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=— THE = = Melting of Molly By MARIA THOMPSON DAVIESS Copyright, 1912, by the Bobbs- Merrlll Company SYNOPSIS Tho teller of the story, Molly Carter, a young: widow, awaiting the return of A1 Bennett, an old flame, who Is now a distinguished diplomat, tries to reduce weight Her physician, adviser and next door neighbor Is Dr. John, a widower and father of young Billy, whom Molly loves. Molly Is surprised a t play with Billy by Judge Wade, who is the most dignified and able man in Hillsboro. Billy comes over from next door with his father. Hillsboro receives a visit from Ruth Chester, a friend of Bennett, and Molly finds her delightful. Molly goes to the city for an outfit of clothing. Molly has trouble In reducing her weight. Billy’s singing of an old love song about “Molly” under her window brings tears to her eyes. She flirts with Tom Pollard, her cousin, who Is a “ladies’ m an.” She decides to re-enter Hillsboro society by giving a din ner. The doctor catches her eating for bidden Jam. Dr. John and Molly pay a visit to one of his patients, a young mother. She doesn’t know whom she really wants to murry, but thinks she will accept Bennett. Tom Invites Molly to a dance. Of all Molly's dances the one with Dr. John pleases her most. Preparations for the dinner are under way. Bennett Is al most due in Hillsboro. Billy cats too much and becomes sick. LEAF SIXTH. Scattered Jam. ND when that conflagration was lighted In me. Tom did It I was sitting peneeably on my front steps, dressed in tho sum mer before last that Judy washes and irons every day while I’m deciding how to hand out the first sip of my trous- Beau to thp neighbors, when Tom, in a dangerous blue striped shirt, with a tie that melted into It in tone, blew over my hedge and landed at my side He kissed tho lace ruffle on my sleeve while I reproved him severely and set tled down to enjoy him. But 1 didn’t have such an awfully good time as I generally do with him. Ho was too full of another woman, and even a first cousin can be an exasperation in that condition. “Now, Mrs. Molly, truly, did you ever Bee such a peach as she is?” he de manded after I had expressed more than a dozen delighted opinions of Miss Chester. His use of the word \peach\ riled me and before I stopped to think 1 said. \She reminds me more of a string bean ' “Now, Molly, don’t be mean just be pause old Wade has got her out driv fng behind the grays after kissing your hand under the lilacs yesterday, whh h praise be, nobody saw but little me! I’m not sore; why should you be? Aren’t you happy with me?” I withered him with a look, or, rath er tried to wither him, for Tom is no mimosa bud. “The way that girl has started in to wake up this little old town reminds me of the feeling you get under your belt seven minutes after you’ve sipped an absinth frappe for the first time— you are liable for a good Jag and don’t know it,” he continued enthusiastical ly. “Let's don’t let the folks know that they are off until I get everybody in a full swing of buzz over my queen.” I had never seen Tom so en-. thusiastic over a girl before, and J didn’t like it But I decided uot to let him know that, but to get to work put ting out the Chester blaze in him and starting one on my own account “That’s Just what I’m thinking about. Tom,” I said with a smile that was as sweet as 1 could make it, “and as she came with messages to me from one of my best old friends I think I ought to do something to make her have n good time. I was Just planning a gor- [ geous dinner party I want to have for her when you came so suddenly. Do you think we could arrange it for Tues day evening?” “Lord love us, Molly! Don’t knock the town down like that Let ’em have more than a week to get used to this white rag of a dress you’ve been waving in their faces for the last few days. Go slow!” \I’ve been going so Blow for so many years that I’ve turned around and I’m going fast backward,” I said with a blush that I couldn’t help. “Help! Let my kinship protect me!” exclaimed Tom in alarm, and be pre tended to move an inch away from me. “Yes,” 1 said slowly, and as I looked out of the corner of my eyes from uu der the lashes that Tom himself had once told me were “too long and black to be tidy” I saw that he was in u condition to get the full shock. “If anybody wakes up this town it will be I,” I said as I flung down the gauntlet with a high head. “Here. Molly, here are the keys of my office and the spark plug to the auto. You can cut off a lock of my hair, and if Judy has got a cake I’ll eat it out of your hands. Shall it be California or Nova Scotia? And I pre fer my. bride served in light gray tweed.” Tom really is adorable, and I let him snuggle up just one cousinly