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through twenty feet of barbed wire," declared Miss Pritchett, "than tackle that particular woman in her own drawing-room. But I made up my mind that it was up to me. The butler showed me in and I sat on the corner of a Louis XVI bergére, feeling very much, I imagine, as Charlotte Corday must have on her way to the guillotine. Presently my lady swept in. She was arrayed in a new tailor-made gown cut à la militaire, and was evidently just on the point of going out on the work of her committee, for her motor was at the door and she had some papers in her hand. I suppose she thought I was there to congratulate her on making a good job of it, for she nearly fell all over me in her enthusiasm. However, I wasn't going to put her at a disadvantage by any false pre
"Without giving her a chance to sit down, I said: 'Miss I have come here to say to you the most unpleasant things, probably, that one woman has ever had to say to another. There is nothing personal about it, and in a way that makes it all the worse. What I have to say is going to be said in cold blood.' She turned white and drew back. I could see the effect of my words was as if I had struck her in the face. She didn't understand, but she was horribly hurt.
"It's going to be very hard,' I continued. 'Shall I tell you or not?'
"She hesitated, then gripped the back of the chair in front of her and said: 'Go ahead.'
"Miss,' I went on in a perfectly matter-offact way, 'the men and women on your committee have come to me and said certain things. I don't know whether they are true or not. I leave that to you. It isn't a question of anything except getting the work done. They say that you are and then I went ahead and let her have it, using the exact language of the different members of her committee. It was pretty bad. I had never done anything like it before, and when I got through I found myself quite weak.
stood behind her chair, getting whiter
When I had concluded she swallowed once or twice, bit her lips, then straightened up and said: 'Miss Pritchett, it hasn't been pleasant for me to hear these things, but I want to thank you for coming, and I don't blame the committee a bit for complaining of me. I can see now that I was everything that they have said I was. I haven't any reason for asking to remain as chairman, but I have put my hand to this plough and I don't want to turn back. I believe I am capable of handling it right. I don't think that the fault lies so much in what I've done as
in the way I've done it. Whether I stay or not I shall go to every man and woman on that committee and make a personal apology, and I hope that you and
they will be willing to give me another chance. If you are, I promise you that there shall be no ground for any further complaint.'
"By George!" I exclaimed. "A real person."
"Yes," agreed Miss Pritchett. "A very fine person-one of the very finest in this city. She did it, too, and to-day there isn't a committee doing any better work than hers."
"I suppose," I hazarded, "that your friend would have gone on feeling and acting as if she were the whole cheese and antagonizing everybody for the rest of her life if the war hadn't given her this chance to find out just where she stood."
"Exactly. And all her genuine administrative capacity and vitality would have been thrown away. Now it is being utilized in a good cause. She's a social leader in the real sense, instead of being a society leader."
"Long Island troop-train coming in in five minutes on track nineteen!" shouted the assistant stationmaster from the doorway.
The party at the table sprang to their feet and pushed back their chairs. While the women hurried toward the gate I helped fill the canisters with coffee and put them on the trucks. Then I joined my wife and Miss Pritchett on the lower platform. Already there was a little throng of people waiting for the train to come in; fathers and mothers, sisters and
sweethearts, who had secured permission to say good-by to the men as they passed through. While we had been up-stairs in the restaurant waiting, additional supplies had been brought down to the lower level, so that now there were several tables of fruit and sandwiches, and an equal number of canisters of hot coffee. Every moment the platform became more crowded, and I perceived the advantage of having the canteen workers in uniform. One little old man particularly attracted my attention, he was so eager for the train to arrive. He could not have been more than sixty-five, but he was evidently suffering from rheumatism, for he walked with difficulty and his white hair made him look much older. I chatted Iwith him for a moment and he told me that he had come to bid good-by to his only son whose name, like that of my own boy, was Jack. I should have learned more had not a distant whistle indicated the approach of the train, and the old man hobbled off as fast as he could without any particular idea of where he was going.
"Stand back! Stand back!"
Out of the shadows flashed a white light, and amid the thunder of steel against steel the heavy train emerged from the tunnel and slowly came to a stop beside the platform. Immediately the windows were thrown up and the heads of the boys appeared, looking eagerly out. The crowd surged toward them, each
expecting to recognize instantly the person he or she was looking for. But at first all were grievously disappointed.
"What regiment are you?" called out a man's voice from the crowd.
"The Three Hundred and th," answered a curly-headed lad, hanging half-way out of the window. "What place is this-Jersey City or New York? Gee, smell the coffee!”
There was another rumbling, another shrieking of brakes, and on the other side of the same platform slid in another train likewise full of soldiers-fifteen hundred in all-so many that they could not be allowed to leave the cars. In a moment the canteen women were hurrying from window to window, filling cups and handing up sandwiches and fruit. There was no delay. The boys had their cups ready and the women filled them from pitchers drawn from the coffeecanisters. Usually there were about four arms protruding from each window at the same time and it took but a moment to empty the pitchers and the trays of food which the women lifted up. There were eight car-loads in each train, which allowed two women to each car, but as each one held a hundred half-famished rookies the work was not easy. Moreover, as fast as they had drained one tin cup of coffee and devoured a couple of sandwiches and a banana, they were ready for a second, and after that for a