The S. W. F. Club

E-text prepared by Al Haines

THE S. W. F. CLUB

by

CAROLINE E. JACOBS

Author of Joan of Jupiter Inn, Joan’s Jolly Vacation,
Patricia, etc.

The Goldsmith Publishing Co.

Cleveland, Ohio

George W. Jacobs & Company

1912

CONTENTS

CHAPTER
I PAULINE’S FLAG
II THE MAPLES
III UNCLE PAUL’S ANSWER
IV BEGINNINGS
V BEDELIA
VI PERSONALLY CONDUCTED
VII HILARY’S TURN
VIII SNAP-SHOTS
IX AT THE MANOR
X THE END OF SUMMER

CHAPTER I

PAULINE’S FLAG

Pauline dropped the napkin she was hemming and, leaning back in her
chair, stared soberly down into the rain-swept garden.

Overhead, Patience was having a “clarin’ up scrape” in her particular
corner of the big garret, to the tune of “There’s a Good Time Coming.”

Pauline drew a quick breath; probably, there was a good time
coming—any number of them—only they were not coming her way; they
would go right by on the main road, they always did.

“‘There’s a good time coming,'” Patience insisted shrilly, “‘Help it
on! Help it on!'”

Pauline drew another quick breath. She would help them on! If they
would none of them stop on their own account, they must be flagged.
And—yes, she would do it—right now.

Getting up, she brought her writing-portfolio from the closet, clearing
a place for it on the little table before the window. Then her eyes
went back to the dreary, rain-soaked garden. How did one begin a
letter to an uncle one had never seen; and of whom one meant to ask a
great favor?

But at last, after more than one false start, the letter got itself
written, after a fashion.

Pauline read it over to herself, a little dissatisfied pucker between
her brows:—

Mr. Paul Almy Shaw,

  New York City, New York.

MY DEAR UNCLE PAUL: First, I should like you to understand that
neither father nor mother know that I am writing this letter to you;
and that if they did, I think they would forbid it; and I should like
you to believe, too, that if it were not for Hilary I should not dream
of writing it. You know so little about us, that perhaps you do not
remember which of us Hilary is. She comes next to me, and is just
thirteen. She hasn’t been well for a long time, not since she had to
leave school last winter, and the doctor says that what she needs is a
thorough change. Mother and I have talked it over and over, but we
simply can’t manage it. I would try to earn some money, but I haven’t
a single accomplishment; besides I don’t see how I could leave home,
and anyway it would take so long, and Hilary needs a change now. And
so I am writing to ask you to please help us out a little. I do hope
you won’t be angry at my asking; and I hope very, very much, that you
will answer favorably.

    I remain,

        Very respectfully,

            PAULINE ALMY SHAW.

WINTON, VT., May Sixteenth.

Pauline laughed rather nervously as she slipped her letter into an
envelope and addressed it. It wasn’t a very big flag, but perhaps it
would serve her purpose.

Tucking the letter into her blouse, Pauline ran down-stairs to the
sitting-room, where her mother and Hilary were. “I’m going down to the
post-office, mother,” she said; “any errands?”

“My dear, in this rain?”

“There won’t be any mail for us, Paul,” Hilary said, glancing
listlessly up from the book she was trying to read; “you’ll only get
all wet and uncomfortable for nothing.”

Pauline’s gray eyes were dancing; “No,” she agreed, “I don’t suppose
there will be any mail for us—to-day; but I want a walk. It won’t
hurt me, mother. I love to be out in the rain.”

And all the way down the slippery village street the girl’s eyes
continued to dance with excitement. It was so much to have actually
started her ball rolling; and, at the moment, it seemed that Uncle Paul
must send it bounding back in the promptest and most delightful of
letters. He had never married, and somewhere down at the bottom of his
apparently crusty, old heart he must have kept a soft spot for the
children of his only brother.

Thus Pauline’s imagination ran on, until near the post-office she met
her father. The whole family had just finished a tour of the West in
Mr. Paul Shaw’s private car—of course, he must have a private car,
wasn’t he a big railroad man?—and Pauline had come back to Winton long
enough to gather up her skirts a little more firmly when she saw Mr.
Shaw struggling up the hill against the wind.

“Pauline!” he stopped, straightening his tall, scholarly figure. “What

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