not a tree with which he
was familiar, and stepping back, he looked at it carefully. Then
at its base, wind-driven into a crevice between the roots, his
attention was attracted to a crumpled sheet of paper, upon which
he could see lines that would have attracted the attention of any
architect. He went forward instantly, picked up the sheet, and
straightening it out he stood looking at it.
"Holy smoke!" he breathed softly. "What a find!"
He looked at the reverse of the sheet, his face becoming more
intent every minute. When he heard Peter Morrison's voice
calling him he hastily thrust the paper into his coat pocket; but
he had gone only a few steps when he stopped, glanced keenly over
the house and lawn, turned his back, and taking the sheet from
his pocket, he smoothed it out, folded it carefully, and put it
in an inside pocket. Then he joined the party.
At once they set out to examine the available locations that yet
remained in Lilac Valley. Nature provided them a wonderful day
of snappy sunshine and heady sea air. Spring favored them with
lilac walls at their bluest, broken here and there with the rose-
misted white mahogany. The violet nightshade was beginning to
add deeper color to the hills in the sunniest wild spots. The
panicles of mahonia bloom were showing their gold color. Wild
flowers were lifting leaves of feather and lace everywhere, and
most agreeable on the cool morning air was a faint breath of
California sage. Up one side of the valley, weaving in and out,
up and down, over the foothills they worked their way. They
stopped for dinner at one of the beautiful big hotels,
practically filled with Eastern tourists. Eileen never had known
a prouder moment than when she took her place at the head of the
table and presided over the dinner which was served to three most
attractive specimens of physical manhood, each of whom was
unusually well endowed with brain, all flattering her with the
most devoted attention. This triumph she achieved in a dining
room seating hundreds of people, its mirror-lined walls
reflecting her exquisite image from many angles, to the click of
silver, and the running accompaniment of many voices. What she
had expected to accomplish in her own dining room had come to her
before a large audience, in which, she had no doubt, there were
many envious women. Eileen rayed loveliness like a Mariposa
lily, and purred in utter contentment like a deftly stroked
When they parted in the evening Peter Morrison had memoranda of
three locations that he wished to consider. That he might not
seem to be unduly influenced or to be giving the remainder of Los
Angeles County its just due, he proposed to motor around for a
week before reaching an ultimate decision, but in his heart he
already had decided that somewhere near Los Angeles he would
build his home, and as yet he had seen nothing nearly so
attractive as Lilac Valley.
CHAPTER VII. Trying Yucca
On her way to school that morning Linda stopped at the post
office and pasted the required amount of stamps upon the package
that she was mailing to New York. She hurried from her last
class that afternoon to the city directory to find the street and
number of James Brothers, figuring that the firm with whom Marian
dealt would be the proper people for her to consult. She had no
difficulty in finding the place for which she was searching, and
she was rather agreeably impressed with the men to whom she
talked. She made arrangements with their buyer to call at her
home in Lilac Valley at nine o'clock the following Saturday
morning to appraise the articles with which she wished to part.
Then she went to one of the leading book stores of the city and
made inquiries which guided her to a reliable second-hand book
dealer, and she arranged to be ready to receive his
representative at ten o'clock on Saturday.
Reaching home she took a note book and pencil, and studied the
billiard room and the library, making a list of the furniture
which she did not actually need. After that she began on the
library shelves, listing such medical works as were of a
technical nature. Books of fiction, history, art, and biography,
and those books written by her father she did not include. She
found that she had a long task which would occupy several
evenings. Her mind was methodical and she had been with her
father through sufficient business transactions to understand
that in order to drive a good bargain she must know how many
volumes she had to offer and the importance of their authors as
medical authorities; she should also know the exact condition of
each set of books. Since she had made up her mind to let them
go, and she knew the value of many of the big, leather-bound
volumes, she determined that she would not sell them until she
could secure the highest possible price for them.
Two months previously she would have consulted John Gilman and
asked him to arrange the transaction for her. Since he had
allowed himself to be duped so easily--or at least it had seemed
easy to Linda; for, much as she knew of Eileen, she could not
possibly know the weeks of secret plotting, the plans for
unexpected meetings, the trumped-up business problems necessary
to discuss, the deliberate flaunting of her physical charms
before him, all of which had made his conquest extremely hard for
Eileen, but Linda, seeing only results, had thought it
contemptibly easy--she would not ask John Gilman anything. She
would go ahead on the basis of her agreement with Eileen and do
the best she could alone.
She counted on Saturday to dispose of the furniture. The books
might go at her leisure. Then the first of the week she could
select such furniture as she desired in order to arrange the
billiard room for her study. If she had a suitable place in
which to work in seclusion, there need be no hurry about the
library. She conscientiously prepared all the lessons required
in her school course for the next day and then, stacking her
books, she again unlocked the drawer opened the previous evening,
and taking from it the same materials, set to work. She wrote:
Botanists have failed to mention that there is any connection
between asparagus, originally a product of salt marshes, and
Yucca, a product of the alkaline desert. Very probably there is
no botanical relationship, but these two plants are alike in
flavor. From the alkaline, sunbeaten desert where the bayonet
plant thrusts up a tender bloom head six inches in height, it
slowly increases in stature as it travels across country more
frequently rain washed, and winds its way beside mountain streams
to where in more fertile soil and the same sunshine it develops
magnificent specimens from ten to fifteen and more feet in
height. The plant grows a number of years before it decides to
flower. When it reaches maturity it throws up a bloom stem as
tender as the delicate head of asparagus, thick as one's upper
arm, and running to twice one's height. This bloom stem in its
early stages is colored the pale pink of asparagus, with faint
touches of yellow, and hints of blue. At maturity it breaks into
a gorgeous head of lavender-tinted, creamy pendent flowers
covering the upper third of its height, billowing out slightly in
the center, so that from a distance the waxen torch takes on very
much the appearance of a flaming candle. For this reason, in
Mexico, where the plant flourishes in even greater abundance than
in California, with the exquisite poetry common to the tongue and
heart of the Spaniard, Yucca Whipplei has been commonly named
"Our Lord's Candle." At the most delicate time of their growth
these candlesticks were roasted and eaten by the Indians. Based
upon this knowledge, I would recommend two dishes, almost equally
delicious, which may be pre. pared from this plant.
Take the most succulent young bloom stems when they have exactly
the appearance of an asparagus head at its moment of delicious
perfection. With a sharp knife, cut them in circles an inch in
depth. Arrange these in a shallow porcelain baking dish,
sprinkle with salt, dot them with butter, add enough water to
keep them from sticking and burning. Bake until thoroughly
tender. Use a pancake turner to slide the rings to a hot
platter, and garnish with circles of hard-boiled egg. This you
will find an extremely delicate and appetizing dish.
The second recipe I would offer is to treat this vegetable
precisely as you would creamed asparagus. Cut the stalks in
six-inch lengths, quarter them to facilitate cooking and
handling, and boil in salted water. Drain, arrange in a hot
dish, and pour over a carefully made cream sauce. I might add
that one stalk would furnish sufficient material for several
families. This dish should be popular in southwestern states
where the plant grows profusely; and to cultivate these plants
for shipping to Eastern markets would be quite as feasible as the
shipping of asparagus, rhubarb, artichokes, or lettuce.
