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Miss Mink's Soldier and Other Stories   By: (1870-1942)

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First Page:

MISS MINK'S SOLDIER

AND OTHER STORIES

[Illustration: Then Miss Mink received a shock]

MISS MINK'S SOLDIER

AND OTHER STORIES

BY

ALICE HEGAN RICE

Author of "MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH," "MR. OPP," "CALVARY ALLEY," ETC.

NEW YORK THE CENTURY CO. 1918

Copyright, 1905, 1906, 1910, 1918, by THE CENTURY CO.

Copyright, 1914, by THE CROWELL PUBLISHING COMPANY

Published, October, 1918

TO THE LADY OF THE DECORATION

A MEMENTO OF MANY HAPPY DAYS SPENT TOGETHER "EAST OF SUEZ"

CONTENTS

MISS MINK'S SOLDIER

A DARLING OF MISFORTUNE

"POP"

HOODOOED

A MATTER OF FRIENDSHIP

THE WILD OATS OF A SPINSTER

CUPID GOES SLUMMING

THE SOUL OF O SANA SAN

MISS MINK'S SOLDIER

Miss Mink sat in church with lips compressed and hands tightly clasped in her black alpaca lap, and stubbornly refused to comply with the request that was being made from the pulpit. She was a small desiccated person, with a sharp chin and a sharper nose, and narrow faded eyes that through the making of innumerable buttonholes had come to resemble them.

For over forty years she had sat in that same pew facing that same minister, regarding him second only to his Maker, and striving in thought and deed to follow his precepts. But the time had come when Miss Mink's blind allegiance wavered.

Ever since the establishment of the big Cantonment near the city, Dr. Morris, in order to encourage church attendance, had been insistent in his request that every member of his congregation should take a soldier home to Sunday dinner.

Now it was no lack of patriotism that made Miss Mink refuse to do her part. Every ripple in the small flag that fluttered over her humble dwelling sent a corresponding ripple along her spinal column. When she essayed to sing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," in her high, quavering soprano, she invariably broke down from sheer excess of emotion. But the American army fighting for right and freedom in France, and the Army individually tracking mud into her spotless cottage, were two very different things. Miss Mink had always regarded a man in her house much as she regarded a gnat in her eye. There was but one course to pursue in either case elimination!

But her firm stand in the matter had not been maintained without much misgiving. Every Sunday when Dr. Morris made his earnest appeal, something within urged her to comply. She was like an automobile that gets cranked up and then refuses to go. Church going instead of being her greatest joy came to be a nightmare. She no longer lingered in the vestibule, for those highly cherished exchanges of inoffensive gossip that constituted her social life. Nobody seemed to have time for her. Every one was busy with a soldier. Within the sanctuary it was no better. Each khaki clad figure that dotted the congregation claimed her attention as a possible candidate for hospitality. And each one that presented himself to her vision was indignantly repudiated. One was too old, another too young, one too stylish, another had forgotten to wash his ears. She found a dozen excuses for withholding her invitation.

But this morning as she sat upright and uncompromising in her short pew, she was suddenly thrown into a state of agitation by the appearance in the aisle of an un ushered soldier who, after hesitating beside one or two pews, slipped into the seat beside her. It seemed almost as if Providence had taken a hand and since she had refused to select a soldier, had prompted a soldier to select her.

During the service she sat gazing straight at the minister without comprehending a word that he said. Never once did her glance stray to that khaki clad figure beside her, but her thoughts played around him like lightning. What if she should get up her courage and ask him to dinner, how would she ever be able to walk out the street with him! And once she had got him to her cottage, what on earth would she talk to him about? Her hands grew cold as she thought about it. Yet something warned her it was now or never, and that it was only by taking the hated step and getting it over with, that she could regain the peace of mind that had of late deserted her... Continue reading book >>




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