The Little Colonel's Chum: Mary Ware by Annie Fellows Johnston


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Page 2

"ALL SHE SAW WAS THE TELLER'S WINDOW, WITH A
SHREWD-EYED MAN BEHIND ITS BARS" 172

"OUT ON THE PORCH SHE HEARD FROM NORMAN HOW
IT HAD HAPPENED" 263

"WHEN SHE DROVE A NAIL IT HELD THINGS TOGETHER" 280




THE LITTLE COLONEL'S CHUM: MARY WARE




CHAPTER I

MARY ENTERS WARWICK HALL


The bus running between Warwick Hall Station and Warwick Hall school
drew up at the door of the great castle-like building with as grand a
flourish as if it carried the entire Senior class, and deposited one
lone passenger upon the steps. As it was several days before the opening
of the Fall term, no pupils were expected so soon, and but few of the
teachers had returned. There was no one to see the imposing arrival of
the little Freshman except the butler, who had been drawn to the front
window by the sound of wheels. It devolved on him to answer the knocker
this afternoon. In the general confusion of house-cleaning the man who
attended the door had been sent up stairs to hang curtains.

That the newcomer was a prospective pupil, Hawkins saw at a glance. He
had not been in Madam Chartley's service all these years without
learning a few things. That she was over-awed by the magnificence of her
surroundings he readily guessed, for she made no movement towards the
knocker, only stood and looked timidly up at the massive portal and then
across the lawn, where a line of haughty peacocks stood drawn up in
gorgeous dress parade on the highest terrace.

"She's feeling like a cat in a strange garret," said the butler to
himself with a grin. It was a matter of personal pride with him when
strangers seemed duly impressed by the grandeur of this aristocratic old
manor-house, now used as a boarding-school. It was a personal affront
when they were not. Needless to say his dignity had suffered much at the
hands of American school-girls, and although this one seemed impressed
by her surroundings almost to the point of panic, he eyed her
suspiciously.

"'Eaven knows they lose their shyness soon henough!" he said under his
breath. "She can just cool 'er 'eels on the doorstep till she gets
courage to knock. 'Twull do 'er good."

But she waited so long that he began to grow uneasy. After that first
glance she had turned her back on the door as if she repented coming,
and, satchel in hand, stood hesitating on the top step ready for flight.
At least that is the way Hawkins interpreted her attitude. He could not
see her face.

It was a plain little face, sunburned as a gypsy's, with a generous
sprinkling of freckles on her inquisitive nose. But it was a lovable
face, happy and eager, with a sweet mouth and alert gray eyes that
seemed to see to the bottom of everything. Sometimes its expression made
it almost beautiful. This was one of the times.

She was not gazing regretfully after the departed 'bus as Hawkins
surmised, but with a pleasure so keen that it fairly made her catch her
breath, she was looking at the strange landscape and recognizing places
here and there, made familiar by kodak pictures, and the enthusiastic
descriptions of old pupils. There was the long flight of marble steps
leading down the stately terraces to the river--the beautiful
willow-fringed Potomac. There was the pergola overhung with Abbotsford
ivy, and the wonderful old garden with the sun-dial, and the
rhododendrons from Killarney. She had heard so much about this place
that it had grown to be a sort of enchanted land of dreams to her, and
now the thought that she was actually here in the midst of it made her
draw in her breath with a delicious little shiver.

Hawkins, from his peep-hole through one of the mullioned sidelights of
the great entrance, to which he had now advanced, saw the shiver, and
misinterpreting it, suddenly opened the door. It gave her such a start,
so absorbed had she been in her surroundings, that she almost toppled
down the steps. But the next instant it was Hawkins who was having the
start. Unabashed by his pompous manner, her keen gray eyes swept him one
quick look from his sphinx-like face to his massive shoe-buckles, as if
she had been given some strange botanical specimen to label and
classify. Without an instant's hesitation she exclaimed in the tone of
one making a delightful discovery, "Why, it's _Hawkins_!"

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Sun 15th Sep 2019, 16:35