I have found both these dishes peculiarly appetizing, but I
should be sorry if, in introducing Yucca as a food, I became
instrumental in the extermination of this universal and
wonderfully beautiful plant. For this reason I have hesitated
about including Yucca among these articles; but when I see the
bloom destroyed ruthlessly by thousands who cut it to decorate
touring automobiles and fruit and vegetable stands beside the
highways, who carry it from its native location and stick it in
the parching sun of the seashore as a temporary shelter, I feel
that the bloom stems might as well be used for food as to be so
The plant is hardy in the extreme, growing in the most
unfavorable places, clinging tenaciously to sheer mountain and
canyon walls. After blooming and seeding the plant seems to have
thrown every particle of nourishment it contains into its
development, it dries out and dies (the spongy wood is made into
pincushions for the art stores); but from the roots there spring
a number of young plants, which, after a few years of growth,
mature and repeat their life cycle, while other young plants
develop from the widely scattered seeds. The Spaniards at times
call the plant Quiota. This word seems to be derived from
quiotl, which is the Aztec name for Agave, from which plant a
drink not unlike beer is produced, and suggests the possibility
that there might have been a time when the succulent flower stem
of the Yucca furnished drink as well as food for the Indians.
After carefully re-reading and making several minor corrections,
Linda picked up her pencil, and across the top of a sheet of
heavy paper sketched the peaks of a chain of mountains. Across
the base she drew a stretch of desert floor, bristling with the
thorns of many different cacti brilliant with their gold, pink,
and red bloom, intermingled with fine grasses and desert flower
At the left she painstakingly drew a huge plant of yucca with a
perfect circle of bayonets, from the center of which uprose the
gigantic flower stem the length of her page, and on the misty
bloom of the flaming tongue she worked quite as late as Marian
Thorne had ever seen a light burning in her window. When she had
finished her drawing she studied it carefully a long time, adding
a touch here and there, and then she said softly: "There, Daddy,
I feel that even you would think that a faithful reproduction
Tomorrow night I'll paint it."
John Gilman saw the light from Linda's window when he brought
Eileen home that night, and when he left he glanced that way
again, and was surprised to see the room still lighted, and the
young figure bending over a worktable. He stood very still for a
few minutes, wondering what could keep Linda awake so far into
the night, and while his thoughts were upon her he wondered, too,
why she did not care to have beautiful clothes such as Eileen
wore; and then he went further and wondered why, when she could
be as entertaining as she had been the night she joined them at
dinner, she did not make her appearance oftener; and then,
because the mind is a queer thing, and he had wondered about a
given state of affairs, he went a step further, and wondered
whether the explanation lay in Linda's inclinations or in
Eileen's management, and then his thought fastened tenaciously
upon the subject of Eileen's management.
He was a patient man. He had allowed his reason and better
judgment to be swayed by Eileen's exquisite beauty and her
blandishments. He did not regret having discovered before it was
too late that Marian Thorne was not the girl he had thought her.
He wanted a wife cut after the clinging-vine pattern. He wanted
to be the dominating figure in his home. It had not taken Eileen
long to teach him that Marian was self-assertive and would do a
large share of dominating herself. He had thought that he was
perfectly satisfied and very happy with Eileen; yet that day he
repeatedly had felt piqued and annoyed with her. She had openly
cajoled and flirted with Henry Anderson past a point which was
agreeable for any man to see his sweetheart go with another man
With Peter Morrison she had been unspeakably charming in a manner
with which John was very familiar.
He turned up his coat collar, thrust his hands in his pockets,
and swore softly. Looking straight ahead of him, he should have
seen a stretch of level sidewalk, bordered on one hand by lacy,
tropical foliage, on the other, by sheets of level green lawn,
broken everywhere by the uprising boles of great trees, clumps of
rare vines, and rows of darkened homes, attractive in
design' vine covered, hushed for the night. What he really saw
was a small plateau, sun illumined, at the foot of a mountain
across the valley, where the lilac wall was the bluest, where the
sun shone slightly more golden than anywhere else in the valley,
where huge live oaks outstretched rugged arms, where the air had
a tang of salt, a tinge of sage, an odor of orange, shot through
with snowy coolness, thrilled with bird song, and the laughing
chuckle of a big spring breaking from the foot of the mountain.
They had left the road and followed a narrow, screened path by
which they came unexpectedly into this opening. They had stood
upon it in wordless enchantment, looking down the slope beneath
it, across the peace of the valley, to the blue ranges beyond.
"Just where are we?" Peter Morrison had asked at last.
John Gilman had been looking at a view which included Eileen.
She lifted her face, flushed and exquisite, to Peter Morrison and
answered in a breathless undertone, yet John had distinctly heard
"How wonderful it would be if we were at your house. Oh, I envy
the woman who shares this with you !"
It had not been anything in particular, yet all day it had teased
John Gilman's sensibilities. He felt ashamed of himself for not
being more enthusiastic as he searched records and helped to
locate the owner of that particular spot. To John, there was a
new tone in Peter's voice, a possessive light in his eyes as he
studied the location, and made excursions in several directions,
to fix in his mind the exact position of the land.
He had indicated what he considered the topographical location
for a house--stood on it facing the valley, and stepped the
distance suitably far away to set a garage and figured on a short
private road down to the highway. He very plainly was deeply
prepossessed with a location John Gilman blamed himself for not
having found first. Certainly nature had here grown and walled a
dream garden in which to set a house of dreams. So, past
midnight, Gilman stood in the sunshine, looking at the face
of the girl he had asked to marry him and who had said that she
would; and a small doubt crept into his heart, and a feeling that
perhaps life might be different for him if Peter Morrison decided
to come to Lilac Valley to build his home. Then the sunlight
faded, night closed in, but as he went his homeward way John
Gilman was thinking, thinking deeply and not at all happily.
CHAPTER VIII. The Bear Cat
"Friday's child is loving and giving,
But Saturday's child must work for a living,"
Linda was chanting happily as she entered the kitchen early
"Katy, me blessing," she said gaily, "did I ever point out to you
the interesting fact that I was born on Saturday? And a devilish
piece of luck it was, for I have been hustling ever since. It's
bad enough to have been born on Monday and spoiled wash day, but
I call Saturday the vanishing point, the end of the extreme
Katy laughed, and, as always, turned adoring eyes on Linda.
"I am not needing ye, lambie," she said. "Is it big business in
the canyon ye're having today? Shall I be ready to be cooking up
one of them God-forsaken Red Indian messes for ye when ye come
Linda held up a warning finger.
"Hiss, Katy," she said. "That is a dark secret. Don't you be
forgetting yourself and saying anything like that before anyone,
or I would be ruined entirely."
"Well, I did think when ye began it," said Katy, "that of all the
wild foolishness ye and your pa had ever gone through with, that
was the worst, but that last mess ye worked out was so tasty to
the tongue that I thought of it a lot, and I'm kind o' hankering
Linda caught Katy and swung her around the kitchen in a wild war
dance. Her gayest laugh bubbled clear from the joy peak of her
"Katy," she said, "if you had lain awake all night trying to say
something that would particularly please me, you couldn't have
done better. That was a quaint little phrase and a true little
phrase, and I know a little spot that it will fit exactly. What
am I doing today? Well, several things, Katy. First, anything
you need about the house. Next, I am going to empty the billiard
room and sell some of the excess furniture of the library, and
with the returns I am going to buy me a rug and a table and some
tools to work with, so I won't have to clutter up my bedroom with
my lessons and things I bring in that I want to save. And then I
am going to sell the technical stuff from the library and use
that money where it will be of greatest advantage to me. And
then, Katy, I am going to manicure the Bear Cat and I am going to
drive it again."
Linda hesitated. Katy stood very still, thinking intently, but
finally she said: "That's all right; ye have got good common
sense; your nerves are steady; your pa drilled ye fine. Many's
the time he has bragged to me behind your back what a fine little
driver he was making of ye. I don't know a girl of your age
anywhere that has less enjoyment than ye. If it would be giving
ye any happiness to be driving that car, ye just go ahead and
drive it, lambie, but ye promise me here and now that ye will be
mortal careful. In all my days I don't think I have seen a
meaner-looking little baste of a car."
