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- Dawn - 1/52 -


[Illustration: "I MUST GO, NOW, I--MUST--GO!"]

DAWN

BY

ELEANOR H. PORTER

With Illustrations by Lucius Wolcott Hitchcock

BOSTON AND NEW YORK

1919

To My Friend

MRS. JAMES D. PARKER

CONTENTS

I. THE GREAT TERROR

II. DAD

III. FOR JERRY AND NED

IV. SCHOOL

V. WAITING

VI. LIGHTS OUT

VII. SUSAN TO THE RESCUE

VIII. AUNT NETTIE MEETS HER MATCH

IX. SUSAN SPEAKS HER MIND

X. AND NETTIE COLEBROOK SPEAKS HERS

XI. NOT PATS BUT SCRATCHES

XII. CALLERS FOR "KEITHIE"

XIII. FREE VERSE--A LA SUSAN

XIV. A SURPRISE ALL AROUND

XV. AGAIN SUSAN TAKES A HAND

XVI. THE WORRY OF IT

XVII. DANIEL BURTON TAKES THE PLUNGE

XVIII. "MISS STEWART"

XIX. A MATTER OF LETTERS

XX. WITH CHIN UP

XXI. THE LION

XXII. HOW COULD YOU, MAZIE?

XXIII. JOHN MCGUIRE

XXIV. AS SUSAN SAW IT

XXV. KEITH TO THE RESCUE

XXVI. MAZIE AGAIN

XXVII. FOR THE SAKE OF JOHN

XXVIII. THE WAY

XXIX. DOROTHY TRIES HER HAND

XXX. DANIEL BURTON'S "JOB"

XXXI. WHAT SUSAN DID NOT SEE

XXXII. THE KEY

XXXIII. AND ALL ON ACCOUNT OF SUSAN

ILLUSTRATIONS

"I must go, now. I--must--go!"

Susan Betts talking with Mrs. McGuire over the back-yard fence

"Want you? I always want you!"

"You've helped more--than you'll ever know"

He gave her almost no chance to say anything herself

Keith's arm shot out and his hand fell, covering hers

It was well that the Japanese screen on the front piazza was down

CHAPTER I

THE GREAT TERROR

It was on his fourteenth birthday that Keith Burton discovered the Great Terror, though he did not know it by that name until some days afterward. He knew only, to his surprise and distress, that the "Treasure Island," given to him by his father for a birthday present, was printed in type so blurred and poor that he could scarcely read it.

He said nothing, of course. In fact he shut the book very hastily, with a quick, sidewise look, lest his father should see and notice the imperfection of his gift.

Poor father! He would feel so bad after he had taken all that pains and spent all that money--and for something not absolutely necessary, too! And then to get cheated like that. For, of course, he had been cheated--such horrid print that nobody could read.

But it was only a day or two later that Keith found some more horrid print. This time it was in his father's weekly journal that came every Saturday morning. He found it again that night in a magazine, and yet again the next day in the Sunday newspaper.

Then, before he had evolved a satisfactory explanation in his own mind of this phenomenon, he heard Susan Betts talking with Mrs. McGuire over the back-yard fence.

Susan Betts began the conversation. But that was nothing strange: Susan Betts always began the conversation.

"Have you heard about poor old Harrington?" she demanded in what Keith called her "excitingest" voice. Then, as was always the case when she spoke in that voice, she plunged on without waiting for a reply, as if fearful lest her bit of news fall from the other pair of lips first. "Well, he's blind--stone blind. He couldn't see a dollar bill--not if you shook it right before his eyes."

"Sho! you don't say!" Mrs. McGuire dropped the wet sheet back into the basket and came to the fence on her side concernedly. "Now, ain't that too bad?"

"Yes, ain't it? An' he so kind, an' now so blind! It jest makes me sick." Susan whipped open the twisted folds of a wet towel. Susan seldom stopped her work to talk. "But I saw it comin' long ago. An' he did, too, poor man!"

Mrs. McGuire lifted a bony hand to her face and tucked a flying wisp of hair behind her right ear.

"Then if he saw it comin', why couldn't he do somethin' to stop it?" she demanded.

[Illustration: SUSAN BETTS TALKING WITH MRS. MCGUIRE OVER THE BACKYARD FENCE]

"I don't know. But he couldn't. Dr. Chandler said he couldn't. An' they had a man up from Boston--one of them eye socialists what doesn't doctor anythin' but eyes--an' he said he couldn't."

Keith, on his knees before the beet-bed adjoining the clothes-yard, sat back on his heels and eyed the two women with frowning interest.

He knew old Mr. Harrington. So did all the boys. Never was there a kite or a gun or a jack-knife so far gone that Uncle Joe Harrington could not "fix it" somehow. And he was always so jolly about it, and so glad to do it. But it took eyes to do such things, and if now he was going to be blind--

"An' you say it's been comin' on gradual?" questioned Mrs. McGuire. "Why, I hadn't heard-"

"No, there hain't no one heard," interrupted Susan. "He didn't say nothin' ter nobody, hardly, only me, I guess, an' I suspicioned it, or he wouldn't 'a' said it to me, probably. Ye see, I found out he wa'n't readin' 'em--the papers Mr. Burton has me take up ter him every week. An' he owned up, when I took him ter task for it, that he couldn't read 'em. They was gettin' all blurred."

"Blurred?" It was a startled little cry from the boy down by the beet- bed; but neither Susan nor Mrs. McGuire heard--perhaps because at


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