Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: 'Way Down East - A Romance of New England Life
Author: Grismer, Joseph Rhode, 1849-1922
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "'Way Down East - A Romance of New England Life" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Frontispiece: Miss Lillian Gish as Anna Moore.  D. W. Griffith's
Production.  'Way Down East.]



'WAY DOWN EAST

A ROMANCE OF NEW ENGLAND LIFE



BY

JOSEPH R. GRISMER



Founded on the Very Successful Play of the

Same Title by

LOTTIE BLAIR PARKER



  ILLUSTRATED WITH SCENES FROM
  D. W. GRIFFITH'S MAGNIFICENT
  MOTION PICTURE PRODUCTION OF THE
  ORIGINAL STORY AND STAGE PLAY



GROSSET & DUNLAP

PUBLISHERS -------------- NEW YORK



_Copyright, 1900_

_By Joseph R. Grismer_


_'Way Down East_



TABLE OF CONTENTS


CHAPTER

    I.  All Hail to the Conquering Hero.

   II.  The Conquering Hero is Disposed to be Human.

  III.  Containing Some Reflections and the Entrance
        of Mephistopheles.

   IV.  The Mock Marriage.

    V.  A Little Glimpse of the Garden of Eden.

   VI.  The Ways of Desolation.

  VII.  Mother and Daughter.

 VIII.  In Days of Waiting.

   IX.  On the Threshold of Shelter.

    X.  Anna and Sanderson Again Meet.

   XI.  Rustic Hospitality.

  XII.  Kate Brewster Holds Sanderson's Attention.

 XIII.  The Quality of Mercy.

  XIV.  The Village Gossip Sniffs Scandal.

   XV.  David Confesses his Love.

  XVI.  Alone in the Snow.

 XVII.  The Night in the Snowstorm.



ILLUSTRATIONS


Miss Lillian Gish as Anna Moore. . . . _Frontispiece_

Martha Perkins and Maria Poole.

Martha Perkins tells the story of Anna Moore's past life.

Lillian Gish and Burr McIntosh.



WAY DOWN EAST


CHAPTER I.

ALL HAIL TO THE CONQUERING HERO.


  Methinks I feel this youth's perfections,
  With an invisible and subtle stealth,
  To creep in at mine eyes.--_Shakespeare_.


It had come at last, the day of days, for the two great American
universities; Harvard and Yale were going to play their annual game of
football and the railroad station of Springfield, Mass., momentarily
became more and more thronged with eager partisans of both sides of the
great athletic contest.

All the morning trains from New York, New Haven, Boston and the smaller
towns had been pouring their loads into Springfield.  Hampden Park was
a sea of eager faces.  The weather was fine and the waiting for the
football game only added to the enjoyment--the appetizer before the
feast.

The north side of the park was a crimson dotted mass full ten thousand
strong; the south side showed the same goodly number blue-bespeckled,
and equally confident.  Little ripples of applause woke along the banks
as the familiar faces of old "grads" loomed up, then melted into the
vast throng.  These, too, were men of international reputation who had
won their spurs in the great battles of life, and yet, who came back
year after year, to assist by applause in these mimic battles of their
_Alma Mater_.

But the real inspiration to the contestants, were the softer, sweeter
faces scattered among the more rugged ones like flowers growing among
the grain--the smiles, the mantling glow of round young cheeks, the
clapping of little hands--these were the things that made broken
collarbones, scratched faces, and bruised limbs but so many honors to
be contended for, votive offerings to be laid at the little feet of
these fair ones.

Mrs. Standish Tremont's party occupied, as usual, a prominent place on
the Harvard side.  She was so great a factor in the social life at
Cambridge that no function could have been a complete success without
the stimulus of her presence.  Personally, Mrs. Standish Tremont was
one of those women who never grow old; one would no more have thought
of hazarding a guess about her age than one would have made a similar
calculation about the Goddess of Liberty.  She was perennially young,
perennially good-looking, and her entertainments were above reproach.
Some sour old "Grannies" in Boston, who had neither her wit, nor her
health, called her Venus Anno Domino, but they were jealous and cynical
and their testimony cannot be taken as reliable.

What if she had been splitting gloves applauding college games since
the fathers of to-day's contestants had fought and struggled for
similar honors in this very field.  She applauded with such vim, and
she gave such delightful dinners afterward, that for the glory of old
Harvard it is to be hoped she will continue to applaud and entertain
the grandsons of to-day's victors, even as she had their sires.

It was said by the uncharitable that the secret of the lady's youth was
the fact that she always surrounded herself with young people, their
pleasure, interests, entertainments were hers; she never permitted
herself to be identified with older people.

To-day, besides several young men who had been out of college for a
year or two, she had her husband's two nieces, the Misses Tremont,
young women well known in Boston's inner circles, her own daughter, a
Mrs. Endicott, a widow, and a very beautiful young girl whom she
introduced as "My cousin, Miss Moore."

Miss Moore was the recipient of more attention than she could well
handle.  Mrs. Tremont's cavaliers tried to inveigle her into betting
gloves and bon-bons; they reserved their wittiest replica for her, they
were her ardent allies in all the merry badinage with which their party
whiled away the time waiting for the game to begin.  Miss Moore was
getting enough attention to turn the heads of three girls.

At least, that was what her chaperone concluded as she skilfully
concealed her dissatisfaction with a radiant smile.  She liked girls to
achieve social success when they were under her wing--it was the next
best thing to scoring success on her own account.  But, it was quite a
different matter to invite a poor relation half out of charity, half
out of pity, and then have her outshine one's own daughter, and one's
nieces--the latter being her particular protégés--girls whom she hoped
to assist toward brilliant establishments.  The thought was a
disquieting one, the men of their party had been making idiots of
themselves over the girl ever since they left Boston; it was all very
well to be kind to one's poor kin--but charity began at home when there
were girls who had been out three seasons!  What was it, that made the
men lose their heads like so many sheep?  She adjusted her lorgnette
and again took an inventory of the girl's appearance.  It was eminently
satisfactory even when viewed from the critical standard of Mrs.
Standish Tremont.  A delicately oval face, with low smooth brow, from
which the night-black hair rippled in softly crested waves and clung
about the temples in tiny circling ringlets, delicate as the faintest
shading of a crayon pencil.  Heavily fringed lids that lent mysterious
depths to the great brown eyes that were sorrowful beyond their years.
A mouth made for kisses--a perfect Cupid's bow; in color, the red of
the pomegranate--such was Anna Moore, the great lady's young kinswoman,
who was getting her first glimpse of the world this autumn afternoon.

"You were born to be a Harvard girl, Miss Moore, the crimson becomes
you go perfectly, that great bunch of Jacqueminots is just what you
need to bring out the color in your cheeks," said Arnold Lester, rather
an old beau, and one of Mrs. Endicott's devoted cavaliers.

"Miss Moore is making her roses pale with envy," gallantly answered
Robert Maynard.  He had not been able to take his eyes from the girl's
face since he met her.

Anna looked down at her roses and smiled.  Her gown and gloves were
black.  The great fragrant bunch was the only suggestion of color that
she had worn for over a year.  She was still in mourning for her
father, one of the first great financial magnates to go under in the
last Wall Street crash.  His failure killed him, and the young daughter
and the invalid wife were left practically unprovided for.

Mrs. Tremont could hardly conceal her annoyance.  She had met her young
cousin for the first time the preceding summer and taking a fancy to
her; she exacted a promise from the girl's mother that Anna should pay
her a visit the following autumn.  But she reckoned without the girl's
beauty and the havoc it would make with her plans.  The discussion as
to the roses outvieing Anna's cheeks in color was abruptly terminated
by a great cheer that rolled simultaneously along both sides of the
field as the two teams entered the lists.  Cheer upon cheer went up,
swelled and grew in volume, only to be taken up again and again, till
the sound became one vast echoing roar without apparent end or
beginning.

From the moment the teams appeared, Anna Moore had no eyes or ears for
sights or sounds about her.  Every muscle in her lithe young body was
strained to catch a glimpse of one familiar figure.  She had little
difficulty in singling him out from the rest.  He had stripped off his
sweater and stood with head well down, his great limbs tense, straining
for the word to spring.  Anna's breath came quickly, as if she had been
running, the roses that he had sent her heaved with the tumult in her
breast.  It seemed to her as if she must cry out with the delight of
seeing him again.

"Look, Grace," said Mrs. Standish Tremont, to the younger of her
nieces, "there is Lennox Sanderson."

"Play!" called the referee, and at the word the Harvard wedge shot
forward and crashed into the onrushing mass of blue-legged bodies.  The
mimic war was on, and raged with all the excitement of real battle for
the next three-quarters of an hour; the center was pierced, the flanks
were turned, columns were formed and broken, weak spots were protected,
all the tactics of the science of arms was employed, and yet, neither
side could gain an advantage.

The last minutes of the first half of the game were spent
desperately--Kenneth, the terrible line breaker of Yale, made two
famous charges, Lennox Sanderson, the famous flying half-back, secured
Harvard a temporary advantage by a magnificently supported run.
"Time!" called the referee, and the first half of the game was over.

For fifteen minutes the combatants rested, then resumed their massing,
wedging and driving.  Sanderson, who had not appeared to over-exert
himself during the first half of the game, gradually began to turn the
tide in favor of the crimson.  After a decoy and a scrimmage,
Sanderson, with the ball wedged tightly under one arm, was seen flying
like a meteor, well covered by his supports.  On he dashed at full
speed for the much-desired touch-line.  The next minute he had reached
the goal and was buried under a pile of squirming bodies.