"Of course I'll be careful, Katy," said Linda. "That car was not
bought for its beauty. Its primal object in this world was to
arrive. Gee, how we shot curves, and coasted down the canyons,
and gassed up on the level when some poor soul went batty from
nerve strain! The truth is, Katy, that you can't drive very
slowly. You have got to go the speed for which it was built.
But I have had my training. I won't forget. I adore that car,
Katy, and I don't know how I have ever kept my fingers off it
this long. Today it gets a bath and a facial treatment, and when
1 have thought up some way to meet my big problem, you're going
to have a ride, Katy, that will quite uplift your soul. We'll go
scooting through the canyons, and whizzing around the mountains,
and roaring along the beach, as slick as a white sea swallow."
"Now, easy, lambie, easy," said Katy. "Ye're planning to speed
that thing before ye've got it off the jacks."
"No, that was mere talk," said Linda. "But, Katy, this is my
great day. I feel in my bones that I shall have enough money by
night to get me some new tires, which I must have before I can
start out in safety."
"Of course ye must, honey. I would just be tickled to pieces to
let ye have what ye need."
Linda slid her hand across Katy's lips and gathered her close in
"You blessed old darling," she said. "Of course you would, but I
don't need it, Katy. I can sit on the floor to work, if I must,
and instead of taking the money from the billiard table to buy a
worktable, I can buy tires with that. But here's another thing I
want to tell you, Katy. This afternoon a male biped is coming to
this house, and he's not coming to see Eileen. His name is
Donald Whiting, and when he tells you it is, and stands very
straight and takes off his hat, and looks you in the eye and
says, 'Calling on Miss Linda Strong,' walk him into the living
room, Katy, and seat him in the best chair and put a book beside
him and the morning paper; and don't you forget to do it with a
flourish. He is nothing but a high-school kid, but he's the
first boy that ever in all my days asked to come to see me so
it's a big event; and I wish to my soul I had something decent to
"Well, with all the clothes in this house," said Katy; and then
she stopped and shut her lips tight and looked at Linda with
belligerent Irish eyes.
"I know it," nodded Linda in acquiescence; "I know what you
think; but never mind. Eileen has agreed to make me a fair
allowance the first of the month, and if that isn't sufficient, I
may possibly figure up some way to do some extra work that will
bring me a few honest pennies, so I can fuss up enough to look
feminine at times, Katy. In the meantime, farewell, oh, my
belovedest. Call me at half-past eight, so I will be ready for
business at nine."
Then Linda went to the garage and began operations. She turned
the hose on the car and washed the dust from it carefully. Then
she dried it with the chamois skins as she often had done before.
She carefully examined the cushioning, and finding it dry and
hard, she gave it a bath of olive oil and wiped and manipulated
it. She cleaned the engine with extreme care. At one minute she
was running to Katy for kerosene to pour through the engine to
loosen the carbon. At another she was telephoning for the
delivery of oil, gasoline, and batteries for which she had no
money to pay, so she charged them to Eileen, ordering the bill to
be sent on the first of the month. It seemed to her that she had
only a good start when Katy came after her.
The business of appraising the furniture was short, and Linda was
well satisfied with the price she was offered for it. After the
man had gone she showed Katy the pieces she had marked to dispose
of, and told her when they would be called for. She ate a few
bites of lunch while waiting for the book man, and the results of
her business with him quite delighted Linda. She had not known
that the value of books had risen with the price of everything
else. The man with whom she dealt had known her father. He had
appreciated the strain in her nature which made her suggest that
he should number and appraise the books, but she must be allowed
time to go through each volume in order to remove any scraps of
paper or memoranda which her father so frequently left in books
to which he was referring. He had figured carefully and he had
made Linda a far higher price than could have been secured by a
man. As the girl went back to her absorbing task in the garage,
she could see her way clear to the comforts and conveniences and
the material that she needed for her work. When .she reached the
car she patted it as if it had been a living creature.
"Cheer up, nice old thing," she said gaily. "I know how to get
new tires for you, and you shall drink all the gasoline and oil
your tummy can hold. Now let me see. What must I do next? I
must get you off your jacks; and oh, my gracious there are the
grease cups, and that's a nasty job, but it must be done; and
what is the use of Saturday if I can't do it? Daddy often did."
Linda began work in utter absorption. She succeeded in getting
the car off the jacks. She was lying on her back under it,
filling some of the most inaccessible grease cups, and she was
softly singing as she worked:
"The shoes I wear are common-sense shoes--"
At that minute Donald Whiting swung down the street, turned in at
the Strong residence, and rang the bell. Eileen was coming down
the stairs, dressed for the street. She had inquired for Linda,
and Katy had told her that she thought Miss Linda had decided to
begin using her car, and that she was in the garage working on
it. To Eileen's credit it may be said that she had not been told
that a caller was expected. Linda never before had had a caller
and, as always, Eileen was absorbed in her own concerns. Had she
got the rouge a trifle brighter on one cheek than on the other?
Was the powder evenly distributed? Would the veil hold the
handmade curls in exactly the proper place? When the bell rang
her one thought might have been that some of her friends were
calling for her. She opened the door, and when she learned that
Linda was being asked for, it is possible that she mistook the
clean, interesting, and well-dressed youngster standing before
her for a mechanic. What she said was: "Linda's working on her
car. Go around to the left and you will find her in the garage,
and for heaven's sake, get it right before you let her start out,
for we've had enough horror in this family from motor accidents."
Then she closed the door before him and stood buttoning her
gloves; a wicked and malicious smile spreading over her face.
"Just possibly," she said, "that youngster is from a garage, but
if he is, he's the best imitation of the real thing that I have
seen in these chaotic days."
Donald Whiting stopped at the garage door and looked in, before
Linda had finished her grease cups, and in time to be informed
that he might wear common-sense shoes if he chose. At his step,
Linda rolled her black head on the cement floor and raised her
eyes. She dropped the grease cup, and her face reddened deeply.
"Oh, my Lord!" she gasped breathlessly. "I forgot to tell Katy
when to call me!"
In that instant she also forgot that the stress of the previous
four years had accustomed men to seeing women do any kind of work
in any kind of costume; but soon Linda realized that Donald
Whiting was not paying any particular attention either to her or
to her occupation. He was leaning forward, gazing at the car
with positively an enraptured expression on his eager young face.
"Shades of Jehu!" he cried. "It's a Bear Cat!"
Linda felt around her head for the grease cup.
"Why, sure it's a Bear Cat," she said with the calmness of
complete recovery. "And it's just about ready to start for its
very own cave in the canyon."
Donald Whiting pitched his hat upon the seat, shook off his coat,
and sent it flying after the hat. Then he began unbuttoning and
turning back his sleeves.
"Here, let me do that," he said authoritatively. "Gee! I have
never yet ridden in a Bear Cat. Take me with you, will you,
"Sure," said Linda, pressing the grease into the cup with a
little paddle and holding it up to see if she had it well filled.
"Sure, but there's no use in you getting into this mess, because
I have only got two more. You look over the engine. Did you
ever grind valves, and do you think these need it?"
"Why, they don't need it," said Donald, "if they were all right
when it was jacked up."
"Well, they were," said Linda. "It was running like a watch when
it went to sleep. But do we dare take it out on these tires?"
"How long has it been?" asked Donald, busy at the engine.
"All of four years," answered Linda.
Donald whistled softly and started a circuit of the car, kicking
the tires and feeling them.
"Have you filled them?" he asked.
"No," said Linda. "I did not want to start the engine until I
had finished everything else."
"All right," he said, "I'll look at the valves first and then, if
it is all ready, there ought to be a garage near that we can run
to carefully, and get tuned up."
"There is," said Linda. "There is one only a few blocks down the
street where Dad always had anything done that he did not want to
"That's that, then," said Donald.
Linda crawled from under the car and stood up, wiping her hands
on a bit of waste.