second. Then we both laughed and began to plan what Tom was horrible enough to call tho resurrection razoo But I kept that delicious rose em broidered treasure all to myself, i wanted him to meet it entirely unpre pared. I was glad we had both got over our excitement and were sitting decorous Iy at several inches’ distance apart when the judge drew tho grays up to the gate, and we both went down to the sidewalk to ask him and the lovely long lady to come in. They couldn’t, but we stood and talked to them long enough for Mrs. Johnson to get a good look at us from across the street, and I was afraid I would find Aunt Ade line in a faint when I went into the house. Miss Chester was delightfully gra clous about the dinner—I almost called it the debut dinner—and the expression on the Judge’s face when be accepted! I was glad she was sitting sidewise to him and couldn't see. Some women like to make other women unhappy, but I think it is best for you to keep them blissfully unconscious until you get what you want Anyway, I like that girl all over, and I can’t see that her neck is so absolutely Impossibly flowery. However, I think Bhe might have been a little more considerate about discussing Alfred’s London tri umph over the Italian mission. As a punishment I let Tom put his arm around my waist as we stood watch ing them drive off and then was sorry for the left gray horse that shied and came in for a crack of the judge’s irri tated whip. Then 1 refused to let Tom come in side the gato and he went down the street whistling, only when he got to the purple lilac he turned and kissed his hand to me. That Mrs. Johnson Just couldn’t stand, and she cairn* across the street Immediately and call ed me back lo the gate “You are tempting Providence, Mol ly Carter,” she exclaimed decidedly “Don't you know Tom Pollard is noth ing but a fly up the creek? As a bus band he’d chew the rope and run awuy like a puppy the first time your back was turned. Besides being your cousin, he's younger than you. What do yyj mean?” “He's just a week younger. Mrs Johnson, and 1 wouldn’t tie him for worlds, even if I married him.” 1 said meekly. Somehow I like Mrs. Johnson enough to be meek with her and it always brings her to a higher point of excitement. \Tie nonsense; marrying is roping in with ball and chain, to my mind And a week between a man and a woman In their cradles gets to be fif teen years between them and their graves I’m going to make you the subject of n silent prayer at the next missionary meeting, and I must go home now to see that Sally cooks up a few of Mr. Johnson’s crotchets for supper ” And she began to hurry away. “I don’t believe yoa'll be able to make it a ‘silent’ session about me Mrs. Johnson.” I called after her, and she laughed hack from her own front gate Miirriage is the only worm In the bud of Mrs. Johnson’s life, and her laugh has a snap to it even If it is not very sugary sweet MTien I told Judy about the dinner party and asked her to get the yellow barber to come help her and her neph ew wait on the table she grinned such a wide grin that I was afraid of being swallowed She understood that Aunt Adeline wouldn’t be interested in it uu til I had time to tell her all about it Anyway, she will be going over to Springfield on a pilgrimage to see Mr Henderson’s sister next week She doesn't know it yet, but I do After that 1 spent all the rest of the evening in planning my dinner party, and I had a most royal good time. 1 always have lmd lots of company, but mostly the spend the day kind with relatives or more relatives to supper That’s what most entertaining in Hills boro is like: but ns I say. once in awhile the old slow pacer wnkes up I’ll never forget my first renl dinner party, as the flower girl for Caroline Evans’ wedding, when she mnrried the Chicago millionaire, from which Hills boro has never yet recovered i was sixteen, felt dreadfully naked without a tucker in my dress and saw Alfred for the first time in evening clothes- hls first I can hardly stnnd thinking about how he looked even now I haven’t been to very many dinger par ties in my life, but from this time on I mean to indulge in them often. Can die light pretty women’s shoulders _ _ -.'V ;;í v-v-.i black coat sleeves,: cut glass 'and flow ers are good Ingredients;,* 1 for a Joy drink, and why not? .1 'r-ri- - But,when I got to planning about the gorgeous food 1 wanted ;to .give them all I got into what I feel/came near being a serious trouble. - It was writ ing down the recipe for the nesselrode pudding they make in iny;,family that undid me. Suddenly hunger rose up from nowhere and gripped me by the throat, gnawed me all over like a bone, then shook me until I was limp and un resisting. I must have astralized my self down to the