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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

Now Allen approves of me I like Allen


"This

must never happen again, sir! And of course you may not carry my books--they're the symbol of my profession. Seventeen thousand young persons about like me are on the way to school this morning right here in Indiana. It would be frightfully embarrassing to the educational system if young gentlemen were allowed to carry the implements of our trade."

"You can't get rid of me now: I never get up as early as this unless I'm catching a train."

"So much the worse for you, then!"

"There will be mornings when you won't think it so much fun. It rains and snows in Indiana sometimes."

He still resented the idea of her sacrifice, as he called it, in the cause of education. They were now so well acquainted that they were not always careful to be polite in their talk; but he had an uneasy feeling that she didn't wholly approve of him. All summer, when they had discussed politics, she had avoided touching upon his personal interests and activities. His alliance with Bassett, emphasized in the state convention, was a subject she clearly avoided. This morning, as he kept time to her quick step, he craved her interest and sympathy. Her plain gray suit and simple cloth hat could not disguise her charm or grace. It seemed to him that she was putting herself a little further away from him, that she was approaching the business of life with a determination, a spirit,

a zest, that dwarfed to insignificance his own preoccupation with far less important matters. She turned to glance back at a group of children they had passed audibly speculating as to the character of teacher the day held in store for them.

"Don't you think they're worth working for?" Sylvia asked.

Dan shrugged his shoulders.

"I suppose more lives are ground up in the school-teaching machine than in any other way. Go on! The girl who taught me my alphabet in the little red school-house in Harrison County earned her salary, I can tell you. She was seventeen and wore a pink dress."

"I'm sorry you don't approve of me or my clothes. Now Allen approves of me: I like Allen."

"His approval is important, I dare say."

"Yes, very. It's nice to be approved of. It helps some."

"And I suppose there ought to be a certain reciprocity in approval and disapproval?"

"Oh, there's bound to be!"

Their eyes met and they laughed lightheartedly.

"I'm going to tell you something," said Dan. "On the reciprocal theory I can't expect anything, but I'm lonesome and have no friends anyhow, so I'll give you a chance to say something withering and edged with a fine scorn."

"Good! I'll promise not to disappoint you."

"I'm going to be put on the legislature ticket to-day--to fill a vacancy. I suppose you'll pray earnestly for my defeat."

"Why should I waste prayers on that? Besides, Allen solemnly declares that the people are to be trusted. It's not for me to set my prayers against the will of the pee-pull."

"If you had a vote," he persisted, "you wouldn't vote for me?"

"I should have to know what you want to go to the legislature for before committing myself. What _are_ you doing it for?"


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