v45

v45

Meanwhile April budded into May, and May blossomed into June; and June brought all the Blaisdells together again in Hillerton.

Two days after Fred Blaisdell had returned from college, his mother came to see Miss Maggie. Mr. Smith was rearranging the books on Miss Maggie's shelves and trying to make room for the new ones he had brought her through the winter. When Mrs. Hattie came in, red-eyed and flushed-faced, he ceased his work at once and would have left the room, but she stopped him with a gesture.

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"No, don't go. You know all about it, anyway,—and I'd just as soon you knew the rest. So you can keep right to work. I just came down to talk things over with Maggie. I—I'm sure I don't know w-what I'm going to do—when I can't."

"But you always can, dear," soothed Miss Maggie cheerily, handing her visitor a fan and taking a chair near her.

Mr. Smith, after a moment's hesitation, turned quietly back to his bookshelves.

"But I can't," choked Mrs. Hattie. "I—I'm going away."

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"Away? Where? What do you mean?" cried Miss Maggie. "Not to—live!"

"Yes. That's what I came to tell you."

"Why, Hattie Blaisdell, where are you going?"

"To Plainville—next month."

"Plainville? Oh, well, cheer up! That's only forty miles from here. I guess we can still see each other. Now, tell me, what does all this mean?"

"Well, of course, it began with Fred—his trouble, you know."

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"But I thought Jim fixed that all up, dear."

"Oh, he did. He paid the money, and nobody there at college knew a thing about it. But there were—other things. Fred told us some of them night before last. He says he's ashamed of himself, but that he believes there's enough left in him to make a man of him yet. But he says he can't do it—there."

"You mean—he doesn't want to go back to college?" Miss Maggie's voice showed her disappointment.

"Oh, he wants to go to college—but not there."

"Oh," nodded Miss Maggie. "I see."