pantry, for when I became conscious I found myself in company with a loaf of'bread, a plate of butter and a huge Jar of. Jam. I sat down by the long table by the window and slowly prepared to enjoy myself. I cut off four slices and but tered them .to an equal thickness and then more slowly put a long silver spoon into the jam. 1 even paused to admire in Judy’s mirror over the table the effect of the cascade of lace that fell across my arm and lost Itself in the blue shimmer of old Rene’s master piece of a negligee, then deep down 1 burled the spoon in the purple sweet ness. I had just lifted it high in the air when out of the lilac scented dark of the garden came a laugh. “Why, Molly. Molly. Molly!” drawled that miserable man doctor as he came and leaned on the sill right close to my elbow. The spoon crashed on the table, and I turned and crashed Into words. “You are cruel, cruel, John Moore, and I hate you worse than 1 ever did before, if that is possible. I’m hun gry, hungry to death, and now you’ve spoiled it all! Go away before I wet this nice crisp bread and Jam with tears into a mush I’ll have to eat with a spoon. You don’t know what it is to want something sweet so bad you are willing to steal it—from yourself!” I fairly blazed my eyes down into his and moved as far away from him as the table would let me. “Don’t I. Molly?” he asked softly after looking straight in my eyes for a long minute that made me drop my head until the blue bow i bad tied od the end of my long plait almost got into the scattered jam. Even at such a moment as that I felt how glad old Rene would have been to have given such a nice man as the doctor a treat like that blue silk chef d’oeuvre of hers. I was glad myself. “Don’t I, Peaches?” he asked again in a still softer voice. Again I had that sensation of being against some thing warm and great and good like your own mother’s breast, and I don’t know how I controlled it enough not to—to— “Well, have some Jam then,” I man aged to say with a little laugh as 1 turned away and picked up the silver spoon. ‘Thank you, I will, all of it and the bread and butter too,” he answered, in that detestable friendly tone of voice as he drew himself up and sat in the window. “Hustle, Peaches, if you are going to feed me. for I’m rav enous. I haven’t had any supper. You have, so I don’t mind taking It ’ all away from you—every bit of it.” “Supper,” I sniffed as 1 spread the jam on those lovely, lovely slices ui bread and thick butter that I had fixed for my own self. “That apple toast combination tires me so now that i forget it If I cnn.” As I handed him the first slice of drippy luseiousness I turned my head away. He thought It was from the expression of that jam. but it was from his eyes. “Slice up the whole loaf. Peaches, and let’s get on a Jam Jag! Come with me just this once and forget— forget”- He didn’t finish his sentence and I’m glad We neither of us said anything more ns 1 fed him that whole loaf I found tbnt the bite 1 took off of each piece I had ready for him when he finished with the one he bad in hand satisfied me ns nothing I bad ever eaten in all my life before had done, while at the same time my nib bles soothed his conscience about rob bing me. His teeth are big and strong and white and his jaws work like ma chinery. He Is the strongest man I ever saw. and bis gnuntness Is all muscla What is thnt glow a woman gets from feeding a hungry man whom she likes with her own hands, and why should 1 want to be certain that he kissed the lace on my sleeve as It brushed his face when I reached across him to catch an inquisitive rose that I saw peeping in the window right at us? LEAF SEVENTH. Which? HE juice of a lemon in two glnsses of cold water to be drunk immediately on wak ening!” Page eleven! I’ve banded myself that lemon every morn ing now until I um sensitive with my self about it If there was ever any body “on the water wagon” it’s I. aud I have to sit on the front sent from dawn to dusk to get iu the gallon of water I’m supposed to consume in that time Sometime I’m going to get mix ed up and try to drink my bath If I don’t look nut I dreamed night be fore last that I was taking a bath in a glass of ice cream Soda water and trying to hide from Dr John behind the dab of Icecream thnt seemed inade quate for food or protection. I haven’t had even one glass for two months, and I woke up in u cold perspiration of embarrassment and raging hunger. I don’t know what Pm going to do about tbi6 book and I’ve got myself into trouble about writing things be side records in it He looked at me this morning ns coolly ns if 1 was just anybody and said: ’I would Uke to see that record now, Mrs. Molly. It seems to me you are about as slim os you want to be. How did you tip the