Then did the Harvard hosts burst into one mighty and prolonged cheer
that made the air tremble.  Sanderson was the hero of the hour.
Gray-haired old men jumped up and shouted his name with that of the
university.  It was one mad pandemonium of excitement, till the game
was won, and the crowd woke up amid the "Rah, Rahs, Harvard, Sanderson."

Anna's cheeks burned crimson.  She clapped her hands to the final
destruction of her gloves.  She patted the roses he had sent her.  She
had never dreamed that life was so beautiful, so full of happiness.

She saw him again for just a moment, before they left the park.  He
came up to speak to them, with the sweat and grime of battle still upon
him, his hair flying in the breeze.  The crowds gave way for the hero;
women gave him their brightest smiles; men involuntarily straightened
their shoulders in tribute to his inches.

Years afterwards, it seemed to Anna, in looking back on the tragedy of
it all, that he had never looked so handsome, never been so absolutely
irresistible as on that autumn day when he had taken her hand and said:
"I couldn't help making that run with your eyes on me."

"And we shall see you at tea, on Saturday?" asked Mrs. Tremont.

"I shall be delighted," he answered: "thank you for persuading Miss
Moore to stay over for another week."  Mrs. Tremont smiled, she could
smile if she were on the rack; but she assured herself that she was
done with poverty-stricken beauties till Grace and Maud were married,
at least.  For years she had been planning a match between Grace and
Lennox Sanderson.

Anna and Sanderson exchanged looks.  Robert Maynard bit his lips and
turned away.  He realized that the dearest wish of his life was beyond
reach of it forever.  "Ah, well," he murmured to himself--"who could
have a chance against Lennox Sanderson?"



CHAPTER II.

THE CONQUERING HERO IS DISPOSED TO BE HUMAN.


  "Her lips are roses over-wash'd with dew,
  Or like the purple of narcissus' flower;
  No frost their fair, no wind doth waste their powers,
  But by her breath her beauties do renew."--_Robert Greene_.


The dusk of an autumn afternoon was closing in on the well-filled
library of Mrs. Standish Tremont's Beacon street home.  The last rays
of sunlight filtered softly through the rose silk curtains and blended
with the ruddy glow of fire-light.  The atmosphere of this room was
more invitingly domestic than that of any other room in Mrs. Tremont's
somewhat bleakly luxurious home.

Perhaps it was the row upon row of books in their scarlet leather
bindings, perhaps it was the fine old collection of Dutch masterpieces,
portraying homely scenes from Dutch life, that robbed the air of the
chilling effect of the more formal rooms; but, whatever was the reason,
the fact remained that the library was the room in which to dream
dreams, appreciate comfort and be content.

At least so it seemed to Anna Moore, as she glanced from time to time
at the tiny French clock that silently ticked away the hours on the
high oaken mantel-piece.  Anna had dressed for tea with more than usual
care on this particular Saturday afternoon.  She wore a simply made
house gown of heavy white cloth, that hung in rich folds about her
exquisite figure, that might have seemed over-developed in a girl of
eighteen, were it not for the long slender throat and tapering waist of
more than usual slenderness.

The dark hair was coiled high on top of the shapely head, and a few
tendrils strayed about her neck and brow.  She wore no ornaments--not
even the simplest pin.

She was curled up in a great leather chair, in front of the open fire,
playing with a white angora kitten, who climbed upon her shoulder and
generally conducted himself like a white ball of animated yarn.  It was
too bad that there was no painter at hand to transfer to canvas so
lovely a picture as this girl in her white frock made, sitting by the
firelight in this mellow old room, playing with a white imp of a
kitten.  It would have made an ideal study in white and scarlet.

How comfortable it all was; the book-lined walls, the repose and
dignity of this beautiful home, with its corps of well-trained servants
waiting to minister to one's lightest wants.  The secure and sheltered
feeling that it gave appealed strongly to the girl, who but a little
while ago had enjoyed similar surroundings in her father's house.

And then, there had been that awful day when her father's wealth had
vanished into air like a burst bubble, and he had come home with a
white drawn face and gone to bed, never again to rise from it.

Anna did not mind the privations that followed on her own account, but
they were pitifully hard on her invalid mother, who had been used to
every comfort all her life.

After they had left New York, they had taken a little cottage in
Waltham, Mass., and it was here that Mrs. Standish Tremont had come to
call on her relatives in their grief and do what she could toward
lightening their burdens.  Anna was worn out with the constant care of
her mother, and would only consent to go away for a rest, because the
doctor told her that her health was surely breaking under the strain,
and that if she did not go, there would be two invalids instead of one.

It was at Mrs. Tremont's that she had met Lennox Sanderson, and from
the first, both seemed to be under the influence of some subtle spell
that drew them together blindly, and without the consent of their
wills.  Mrs. Tremont, who viewed the growing attraction of these two
young people with well-concealed alarm, watched every opportunity to
prevent their enjoying each other's society.  It irritated her that one
of the wealthiest and most influential men in Harvard should take such
a fancy to her penniless young relative, instead of to Grace Tremont,
whom she had selected for his wife.

There were few things that Mrs. Tremont enjoyed so much as arranging
romances in everyday life.

"Pardon me, Miss Moore," said the butler, standing at her elbow, "but
there has been a telephone message from Mrs. Tremont, saying that she
and Mrs. Endicott have been detained, and will you be kind enough to
explain this to Mr. Sanderson."  Anna never knew what the message cost
Mrs. Tremont.

A moment later, Sanderson's card was sent up; Anna rose to meet him
with swiftly beating heart.

"What perfect luck," he said.  "How do I happen to find you alone?
Usually you have a regiment of people about you."

"Cousin Frances has just telephoned that she has been detained, and I
suppose I am to entertain you till her return."

"I shall be sufficiently entertained if I may have the pleasure of
looking at you."

"Till dinner time?  You could never stand it."  She laughed.

"It would be a pleasure till eternity."

"At any rate," said Anna, "I am not going to put you to the test.  If
you will be good enough to ring for tea, I will give you a cup."

The butler brought in the tea.  Anna lighted the spirit lamp with
pretty deftness, and proceeded to make tea.

"I could not have taken this, even from your hands last week,
Anna--pardon me, Miss Moore."

"And why not?  Had you been taking pledges not to drink tea?"

"It seems to me as if I've been living on rare beef and whole wheat
bread ever since I can remember----"

"Oh, yes, I forgot about your being in training for the game, but you
did so magnificently, you ought not to mind it.  Why, you made Harvard
win the game.  We were all so proud of you."

"All!  I don't care about 'all.'  Were you proud of me?"

"Of course I was," she answered with the loveliest blush.

"Then it is amply repaid."

"Let me give you another cup of tea."

"No, thanks, I don't care about any more, but if you will let me talk
to you about something--  See here, Anna.  Yes, I mean Anna.  What
nonsense for us to attempt to keep up the Miss Moore and Mr. Sanderson
business.  I used to scoff at love at first sight and say it was all
the idle fancy of the poets.  Then I met you and remained to pray.
You've turned my world topsy-turvy.  I can't think without you, and yet
it would be folly to tell this to my Governor, and ask his consent to
our marriage.  He wants me to finish college, take the usual trip
around the world and then go into the firm.  Besides, he wants me to
eventually marry a cousin of mine--a girl with a lot of money and with
about as much heart as would fit on the end of a pin."

She had followed this speech with almost painful attention.  She bit
her lips till they were but a compressed line of coral.  At last she
found words to say:

"We must not talk of these things, Mr. Sanderson.  I have to go back
and care for my mother.  She is an invalid and needs all my attention.
Bedsides, we are poor; desperately poor.  I am here in your world, only
through the kindness of my cousin, Mrs. Tremont."

"It was your world till a year ago, Anna.  I know all about your
father's failure, and how nobly you have done your part since then, and
it kills me to think of you, who ought to have everything, spending
your life--your youth--in that stupid little Waltham, doing the work of
a housemaid."

"I am very glad to do my part," she answered him bravely, but her eyes
were full of unshed tears.

"Anna, dearest, listen to me."  He crossed over to where she sat and
took her hand.  "Can't you have a little faith in me and do what I am
going to ask you?  There is the situation exactly.  My father won't
consent to our marriage, so there is no use trying to persuade him.
And here you are--a little girl who needs some one to take care of you
and help you take care of your mother, give her all the things that
mean so much to an invalid.  Now, all this can be done, darling, if you
will only have faith in me.  Marry me now secretly, before you go back
to Waltham.  No one need know.  And then the governor can be talked
around in time.  My allowance will be ample to give you and your mother
all you need.  Can't you see, darling?"

The color faded from her cheeks.  She looked at him with eyes as
startled as a surprised fawn.

"O, Lennox, I would be afraid to do that."

"You would not be afraid, Anna, if you loved me."

It was so tempting to the weary young soul, who had already begun to
sink under the accumulated burdens of the past year, not for herself,
but for the sick mother, who complained unceasingly of the changed
conditions of their lives.  The care and attention would mean so much
to her--and yet, what right had she to encourage this man to go against
the wishes of his father, to take advantage of his love for her?  But
she was grateful to him, and there was a wealth of tenderness in the
eyes that she turned toward him.

"No, Lennox, I appreciate your generosity, but I do not think it would
be wise for either of us."

"Don't talk to me of generosity.  Good God, Anna, can't you realize
what this separation means to me?  I have no heart to go on with my
life away from you.  If you are going to throw me over, I shall cut
college and go away."

She loved him all the better for his impatience.

"Anna," he said--the two dark heads were close together, the madness of
the impulse was too much for both.  Their lips met in a first long
kiss.  The man was to have his way.  The kiss proved a more eloquent
argument than all his pleading.

"Say you will, Anna."

"Yes," she whispered.

