Silent and demure, plainly dressed in an old dark merino, and a white-ribboned faded bonnet, sat a little figure almost behind her grandmother.

She knew that she was to read her valedictory, she knew that she must raise that white-ribboned roll and read, or else be disgraced forever, and yet she was powerless.

Outside, the people standing about the steps and on the sidewalk separated hurriedly and formed an aisle of gaping curiosity. A carriage streaming with white ribbons rolled up, the others fell into line. Anderson could see Samson Rawdy on the white-ribboned wedding-coach, sitting in majesty. He was paid well in advance; his wife, complacent and beaming in her new silk waist, was in the church.

She stumbled back across the platform, avoiding other groups who had cheered the passing train, and found sanctuary by a baggage truck loaded with crates of live chickens. Here she wept unnoticed, and wondered why she was weeping. Later, in her own train, she looked down and observed the white-ribboned badge which she had valiantly pinned above her heart that very morning.

They were not phlegmatic: a continuing spark glowed far within them, not ardently, but steadily and inscrutably, like the fixed stars in winter. Mr. Valentine Corliss, of Paris and Naples, removed his white-ribboned straw hat and bowed as no one had ever bowed in that doorway.

Was it a hounding dread that after all she would not be free after marriage? With measured tread she passed the long white-ribboned way, under arches that she never noticed, through a sea of faces that she never saw, to the altar smothered in flowers and tropical ferns. It seemed interminable. Would it never end?

A famous professional soprano appeared in a white-ribboned enclosure at the end of the salon, and the guests were rapidly arranged according to their rank to listen. Clara and Jean stood until every man and woman were comfortably seated, when they were placed in the back row. When the music was over supper was announced, and the same ceremony was observed.

The many loves of Robert Burns all ended in a black jumping-off place, and before he had reached high noon, he tossed over the last bundle of white-ribboned missives and tumbled in after them. The life of Burns is a tragedy, through which are interspersed sparkling scenes of gaiety, as if to retrieve the depth of bitterness that would otherwise be unbearable.

But the selfish rich and the ignorant poor make bad housekeepers. On, on they jolted and jarred, dropping along the cross streets a cargo of indifferent souls, and taking in a new cargo of white-ribboned men, who talked in loud voices or spat ruminatively over the floors. Sommers sank back listless. It was well that he had taken this way of entering the new life.