The Making of Marty
by Elsie Talmage Brandley
Chapter 2 – The Journey
The trip to Springdale was the first one Marty had ever taken alone, and she felt quite grown-up and important. For the first hour or so she sat quietly watching the passing scenery, and enjoyed the sight of fences, trees and houses which passed in a blur. Growing tired of this, she reached into her bag and found a new story book, so she settled comfortably back into the seat for a pleasant hour of reading. She read a fairy-tale about a poor girl who lived in the woods and had no money to buy food or clothing. she was a very kind-hearted girl and loved to help any living thing. Once when a lamb got its foot caught in a trap, she loosed it and carefully tended the lamb’s foot until it was well. When the wool on the lamb’s back grew long and thick, the little animal remembered the girl’s kindness and came to offer her his wool for a warm winter dress.
Another time she divided her meager meal with a little squirrel, and that autumn when the nuts were ripe, the squirrel remembered the girl’s kindness to him, so he made many trips up the walnut tree and brought nuts to the girl who had fed him. So by her kindness she gained the love of all the living creatures, and when a Prince, riding through the woods, asked her for a drink of water, he found her so sweet and beautiful that he wanted her for his wife. She had no clothes fit for a princess, but all the silk worms to whom she had fed mulberry leaves came together and made her enough silk for a lovely dress. When it was done, the Prince came for her and took her to the palace where they lived happily forever afterward.
When Marty finished the story she opened the locket, hanging around her neck, and read again the inscription, ‘I wish to love everyone.”
She smiled to herself and said, “That sounds just like the girl in the story, only she loved everything as well as everyone.”
By now Marty was tired and leaning back into the soft velvet cushions she tried to sleep. There was a child crying a few seats behind her, and the noise disturbed her.
“Horrid little creature,” she said sleepily under her breath. ”They ought not to let children travel on trains with other people.”
As she was about to doze off, she felt something moving on the seat beside her. Opening her eyes she saw that the little boy who had been crying was upon her own seat, looking inquisitively up into her face. As Marty opened her eyes, a frown gathered on her face and she was about to tell the child to go away. The sudden fear that came into his big brown eyes made her pause a moment – long enough for the thought to flit through her brain:
“I wish to love everyone.”
Quickly she reached out for the child, who started to climb down, and with a smile she said to him, “Don’t go away. I haven’t any little brothers, and I know a lovely story about a bear.”
The word was magic. In an instant he was at her side again, his eyes alight with joy. Marty had not read a bear story for so long that she had to make up part of it, but it proved very successful, for the moment it was finished the little fellow demanded that she tell it again. She did tell it again, and still a third time. By that time the novelty had worn off, and she was ready to send her little visitor back to his mother. She glanced back over her shoulder to where the mother was sitting, and the sight that met her eyes quite touched her. The child’s mother, weary after hours of travel with the fretful boy, had fallen asleep, and the expression of peace and contentment upon her face told Marty better than words how welcome this hour of rest was. So Marty changed her mind about sending the little fellow away, and bought him a package of animal crackers with which the two of them played Noah’s Ark for a while.
Then the conductor called “Spring Junction,” and in a moment the woman had come for her boy.
“This is where we get off,” she told Marty, “but I had no idea I was sleeping so long. I was almost worn out and can’t begin to tell how much I appreciate your kindness to my baby. It does me good to see a little girl so sweet and friendly as you are.”
Marty blushed, and felt both pleased and ashamed. It was a new feeling , this sudden warmth that filled her heart when someone called her sweet and friendly, for the people who knew her best never spoke of her that way. The train was slowing up and the little boy and his mother were back in their seats, getting their bundles together and their wraps on. A moment more and they were off the train, waving farewell to the little girl who had been so kind to them.
The bell clanged, the whistle shrieked, and the cars were in the grinding motion again. Marty glanced about her as though she were dreaming. Everything looked the same, and yet it seemed that a sort of light was shining around everyone in the train. The girl felt sure that she herself must appear almost radiant, for she felt as if a little fire were glowing and shining within her. She could never remember feeling so happy before. She could love everyone!
At that thought she paused in surprise. The little locket must be a charm to make its wearer happy and loving. Nothing was different, except that she had the locket hanging around her neck, but somehow it seemed to make the world brighter-looking.
“I must never, never lose the locket as long as I live,” she said to herself earnestly.
Then from the back of her memory some words stood out clearly:
“I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your kindness to my baby. it does me good to see a little girl so sweet and friendly as you are.”
Perhaps that had something to do with her joyousness. Perhaps it was not just the fact of owning the locket, but of living up to its words. Anyway, it was worth trying, when it created such a glorious feeling inside of a person.