And then they heard the street door open and close, and the voices of
Mrs. Tremont and her daughter, as they made their way to the library.
And the two young souls, who hovered on the brink of heaven, were
obliged to listen to the latest gossip of fashionable Boston.



CHAPTER III.

CONTAINING SOME REFLECTIONS AND THE ENTRANCE OF MEPHISTOPHELES.


  "Not all that heralds rake from coffin'd clay,
  Nor florid prose, nor horrid lies of rhyme,
  Can blazon evil deeds, or consecrate a crime."--_Byron_.


Lennox Sanderson was stretched in his window-seat with a book, of
which, however, he knew nothing--not even the title--his mind being
occupied by other thoughts than reading at that particular time.

Did he dare do it?  The audacity of the proceeding was sufficient to
make the iron will of even Lennox Sanderson waver.  And yet, to lose
her!  Such a contingency was not to be considered.  His mind flew
backward and forward like a shuttle, he turned the leaves of his book;
he smoked, but no light came from within or without.

He glanced about the familiar objects in his sitting-room as one
unconsciously does when the mind is on the rack of anxiety, as if to
seek council from the mute things that make up so large a part of our
daily lives.

It was an ideal sitting-room for a college student, the luxury of the
appointments absolutely subservient to taste and simplicity.  Heavy red
curtains divided the sitting-room from the bedroom beyond, and imparted
a degree of genial warmth to the atmosphere.  Russian candlesticks of
highly polished brass stood about on the mantel-piece and book shelves.
Above the high oak wainscoting the walls were covered with dark red
paper, against which background brown photographs of famous paintings
showed to excellent advantage.  They were reproductions of Botticelli,
Rembrant, Franz Hals and Velasquez hung with artistic irregularity.
Above the mantel-piece were curious old weapons, swords, matchetes,
flintlocks and carbines.  A helmet and breastplate filled the space
between the two windows.  Some dozen or more of pipe racks held the
young collegian's famous collection of pipes that told the history of
smoking from the introduction during the reign of Elizabeth, down to
the present day.

In taking a mental inventory of his household goods, Sanderson's eyes
fell on the photograph of a woman on the mantel-piece.  He frowned.
What right had she there, when his mind was full of another?  He walked
over to the picture and threw it into the fire.  It was not the first
picture to know a similar fate after occupying that place of honor.

The blackened edges of the picture were whirling up the chimney, when
Sanderson's attention was arrested by a knock.

"Come in," he called, and a young man of about his own age entered.
Without being in the least ill-looking, there was something repellent
about the new comer.  His eyes were shifty and too close together to be
trustworthy.  Otherwise no fault could be found with his appearance.

"Well, Langdon, how are you?" his host asked, but there was no warmth
in his greeting.

"As well as a poor devil like me ever is," began Langdon obsequiously.
He sighed, looked about the comfortable room and finished with: "Lucky
dog."

Sanderson stood on no ceremony with his guest, who was a thoroughly
unscrupulous young man.  Once or twice Langdon had helped Sanderson out
of scrapes that would have sent him home from college without his
degree, had they come to the ears of the faculty.  In return for this
assistance, Sanderson had lent him large sums of money, which the owner
entertained no hopes of recovering.  Sanderson tried to balance matters
by treating Langdon with scant ceremony when they were alone.

"Well, old man," began his host, "I do not flatter myself that I owe
this call to any personal charm.  You dropped in to ease a little
financial embarrassment by the request of a loan--am I not right?"

"Right, as usual, Sandy, though I'd hardly call it a loan.  You know I
was put to a devil of a lot of trouble about that Newton affair, and it
cost money to secure a shut mouth."

Sanderson frowned.  "This is the fifth time I have had the pleasure of
settling for that Newton affair, Langdon.  It seems to have become a
sort of continuous performance."

Langdon winced.

"I'll tell you what I'll do, Langdon.  You owe me two thousand now, not
counting that poker debt.  We'll call it square if you'll attend to a
little matter for me and I'll give you an extra thou. to make it worth
your while."

"You know I am always delighted to help you, Sandy."

"When I make it worth your while."

"Put it that way if you wish."

"Do you think that for once in your life you could look less like the
devil than you are naturally, and act the role of parson?"

"I might if I associate with you long enough.  Saintly company might
change my expression."

"You won't have time to try.  You've got to have your clerical look in
good working order by Friday.  Incidently you are to marry me to the
prettiest girl in Massachusetts and keep your mouth closed."

As if to end the discussion, Sanderson strode over to his desk and
wrote out a check for a thousand dollars.  He came back, waving it in
the air to dry the ink.

"Perhaps you will condescend to explain," Langdon said, as he pocketed
the check.

"Explanations are always bores, my dear boy.  There is a little girl
who feels obliged to insist on formalities, not too many.  She'll think
your acting as the parson the best joke in the world, but it would not
do to chaff her about it."

"Oh, I see," and Langdon's laugh was not pleasant.

"Exactly.  You will have everything ready--white choker, black coat and
all the rest of it, and now, my dear boy, you've got to excuse me as
I've got a lot of work on hand."

They shook hands and Langdon's footsteps were soon echoing down the
corridor.

The foul insinuation that Sanderson had just made about Anna rankled in
his mind.  He went to the sideboard and poured himself out a good stiff
drink.  After that, his conscience did not trouble him.

The work on account of which he excused himself from Langdon's society,
was apparently not of the most pressing order, for Sanderson almost
immediately started for Boston, turning his steps towards Mrs. Standish
Tremont's.

"Mrs. Tremont was not at home," the man announced at the door, "and
Mrs. Endicott was confined to her room with a bad headache.  Should he
take his card to Miss Moore?"

Sanderson assented, feeling that fate was with him.

"My darling," he said, as Anna came in a moment later, and folded her
close in a long embrace.  She was paler than when he had last seen her
and there were dark rings under her eyes that hinted at long night
vigils.

"Lennox," she said, "do not think me weak, but I am terribly
frightened.  It does not seem as if we were doing the right thing by
our friends."

"Goosey girl," he said, kissing her, "who was it that said no marriage
ever suited all parties unconcerned?"

She laughed.  "I am thinking more of you Lennox, than of myself.
Suppose your father should not forgive you, cut you off without a cent,
and you should have to drudge all your life with mother and me on your
hands!  Don't you think you would wish we had never met, or, at least,
that I had thought of these things?"

"Suppose the sky should fall, or the sun should go out, or that I could
stop loving you, or any of the impossible things that could not happen
once in a million years.  Aren't you ashamed of yourself to doubt me in
this way?  Answer me, miss," he said with mock ferocity.

For answer she laid her cheek against his.--"I am so happy, dear, that
I am almost afraid."

He pressed her tenderly.  "And now, darling, for the
conspiracy--Cupid's conspiracy.  You write to your mother to-night and
say that you will be home on Wednesday because you will.  Then tell
Mrs. Tremont that you have had a wire from her saying you must go home
Friday (I'll see that you _do_ receive such a telegram), and leave
Friday morning by the 9:40.  I will keep out of the way, because the
entire Tremont contingent will doubtless see you off.  I will then meet
you at one of the stations near Boston.  I can't tell you which, till I
hear from my friend, the Reverend John Langdon.  He will have
everything arranged."

She looked at him with dilating eyes, her cheeks blanched with fear.

"Anna," he said, almost roughly, "if you have no confidence in me, I
will go out of your life forever."

"Yes, yes, I believe in you," she said.  "It isn't that, but it is the
first thing I have ever kept from mother, and I would feel so much more
comfortable if she knew."

"Baby.  An' so de ittle baby must tell its muvver ev'yting," he
mimicked her, till she felt ashamed of her good impulse--an impulse
which if she had yielded to, it would have saved her from all the
bitterness she was to know.

"And so you will do as I ask you, darling?"

"Yes."

"Do you promise?"

"Yes," and they sealed the bargain with a kiss.

"Dearest, I must be going.  It would never do for Mrs. Tremont to see
us together.  I should forget and call you pet names, and then you
would be sent supperless to bed, like the little girls in the story
books."

"I suppose you must go," she said, regretfully.

"It will not be for long," and with another kiss he left her.



CHAPTER IV.

THE MOCK MARRIAGE.


  "Thus grief still treads upon the heel of pleasure,
  Married in haste, we may repent at leisure."--_Congreve_.


It seemed to Anna when Friday came, that human experience had nothing
further to offer in the way of mental anguish and suspense.  She had
thrashed out the question of her secret marriage to Sanderson till her
brain refused to work further, and there was in her mind only dread and
a haunting sense of loss.  If she had only herself to consider, she
would not have hesitated a moment.  But Sanderson, his father, and her
own mother were all involved.

Was she doing right by her mother?  At times, the advantage to the
invalid accruing from this marriage seemed manifold.  Again it seemed
to Anna but a senseless piece of folly, prompted by her own selfish
love for Sanderson.  And so the days wore on until the eventful Friday
came, and Anna said good-bye to Mrs. Standish Tremont with livid cheeks
and tearful eyes.

"And do you feel so badly about going away, my dear?" said the great
lady, looking at those visible signs of distress and feeling not a
little flattered by her young cousin's show of affection.  "We must
have you down soon again," and she patted Anna's cheek and hurried her
into the car, for Mrs. Tremont had a horror of scenes and signals
warned her that Anna was on the verge of tears.

The locomotive whistled, the cars gave a jolt, and Anna Moore was
launched on her tragic fate.  She never knew how the time passed after
leaving Mrs. Tremont, till Sanderson joined her at the next station.
She felt as if her will power had deserted her, and she was dumbly
obeying the behests of some unseen relentless force.  She looked at the
strange faces about her, hopelessly.  Perhaps it was not too
late---perhaps some kind motherly woman would tell her if she were
doing right.  But they all looked so strange and forbidding, and while
she turned the question over and over in her mind, the car stopped, the
brakeman called the station and Lennox Sanderson got on.