"Do you know what tires cost now?" she asked anxiously.
"They have 'em at the garage," answered Donald, "and if I were
you, I wouldn't get a set; I would get two. I would-put them on
the rear wheels. You might be surprised at how long some of
these will last. Anyway, that would be the thing to do."
"Of course," said Linda, in a relieved tone. "That would be the
thing to do."
"Now," she said, "I must be excused a few minutes till I clean up
so I am fit to go on the streets. I hope you won't think I
forgot you were coming."
Donald laughed drily.
"When 'shoes' was the first word I heard," he said, "I did not
for a minute think you had forgotten."
"No, I didn't forget," said Linda. "What I did do was to become
so excited about cleaning up the car that I let time go faster
than I thought it could. That was what made me late."
"Well, forget it!" said Donald. "Run along and jump into
something, and let us get our tires and try Kitty out."
Linda reached up and released the brakes. She stepped to one
side of the car and laid her hands on it.
"Let us run it down opposite the kitchen door," she said, "then
you go around to the front, and I'll let you in, and you can read
something a few minutes till I make myself presentable."
"Oh, I'll stay out here and look around the yard and go over the
car again," said the boy. "What a bunch of stuff you have got
growing here; I don't believe I ever saw half of it before."
"It's Daddy's and my collection," said Linda. "Some day I'll
show you some of the things, and tell you how we got them, and
why they are rare. Today I just naturally can't wait a minute
until I try my car."
"Is it really yours?" asked Donald enviously.
"Yes," said Linda. "It's about the only thing on earth that is
peculiarly and particularly mine. I haven't a doubt there are
improved models, but Daddy had driven this car only about nine
months. It was going smooth as velvet, and there's no reason why
it should not keep it up, though I suspect that by this time
there are later models that could outrun it."
"Oh, I don't know," said the boy. "It looks like some little old
car to me. I bet it can just skate."
"I know it can," said Linda, "if I haven't neglected something.
We'll start carefully, and we'll have the inspector at the
salesrooms look it over."
Then Linda entered the kitchen door to find Katy with everything
edible that the house afforded spread before her on the table.
"Why, Katy, what are you doing?" she asked.
"I was makin' ready," explained Katy, "to fix ye the same kind of
lunch I would for Miss Eileen. Will ye have it under the live
oak, or in the living room?"
"Neither," said Linda. "Come upstairs with me, and in the
storeroom you'll find the lunch case and the thermos bottles
and don't stint yourself, Katy. This is a rare occasion. It
never happened before. Probably it will never happen again.
Let's make it high altitude while we are at it."
"I'll do my very best with what I happen to have," said Katy;
"but I warn you right now I am making a good big hole in the
"I don't give two whoops," said Linda, "if there isn't any Sunday
dinner. In memory of hundreds of times that we have eaten bread
and milk, make it a banquet, Katy, and we'll eat bread and milk
Then she took the stairway at a bound, and ran to her room. Ln a
very short time she emerged, clad in a clean blouse and breeches'
her climbing boots, her black hair freshly brushed and braided.
"I ought to have something," said Linda, "to shade my eyes. i
The glare's hard on them facing the sun."
Going down the hall she came to the storeroom, opened a drawer'
and picked out a fine black felt Alpine hat that had belonged to
her father. She carried it back to her room and, standing at the
glass, tried it on, pulling it down on one side, turning it up at
the other, and striking a deep cleft across the crown. She
looked at herself intently for a minute, and then she reached up
and deliberately loosened the hair at her temples.
"Not half bad, all things considered, Linda," she said. "But,
oh, how you do need a tich of color."
She ran down the hall and opened the door to Eileen's room, and
going to her chiffonier, pulled out a drawer containing an array
of gloves, veils, and ribbons. At the bottom of the ribbon
stack, her eye caught the gleam of color for which she was
searching, and she deftly slipped out a narrow scarf of Roman
stripes with a deep black fringe at the end. Sitting down, she
fitted the hat over her knee, picked up the dressing-table
scissors,and ripped off the band. In its place she fitted the
ribbon, pinning it securely and knotting the ends so that the
fringe reached her shoulder. Then she tried the hat again. The
result was blissfully satisfactory. The flash of orange, the
blaze of red, the gleam of green, were what she needed.
"Thank you very much, sister mine," she said, "I know you I would
be perfectly delighted to loan me this."
CHAPTER IX. One Hundred Per Cent Plus
Then she went downstairs and walked into the kitchen, prepared
for what she would see, by what she heard as she approached.
With Katy's apron tied around his waist, Donald Whiting was
occupied in squeezing orange, lemon, and pineapple juice over a
cake of ice in a big bowl, preparatory to the compounding of
Katy's most delicious brand of fruit punch. Without a word,
Linda stepped to the bread board and began slicing the bread and
building sandwiches, while Katy hurried her preparations for
filling the lunch box. A few minutes later Katy packed them in
the car, kissed Linda good-bye, and repeatedly cautioned Donald
to make her be careful.
As the car rolled down the driveway and into the street, Donald
looked appraisingly at the girl beside him.
"Is it the prevailing custom in Lilac Valley for young ladies to
kiss the cook?" inquired Donald laughingly.
"Now, you just hush," said Linda. "Katy is NOT the cook, alone.
Katy's my father, and my mother, and my family, and my best
"Stop right there," interposed Donald. "That is quite enough for
any human to be. Katy's a multitude. She came out to the car
with the canteen, and when I offered to help her, without any
'polly foxin',' she just said: 'Sure. Come in and make yourself
useful.' So I went, and I am expecting amazing results from the
job she gave me."
"Come to think of it," said Linda, "I have small experience with
anybody's cooking except Katy's and my own, but so far as I know,
she can't very well be beaten."
Carefully she headed the car into the garage adjoining the
salesrooms. There she had an ovation. The manager and several
of the men remembered her. The whole force clustered around the
Bear Cat and began to examine it, and comment on it, and Linda
climbed out and asked to have the carburetor adjusted, while the
mechanic put on a pair of tires. When everything was
satisfactory, she backed to the street, and after a few blocks of
experimental driving, she headed for the Automobile Club to
arrange for her license and then turned straight toward
Multiflores Canyon, but she did not fail to call Donald Whiting's
attention to every beauty of Lilac Valley as they passed through.
When they had reached a long level stretch of roadway leading to
the canyon, Linda glanced obliquely at the boy beside her.
"It all comes back as natural as breathing," she said. "I
couldn't forget it any more than I could forget how to walk, or
to swim. Sit tight. I am going to step on the gas for a bit,
just for old sake's sake."
"That's all right," said Donald, taking off his hat and giving
his head a toss so that the wind might have full play through his
hair. "But remember our tires are not safe. Better not go the
limit until we get rid of these old ones, and have a new set all
Linda settled back in her seat, took a firm grip on the wheel,
and started down the broad, smooth highway, gradually increasing
the speed. The color rushed to her cheeks. Her eyes were
"Listen to it purr!" she cried to Donald. "If you hear it begin
to growl, tell me."
And then for a few minutes they rode like birds on the path of
the wind. When they approached the entrance to the canyon,
gradually Linda slowed down. She turned an exultant flashing
face to Donald Whiting.
"That was a whizzer," said the boy. "I'll tell you I don't know
what I'd give to have a car like this for my very own. I'll bet
not another girl in Los Angeles has a car that can go like that."
"And I don't believe I have any business with it," said Linda;
"but since circumstances make it mine, I am going to keep it and
I am going to drive it."
"Of course you are," said Donald emphatically. "Don't YoU ever
let anybody fool you out of this car, because if they wanted to,
it would be just because they are jealous to think they haven't
one that will go as fast."
