at. Good-bye, dear."

Sally mused a moment alone, then said earnestly, "I love him in spite of his name!" and went about her affairs with a light heart.


Hawkins went straight to the telegraph office and disburdened his conscience. He said to himself, "She's not going to give this galvanized cadaver up, that's plain. Wild horses can't pull her away from him. I've done my share; it's for Sellers to take an innings, now." So he sent this message to New York:

"Come back. Hire special train. She's going to marry the materializee."

Meantime a note came to Rossmore Towers to say that the Earl of Rossmore had just arrived from England, and would do himself the pleasure of calling in the evening. Sally said to herself, "It is a pity he didn't stop in New York; but it's no matter; he can go up to-morrow and see my father. He has come over here to tomahawk papa, very likely--or buy out his claim. This thing would have excited me, a while back; but it has only one interest for me now, and only one value. I can say to--to-- Spine, Spiny, Spinal--I don't like any form of that name!--I can say to him to-morrow, 'Don't try to keep it up any more, or I shall have to tell you whom I have been talking with last night, and then you will be embarrassed.'"

Tracy couldn't know he was to be invited for the morrow, or he might have waited. As it was, he was too miserable to wait any longer; for his last hope--a letter--had failed him. It was fully due to-day; it had not come. Had his father really flung him away? It looked so. It was not like his father, but it surely looked so. His father was a rather tough nut, in truth, but had never been so with his son--still, this implacable silence had a calamitous look. Anyway, Tracy would go to the Towers and --then what? He didn't know; his head was tired out with thinking-- he wouldn't think about what he must do or say--let it all take care of itself. So that he saw Sally once more, he would be satisfied, happen what might; he wouldn't care.

He hardly knew how he got to the Towers, or when. He knew and cared for only one thing--he was alone with Sally. She was kind, she was gentle, there was moisture in her eyes, and a yearning something in her face and manner which she could not wholly hide--but she kept her distance. They talked. Bye and bye she said--watching his downcast countenance out of the corner of her eye--

"It's so lonesome--with papa and mamma gone. I try to read, but I can't seem to get interested in any book. I try the newspapers, but they do put such rubbish in them. You take up a paper and start to read something you thinks interesting, and it goes on and on and on about how somebody--well, Dr. Snodgrass, for instance--"

Not a movement from Tracy, not the quiver of a muscle. Sally was amazed --what command of himself he must have! Being disconcerted, she paused so long that Tracy presently looked up wearily and said:


"Oh, I thought you were not listening. Yes, it goes on and on about this Doctor Snodgrass, till you are so tired, and then about his younger son-- the favorite son--Zylobalsamum Snodgrass--"

Not a sign from Tracy, whose head was drooping again. What supernatural self-possession! Sally fixed her eye on him and began again, resolved to blast him out of his serenity this time if she knew how to apply the dynamite that is concealed in certain forms of words when those words are properly loaded with unexpected meanings.

"And next it goes on and on and on about the eldest son--not the favorite, this one--and how lie is neglected in his poor barren boyhood, and allowed to grow up unschooled, ignorant, coarse, vulgar, the comrade of the community's scum, and become in his completed manhood a rude, profane, dissipated ruffian--"

That head still drooped! Sally rose, moved softly and solemnly a step or two, and stood before Tracy--his head came slowly up, his meek eyes met her intense ones--then she finished with deep impressiveness--

"--named Spinal Meningitis Snodgrass!"

Tracy merely exhibited signs of increased fatigue.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book