She turned to him in her utter perplexity, forgetting he was the cause
of it.

"My darling, how pale you are.  Are you ill?"

"Not ill, but----"  He would not let her finish, but reassured her by
the tenderest of looks, the warmest of hand clasps, and the terrified
girl began to lose the hunted feeling that she had.

They rode on for fully an hour.  Sanderson was perfectly
self-possessed.  He might have been married every day in the year, for
any difference it made in his demeanor.  He was perfectly composed,
laughed and chatted as wittily as ever.  In time, Anna partook of his
mood and laughed back.  She felt as if a weight had been lifted off her
mind.  At last they stopped at a little station called Whiteford.  An
old-fashioned carriage was waiting for them; they entered it and the
driver, whipped up his horses.  A drive of a half mile brought them to
an ideal white cottage surrounded by porches and hidden in a tangle of
vines.  The door was opened for them by the Rev. John Langdon in person.
He seemed a preternaturally grave young man to Anna and his clerical
attire was above reproach.  Any misgivings one might have had regarding
him on the score of his youth, were more than counterbalanced by his
almost supernatural gravity.

He apologized for the absence of his wife, saying she had been called
away suddenly, owing to the illness of her mother.  His housekeeper and
gardener would act as witnesses.  Sanderson hastily took Anna to one
side and said: "I forgot to tell you, darling, that I am going to be
married by my two first names only, George Lennox.  It is just the
same, but if the Sanderson got into any of those country marriage
license papers, I should be afraid the governor would hear of
it--penalty of having a great name, you know," he concluded gayly.
"Thought I had better mention it, as it would not do to have you
surprised over your husband's name."

Again the feeling of dread completely over-powered her.  She looked at
him with her great sorrowful eyes, as a trapped animal will sometimes
look at its captor, but she could not speak.  Some terrible blight
seemed to have overgrown her brain, depriving her of speech and
willpower.

The witnesses entered.  Anna was too agitated to notice that the Rev.
John Langdon's housekeeper was a very singular looking young woman for
her position.  Her hair was conspicuously dark at the roots and
conspicuously light on the ends.  Her face was hard and when she smiled
her mouth, assumed a wolfish expression.  She was loudly dressed and
wore a profusion of jewelry--altogether a most remarkable looking woman
for the place she occupied.

The gardener had the appearance of having been suddenly wakened before
nature had had her full quota of sleep.  He was blear-eyed and his
breath was more redolent of liquor than one might have expected in the
gardener of a parsonage.

The room in which the ceremony was to take place was the ordinary
cottage parlor, with crochet work on the chairs, and a profusion of
vases and bric-a-brac on the tables.  The Rev. John Langdon requested
Anna and Sanderson to stand by a little marble table from which the
housekeeper brushed a profusion of knick-knacks.  There was no Bible.
Anna was the first to notice the omission.  This seemed to deprive the
young clergyman of his dignity.  He looked confused, blushed, and
turning to the housekeeper told her to fetch the Bible.  This seemed to
appeal to the housekeeper's sense of humor.  She burst out laughing and
said something about looking for a needle in a haystack.  Sanderson
turned on her furiously, and she left the room, looking sour, and
muttering indignantly.  She returned, after what seemed an interminable
space of time, and the ceremony proceeded.

Anna did not recognize her own voice as she answered the responses.
Sanderson's was clear and ringing; his tones never faltered.  When the
time came to put the ring on her finger, Anna's hand trembled so
violently that the ring fell to the floor and rolled away.  Sanderson's
face turned pale.  It seemed to him like a providential dispensation.
For some minutes, the assembled company joined in the hunt for the
ring.  It was found at length by the yellow-haired housekeeper, who
returned it with her most wolfish grin.

"Trust Bertha Harris to find things!" said the clergyman.

The ceremony proceeded without further incident.  The final words were
pronounced and Anna sank into a chair, relieved that it was over,
whether it was for better or for worse.

Sanderson hurried her into the carriage before the clergyman and the
witnesses could offer their congratulations.  He pulled her away from
the yellow-haired housekeeper, who would have smothered her in an
embrace, and they departed without the customary handshake from the
officiating clergyman.

"You were not very cordial, dear," she said, as they rolled along
through the early winter landscape.

"Confound them all.  I hated to see them near you"--and then, in answer
to her questioning gaze--"because I love you so much, darling.  I hate
to see anyone touch you."

The trees were bare; the fields stretched away brown and flat, like the
folds of a shroud, and the sun was veiled by lowering clouds of gray.
It was not a cheerful day for a wedding.

"Lennox, did you remember that this is Friday?  And I have on a black
dress."

"And now that Mrs. Lennox has settled the question of to wed or not to
wed, by wedding--behold, she is worrying herself about her frock and
the color of it, and the day of the week and everything else.  Was
there ever such a dear little goose?"  He pinched her cheek, and
she--she smiled up at him, her fears allayed.

"And why don't you ask where we are going, least curious of women?"

"I forgot; indeed I did."

"We are going to the White Rose Inn.  Ideal name for a place in which
to spend one's honeymoon, isn't it?"

"Any place would be ideal with you Lennie," and she slipped her little
hand into his ruggeder palm.

At last the White Rose Inn was sighted; it was one of those modern
hostelries, built on an old English model.  The windows were muslined,
the rooms were wainscoted in oak, the furniture was heavy and
cumbersome.  Anna was delighted with everything she saw.  Sanderson had
had their sitting-room filled with crimson roses, they were everywhere;
banked on the mantelpiece, on the tables and window-sills.  Their
perfume was to Anna like the loving embrace of an old friend.
Jacqueminots had been so closely associated with her acquaintance with
Sanderson, in after years she could never endure their perfume and
their scarlet petals unnerved her, as the sight of blood does some
women.

A trim English maid came to assist "Mrs. Lennox," to unpack her things.
Lunch was waiting in the sitting-room.  Sanderson gave minute orders
about the icing of his own particular brand of champagne, which he had
had sent from Boston.

Anna had recovered her good spirits.  It seemed "such a jolly lark," as
her husband said.

"Sweetheart, your happiness," he said, and raised his glass to hers.
Her eyes sparkled like the champagne.  The honeymoon at the White Rose
Tavern had begun very merrily.



CHAPTER V.

A LITTLE GLIMPSE OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN.


  "The moon--the moon, so silver and cold,
  Her fickle temper has oft been told,
  Now shady--now bright and sunny--
  But of all the lunar things that change,
  The one that shows most fickle and strange,
  And takes the most eccentric range
  Is the moon--so called--of honey."--_Hood_.


"My dear, will you kindly pour me a second cup of coffee?  Not because
I really want it, you know, but entirely for the aesthetic pleasure of
seeing your pretty little hands pattering about the cups."

Lennox Sanderson, in a crimson velvet smoking jacket, was regarding
Anna with the most undisguised admiration from the other side of the
round table, that held their breakfast,--their first honeymoon
breakfast, as Anna supposed it to be.

"Anything to please my husband," she answered with a flitting blush.

"Your husband?  Ah, say it again; it sounds awfully good from you."

"So you don't really care for any more coffee, but just want to see my
hands among the cups.  How appreciative you are!"  And there was a
mischievous twinkle in her eye as she began with great elaboration the
pantomimic representation of pouring a cup of coffee, adding sugar and
cream; and concluded by handing the empty cup to Sanderson.  "It would
be such a pity to waste the coffee, Lennie, when you only wanted to see
my hands."

"If I am not going to have the coffee, I insist on both the hands," he
said, taking them and kissing them repeatedly.

"I suppose I'll have to give it to you on those terms," and she
proceeded to fill the cup in earnest this time.

"Let me see.  How is it that you like it?  One lump of sugar and quite
a bit of cream?  And tea perfectly clear with nothing at all and toast
very crisp and dry.  Dear me, how do women ever remember all their
husband's likes and dislikes?  It's worse than learning a new
multiplication table over again," and the most adorable pucker
contracted her pretty brows.

"And yet, see how beautifully widows manage it, even taking the
thirty-third degree and here you are, complaining before you are
initiated, and kindly remember, Mrs. Lennox Sanderson, if I take but
one lump of sugar in my coffee, there are other ways of sweetening it."
Presumably he got it sweetened to his satisfaction, for the proprietor
of the "White Rose," who attended personally to the wants of "Mr. and
Mrs. Lennox" had to cough three times before he found it discreet to
enter and inquire if everything was satisfactory.

He bowed three times like a disjointed foot rule and then retired to
charge up the wear and tear to his backbone under the head of "special
attendance."

"H-m-m!" sighed Sanderson, as the door closed on the bowing form of the
proprietor, "that fellow's presence reminds me that we are not
absolutely alone in the world, and you had almost convinced me that we
were, darling, and that by special Providence, this grim old earth had
been turned into a second Garden of Eden for our benefit.  Aren't you
going to kiss me and make me forget in earnest, this time?"

"I'm sure, Lennie, I infinitely prefer the 'White Rose Inn' with you,
to the Garden of Paradise with Adam."  She not only granted the
request, but added an extra one for interest.

"You'll make me horribly vain, Anna, if you persist in preferring me to
Adam; but then I dare say, Eve would have preferred him and Paradise to
me and the 'White Rose.'"

"But, then, Eve's taste lacked discrimination.  She had to take Adam or
become the first girl bachelor.  With me there might have been
alternatives."

"There might have been others, to speak vulgarly?"

"Exactly."

