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Phyllis   By: (1872-1924)

Book cover

First Page:

PHYLLIS

by

MARIA THOMPSON DAVIESS

Author of The Tinder Box , The Melting of Molly , etc.

With Illustrations by Percy D. Johnson

New York The Century Co.

1914

[Illustration: Down that garden path I flew]

TO

HELENA RUTH KETCHAM

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Down that garden path I flew (Frontispiece)

Then Roxanne and the bottle and I all collapsed on the grass together

He stood there in the doorway and laughed until his big shoulders shook

I never saw my father's face so lovely

Tony ... nosed almost every inch of the shed

He just moaned he was making an explosion

The Colonel handed me the medal

"You stand right here and tell me how it all looks"

CHAPTER I

The country is so much larger than the city and so empty that you rattle around in it until you wonder if you are ever going to get stuck to any place, especially if there isn't a house numbered anywhere. Our street is named Providence Road and the house Byrd Mansion and I am afraid I'll never be at home there as long as I live. But the doctor says Mother has to live in the country for always, and I'm only glad it isn't any countrier than Byrdsville.

The worst thing about it to me is that this house I live in and the town I live in are named for the lovely dark eyed girl who lives down in the old fashioned cottage that backs up on our garden. She moved out for me to move in, just because I am rich and she is poor. I can't look at her straight, but I love her so that I can hardly stand it. All the other girls in school love her too, and she is not at all afraid of the boys, but treats them just as if they were human beings and could be loved as such. That awful long legged Tony walks home with her almost every day and they all laugh and have a good time.

I always wait until everybody has gone down the street with everybody else so they won't see how lonesome I am. Crowded lonesomeness is the worst of all. There are many nice boys and girls just about my age here in Byrdsville; but they can never like me. I'm glad I found it out before I tried to be friends with any of them. The first day I came to the Byrd Academy I heard Belle tell Mamie Sue how to treat me, and that is what settled me into this alone state.

"Of course, be polite to her, Mamie Sue," Belle said, not knowing that I was behind the hat rack, pinning on my hat. "But there never was a millionaire in Byrdsville before, and I don't see how a girl who is that rich can be really nice. The Bible says that it is harder for a rich man to get to heaven than for a knitting needle to stick into a camel, because he and it are blunt, I suppose; and it must be just the same with such a rich girl. Poor child, I am so sorry for her; but we must be very careful."

"Why, Belle," said Mamie Sue, in a voice that is always so comfortable because she is nice and fat, "Roxy said she was going to like her a lot, and she's got Roxy's lovely house while Roxy has to live in the cottage, which is just as bad as moving into a chicken coop after the Byrd Mansion. If Roxy likes her, it seems to me we might. She didn't turn us out of house and home, as the almanac says."

"Don't you see that Roxy has to be nice to her, because if she isn't we will think it is spite about the house? Roxy can't show her resentment, but her friends can. I'm a friend."

Belle uses words and talks like a grown person in a really wonderful way. She is the smartest girl in the rhetoric class and, of course, she knows more than most people, and Mamie Sue realizes that. So do I. I saw just how they all felt about me, and I don't blame them but I just wish every time Roxanne Byrd smiles at me that I didn't have to make myself stop and remember that she does it because she has to.

"But I believe Phyllis is a nice girl," Mamie Sue said. Mamie Sue reminds me of a nice, fat molasses drop, with her yellow hair and always a brown dress on.

"The city is an awful wicked place, Mamie Sue, even if it is only just a hundred miles away. Let's don't think about the poor thing... Continue reading book >>




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