THE FINANCIER 
which was not customary with Aileen—and Mamie 
noticed it. 
"There is something the matter with you to-day, 
Aileen Butler," observed Mamie, coming over to her and 
looking in her face. The young school-teacher was very 
fond of the contractor's daughter. "You're not like 
yourself at all." 
"I've got something on my mind," replied Aileen— 
"something that's worrying me. I don't know just what 
to do—that's what's the matter." 
"Well, whatever can it be?" commented Mamie. "I 
never saw you act this way before. Can't you tell me? 
What is it?" 
"No, I don't think I can—not now, anyhow." Aileen 
paused. "Do you suppose your mother would object," 
she asked, suddenly, "if I came here and stayed a little 
while? I want to get away from home for a time for a 
certain reason." 
"Why, Aileen Butler, how you talk!" exclaimed her 
friend. "Object! You know she'd be delighted, and so 
would I. Oh, dear—can you come? But what makes 
you want to leave home ?" 
"That's just what I can't tell you—not now, anyhow," 
replied Aileen. " You mustn't ask me. But I want to 
come if you'll let me. Will you speak to your mother, 
or shall I?" 
"Why, I will," said Mamie, struck with wonder at this 
remarkable development; " but it's silly to do it. I 
know what she'll say before I tell her, and so do you. 
You can just bring your things and come. That's all." 
Aileen looked at her solemnly. " But neither of you 
must tell anybody that I'm here. I don't want any- 
body to know—particularly no one of my family." 
"You're not going to run away for good, are you, 
Aileen?" asked Mamie, curiously and gravely. 
"Oh, I don't know; I don't know what I'll do. I know 
that I want to come away for a while, anyhow." 
18 537