"By Jove, Anna, I don't see how you ever did come to care for me!"  The
laughter died out of his eyes, his face grew prefer naturally grave, he
strode over to the window and looked out on the desolate landscape.
For the first time he realized the gravity of his offense.  His crime
against this girl, who had been guilty of nothing but loving him too
deeply stood out, stripped of its trappings of sentiment, in all its
foul selfishness.  He would right the wrong, confess to her; but no, he
dare not, she was not the kind of woman to condone such an offense.

"Needles and pins, needles and pins, when a man's married his trouble
begins," quoted Anna gayly, slipping up behind him and, putting her
arms about his neck; "one would think the old nursery ballad was true,
to look at you, Lennox Sanderson.  I never saw such a married-man
expression before in my life.  You wanted to know why I fell in love
with you.  I could not help it, because you are YOU."

She nestled her head in his shoulder and he forgot his scruples in the
sorcery of her presence.

"Darling," he said; taking her in his arms, with perhaps the most
genuine affection he ever felt for her, "I wish we could spend our
lives here in this quiet little place, and that there were no
troublesome relations or outside world demanding us."

"So do I, dear," she answered, "but it could not last; we are too
perfectly happy."

Neither spoke for some minutes.  At that time he loved her as deeply as
it was possible for him to love anyone.  Again the impulse came to tell
her, beg for forgiveness and make reparation.  He was holding her in
his arms, considering.  A moment more, and he would have given way to
the only unselfish impulse in his life.  But again the knock, followed
by the discreet cough of the proprietor.  And when he entered to tell
them that the horses were ready for their drive, "Mrs. Lennox" hastened
to put on her jacket and "Mr. Lennox" thanked his stars that he had not
spoken.



CHAPTER VI.

THE WAYS OF DESOLATION.


  "Oh! colder than the wind that freezes
  Founts, that but now in sunshine play'd,
  Is that congealing pang which seizes
  The trusting bosom when betray'd."--_Moore_.


Four months had elapsed since the honeymoon at the White Rose Tavern,
and Anna was living at Waltham with her mother who grew more fretful
and complaining every day.  The marriage was still the secret of Anna
and Sanderson.  The honeymoon at the White Rose had been prolonged to a
week, but no suspicion had entered the minds of Mrs. Moore or Mrs.
Standish Tremont, thanks to Sanderson's skill in sending fictitious
telegrams, aided by so skilled an accomplice as the "Rev." John Langdon.

Week after week, Anna had yielded to Sanderson's entreaties and kept
her marriage a secret from her mother.  At first he had sent her
remittances of money with frequent regularity, but, lately, they had
begun to fall off, his letters were less frequent, shorter and more
reserved in tone, and the burden of it all was crushing the youth out
of the girl and breaking her spirit.  She had grown to look like some
great sorrowful-eyed Madonna, and her beauty had in it more of the
spiritual quality of an angel than of a woman.  As the spring came on,
and the days grew longer she looked like one on whom the hand of death
had been laid.

Her friends noticed this, but not her mother, who was so engrossed with
her own privations, that she had no time or inclination for anything
else.

"Anna, Anna, to think of our coming to this!" she would wail a dozen
times a day--or, "Anna, I can't stand it another minute," and she would
burst into paroxysms of grief, from which nothing could arouse her, and
utterly exhausted by her own emotions, which were chiefly regret and
self-pity, she would sink off to sleep.  Anna had no difficulty in
accounting to her mother for the extra comforts with which Lennox
Sanderson's money supplied them.  Mrs. Standish Tremont sometimes sent
checks and Mrs. Moore never bothered about the source, so long as the
luxuries were forthcoming.

"Is there no more Kumyss, Anna?" she asked one day.

"No, mother."

"Then why did you neglect to order it?"

The girl's face grew red.  "There was no money to pay for it, mother.
I am so sorry."

"And does Frances Tremont neglect us in this way?  When we were both
girls, it was quite the other way.  My father practically adopted
Frances Tremont.  She was married from our house.  But you see, Anna,
she made a better marriage than I.  Oh, why was your father so
reckless?  I warned him not to speculate in the rash way he was
accustomed to doing, but he would never take my advice.  If he had, we
would not be as we are now."  And again the poor lady was overcome with
her own sorrows.

It was not Mrs. Tremont's check that had bought the last Kumyss.  In
fact, Mrs. Tremont, after the manner of rich relations, troubled her
head but little about her poor ones.  Sanderson had sent no money for
nearly a month, and Anna would have died sooner than have asked for it.
He had been to Waltham twice to see Anna, and once she had gone to meet
him at the White Rose Tavern.  Mrs. Moore, wrapped in gloom at the loss
of her own luxury, had no interest in the young man who came down from
Boston to call on her daughter.

"You met him at Cousin Frances's, did you say?  I don't see how you can
ask him here to this abominable little house.  A girl should have good
surroundings, Anna.  Nothing detracts from a girl's beauty so much as
cheap surroundings.  Oh, my dear, if you had only been settled in life
before all this happened, I would not complain."  And, as usual, there
were more tears.

But the wailings of her mother, over departed luxuries, and the poverty
of her surroundings were the lightest of Anna's griefs.  At their last
meeting--she had gone to him in response to his request--Sanderson's
manner had struck dumb terror into the heart of the girl who had
sacrificed so much at his bidding.  She had been very pale.  The strain
of facing the terrible position in which she found herself, coupled
with her own failing health, had robbed her of the beautiful color he
had always so frankly admired.  Her eyes were big and hollow looking,
and the deep black circles about them only added to her unearthly
appearance.  There were drawn lines of pain about the mouth, that
robbed the Cupid's bow of half its beauty.

"My God, Anna!" he had said to her impatiently.  "A man might as well
try to love a corpse as a woman who looks like that."  He led her over
to a mirror, that she might see her wasted charms.  There was no need
for her to look.  She knew well enough, what was reflected there.

"You have no right to let yourself get like this.  The only thing a
woman has is her looks, and it is a crime if she throws them away
worrying and fretting."

"But Lennox," she answered, desperately, "I have told you how matters
stand with me, and mother knows nothing--suspects nothing."  And the
girl broke down and wept as if her heart would break.

"Anna, for Heaven's sake, do stop crying.  I hate a scene worse than
anything in the world.  When a woman cries, it means but one thing, and
that is that the man must give in--and in this particular instance I
can't give in.  It would ruin me with the governor to acknowledge our
marriage."

The girl's tears froze at his brutal words.  She looked about dazed and
hopeless.

Sanderson was standing by the window, drumming a tattoo on the pane.
He wheeled about, and said slowly, as if he were feeling his way:

"Anna, suppose I give you a sum of money and you go away till all this
business is over.  You can tell your mother or not; just as you see
fit.  As far as I am concerned, it would be impossible for me to
acknowledge our marriage as I have said before.  If the governor found
it out, he would cut me off without a cent."

"But, Lennox, I cannot leave my mother.  Her health grows worse daily,
and it would kill her."

"Then take her with you.  She's got to know, sooner or later, I
suppose.  Now, don't be a stupid little girl, and everything will turn
out well for us."  He patted her cheek, but it was done perfunctorily,
and Anna knew there was no use in making a further appeal to him.

"Well, my dear," he said, "I have got to take that 4.30 train back to
Cambridge.  Here is something for you, and let me know just as soon as
you make up your mind, when you intend to go and where.  There is no
use in your staying in Waltham till those old cats begin to talk."

He put a roll of bills in her hand, kissed her and was gone, and Anna
turned her tottering steps homeward, sick at heart.  She must tell her
mother, and the shock of it might kill her.  She pressed her hands over
her burning eyes to blot out the hideous picture.  Could cruel fate
offer bitterer dregs to young lips?

She stopped at the postoffice for mail.  There was nothing but the
daily paper.  She took it mechanically and turned into the little side
street on which they lived.

The old family servant, who still lived with them, met her at the door,
and told her that her mother had been sleeping quietly for more than an
hour.

"Good gracious, Miss Anna, but you do look ill.  Just step into the
parlor and sit down for a minute, and I'll make you a cup of tea."

Anna suffered herself to be led into the little room, smiling
gratefully at the old servant as she assisted her to remove her hat and
jacket.  She took up the paper mechanically and glanced through its
contents.  Her eyes fell on the following item, which she followed with
hypnotic interest: "Harvard Student in Disgrace!" was the headline.

"John Langdon, a Harvard student, was arrested on the complaint of
Bertha Harris, a young woman, well known in Boston's gas-light circles,
yesterday evening.  They had been dining together at a well-known chop
house, when the woman, who appeared to be slightly under the influence
of liquor, suddenly arose and declared that Langdon was trying to rob
her.

"Both were arrested on the charge of creating a disturbance.  At the
State Street Police Station the woman said that Langdon had performed a
mock marriage for a fellow student some four months ago.  She had acted
as a witness, for which service she was to receive $50.  The money had
never been paid.  She stated further that the young man, whom Langdon
is alleged to have married, is the son of a wealthy Boston banker, and
the young woman who was thus deceived is a young relative of one of
Boston's social leaders.

"Later Bertha Harris withdrew her charges, saying she was intoxicated
when she made them.  The affair has created a profound sensation."

"Mock marriage!"  The words whirled before the girl's eyes in letters
of fire.  Bertha Harris!  Yes, that was the name.  It had struck her at
the time when Sanderson dropped the ring.  Langdon had said "Bertha
Harris has found it."

The light of her reason seemed to be going out.  From the blackness
that engulfed her, the words "mock marriage" rang in her ear like the
cry of the drowning.

"God, oh God!" she called and the pent up agony of her wrecked life was
in the cry.

They found her senseless a moment later, staring up at the ceiling with
glassy eyes, the crumpled paper crushed in her hand.

