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- Drusilla with a Million - 43/43 -


new, something different, that'd go on and on in the right way doin' good.

"Mr. Raydon kind of has leanin's towards a people's bank, lending money to poor people who ain't got nothin' but their honesty and reputation--but he's goin' to figger that out by himself and in the meantime he's waitin' to see what I find out, as he's got more money than he kin take with him. He says he's only interested 'cause he likes me and I make him laugh, but way down deep inside of him he's got the biggest kind of heart; but he don't want his money to be wasted when he's gone, no more'n I do.

"Gentlemen, I want you to think it over, ask every one, the same's I'm doin', git some new idees about the way to spend a million dollars and spend it right."

They rose and went to the lawn, where the neighbors with whom Drusilla had made friends were waiting to greet their hostess. As Drusilla passed little groups of mothers playing with their children under the trees, the men with her saw tired faces light up, and gratitude in faded eyes of weary mothers, while tiny children clung to her dress or ran shyly forward to take her hands in their baby fingers. Love shone from Drusilla's face and was reflected in the eyes of all these poor and helpless who followed her with loving glance as she crossed the lawn.

As they were waiting for the tea to be served Mr. Carrington stood upon a chair and called for attention.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Mothers and Babies," he said. "To-day is a great day for us all, but more for the people of Brookvale than for the others. Two years ago Miss Doane came to us, and found a great many of us hard, self-centered, worldly. Why"--and he laughed--"I remember I was chairman of a committee who was to wait upon her and persuade her that she must not bring babies to our aristocratic neighborhood. I never waited--but that is another story.

"There is a great chemist, and he dissolves selfishness and worldliness with a little invisible powder called love. Miss Doane brought stores of that powder with her, and scatters it over her doughnuts and her gingerbread and her cookies that she sends us, and she does it up in little packages that we can't see and slips it into our pockets when we're not looking. It has spread like a fine mist over Brookvale. And I am speaking for Brookvale, and I want to say that we are glad to have her with us, that we are glad to see her family growing up around her"--waving his hand toward the groups of children on the lawn--"and on this, her seventy-second birthday, we want you all to give three cheers for Drusilla Doane, _OUR_ Drusilla Doane!"

And he led in the cheering that made the air resound.

Drusilla flushed and wiped her eyes, and in answer to the calls of "Speech! Speech!" she said:

"I ain't never made a speech in my life, as I hold with St. Paul that women should be seen and not heard. But--I want to say that I been happy a whole heartful since I been with you--and I want to share it--and I want you to feel that in passin' it on to others--I'm passin' on your love that you all been a-showin' me. So you'll git it all agin, as love always comes back. But--but--I can't talk--I can't tell you how I feel; I jest want in my small way to make the world a little bit glad that Elias Doane hunted up a charity home and found in it Drusilla"; and she shyly drew back into the crowd.

When she saw the people sitting at the tables drinking their tea, or walking over the beautiful lawns, her eyes looked for John. Finding him, she went up to him.

"John, let's go up on the porch off my room. I'm tired, and we can look at 'em all from there. I want to be alone with you."

They went up to the veranda and stood overlooking the happy scene. Mothers were sitting at the small tables happily watching their larger children playing under the trees. Babies were rolling on the grass, their baby prattle and laughter coming faintly to the ears of John and Drusilla. The soft afternoon sun filtered through the trees and seemed to cover them with a golden glow.

As Drusilla watched them, she slipped her hand into one of John's and leaned forward, looking up at him with a soft light in her dear old eyes.

"John," she said, "when we were young, we used to dream that we'd grow old together and see our children's children playin' round us."

She was silent for a moment. Then:

"John,"--she motioned toward the lawn--"let's play our dream's come true!"


Drusilla with a Million - 43/43

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