True to her word, Nyoda brought it about that Migwan might use the typewriter which belonged to her landlady, and every evening after her lessons were learned she worked diligently to master the keys. In a week or so she managed to copy her story and sent it out again. It came back as promptly as before, with the same kind of rejection slip. She sent it to another magazine and began writing a new one. She worked feverishly, and far beyond her strength. The room where the typewriter was was directly below Nyoda’s sitting room, and hearing the machine still rattling after ten o’clock one night she calmly walked in and pulled Migwan away from the keys. Migwan protested. “It’s past closing time,” said Nyoda firmly.
“But I must finish this page,” said Migwan.
“You must nothing of the kind,” said Nyoda, forcing Migwan into her coat. “‘Hold on to Health’ does not mean work yourself to death. Hereafter you stop writing at nine o’clock or I will take the typewriter away from you.”
“Oh, mayn’t I stay until half past nine?” asked Migwan coaxingly.
“No, ma’m,” said Nyoda emphatically. “Nine o’clock is the time. That’s a bargain. As long as you keep your part of it you may use the typewriter, but as soon as you step over the line I go back on my part. Now remember, ‘No checkee, no shirtee.’” And Migwan perforce had to submit.
The stories came back as fast as they were sent out, and Migwan began to have new sidelights on the charmed life supposedly led by authors and authoresses. The struggle to get along without getting into debt was becoming an acute one with the Gardiner family. Tom delivered papers during the week and helped out in a grocery store on Saturday, and his earnings helped slightly, but not much. Midwinter taxes on two houses ate up more than two weeks’ income. With almost superhuman ingenuity Migwan apportioned their expenses so the money covered them. This she had to do practically alone, for her mother was as helpless before a column of figures as she would have been in a flood. Meat practically disappeared from the table. The big bag of nuts which Tom had gathered in the fall and which they had thought of only as a treat to pass around in the evening now became a prominent part of the menu. Dried peas and beans, boiled and made into soup, made their appearance on the table several times a week. Cornbread was another standby. Long years afterward Migwan would shudder at the sight of either bean soup or cornbread. She nearly wore out the cook book looking for new ways in which to serve potatoes, squash, turnips, onions and parsnips.