“Where,” said Ken, “is your Braille slate?”
“What,” said Felicia, “do you want with a Braille slate, if I may ask?”
“You mayn’t,” said Ken, conclusively.
“But it makes a difference,” Phil argued. “If you want to write Braille with it,—which seems unlikely,—I’ll consider. But if you want it to prop open the door with, or crack nuts on, or something, you can’t have it.”
“I can think of lots better things to crack nuts on than a Braille slate,” said Ken. “I want to use it for its rightful purpose. Come now, my girl, out with it!”
“Wish you luck,” said Felicia, going to the educational shelf; “here it is.”
Ken eyed it mistrustfully—a slab of wood, crossed by a movable metal strip which was pierced with many small, square openings. “Also,” said Ken, “the alphabet of the language.”
“American Uncontracted, or Revised, Grade One and a Half?” Phil asked airily.
“They sound equally bad, but if there’s any choice, give me the easiest. Sounds like geological survey stuff.”
Phil rummaged again, and brought to light an alphabet which she had made for herself in her early Braille days.
“And the paper and stuff you use,” Ken demanded.
“Here, take everything!” cried Felicia, thrusting out handfuls of irrelevant books and papers. “Stop asking for things in dribbles.”
Ken settled himself at the table, scowled at the embossed alphabet, and then clamped a piece of the heavy paper into the slate. He grasped the little punch firmly, and, with a manner vigorous, if not defiant, he set to work.
“You just poke holes in the paper through the squares, eh, and they turn into humps?”
“The squares don’t turn into humps; the holes do. Don’t whack so hard.”
There was silence for a short time, broken only by Ken’s mutterings and the click of the stylus. Felicia looked up, then gazed meditatively across the table at the enterprise.
“Is it for a Hebrew person?” she inquired gently.
“Hebrew?” Ken said; “I should rather say not. Why?”
“You’re writing it backward—like Yiddish.”
“I’m doing it from left to right, which is the way one usually writes,” said Ken, in a superior tone. “You’re looking at it upside-down. You’re twisted.”
“The holes,” said Felicia, mildly, “in order to become readable humps on the other side, have to be punched right to left.”
“Oh!” said Ken. After a moment of thought he exclaimed, somewhat indignant: “You mean to say, then, that you have to reverse the positions of all these blooming dots, besides writing ’em backward?”
“You have to read ’em one way, and write ’em another, and remember ’em both?”
“And—and Kirk does that?”
“Yes; and he knows Revised, Grade One and a Half, too, and our alphabet besides, and embossed music, a little, and arithmetic, and—”