"There's not the slightest possibility of my giving it up so long
as I can make the engine turn over," she said. "I told you how
Father always took me around with him, and there's nothing in
this world I am so sure of as I am sure that I am spoiled for a
house cat. I have probably less feminine sophistication than any
girl of my age in the world, and I probably know more about
camping and fishing and the scientific why and wherefore of all
outdoors than most of them. I just naturally had such a heavenly
time with Daddy that it never has hurt my feelings to be left out
of any dance or party that ever was given. The one thing that
has hurt is the isolation. Since I lost Daddy I haven't anyone
but Katy. Sometimes, when I see a couple of nice, interesting
girls visiting with their heads together, a great feeling of envy
wells up in my soul, and I wish with all my heart that I had such
"Ever try to make one?" asked Donald. "There are mighty fine
girls in the high school."
"I have seen several that I thought I would like to be friends
with," said Linda, "but I am so lacking in feminine graces that I
haven't known how to make advances, in the first place, and I
haven't had the courage, in the second."
"I wish my sister were not so much older than you," said Donald.
"How old is your sister?" inquired Linda.
"She will be twenty-three next birthday," said Donald; "and of
all the nice girls you ever saw, she is the queen."
"Yes," she assented, "I am sure I have heard your sister
mentioned. But didn't you tell me she had been reared for
"No, I did not," said Donald emphatically. "I told you Mother j
believed in dressing her as the majority of other girls were
dressed, but I didn't say she had been reared for society. She
has been reared with an eye single to making a well-dressed,
cultured, and gracious woman."
"I call that fine," said Linda. "Makes me envious of you. Now
forget everything except your eyes and tell me what you see.
Have you ever been here before?"
"I have been through a few times before, but seems to me I |
never saw it looking quite so pretty."
Linda drove carefully, but presently Donald uttered an
exclamation as she swerved from the road and started down what
appeared to be quite a steep embankment and headed straight for
"Sit tight," she said tersely. "The Bear Cat just loves its
cave. It knows where it is going."
She broke through a group of young willows and ran the car ! into
a tiny plateau, walled in a circle by the sheer sides of the !
canyon reaching upward almost out of sight, topped with great
jagged overhanging boulders. Crowded to one side, she stopped
the car and sat quietly, smiling at Donald Whiting.
"How about it?" she asked in a low voice.
The boy looked around him, carefully examining the canyon walls,
and then at the level, odorous floor where one could not step
without crushing tiny flowers of white, cerise, blue, and yellow.
Big ferns grew along the walls, here and there "Our Lord's
Candles" lifted high torches not yet lighted, the ambitious
mountain stream skipped and circled and fell over its rocky bed,
while many canyon wrens were singing.
"Do you think," she said, "that anyone driving along here at an
ordinary rate of speed would see that car?"
"No," said Donald, getting her idea, "I don't believe they
"All right, then," said Linda. "Toe up even and I'll race YoU to
the third curve where you see the big white sycamore."
Donald had a fleeting impression of a flash of khaki, a gleam of
red, and a wave of black as they started. He ran with all the
speed he had ever attained at a track meet. He ran with all his
might. He ran until his sides strained and his breath came
short; but the creature beside him was not running; she was
flying; and long before they neared the sycamore he knew he was
beaten, so he laughingly cried to her to stop it. Linda turned
to him panting and laughing.
"I make that dash every time I come to the canyon, to keep my
muscle up, but this is the first time I have had anyone to race
with in a long time."
Then together they slowly walked down the smooth black floor
between the canyon walls. As they crossed a small bridge Linda
leaned over and looked down.
"Anyone at your house care about 'nose twister'?" she asked
"Why, isn't that watercress?" asked Donald.
"Sure it is," said Linda. "Anyone at your house like it?"
"Every one of us," answered Donald. "We're all batty about cress
salad--and, say, that reminds me of something! If you know so
much about this canyon and everything in it, is there any place
in it where a fellow could find a plant, a kind of salad lettuce,
that the Indians used to use?"
"Might be," said Linda carelessly. "For why?"
"Haven't you heard of the big sensation that is being made in
feminine circles by the new department in Everybody's Home?"
inquired Donald. "Mother and Mary Louise were discussing it the
other day at lunch, and they said that some of the recipes for
dishes to be made from stuff the Indians used sounded delicious.
One reminded them of cress, and when we saw the cress I wondered
if I could get them some of the other."
"Might," said Linda drily, "if you could give me a pretty good
idea of what it is that you want."
"When you know cress, it's queer that you wouldn't know other
things in your own particular canyon," said Donald.
Linda realized that she had overdone her disinterestedness a
"I suspect it's miners' lettuce you want," she said. "Of course
I know where there's some, but you will want it as fresh as
possible if you take any, so we'll finish our day first and
gather it the last thing before we leave."
How it started neither of them noticed, but they had not gone far
before they were climbing the walls and hanging to precarious
footings. Her cheeks flushed, her eyes brilliant, her lips
laughing, Linda was showing Donald thrifty specimens of that
Cotyledon known as "old hen and chickens," telling him of the
rare Echeveria of the same family, and her plunge down the canyon
side while trying to uproot it, exulting that she had brought
down the plant without a rift in the exquisite bloom on its
Linda told about her fall, and the two men who had passed at that
instant, and how she had met them later, and who they were, and
what they were doing. Then Donald climbed high for a bunch of
larkspur, and Linda showed him how to turn his back to the canyon
wall and come down with the least possible damage to his person
and clothing. When at last both of them were tired they went
back to the car. Linda spread an old Indian blanket over the
least flower-grown spot she could select, brought out the thermos
bottles and lunch case, and served their lunch. With a glass of
fruit punch in one hand and a lettuce sandwich in the other,
Donald smiled at Linda.
"I'll agree about Katy. She knows how," he said appreciatively.
"Katy is more than a cook," said Linda quietly. "She is a human
being. She has the biggest, kindest heart. When anybody's sick
or in trouble she's the greatest help. She is honest; she has
principles; she is intelligent. In her spare time she reads good
books and magazines. She knows what is going on in the world.
She can talk intelligently on almost any subject. It's no
disgrace to be a cook. If it were, Katy would be unspeakable.
Fact is, at the present minute there's no one in all the world
so dear to me as Katy. I always talk Irish with her."
"Well, I call that rough on your sister," said Donald.
"Maybe it is," conceded Linda. "I suspect a lady wouldn't have i
said that, but Eileen and I are so different. She never has made
the slightest effort to prove herself lovable to me, and so I
have never learned to love her. Which reminds me--how did you
happen to come to the garage?"
"The very beautiful young lady who opened the door mistook me for
a mechanic. She told me I would find you working on your car and
for goodness' sake to see that it was in proper condition before
you drove it."
Linda looked at him with wide, surprised eyes in which a trace of
indignation was plainly discernible.
"Now listen to me," she said deliberately. "Eileen is a most
sophisticated young lady. If she saw you, she never in this
world, thought you were a mechanic sent from a garage presenting
yourself at our front door."
"There might have been a spark of malice in the big blue-gray I
eyes that carefully appraised me," said Donald.
"Your choice of words is good," said Linda, refilling the punch
glass. "'Appraise' fits Eileen like her glove. She appraises
every thing on a monetary basis, and when she can't figure that
it's going to be worth an appreciable number of dollars and cents
to her--'to the garage wid it,' as Katy would say."
When they had finished their lunch Linda began packing the box
and Donald sat watching her.
"At this point," said Linda, "Daddy always smoked. Do you
There was a hint of deeper color in the boy's cheeks.
"I did smoke an occasional cigarette," he said lightly, "up to
the day, not a thousand years ago, when a very emphatic young
lady who should have known, insinuated that it was bad for the
nerves, and going on the presumption that she knew, I haven't
smoked a cigarette since and I'm not going to until I find out
whether I can do better work without them."
Linda folded napkins and packed away accessories thoughtfully.