scales last time you weighed;' aud.. bOTe^you,’-*.nbncea/.any' trouble-at all with^yonr heart?';:-:*•- \ “i;.weigh Jl34: pounds and ¡I've got to melt .and4frecie‘;?radMst^e^‘off- that four,”' I answered, Ignoring-the , heart question- and also the question of pro- “Expand your chest.” ducing this book. Wonder what he would do if I gave it to him to read Just as it is? “How about the heart?” he persist ed, and I may have imagined the smile in his eyes, for bis mouth was purely professional Anyway, I lowered my lashes down on to my cheeks and an swered experimentally: “Sometimes it hurts.” Then a cy clone happened to me: “Come here to me a minute!” he said quickly, and he turned me around and put his head down between my shoulders and held me so tiglst against his ear that ! could hardly breathe. “Expand your chest three times and brenthe as deep as you can,” he order ed from against by back buttons. I expanded and breathed—pretty quickly at that. “Now hold your breath as long as you can.” he commanded, and it fitted my mood exactly to do so “Can’t find anything.” he said at last letting me £ 0 and looking care fully at my face. His eyes were all anxiety, and I liked It “When does it hurt you and how?” be asked anx lously. “Moonlight nights and lonesomely,” I answered before 1 could stop my self. and what happened then was worse than any cyclone. He got white for a minute and just looked at me as if I was a bug stuck on a pin, then gave a short little laugh and turned t o the table. “I didn’t understand you were jok ing,” he said quietly. That maddened me. and I would have done anything to make him think I was not the foolish thing he evident ly had classified me as being. I snatch ed at my mind and shook out a mix ture of truth and lies that fooled even myself and gave them to him. looking straight in his face. I would have cracked all the ten commandments to save myself from his contempt “I’m not Joking.” I said jerkily. ”1 am lonesome And worse than being lonesome, I’m scared I ought to have stayed just the quiet relict of Mr. Gar ter and gone on to church meetings with Aunt Adeline and let myself be fat and respectable, but I haven’t got the character. You thought I went to town to buy a monument, and I didn’t. I bought enough clothes for two brides, and now I’m scared to wear ’em. and I don’t know what you’ll think when you see my bankbook. Everybody is talking about me and that dinner par ty Tuesday night and Aunt Adeline says she can’t live in a bouse of mourn ing so desecrated any longer. Sbo’s going back to the cottage. Aunt Bet- tie Pollard says that if I want to get married I ought to do it to Wilson Graves because of the seven children, and then everybody would be so re lleved that they are taken care of that they would forget thnt Mr. Carter hasn’t been dead quite one year yet Mrs. Johnson says I ought to be de dared a minor and put as a ward to you. I can’t help Judge Wade’s send ing me flowers and Tom’s sitting on my front steps night and day. I’m not strong enough to carry him away and murder him. I am perfectly mis erable. and I’m”— “Now, that’ll do. Molly; jpst hush for a half minute and let me talk to you.’’ said Dr John as he took my hand in his and drew me near him. “No won der your heart hurts if it has got all that load of trouble on It and we’ll just get a little of that ‘scare’ off You put yourself in my hands, and you are to do just as I tell you. and I say—for get it! Come with me while I make a call It is a long drive, and I’m—I’m lonesome sometimes myself.” 1 saw the worst was over, and I breathed freely again, but I had talked so much truth in that fiction that 1 felt just as I said I did, which is a slightly unnatural feeling for a woman. There was nothing for it but to go with him. and I wnnted to most awfully. To my dying day I’ll never forget that little house, way out on the Cane Run pike, he took me to in his shabby little car. Just two tiny rooms, but they were clean and quiet and a girl with the sweetest face I ever saw lay in the bed with her eyes bright with pride and a tiny, tiny little bundle close beside her. The young farmer was red with embarrassment and anxiety. . “She’s all right today, but she wor ries. because she don’t think I qan tend . '.V /'-î v - ’. rtq;;toe;.bábyfjdght”-;be.