"She is dead," wailed her mother.  The old servant wasted no time in
words.  She lifted up the fragile form and laid it tenderly on the bed.
Then she raised the window and called to the first passerby to run for
the nearest doctor.



CHAPTER VII.

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.


  A mother's love--how sweet the name!
  What is a mother's love?
  --A noble, pure and tender flame,
  Enkindled from above,
  To bless a heart of earthly mould;
  The warmest love that can grow cold;
  That is a mother's love.--_James Montgomery_.


It took all the medical skill of which the doctor was capable, and the
best part of twenty-four hours of hard work to rouse Anna from the
death-like lethargy into which she had fallen.  Toward morning she
opened her eyes and turning to her mother, said appealingly:

"Mother, you believe I am innocent, don't you?"

"Certainly, darling," Mrs. Moore replied, without knowing in the least
to what her daughter referred.  The doctor, who was present at the
time, turned away.  He knew more than the mother.  It was one of those
tragedies of everyday life that meant for the woman the fleeing away
from old associations, like a guilty thing, long months of hiding, the
facing of death; and, if death was not to be, the beginning of life
over again branded with shame.  And all this bitter injustice because
she had loved much and had faith in the man she loved.  The doctor had
faced tragedies before in his professional life, but never had he felt
his duty so heavily laid upon him as when he begged Mrs. Moore for a
few minutes' private conversation in the gray dawn of that early
morning.

He felt that the life of his patient depended on his preparing her
mother for the worst.  The girl, he knew, would probably confess all
during her convalescence, and the mother must be prepared, so that the
first burst of anguish would have expended itself before the girl
should have a chance to pour out the story of her misfortune.

"Tell me, doctor, is she going to die?" the mother asked, as she closed
the door of the little sitting-room and they were alone.  The poor lady
had not thought of her own misfortunes since Anna's illness.  The
selfishness of the woman of the world was completely obliterated by the
anxiety of the mother.

"No, she will not die, Mrs. Moore; that is, if you are able to control
your feelings sufficiently, after I have made a most distressing
disclosure, to give her the love and sympathy that only you can."

She looked at him with troubled eyes.  "Why, doctor, what do you mean?
My daughter has always had my love and sympathy, and if of late I have
appeared somewhat engrossed by my own troubles, I assure you my
daughter is not likely to suffer from it during her illness."

"Her life depends on how you receive what I am going to tell you.
Should you upbraid her with her misfortune, or fail to stand by her as
only a mother can, I shall not answer for the consequences."  Then he
told her Anna's secret.

The stricken woman did not cry out in her anguish, nor swoon away.  She
raised a feebly protesting hand, as if to ward off a cruel blow; then
burying her face in her arms, she cowed before him.  Not a sob shook
the frail, wasted figure.  It was as if this most terrible misfortune
had dried up the well-springs of grief and robbed her of the blessed
gift of tears.  The woman who in one brief year had lost everything
that life held dear to her--husband, home, wealth, position--everything
but this one child, could not believe the terrible sentence that had
been pronounced against her.  Her Anna--her little girl!  Why, she was
only a child!  Oh, no, it could not be true.  She never, never would
believe it.

Her brain whirled and seemed to stop.  It refused to grasp so hideous a
proposition.  The doctor was momentarily at a loss to know how to deal
with this terrible dry-eyed grief.  The set look in her eyes, the
terrible calm of her demeanor were so much more alarming than the
wildest outpourings of grief would, have been.

"And this seizure, Mrs. Moore.  Tell me exactly how it was brought
about," thinking to turn the current of her thoughts even for a moment.

She told him how Anna had gone out in the early afternoon, without
saying where she was going, and how she had returned to the house about
five o'clock, looking so pale and ill, that Hannah, an old family
servant who still lived with them, noticed it and begged her to sit
down while she went to fetch her a cup of tea.  The maid left her
sitting by the fire-place reading a paper, and the next thing was the
terrible cry that brought them both.  They found her lying on the floor
unconscious with the crumpled newspaper in her hand.

"See, here is the paper now, doctor," and he stooped to pick up the
crumpled sheet from which the girl had read her death warrant.
Together they went over it in the hope that it might furnish some clue.
Mrs. Moore's eyes were the first to fall on the fatal paragraph.  She
read it through, then showed it to the doctor.

"That is undoubtedly the cause of the seizure," said the doctor.

"Oh, my poor, poor darling," moaned the mother, and the first tears
fell.

In the first bitterness of regret, Mrs. Moore imagined that in
selfishly abandoning herself to her own grief, she must have neglected
her daughter, and her remorse knew no bounds.  Again and again she
bitterly denounced herself for giving way to sorrow that now seemed
light and trivial, compared to the black hopelessness of the present.

Anna's mind wandered in her delirium, and she would talk of her
marriage and beg Sanderson to let her tell her mother all.  Then she
would fancy that she was again with Mrs. Tremont and she would go
through the pros and cons of the whole affair.  Should she marry him
secretly, as he wished?  Yes, it would be better for poor mama, who
needed so many comforts, but was it right?  And then the passionate
appeal to Sanderson.  Couldn't he realize her position?----

"Yes, darling, it is all right.  Mother understands," the heartbroken
woman would repeat over and over again, but the sick girl could not
hear.

And so the days wore on, till at last Anna's wandering mind turned back
to earth, and again took up the burden of living.  There was nothing
for her to tell her mother.  In her delirium she had told all, and the
mother was prepared to bravely face the worst for her daughter's sake.

The terrible blow brought mother and daughter closer together than they
had been for years.  In their prosperity, the young girl had been busy
with her governess and instructors, while her mother had made a fine
art of her invalidism and spent the greater part of her time at health
resorts, baths and spas.

By mutual consent, they decided that it was better not to attempt to
seek redress from Sanderson.  Anna's letters, written during her
convalescence, had remained unanswered, and any effort to force him,
either by persuasion or process of law, to right the terrible wrong he
had done, was equally repulsive to both mother and daughter.

Mrs. Standish Tremont was also equally out of the question, as a court
of final appeal.  She had been so piqued with Anna for interfering with
her most cherished plans regarding Sanderson and Grace Tremont, that
Anna knew well enough that there would only be further humiliation in
seeking mercy from that quarter.


So mother and daughter prepared to face the inevitable alone.  To this
end, Mrs. Moore sold the last of her jewelry.  She had kept it,
thinking that Anna would perhaps marry some day and appreciate the
heirlooms; but such a contingent was no longer to be considered, and
the jewelry, and the last of the family silver, were sent to be sold,
together with every bit of furniture with which they could dispense,
and mother and daughter left the little cottage in Waltham, and went to
the town of Belden, New Hampshire,--a place so inconceivably remote,
that there was little chance of any of their former friends being able
to trace them, even if they should desire to do so.

As the summer days grew shorter, and the hour of Anna's ordeal grew
near, Mrs. Moore had but one prayer in her heart, and that was that her
life might be spared till her child's troubles were over.  Since Anna's
illness in the early spring, she had utterly disregarded herself.  No
complaint was heard to pass her lips.  Her time was spent in one
unselfish effort to make her daughter's life less painful.  But the
strain of it was telling, and she knew that life with her was but the
question of weeks, perhaps days.  As her physical grasp grew weaker,
her mental hold increased proportionately, and she determined to live
till she had either closed her child's eyes in death, or left her with
something for which to struggle, as she herself was now struggling.

But the poor mother's last wish was not to be granted.  In the
beginning of September, just when the earth was full of golden promise
of autumn, she felt herself going.  She felt the icy hand of death at
her heart and the grim destroyer whispered in her ear: "Make ready."
Oh, the anguish of going just then, when she was needed so sorely by
her deceived and deserted child.

"Anna, darling," she called feebly, "I cannot be with you; I am
going--I have prayed to stay, but it was not to be.  Your child will
comfort you, darling.  There is nothing like a child's love, Anna, to
make a woman forget old sorrows--kiss me, dear----"  She was gone.

And so Anna was to go down into the valley of the shadow of death
alone, and among strangers.



CHAPTER VIII.

IN DAYS OF WAITING.


  "Bent o'er her babe, her eyes dissolved in dew,
  The big drops mingled with the milk he drew
  Gave the sad presage of his future years--
  The child of misery, baptized in tears."--_John Langhorne_.


The days of Anna's waiting lagged.  She lost all count of time and
season.  Each day was painfully like its predecessor, a period of time
to be gone through with, as best she could.  She realized after her
mother's death what the gentle companionship had been to her, what a
prop the frail mother had become in her hour of need.  For a great
change had come over the querulous invalid with the beginning of her
daughter's troubles, the grievances of the woman of the world were
forgotten in the anxiety of the mother, and never by look or word did
she chide her daughter, or make her affliction anything but easier to
bear by her gentle presence.

Anna, sunk in the stupor of her own grief, did not realize the comfort
of her mother's presence until it was too late.  She shrank from the
strangers with whom they made their little home--a middle aged
shopkeeper and his wife, who had been glad enough to rent them two
unused rooms in their house at a low figure.  They were not lacking in
sympathy for young "Mrs. Lennox," but their disposition to ask
questions made Anna shun them as she would have an infection.  After
her mother's death, they tried harder than ever to be kind to her, but
the listless girl, who spent her days gazing at nothing, was hardly
aware of their comings and goings.

"If you would only try to eat a bit, my dear," said the corpulent Mrs.
Smith, bustling into Anna's room.  "And land sakes, don't take on so.
There you set in that chair all day long.  Just rouse yourself, my
dear; there ain't no trouble, however bad, but could be wuss."

To this dismal philosophy, Anna would return a wan smile, while she
felt her heart almost break within her.

