The Next of Kin eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about The Next of Kin.

Garth has gone back to an Eastern city for another course (this time in signaling).  He gave a whole set of buttons off his uniform to Mae before he went—­and he had his photograph taken again!

Even if he does not get over in time to do much in this war, it is worth something to have such a perfectly trained young officer ready for the next war!

CHAPTER X

NATIONAL SERVICE—­ONE WAY

There are some phrases in our conversations now that are used so often that they seem to be in some danger of losing their meaning.  The snap goes out of them by too much handling, like an elastic band which has been stretched too far.  One of these is “national service.”

If the work of the soldier, who leaves home, position, and safety behind him, and goes forth to meet hardship and danger, receiving as recompense one dollar and ten cents per day, is taken as the standard of comparison, the question of national service becomes very simple, indeed, for there is but one class, and no other that is even distantly related to it, but if national service is taken to mean the doing of something for our country’s good which we would not feel it our duty to do but for the emergencies created by the war, then there are many ways in which the sincere citizen may serve.

The Abilene Valley School was closed all last year, and weeds are growing in the garden in which the year before flowers and vegetables, scarlet runners and cabbages, poppies and carrots, had mingled in wild profusion.  The art-muslin curtains are draggled and yellow, and some of the windows, by that strange fate which overtakes the windows in unoccupied houses, are broken.

The school was not closed for lack of children.  Not at all.  Peter Rogowski, who lives a mile east, has seven children of school-age himself, from bright-eyed Polly aged fourteen to Olga aged six, and Mr. Rogowski is merely one of the neighbors in this growing settlement, where large families are still to be found.  There are twenty-four children of school-age in the district, and in 1915, when Mr. Ellis taught there, the average attendance was nineteen.  At the end of the term Mr. Ellis, who was a university student, abandoned his studies and took his place in the ranks of the Army Medical Corps, and is now nursing wounded men in France.  He said that it would be easy to find some one else to take the school.  He was thinking of the droves of teachers who had attended the Normal with him.  There seemed to be no end of them, but apparently there was, for in the year that followed there were more than one hundred and fifty schools closed because no teacher could be found.

After waiting a whole year for a teacher to come, Polly Rogowski, as the spring of 1917 opened, declared her intention of going to Edmonton to find work and go to school.  Polly’s mother upheld her in this determination, and together they scraped up enough money to pay her railway fare, and board for one week, although it took all that they had been putting away to get Mrs. Rogowski’s teeth fixed.  But Polly’s mother knew that when her Polly began to teach there would be money and plenty for things like that, and anyway they had not ached so bad for a while.

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The Next of Kin from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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