^Í\^d;:he^d; look ?ta go* ¿hozne¿for two-day»,? but - & coming-to- morrow.' -'Jgdasn’tjyind ressandjiwastr the.’yj^gsfefémyseíf^-' íi Vútqn’t)|hurt him ,fo^stáy’ bundled''up:-nntil .graniiy ¿comes^wifldt, D ’ o e ? ? - - ' ; ; ; .,’: ;* . * “Not a bit\T answered :Dr. . John - in his .big’ comforting voice. , * But. I .looked rit-the girl, and I'under: stood her. She wanted that baby clean, and.fresh even If it .was just five days old, and I felt all df a sudden terribly capable. I picked up the bundle anil went into ttie other room with it; where a kettle was boiling on the stove and‘ a -large bucket by the door ' I found things by just a glance from her. and the hoar 1 spent with thnt small baby was one of the most de licious of all my life I never was left entirely to myself with one before, and I did nil 1 wanted’to this on¿;guided by instinct and désíre. - He slept^H^ht through and was tbcí darlingest-thiqg L- ever saw when I laid him back on the bed by ber. i never looked In Dr.\ John’s direction once, though I felt him all the time. But on the way home 1 gave myself the surprise of my life! Suddenly I turned my face against his sleeve and cried as I never had before. I felt safe, for it is a cliff road and he had to drive carefully. However, he manag ed to press that one arm against my cheek in a way that comforted me Into stopping when I saw we were near town. I got out of the car at the gar age and walked away through the gar den home without looking in his direc tion at all. I “never seém to be able to look at him as I do at other people. We hadn’t spoken two words since we had left the little house in the woods with that happy faced girl in it He has more sense than just a man. It was almost dusk, and I stopped in the garden a minute to pull the dirt closer around some of the bachelor’s buttons that had “popped” the ground some weeks ago. Thinking about them made me regain my spirits, and I went on in the house to be scolded for what ever Aunt Adeline had thought up while I was gone to do it to me about. Judy told me with her broadest grin that she had gone down to her sister- in-law’s for supper, and I sat down on tho steps with a sigh of relief. Some days are like tin cocoanut grat ers that everybody uses to grate you against, and this was one for me. Por an hour I sat and grated my ownself against Alfred’s letter that had come in the morning. I realized that I would Just have to come to some sort of de cision about what I was going to do, for he wrote that he was to sail in a day or two, and ships do travel so fast these days. I love him and always have, of that I am sure. He offers me the most won derful life in the world, and no woman could help being proud to accept i t I am lonely, more lonely than I was even willing to confess to Dr. John. I can’t go on living this way any longer. Ruth Chester has made me see that if I want Alfred it will be now or never and- qulck. I now know that Bhe loves him, and she ought to have ber show if I don’t want him. The way she idolizes and idealizes him is a marvel of wom anly stupidity. Some women like to collect men’s (marts nnd hide them away from other wouieu ou cold storage, and the help less things can't help themselves. I have contempt for that sort of butcher, aud l love Ruth! It’s my duty to look the matter in the face before 1 look in Alfred’s—and decide. If not Alfred, what then? First, no husband. That’s out of the question! I'm not strong minded enough to crank my own motorcar nnd study womau suffrage. 1 prefer to suffer ut the bands of some cruel man and trust to beguiling him into doing Just as I say. i like men. can’t help it. and want one for my own. I dou't count poor Mr. Carter. Second, if not Alfred, who? Judge Wade is so delightful that I flutter at the thought, but bis mother is Aunt Adeline’s own best friend, nnd they have ideas in common. She is so re ligious that living with her would be like having the sacrament for daily bread. Still, living with him might nave adventures. I never saw such eyes! The girl he wanted to marry died of tuberculosis, and be wears a locket with her in it yet I’d like to reward him for such faithfulness with a nice husky wife to wear instead ot the locket. But, then. Alfred’s been faithful too! I look at Ruth Chester and rea^ze bow faithful, and my heart melts to him in my breast My bips have almost all melted away, too, so 1 had better keep the heart cold enough to handle if I waul anything left at all for him to come home to. In some ways Tom Pollard is the most congenial man 1 ever knew. You have to say “don't\ to him all the time, but what womau doesn’t like a little impertinence once in awhile? l flavor all Tom’s daredevil kisses with kinship when I feed them to my con science, and I truly try to make him be serious about the Important things in life, like going to cbnrch with his mother aud working all day even if he is rich. I wish he wasn't so near kin to me! Now. there. I feel in Ruth Chester's way again! One of the things that keeps the devil so busy is taking helpless widows to the heights of knowledge and showing them king doms of men that girls never dream even exist. If all women could have been born with widow eyes things would run much more smoothly along the marriage and giving in marriage line. And the poor men are, most of them, as Ignorant os girls about what to do. Üé. really ! Is: interesting \and1 we^hayVfsuffered, .things in common; . Mrs. Graves,lacked the ckind-'of temperament poor Mr. CarterdM. ji’d like to make it all up, £o him, but if Billy wquidn’t-be happy that settles it, and I don’t know- how good his -boys .are.'