And Elizabeth would patiently sit and listen. She showed great interest. She followed closely every word. She lost no gesture, no facial expression. "I think I could repeat it word for word," she said, when Mary had practiced for the last time, the morning of Class-day. "I could make every gesture you do. I'm really looking forward to this evening."
Mary's face flushed with pleasure. "I'm glad you like it. I hope it will pass off well. You see, the chapel will be crowded. The galleries are always filled; and, visitors are glad to get standing room below. It's our best day, and I wish to do myself and the school credit." Then suddenly remembering that she was to find out what she could of the Middlers' plans, she asked suddenly, "Have you any engagement for to-morrow evening, Elizabeth? What do you say about getting up a tally-ho party, our own set and a few visitors, and driving out by moonlight?"
Elizabeth turned her head aside as though she did not wish Mary to see her embarrassment. She hesitated before replying. "I—I—don't believe I can, Mary."
"Have you any engagement?"
"Well,—Oh, I don't know what to say. Please don't ask me."
Mary smiled to herself, then turned back to the mirror for the better arrangement of her hair. Her convictions were strengthened. Whatever the Middlers had on hand, to-morrow night was the time for the doings. When to-morrow night came—! Mary smiled at the thought. To-morrow night would find every Middler followed by a Senior.
The week had begun with the excitement usually attendant upon commencement. Relatives and friends began to appear on Monday. The continuous flow of guests taxed to the limit the accommodations of the Hall. Bedrooms were doing double duty. Meals were taken in relays. Every one bore with exceedingly good humor the little inconveniences incident to such an overflow.
Dr. Shull of the Irvington Female College lectured to the class Tuesday morning. This was followed by the presentation of diplomas. The graduates in caps and gowns marched through the chapel and across the stage. So far as commencement proper was concerned, this was their first and last appearance.
"But wait until this evening, and the Thursday night promenade! We'll shine then," Mary Wilson had whispered confidentially to her friends. "Every girl in the class has done herself proud about her new gowns—one for the prom and one for to-night, not to mention a few extras for the tree-planting and the rose parade."
The eventful evening came at last. Mrs. Jones bearing extra switches and fancy combs, her ebony face wreathed in smiles, had already arrived, and stood waiting Miss Wilson's pleasure. The much-talked-of dress of shimmering silk, over which point d'esprit hung like a cloud, lay over the bed ready for its wearer.
The girls were hurrying, as the time was growing short. Elizabeth stood ready to slip into the simple white frock which Joe Ratowsky had brought from Bitumen a few days before. She took up her dress and then laid it down again, and turned to the mirror pretending to put a stray lock in place.
"Hurry, you'll have no time to waste, Elizabeth. You must get in early if you wish a seat."
Just then a knock came at the door. Without waiting an invitation, Nancy thrust her head in. She had not yet dressed; but was wearing a bright kimono, her yellow hair streaming over her shoulders.
"Mary, hurry up to the chapel anteroom. Oh, don't wait to dress. There's a change in the program and every one who is to take part must come at once. Hurry! They are waiting for you."
Picking up the belt she had just discarded, and fastening it as she walked, Mary hurriedly quitted the room. The anteroom was a small place fitted up like a parlor, at the side of the stage and on a level with it. A single pane of glass fixed solidly in the wall gave the occupants a view of the stage, yet they could not be seen by the audience. It was here the teacher of oratory sat during the performance. At times, it served as a dressing-room.
The curtain was down. In order to save time and steps, Mary ran across the stage, between the scenery. At her hurried knock a key was turned, and the door of the anteroom opened wide enough to allow her to slip in.
"Hush!" the doorkeeper whispered, carefully locking the door after admitting her.
Landis, Mame, Anna Cresswell and a dozen others were already there.
"Are we all here now?" whispered the doorkeeper. They began to count. The light was so dim that they could barely distinguish faces.
"Fourteen," said Landis. "That is all."
"Be sure," admonished the keeper of the keys in sepulchral tones. "I would not for worlds have one absent."
"That's all." "Fourteen." "We're all here." "Do tell us so that we can hurry back to dress!" came from the members of the group.
At this, the girl with the keys drew her chair close to a second door leading into a dark, unfinished attic. Over the door which was nailed shut was a small transom. As she mounted the chair, Mary Wilson for the first time recognized her as a Miss Bowman, a special student in music, neither a Middler nor a Senior.
"Then," said Miss Bowman, lifting her hand with the key in it to the open transom, and turning to face the girls, "then we'll stay here." With that she dropped the key into the attic. They were prisoners; she, with them.
"It's those Middlers," groaned Mary Wilson. "We might have known; and my little innocent Elizabeth is at the bottom of this."
"Console yourselves," advised Miss Bowman. "When the curtain goes up, you will have a fine view of the Senior exercises. They will be well worth the price you've paid for admission."
Elizabeth turned the key in the lock the instant Mary stepped from the room. Then, as quickly as possible, she got into her roommate's white gown. Mrs. Jones, with a broad smile playing over her ebony features, stood by with pins and ribbons. From her mysterious boxes, that Mary supposed contained the switches with which one could do wonders, she brought forth a wig of yellow-brown hair.
"'Pears like this 'ud do. The other young lady hab hair what just come to her shoulders."
"It is just fine," exclaimed Elizabeth, "as near the color of Miss Wilson's as I can hope for." She studied herself in the mirror as Mrs. Jones adjusted the wig. "I know every gesture that Mary makes except this." She gave her head a toss, shaking back the fringe of hair about her shoulders.
She hurried dressing for it was almost time for the curtain to rise. "There!" she cried. "I'm ready. I hope the way is clear for me."
Hastening to the door, she peered into the hall. Not a 'noble Senior' was in sight. The girls flitting through the dormitories were Middlers and Freshmen. Confident that she was safe from interference, Elizabeth, her white gown trailing after her, started forth for the chapel. Nancy Eckdahl and Mame Welch joined her at the foot of the stairway.
"Don't I look like a boiled lobster?" cried Nancy. "But this was the only dress anywhere near my size. It's Nora O'Day's. Isn't it handsome? It is unfortunate that she is so dark and I so fair. But it was this or nothing. Think of a yellow-haired girl in an orange-colored gown."
The effect was startling. Nora, with her dark eyes and coloring, would have looked like a picture in this vivid orange; but Nancy, with her blue eyes and flaxen hair, looked anything but picturesque.
