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- Keineth - 1/28 -
JANE D. ABBOTT
TO ALL THE LITTLE GIRLS I KNOW THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
I. KEINETH'S WORLD CHANGES
II. KEINETH DECIDES
IV. KEINETH WRITES TO HER FATHER
V. PILOT COMES TO OVERLOOK
VI. THE MUSIC THE FAIRIES PUT IN HER FINGERS
VII. ALICE RUNS AWAY
VIII. A PAGE FROM HISTORY
IX. THE CAPTIVE MAIDEN
X. PILOT IN DISGRACE
XI. PILOT WINS A HOME
XII. A LETTER FROM DADDY
XIV. THE TENNIS TOURNAMENT
XV. NOT ON THE PROGRAM
XVI. AUNT JOSEPHINE
XVII. SCHOOL DAYS
XIX. WHEN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT WORKED OVERTIME.
XXI. PILOT GOES AWAY
XXII. KEINBTH'S GIFT
XXIV. MR. PRESIDENT
XXV. THE CASTLE OF DREAMS
KEINETH'S WORLD CHANGES
Keineth Randolph's world seemed suddenly to be turning upside down!
For the past three days there had been no lessons. Keineth had lessons instead of going to school. She had them sometimes with Madame Henri, or "Tante" as she called her, and sometimes with her father. If the sun was very inviting in the morning, lessons would wait until afternoon; or, if, sitting straight and still in the big room her father called his study, Keineth found it impossible to think of the book before her, Tante would say in her prim voice:
"Dreaming, cherie?" and add, "the books will wait!"
Or, if father was hearing the lessons, he would toss aside the book and beckon to Keineth to sit on his knee. Then he would tell a story. It would be, perhaps, something about India or they would travel together through Norway; or it would be Custer's fight with the Indians or the wanderings of the Acadians through the English Colonies in America, as portrayed in Longfellow's Evangeline.
But for three days Keineth had had neither lessons nor stories--she had not even wanted to go out into the park to walk. For her dear Tante, with a very sad face, was packing her trunks and boxes, and Daddy had gone out of town.
To-morrow the little woman was going to sail on a Norwegian boat for Europe. The trip seemed to Keineth to be particularly unusual because Tante and Daddy had talked so much about it and Tante had waited until Daddy had gotten her some papers which would take her safely into Europe. So much talk and the important papers made it seem as though she was going very far away. Perhaps she did not expect to come back to America--she stopped so often in her work to kiss Keineth!
Keineth could not remember her own mother, she had died when Keineth was three years old; and as far back as she could remember Tante had always taken care of her. These three, the golden-haired delicate child, the serious-faced Belgian gentlewoman, who had given up a position in one of New York's schools to go into John Randolph's household, and the father himself, living for his work and his daughter, led what might seem to others a very strange life. The man had kept his home in the old brick house on Washington Square in lower New York even after the other houses in the square around it gradually changed from pleasant, neat homes to shabby boarding-houses or rooming houses with broken windows and railless steps; to dusty lofts; to cellars where Jews kept and sorted over their filthy rags; to dingy attic spaces where artists made their studios, turning queer, dilapidated corners into what they called their homes. The third story of the Randolph house had been let for "light housekeeping apartments"; Keineth herself had helped tack the little black and gilt sign at the door. The tenants used the side door that let into the brick-paved alley. Keineth had always felt a great pride in their home--it was always neatly painted, their steps shone, and there were no papers collected behind their iron gratings. Even across the park she could see the bright geraniums blooming in the windows under Madame Henri's loving care.
Keineth and Tante had two big sleeping rooms facing the square and Daddy had a smaller room in the back. Dora, the colored maid who kept the house in order and cooked breakfast and lunch, went away at night. The rooms were very large, with high ceilings. The windows were long and narrow and hung with heavy, dusty curtains. The furniture was very old and very dull and dark, but Keineth loved the great chairs into which she could curl herself and read for hours at a time.
There were few children in the square for her to play with. Next door was an Italian family with eight girls and boys, and Keineth sometimes joined them in the park. Their father kept a fruit stall in the basement on one of the streets running off from the square. Francesca, one of the girls, sang very sweetly, often standing on the corner of the square and singing Italian folk-songs until she had gathered quite a crowd around her and had collected considerable money. Keineth loved to listen to her. But Daddy had asked Keineth never to go alone outside of the square nor out of sight of the windows of their own home, and Keineth, all her life, had always wanted to do exactly as her father asked her.
The evenings to Keineth were the happiest, for, after his work was finished, Daddy always took her out somewhere for dinner. Sometimes they would go into queer, small places; rooms lighted by gas-jets, where they ate on bare tables from off thick white plates. She would sit very quietly listening while her father talked to the people he met. It seemed to her that her father knew everybody. Other times they would go up town on the bus, Keineth clinging tightly to her father's hand all the way, and they would find a corner in a brightly lighted hotel dining-room, where the silver and glass sparkled before Keineth's eyes, where an orchestra, hidden behind big palms, played wonderful music as they ate, where the air was sweet with the fragrance of flowers like Joe Massey's stall on the square, and where all the women were pretty and wore soft furs over shimmering dresses of lovely colors. Sometimes Tante went with them, looking very prim in her tailor-made suit of gray woolen cloth and her small gray hat. On these picnic dinners, as Daddy called them, Daddy was always in rollicking spirits, keeping up such a torrent of nonsense that Keineth was often quite exhausted from laughing. Then, when they were back in the old house, Daddy would pull his big chair close to the lamp, Tante would take her knitting from the basket in which it was always neatly laid, and Keineth would sit down at the piano to play for her father "what the fairies put in her fingers." This had been a little game between them for a long time--ever since her music lessons with Madame Henri had begun.
Now--as the child sat balanced on the edge of an old rocker watching Tante tenderly and carefully placing her books into a heavy box--she felt that this beloved order of things was changing before her eyes. For, with Tante gone, who was to take care of her? And heavy on the child's heart lay the fear that it might be Aunt Josephine.
Aunt Josephine was her very own aunt, her father's sister, and lived in a very pretentious home at the other end of the city, overlooking the Hudson River. At a very early age Keineth had guessed that Aunt Josephine did not approve of the way her Daddy lived; of the tenants on the third floor; of the sign at the door; of Tante and the happy-go-lucky lessons; and most of all, her intimacy with the Italian children. Twice a year Keineth and her Daddy spent a Sunday with Aunt Josephine, and Keineth could always tell by the way Daddy clasped her hand and ran down the steps that he was very glad when the day was over and they could go home. However, Aunt Josephine was pretty and wore lovely clothes like the women in the big hotels uptown and was really fond of Daddy, so that Keineth loved her--but she did not want to live with her!
"Why do you go away from us?" Keineth asked Madame Henri for the
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