Read Chapter III of Glory and the Other Girl , free online book, by Annie Hamilton Donnell, on ReadCentral.com.

“I’ll trouble you for my book,” a clear, stiff voice said.

The Other Girl came to her senses abruptly.

“Oh!  Why!” she stammered, her lean little face flooding crimson.  “Oh, is it you?  Oh, I didn’t know we’d got to Douglas-oh, wait, please wait!  Please let me explain.”  She kept tight hold of the book and faced Glory pluckily.  “You must let me explain.  Maybe you think I can’t, but I can.  I’m not a thief!”

“I don’t care for any explanation, but I’d thank you for my books,” Glory said loftily.  “I suppose you’ve got the rest, too.  They were all together.”

“I have them all,” the Other Girl returned quietly.  The crimson in her cheeks had faded to a faint pink.  She gazed up at Glory with steady eyes.

“But I cannot give them up till you let me explain,” she persisted.  “You’ve got to let me.  Do you suppose I’m going to let you go away with my good name as though I would steal your books?  They were lying on the seat-I saw you had forgotten them-I took care of them for you-I was going to give them back to you this morning, but I got interested in doing that sum and didn’t know we’d got to Douglas yet.  There!”

She sprang to her feet and forced the books into Glory’s hands, her own fingers quivering as she did it.  Suddenly Glory forgot her heroics and began to laugh.

“I never got interested in doing a sum,” she cried.  “I wish you’d tell me how you do it.”

The laugh was infectious.  The Other Girl laughed too.  Unconsciously she moved along on her seat and as unconsciously Glory sat down.

“Oh, it’s so easy to be interested!” breathed the Other Girl eagerly.  Her eyes shone with enthusiasm.  “You just have to open the book.”

“I’ve opened a book a good many times and never got interested.  Never was-never am-never shall be interested.”

The Other Girl laid her rough red fingers on the books.

“Don’t!” she said, gently.  “It sort of-hurts to hear anyone talk that way.  It all means so much to me.  I had just begun history when-” She caught herself up abruptly, but Glory was curious.  Was there ever a stranger “find” than this?-a girl in a shabby coat, with rough, red hands, who liked history!

“Yes, you had just begun when-

“When I had to stop,” went on the Other Girl, quietly.  “I think I felt sorriest about the history, though it broke my heart to give up Latin.  I don’t know what you’ll think, but I translated six lines in your Cicero last night.  I did-I couldn’t help it.  I haven’t the least idea I got them right, but I translated them.”

Decidedly this was interesting.  Couldn’t help translating Cicero!  Glory gasped with astonishment.  She faced squarely about and gazed at her shabby little neighbor.

“Where do you go to school?” she demanded.  Wherever it was, she was thinking that was the school Aunt Hope would like her to go to.

“At the East Centre Town rubber factory,” the Other Girl smiled wistfully.  “And oh, dear! that makes me think-can you smell rubber?”

Glory sniffed inquiringly.  She certainly could detect a whiff of it somewhere.  “Yes-yes, I think I do,” she said.

“Then I’m going ahead.  It’s me,” the Other Girl cried sharply.  “I ought to have remembered. I wouldn’t enjoy sitting beside a rubber factory if I was somebody else-if I was you.  I forgot-I’m sorry.”

She stood up and tried to pass out into the aisle in front of Glory, but Glory would not let her.

Sit down, please-please.  I don’t smell it now, and anyway I like it.  It’s a variety.  I’m tired of the perfume of white violets!  If you don’t mind, I wish you’d tell me some more about when you had to-stop, you know.  I suppose you mean stop going to school, don’t you?”

“Yes.  It was when my father was killed in an accident.  I had to stop then.  There’s only mother and me and ‘Tiny Tim.’  I went to work in the rubber factory-it was six months ago.  I had just begun getting really into study, you know.”

The quiet voice was unsteady with intense wistfulness.  The Other Girl’s eyes were gazing out of the car window as if they saw lost opportunities and yearned over them.  Glory could not see the longing in them until they turned suddenly toward her and she caught a wondering glimpse of it.

