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For a picture of perfect loveliness she scarcely could have been surpassed, and the eyes of Philip Ammon seemed to be in working order. "Moth-er!" called Elnora. There was an undulant, caressing sweetness in the girl's voice, as she sung out the call in perfect confidence that it would bring a loving answer, that struck deep in Mrs. Comstock's heart.

She spoke more low then, but continued to chatter, her pretend-conversation, loving, confidential, and consoling. Finally, "Moth-er," she plead, "will you please sing?" She sang. Her voice was husky from crying. More than once it quavered and broke. But the song was one she had heard in the long, raftered living-room at Johnnie Blake's. And it soothed.

Across from him, listening, was her mother, one soft cheek lowered to rest close to the small face half-hidden in the pillow. When her father finished speaking, Gwendolyn gave a deep breath of happiness and content. Then, "Moth-er!" "Yes?" with a kiss as light as the touch of a butterfly. Her eyelids, all at once, seemed curiously heavy. She let them flutter down.

Though" he looked away thoughtfully "when you come to think of it there isn't such a lot of difference between your father and me. He makes money: I make faces." It was one of those unpleasant moments when there seemed very little to be said. She stood on the other foot. He began polishing once more. "Then there's that bee," he resumed "Moth-er." He went on as quickly as possible.

"Moth-er!" She clasped her mother's neck, pressing a wet cheek against a cheek of satin. "Oh, my baby! My baby! Look at mother!" "I am looking at you," answered Gwendolyn, half sobbing and half laughing. "I've looked at you for a long time. 'Cause I love you so I love you!"

"Where does my moth-er come?" timidly. The question embarrassed. "Er the place is full of carriage-lamps," he began; "and and side-lights, and search-lights, and er lanterns." She looked concerned. "I can't guess." "Just ordinary lanterns," he added. "You see, the Madam comes to to Robin Hood's Barn." "Robin Hood's Barn!" "Exactly. Nice day, isn't it?"

"Oh, moth-er!" she mourned. "Everybody hates me! Everybody hates me!" Then came a comforting thought: She would play the Dearest Pretend! It was easy to make believe that a girlish figure was seated in the dark beside the bed; that a tender face was bending down, a gentle hand touching the troubled forehead, stroking the tangled hair.

"When my precious baby is strong enough ," he began. "I'm strong now." She gripped his fingers. "We'll take a little jaunt together." "We must have moth-er with us, daddy. Oh, dear daddy!" "We'll see mother soon," he said; " very soon." She brushed his cheek with searching fingers. "I think we'd better start right away," she declared. "'Cause isn't this a rain-drop on your face?"

She pointed a stubby finger at the piano-seat. Gwendolyn climbed up, her cheeks scarlet with wounded dignity, her breast heaving with a rancor she dared not express. "Do I have to play that old piece?" she asked. "You must," with rising inflection. "Up at Johnnie Blake's it sounded nice. 'Cause my moth-er " "Ready!" Miss Brown set the metronome to tick-tocking. Then she consulted a watch.

"Oh, I'm so glad we're going back to Johnnie Blake's, moth-er. 'Cause, oh, I'm tired of pretending!" "Of pretending," said her father. "Ah, yes." Her mother nodded at him. "I'm tired of pretending, too," she said in a low voice. Gwendolyn looked pleased. "I didn't know you ever pretended," she said. "Well, of course, you know that real things are so much nicer " "Ah, yes, my little girl!"