AWFUL TIDINGS IN our Branton Hills’ “Post,” had so wrought up our ordinarily happy, laughing Sarah, who, with Paul abroad, was back, living again with old Tom Young, that Sarah, sitting on a low stool by old Tom’s rocking chair was so still that Tom put down his “Post,” saying:—

“Gift of gab all run out, kid?”

But Sarah had an odd, thoughtful look. Sarah’s bosom was rising and falling abnormally; but, finally, looking quickly up at old Tom, Sarah said:—

“Daddy, I want to go to war.

“Do what?” If Sarah had said anything about jumping out of a balloon, or of buying a gorilla to play with, Tom Young wouldn’t know any such astounding doubt as brought his rocking chair to a quick standstill.

“War? What kind of talk is this? A girl going to war? What for? How? Say!! Who put this crazy stunt into your brain, anyway?”

As you know, Sarah was not only charming in ways, but also in build; and, with that glorious crown of brownish-gold hair, that always smiling mouth and that soft, plump girlishly-girlish form, no man, Tom Young nor anybody, could think of Sarah and war in a solitary thought. So Sarah said, softly:—

“Last night, our Night School trio thought that our boys, so far away, must miss us, and Branton Hills sights; and Doris said, ‘Branton Hills sounds.’ And so, why couldn’t our trio join that big group of musicians which is sailing soon? And, Daddy, you know Paul is in that army. I don’t know that I could find him, but- but- but I want to try. And Kathlyn is talking of going as biologist with a big hospital unit; so possibly I could stay with it.”

Tom Young was dumb! His “Post” actually had told of such a musical outfit about to sail; but it was a man’s organization. So, now it has got around to this! Our girls, our dainty, loving girls, brimful of both sympathy and patriotism, wanting to go into that tough, laborious work of singing in army camps; in huts ; in hospitals; singing from trucks rolling along country roads along which sat platoons and battalions of troops, waiting for word which might bring to this or that boy his last long gun-toting tramp. Singing in— “Aw, darling! Your trio was fooling, wasn’t it? Now, girls don’t —”

“Daddy, girls do! So, if our folks don’t put up too much of a—”

“Aha.”! Now you said a mouthful; if your folks don’t! Darling, I’ll say just two words as my part in this crazy stunt: ‘Nothing doing’!! Kathlyn’s work is mighty important; singing isn’t.”

Sarah had not grown up from infancy in kindly Tom’s cabin without knowing that his no was a “no!!” and not a flimsy, hollow word which a whining, or a sniffling, or a bawling child could switch around into: “Oh, all right, if you want to.” So Sarah still sat on that low stool; or, to turn it around almost backwards,— Sarah sat on that stool, —still. So still that Tom’s old tin clock on its wall hooks was soon dominating that small room with its rhythmic ticking, as a conductor’s baton controls a brass band’s pianissimos. Finally Sarah said softly, slowly, sadly and with a big, big sigh:-

“I did so want to go.” And that small clock was ticking, ticking, ticking.

For a full hour Sarah and old Tom sat talking and rocking, until Sarah, phoning to Doris, said:— “My Dad says no.

And Doris, phoning back to Sarah, said:— “So did my Dad.”

And, as Virginia Adams was that trio’s third part; and as Sarah and Doris had always known Nina Adams’ strong will; and as,—Oh, hum! It was a happy fascination until adult minds got hold of it!



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Books with no spinal columns.