Thursday, January 22, 2015

Case Study No. 1792: "The Librarians of the Eighth Grade"

The Fairy of the Snows - 13 - Introducing the Librarians of the Eigth Grade and Showing Th
Free audiobook recording of The Fairy of the Snows - 13 - Introducing the Librarians of the Eigth Grade and Showing That Girls Are Not What They Seem, by Francis J. Finn, S.J.. Full playlist: PLo0Tdo88fvJk20kkTGwS-LoB2Vw2jfsRT

Have you seen a human fairy? Meet Alice Morrow, the dainty fairy of the snows, who will dance her way right into your heart! Get ready to laugh and cry as you follow the antics and trials of the Morrow family, living in early 20th Century Cincinnati. (Introduction by Anne Elizabeth)

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The Fairy of the Snows
by Francis James Finn
Benziger Brothers, 1913
221 pages

This is a heart warming story of Alice Morrow, a delightful girl whose cheerfulness and outward actions disguise the real sufferings which the child and her family endure in their frequent state of poverty. Fr. Carney and his crew of philanthropists, headed by Margaret Dalton, come to the rescue of this family, namely, the Fairy of the Snows (as Father calls Alice), her sisters Elsie and Margaret, Frank her younger brother and, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Morrow, their loving parents. Alice captures the heart of the reader just as she does Fr. Carney when he meets her for the first time. She hops and skips like a fairy out of a pantomime, and is dressed as though she were about to appear in Midsummer Nights Dream. says Fr. Carney about Alice. The ultimate optimist, Alice anticipates with great expectations the promises made to her by Mr. Morrow who plans to make good his word just as soon as his ship comes in which he realistically calls the Good Ship Hardly Ever with Captain Romance sailing her in. Our Fairy of the Snows with all her zeal for life and her deep appreciation for music, dance and plays cant be bothered with self-pity. She also wins high honors for her school by her typing skills and unwittingly surprises Mr. Lawson with her literary knowledge.





''How is the boy-hero this morning?''

"You go and chase yourself."

Such was the choice bit of conversation I
overheard a few days later as I mounted the
steps of the school vestibule. The voices were
familiar — Alice Morrow's and David's.

Alice was grinning fiendishly and David was
glowering ferociously. On seeing me, the grin
and the glower disappeared like magic, David
becoming his stolid self, and Alice smiling

''Good morning. Father," said David.

"Good morning, Father," said Alice. "David
wishes to express the hope that you've enjoyed
a good night's rest."

"Father, I don't hope any such thing."

"David," I said, "she was, to borrow your
own expression, 'stringing you,' "

"Father, I'll get even."

"Go in to my office, Alice. David," I con-
tinued as Alice disappeared, "what's your opin-
ion of girls?"

"Father, they are silly."

"Is Alice silly, too?"

"Father, she's the worst of the lot."

Alice came to report on family affairs. We
had thought — Alice and I and the others — that
the holy death of little Margaret would bring
about an entire reform in the habits of Mr.
Morrow. We had counted on the benedictions
of the little child. But we were disappointed,
as so many of us are when we attempt to pre-
dict God's ways with man. For a week after
the funeral Mr. Morrow had gone the old pace,
and although he had then come to himself, he
was now out of work and spirits alike.

"Papa doesn't feel strong," said Alice. "He
had three days' work last week, and then gave
up. He said he couldn't stand it. Mama's do-
ing a little sewing at home for the Daltons and
Miss Quinlan, and that helps us out a good deal.
Papa's going to start work again next week.
And say. Father; could I come here every day
at about four when David goes, and practise
on the typewriter for an hour or so?"

"Why, what's up now?"

"I want to learn it well. I learned a little of
it one summer, and with a little practice I think
I could get some work and help mama."

"You do?"

"Yes, Father. There's a stenographer in the
Young Ladies' Sodality I met here. She had
me use her typewriter once, and said I had un-
usual talent for it. She said that if I gave a
little attention to it she would help me, and that
she could get me plenty of copying to do."

"But, Alice, you'll be in the business class
next year, I hope ; and you'll get your typewrit-
ing there."

"Yes, Father; but something makes me feel
that I won't be able to come to school two years
more: I'll consider myself lucky, if I get one
year. And if I do, I am going to do double

The request was unusual. After some thought
I gave the permission.

"By the way," I continued, "do you tease

Alice smiled merrily.

"Father, we all do."


"We girls of the eighth grade. He's such a
funny boy; you don't know him. You ought to
see him when he's home, or playing on the
street. He makes noise enough for a dozen in
his own house, and he's the leader of the Fifth
Street hill crowd."

"Has he any fun in him?"