"And, Mrs. Lennox, don't mind what I say to you.  I am old enough to be
your grandmother, but if you have quarreled with any one, don't be too
spunky now about making up.  Spunk is all right in its place, but its
place ain't at the bedside of a young woman who's got to face the trial
of her life.  If you have quarreled with any one--your--your husband,
say, now is the time to make it up, since your ma is gone."

The old woman looked at her with a strange mixture of motherliness and
curiosity.  As she said to her husband a dozen times a day, "her heart
just ached for that pore young thing upstairs," but this tender
solicitude did not prevent her ears from aching, at the same time, to
hear Anna's story.

"Thank you very much for your kind interest, Mrs. Smith; but really,
you must let me judge of my own affairs."  There was a dignity about
the girl that brooked no further interference.

"That's right, my dear, and I wouldn't have thought of suggesting it,
but you do seem that young--well, I must be going down to put the
potatoes on for dinner.  If you want anything, just ring your bell."

There was not the least resentment cherished by the corpulent Mrs.
Smith.  The girl's answer confirmed her opinion from the first.  "She
would not send for her husband, because there wasn't no husband to send
for."  She mentioned her convictions to her husband and added she meant
to write to sister Eliza that very night.

"Sister Eliza has an uncommon light hand with babies and that pore
young thing'll be hard pushed to pay the doctor, let alone a nurse."

These essentially feminine details regarding the talents of Sister
Eliza, did not especially interest Smith, who continued his favorite
occupation--or rather, joint occupations, of whittling and
expectorating.  Nevertheless, the letter to Sister Eliza was written,
and not a minute sooner than was necessary; for, the little soul that
was to bring with it forgetfulness for all the agony through which its
mother had lived during that awful year, came very soon after the
arrival of Sister Eliza.

Anna had felt in those days of waiting that she could never again be
happy; that for her "finis" had been written by the fates.  But, as she
lay with the dark-haired baby on her breast, she found herself planning
for the little girl's future; even happy in the building of those
heavenly air-castles that young mothers never weary of building.  She
felt the necessity of growing strong so that she could work early and
late, for baby must have everything, even if mother went without.
Sometimes a fleeting likeness to Sanderson would flit across the
child's face, and a spasm of pain would clutch at Anna's heart, but she
would forget it next moment in one of baby's most heavenly smiles.

She could think of him now without a shudder; even a lingering remnant
of tenderness would flare up in her heart when she remembered he was
the baby's father.  Perhaps he would see the child sometime, and her
sweet baby ways would plead to him more eloquently than could all her
words to right the wrong he had done, and so the days slipped by and
the little mother was happy, after the long drawn out days of waiting
and misery.  She would sing the baby to sleep in her low contralto
voice, and feel that it mattered not whether the world smiled or
frowned on her, so long as baby approved.

But this blessed state of affairs was not long to continue.  Anna, as
she grew stronger, felt the necessity of seeking employment, but to
this the baby proved a formidable obstacle.  No one would give a young
woman, hampered with a child, work.  She would come back to the baby at
night worn out in mind and body, after a day of fruitless searching.
These long trips of the little mother, with the consequent long absence
and exhaustion on her return, did not improve the little one's health,
and almost before Anna realized it was ailing, the baby sickened and
died.  It was her cruelest blow.  For the child's sake she had taken up
her interest in life, made plans; and was ready to work her fingers to
the bone, but it was not to be and with the first falling of the clods
on the little coffin, Anna felt the last ray of hope extinguished from
her heart.



CHAPTER IX.

ON THE THRESHOLD OF SHELTER.


  Alas!  To-day I would give everything
  To see a friend's face, or hear voice
  That had the slightest tone of comfort in it.--_Longfellow_.


About two miles from the town of Belden, N. H., stands an irregular farm
house that looks more like two dwellings forced to pass as one.  One part
of it is all gables, and tile, and chimney corners, and antiquity, and
the other is square, slated, and of the newest cut, outside and in.

The farm is the property of Squire Amasa Bartlett, a good type of the big
man of the small place.  He was a contented and would have been a happy
man--or at least thought he would have been--if the dearest wish of his
life could have been realized.  It was that his son, Dave, and his wife's
niece, Kate, should marry.  Kate was an orphan and the Squire's ward.
She owned the adjoining land, that was farmed with the Squire's as one.
So that Cupid would not have come to them empty handed; but the young
people appeared to have little interest in each other apart from that
cousinly affection which young people who are brought together would in
all probability feel for each other.

Dave was a handsome, dark-eyed young man, whose silence passed with some
for sulkiness; but he was not sulky--only deep and thoughtful, and
perhaps a little more devoid of levity than becomes a young man of
twenty-five.  He had great force of character--you might have seen that
from his grave brow, and felt it in his simple speech and manner, that
was absolutely free from affectation.

Dave was his mother's idol, but his utter lack of worldliness, his
inability to drive a shrewd bargain sometimes annoyed his father, who was
a just, but an undeniably hard man, who demanded a hundred cents for his
dollar every day in the year.

Kate, whom the family circle hoped would one day be David's wife, was all
blonde hair, blue eyes and high spirits, so that the little blind god,
aided by the Squire's strategy, propinquity and the universal law of the
attraction of opposites, should have had no difficulty in making these
young people fall in love--but Destiny, apparently, decided to make them
exceptions to all rules.

Kate was fond of going to Boston to visit a schoolmate, and the Squire,
who looked with small favor on these visits, was disposed to attribute
them to Dave's lack of ardor.

"Confound it, Looizy," he would say to his wife, "if Dave made it more
lively for Kate she would not be fer flying off to Boston every time she
got a chance."

And Mrs. Bartlett had no answer.  Having a woman's doubtful gift of
intuition, she was afraid that the wedding would never take place, and
also having a woman's tact she never annoyed her husband by saying so.

Kate, who had been in Boston for two months, was coming home about the
middle of July, and a little flutter of preparation went all over the
farm.

Dave had said at breakfast that he regretted not being able to go to
Wakefield to meet Kate, but that he would be busy in the north field all
day.  Hi Holler, the Bartlett chore boy, had been commissioned to go in
his stead, and Hi's toilet, in consequence, had occupied most of the
morning.

Mrs. Bartlett was churning in the shadow of the wide porch, the Squire
was mending a horse collar with wax thread, and fussing about the heat
and the slowness of Hi Holler, who was always punctually fifteen minutes
late for everything.

"Confound it, Looizy, what's keeping that boy; the train'll get in before
he's started.  Here you, Hi, what's keeping you?"

The delinquent stood in the doorway, his broad face rippling with smiles;
he had spent time on his toilet, but he felt that the result justified it.

His high collar had already begun to succumb to the day, and the labor
involved in greasing his boots, which were much in evidence, owing to the
brevity of the white duck trousers that needed but one or two more
washings, with the accompanying process of shrinking, to convert them
into knickerbockers.  Bear's grease had turned his ordinary curling brown
hair into a damp, shining mass that dripped in tiny rills, from time to
time, down on his coat collar, but Hi was happy.  Beau Brummel, at the
height of his sartorial fame, never achieved a more self-satisfying
toilet.

The Squire adjusted his spectacles.  "What are you dressing up like that
on a week day for, Hi?  Off with you now; and if you ain't in time for
them cars you'll catch 'Hail Columbia' when you get back."

"Looizy," said the Squire, as soon as Hi was out of hearing, "why didn't
Dave go after Katie?  Yes, I know about the hay.  Hay is hay, but it
ought not to come first in a man's affections."

"You'd better let 'em alone, Amasy; if they're going to marry they will
without any help from us; love affairs don't seem to prosper much, when
old folks interfere."

"Looizy, it's my opinion that Dave's too shy to make up to women folks.
I don't think he'll even get up the courage to ask Kate to marry him."

"Well, I never saw the man yet who was too bashful to propose to the
right woman."  And a great deal of decision went into the churning that
accompanied her words.

"Mebbe so, mebbe so," said the Squire.  He felt that the vagaries of the
affections was too deep a subject for him.  "Anyhow, Looizy, I don't want
no old maids and bachelors potterin' round this farm getting cranky
notions in their heads.  Look at the professor.  Why, a good woman would
have taken the nonsense out of him years ago."

Mrs. Bartlett did not have to go far to look at the professor.  He was
flying about her front garden at that very moment in an apparently
distracted state, crouching, springing, hiding back of bushes and
reappearing with the startling swiftness of magic.  The Bartletts were
quite used to these antics on the part of their well-paying summer
boarder.  He was chasing butterflies--a manifestly insane proceeding, of
course, but if a man could afford to pay ten dollars a week for summer
board in the State of New Hampshire, he could afford to chase butterflies.

Professor Sterling was an old young man who had given up his life to
entomology; his collection of butterflies was more vital to him than any
living issue; the Bartletts regarded him as a mild order of lunatic,
whose madness might have taken a more dangerous form than making up long
names for every-day common bugs.

"Look at him, just look at him, Looizy, sweating himself a day like this,
over a common dusty miller.  It beats all, and with his money."

"Well, it's a harmless amusement," said the kindly Louisa, "there's a
heap more harmful things that a man might chase than butterflies."

The stillness of the midsummer day was broken by the sound of far-off
singing.  It came in full-toned volume across the fields, the high
soaring of women's voices blended with the deeper harmony of men.

"What's that?" said the Squire testily, looking in the direction of the
strawberry beds, from whence the singing came.

"It's only the berry-pickers, father," said David, coming through the
field gate and going over to the well for a drink.

"I wish they'd work more and sing less," said the Squire.  "All this
singing business is too picturesque for me."

"They've about finished, father.  I came for the money to pay them off."

