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Samuel Hopkins Adams
Little Miss Grouch

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[Illustration: "GOOD-NIGHT," SHE SAID, "AND-THANK YOU"]


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LITTLE MISS GROUCH


A Narrative Based Upon The Private Log Of Alexander Forsyth Smith's Maiden Transatlantic Voyage


By Samuel Hopkins Adams


With Illustrations by R. M. Crosby


BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY The Riverside Press Cambridge 1915


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COPYRIGHT, 1914 AND 1915, BY THE BUTTERICK PUBLISHING COMPANY COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY SAMUEL HOPKINS ADAMS


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Published September 1915


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ILLUSTRATIONS


"Good-night," she said, "and-thank you"(page 129) Frontispiece


"Aren't you going to speak to me?" 38


Surprise held the Tyro's tongue in leash 52


"Oh, look at that adorable baby!" 74


"Couldn't you lend me five dollars?" 112


Her knight keeping watch over her 144


The Tyro curled his legs under him 166


"You've come through, my boy" 206


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LITTLE MISS GROUCH




<p>I</p><br />


First day out.


Weather horrible, uncertain and squally, but interesting


Developments promised Feel fine.


SMITH'S LOG.


Several tugs were persuasively nudging the Clan Macgregor out from her pier. Beside the towering flanks of the sea-monster, newest and biggest of her species, they seemed absurdly inadequate to the job. But they made up for their insignificance by self-important and fussy puffings and pipings, while, like an elephant harried by terriers, the vast mass slowly swung outward toward the open. From the pier there arose a composite clamor of farewell.


The Tyro gazed down upon this lively scene with a feeling of loneliness. No portion of the ceremonial of parting appertained personally to him. He had had his fair fraction in the form of a crowd of enthusiastic friends who came to see him off on his maiden voyage. They, however, retired early, acting as escort to his tearful mother and sister who had given way to uncontrollable grief early in the proceedings, on a theory held, I believe, by the generality of womankind in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary, that a first-time voyager seldom if ever comes back alive. Lacking individual attention, the Tyro decided to appropriate a share of the communal. Therefore he bowed and waved indiscriminately, and was distinctly cheered up by a point-blank smile and handkerchief flutter from a piquant brunette who liked his looks. Most people liked his looks, particularly women.


In the foreground of the dock was an individual who apparently didn't. He was a fashionable and frantic oldish-young man, who had burst through the barrier and now jigged upon the pier-head in a manner not countenanced by the Society for Standardizing Ballroom Dances. At intervals he made gestures toward the Tyro as if striving, against unfair odds of distance, to sweep him from the surface of creation. As the Tyro had never before set eyes upon him, this was surprising. The solution of the mystery came from the crowd, close-pressed about the Tyro. It took the form of an unmistakable sniffle, and it somehow contrived to be indubitably and rather pitifully feminine. The Tyro turned.


At, or rather underneath, his left shoulder, and trying to peep over or past it, he beheld a small portion of a most woe-begone little face, heavily swathed against the nipping March wind. Through the beclouding veil he could dimly make out that the eyes were swollen, the cheeks were mottled; even the nose-with regret I state it-was red and puffy. An unsightly, melancholy little spectacle to which the Tyro's young heart went out in prompt pity. It had a habit of going out in friendly and helpful wise to forlorn and unconsidered people, to the kind of folk that nobody else had time to bother about.


"What a mess of a face, poor kiddy!" said the Tyro to himself.


From the mess came another sniffle and then a gurgle. The Tyro, with a lithe movement of his body, slipped aside from his position of vantage, and the pressure of the crowd brought the girl against the rail. Thereupon the Seven Saltatory Devils possessing the frame of the frantic and fashionable dock-dancer deserted it, yielding place to a demon of vocality.


"I think he's calling to you," said the Tyro in the girl's ear.


The girl shook her head with a vehemence which imparted not so much denial as an "I-don't-care-if-he-is" impression.


Stridently sounded the voice of distress from the pier. "Pilot-boat," it yelled, and repeated it. "Pilot! Pilot! Come-back-pilot-boat."


Again the girl shook her head, this time so violently that her hair-soft, curly, luxuriant hair-loosened and clouded about her forehead and ears. In a voice no more than a husky, tremulous whisper, which was too low even to be intended to carry across the widening water-space, and therefore manifestly purposed for the establishment of her own conviction, she said:


"I wo-won't. I won't. I WON'T!!!" At the third declaration she brought a saber-edged heel down square upon the most afflicted toe of a very sore foot which the Tyro had been nursing since a collision in the squash court some days previous. Involuntarily he uttered a cry of anguish, followed by a monosyllabic quotation from the original Anglo-Saxon. The girl turned upon him a baleful face, while the long-distance conversationalist on the dock reverted to his original possession and faded from sight in a series of involuted spasms.


"What did you say?" she demanded, still in that hushed and catchy voice.


"'Hell,'" repeated the Tyro, in a tone of explication, "'is paved with good intentions.' It's a proverb."


"I know that as well as you do," she whispered resentfully. "But what has that to do with-with me?"


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