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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 152 pages of information about The Tinder-Box.

ILLUSTRATIONS

“You don’t need another vine,” I answered mutinously....._Frontispiece_

He stood calmly in the midst of Sallie’s family and baggage, both animate and inanimate 38

“Say, Polk, I let the Pup git hung by her apron to the wheel of your car” 98

His gray eyes were positively mysterious with interrupted dreams 182

“We must not allow the men time to get sore over this matter of the League” 218

“Is this right?” he asked 244

“She’s our Mother,” he said 276

Scrouged so close to his arm that it was difficult for both of them to walk 280

THE TINDER BOX

CHAPTER I

THE LOAD

All love is a gas, and it takes either loneliness, strength of character, or religion to liquefy it into a condition to be ladled out of us, one to another.  There is a certain dangerously volatile state of it; and occasionally people, especially of opposite sexes, try to administer it to each other in that form, with asphyxiation resulting to both hearts.  And I’m willing to confess that it is generally a woman’s fault when such an accident occurs.  That is, it is a mistake of her nature, not one of intent.  But she is learning!

Also when a woman is created, the winds have wooed star-dust, rose-dew, peach-down, and a few flint-shavings into a whirlwind of deviltry, and the world at large looks on in wonder and sore amazement, as well as breathless interest.  I know, because I am one, and have just been waked up by the gyrations of the cyclone; and I’m deeply confounded.  I don’t like it, and wish I could have slept longer, but Fate and Jane Mathers decreed otherwise.  At least Jane decreed, and Fate seems so far helpless to controvert the decree.

I might have known that when this jolly, easy-going old Fate of mine, which I inherited from a lot of indolent, pleasure-loving Harpeth Valley Tennesseans, let me pack up my graduating thesis, my B.S., and some delicious frocks, and go off to Paris for a degree from the Beaux Arts in Architecture, we would be caught up with by some kind of Nemesis or other, and put in our place in the biological and ethnological scheme of existence.  Yes, Fate and I are placed, and Jane did it.

Also, I am glad, now that I know what is going to happen to me, that I had last week on shipboard, with Richard Hall bombarding my cardiac regions with his honest eyes and booming voice discreetly muffled to accord with the moonlight and the quiet places around the deck.  I may never get that sort of a joy-drink again, but it was so well done that it will help me to administer the same to others when the awful occasion arrives.

“A woman is the spark that lights the flame on the altar of the inner man, dear, and you’ll have to sparkle when your time comes,” he warned me, as I hurried what might have been a very tender parting, the last night at sea.

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