ON A WARM Sunday, Kathlyn and Julius, poking around in Branton Hills’ suburbs, occasionally found an odd formation of fossilization, installing it amidst our Hall of Natural History’s displays. Shortly following such an installation, a famous savant on volcanic activity noting a most propitious rock formation amongst Julius’ groups, thought of cutting into it; for ordinary, most prosaic rocks may contain surprising information; and, upon arriving at Branton Hills’ railway station, ran across old Pat Ryan, czar of its trunk room.

“Ah, my man! I want to find a lapidary.”

“A what?”

“It isn’t a ‘what,’ it’s a lapidary.”

“Lapidary, is it? Lapidary, lapidary, lapi— lapi—la—. No, I—”

Now this savant was in a hurry, and said, snappily:-

“But a city as big as Branton Hills has a lapidary, I trust !”

“Oh, Branton Hills has a lot of things. But, wait a bit! It ain’t a lavatory what you want, is it?’’

But at this instant, to old Pat’s salvation, Kathlyn, passing by, said:—

“All right, Pat. I know about this ;” and, both taking a taxi, old Pat walking round and round, scratching his bald crown, was murmuring:

“Lapid—Aho! I got it! It’s probably a crittur up at that zoo! I ain’t forgot that hop, skip and jump, walloping Australian tornado! And now His Honor has put in a lapidary!! I think I’ll go up with that old canvas bag! But why all sich high-brow stuff in naming critturs? This lapidary thing might turn out only a rat, or a goofy bug!”

But that fairy bug, Dan Cupid, goofy or not, as you wish, was buzzing around again; and, though this story is not of wild, romantic infatuations, in which rival villains fight for a fair lady’s hand, I am bound to say that Cupid has put on an act varying much from his works in Gadsby’s mansion; for this arrow from his bow caught two young folks to whom a dollar bill was as long, broad and high as City Hall. Both had to work for a living; but by saving a bit, off and on, Sarah Young, who, you know, with Priscilla Standish first thought of our Night School, and Paul Johnson, who did odd jobs around town, such as caring for lawns, painting and “man-of-all-work,” had put by a small bank account. Paul was an orphan, as was Sarah, who had grown up with a kindly old man, Tom Young; his “old woman,” dying at about Sarah’s fourth birthday. (That word “old woman, is common amongst Irish folks, and is not at all ungracious. It had to crawl into this story, through orthographical taboos, you know.) But Sarah, now a grown young lady, had that natural longing for a spot in which a woman might find that joy of living, in having “things to do for just us two” if bound by Cupid’s gift—matrimony.

Many a day in passing that big church of Nancy’s grand display, or Gadsby’s rich mansion, Sarah had thought fondly about such things; for, as with any girl, marrying amidst blossoms, glamour and organ music was a goal, to attain which was actual bliss. But such rituals call for cash; and lots of it, too. Also, Old Tom Young had no room in any way fit for such an occasion.

So Sarah would walk past, possibly a bit sad, but looking forward to a coming happy day. And it wasn’t so far off. My, no! As Nancy had thought April was “a million months long,” Sarah’s days swung past in a dizzy whirl; during which, in company with Paul on Saturday nights, a small thing or two was happily bought for that “Cupid’s Coop,” as both found a lot of fun in calling it. But Sarah naturally had girl chums, just as Nancy and Kathlyn had; for most of that old Organization was still in town; and many a gift found its way to this girl who, though poor in worldly goods, was as rich as old King Midas in a bright, happy disposition; for anybody who didn’t know that magic captivation of Sarah Young’s laugh, that rich crown of light, fluffy hair, or that grand, proud, upright walk, wasn’t amongst Branton Hills’ population. Paul, scratching around shady paths, a potato patch or two, front yards, back yards, and city parks, was known to many an old family man; who upon knowing of his coming variation in living conditions, thought way, way back to his own romantic youth; so Paul, going to Sarah at night, brought small but practical gifts for that “coop.”

As Sarah and Paul stood in front of City Hall on a hot July night, Sarah scanning Branton Hills’ “Post” for “vacant rooms,” who should walk up but His Honor! And that kindly hand shot out with:-

“Aha! If it isn’t Paul and Sarah! What’s Sarah hunting for, Paul ?”

“Sarah is looking for a room for us, sir.

“Us? Did you say ‘us’? Oho! H-mmm! I’m on! How soon will you want it?”

“Oh,” said Sarah, blushing, “not for about a month.”

“But,” said His Honor, “you shouldn’t start out in a room. You would want from four to six, I should think.”

Sarah, still ogling that “rooms” column, said, softly:-

“Four to six rooms? That’s just grand if you can afford such. But, —

‘Wait!” said Gadsby, who, taking Paul’s and Sarah’s arms, and strolling along, told of a small six-room bungalow of his, just around from Nancy s.

“And you two will pay just nothing a month for it. It’s yours, from front porch to roof top, as a gift to two of my most loyal pals.

And instantly a copy of Branton Hills’ “Post” was blowing across Broadway in a fluky July wind!

Now, as this young pair was to start out frugally, it wouldn’t do to lay out too much for, as Sarah said, “about forty words by a pastor, and a kiss.”

So only Priscilla stood up with Sarah; and Bill Gadsby, in all his sartorial glory, with Paul, in Parson Brown’s small study; both girls in dainty morning clothing; Sarah carrying a bunch of gay nasturtiums, claiming that such warm, bright colorings would add as much charm to that short occasion as a thousand dollars’ worth of orchids. Now, such girls as Sarah, with that capacity for finding satisfaction so simply, don’t grow as abundantly as hollyhocks — and Paul found that Gadsby’s old Organization was a group knowing what a dollar is: just a dollar.



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Books with no spinal columns.