"But you are comfortable," gasped Mame, in short breaths. "If Min Kean had had a little more flesh on her bones when this dress was fitted, I would have felt better now. Nancy had to use a shoe-hook to fasten the buttons."
"Have you seen Laura Downs? She looks exactly like Landis. The dress fits except it is a little short in the waist; but Azzie pinned up the skirt. It doesn't look bad. She was in our room before she went down. And she 'did' Landis to perfection—that same haughty manner that Landis has when she means to impress one."
As they moved along, their number increased. The leading spirits of the Middler class were there, each decked out in the new gown that some Senior, whose manner and tricks of speech she had been studying for weeks to impersonate, would have worn had she not been locked up in the little greenroom near the stage of the chapel.
There had been no Middler of sufficient height and dignity to impersonate Dr. Morgan. Yet she was a light of so great magnitude that she could not be ignored. Miss Hogue, a special student, a girl devoted to the classics, and a writer for all the school papers, had been pressed into service. Dr. Morgan when she had appeared upon the rostrum during the commencement exercises had worn a gown of black lace, its sombre tone relieved by cuffs and collar of cream duchess. She was very slender and erect. Her mass of brown hair, touched with gray, was always dressed in the same style. During all the years she had been at Exeter, it had been worn in a great coil on the top of her head. Dr. Morgan was no longer young. During the last year, she had been compelled to use eye-glasses. These were attached to her bodice by a gold chain. As she talked they were held in her hand the greater part of the time. In physique, Miss Hogue was Dr. Morgan's double. Robed in the black gown, which she had borrowed from Dr. Morgan's maid, and with her hair powdered, she could have easily passed as the doctor herself.
Miss Bowman, in company with her fourteen Seniors, sat in the greenroom and waited. There was no lack of conversation, although Miss Bowman took little part in it. However, she was an interested listener, and laughed heartily at the remarks of her charges. They threatened her; they cajoled; they flattered; they offered her all the good things that could be laid at a Senior's feet during Commencement. When these availed nothing, they expressed themselves strongly. At intervals of a few minutes, one of the girls would try the doors, shaking them, and pounding with her fists on the panels.
"There are other Seniors somewhere," cried Mary Wilson. "If we could make them hear, we 'd soon be out of here. We'd stop the Middlers' banquet."
Miss Bowman laughed. "Do you still think it is a banquet? Well, it isn't. They hadn't the least idea of giving one."
"But I saw the letter that Elizabeth Hobart sent to Achenbach, the caterer. Isn't that proof enough?" And Mary looked as if, had this been a legal case, she had Blackstone on her side.
"I saw the orders myself," she asseverated.
"Of course you did! Elizabeth intended you should!"
"But if there was not going to be a banquet, why should they take all the trouble to make us believe there was?"
"Because, while you were hunting on the wrong scent, they could go on with their plans. You poor Seniors," compassionately, "how you did work to stop that banquet! Landis had her trip to the city for nothing. Do you know, I don't believe you could have had it served in the laundry! It gets chilly and damp there in the evening."
"I'll get out of this! I won't stay locked up," cried Mary. "Come, girls, let's all yell together and pound on the floor."
Pandemonium reigned for a few moments. Miss Bowman, exasperatingly cool, sat smiling. When the clamor ceased, she said, "Really, you are very childish. Why not accept this with the spirit of philosophers? You are here—you cannot get out until the Middlers see fit. Why not sit down and converse sweetly? There's the weather. It's a safe subject. Nothing personal about it. Or if you wish—"
"Shut up!" cried Mary, stamping her feet, and wholly losing her temper. "If you had that key we'd fall upon you tooth and nail."
"And take it from you!" It was Landis who finished the remark.
"So I thought!" responded Miss Bowman complacently. "That's why I haven't it."
It was Min Kean who first showed the spirit of a philosopher. "Oh, what's the use of fussing about it? We're here, and I suppose we shall stay here until those Middlers see fit to let us out. The more fuss we make, the more fun for them."
At this Landis drew herself erect. "That is just what I was about to say. A great deal of their fun will vanish when they discover that it is all one to us whether we get out or stay here. I'm about as well satisfied. My throat was a little husky anyway. Perhaps I would not have been able to make that high note. How mortified I should have been!"
She spoke in seeming sincerity. Mary Wilson eyed her suspiciously. She sighed. "Landis believes that we are what we make people believe we are. You would make a capital actress, Landis. The only fault you have is that you would always be playing to the gallery."
Her hearers laughed, accepting the remark as a bit of pleasant chatter. Mary did not fully grasp how much truth her remarks contained. Landis alone appreciated the words. Her face flushed and she turned her head aside for an instant that the girls might not see she was hurt.
"I don't know but that it is a good thing," Mary rattled on. "We're sure of an audience, at least. What shall we do now?"
"What can we do!" wailed a meek-looking little Senior from the darkest corner of the room. "There's nothing except ask conundrums. I'll begin. Why did we ever—?"
"What more do you want?" asked Landis, turning about quickly to face them. "I'll begin. What goes around a—"
"Hush hush," came a chorus of whispers. From the chapel below music could be heard. It was the Germania orchestra of twelve pieces from the city, to secure which the Seniors had heavily taxed themselves.
"All that music going to waste," wailed the little figure from the dark corner.
"It's not going to waste, dearly beloved," came the response from Miss Bowman. "The Middlers will enjoy it even more than you would have done. They are not paying the bill."
The instant the music ceased, the drop went up. Again a groan arose from the prisoners. They could see all that was enacted on the stage, yet could not hear the words.
"There's Dr. Morgan," whispered Mary. "She can't know that anything is wrong, and that we are locked up here. When she turns toward us I'll tap, and she'll see to it that we are set free."
A tall and stately figure, in an imported gown of black lace, crossed the stage. Reaching the center she paused, raised her eye-glasses and swept the audience with her characteristic glance. She began her remarks, and had said but a few words when she was stopped by a round of applause. The Seniors who had not been booked for that evening's performance understood that something had gone amiss. There were hurried remarks—"It isn't the Doctor;" "It's that Miss Hogue;"—"That's the girl that's in our classics;"—"This is the Middlers' work."
Miss Hogue, following Dr. Morgan's manner, gave almost word for word the address of the morning. She did it well. A round of applause followed her from the stage. She returned to receive the flowers which were intended for Dr. Morgan, then announced as the next number an oration by Miss Wilson.
