Annie Johnston.

Mary Ware in Texas



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How friendly and homelike and dear it seemed now. Between the belfry of St. Peter's and the gray tower of Holy Angels, rose the smoke from many breakfast fires, and the windmills twirled merrily in the morning sun. For all its dreariness she was carrying away the recollection of a score of happy times.

Over there was the free camp-yard, where their little Christmas tree had spread such cheer. Further on shone the spire of St. Boniface. She would always think of it as she saw it Easter morning, its casement windows set wide, and its altar white with the snowy beauty of the rain lilies. There was the meadow through which she had gone in blue-bonnet time, to find Phil waiting under the huisache tree, and there the creek, running on to Fernbank. Nearer by she could see the windmill tower she had so often climbed, sticking up over the roof that had sheltered them during the ten months they had been in Bauer. "Dear little old Bauer," she thought, gratefully. She wouldn't have believed it in the beginning if anyone had told her, that there would be any regrets in her leave-taking when the time came to go. How wonderfully it had all turned out. The crooked had been made straight, and the rough places smooth. She could face the future gladly, buoyantly, now, no matter what it held, since Jack was well again.

"Come on, Mary, it's time to go aboard!" called Norman.

"You go on in, and save me a seat," she called back. "Here come the children. I must wait to speak to them."

She had bidden them good-by the night before, and had not expected to see them again. They came running, out of breath. Sister had a little bag of animal crackers she had brought as a farewell offering, and Brud proffered a companion-piece, a sack of sticky red cinnamon drops. They had cried the night before, and they were close to tears now, realizing that something very rare and precious was passing out of their lives. She took their offerings with thanks that brought smiles to their dejected little faces, then once more stooped to kiss them good-by.

"From now, it's new trails for all of us," she said, lightly, "and you'll write and tell me what you find in yours, and I'll write and tell you about mine."

On the platform of the car she turned for a last look at the three disconsolate little figures, waiting to watch her start off towards those new trails. There were three, for Uncle August had joined them now, squatting mournfully beside them as if he, too, were losing his best playfellow. The train began to move slowly out. As she clung to the railing to wave to them one more time, a mournful little pipe followed her shrilly down the track. It was Brud's voice:

"Good hunting, Miss Mayry! Good hunting!"

THE END

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