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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Three People, by Pansy This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Three People Author: Pansy Release Date: March 13, 2007 [EBook #20808] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THREE PEOPLE *** Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Emmy and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net THREE PEOPLE BY PANSY AUTHOR OF "LOST ON THE TRAIL," "TIP LEWIS AND HIS LAMP," "ESTER RIED," "FOUR GIRLS AT CHAUTAUQUA," "CHAUTAUQUA GIRLS AT HOME," ETC. BOSTON LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO. PANSY TRADE-MARK Registered in U. S. Patent Office. Entered according to the Act of Congress, by WESTERN TRACT AND BOOK SOCIETY, In the Office of the Congressional Librarian, District of Columbia, 1871. COPYRIGHT, 1899, BY ISABELLA M. ALDEN. THREE PEOPLE. [4] "Are you a total abstainer?"—Page 60. CONTENTS. CHAPTER I. SOME BABIES 5 II. JOHN BIRGE'S OPPORTUNITY 15 III. WOLFIE 26 IV. BRAIN WORK 37 V. TODE'S AMBITION 49 VI. NEW IDEAS 57 VII. TWO T'S 67 VIII. WHICH SHALL PROSPER, THIS OR THAT? 77 IX. TAKE IT AWAY 89 X. HABAKKUK 100 XI. BUSINESS AND BOTTLES 113 XII. THE STEPPING STONE 128 XIII. TODE'S REAL ESTATE 145 XIV. SIGNS AND WONDERS 162 XV. EXIT TODE MALL 178 XVI. PLEDGES AND PARTNERSHIPS 195 XVII. TRANSLATIONS 211 XVIII. WINE IS A MOCKER 223 XIX. THE THREE PEOPLE MEET AGAIN 242 XX. MRS. JENKINS' TOMMY 255 XXI. MIDNIGHT WORK 270 XXII. POOR PLINY 289 XXIII. JUDGMENTS 305 XXIV. A DOUBLE CRISIS 322 XXV. STEPS UPWARD 336 XXVI. THEODORE'S INSPIRATION 349 XXVII. DAWN AND DARKNESS 364 XXVIII. DEATH AND LIFE 383 XXIX. SOME MORE BABIES 398 [5] THREE PEOPLE CHAPTER I. SOME BABIES. IE the sash a very little looser, nurse, and give the loops a more graceful fall; there—so. Now he's a beauty! every inch of him." And Mrs. Hastings moved backward a few steps in order to get the full effect. A beauty he was, certainly; others beside his mother would have admitted that. What baby fresh from a bath, and robed in the daintiest and most perfect of baby toilets, with tightly curling rings of brown hair covering the handsome head; with great sparkling, dancing blue eyes, and laughing rosebud mouth; with hands and feet and body strung on invisible wires, and quivering with life and glee, was ever other than a beauty? The whole house was in commotion in honor of the fact that Master Pliny L. Hastings, only son and heir of the great Pliny Hastings, Senior, of Hastings' Hall, had "laughed and cried, and nodded and winked," through the entire space of three hundred and sixty-five days and nights, and actually reached the first anniversary of his birthday. A remarkable boy was Pliny Hastings. He didn't know yet that his father was a millionaire, but he must have surmised it, for, as far back as he could remember, his bits of sleeves had been looped with real pearls; rosewood and lace and silk and down had united to make his tiny bed; he had bitten his first tooth through on a sphere of solid gold—and all the wonderful and improbable contrivances for royal babyhood that could be bought or imagined, met together in that grand house on the Avenue for this treasured bit of humanity. On this particular day baby was out in all his glory; he had made the circuit of the great parlors, stopping on his way to be tossed toward the ceiling, in the arms of first one uncle and then another. He had been kissed and cuddled by all the aunties and cousins, until his cheeks were rosy with triumph; and, finally, he had been carried, shouting with glee, high up on his father's shoulder, down to the dining-room, and occupied the seat of honor at the long table, where he crowed, and laughed, and clapped his hands over every plum that found its way into his dainty mouth. This conduct was interspersed, however, by sundry dives and screams after the coffee urn and the ice pitcher, and various unattainable things—for there were unattainable things, even for Pliny Hastings. Oh, the times and times in his young life that he had cried for the beautiful round moon, and got it not! And even gaslight and firelight had hitherto eluded his eager grasp; but he had learned no lessons from his failures, and still pitched and dived after impossibilities in the most insane fashion. To-day he looked with indifference on the gold-lined silver cup bearing his name and age, and wanted the great carving fork instead. He cared not a whit that the sparkling wine was poured, and glasses were touched, and toasts drank on his account; but a touch of wisdom must have come over his baby brain, for he made a sudden dash at his father's glass, sending the red wine right and left, and shivering the frail glass to fragments; he did more than that, he promptly seized on one of the sharpest bits, and thereby cut a long crooked gash in the sweet chubby finger, and was finally borne, shrieking and struggling, from the room, his little heart filled with mingled feelings of terror and rage. So much for Baby Hastings and his birthday. [6] [7] [8] In a neat white house, no more than a mile away from this great mansion, there was another baby. It was just when Pliny Hastings was hurried away to the nursery that this baby's mother folded away papers, and otherwise tidied up her bit of a nursery, then pushed a little sewing chair in front of her work table, and paused ere she sat down to give another careful tuck to the blanketed bundle, which was cuddled in the great rocking chair, fast asleep. Then she gathered the doubled up fist into her hand, and caressed it softly, while she murmured: "Bless his precious little heart! he takes a splendid nap for his birthday, so he does." "Ben," this to the gentleman who was lounging in another rocker, reading the paper, "does it seem possible that Bennie is a year old to-day? I declare, Ben, we ought to have got him a present for his birthday." The father looked up from his paper with a good-natured laugh. "Seems to me he's rather youthful to begin on that tack, isn't he?" "Oh, Ben, no! I want every one of his birthdays to be so nice and pleasant. Do, papa, come here and see how nice he looks, with his hair