Again she followed the trail to the swamp, rearranged her hair and left the tin pail. This time she folded a couple of sandwiches in the napkin, and tied them in a neat light paper parcel which she carried in her hand. Then she hurried along the road to Onabasha and found a book-store. There she asked the prices of the list of books that she needed, and learned that six dollars would not quite supply them. She anxiously inquired for second-hand books, but was told that the only way to secure them was from the last year’s Freshmen. Just then Elnora felt that she positively could not approach any of those she supposed to be Sophomores and ask to buy their old books. The only balm the girl could see for the humiliation of yesterday was to appear that day with a set of new books.
“Do you wish these?” asked the clerk hurriedly, for the store was rapidly filling with school children wanting anything from a dictionary to a pen.
“Yes,” gasped Elnora, “Oh, yes! But I cannot pay for them just now. Please let me take them, and I will pay for them on Friday, or return them as perfect as they are. Please trust me for them a few days.”
“I’ll ask the proprietor,” he said. When he came back Elnora knew the answer before he spoke.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “but Mr. Hann doesn’t recognize your name. You are not a customer of ours, and he feels that he can’t take the risk.”
Elnora clumped out of the store, the thump of her heavy, shoes beating as a hammer on her brain. She tried two other dealers with the same result, and then in sick despair came into the street. What could she do? She was too frightened to think. Should she stay from school that day and canvass the homes appearing to belong to the wealthy, and try to sell beds of wild ferns, as she had suggested to Wesley Sinton? What would she dare ask for bringing in and planting a clump of ferns? How could she carry them? Would people buy them? She slowly moved past the hotel and then glanced around to see if there were a clock anywhere, for she felt sure the young people passing her constantly were on their way to school.
There it stood in a bank window in big black letters staring straight at her:
Elnora caught the wicket at the cashier’s desk with both hands to brace herself against disappointment.
“Who is it wants to buy cocoons, butterflies, and moths?” she panted.
“The Bird Woman,” answered the cashier. “Have you some for sale?”
“I have some, I do not know if they are what she would want.”
“Well, you had better see her,” said the cashier. “Do you know where she lives?”
“Yes,” said Elnora. “Would you tell me the time?”
“Twenty-one after eight,” was the answer.