Page images
[merged small][graphic][merged small][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors]


J05-! (V-39 pot. )

24 37.4 "Of course I can't have what the others have. door-sill, and went slowly down the walk, her I 'm too homely," murmured Deborah. “But I back to the ugly, little house. She knelt among hate her when she talks like that."

her flowers, and laid a caressing hand on the The corners of her mouth drooped, and her nearest. The garden was gay now with foxglove eyes filled with tears.

There were

so many and sweet-william and columbine. Later it would things Deborah hated: the bare, angular house run riot with tiger-lilies and larkspur and hollyperched on the hillside, the plainness of her daily hocks. living, the vision she saw reflected in the mirror, "I love you! I love you !" she whispered pas- a small figure clothed in checked-brown gingham, sionately. "You 're the only thing I have to love. and a pale face with drooping mouth and hair Why do I have to be so ugly when I hate ugly drawn tightly back into two braids. She could things with all my soul!" have seen eyes blue as gentians if she had looked She dug vigorously among her pansies for long enough, but she always turned away after some time. Presently she left the trowel sticking the first glance.

in the earth, and settled back, her hands clasped “I don't love a thing but my garden,” thought around her brown gingham knees. She was too Deborah. "It 's the only beautiful thing I have. shy to have friends to talk to; she was used to Maybe I love Aunty Jones a little scrap, and I thinking things out for herself. used to love Josie, because she's so pretty. I "I am ugly," she thought, "and Aunty Jones is hate ugly things. I 'm going to hate people now, ugly, and the house is ugly. It must hurt everytoo. I hate Josie when she talks like that.” body to look at us all, for ugliness is hateful.

Pretty Josie Fenton walked on down the hill Why can't the world just be full of beauty ?" with Fred Dillon, unconscious that her words had For a long time, she sat thinking about it, and been overheard. “It's too bad Debby is so then she slowly went back to her pansies. homely," she had said carelessly.

"I suppose really to make all the world beautiDeborah watched them out of sight. She would ful, every one ought to put a little beauty into it. have given all she owned to walk unconcernedly All I have is my garden, but that 's the prettiest down the street with Fred. He was so merry and in town, and I can make it prettier even than it is. good-looking; any girl would be glad to have him It 's the only point I have to start from, but I 'll for a friend. She picked up her trowel from the do it. I sha'n't pay any more attention to people,

Copyright, 1912, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.

slope !"

whether they 're pretty or not. I 'm going to “It will be extremely pretty. Do whatever you hate people, and hate ugly things all my life, and want to. How do you like my house?" just give myself up to putting beauty into the “I love to look at it," said Deborah, fervently. world."

The glow stayed on Deborah's face all through She rose to her feet and surveyed her garden dinner-time. She had never before spoken to a with a dreamy look. Her eyes showed the blue in stranger of her own accord, and it was exciting. this direct glance, and the corners of her mouth So was the permission to pour some of the beauty did not droop quite so pitifully. She had at least of her own little garden-plot into her neighbor's an object in life.

wide domain. “Yes,” she said. “The larkspur is in just the **I'm really doing it!" she thought. “I'm really right place, and the hollyhocks will be lovely putting beauty into the world out of my own against the fence. The phlox needs thinning, - garden!" but it 's time to go and help Aunty Jones get Then she stopped, struck by a sudden thought. dinner now."

Was she going to be able to carry out perfectly As she walked back toward the house, her eyes her plan of hating people as she spread beauty? traveled farther up the hill. A new house was

How could she hate Mr. Danvers while she was rising on the hilltop, and the newly graded earth giving him flowers out of her garden? made more raw ugliness in the landscape.

She did not have time to find an answer to her "It's a beautiful house," thought Deborah. question just then, for transplanting kept her “It makes ours worse than ever by contrast. But very busy. Josie Fenton's father was building it will take forever to get the new look off the the house, and he watched Deborah with interest place. How lovely rock-pinks would be on that as, day by day, she came over with a new peren

nial clump to tuck into its fitting nook. Deborah A sudden thought struck her, so daring that it did not know he was watching her until he spoke sent the unaccustomed color over her face. Was to her. this a broader chance in her mission of bringing “Are you sharing up that white piny? It 's the beauty into the world? Could she take it out of handsomest one in town." the confines of her own little garden and spread “Do you think so?” Deborah asked shyly. “I it abroad?

