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I Public Opinion -and Strikes

I The Strike Settlement. !

Our City Fathers To Be.-I

A Socialist Dolly's Dialogues


A Socialist Dolly' s Dialogues (WITH APOLOCIES TO ANTHONY HOPE.) I By KATHARINE BRUCE CLASIER. I III.âON AUTUMN LEAVES AND MARY [ ANN ARCHITECTURE. Wbv, Dol]N -mv dear childâI Mrs. Lane was sitting up in bed, with cobwebby mass of white Shetland shawl about her shoulders. A chilly October had reinforced her niece Dolly's cheery suggestion that break- fast in bed was the best preventive against neuritis to be found in the Pharmacopeia. Dolly set. down her breakfast tray carefully. "Aren't these Virginia creeper leaves just glorious?" she said. "They blew into the porch when I was taking in the milk, and now they've turned an egg-on-toast breakfast into red and brown and golden rhapsody! IâI hope they are quite clean," said Mrs- Lane, eying the four glowing leaves which lay beside her china toast rack with a fastidious ap" prehension that had no room, for colour bar- monies. Clean- There was a flash in Dolly's bh?6: eyes, and a rush of red, down neck and up brow, that reached poor Mrs. Lane's cushionâ-dulleo imagination far more effectively than the words which pelted about her ears. "Clean! after a whole summer-time of stinshiiie-washed by the autumn rains, blown by the autumn gales, fall- ing into a garden with dear brown earth anJ wonderful green turf and then straight from a gravel path into an open porch! Auntie, you deserve to have to live in a. slum! With swift, deft fingers Dolly had lifted the fonr offending lakes of colour off the coarse un- bleached linen square, one of her own easily washed store, with which she had covered her Aunt's japanned tea tray and disappeared front the room. Mrs. Lane looked piteously at the closing door and then down at her unadorned breakfast. Everything about her seemed suddenly to have gone grey. Her delicate hands trembled sO that s he could hardly pour out a cup of tea. As she lifted it to her Lips two big tears of sheer self-pity rolled down her fragrantly powdered old cheeks. Then the door opened and a trans- formed Dolly came back, carrying the four leaves in a little transparent glass vase. See," is he cried, I ought to have knowfl that you would have liked them this way best. tt Then she saw the tears on her Aunt's face, and kneeling beside her in a rush of contrition she tenderly dried and kissed them away. Ah, forgive me! she pleaded. I've beeft up .since before six, redding up the mess the new stove-man had left in Uncles' study,âand singing inside to think of how bright and cosy it would be for him when he go,t back. The red tile* in their oak mantelframe and the brown paper on the wall behind the book-shelves and the books all shining from the cleaning Nurstf and I gave them yesterday, with that new wash- leather,âwrung clean for every shelf, Auntie!- it all sort of made me top-heavy, like a ship with too much sail on. Andâlet me tell you the whole of it. You can't -suspect a pepperpot like me of wanting to pi-each! I have been reading » wonderful new book that has lit up all the reli- gions that ever were, even for a heathen like me: It is one of Mrs. Besant's theosophical books. It pictured the whole world as the result of the j descent of the Spirit of Love into matter. Jt. made me seem to see a glorious, radiant Sun God, leaping with widespread arms out of the heart of the Universe into a sort of prison-house. | And wherever the Sun-God wins, wherever tl,o Love Spirit hr.s its way perfectly as in the flowers, and the trees, the mountains and tile streams, the birds and the happy children, tliei-c beauty is bound to be. But wherever it is ob- structed, there is, there must be ugliness, poverty and pain. And Auntie dear, forgive me, but 1 must tell you. The difference between that cold drab bedroom upstairs, where your servants have had to sleep all these yearsânot ft touch of beautiful colourânot a suggestion that anyone loved them, and the dark kitchen down- stairs where they have had to spend their days, âand Uncle's donâhis studyâwhen Love had had even a little bit of a chance! I tell you, it had got into my head somehow, like David's visi.on did, after he had been playing to Saul. You remember Browning's poem. Uncle read It to us one night last week. And then the milk- '» man came, and he was nearly crazy with joy he- 1 cause he had heard his son was safe after he had heard nothing for weeksâand then those Vir- ginia creeper leaves I)lt,iv ill! They just seemed to put the finishing touch. They were so lovely andâhut you didn'tâof courseâyou eouldn't- understand all tlier 11 No,-I. only asked you if they were clean! The tears failing now in earnest as Mrs. Lane,, yielded herself wholly to the kind warmth of Dolly's strong young arms and leant her grey head on her breast. "And after you had been up working for your Uncle and me since six o'clockâah, my dear, my dear. have you had your own breakfast yet ? You bet," said Dolly, but I'll have another cup of tea in your saucer if you just wouldn't mind." f

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