“We had never had much, you see, but after father was killed-after that there was only mother and me, and mother is sick.  So of course I had to stop going to school.  I should like to have had enough so I could teach instead of working in a factory-

This much said, the Other Girl shrank into herself as if into a little shabby shell.  The distance between the two girls seemed abruptly to have widened.  All at once Glory’s hands were delicately gloved and the Other Girl’s bare and red; Glory’s dress trim and beautiful, and the Other Girl’s faded and worn; Glory’s jacket buttons rich and handsome, the Other Girl’s top button split.  It seemed all to have happened in a moment when the Other Girl woke up.  How could she have forgotten herself so and talked like that!

“I wish-if you’d just as lief-you’d go back to your seat now,” she said.  “I-I never talked like that before to a stranger, and I ain’t like you, you know.  I’ve explained about the books.  I studied them last night, but I don’t think I hurt them any.”

“I guess you did them good,” laughed Glory, brightly.  “I expect to find an inspiration between the pages-why, actually, I feel a little bit (oh, a very little) of interest already in history.  How delighted Aunt Hope would feel if she knew!-No, I’m not going back to my seat.  Why, here’s Centre Town!  Did you ever see such a short ride!  I’ve got to get off here, and I wish I hadn’t-oh, dear!  Good-by.”

Out on the platform Glory waved her books at the girlish face in the car window.  The friendly little act sent the Other Girl on to the East Centre Town rubber factory with a warm spot in her heart.

“She’s splendid, Diantha Leavitt, but don’t you go to presuming on that wave!” she said to herself, severely.  “This minute I believe you’re presuming!  You’re looking ahead to seeing her again to-night when you go home, and getting another wave-it’s just like you.  I know you!  A little thing like that turns your head round on your shoulders!”

A little thing!  Was it a little thing to have beautiful, breezy Glory wave her books at you?  To have her nod and smile up at your window?

All day long the Other Girl smiled over her petty, distasteful work, and Glory’s face crept in between her tasks and nodded at her in friendly fashion.  She watched for it breathlessly at night, when the train stopped at Centre Town.  And it was there on the platform; it came smiling into the car and stopped at her seat!  By the time Little Douglas was reached the two girls were friends.

“Auntie,” Glory cried, dropping down by her aunt, “would you believe you could get to love anybody in two three-quarters of an hour?  Well, I did to-day.”  And then she told her aunt of the girl in the sailor hat.  “Her clothes were shabby-oh, terribly shabby.  I thought her dreadful at first, till I found out-now I love her.  You would, too.”

“And who is she really?  What is her name?”

“I don’t know her name!  Think of it, auntie, I love her and may be her name’s Martha Jane! I don’t know.  But I don’t care-I shall keep right on liking her.  And so will you, because she studies history because she likes it. Likes it!  Says she’d rather study it than not!  It’s a fact.”

“I love her!” exclaimed Aunt Hope, fervently, and then they both laughed.  And Glory told all that she knew about the Other Girl.  Aunt Hope smoothed Glory’s hair.  It was the way she did when she approved of things.

“I like your new friend.  I’m glad you left the books in the car,” she said.  “But there’s more to the sad little story.  It’s to be continued, Glory.  You must find out the other chapters.  There will be plenty of time if you go back and forth together.  And, dear, if you sit beside her in the car perhaps you will learn to love books, too.”

“Never!” Glory laughed.  “It isn’t the age for miracles, auntie.  The most you can hope for is that I’ll learn to study.  That’s bad enough!”

“Well, kiss me, Little Disappointment, and run away.  I wrote your father to-day, and what do you think I told him?”

“That I was a very good girl and he was to send on that ring right off; that you were actually worried about me, I was studying so hard; that-

“That you were a dear girl,” Aunt Hope laughed softly.  “Now off with you!”

In the middle of the night Glory woke out of a dream that she was at the tip-top head of the geometry class, and in Latin the wonder of Centre Town Seminary for Young Ladies.  The moonlight was streaming in on her face and found it laughing at the absurdity of the dream.

“The dream belongs to the Other Girl, not me.  She’s the one that ought to have the chances, too.  I wish I could help her-why!” Glory sat up in bed, wide awake.  Something had occurred to her.

“Why, of course.  Why didn’t I think of it before!” she said aloud.  “I’ll ask Aunt Hope-no, I’ll do it.”  And then she tumbled back into the pillows to think out her plan.  If the Other Girl could have known!