My Queen_ A Weekly Journal for Young Women. Issue 1. September 29, 1900. From Farm to Fortune; or Only a Farmer's Daughter
A WEEKLY JOURNAL FOR YOUNG WOMEN
No. 1. PRICE, FIVE CENTS.
FROM FARM TO FORTUNE
Only A Farmer’s Daughter
BY GRACE SHIRLEY
PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 William Street, New York City.
Copyright, 1900, by Street & Smith. All rights reserved. Entered at York Post-Office as Second-Class Matter.
Issued Weekly. By Subscription $2.50 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at the N. Y. Post Office, by Street & Smith, 238 William St., N. Y.
Entered According to Act of Congress in the year 1900, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.
No. 1. NEW YORK, September 29, 1900. Price Five Cents.
From Farm to Fortune;
ONLY A FARMER’S DAUGHTER.
By GRACE SHIRLEY.
THE DAISY CHAIN.
There was hardly a ripple on the sultryair as Marion Marlowe walked slowly alongthe dusty country road picking a daisyhere and there and linking them togetherin an artistic manner.
When the chain was finished she swungit lightly in her hand, notwithstanding thefact that each link held one of her heartsecrets interwoven in the form of a wish, asshe fashioned the frail necklace.
She paused for a moment upon the browof the steep hill behind her father’s farm,and pushing the gingham sunbonnet backfrom her face, took her usual evening glanceover the surrounding country.
“Same old hills! Same old trees!” shewhispered irritably. “And always that hideousold Poor Farm staring one in the face!Oh, I’m just sick of country life and ahorrid farm! Why couldn’t I have beenborn something besides a farmer’s daughter?”
The view which Marion gazed upon wasnot altogether unlovely, but the hills weresteep and the pastures were scorched andthe Poor Farm, always a blot upon thepeaceful picture, stood out with aggressiveugliness in the keen glow of sunset.
Just over the brow of a low hill rose acurling line of smoke. It came from thechimney of the little station where the Bostonand New York Express stopped morningand evening, the only connecting linkbetween them and civilization.
Marion Marlowe was seventeen andsuperbly handsome. Her twin sister wasfairer, more childish and a trifle smaller, butboth were far more beautiful than mostcountry maidens.
As Marion spoke, her gray eyes darkeneduntil they were almost black, and the ungainlysunbonnet could not begin to coverher hair, which was long and silky and arich, ripe chestnut.
Turning her back upon the Poor Farm,which always offended her, Marion suddenlygave vent to her mood in a most extraordinarymanner.
Posing on the very crest of the hill withher shoulders thrown back haughtily, she begansinging a quaint air which was full ofsolemn melody, and as she sang her eyesglistened and her cheeks grew even redder,for Marion loved the sound of her beautifulvoice—she knew well that she was amagnificent singer, and might readily be forgivenfor glorying in her superb natural endowments.
“And to think it should all be wastedhere!” she muttered as she finished.
There was a scornful wave of her handas she indicated the inoffensive country.
She pulled on her sunbonnet with a suddenjerk.
“What could she do?” She asked thequestion hopelessly, and the very treesseemed to mock her with their rustling whispers.
She could do nothing! She was only afarmer’s daughter! She must bake, roast andboil, weed the garden, tend the chickens, andlast but not least, she must marry some stupidfarmer and live exactly the life that hermother had lived before her.
“I won’t do it!” she cried, angrily, whenshe had reached this point in her thoughts.
“I’ll never submit to it! Never! Never!I will make a name somehow, somewhere,some time! Do you hear me, you gloriousold sun? I will do it! I swear it!”
With a sudden impulse she lifted her handabove her head. The setting sun threw ashaft of light directly across her path whichclothed her in a shining radiance as her vowwas registered.
The sky was darkening when Mariondrew her sunbonnet on again and startedslowly down the hill toward her father’s pasture.
She let down the bars at the entrance tothe pasture lot easily with her strong, whitehands. There were five of the patient creaturesawaiting her coming. The sixth hadstrayed a little, so she strolled about, callingto it, through the straggling brush andbirches.
Suddenly there came the unmistakablepatter of bare feet along the road; Marionlistened a moment and then went on withher search.
“Move faster, there, Bert Jackson! What’sthe matter with ye, anyway?”
The words were shouted in a brutal voicewhich Marion knew only too well to belongto Matt Jenkins, the keeper of the PoorFarm.
“I am moving as fast as I can,” answereda boyish voice, “but my arm aches so badlythat I can hardly walk, Mr. Jenkins.”
“As if an ache in your arm hindered youfrom walkin’ fast!” roared Matt Jenkinsagain. “Faster, I say, or I’ll put the whipon ye!”
There was no reply, only the hurriedtramp of bare feet in the road, but therewas a light crackle in the bushes of the pasturelot as Marion hurried to the bars drivingthe truant cow before her.
A group of nearly a dozen lads from thePoor Farm were shuffling down the road.They had been working about on variousfarms through the day, and now were“rounded up” like so many cattle by MattJenkins, their keeper, and were being hurriedhome under the constant goad of voice andlash, the latter a cart whip of ugly dimensions.
Just as Marion reached the bars the squadof boys came abreast of her, and one—a fine,manly looking chap of seventeen oreighteen—glanced quickly in her direction,almost stopping short as he did so.
“Hi, there! Laggin’ ag’in, air ye, BertJackson!” roared the keeper again. “There!Take that fer yer stubbornness in not doin’as I tell ye!”
The long lash circled through the air andcame down with a hiss that made Marion’sblood run cold—but only for a minute.
The next instant she had darted straightout into the road, and as the vicious whipwas raised for a second cut at the poor youthshe sprang at Matt Jenkins with the fury ofa panther—snatching the whip from hishands and throwing it over the fence intothe pasture.