"Well, I couldn't hear what she was talking about," sighed Mary from her place in the greenroom. "But it was just the way Dr. Morgan would have done. Did you notice how she raised her glasses, then turned her head to look sharply? The Doctor does that every time. Who's this dressed in—" She didn't finish her question. She paused to look closely. Then exclaimed, "Oh, Elizabeth Hobart, you little Spaniard! And with my dress on, too."
Elizabeth swept across the stage. She paused a moment, then tossed back her hair.
"Miss Wilson!" "Miss Wilson!" came the appreciative cries from the Freshmen and specials sitting below. The Seniors, in little groups of twos and threes, had their heads together arranging for a general action. They were so scattered throughout the house that quick planning was impossible.
"I am charged with pride and ambition," began Elizabeth, in the same tones and with the same gestures she had heard and seen Mary use hundreds of times while practicing. Even those in the greenroom caught her words.
"I've another charge against her," exclaimed Miss Wilson. "She's purloined my dress. Oh, I wish she would look this way."
But Elizabeth was wise. She let no glance wander toward the greenroom. She tossed back her locks again, threw out her hands and continued, "The charge is true, and I glory in its truth. Whoever achieved anything great in letters, arts or arms who was not ambitious? Caesar was not more ambitious than Cicero. It was only in another way." She went through the oration without a pause, and bowed herself from the stage in the midst of a round of hearty applause from the delighted audience.
Dr. Morgan, with her usual dignity, announced that Miss Landis Stoner from Potter County being absent by foreseen circumstances, Miss Mame Welch would sing the "Jewel Song" from Faust.
Mame, resplendent but uncomfortable in the finery belonging to Landis, then appeared. She raised her head, straightened her shoulders, looking unutterably bored and weary, although self-confident enough for a score of such songs. But the instant her voice arose, the Seniors who had gotten together started to sing. Their voices filled the chapel, drowning out even the laughter and applause.
"Where, oh, where are this year's Seniors, Where, oh, where are this year's Seniors, They are not in the cold, cold world. Every one sing for the grand old Seniors, Every one sing for the grand old Seniors, For they're not in the cold, cold world."
The moment there was a lull, Miss Welch caught her own tune and started bravely on her song, only to be again drowned out. She did not give up. She sang in spite of all opposition, for the most part out of the tune. Then with the airs and manner of one who had succeeded beyond all expectations, she left the stage, in some disorder but not vanquished.
The pseudo Dr. Morgan then arose, and with the dignity born of her position and years, requested order, saying that if there was further interruption she must ask the watchmen present to expel the disturbing element. Her speech was a master stroke. Exeter then had a dozen special officers about the grounds and buildings. Most of them had never been in Dr. Morgan's presence. Those in attendance, not understanding the state of affairs, took the request in good faith, believing that it was the real Dean of Exeter addressing them.
Then the farce which the Seniors had prepared was played.
Nancy, or the "boiled lobster," as she had nicknamed herself, was last to appear.
She played on Nora O'Day's guitar "The Spanish Cavalier," the only selection she could pick out, and sang it in a weak, trembling soprano. Nora both sang and played well. Nancy, in her vivid orange gown, did her best. Her audience, by this time conscious that there was something amiss, could no longer be suppressed.
"Oh, say, darling, say, When I'm far away, Some times you may think of me, dear—"
"Could he ever think of anything else?" came in a stage-whisper from below. Every one heard, and every one smiled. Nancy sang on:
"I'm off to the war—"
"I don't blame him," came again. Laughter swept over the hall.
"To the war I must go—"
"Don't bother about returning—"
Nancy laughed aloud. The curtain fell. The program for the evening was finished.
The Seniors accepted the Middlers' fun in good part. Even Mary forgave Elizabeth the wearing of her new gown.
"Oh, well," Mary had exclaimed after the affair was over, and a group of girls had gathered in her room, "'Every dog has his day.' We had ours last year; and next year you will pay the fiddler for a new set of Middlers."
"If they don't pay before that," said Landis, sententiously.
"It's a long lane that has no turning," said Min.
"But we will leave before the turn comes," laughed Elizabeth.
"What will you do?"
"Jump the fence and take to the fields," was Elizabeth's reply.
"If I wear my orange gown to-night will I look like Nancy?" asked Nora O'Day.
"I hope not," said Nancy, while a chorus of strong negatives arose from the other girls.
"Then I'll wear it," said Nora.
The excellent spirit with which the Seniors took their imprisonment was quite enough to awaken suspicion in the minds of Middlers had they been in a cautious mood. But they were too uplifted with their recent success to think of aught else. Beside, there was little time now for planning and executing vengeance. Dr. Morgan gave a tea to the Seniors and their friends late that afternoon. Thursday evening was the date for the ball and banquet. Friday the general exodus would begin.
"What have you on hand for this morning?" asked Mary, as she and Elizabeth were dressing for breakfast.
"There's plenty. I'm undecided what to do. One party is going boating; another plans to take a tally-ho ride, and have lunch under the trees which mark the place of the Wyoming massacre. The Freshmen are having a small "feed" down in room B. Everyone in this hall is invited. It's a mild affair. Just drop in, eat a sandwich and salad, exchange addresses, and bow yourself out. I think I'll go out boating first and then attend the Freshmen's 'drop-in.' And you?"
Mary sighed. "I must rest a little for Dr. Morgan's 'at home.' I haven't had enough sleep for a week. I know I look like Medusa. I'll start my packing, sort of get my personal belongings into shape. If I have time, I may walk down to the boat-house. But don't wait for me. Any one of a score of trifles may delay me."
This conversation took place about eight o'clock. That was the last the two girls saw of each other until Mary, decked out in her new gown, came down the hall on the way to Dr. Morgan's apartments. Elizabeth, dusty and tired, had that moment returned from the day's outing.
"You've been out in the sun, with only that brimless cap on your head," was Mary's greeting. "I should have warned you how sunny that boat ride is. I see two new freckles on the bridge of your nose now."
"Well, if there's only two, I shan't mind. When will you be back?"
"In half an hour or so. Put on your cream colored dress for dinner. There's to be doings afterward, and you'll be ready. Were any of our girls with you?"
"No; I haven't seen one to-day; neither at the boat-house nor on our ride."
During commencement week, the regular order of meals was infringed upon. Dinner began earlier and lasted later than usual. The students took second place, giving precedence to the guests and Seniors. So it came about that the Middlers and Freshmen had scarcely finished before time for the beginning of the evening festivities.
