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Kitty Canary A Novel   By: (1865-1932)

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[Frontispiece: Kitty Canary.]

Kitty Canary










Copyright, 1913, by Harper & Brothers

Printed in the United States of America

Published February, 1918



I am in love. It is the most scrumptious thing I have ever been in. Perfectly magnificent! Every time I think of it I feel as if I were going down an elevator forty floors and my heart flippity flops so my teeth mortify me. He used to be engaged to Elizabeth Hamilton Carter, the niece of the lady at whose house I am boarding this summer, but he did something he ought not to have done, or he didn't do something he ought to have done, and they had a fuss. No one seems to know the cause of it, but it was probably from her wanting him to be blind to everything on earth but her, and a man isn't going to be blind when he wants to see, and then she got hurt . I'd rather live in a house with a cackling hen or a grunting pig than the sort of person who is always getting hurt. But she's very pretty. Pink and white pretty, with uplifting eyes and a little mouth that shuts itself when mad and says nothing, and oozes more disagreeableness than if it talked. He still thinks there isn't another girl in town who can touch her in looks. I don't suppose a man ever gets over a real case of pink and white. It's the kind that makes a tender memory if it isn't the best sort to live with, and men like to have a memory to sigh over in secret. Her rejected one may sigh in secret, but in public he does not seem to be suffering. He isn't suffering. We like each other very much.

The reason I am glad I am in love is that I am sixteen and I was getting afraid I wasn't ever going to fall in love. Three or four times I have thought I was in it, but I wasn't, and I was beginning to be sure I was the sort of person who doesn't fall. And, besides, it is good for Billy, who, because he is twenty, thinks he is old enough to have some things settled which there is no need to settle too soon. Settled things are not exciting. I love excitement and not knowing what a day may bring forth. Billy doesn't. He wants his ducks to be always in a row.

Ever since he fished me out of the water barrel sunk in Grandmother Hatley's garden, when I was four and he eight, he has seemed to think I belonged to him; and, though he doesn't imagine I know it and never mentions it, he is always around when I am in danger or trouble, to get me out. I suppose saving my life three or four times makes him feel I can't take care of myself and therefore he must take care of me, but that's a mistake. I have never had a horse to run away with me but once. Billy did tell me not to ride her, and when she ran and would have pitched me over her head and down a gully he caught her in the nick of time and caught me, too, but that's the only time a thing of that sort ever happened. He was real nice about it and never said anything concerning having told me so and didn't make remarks of the sort which other people rub in, but the next day the horse was sent away. That's the thing which makes me fighting furious with Billy sometimes. He doesn't say things. He does them. I wasn't afraid of that horse and was going to keep on riding her, but the next day there was no Lady Bird to ride. The reason he sent her away was I wouldn't promise not to ride her. Our summer homes are on adjoining places and Horson, their stableman, a nice, drinky old person, lets me take out anything I want, anything of Billy's, and, knowing he couldn't trust Horson any more than me, he lent Lady Bird to a man miles and miles away and I never saw her again until she was a tame old thing I did not want to ride. Billy behaves as if I were a child!

And then the very next winter I fell through the ice and he had to jump in and get me out. He told me not to go to a certain part of the lake... Continue reading book >>

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