The conductor was walking through the car again calling “Springdale! Springdale!” The time had sped so quickly that Marty could scarcely believe that the trip was done. She gathered her belongings together and was out on the platform by the time the train stopped. Sure enough this was Springdale, for here were three of her cousins to meet her – Marian, Claire and Dora. Upon catching sight of her they clapped their hands and danced up and down gleefully.
“There she is! There’s Marty.”
“Oh, Marty, you can sit with me at school.”
“Marty, what a pretty coat and hat!”
The girls were all talking at once, but Marty felt very glad to see them so glad of her coming. She hugged them all around and felt as excited as she did every Christmas morning.
“Oh, it’s going to be such fun to be one of a big family for a whole year,” she cried. over at the corner Uncle Ned was waiting with a big bob-sleigh. They all climbed in and there was a merry scramble to see who should sit next to Marty. Finally it was decided that Marian should sit next to Marty, on one side, for she was going away and would have no other chance to be near her cousin, and Dora should sit on the other side, for Claire was to be her seat-mate at school all the rest of the year.
The swift cold ride made pink cheeks for all of them and their eyes were like stars when they trooped into Aunt Nanna’s kitchen.
“Well, Marty, how you’ve grown! I declare you are as tall as Marian and she’s two years older than you,” was Aunt Nanna’s surprised greeting. “I suppose you are famishing, so come on. Supper’s ready.”
Marty looked around to see how tall Marian was, but she was not there. She had quickly removed her wraps, and was putting the last touches to the supper table: pouring water, getting the baby’s bib and spoon, spreading a gaily decorated oil cloth at the next to the baby’s place.
The meal was a simple one, but there was such an abundance of gay laughter and talk that Marty found herself asking for a second helping of buttered parsnips, which she had always thought she detested. After they had finished their dishes of rice0pudding all the children excused themselves from the table. Marty was anxious to get them together in the kitchen.
“I brought the nicest new game to play, and the kitchen table is just about the right size. I’ll get it out of my bag and we can have heaps of fun before bed-time.”
She ran up stairs to find the game, and came back expecting the three girls and perhaps seven-year-old Ted to be grouped expectantly around the kitchen table. Instead she found Marian washing dishes with a will, while Dora wiped them in furious haste, trying to keep up with her sister. Claire was undressing the baby and unbuttoning little Dick’s thins so he could take them off himself. Ted was heroically carrying the last of the dishes from the table to the dishpan and then, taking the sweeper, he began running it about the dining-room to remove the crumbs.
Marty stood stock-still in amazement. She despised dishes, and always sneaked out of them when she could at home. But here were four of her cousins pitching in without a word of command, and doing the work just right. Marty could see that she had a great deal to learn. she went to the living room to put the ignored game on the book case, and there sat Aunt Nanna and Uncle Ned in front of the stove. Aunt Nanna was knitting something bright blue with orange stripes around the ends, and her husband was reading aloud from a magazine. Both looked up as Marty entered the room, and smiled at her.
“Come in, dear,” said Aunt Nanna. “I’m just finishing this scarf for Marian to match a cap I made her for Christmas.”
“No, thank you. I’ll run out and see if there is something I can do to help in the kitchen.”
As she withdrew, her Aunt’s voice followed her, as she said to her husband, “Marty has certainly changed. She used to be so selfish and sullen that I hated to have her with our girls. But she’s developing into a sweet happy girl, isn’t she, Ned.”
Again that warm glad feeling around her heart. She gave her locket a loving little touch and whispered to it a little secret.
“I’m so glad mother gave you to me, before I came to live in this house where everyone loves everyone else so much. If they think I’m really unselfish and sweet, I’ll do anything in the world to make myself that way.”
She could see Claire going upstairs with the baby and little Dick on their way to bed. The other girls were just finishing the dishes, and Ted was hanging the baby’s clothes on the back of a chair.
“No wonder they all seem so happy. Every single one of them, from Aunt Nanna down to Ted, is doing something to help the others. If each one was selfish, the whole family would be unhappy.”
Then, remembering the decision she had made at the station, to make them “hate to trade back for Marian next year,” she reflected still further.
“Yes, I will make them hate to give me up, but I know it will be hard, hard work.”
By now Claire was back and the dishes finished. It was Friday night, so there were no lessons to do, and in ten minutes they were all interested in Marty’s new game. They played until their father called “nine thirty,” and then cheerfully trooped off to bed.
Marty was very sleepy and dozed off at once, but just before she finally slept, she murmured again, half aloud, “Yes, I’m glad I have my locket.”