"Every one is to go to chapel after dinner," someone started the order. It was passed on and on until all the girls of the first and second classes received the word.
The dresses which they had worn to dinner answered for such an informal affair as this must be, to judge from the manner of issuing the invitations.
As they quitted the dining-hall, Elizabeth looked about for Mary, but could not find her. Nora, Landis, Min and Anna Cresswell also were among the missing. Then she hurried to join Nancy and Mame.
"Mary is not to be found. Perhaps she has already gone to chapel."
The audience hall was almost filled when they entered. Bright fans on the wing looked like a swarm of gay butterflies. The subdued hush of conversation came from all parts of the room. Elizabeth looked about but could not see her roommate.
"How perfectly awful the stage looks!" whispered Mame, who possessed the artistic temperament. "I think I could have decorated it better than that. I feel mournful at the mere looking at it."
The stage had been robbed of its furniture. A high-backed chair and reading-desk of black walnut were the only pieces in sight. White roses were there in profusion but not one bit of color.
While conversation buzzed, and fans fluttered, Azzie, dressed as somberly as the rostrum looked, walked slowly down the main aisle. Her gown was of some thin black stuff. She suited her walk and expression to match the color of her dress. She wore no flowers. A big roll of music was in her hand.
"She's going to play." Each one straightened her shoulders and leaned eagerly forward, fairly holding her breath in anticipation, for Azzie's fame as a pianist was far-reaching.
Moving slowly to the front of the rostrum, she seated herself at the piano. So she sat for a few moments without touching the keys.
Slowly following her came Anna Cresswell, in gown but no cap. Her linen collar and cuffs showed white against the dead black of her student's robe. With glances neither to right nor left, she slowly advanced, mounted the rostrum, and solemnly seated herself in the high-backed chair of polished walnut. Then Azzie touched the keys and gave expression to the most melancholy dirge one could conceive. So sympathetic was her music that a hush fell over the chattering audience.
"What has possessed the girl?" whispered Mame Welch, almost in tears but determined to keep a brave front. "I feel as though I was about to attend my own funeral. This is so unlike Azzie. Her music is generally brilliant."
Still the wail of sorrow sobbed itself out from beneath Azzie's fingers. In a moment more, the audience would have been in tears. She sat for a moment silent. When she touched the keys again, it was to give expression to a march, measured, heavy, solemn. At this, emerging from the rear of the chapel came the Seniors, in caps and gowns, two by two, with heads bowed, and "faces as long as the moral law," whispered Mame to Elizabeth.
The first six carried between them a long narrow box, over which the Middler class colors, green and white, had been draped, and on which rested a stiff wreath of white artificial flowers tied with streamers of vivid green. Advancing to the front, the six bearers deposited their burden before the rostrum, then took their places with the other robed figures upon the front seats. All the while Azzie played her solemn dead march.
At the conclusion, Miss Cresswell arose to announce they would begin the services by singing the popular ballad "Go tell Aunt Nancy." At this, the mournful singers, with Azzie accompanying them, sang in wailing, heart-broken voices:
"Go, tell Doc Morgan, Go, tell Doc Morgan, Go, tell Doc Morgan, Her Middler Class is dead.
"They're unreliable, They're unreliable, They're unreliable, Is what she's often said.
"Their heads illustrate, Their heads illustrate, Their heads illustrate, What a perfect vacuum is.
"Ofttimes she said this, Ofttimes she said this, Ofttimes she said this, Teaching the Seniors 'phis.'
"Go, tell the doctor, Go, tell the doctor, Go, tell the doctor, Wherefore the class is dead.
"An idea came floating, An idea came floating, An idea came floating, And struck its empty head."
Each Senior did her part well, maintaining an expression which was the picture of grief. At the close of the song, Miss Cresswell advanced to the reading-stand. She assumed an oratorical tone. There was a note of pathos in all she said. "There came to Exeter Hall some ten months ago," she began, "the class whose early demise we are now making famous with these ceremonies. They were young then. They continued to remain young—"
"So young," came in a sad-voiced chorus from the singers.
"They were green,—they remained so until their passing away. I repeat, they were green—"
"Oh, so green," came the sobbing chorus.
"The faculty looked upon them and sighed, a great sigh of disappointment. Yet with that noble heartedness, that philanthropic desire to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, minister unto the feeble-minded which marks our honored Dr. Morgan and her fellow workers, they took up the burden, determined to do their best. Yet, despite their great efforts, the class did not advance as other classes have done. Nor yet could it retrograde for it stood in a position where any backward movement was impossible. It was known throughout Exeter as the 'caudal appendage' class, being 'away back.'
"The Seniors, too, did all that lay in their power to enlighten these Middlers both intellectually and morally. But our efforts were like 'casting pearls before swine.' The Middlers were not only no better for our efforts, but seemed wholly unconscious that they stood in need of moral and intellectual support.
"Yet none of us regret the work that we did in their behalf. We planted the seed, but the soil was barren. Our efforts toward their cultivation was like breathing a concord of sweet sound into a vacuum. There was no volume of matter to perpetuate and carry it forth. It is not that we wish to censure them. Lacking the capacity to enjoy the higher life of school, we can not blame them that they amused themselves with mere toys. We Seniors who wear the philosopher's cap and gown must bear in mind that it would ill become the clown or jester. We listen to the music which rolls down the ages; but the tinkle of the bells won the ears of the Middlers. It is ever so. The world cannot be all of the higher ideal element. They cannot all be Seniors."
She paused to touch the colors of the Middler class—green and white.
"These are the symbols of the late lamented Middler class. How appropriate! The white represents the conditions of the examination sheets they habitually handed in—not a line, not a letter. Blank, quite blank. It is the opinion of the faculty that this also represented the condition of their brains. I do not fully agree with this. I believe that at rare intervals, and when under the influence of proper environment, for example, the presence of some Senior, the minds of the Middlers did receive some impression;—slight, we acknowledge. Yet we hold an impression, a faint suggestion of an idea, was there.
"The second color! Green! How beautiful, how appropriate. It represents our lamented Middlers as they stood before the world. They were so verdant!
"As to the age of the departed class, both much and little might be said. The records show that as a class they existed just ten short months; to the faculty and Seniors it seems like ten long years.
