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Gene Stratton Porter
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 378 pages of information about A Daughter of the Land.
education; then she talked of her son again.  She talked of social conditions, Civic Improvement, and Woman’s Rights, then she came back to her son, until Kate saw that he was the real interest in the world to her.  The mental picture she drew of him was peculiar.  One minute Mrs. Jardine spoke of him as a man among men, pushing, fighting, forcing matters to work to his will, so Kate imagined him tall, broad, and brawny, indefatigable in his undertakings; the next, his mother was telling of such thoughtfulness, such kindness, such loving care that Kate’s mental picture shifted to a neat, exacting little man, purely effeminate as men ever can be; but whatever she thought, some right instinct prevented her from making a comment or asking a question.

Once she sat looking far across the beautiful lake with such an expression on her face that Mrs. Jardine said to her:  “What are you thinking of, my dear?”

Kate said smilingly:  “Oh, I was thinking of what a wonderful school I shall teach this winter.”

“Tell me what you mean,” said Mrs. Jardine.

“Why, with even a month of this, I shall have riches stored for every day of the year,” said Kate.  “None of my pupils ever saw a lake, that I know of.  I shall tell them of this with its shining water, its rocky, shady, sandy shore lines; of the rowboats and steam-boats, and the people from all over the country.  Before I go back, I can tell them of wonderful lectures, concerts, educational demonstrations here.  I shall get much from the experiences of other teachers.  I shall delight my pupils with just you.”

“In what way?” asked Mrs. Jardine.

“Oh, I shall tell them of a dainty little woman who know everything.  From you I shall teach my girls to be simple, wholesome, tender, and kind; to take the gifts of God thankfully, reverently, yet with self-respect.  From you I can tell them what really fine fabrics are, and about laces, and linens.  When the subjects arise, as they always do in teaching, I shall describe each ring you wear, each comb and pin, even the handkerchiefs you carry, and the bags you travel with.  To teach means to educate, and it is a big task; but it is almost painfully interesting.  Each girl of my school shall go into life a gentler, daintier woman, more careful of her person and speech because of my having met you.  Isn’t that a fine thought?”

“Why, you darling!” cried Mrs. Jardine.  “Life is always having lovely things in store for me.  Yesterday I thought Susette’s leaving me as she did was the most cruel thing that ever happened to me.  To-day I get from it this lovely experience.  If you are straight from sunbonnets, as you told me last night, where did you get these advanced ideas?”

“If sunbonnets could speak, many of them would tell of surprising heads they have covered,” laughed Kate.  “Life deals with women much the same as with men.  If we go back to where we start, history can prove to you that there are ten sunbonnets to one Leghorn hat, in the high places of the world.”

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