“The phone is out of order,” the druggist replied.
“Oh,” Helen exclaimed in disappointment. “Where is there another in the neighborhood?”
“There is none within half a mile that I know of, except in the saloons,” was the reply.
“I can’t go there,” the girl said desperately. “And I must have a telephone soon. Won’t yours be fixed before long?”
“I hope so,” said the druggist. “I’ve sent in a call for a repair man. Can’t you come back in an hour or two?”
“Yes, I think so,” Helen said, turning to go. “I do hope it is repaired then, because it’s very important.”
* * * * *
Helen declares herself.
Twenty minutes later Helen returned to her brother’s home, her arms loaded with cured meats, bread, a pie, some frosted cup-cakes, a glass of jam, and a bottle of stuffed olives.
“There,” she said, as she deposited her bounteous burden on the table. “I couldn’t get any tea or sugar or butter, but even without those we can have quite a feast in a very short jiffy.”
“I have some tea and some light brown sugar, which the children like on their bread for a change after they’ve got tired of corn syrup,” Mrs. Nash said.
“Good!” exclaimed Helen with genuine enthusiasm. “That’s fine! Butter and white sugar are unnecessary luxuries sometimes. Now we’ll get busy and will soon be feasting like a royal family.”
And there was no mistake in her prediction. True, it was an extremely democratic royalty—proletariat, to be more exact—but no child prince or princess ever enjoyed the richest viands in a king’s dining room more than little Margaret, Ernest and Joseph Nash enjoyed the feast spread before them by the girl auntie they had not seen for two years.
The conversation between Helen and Mrs. Nash, interrupted by the former’s errand to the delicatessen and drug stores, was taken up again at the table of the royal feast. The way the children laughed and “um-um-ed” over the “goodies” did Helen’s heart good and rendered even cheerful her discussion of a distressing subject.
“What in the world ever brought you here, Helen?” was the question put by Mrs. Nash, after full confidence in the sincerity of Helen’s mission, whatever it was, had supplied her with courage to converse with her sister-in-law with perfect frankness. “You didn’t come to Hollyhill just to visit us, did you?”
“No, I didn’t,” Helen answered slowly, “and that fact need not hurt your feelings any, Nell. You’ll understand what I mean when I’ve finished my story. I am attending a girl’s school at Westmoreland. We are all Camp Fire Girls, and thirteen of us and a guardian came to Hollyhill on a mission in harmony with Camp Fire teachings, that is, to work among the poor and suffering families of the strikers during the holidays.”