Then she looked into the boy's eyes.
"Now we reach the point of our being here together," she said.
"It's time to fight, and I am sorry we didn't go at it gas and
›' the minute we met. You're so different from what I thought
you were. If anyone had told me a week ago that you would take
off your coat and mess with my automobile engine, or wear Katy's
apron and squeeze lemons in our kitchen I would have looked
! him over for Daddy's high sign of hysteria, at least. It's too
I have such a good time as I have had this afternoon, and then
end with a fight."
I"That's nothing," said Donald. "You couldn't have had as
| good a time as I have had. You're like another boy. A fellow
can be just a fellow with you, and somehow you make everything
you touch mean something it never meant before. You have made me
feel that I would be about twice the man I am if I had spent the
time I have wasted in plain jazzing around, hunting Cotyledon or
trap-door spiders' nests."
"I get you," said Linda. "It's the difference between a girl
reared in an atmosphere of georgette and rouge, and one who has
grown up in the canyons with the oaks and sycamores. One is
natural and the other is artificial. Most boys prefer the
"I thought I did myself," said Donald, "but today has taught me
that I don't. I think, Linda, that you would make the finest
friend a fellow ever had. I firmly and finally decline to fight
with you; but for God's sake, Linda, tell me how I can beat that
little cocoanut-headed Jap."
Linda slammed down the lid to the lunch box. Her voice was
smooth and even but there was battle in her eyes and she answered
decisively: "Well, you can't beat him calling him names. There
is only one way on God's footstool that you can beat him. You
can't beat him legislating against him. You can't beat him
boycotting him. You can't beat him with any tricks. He is as
sly as a cat and he has got a whole bag full of tricks of his
own, and he has proved right here in Los Angeles that he has got
a brain that is hard to beat. All you can do, and be a man
commendable to your own soul, is to take his subject and put your
brain on it to such purpose that you cut pigeon wings around him.
What are you studying in your classes, anyway?"
"Trigonometry, Rhetoric, Ancient History, Astronomy," answered
"And is your course the same as his?" inquired Linda.
"Strangely enough it is," answered Donald. "We have been in the
same classes all through high school. I think the little monkey-
"Man, you mean," interposed Linda.
"'Man,'" conceded Donald. "Has waited until I selected my course
all the way through, and then he has announced what he would
take. He probably figured that I had somebody with brains back
of the course I selected, and that whatever I studied would be
suitable for him."
"I haven't a doubt of it," said Linda. "They are quick; oh! they
are quick; and they know from their cradles what it is that they
have in the backs of their heads. We are not going to beat them
driving them to Mexico or to Canada, or letting them monopolize
China. That is merely temporizing. That is giving them fertile
soil on which to take the best of their own and the level best of
ours, and by amalgamating the two, build higher than we ever
have. There is just one way in all this world that we can beat
Eastern civilization and all that it intends to do to us
eventually. The white man has dominated by his color so far in
the history of the world, but it is written in the Books that
when the men of color acquire our culture and combine it with
their own methods of living and rate of production, they are
going to bring forth greater numbers, better equipped for the
battle of life, than we are. When they have got our last secret,
constructive or scientific, they will take it, and living in a
way that we would not, reproducing in numbers we don't, they will
beat us at any game we start, if we don't take warning while we
are in the ascendancy, and keep there."
"Well, there is something to think about," said Donald Whiting,
staring past Linda at the side of the canyon as if he had seen
the same handwriting on the wall that dismayed Belshazzar at the
feast that preceded his downfall.
"I see what you're getting at," he said. "I had thought that
there might be some way to circumvent him."
"There is!" broke in Linda hastily. "There is. You can beat
him, but you have got to beat him in an honorable way and in a
way that is open to him as it is to you."
"I'll do anything in the world if you will only tell me how,"
said Donald. "Maybe you think it isn't grinding me and
humiliating me properly. Maybe you think Father and Mother
haven't warned me. Maybe you think Mary Louise isn't secretly
ashamed of me. How can I beat him, Linda?"
Linda's eyes were narrowed to a mere line. She was staring at
the wall back of Donald as if she hoped that Heaven would
intercede in her favor and write thereon a line that she might
translate to the boy's benefit.
"I have been watching pretty sharply," she said. "Take them as a
race, as a unit--of course there are exceptions, there always are
--but the great body of them are mechanical. They are imitative.
They are not developing anything great of their own in their own
country. They are spreading all over the world and carrying home
sewing machines and threshing machines and automobiles and
cantilever bridges and submarines and aeroplanes--anything from
eggbeaters to telescopes. They are not creating one single
thing. They are not missing imitating everything that the white
man can do anywhere else on earth. They are just like the
Germans so far as that is concerned."
"I get that, all right enough," said Donald. "Now go on. What
is your deduction? How the devil am I to beat the best? He is
perfect, right straight along in everything."
The red in Linda's cheeks deepened. Her eyes opened their
widest. She leaned forward, and with her closed fist, pounded
the blanket before him.
"Then, by gracious," she said sternly, "you have got to do
something new. You have got to be perfect, PLUS."
"'Perfect, plus?'" gasped Donald.
"Yes, sir!" said Linda emphatically. "You have got to be
perfect, plus. If he can take his little mechanical brain and
work a thing out till he has got it absolutely right, you have
got to go further than that and discover something pertaining to
it not hitherto thought of and start something NEW. I tell you
you must use your brains. You should be more than an imitator.
You must be a creator!"
Donald started up and drew a deep breath.
"Well, some job I call that," he said. "Who do you think I am,
"No," said Linda quietly, "you are not. You are merely His son,
created in His own image, like Him, according to the Book, and
you have got to your advantage the benefit of all that has been
learned down the ages. We have got to take up each subject in
your course, and to find some different books treating this same
subject. We have got to get at it from a new angle. We must dig
into higher authorities. We have got to coach you till, when you
reach the highest note possible for the parrot, you can go ahead
and embellish it with a few mocking-bird flourishes. All Oka
Sayye knows how to do is to learn the lesson in his book
perfectly, and he is 100 per cent. I have told you what you must
do to add the plus, and you can do it if you are the boy I take
you for. People have talked about the 'yellow peril' till it's
got to be a meaningless phrase. Somebody must wake up to the
realization that it's the deadliest peril that ever has menaced
white civilization. Why shouldn't you have your hand in such
"Linda," said the boy breathlessly, "do you realize that you have
been saying 'we'? Can you help me? Will you help me?"
"No," said Linda, "I didn't realize that I had said 'we.' I
didn't mean two people, just you and me. I meant all the white
boys and girls of the high school and the city and the state and
the whole world. If we are going to combat the 'yellow peril' we
must combine against it. We have got to curb our appetites and
train our brains and enlarge our hearts till we are something
bigger and finer and numerically greater than this yellow peril.
We can't take it and pick it up and push it into the sea. We are
not Germans and we are not Turks. I never wanted anything in all
this world worse than I want to see you graduate ahead of Oka
Sayye. And then I want to see the white boys and girls of Canada
and of England and of Norway and Sweden and Australia, and of the
whole world doing exactly what I am recommending that you do in
your class and what I am doing personally in my own. I have had
Japs in my classes ever since I have been in school, but Father
always told me to study them, to play the game fairly, but to
BEAT them in some way, in some fair way, to beat them at the game
they are undertaking."
"Well, there is one thing you don't take into consideration,"
said Donald. "All of us did not happen to be fathered by
Alexander Strong. Maybe we haven't all got your brains."