.-I couldn’t have\ Billy 'corrupted. - '* ; ’ ' - Arid so. as there is nobody else ex actly suitable In town, it all . simmers down ter'prié or the either of these or Alfred.-...in my heart-J-knew that I couldn’t, hesitate, a minute, and in the flash of a second I decided. Of course I love Alfred ..arid I’ll take, him gladly and be the wife he has waited for ail these six lonely years. I’ii make ev erything up to him if I have to diet to keep thin for him the rest of my life. I likely will have that very thing to do, and I get weak at the idea. Be fore I burn this book I’ll have to copy it all out and be chained to it for life. At the thought iqy heart dropped like a sinker to my toes, but 1 hauled it up to Its normal place with picturing to myself how Alfred would look when he saw me In that old blue muslin done over into a Rene wonder. How ever, old heart would show a strange propensity for sinking down into my slippers without any reason at all. Tears were even coming into my eyes when Tom suddenly came over the fence and picked me and the heart up together and put us into an adventure of the first water. [.Continued next week! DOGS OF LABRADOR. They Go Like the Wind and Are T ire less and Fearless, I suppose I really would be doing a righteous thing to marry Mr. Graves, and I would adore all those children In Dr. Grenfell’s book he tells some interesting things concerning the Labrador dogs. The creatures are fed once a day and are always hungry, and yet a team will go for two or three days without food. Dr. Grenfell says that he has traveled seventy miles a day with a half breed team of seven dogs and 250 pounds of baggage. “The great beauty of a dog team is that it seems to banish all conventionali ties. You can go anywhere and everywhere with no roads, no hedges, no walls, no restriction but your own will, and that will with out rein or bridle you make your dog’s will. Dogs can carry you up almost the Bteepest snow slope and down again in safety. They do not slip or sink in, and if they fall over even a high cliff in the winter they are very rarely hurt.- They seem to under stand what you say and so form a better companion - than a horse. They are automobiles which need no handling of their machinery. They enjoy traveling almost more than their masters enjoy it. They learn to love you as only a dog will, and if it were not for their occa sional outbreaks of wickedness they would make the best of companions. As it is, I know of no greater pleas ure possible than a large, strong team, a good leader, a brisk, bright spring day and a really long journey to go. “Our dogs know little or no fear and, unlike the wolves, will un hesitatingly attack even the largest polar bear,” Dr. Grenfell says again. “On one o • -ision a man’s dogs, traveling along smooth sea ice, scented a white bear and started off like the wind. They suddenly turned a point and ran right into him, so that the traces tangled round the bear before the astonish ed driver had time to unlash his gun. As soon as he could he cut the traces, but even in harness the dogs kept bruin at bay. Though the bear stood up to fight \on his hind legs, the dogs managed to get in some good bites without being hurt. “On another occasion,” adds the doctor, “a man brought me a spe cially valued dog that a bear had squeezed. The bear had been sight ed some distance off on the ice floe, and the dogs were slipped' to hold him up for the hunter. By the time he arrived on the spot they had the bear practically killed. But two had been damaged by him, one clawed and one squeezed.” Destructive Music. A member of the board of direct ors of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York tells'a story that he had from one of the mu sicians attached to the orchestra there. It appears that a friend of the wife of the musician had during a call on the latter inquired as to the husband’s taste in musical mat ters. Among other things she wanted to know what operas the musician liked best to play. “I don’t know much about dot,” said the better half, who was at the time busily engaged in darning an old shirt, ‘Tint I do know some- fings. Voteffer he likes I like not dos Wagner operas. Dev sounds veil enough, but doBe clothes—ach! He neffer yet comes home from dot Wagner opera dot he haf not torn a place in his poor old shirts. I brefer the Italian operas.” .