“How dare you, Mr. Jenkins!”
Marion’s eyes flashed like fire as she facedhim.
Her sunbonnet had fallen off and showedher beautiful hair and rose-tinted features.The daisy chain fell and was trampled underher feet in the dust—the links whichbound her wishes were scattered andbroken.
“How dare you strike a poor orphan?” shecried again. “You are a coward to strikea boy! You ought to be kicked straight outof your position, Matt Jenkins!”
“Huh! You’re mighty independent,Marion Marlowe!” growled Matt Jenkinsangrily. “I’ll tell yer father of ye, MissHigh-flyer, an’ then we’ll see who gits thelickin’.”
“My father will never whip me again, Mr.Jenkins,” said the girl, almost sadly. “If hedoes I’ll run away, even if I starve to deathin a big city.”
The boys were all staring at Marion now,and as she looked at them she saw thatthey sympathized fully with her sentiments.
“They don’t dare say so,” she thought, asshe caught their eager glances. “Poor boys,they are actually envying me just becauseI have a father!”
Out loud she said bitterly:
“I mean it, Mr. Jenkins, and you can tellhim I said so if you wish. I’m not a childany longer, I’m over sixteen! As old as mymother was when she was married,” sheadded proudly.
“Here, Bill Vedder, go git me my whip,”was the keeper’s only answer.
As the boy addressed started for the whipMarion Marlowe walked directly up to BertJackson.
“What’s the matter with your arm, Bert?”she asked very softly.
Bert’s lips tightened a little and his facepaled as he answered:
“It’s broke, I think,” he said in a whisper.“I fell off the load and struck right on myelbow, but Mr. Jenkins only laughed at me—hewouldn’t let me see a doctor.”
“It’s an outrage, a cowardly outrage!”cried Marion, hotly. “Oh, why am I not aman so that I could do something to aidyou!”
The sensitive face was flushed with angernow and the tears trembled on her lashesas she turned toward Mr. Jenkins.
“His arm is broken,” she said, in an agonizedvoice. “Oh, Mr. Jenkins, do hurry andtake him to a doctor!”
“Nonsense!” growled Mr. Jenkins, as hestrode forward and made a motion to graspBert’s wounded arm.
“My God, don’t touch it!”
The boy shrank back with a cry of terror.
In an instant Marion was between them,her voice ringing out like a bugle.
“Don’t you dare to hurt him, you monster!”she cried furiously; “I won’t stand byand see it done even if I am a girl! Andwhen I’m a woman I’ll have you put inprison!”
“And I’ll help you do it, if I’m alive!”cried Bert Jackson, recklessly; “but thereain’t much doubt but what he’ll kill me nowfor my arm hurts so bad that I can’t standhim much longer!”
Marion stood like a statue as the grouppassed down the road. Matt Jenkins lookedback at her once or twice, but his whip wasnot raised while her eyes were upon him.
THE CITY BOARDER.
When they were gone from her sightMarion turned homeward.
The patient cows were well on their way,so the young girl had nothing to do but followthem.
As she came in sight of the low farm-housewhere she was born she saw a girlish figurecoming swiftly toward her.
It was her twin sister, Dolores, or Dollie asshe was called, and at the very first glanceMarion could see that she was weeping.
In an instant she was running rapidly towardher, and as they met she threw her armstenderly about her sister’s shoulders.
“What is it, Dollie? Has father been tormentingyou about Silas again?” she askedbreathlessly, at the same time brushing hersister’s golden hair back from her brow witha caressing motion.
Dollie wiped her eyes and nodded her headaffirmatively.
“Yes, Marion, he has, and I can’t stand itmuch longer!” she cried, sobbingly. “He isjust nagging at me all the time, and, oh, he iscruel, sister. Why, when I told him I didnot love Silas he just sneered at me as thoughlove was something that was not to be considered!”
“Poor father! It is little he knows of thatholy sentiment,” said Marion, sadly, “but goon Dollie, what else did he say to you?”
A gleam of resentment shone in Dollie’sblue eyes, for she was always more bravewhen her sister’s arms were about her.
“Oh, he said I had defied him and that hewould punish me for it! That a man had aright to do as he pleased with his own family,and that girls like you and me did not have agrain of sense about what was best for them!”
Marion’s gray eyes flashed as her sistertalked, but she walked slowly on and did notinterrupt her.
“Then he said that I would have a comfortablehome if I married Silas, and that I’d gostraight to destruction if he did not look outfor me!”
“How horrible!” burst out Marion. “Andto think he is our own father! Why isn’t hecontent with one such experiment? Poorsister Samantha, whom he forced to marryTom Wilders! I should think her miserablelife would be a warning to him! Oh, Dollie,if we could only go away and earn our ownliving. You can play the piano beautifullyand I can sing. If we could only go somewhereand make our own way where weshould never bother father, I should be perfectlyhappy!”
The beautiful face was radiant with eagernessnow, and some of her wonderful courageseemed reflected upon Dollie’s more babyishfeatures.
“It would kill me to marry Silas!” she criedwith a shudder. “Father shall not force meto do it, Marion, never!”
There was a close clasp of the arms abouteach other’s waists as the two girls walkedon and Dollie’s golden head almost restedupon her sister’s shoulder.
“Why, Marion, what do you think! Hetried to bribe me,” she added, suddenly. “Hesaid I could have grandma’s topazes the day Iwas married to Silas.”
A look of disgust swept over Marion’sface.
“As if those old earrings of grandma’scould make up for such a crime! And it is acrime to marry without love, my sister.”
A piteous sob broke from Dollie’s lips andshe moved a step away.
“There’s no help for it, Marion.