"Oh, posher!" said Linda. "I know of a case where a little
Indian was picked up from a tribal battlefield in South America
and brought to this country and put into our schools, and there
was nothing that any white pupil in the school could do that he
couldn't, so long as it was imitative work. You have got to be
constructive. You have got to work out some way to get ahead of
them; and if you will take the history of the white races and go
over their great achievements in mechanics, science, art,
literature--anything you choose--when a white man is
constructive, when he does create, he can simply cut circles
around the colored races. The thing is to get the boys and girls
of today to understand what is going on in the world, what they
must do as their share in making the world safe for their
grandchildren. Life is a struggle. It always has been. It
always will be. There is no better study than to go into the
canyons or the deserts and efface yourself and watch life. It's
an all-day process of the stronger annihilating the weaker. The
one inexorable thing in the world is Nature. The eagle dominates
the hawk; the hawk, the falcon; the falcon, the raven; and so on
down to the place where the hummingbird drives the moth from his
particular trumpet flower. The big snake swallows the little
one. The big bear appropriates the desirable cave."
"And is that what you are recommending people to do?"
"No," said Linda, "it is not. That is wild. We go a step ahead
of the wild, or we ourselves become wild. We have brains, and
with our brains we must do in a scientific way what Nature does
with tooth and claw. In other words, and to be concrete, put
these things in the car while I fold the blanket. We'll gather
our miners' lettuce and then we'll go home and search Daddy's
library and see if there is anything bearing in a higher way on
any subject you are taking, so that you can get from it some new
ideas, some different angle, some higher light, something that
will end in speedily prefacing Oka Sayye's perfect with your
CHAPTER X. Katy to the Rescue
Linda delivered Donald Whiting at his door with an armload of
books and a bundle of miners' lettuce and then drove to her home
in Lilac Valley--in the eye of the beholder on the floor-level
macadam road; in her own eye she scarcely grazed it. The smooth,
easy motion of the car, the softly purring engine were thrilling.
The speed at which she was going was like having wings on her
body. The mental stimulus she had experienced in concentrating
her brain on Donald Whiting's problem had stimulated her
imagination. The radiant color of spring; the chilled, perfumed,
golden air; the sure sense of having found a friend, had ruffled
the plumes of her spirit. On the home road Donald had plainly
indicated that he would enjoy spending the morrow with her, and
she had advised him to take the books she had provided and lock
himself in his room and sweat out some information about Monday's
lessons which would at least arrest his professor's attention,
and lead his mind to the fact that something was beginning to
happen. And then she had laughingly added: "Tomorrow is Katy's
turn. I told the old dear I would take her as soon as I felt the
car was safe. Every day she does many things that she hopes will
give me pleasure. This is one thing I can do that I know will
"Next Saturday, then?" questioned Donald. And Linda nodded.
"Sure thing. I'll be thinking up some place extra interesting.
Come in the morning if you want, and we'll take a lunch and go
for the day. Which do you like best, mountains or canyons or
desert or sea?"
"I like it best wherever what you're interested in takes you,"
said Donald simply.
"All right, then," answered Linda, "we'll combine business and
So they parted with another meeting arranged.
When she reached home she found Katy tearfully rejoicing, plainly
revealing how intensely anxious she had been. But when Linda
told her that the old tires had held, that the car ran
wonderfully, that everything was perfectly safe, that she drove
as unconsciously as she breathed, and that tomorrow Katy was to
go for a long ride, her joy was incoherent.
Linda laughed. She patted Katy and started down the hallway,
when she called back: "What is this package?"
"A delivery boy left it special only a few minutes ago. Must be
something Miss Eileen bought and thought she would want tomorrow,
and then afterward she got this invitation and went on as she
Linda stood gazing at the box. It did look so suspiciously like
a dress box.
"Katy," she said, "I have just about got an irresistible impulse
to peep. I was telling Eileen last night of a dress I saw that I
thought perfect. It suited me better than any other dress I ever
did see. It was at 'The Mode.' This box is from 'The Mode.'
Could there be a possibility that she sent it up specially for
"I think she would put your name on it if she meant it for ye,"
"One peep would show me whether it is my dress or not," said
Linda, "and peep I'm going to."
She began untying the string.
"There's one thing," said Katy, "Miss Eileen's sizes would never
"Might," conceded Linda. "I am taller than she is, but I could
wear her waists if I wanted to, and she always alters her skirts
herself to save the fees. Glory be! This is my dress, and
there's a petticoat and stockings to match it. Why, the nice old
thing! I suggested hard enough, but in my heart I hardly thought
she would do it. Oh, dear, now if I only had some shoes, and a
Linda was standing holding the jacket in one hand, the stockings
in the other, her face flaming. Katy drew herself to full
height. She reached over and picked the things from Linda's
"If ye know that is your dress, lambie," she said
authoritatively, "ye go right out and get into that car and run
to town and buy ye a pair of shoes."
"But I have no credit anywhere and I have no money, yet," said
"Well, I have," said Katy, "and this time ye're going to stop
your stubbornness and take enough to get ye what you need. Ye go
to the best store in Los Angeles and come back here with a pair
of shoes that just match those stockings, and ye go fast, before
the stores close. If ye've got to speed a little, do it in the
country and do it judacious."
"Katy, you're arriving!" cried Linda. "'Judicious speeding' is
one thing I learned better than any other lesson about driving a
motor car. Three fourths of the driving Father and I did we were
Katy held the skirt to Linda's waist.
"Well, maybe it's a little shorter than any you have been
wearing, but it ain't as short as Eileen and all the rest of the
girls your age have them, so that's all right, honey. Slip on
Katy's fingers were shaking as she lifted the jacket and Linda
slipped into it.
"Oh, Lord," she groaned, "ye can't be wearing that! The sleeves
don't come much below your elbows."
"You will please to observe," said Linda, "that they are flowing
sleeves and they are not intended to come below the elbows; but
it's a piece of luck I tried it on, for it reminds me that it's a
jacket suit and I must have a blouse. When you get the shoe
money, make it enough for a blouse--two blouses, Katy, one for
school and one to fuss up in a little."
Without stopping to change her clothing, Linda ran to the garage
and hurried back to the city. It was less than an hour's run,
but she made it in ample time to park her car and buy the shoes.
She selected a pair of low oxfords of beautiful color, matching
the stockings. Then she hurried to one of the big drygoods
stores and bought the two waists and an inexpensive straw hat
that would harmonize with the suit; a hat small enough to stick,
in the wind, with brim enough to shade her eyes. In about two
hours she was back with Katy and they were in her room trying on
the new clothing.
"It dumbfounds me," said Linda, "to have Eileen do this for me."
She had put on the shoes and stockings, a plain georgette blouse
of a soft, brownish wood-gray, with a bit of heavy brown silk
embroidery decorating the front, and the jacket. The dress was
of silky changeable tricolette, the skirt plain. Where a fold
lifted and was strongly lighted, it was an exquisite silver-gray;
where a shadow fell deeply it was gray-brown. The coat reached
half way to the knees. It had a rippling skirt with a row of
brown embroidery around it, a deep belt with double buttoning at
the waistline, and collar and sleeves in a more elaborate pattern
of the same embroidery as the skirt. Linda perched the hat on
her head, pulled it down securely, and faced Katy.
"Now then!" she challenged.
"And it's a perfect dress!" said Katy proudly, "and you're just
the colleen to wear it. My, but I wisht your father could be
seeing ye the now."
With almost reverent hands Linda removed the clothing and laid it
away. Then she read a letter from Marian that was waiting for
her, telling Katy scraps of it in running comment as she scanned
"She likes her boarding place. There are nice people in it. She
has got a wonderful view from the windows of her room. She is
making friends. She thinks one of the men at Nicholson and
Snow's is just fine; he is helping her all he can, on the course
she is taking. And she wants us to look carefully everywhere for
any scrap of paper along the hedge or around the shrubbery on the
north side of the house. One of her three sheets of plans is
missing. I don't see where in the world it could have gone,
Katy spread out her hands in despair.