"During their sojourn, the hospital of Exeter has been filled with—teachers suffering from nervous prostration. Dr. Morgan's ebony locks have turned silver. During the holidays Miss Wilhelm, who tried to teach them classics, in a fit of desperation sought refuge in matrimony. We might speak more fully of the effects of their being among us were it not that we believe in interring the evil they have done with their bones.
"With this short eulogy, I close. Miss Stoner, a Senior, who has suffered much because of the shortcomings of the Middlers, will sing a solo appropriate to the occasion, the others joining in the chorus."
Landis advanced. Azzie struck up an accompaniment, while the whole class of Seniors came out strong on the refrain.
"They were so young, this Middler class of ours. They brought to mind the newly-opened flowers. They to the grasses closely were related. They were so green, so unsophisticated.
Softly speak, and lowly bow your head, We are alone. The Middler class is dead.
"We did our best. No duty left undone Weighs on our hearts at the setting of the sun. What though their choice was weeds instead of flowers Censure not us. The fault was never ours. From early dawn until the dim twilight We were to them a bright and shining light.
(Refrain) Weep if you can; slowly, lightly tread. They are gone. The Middler class is dead. Th' Middler—class—is—d-e-a-d."
With this, the Seniors arose. Six again took possession of the long box. The procession filed slowly from the room, while Azzie played a dirge.
The Middlers and Freshmen followed after them, and the laughing and chattering began again. Every one was humming "The Middler—class—is dead."
The line of girls passed down the main hall, the audience following them to see what new thing was to take place.
The members of the faculty, with Dr. Morgan, stood here. At the sight of their smile-wreathed faces, the gravity of the Seniors gave way. Landis laughed aloud. The others followed her example. The lines broke. The girls gathered about the teachers, talking and making merry over their escapade.
"I never realized what a nervous strain it is to control oneself so long," said Nora, joining Dr. Morgan. "I felt as though I must shriek and laugh, and there I had to sit and pretend to be overcome with sorrow."
Dr. Morgan had been glancing over a special edition of the evening paper. She folded it quickly as Nora came up to her. "You did admirably, Miss O'Day," she said. "I could not be present all the while."
Nora O'Day did not hear. She was leaning forward, her lips parted; her eyes, bright with excitement, were upon the paper.
"May I see this for a moment, Dr. Morgan?" she asked excitedly. "What is it about the strike?"
She had the paper in her hand, reading the article before Dr. Morgan had time to reply. It was a full resume of the trouble at Bitumen from early fall until the present, telling of the threatened attack upon Superintendent Hobart and the new miners and the call for State troops. The correspondent prophesied that the militia could not arrive in time to prevent bloodshed, the capital being two hundred miles from the scene of trouble, and the railway up the mountain having already been destroyed by the miners.
Nora grasped the meaning instantly. There was no mention made of the name of Dennis O'Day. He was not a miner. In the eyes of the world, he had no power. Miners themselves did not realize that it was he alone who instigated the strike, and that their leaders had been his choice. Outwardly, Dennis O'Day had washed his hands of the whole affair. So long as he escaped legal responsibility, he would shrug his shoulders, and stand by to watch the fight. He could be eliminated without effecting the result. But Nora O'Day, who understood her father as no one else had ever understood him, saw his work here. She knew that for years he had been the unseen moving power.
The bubble of laughter and fun was about her. She looked up piteously into Dr. Morgan's face, her lips trembling with emotion. She loved her father. Shame and fear for him overwhelmed her.
"I—I know—some—some people there. That is why I—I was anxious."
"I wish you would not mention the matter to anyone. We see no reason to distress Miss Hobart unnecessarily. Her knowing the condition of affairs would result in needless worry without helping matters any."
"Why—Elizabeth—is she—has she—"
"Her father, you know, Miss O'Day, is the superintendent of the Bitumen mines."
At that Nora O'Day gave a startled cry, and buried her face in her hands. "I didn't—know—I didn't know. Poor Elizabeth—" she sobbed.
Her behavior was claiming the attention of others. To shield her from the attention of the passing throng, Dr. Morgan drew her within the private office. She anticipated comforting an hysterical girl. But in a moment Miss O'Day controlled herself.
"When will the troops reach Bitumen?" she asked, drawing herself up, afire with purpose.
"Not before to-morrow night. That is the earliest possible time. It is presumed the miners, hearing of the call for help, will bring matters to a climax at once."
"Dr. Morgan, will you telephone McCantey's livery? They know my father down there. Tell them to send the man Jefferies if they can, and fast horses. Elizabeth Hobart and I will go to Bitumen to-night. I'll stop the trouble."
"Dear child, you're—crazy," said Dr. Morgan, surprised by such a suggestion.
"Far from it. I'm going, with or without your permission. Please telephone now, and I'll explain while I await their coming. Tell them it's a matter of life and death. If I kill the horses with hard driving, I'll pay twice what they're worth. Every minute counts! Won't you telephone?"
Dr. Morgan obeyed the peremptory request. She believed that news of the strike had affected Nora until she did not know what she was about. She would accede to her request, and perhaps by the time the horses were at the Hall, Miss O'Day would listen to reason.
"Now," said Nora, the order having been given, "I'll tell you some facts about myself and my family you never knew. I know who has brought this strike about, and I know how to stop it." She spoke calmly, methodically. Dr. Morgan seated herself to listen. Miss O'Day began her story. When she had finished, the horses were at the door, Jefferies with them. Dr. Morgan hesitated.
"I've known Jefferies for years. He is a friend of my father. He will take care of us," said Nora, studying the expression of Dr. Morgan's face.
"Then go, Nora. My prayers go with you."
A few minutes later, Elizabeth, the center of a laughing group, was drawn hurriedly aside by Nora.
"Here's a long storm coat. Put it on over your light dress. We have no time to change. Put on the cap, and tie a heavy veil upon it. It is raining; but it will matter little." The speaker was enveloped in a long, dark, travelling cloak, beneath which her orange colored gown showed. A soft hat swathed in a heavy veil hid her head and face.
Elizabeth did as she was bid, being wholly carried away by the excitement and force in the speaker's voice.
"Why—what—" she began.
"Don't waste time talking. There, you are ready. Come!"
"Go with your friend," said Dr. Morgan. "She will tell you on the way."
She walked with them to the door. The girls passed out into the storm and the night.
The country roads were almost ankle deep with mud. The soft drizzling rain had resolved itself into a steady downpour. The carriage seemed swallowed up in the darkness. It was well that Jefferies knew the way and the horses he was driving. He chirruped and called them by name and they went plunging on through the mire.
