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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

Marian conducted herself with the most mature air


"I

suppose it is. I think I should like college."

"Not for me!" exclaimed Marian. "I want to go to a convent in Paris. I know a girl right here in Indianapolis who did that, and it's perfectly fine and ever so romantic. To get into college you have to know algebra, don't you?"

"Yes; I think they require that," Sylvia replied, on guard against a display of too much knowledge.

"Do you know algebra?" demanded Marian.

"Sometimes I think I don't!"

"Well, there's no doubt about me! I'm sure I don't. It's perfectly horrid."

The entrance of Mrs. Owen and the return of Professor Kelton terminated these confidences. The four were soon at the luncheon table, where the array of crystal and silver seemed magnificent to Sylvia's unaccustomed eyes. She had supposed that luncheon meant some such simple meal as the suppers she had been used to at home; but it included fried chicken and cold ham, and there were several vegetables; and hot biscuits and hot corn bread; and it became necessary for Sylvia to decline an endless succession of preserves and jellies. For dessert there were the most fragrant red raspberries conceivable, with golden sponge cake. The colored man who served the table seemed to enjoy himself immensely. He condescended to make suggestions as he moved about. "A little mo'

of the cold ham, Cap'n?" or, "I 'membah you like the sparrograss, Mis' Marian," he murmured. "The co'n bread's extra fine, Mis'"--to Sylvia. "The hossis is awdahed for three, Mis' Sally"--to Mrs. Owen.

"You still have Kentucky cooking, Sally," remarked Professor Kelton, who had praised the corn bread.

"I do, Andrew," replied the old lady; "everybody knows that the best things in Indiana came through Kentucky. That includes you and me!"

Prompted by Mrs. Owen's friendly questioning, Sylvia found herself talking. She felt that she was talking more than Marian; but she was much less troubled by this than by Marian's sophisticated manner of lifting her asparagus stalks with her fingers, while Sylvia resorted to the fork. But Sylvia comforted herself with the reflection that this was all in keeping with Marian Bassett's general superiority. Marian conducted herself with the most mature air, and she made it quite necessary for Professor Kelton to defend the Navy against her assertion that the Army was much more useful to the country. The unhurried meal passed, and after they had returned to the drawing-room Marian left to meet her mother at the dressmaker's and return with her to Fraserville.

"I hope to see you again," said Marian, shaking hands with Sylvia.

"I hope so, too," Sylvia replied.

CHAPTER III

A SMALL DINNER AT MRS. OWEN'S

Professor Kelton announced that he had not finished his errands in town, and begged to be excused from the drive which Mrs. Owen had planned.


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