"The boys think he has; but we girls don't.
The boys think he is a hero."

"Which will account for a little conversation
I overheard this morning."

"His sister Mary and I get him almost crazy

"So you're a tease, Alice."

Here was another side of Alice and of David.
I thought I knew them both very well. And as
for the demure eighth grade girls, it had never
occurred to me that they paid David the least
attention. I resolved to watch more closely.

On three days of the week the girls of the
school have the privilege of getting books out
of their library, situated in the outer office. I
resolved to be on the watch that afternoon. The
librarians, four in number, were girls of the
eighth grade.

Just before the hour for the library was
at hand, David came to me and asked:

"Father, have you any errand you'd like me
to do?"

"No, David."

A new light dawned on me. I had been edi-
fied for several weeks by David's actually ask-
ing to go on errands. I thought the lad was
beginning to show some initiative. Looking
back, I now recalled that David's requests for
this particular kind of work were proffered just
before the girls came in for their books. Also,
I remembered that whenever on such occasions
I had sent the boy off he had contrived not to
get back until the library was closed and the li-
brarians gone. Alice was right: I did not know
David, and, what is more, I knew very little
about the "Fairy of the Snows."

Meditating humbly on all this, I seated my-
self close to the door leading into the outer of-
fice, and, making a feint of reading, kept my eye
on David and the roomful of girls — especially
Alice and the librarians — all of whom looked as
though butter would not melt in their mouths.
They were very busy, too — these librarians —
waiting on the girls, picking out books for the
smaller ones, and wearing, each of them, a
strictly businesslike air. David, meanwhile, with
an expression of long-suffering, sat at his desk,
as far apart as possible from the librarians.
With stern determination on his face, he was
reading the adventures of a train-boy who event-
ually becomes a millionaire by saving a girl in
a collision and marrying her and her wealth.
The whole scene, as I gazed on it out of the
corner of my eye, was most edifying. I was
proceeding, then, to be edified, when, quite cas-
ually, Alice Morrow passed by David's desk;
bending over as she passed she whispered some-
thing in his ear. David acted as though a fly
had lighted upon the Celtic beauty of his face;
also he frowned horribly and made a mouth.
Alice in the meantime was back at her work,
her eyes so turned as to catch the effect on
David's face of her words. The demure libra-
rians too, I noticed, while apparently as busy as
ever with their duties, had their eyes just then
on David, too; and seemed by a quick inter-
change of glances to express a lively apprecia-
tion of Alice's whispered remark. Presently,
Margaret Logan, an olive-complexioned, bob-
haired imp with mischief dancing in her eyes,
sallied over and delivered her little message
into the unwilling ear of David.

I caught the word ''hero''.

"Cut it out," growled David.

In the next five minutes six of the eighth
grade girls paid David their respects. If looks
could kill, the office would have been strewn
with corpses.

How long had this been going on?

"David," I said, when the librarians had bid-
den me their usual demure "Good afternoon,
Father," "David, for ways that are dark, and
for tricks that are vain the Christian young girl
is peculiar. What v/ere those girls worrying
you about?"

"Father, they call me a hero," and David's
face expressed an intense sense of outrage.

"They do?"

"Yes, and that Morrow girl calls me her

"And, David, do you make faces at them?"

"What else can a fellow do? That Margaret
Logan stuck out her tongue at me three times."


"Just now."

"How could she have done that without my
seeing her? It's terrible, isn't it, David?"

"Yes, Father, I think It is."

Ten or twelve days later David entered the
office with a clean-shaven head; the beautiful,
curly, dark pompadour was gone. For the
month of April this proceeding was unusual, and
so I expressed myself.

"Yes, Father," assented David.

"Why did you do it, David?"

"Father, I don't like pompadours."

Alice Morrow, it happened, was sent down
that morning with a message from her teacher.

Upon seeing the shorn David, extreme de-
light showed itself plainly upon her features —
momentarily, however; for observing that I was
watching her, she grew instantly sober.

"Good morning, Father."

"Good morning, Alice. Are you and David
good friends?"

"I don't know much about David. His sis-
ter and I are very fond of each other."

"David," I said, "are you and Alice good

"No, Father, we are not."

Sending the lockless youth on an errand, I
tried in vain to learn what she knew of David's
hair-cut. Without seeming to, she evaded the

"David," I said later that morning — I had
noticed several of the eighth grade girls peep-
ing in the office and gazing vtath various emo-
tions of joy on David's head — "have those girls
been teasing you about your hair?"

"Yes, Father, they have — those librarian

"What did they say?"

