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Susan Clegg and Her Friend Mrs. Lathrop   By: (1869-1913)

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First Page:

[Illustration]

SUSAN CLEGG

AND

Her Friend Mrs. Lathrop

BY

ANNE WARNER

Author of "A Woman's Will," etc.

BOSTON Little, Brown, and Company

1904

Copyright, 1903, 1904 , BY THE CENTURY COMPANY.

Copyright, 1904 , BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

THE UNIVERSITY PRESS CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.

PREFATORY NOTE

The first four chapters of "Susan Clegg and her Friend Mrs. Lathrop" appeared in "The Century Magazine" as separate stories during the past year. They have been revised and partly rewritten for book publication, and "The Minister's Vacation," never before printed, has been added.

Miss Clegg and her friend Mrs. Lathrop, as well as the other characters in the book, and the scenes in which they figure, are wholly imaginary .

Contents

Page I The Marrying of Susan Clegg 1

II Miss Clegg's Adopted 43

III Jathrop Lathrop's Cow 83

IV Susan Clegg's Cousin Marion 126

V The Minister's Vacation 166

SUSAN CLEGG

And her Friend Mrs. Lathrop

I

THE MARRYING OF SUSAN CLEGG

Susan Clegg and Mrs. Lathrop were next door neighbors and bosom friends. Their personalities were extremely congenial, and the theoretical relation which the younger woman bore to the elder was a further bond between them. Owing to the death of her mother some twenty years before, Susan had fallen into the position of a helpless and timid young girl whose only key to the problems of life in general had been the advice of her older and wiser neighbor. As a matter of fact Mrs. Lathrop was barely twelve years the senior, but she had married and as a consequence felt and was felt to be immeasurably the more ancient of the two.

Susan had never married, for her father a bedridden paralytic had occupied her time day and night for years. He was a great care and as she did her duty by him with a thoroughness which was praiseworthy in the extreme she naturally had very little leisure for society. Mrs. Lathrop had more, because her family consisted of but one son, and she was not given to that species of housekeeping which sweeps under the beds too often. It therefore came about that the one and only recreation which the friends could enjoy together to any great extent was visiting over the fence. Visiting over the fence is an occupation in which any woman may indulge without fear of unkind criticism. If she takes occasion to run in next door, she is of course leaving the house which she ought to be keeping, but she can lean on the fence all day without feeling derelict as to a single duty. Then, too, there is something about the situation which produces a species of agreeable subconsciousness that one is at once at home and abroad. It followed that Susan and Mrs. Lathrop each wore a path from her kitchen door to the trysting spot, and that all summer long they met there early and late.

Mrs. Lathrop did the listening while she chewed clover. Just beyond her woodpile red clover grew luxuriantly, and when she started for the place of meeting it was her invariable custom to stop and pull a number of blossoms so that she might eat the tender petals while devoting her attention to the business in hand.

It must be confessed that the business in hand was nearly always Miss Clegg's business, but since Mrs. Lathrop, in her position of experienced adviser, was deeply interested in Susan's exposition of her own affairs, that trifling circumstance appeared of little moment.

One of the main topics of conversation was Mr. Clegg. As Mr. Clegg had not quitted his bed for over a score of years, it might seem that his novelty as a subject of discussion would have been long since exhausted. But not so. His daughter was the most devoted of daughters, and his name was ever rife on her lips... Continue reading book >>




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