A Daughter of To-Day

Sara Jeannette Duncan
A Daughter of To-Day
by Sara
Jeannette Duncan (aka Mrs.
Everard Cotes)

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Title: A Daughter of To-Day
Author: Sara Jeannette Duncan (aka Mrs. Everard Cotes)
Release Date: December 28, 2004 [EBook #14490]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

This etext was produced by Gardner Buchanan.

A DAUGHTER OF TO-DAY by Sara Jeannette Duncan
Miss Kimpsey dropped into an arm-chair in Mrs. Leslie Bell's
drawing-room and crossed her small dusty feet before her while she
waited for Mrs. Leslie Bell. Sitting there, thinking a little of how tired
she was and a great deal of what she had come to say, Miss Kimpsey
enjoyed a sense of consideration that came through the ceiling with the
muffled sound of rapid footsteps in the chamber above. Mrs. Bell
would be "down in a minute," the maid had said. Miss Kimpsey was
inclined to forgive a greater delay, with this evidence of hasteful
preparation going on overhead. The longer she had to ponder her
mission the better, and she sat up nervously straight pondering it,
tracing with her parasol a sage-green block in the elderly aestheticated
pattern of the carpet.
Miss Kimpsey was thirty-five, with a pale, oblong little face, that
looked younger under its softening "bang" of fair curls across the
forehead. She was a buff-and-gray-colored creature, with a narrow
square chin and narrow square shoulders, and a flatness and
straightness about her everywhere that gave her rather the effect of a
wedge, to which the big black straw hat she wore tilted a little on one
side somehow conduced. Miss Kimpsey might have figured anywhere
as a representative of the New England feminine surplus--there was a
distinct suggestion of character under her unimportant little
features--and her profession was proclaimed in her person, apart from
the smudge of chalk on the sleeve of her jacket. She had been born and
brought up and left over in Illinois, however, in the town of Sparta,
Illinois. She had developed her conscience there, and no doubt, if one
knew it well, it would show peculiarities of local expansion directly
connected with hot corn-bread for breakfast, as opposed to the
accredited diet of legumes upon which consciences arrive at such
successful maturity in the East. It was, at all events, a conscience in
excellent controlling order. It directed Miss Kimpsey, for example, to
teach three times a week in the boys' night-school through the winter,
no matter how sharply the wind blew off Lake Michigan, in addition to

her daily duties at the High School, where for ten years she had
imparted instruction in the "English branches," translating Chaucer into
the modern dialect of Sparta, Illinois, for the benefit of Miss Elfrida
Bell, among others. It had sent her on this occasion to see Mrs. Leslie
Bell, and Miss Kimpsey could remember circumstances under which
she had obeyed her conscience with more alacrity.
"It isn't," said Miss Kimpsey, with internal discouragement, "as if I
knew her well."
Miss Kimpsey did not know Mrs. Bell at all well. Mrs. Bell was
president of the Browning Club, and Miss Kimpsey was a member,
they met, too, in the social jumble of fancy fairs in aid of the new
church organ; they had a bowing acquaintance--that is, Mrs. Bell, had.
Miss Kimpsey's part of it was responsive, and she always gave a
thought to her boots and her gloves when she met Mrs. Bell. It was not
that the Spartan social circle which Mrs. Bell adorned had any vulgar
prejudice against the fact that Miss Kimpsey earned her own
living--more than one of its ornaments had done the same thing--and
Miss Kimpsey's relations were all "in grain" and obviously respectable.
It was simply that none, of the Kimpseys, prosperous or poor, had ever
been in society in Sparta, for reasons which Sparta itself would
probably be unable to define; and this one was not likely to be thrust
among the elect because she taught school and enjoyed life upon a
scale of ethics.
Mrs. Bell's drawing-room was a slight distraction to Miss Kimpsey's
nervous thoughts. The little school-teacher had never been in it before,
and it impressed her. "It's just what you would expect her parlor to be,"
she said to herself, looking furtively round. She could not help her
sense of impropriety; she had always been taught that it was very bad
manners to observe
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