"That Morrow girl says, 'Oh, what a lovely
pompadour!' and rolls her eyes till she looks
cock-eyed; and that Logan girl wants to know
where I get my hair dye; and," continued David,
his voice becoming almost lachrymose, "that
Emma Becker wants to know whether I won't
let her have a lock of my hair."

"And what about Lucy McFarland, David?"

"Aw!" growled David, forgetting in his emo-
tions his usual dignity in speaking to me, "she
wants to know whether I take it off at night.
Oh, gee!"

Some days later I informed David on com-
ing to the office that I would leave him in
charge that afternoon at 3 o'clock, as I had an
engagement with the Rector of the College.

"And, Father, you're not coming back?"

"No, David: we're going out on the hills to
visit a family on business; so you can run the
office to suit yourself."

As it happened, the family in question, owing
to a misunderstanding in regard to the day, was
not at home, and Father Rector and myself had
nothing for it but to take a car back to the city

"I think," said I, as we got off the car at
Sixth and Sycamore, "that if you'll excuse me,
Father Rector, I'll take a look in at the school.
There may be some mail or some messages."

The clock was striking a quarter past four
as I turned into the schoolyard. I had scarcely
entered it when from the two windows of my
private office an unusual and most astonishing
sight caused me to rub my eyes.

It was a chilly day; but both windows were
open from the bottom, and out of each were
leaning, with their heads stretched as far
as possible, three girls — six in all. I recognized
at once Margaret Logan with her bobbed hair;
Alice Morrow, Emily Becker, Lucy McFarland.
The other two I could not distinguish. All of
them seemed to be sneezing violently; some-
times all at once, sometimes in duets and trios,
and occasionally, so to speak, in solos. Sneez-
ing or not, each girl wore a look of extreme

Dashing up the stairway of the entry, and
noticing as I did so a small boy bearing a sus-
picious resemblance to David, with some un-
known contrivance in his hand, disappearing like
a frightened jack-rabbit into the music-room, I
turned the knob of the outer office door. It was
locked. Getting out my keys I opened and en-

The room leading into my office had no lock;
but a strong rope was fastened to the knob and
tied to a bench in such a way that those inside
were effectually imprisoned.

It was the work of a moment to unfasten the

''Girls !" I cried, "what's the meaning of

"Father," began Alice and sneezed.

"Father," said Margaret Logan, "it was —

"It was Dav — etchoo," supplemented Emma

"The old billiard— etchoo!— ball," added

The whole thing was incredible.

"Do you mean to say," I began, "that David
Reilly, my oliice — etchoo, etchoo, etchoo!"

"Etchoo, etchoo, etchoo !" chimed in the
girls, in relays of two and three.

"That my office boy forced you big girls into
this room and — etchoo, etchoo, etchoo!"

"Etchoo, etchoo, etchoo!" went the six.

Just then the meekest, solemnest lad that ever
fell under my observation stepped as far as the

"Father," said David, for it was he, "I think
you had better come outside into the hall. I
think there is Japanese snuff in this room.."

"Oh, you think — etchoo!"

"Yes, Father, I think so. I put some of it in
here m.yself."

The girk were already out in the vestibule.

"What's that, David, you've got in your

"Father," said David, holding it up to the
light as we reached the vestibule, and making
the statement as though he were telling me of
a national calamity, "it's a mouse-trap."

It certainly was; there were six mice in it. The
girls edged away, and, in their horror, left off

"What were you doing with that?"

"Nothing, Father."


"You see, Father, when I got them through
sneezing, I was going to open your office door
and tell them to come out."

"And then, Father, when they got into their
library, I was going to turn these mice loose
on them."

At this solemn declaration, four of the girls
squealed, while Alice and Margaret looked dag-
gers at the unhappy youth.

"David, how did you get them into my of-

"Father, it was easy. I told them there were
some new books in your library case that you
didn't want them to see."

"Oh !" protested the girls in one scream.

"And they all fell for it: Father, girls just
love to rubber."

"Come with me, David," I said, and hurry-
ing into the outer office I shut the door, and
laughed for fully three minutes, while David
looked on helplessly. Had I been dying he
could not have been graver. He still held the

"David," I said at last, "do you know that
you're a humorist?"

"No, Father: I didn't know that."

"Are you any relation to Tom Sawyer?''

"I don't know. Father: does he live in this

"Aren't you a first cousin to Huckleberry

"Father, I don't know the names of all my
relations. But to-night I'll ask my mother."

"David, how would you like to be a come-

"What's that, Father?"

"How would you like to be a clown?"

David smiled.

"I think I should like it very much, Father.''

From that day till David left my service, re-
joicing In a fresh pompadour, the girls of the
eighth and other grades, with two exceptions as
we shall subsequently see, treated David Reilly
with profound respect.

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