Miss Luella Bailey was not elected. The unenlightened prejudice of man to prefer one of his own sex, combined with the hostility of the Reform Club, procured her defeat, notwithstanding that the rest of her ticket triumphed at the polls. There was some consolation for her friends in the fact that her rival, Miss Snow, had a considerably smaller number of votes than she. Selma solaced herself by the reflection that, as she had been consulted only at the twelfth hour, she was not responsible for the result, but she felt nerved by the defeat to concentrate her energies against the proposed bill for an appointed school board.
Her immediate attention and sympathy were suddenly invoked by the illness of Mr. Parsons, who had seemed lacking in physical vigor for some weeks, and whose symptoms culminated in a slight paralysis, which confined him to his bed for a month, and to his house during the remainder of the autumn. Selma rejoiced in this opportunity to develop her capacities as a nurse, to prove how adequate she would have been to take complete charge of her late husband, had Dr. Page chosen to trust her. She administered with scrupulous regularity to the invalid such medicines as were ordered, and kept him cheerful by reading and conversation, so that the physician in charge complimented her on her proficiency. Trained nurses were unknown in Benham at this time, and any old or unoccupied female was regarded as qualified to watch over the sick. Selma appreciated from what she had observed of the conduct of Wilbur’s nurse that there was a wrong and a right way of doing things, but she blamed Dr. Page for his failure to appreciate instinctively that she was sure to do things suitably. It seemed to her that he had lacked the intuitive gift to discern latent capabilities—a fault of which the Benham practitioner proved blameless.
From the large, sunny chamber in which Mr. Parsons slowly recovered some portion of his vitality, Selma could discern the distant beginnings of Wetmore College, pleasantly situated on an elevation well beyond the city limits on the further side of the winding river. An architect had been engaged to carry out Wilbur’s plans, and she watched the outlines of the new building gradually take shape during the convalescence of her benefactor. She recognized that the college would be theoretically a noble addition to the standing of Benham as a city of intellectual and aesthetic interests, but it provoked her to think that its management