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A Preacher’s Love Story
by [?]


The train drew out of the great Van Buren Street depot at 4.30 of a dark day in late October. A tall young man, with a timid look in his eyes, was almost the last passenger to get on, and his pale face wore a worried look as he dropped into an empty seat and peered out at the squalid city reeling past in the mist.

The buildings grew smaller, and vacant lots appeared stretching away in flat spaces, broken here and there by ridges of ugly, squat, little tenement blocks. Over this landscape vast banners of smoke streamed, magnified by the misty rain which was driven in from the lake.

At last there came a swell of land clothed on with trees. It was still light enough for him to see that they were burr oaks, and the young student’s heart thrilled at sight of them. His forehead smoothed out, and his eyes grew tender with boyish memories.

He was seated thus, with head leaning against the pane, when another young man came down the aisle from the smoking-car and took a seat beside him with a pleasant word.

He was a handsome young fellow of twenty three or four. His face was large and beardless, and he had a bold and keen look, in spite of the bang of yellow hair which hung over his forehead. Some commonplaces passed between them, and then silence fell on each. The conductor coming through the car, the smooth-faced young fellow put up a card to be punched, and the student handed up a ticket, simply saying, “Kesota.”

After a decent pause the younger man said, “Going to Kesota, are you?”


“So am I. I live there, in fact.”

“Do you? Then perhaps you can tell me the name of your County Superintendent. I’m looking for a school.” He smiled frankly. “I’m just out of Jackson University, and–“

“That so? I’m an Ann Arbor man myself.” They took a moment for mutual warming up. “Yes, I know the Superintendent. Why not come right up to my boarding-place, and to-morrow I’ll introduce you? Looking for a school, eh? What kind of a school?”

“Oh, a village school, or even a country school. It’s too late to get a good place; but I’ve been sick, and–“

“Yes, the good positions are all snapped up; still, you might by accident hit on something. I know Mott; he’ll do all he can for you. By-the-way, my name’s Allen.”

The young student understood this hint and spoke. “Mine is Stacey.”

The younger man mused a few minutes, as if he had forgotten his new acquaintance. Suddenly he roused up.

“Say, would you take a country school several miles out?”

“I think I would, if nothing better offered.”

“Well, in my old district they’re without a teacher. It’s six miles out, and it isn’t a lovely neighborhood! However, they will pay fifty dollars a month; that’s ten dollars extra for the scrimmages. They wanted me to teach this winter–my sister tackles it in summer–but, great Peter! I can’t waste my time teaching school, when I can run up to Chicago and take a shy at the pit and make a whole term’s wages in thirty minutes!”

“I don’t understand,” said Stacey.

“Wheat Exchange. I’ve got a lot of friends in the pit, and I can come in any time on a little deal. I’m no Jim Keene, but I hope to get cash enough to handle five thousand. I wanted the old gent to start me up in it, but he said, ‘Nix come arouse.’ Fact is, I dropped the money he gave me to go through college with.” He smiled at Stacey’s disapproving look. “Yes, indeedy; there’s where the jar came into our tender relations. Oh, I call on the Governor–always when I’ve got a wad. I have fun with him.” He smiled brightly. “Ask him if he don’t need a little cash to pay for hog-killin’, or something like that.” He laughed again. “No, I didn’t graduate at Ann Arbor. Funny how things go, ain’t it? I was on my way back the third year, when I stopped in to see the pit–it’s one o’ the sights of Chicago, you know–and Billy Krans saw me looking over the rail, I went in, won, and then took a flyer on December. Come a big slump, and I failed to materialize at school.”