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How It Happened   By: (1865-1932)

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First Page:

HOW IT HAPPENED

BY

KATE LANGLEY BOSHER

AUTHOR OF

THE MAN IN LONELY LAND, MARY CARY, ETC

ILLUSTRATED

PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 1914

TO MY FAITHFUL FRIEND ARIADNE ELIZABETH VAUGHAN LATHAM

ILLUSTRATIONS

"WHICH DO YOU LIKE BEST, SARDINES WITH LEMON ON 'EM, OR TOASTED CHEESE ON TOAST?"

"YOU WOULD NOT LET ME THANK YOU THIS MORNING. MAY I THANK YOU NOW FOR "

HOW IT HAPPENED

CHAPTER I

Head on the side and chin uptilted, she held it at arm's length, turning it now in one direction, now in another, then with deliberation she laid it on the floor.

"I have wanted to do it ever since you were sent me; now I am going to."

Hands on hips, she looked down on the high crown, narrow brim hat of stiff gray felt which was at her feet, and nodded at it with firmness and decision. "It's going to be my Christmas present to myself getting rid of you. Couldn't anything give me as much pleasure as smashing you is going to give. Good by "

Raising her right foot, Carmencita held it poised for a half moment over the hated hat, then with long restrained energy she brought it down on the steeple crown and crushed it into shapelessness. "I wish she could see you now." Another vigorous punch was given, then with a swift movement the battered bunch of dull grayness, with its yellow bird and broken buckle of tarnished steel, was sent in the air, and as it landed across the room the child laughed gaily, ran toward it, and with the tip of her toes tossed it here and there. Sending it now up to the ceiling, now toward the mantel, now kicking it over the table, and now to the top of the window, she danced round and round the room, laughing breathlessly. Presently she stooped, picked it up, stuck it on her head, and, going to the stove, opened its top, and with a shake of her curls dropped the once haughty and now humbled head gear in the fire and watched it burn with joyous satisfaction.

"The first time she wore it we called her Coachman Cattie, it was so stiff and high and hideous, and nobody but a person like her would ever have bought it. I never thought it would some day come to me. Some missioners are nice, some very nice, but some "

With emphasis the lid of the stove was put back, and, going to the table in the middle of the room, Carmencita picked up the contents of the little work basket, which had been knocked over in her rushing round, and put them slowly in place. "Some missioners seem to think because you're poor everything God put in other people's hearts and minds and bodies and souls He left out of you. Of course, if you haven't a hat you ought to be thankful for any kind." The words came soberly, and the tiniest bit of a quiver twisted the lips of the protesting mouth. "You oughtn't to know whether it is pretty or ugly or becoming or You ought just to be thankful and humble, and I'm not either. I don't like thankful, humble people; I'm afraid of them."

Leaving the table where for a minute she had jumbled needles and thread and scissors and buttons in the broken basket, she walked slowly over to the tiny mirror hung above a chest of drawers, and on tiptoes nodded at the reflection before her nodded and spoke to it.

"You're a sinner, all right, Carmencita Bell, and there's no natural goodness in you. You hate hideousness, and poorness, and other people's cast offs, and emptiness in your stomach, and living on the top floor with crying babies and a drunken father underneath, and counting every stick of wood before you use it. And you get furious at times because your father is blind and people have forgotten about his beautiful music, and you want chicken and cake when you haven't even enough bacon and bread. You're a sinner, all right. If you were in a class of them you would be at the head. It's the only thing you'd ever be at the head of. You know you're poverty poor, and still you're always fighting inside, always making out that it is just for a little while. Why don't you "

The words died on her lips, and suddenly the clear blue eyes, made for love and laughter and eager for all that is lovely in life, dimmed with hot tears, and with a half sob she turned and threw herself face downward on the rug covered cot on the opposite side of the room... Continue reading book >>




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