No sooner were the girls seated in the conveyance, the storm-robes being drawn about them, than Elizabeth turned to her companion with eager questioning. She was quivering with suppressed excitement.
Nora, on the contrary, was quite calm. She had made her plans, and now saw her way clear to carry them out. Her self-confidence spared her unnecessary alarm. However, appreciating Elizabeth's state of mind, she at once explained the condition of affairs at Bitumen. She was sufficiently tactful to tell her only that which was necessary for her to know. She also warned her to be careful what she said should anyone stop them on the road.
"If we meet the strikers, they will help us along because I am the daughter of Dennis O'Day. But they must not know who you are. On the other hand, if we meet anyone else, you are to impress them with the fact that you are Superintendent Hobart's only child, and that you must reach Bitumen to-night."
Turning to Jefferies, she urged him to keep the horses moving. "I know the carriage will be ruined, and the horses laid up with stiff joints for a week or more; but I'll pay for that. Get us to Bitumen before daylight, and Mr. McCantey may make the bill what he chooses."
Although they were moving as fast as it was possible it seemed but a snail's pace to Elizabeth. She could realize nothing but that her father was in danger. After hearing Nora's reasons for this sudden journey, she spoke no word but sat rigid, her hands clasped tightly in her lap. She was leaning forward, trying to pierce the darkness of the road before them. The rain beat into her face. Her cap and veil were drenched but she heeded them not.
Determined to make the journey a trifle less strenuous for Elizabeth, Nora kept up a continuous flow of talk. It mattered little about what; only that there was no silence, but Elizabeth might as well have been a wooden girl so far as listening to her companion was concerned. They left the flat country roads, and began ascending the mountain. The road was so narrow that heavy logs had been placed for safety along the outer side.
For the first time since the beginning of their journey Jefferies spoke: "We should make better time here. The roads are well enough trained, and we would if I could see a yard ahead of me. I'll let the horses go their own gait—they're sure-footed enough. All we've got to do is to trust in Providence. I'll get you there or kill the horses in trying."
At last, at the opening of a small ravine, the road broadened. The horses sprang forward.
Suddenly Elizabeth, still looking eagerly ahead, exclaimed, "I see a light! It looks like a lantern."
The click of the horses' hoofs upon the stones rang loud and clear. Jefferies drew them up. He leaned over sidewise to peer about. "I was trying to see just where we are. Oh, we're all right. That light hain't no lantern. That's where Ketchomunoski lives. We'll go on. He may come out if he hears us go by. I'll go slow and whip up just as we reach his shanty."
"Is he a miner?" It was Nora who asked the question.
"Draw down your veil, Elizabeth, and don't say a word to him. I'll do the talking."
Scarcely had she spoken when the flickering light moved out into the road, directly in their way. Ketchomunoski, lantern in hand, barred their way.
Jefferies could have urged the horses on, letting the big Polander run the risk of getting beneath their hoofs. But Jefferies was a peaceful man, so long as peace served his purpose. If strategy served, he preferred it to war; if not, then he was ready for the last. At the flourish of the lantern, he drew rein, calling out in friendly tone: "That you, John?" By that name every foreigner was known. "Come here, I want to speak to you."
The Pole came to the side of the carriage. "We've got to get to Bitumen, John, and get there to-night. How's the road?"
"No one go to there to-night," he replied, in his broken English. He was to watch the road. Men were above. He would fire his gun if any one suspicious passed. They could not go on. This was the purport of his speech.
Leaning forward, Nora touched the man's arm. "Don't you know me?" she said. "I'm Dennis O'Day's daughter. Listen! I must reach my father at once. At once, do you understand? I have a message to give him which will affect the strike. But I must give it to him. Fire your gun, and let the miners meet us. I want them to take me to my father."
She kept her hand on the man's arm as she was speaking. She looked him directly in the eye, as though by force of her own will she would compel him to do her bidding. Her words threw a new light upon the case. Yet in times like this, one can trust the words of no one.
"Where have I seen you?" he asked, scrutinizing her closely.
Her face flushed, but she answered bravely. "Do you remember two years ago, you came to my father for help? One of your people was in jail—someone had been hurt, killed, perhaps. An Italian named De Angelo. And my father went to court with you to tell that Gerani, I think that was his name, was not present when the Italian was hurt. I was at home when you came."
The man nodded. There was no question now in his mind. She was Dennis O'Day's daughter, the daughter of the man, who, although himself not a miner, stood shoulder to shoulder with them when they needed a friend. She saw him hesitate.
"If you are afraid to allow us to pass, fire your gun, and let the miners know we're coming. I am not afraid of them. They will befriend me."
He stepped aside. At that instant Jefferies brought down his whip upon the backs of the horses, and they started forward.
"We're rid of him," exclaimed Nora. "I'm not afraid of anyone else. I'll reach Bitumen and see my father before daylight."
"And save mine," said Elizabeth.
"Elizabeth Hobart, your father is perfectly safe. No doubt, he's home warm and comfortable in bed, while we, poor mortals, are out in the night, drenched and forlorn."
They had not gone up the mountain road more than a mile, when the sharp report of a gun was heard. There was a moment's silence, followed by a second report.
"Ketchomunoski is sending word of our coming," said Nora. "I begin to feel that I am of some importance. This is the first time my appearance has been heralded." Then more seriously, "I would like to know what two shots mean. Why wasn't one sufficient? Do you know, Jefferies?"
But Jefferies knew nothing. He would not even express an opinion on the subject. He had no time to give to mere surmises. His work was to keep the horses moving. This he did, encouraging them with chirrups, or touching them lightly with the whip.
Though on the mountain road there was no mud, for the steep ascent was well-drained, it was hard traveling even for strong and swift horses. Jefferies' heart smote him as he urged them on. He knew the horses he was driving would be useless for weeks, but if a man's life hung in the balance, the horses must travel their best, though they drop dead at the end of the journey.
The road from the foot to the top of the mountain was between three and four miles long. It had been cut along the side of the hill, and was so narrow that teams could not pass except at certain places, widened sufficiently to give 'turning-out' room.
Jefferies had stopped at one of these places to rest his horses. Upon the instant they reared and would have plunged the carriage backward over the side, had not their driver retained his presence of mind to speak to them, leaning over to pat their sweating flanks. After quieting them, he called out: "Now you fellows attempt to seize the bridle again, and I'll let you see how close I can shoot to the mark. The horses won't stand strangers fooling about them. If you've anything to say, come alongside and say it. But bear in mind, we'll not put up with any funny business. Are you coming? If you don't, I'll drive on."
