That small Salvation Army group was parading and singing, A young girl would soon start a long oration against drink. Now boys, gawking as boys always do, saw a shadowy form of a man slinking along from doorway to doorway, plainly watching this marching group, but also, plainly trying to stay out of sight. A halt, a song or two, and Mary Antor was soon walking towards Old Lady Flanagan’s cabin. But!! In passing big, dark City Park, a man, rushing wildly up, wrapping that frail form in a cast-iron grip, planting kiss upon kiss upon Mary’s lips, finally unwound that grip and stood stiffly in military saluting position. Mary, naturally in a bad fright, took a short, anxious, inquiring look, and instantly, all that part of City Park actually rang with a wild girlish cry:—


“Hulloa, kiddo! Just got in, half an hour ago, on a small troop train; and, by luck, saw you marching in that group. Wow!! But you do look grand!”

“And you look grand, too, Norman; but— but—but—not drunk?”

“No, sis! Not for many a day now. Saw too much of it in camp. Big, grand, corking good chaps down and out from it. Days and days in jail, military jail, you know, and finally finding a ‘bad conduct’ stamp on Company books. No, sir; I’m off it, for good!”

* * *

On old Lady Flanagan’s porch Mary sat way past midnight with, no, not with Norman, only, but with two khaki-clad boys; and it was miraculous that that small, loving childish bosom could hold so much joy! Old Lady Flanagan in nightgown and cap, looking down a front stairway, (and Old Man Flanagan, also in nightgown and cap, and also looking down), said:—

“Arrah!! Go wan oop stairs, you snoopin’ varmit!”

“Who’s a snoopin’ varmint? Not you, of —”

“Go wan oop, I say! By golly! That darlin’ girl has found a mountain of gold wid Norman an’ —”

“Who’s that wid Norman? That guy’s around, nights, now, as -”

“Say, you!! Do you go oop? Or do I swat you?”



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Books with no spinal columns.