The Quest of the Silver Fleece
Seven: The Place Of Dreams
When she went South late in September, Mary Taylor had two definite but allied objects:
she was to get all possible business information concerning the Cresswells, and she was
to induce Miss Smith to prepare for Mrs. Grey's benevolence by interesting the local
whites in her work. The programme attracted Miss Taylor. She felt in touch, even if
dimly and slightly, with great industrial movements, and she felt, too, like a discerning
pioneer in philanthropy. Both roles she liked. Besides, they held, each, certain promises
of social prestige; and society, Miss Taylor argued, one must have even in Alabama.
Bles Alwyn met her at the train. He was growing to be a big fine bronze giant, and Mary
was glad to see him. She especially tried, in the first few weeks of opening school, to
glean as much information as possible concerning the community, and particularly the
Cresswells. She found the Negro youth quicker, surer, and more intelligent in his answers
than those she questioned elsewhere, and she gained real enjoyment from her long talks
"Isn't Bles developing splendidly?" she said to Miss Smith one afternoon. There was an
unmistakable note of enthusiasm in her voice. Miss Smith slowly closed her letter-file but
did not look up.
"Yes," she said crisply. "He's eighteen now—quite a man."
"And most interesting to talk with."
"H'm—very"—drily. Mary was busy with her own thoughts, and she did not notice the
other woman's manner.
"Do you know," she pursued, "I'm a little afraid of one thing."
"So am I."
"Oh, you've noted it, too?—his friendship for that impossible girl, Zora?"
Miss Smith gave her a searching look.
"What of it?" she demanded.
"She is so far beneath him."
"She is a bold, godless thing; I don't understand her."
"The two are not quite the same."