"Have you a revolver?" whispered Elizabeth.
"You don't think I would take a drive like this without one, do you?" was the reply.
At his invitation, dark forms emerged from the bushes and from behind the trees. As they advanced, it seemed as though the road was filled with men. They came close, swinging their lanterns high to see the occupants of the carriage. They were a sorry-looking set. The winter had been hard upon them, though the fault was their own. They had had little to eat; they had grown thin and haggard; their eyes were sunken; their features pinched. They jabbered in their own tongue, turning from one to another. Elizabeth noticed with alarm that some bore firearms, while others carried clubs and even stones. She was so frightened that she could not have spoken a word had her life depended upon it. Fortunately Nora was different. Elizabeth crouched back in her seat. Nora leaned forward, and with a manner indicative of her ability to protect herself, and her confidence in them, she addressed them.
"I'm glad we met you," she exclaimed. "You are miners? Then you can tell me how to reach Mr. Dennis O'Day. I must reach him to-night—within a few hours. I have a message for him."
They talked among themselves.
"What's the message?" one asked in broken English.
"It's not to be told to every one," she replied. "If you will tell me who your leader is, I'll whisper it to him."
"Ivan," they cried, pushing a Slav forward, and retreating into the shadows.
Bending over, Nora mentioned "Militia." The word was magic. Then she grew impatient. "Why do you try to keep us here?" she exclaimed. "Didn't Ketchomunoski fire two guns? Wasn't that to let you know we would come this road and that you should let us pass? We are wasting time. I must reach my father with this message. Good night! Jefferies, drive on."
The men made no effort to detain them as the carriage started. It was past one o'clock when they reached the top of the mountain and came to the outskirts of the town. "The Miners' Rest" was less than a mile distant. But the horses were tired out. Jefferies could not get them out of a slow walk.
"We'll go at once to 'The Miners' Rest,'" said Miss O'Day. "I'll see my father there. If the miners are planning any trouble, they'll be there, too."
Driving into a little wood, Jefferies drew rein. Climbing down from his place, he took out a strap and tied the horses to a tree.
"They wouldn't let us drive through town," he explained. "The streets will be filled with the strikers. We'll walk, keeping in the shadows. It's a blessed good thing for us that it rains."
He helped the girls to alight, then strode on ahead, skirting the edge of the wood.
"If you see me stop, then you stop," he said. "Don't come on until I say so. If you hear me talk to anyone, wait and don't speak."
Clasping hands, the girls slowly followed. The side of the road was filled with clods. The road itself was mud to the shoe tops. Many times they stumbled and almost fell. Only at intervals could they see the form of their guide.
When they reached the main street, Jefferies paused. It was filled with miners, each with his lantern. These lights helped Jefferies to determine his next move. He saw in which direction the crowd tended. The murmur of many voices could be heard; but there was no uproar.
"The women will either be out in the street with the men, or home asleep," he said at last. "Either way, we're safe. We'll cross here and get behind this row of houses and keep on until we're close to 'The Miners' Rest.' They'll see us then. But no matter."
Slowly they pushed their way through backyards. Fortunately there were no division fences. The winter's crop of ashes and tin cans was beneath their feet. They stumbled, ran into barrels and boxes, waded through mud holes, yet Nora's spirits never flagged.
As they came to the last of the houses, Jefferies again paused until Nora and Elizabeth came up to him.
"There at the corner is 'The Miners' Rest,'" he said, pointing to a low, wooden building.
"That ramshackle affair!" cried Nora. "Somehow I had the impression it was a big hotel."
"They don't need that kind among miners," was the reply. "This is just a drinking-place, nothing more. Every miner in Bitumen is there. Look at those women. They're worse than the men."
A group of women with hair hanging, dressed in dirty wrappers, and shawls about their shoulders, stood together under the flickering corner lamp. To judge from their gesticulations, they were much excited. They were all talking at once and shaking their clenched fists in defiance.
"Are you afraid to go through that mob?" asked Jefferies.
"No; we dare not be afraid of anything now. Push ahead, Jefferies, straight to the door, and on through until I find my father. Don't stop. We'll keep at your heels. Draw down your veil, Elizabeth, and put up your collar. Don't speak or tell who you are. Remember the miners know you."
Following her suggestion, Jefferies crossed the street, pushing his way through the throng, as though he was expected. The girls kept close to him, so close that Nora could have reached forth and touched his arm. The mob of men scarcely noticed him. Indeed, few knew that the two girls had slipped through the crowd. They were talking in half a dozen different tongues and dialects. The effect was like a pack of dogs snarling. No attempt was made to stop the three. They reached the door and Jefferies entered, followed by the girls. Nora's cheeks were crimson with embarrassment. She was trembling. Her nerves had been so wrought upon that she was ready to cry. But that would spoil all. She must control herself.
Behind the bar was a room devoted to conferences of the leaders of the strike. Toward the door leading to this Jefferies made his way. The men in the bar-room stopped talking to look at the girls. It was unusual to see women in this place.
Nora, feeling herself conspicuous, with a desire both to justify her presence there, and to protect herself and companion, exclaimed, "My father is in that room, Mr. Jefferies. Ask for Mr. O'Day. Tell him his daughter has come with an important message."
The men stepped aside, leaving her way clear. Her words had carried into the inner room. The door was flung open from within, and Dennis O'Day stood there.
"You!" he exclaimed. "Good heavens, Nora, how did you get here at such a time? Come here," and he drew the girls into the inner room. He dismissed at once the half dozen men gathered there. "In half an hour," he said significantly as they passed out. "Not a minute before that. I must see what has brought my daughter here."
Elizabeth, drenched and with draggled skirts, sank into a chair. She had not raised her veil. Dennis O'Day did not recognize her as the little girl whom he had seen many times playing about the superintendent's yard. She was so nearly exhausted that she could not stand. She let her head fall over upon the table.
Dennis O'Day glanced from the drooping figure back to his daughter as though asking an explanation. "My dearest friend at Exeter, father," was the reply to the unspoken question. "No one else in the world, except yourself, has been so kind to me." She came closer to Dennis O'Day, touching his sleeve with her finger-tips. His little world had always trembled in fear of him. His daughter alone stood fearless in his presence. She was the only being in the world he loved. For an instant he looked into her face. Her perfect features and rich coloring delighted him. He was glad that she was beautiful.