did n't know any one ever noticed it." “Oh, I could n't! I 'd never dare !” she ex- “When it 's in bloom, I come down this way claimed. “I 've plenty of pinks, and they spread just to look at it," Mr. Fenton said. like lightning, but I d never dare offer Mr. "Oh, do you?" Deborah asked, with a little Danvers any."

smile. She did not often smile. Then she added, She could not get the thought out of her mind, shyly, “Would you like a root, too?" however. Every morning for a week, with a “Indeed I would, if it won't be robbing you." quick-beating heart, she watched Mr. Danvers “I 'd like to give it to you,” Deborah answered, walk by on his visit of inspection to his new and went home wondering if she could leave out house. Then one day, before she knew she had from her hating the people who loved flowers. done it, she had opened the gate and was speak- She dug so hard at her peony roots that before ing to him.

she knew it she had kneed a hole straight through "Rock-pinks would be lovely on that slope," her brown gingham frock. She showed it in disshe gasped, her cheeks aflame. “I have lots of may to Aunty Jones. them. Could I plant some out there?"

"Never mind," said the kind old lady.

, Mr. Danvers looked at her quizzically.

“It's an old one. You go up to the store this after"You 're the girl with the pretty garden, are n't noon and get you some new gingham, and I 'll you?” he said, “and we are neighbors. I've tried make you some new dresses. I 'm slack of work to speak to you before, but you always looked the just now; and I don't read as easy as I did once.”

And you want to share with me? To the second brown gingham, clean and That 's very kind of you."

starched, Deborah added a brown sailor hat over “Don't you mind ?" stammered Deborah.

hair tied tightly with a brown ribbon, and went “I shall be very grateful. I 'm not much at to the store. She had to wait a long time for flowers, and Mrs. Danvers won't be coming till attention, for an automobile stood outside, and later, for I want things settled before she ar- the two ladies who owned it were inside buying rives."

many things. Deborah sat patiently on a high "And could I put a little bunch of pink phlox stool and waited. She looked a good deal at the “

. by the barn?" asked Deborah, eagerly. “The color young lady who was matching embroidery silk, will be so pretty against the gray.”

for she was very pretty. Presently the young

other way

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

lady looked up and met the gaze. She smiled at you will remember what I tell you. Outside beauty Deborah, and Deborah had shyly smiled back be- does n't always strike in, but inside beauty alfore she knew what she was doing.

ways strikes out in time, though young folk "I 'm afraid we 're keeping you waiting," said are n't apt to think so. Will you remember that? the older girl.

Every girl wants to be pretty, and no girl can "I don't mind," answered Deborah. “I only carry a brave, honest, merry heart without havwant some brown gingham, and I have lots of ing it shine through, finally, to make people call time."

her beautiful." "If you 're going to buy yourself a dress," the "My mother is preaching you quite a sermon," automobile girl said impulsively, “don't buy an- laughed the young lady. "Now remember, too,

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]


other brown; buy blue, to match your eyes.

See, what I tell you. Just wear blue always, and there 's a lovely piece up there."

never touch another inch of brown.

Wait a “Why,” faltered Deborah, “I 've always had minute! I have a hat out in the car that would brown."

just suit you, I know, and it is n't my style at all. “But that 's no reason you always should. The Will

you take it to remember my little sermon? blue costs the same, and pretty things are much My mother's ribbon will make you remember to nicer to look at than ugly ones, are n't they?" said be good, and my hat will make you remember to her new friend, with a smile.

wear becoming clothes. They 're both very im"Oh, yes !” exclaimed Deborah.

portant. The young lady had the blue-and-white check The young lady dashed out to find the hat, and pulled down, and held it against Deborah's face. dashed back to leave it on Deborah's lap. Then Her cheeks Alushed, and her eyes were bright as she smiled once more, and she and her mother

buzzed off in the automobile, leaving Deborah's “It's very becoming,” said the older lady, with head buzzing as fast as the car. She went home, a satisfied nod. "I am going to make you a pres- scarcely knowing who she was, the blue gingham ent of a blue hair-ribbon to match, so that when

and the blue hair-ribbon done up in one parcel, you look in the glass and find how nice you look, and the hat-such a pretty one!-in another.

she looked up.

« PreviousContinue »