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MARGARET BLAKE

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took an interest at once and secretly hoped that Maggie would soon be Mrs. Wickwire and eventually have a father for her two boys. They didn’t say anything so pleasant and charitable, but they wished her good fortune in spite of themselves. Wickwire was about thirty years old; there was nothing remarkable about him, either bad or good. He was singularly devoted to hardware and knew his business. After five months of devoted attention in the form of regular visits Wickwire ceased to be seen in the neighbourhood. He was very much in love with Maggie. Wickwire had some depth of character; I don’t think Hodge was capable of love, but Wickwire was. I think he wanted desperately to marry Maggie, but the sight of that baby whom she always called by the full name, Sam Hodge, probably was too much for him. At any rate, he struggled with himself for months and finally did not marry her. Nearly everyone was sorry. By this time Maggie had a lot of sympathy even if none of it was ever exhibited in her presence.

Then came another baby boy, and she again looked blandly at Doctor Wren and gave the name of the father, Godfrey Wickwire. This time feeling in the community was terrible. Probably a number of persons had said something charitable about Maggie in the preceding three months, and now she had made fools of them. Sentiment was much more intense than the first time. There was a little talk of having a committee call and ask her to leave. There can be no doubt about what would have happened if she had been a tenant farmer. But that was a day when private property was still sacred. To ask a person to get off his or her own land seemed very close to treason. If she had uttered so much as one cry for help, she would have been lost. The mob spirit was aroused, and they would have been on her like a pack of wolves. But she owed nobody anything. Everyone with whom she did business made a profit from the business. Even the men who bought the products of her farm merely assembled shipments and sold in larger markets. There was no one who could say he would withhold anything from her and thereby force her to leave. The women were hot for action, but the men could not see a place of beginning. Without expressing the thought, they were also aware of the fact that she never pursued men nor flaunted herself. That would