"There was not a scrap of a sheet of paper in the room when I
cleaned it," she said, "not a scrap. And if I had seen a sheet
flying around the yard I would have picked it up. She just must
be mistaken about having lost it here. She must have opened her
case on the train and lost it there."
Linda shook her head.
"I put that stuff in the case myself," she said, "and the clothes
on top of it, and she wouldn't have any reason for taking those
things out on the train. I can't understand, but she did have
three rough sketches. She had her heart set on winning that
prize and it would be a great help to her, and certainly it was
the most comprehensive and convenient plan for a house of that
class that I ever have seen. If I ever have a house, she is
going to plan it, even if she doesn't get to plan John Gilman's
as he always used to say that she should. And by the way, Katy,
isn't it kind of funny for Eileen to go away over Sunday when
it's his only holiday?"
"Oh, she'll telephone him," said Katy, "and very like, he'll go
down, or maybe he is with her. Ye needn't waste any sympathy on
him. Eileen will take care that she has him so long as she
thinks she wants him."
Later it developed that Eileen had secured the invitation because
she was able to produce three most eligible men. Not only was
John Gilman with the party, but Peter Morrison and Henry
Anderson were there as well. It was in the nature of a hastily
arranged celebration, because the deal for three acres of land
that Peter Morrison most coveted on the small plateau, mountain
walled, in Lilac Valley, was in escrow. He had made a payment on
it. Anderson was working on his plans. Contractors had been
engaged, and on Monday work would begin. The house was to be
built as soon as possible, and Peter Morrison had arranged that
the garage was to be built first. This he meant to occupy as a
residence so that he could be on hand to superintend the
construction of the new home and to protect, as far as possible,
the natural beauty and the natural growth of the location.
Early Sunday morning Linda and Katy, with a full lunch box and a
full gasoline tank, slid from the driveway and rolled down the
main street of Lilac Valley toward the desert.
"We'll switch over and strike San Fernando Road," said Linda,
"and I'll scout around Sunland a bit and see if I can find
anything that will furnish material for another new dish."
That day was wonderful for Katy. She trotted after Linda over
sandy desert reaches, along the seashore, up mountain trails, and
through canyons connected by long stretches of motoring that was
more like flying than riding. She was tired but happy when she
went to bed. Monday morning she was an interested spectator as
Linda dressed for school.
"Sure, and hasn't the old chrysalis opened up and let out the
nicest little lady-bird moth, Katy?' inquired Linda as she
smoothed her gray-gold skirts. "I think myself that this dress
is a trifle too good for school. When I get my allowance next
week I think I'll buy me a cloth skirt and a couple of wash
waists and save this for better; but it really was good of Eileen
to take so much pains and send it to me, when she was busy
planning a trip."
Katy watched Linda go, and she noted the new light in her eyes,
the new lift of her head, and the proud sureness of her step, and
she wondered if a new dress could do all that for a girl, she
scarcely believed that it could. And, too, she had very serious
doubts about the dress. She kept thinking of it during the day,
and when Eileen came, in the middle of the afternoon, at the
first words on her lips: "Has my dress come?" Katy felt a wave
of illness surge through her. She looked at Eileen so helplessly
that that astute reader of human nature immediately Suspected
"I sent it special," she said, "because I didn't know at the time
that I was going to Riverside and I wanted to work on it. Isn't
it here yet?"
Then Katy prepared to do battle for the child of her heart.
"Was the dress ye ordered sent the one Miss Linda was telling ye
about?" she asked tersely.
"Yes, it was," said Eileen. "Linda has got mighty good taste.
Any dress she admired was sure to be right. She said there was a
beautiful dress at 'The Mode'. I went and looked, and sure
enough there was, a perfect beauty."
"But she wanted the dress for herself," said Katy.
"It was not a suitable dress for school," said Eileen.
"Well, it strikes me," said Katy, "that it was just the spittin'
image of fifty dresses I've seen ye wear to school.
"What do you know about it?" demanded Eileen.
"I know just this," said Katy with determination. "Ye've had one
new dress in the last few days and you're not needin' another.
The blessed Virgin only knows when Miss Linda's had a dress. She
thought ye'd done yourself proud and sent it for her, and she put
it on, and a becoming and a proper thing it was too! I advanced
her the money myself and sent her to get some shoes to match it
since she had her car fixed and could go in a hurry. A beautiful
dress it is, and on her back this minute it is !"
Eileen was speechless with anger. Her face was a sickly white
and the rouge spots on her cheeks stood a glaring admission
"Do you mean to tell me--" she gasped.
"Not again," said the daughter of Erin firmly, "because I have
already told ye wance. Linda's gone like a rag bag since the
Lord knows when. She had a right to the dress, and she thought
it was hers, and she took it. And if ye ever want any more
respect or obedience or love from the kiddie, ye better never let
her know that ye didn't intend it for her, for nothing was ever
quite so fair and right as that she should have it; and while
you're about it you'd better go straight to the store and get her
what she is needin' to go with it, or better still, ye had better
give her a fair share of the money of which there used to be
such a plenty, and let her get her things herself, for she's that
tasty nobody can beat her when she's got anything to do with."
Eileen turned on Katy in a gust of fury.
"Katherine O'Donovan," she said shrilly, "pack your trunk and see
how quick you can get out of this house. I have stood your
insolence for years, and I won't endure it a minute longer!"
Katy folded her red arms and lifted her red chin, and a
steel-blue light flashed from her steel-gray eyes.
"Humph!" she said, "I'll do nothing of the sort. I ain't working
for ye and I never have been no more than I ever worked for your
mother. Every lick I ever done in this house I done for Linda
and Doctor Strong and for nobody else. Half of this house and
everything in it belongs to Linda, and it's a mortal short time
till she's of age to claim it. Whichever is her half, that half
I'll be staying in, and if ye manage so as she's got nothing to
pay me, I'll take care of her without pay till the day comes when
she can take care of me. Go to wid ye, ye triflin', lazy,
self-possessed creature. Ten years I have itched to tell ye what
I thought of ye, and now ye know it."
As Katy's rage increased, Eileen became intimidated. Like every
extremely selfish person she was a coward in her soul.
"If you refuse to go on my orders," she said, "I'll have John
Gilman issue his."
Then Katy set her left hand on her left hip, her lower jaw shot
past the upper, her doubled right fist shook precious near the
tip of Eileen's exquisite little nose.
"I'm darin' ye," she shouted. "I'm just darin' ye to send John
Gilman in the sound of my voice. If ye do, I'll tell him every
mean and selfish thing ye've done to me poor lambie since the day
of the Black Shadow. Send him to me? Holy Mither, I wish ye
would! If ever I get my chance at him, don't ye think I won't be
tellin' him what he has lost, and what he has got? And as for
taking orders from him, I am taking my orders from the person I
am working for, and as I told ye before, that's Miss Linda. Be
off wid ye, and primp up while I get my supper, and mind ye
this,, if ye tell Miss Linda ye didn't mean that gown for her and
spoil the happy day she has had, I won't wait for ye to send John
Gilman to me; I'll march straight to him. Put that in your
cigarette and smoke it! Think I've lost me nose as well as me
Then Katy started a triumphal march to the kitchen and cooled
down by the well-known process of slamming pots and pans for half
an hour. Soon her Irish sense of humor came to her rescue.
"Now, don't I hear myself telling Miss Linda a few days ago to
kape her temper, and to kape cool, and to go aisy. Look at the
aise of me when I got started. By gracious, wasn't I just
itching to wallop her?"
Then every art that Katy possessed was bent to the consummation
of preparing a particularly delicious dinner for the night.
Linda came in softly humming something to herself about the kind
of shoes that you might wear if you chose. She had entered the
high school that morning with an unusually brilliant color. Two
or three girls, who never had noticed her before, had nodded to
her that morning, and one or two had said: "What a pretty dress