"Well, Nora, what is it that has brought you to Bitumen at this of all times?" he asked, putting his arm about her and drawing her close to him.
"The strike! It is just the reason that you shouldn't be here. I've a notion to cart-whip Jefferies for bringing you. You might have been shot by the miners."
"So I might. But Jefferies wasn't asked anything about it, daddy. I told him he had to bring me here before morning, and if he killed the horses by hard driving, you'd pay for them."
Dennis O'Day laughed. He liked her audacity. "But suppose I wouldn't?"
"But you would. You have never failed me yet, daddy, and you never will. It doesn't matter much what happens, you'll stand by me. That is why I felt so sure about coming. Dr. Morgan did not wish me to. She said it would be useless. But she yielded when I insisted that you would do what was right. And you must do it now, daddy." She drew down his head to kiss him. "You must keep the miners from attacking the mines to-night."
"I? I'm no miner! What have I to do with the strike? If the men attack that miserable little sneak of a superintendent, what have I to say?"
"Everything. You are not a miner, but they do as you say. They do not know it is so, but you do. I want you to go out there; tell them—tell them anything, only so they do not make the attack to-night."
"Nonsense. Even if they should do as I say, what's the odds? I've no love for that man Hobart. He's been fighting me for years. He'll get no more than he deserves. No, no, Nora. Girls mustn't meddle."
"You won't go?"
"No; ask me anything else than that."
"Then I'll tell you what I'll do. The National Guards are on their way now. When they come, I'll give them all the information they wish. I know who urged this on. I know who killed the Italian. Oh, I know lots of things that I've kept to myself because my telling would harm you. But—" She was excited. Whether she pretended this high state of emotion, or whether it was real, was difficult to tell. She had flung open her coat. The vivid coloring of her gown, her crimson cheeks and flashing eyes made a brilliant bit of coloring in the dark room lighted by a solitary, smoking oil-lamp. Her tones were clear and decisive.
"Why, Nora, listen to reason. How—"
"No, I will not listen to anything but your promise to go and stop that mob. Listen to them yelling like a pack of hyenas. I'm not through yet. You must choose and choose quickly. Stand by the miners or me. If you forsake me, I'll never see you again. I'll never let you do anything for me. I'll be as though you never had a daughter. Then what will be the good of all your money and your saving? There'll be no one to waste it on; no one to care about you. You know that mother left me enough to live on. Besides, I can work. Will you go?" She fairly blazed her words at him. She stamped her foot until the chairs and tables shook.
Dennis O'Day had been her slave since babyhood. She had always had her way, and had done as she had threatened. He knew, too, that she was the only one who had a bit of tenderness for him. The men outside cared little for him. Fear of the consequences was the sole reason that many a miner had not quietly assisted him into the next world.
Nora came up to him again. She rested her head against his shoulder. "Listen, daddy, to what I tell you," she said gently, her anger disappearing. In a few words she told him of her isolation at school, and how Elizabeth Hobart had befriended her. Her eyes filled as she talked. Her hearer, too, was moved. When she had finished, she kissed him again. "I'll be to you the best daughter a man ever had. Go now," pushing him toward the door. "And tell them that I have brought you news which changes the program. I'll go with you, daddy. If they harm you, I'll bear the blows too."
He told her to stay, but she followed close after him. He had no fear of bodily harm. There would be growls and snarls, and perhaps threats, but the trouble would end there. Gerani, Colowski, Raffelo, Sickerenza, were the bell-sheep. He could control them.
Pushing his way to the front of the saloon, he stood in the doorway and shouted with the full force of his lungs. He spoke Slavic, and they listened. There were mutterings and growls as might have been expected. He gave no reason for the delay of the attack, but his words suggested much.
Gerani, in the background, in low tones was urging a group of Slavs to answer O'Day, and declare that they would go on. O'Day's eyes were on the big Slav. He understood the conditions. Nothing would please Gerani better than to have the miners rush upon the speaker and kill him.
O'Day understood. He called out, "Take my word for it, Gerani. We won't get into this to-night. They've filled the cars on the incline with dynamite. The moment we set foot there, down comes the car. Do you want your men blown to pieces? Besides, my daughter," he drew her against him, "brings news of the militia close at hand. Go back to your homes, men—back to bed. Let the National Guards find you all asleep, and their work for nothing. If they see all quiet, they'll leave. Then will come our time. While I think of it, Gerani, Father O'Brady still keeps safe in the church those papers you know of.
"Sickerenza, you haven't forgotten, have you, about the breakers being burnt up at Wilkes-Barre? Seeing you, put me in mind of them.
"Colowski, I know a man who's looking for Sobieski."
The three men thus addressed swore beneath their breath. Thus O'Day forever kept the noose about their necks. They slunk from sight.
"Speak to the men, you curs," commanded O'Day in English which but a few understood. "Tell them to go back home, Gerani."
Thus admonished, the man cried out in Slavic, ordering the men home, to meet the following night. The other two leading spirits followed his example. There was a movement toward dispersion. The flickering lights in their caps moved slowly away in groups of threes and fours.
The distance grew greater until to Nora O'Day they looked like fire-flies. The light from the open door was upon her. The vivid orange of her evening dress gleamed in the shadows. She had stood there fearless, erect, looking straight into the eyes of the mob, until one by one they had disappeared in the darkness.
Then she turned and leaned heavily against her father.
"I'm tired, daddy dear, but I'm happy. I have my father, and Elizabeth will have hers. Come, take me to her. We must tell her the good news."
VERSES BY ELIZABETH MAY ILLUSTRATIONS BY IDA MAY ROCKWELL
One Hundred Flowers Shown in Their Natural Colors
Each one of the hundred pages in Flower Babies carries a verse about children and flowers. The drawing on the page bears out the flower idea, showing the blossoms in the beautiful colors Nature gives them as they grow.
There is so much genuine love in the way these verses and pictures speak that the book has won the warmest of welcomes from the children.
WHAT OTHERS THINK
"The idea of the book is good—to familiarize children with the common flowers."—New York Globe.
"Its brilliancy of color would be sufficient to attract the childish eye were it not in its versified text amusing and clever."—Boston Transcript.
Quarto, Bound in Boards, Every Page in Colors. Postpaid Price, $1.25
The Saalfield Publishing Co., Akron, Ohio