It was characteristic of Dave to uphold the rights of the berry-pickers.
They were all friends of his, young men and women who sang in the village
choir and who went out among their neighbors' berry patches in summer,
and earned a little extra money in picking the fruit.  The village
thought only the more of them for their thrift, and their singing at the
close of their work was generally regarded in the light of a favor.
Zeke, Sam, Cynthia and Amelia who formed the quartet, had all fine voices
and no social function for miles around Wakefield was complete without
their music.

The Squire said no more about the berry-pickers.  Dave handed him a paper
on which the time of each berry-picker and the amount of his or her wage
was marked opposite.  The Squire took it and adjusted his glasses with a
certain grimness--he was honest to the core, but few things came harder
to him than parting with money.

Dave and his mother at the churn exchanged a friendly wink.  The
extracting of coin from the head of the house was no easy process.
Mother and son both enjoyed its accomplishment through an outside agency.
It was too hard a process in the home circle to be at all agreeable.

While the Squire was wrestling with his arithmetic, Dave noticed a
strange girl pass by the outer gate, pause, go on and then return.  He
looked at her with deep interest.  She was so pale and tired-looking it
seemed as if she had not strength enough left to walk to the house.  Her
long lashes rested wearily on the pale cheeks.  She lifted them with an
effort, and Dave found himself staring eagerly in a pair of great,
sorrowful brown eyes.

The girl came on unsteadily up the walk to where the Squire sat, thumbing
his account to the berry-pickers.  "Well, girl, who are you?" he said,
not as unkindly as the words might imply.

The sound of her own voice, as she tried to answer his question, was like
the far-off droning of a river.  It did not seem to belong to her.  "My
name is Moore--Anna Moore--and I thought--I hoped perhaps you might be
good enough to give me work."  The strange faces spun about her eyes.
She tottered and would have fallen if Dave had not caught her.

Dave, the silent, the slow of action, the cool-headed, seemed suddenly
bereft of his chilling serenity.  "Here, mother, a chair; father, some
water, quick."  He carried the swooning girl to the shadow of the porch
and fanned her tenderly with his broad-brimmed straw hat.

The old people hastened to do his bidding.  Dave, excited and issuing
orders in that tone, was too unusual to be passed over lightly.

"What were you going to say, Miss Moore?" said the Squire as soon as the
brown eyes opened.

"I thought, perhaps, I might find something to do here--I'm looking for
work."

"Why, my dear," said Mrs. Bartlett, smoothing the dark curls, "you are
not fit to stand, let alone work."

"You could not earn your salt," was the Squire's less sympathetic way of
expressing the same sentiment.  "Where is your home?"

"I have no home."  She looked at them desperately, her dark eyes
appealing to one and the other, as if they were the jury that held her
life in the balance.  Only one pair of eyes seemed to hold out any hope.

"If you would only try me I could soon prove to you that I am not
worthless."  Unconsciously she held out her hand in entreaty.

"Here we are, here we are, all off for Boston!"  The voice was Hi's.  He
was just turning in at the field gate with Kate beside him.  Kate, a
ravishing vision, in pink muslin; a smiling, contented vision of happy,
rosy girlhood, coming back to the home-nest, where a thousand welcomes
awaited her.

"Hello, every one!" she said, running in and kissing them in turn, "how
nice it is to be home."

They forgot the homeless stranger and her pleading for shelter in their
glad welcome to the daughter of the house.  She had shrunk back into the
shadow.  She had never felt the desolation, the utter loneliness of her
position so keenly before.

"Hurrah for Kate!" cried the Squire, and everyone took it up and gave
three cheers for Kate Brewster.

The wanderer withdrew into the deepest shadow of the porch, that her
alien presence might not mar the joyous home-coming of Kate Brewster.
There was no jealousy in her soul for the fair girl who had such a royal
welcome back to the home-nest.  She would not have robbed her of it if
such a thing had been possible, but the sense of her own desolation
gripped at the heart like an iron band.

She waited like a mendicant to beg for the chance of earning her bread.
That was all she asked--the chance to work, to eat the bread of
independence, and yet she knew how slim the chance was.  She had been
wandering about seeking employment all day, and no one would give it.

Only Dave had not forgotten the stranger is the joy of Kate's
home-coming.  He had welcomed the flurry of excitement to say a few words
to his mother, his sworn ally in all the little domestic plots.

"Mother," he said, "do contrive to keep that girl.  It would be nothing
short of murder to turn her out on the highway."

A pressure of the motherly hand assured Dave that he could rely on her
support.

"Well, well, Katie," said the Squire with his arm around his niece's
waist, "the old place has been lonely without you!"

"Uncle, who is that girl on the porch?" she asked in an undertone.

"That we don't know; says her name is Moore, and that she wants work.
Kind of sounds like a fairy story, don't it, Kate?"

"Poor thing, poor thing!" was Kate's only answer.

"Amasy," said Mrs. Bartlett, assuming all the courage of a rabbit about
to assert itself, "this family is bigger than it was with Kate home and
the professor here, and I am not getting younger--I want you to let me
keep this young woman to help me about the house."

The Squire set his jaw, always an ominous sign to his family.  "I don't
like this takin' strangers, folks we know nothing about; it's mighty
suspicious to see a young woman tramping around the country, without a
home, looking for work.  I don't like it."

The girl, who sat apart while these strangers considered taking her in,
as if she had been a friendless dog, arose, her eyes were full of unshed
tears, her voice quivered, but pride supported her.  Turning to the
Squire, she said:

"You are suspicious because you are blest with both home and family.  My
mother died a few months ago, I myself have been ill.  I make this
explanation not because your kindness warrants it, sir, but because your
family would have been willing to take me on faith."  She bowed her head
in the direction of Mrs. Bartlett and Dave.

"Well," the Squire interrupted, "you need not go away hungry, you can
stop here and eat your dinner, and then Hi Holler can take you in the
wagon to the place provided for such unfortunate cases, and where you'll
have food and shelter."

"The poor farm, do you mean?" the girl said, wildly; "no, no; if you will
not give me work I will not take your charity."

"Father!" exclaimed Dave and his mother together.

"Now, now," said Kate, going up to the Squire and putting her hands on
his shoulders, "it seems to me as if my uncle's been getting a little
hard while I've been away from home, and I don't think it has improved
him a bit.  The uncle I left here had a heart as big as a house.  What
has he done with it?"

Here the professor came to Kate's aid.  "Squire," said he, "isn't it
written that 'If ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me?'"

"Well, well," said the Squire, "when a man's family are against him,
there's only one thing for him to do if he wants any peace of mind, and
that is to come round to their way, and I ain't never goin' to have it
said I went agin the _Scripter_."  He went over to Anna and took her
pale, thin hand in his great brown one.

"Well, little woman, they want you to stay, and I am not going to
interfere.  I leave it to you that I won't live to regret it."

This time the tears splashed down the pale cheeks.  "Dear sir, I thank
you, and I promise you shall never repent this kindness."  Then turning
to the rest--"I thank you all.  I can only repay you by doing my best."

"Well said, well said," and Kate gave her a sisterly pat on the shoulder.

Anna would not listen to Mrs. Bartlett's kind suggestion that she should
rest a little while.  She went immediately to the house, removed her hat,
and returned completely enveloped in a big gingham apron that proved
wonderfully becoming to her dark beauty--or was it that the homeless,
hunted look had gone out of those sorrowful eyes?

And so Anna Moore had found a home at last, one in which she would have
to work early and late to retain a foothold--but still a home, and the
word rang in her ears like a soothing song, after the anguish of the last
year.  Her youth and beauty, she had long since discovered, were only
barriers to the surroundings she sought.  There had been many who offered
to help the friendless girl, but their offers were such that death seemed
preferable, by contrast, and Anna had gone from place to place, seeking
only the right to earn her bread, and yet, finding only temptation and
danger.

Dave, passing out to the barn, stopped for a moment to regard her, as she
sat on the lowest step of the porch, with her sleeves rolled above the
elbow, working a bowl of butter.  He smiled at her encouragingly--it was
well that none of his family saw it.  Such a smile from the shy, silent
Dave might have been a revelation to the home circle.

[Illustration: Martha Perkins and Maria Poole.]



CHAPTER X.

ANNA AND SANDERSON AGAIN MEET.


  "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turn'd
  Nor hell a fury like a woman scorn'd."--_Congreve_.


"And who be you, with those big brown eyes, sitting on the Bartlett's
porch working that butter as if you've been used to handling butter all
your life?  No city girl, I'm sure."  Anna had been at the Squire's for
a week when the above query was put to her.

The voice was high and rasping.  The whole sentence was delivered
without breath or pause, as if it was one long word.  The speaker might
have been the old maid as portrayed in the illustrated weekly.  Nothing
was lacking--corkscrew curls, prunella boots, cameo brooch and chain, a
gown of the antiquated Redingote type, trimmed with many small ruffles
and punctuated, irrelevantly, with immovable buttons.

"I am Anna Moore."

"Know as much now as I ever did," snapped the interlocutor.

"I have come to work for Mrs. Bartlett, to help her about the house."

"Land sakes.  Bartlett's keeping help!  How stylish they're getting."

"Yes, Marthy, we are progressing," said Kate, coming out of the house.
"Anna, this is our friend, Miss Marthy Perkins."

The village gossip's confusion was but momentary.  "Do you know, Kate,
I just came over a-purpose to see if you'd come.  What kind of clothes
are they wearing in Boston?  Are shirtwaists going to have tucked backs
or plain?  I am going to make over my gray alpaca, and I wouldn't put
the scissors into it till I seen you."

"Come upstairs, Marthy, and I'll show you my new shirtwaists."

"Land sakes," said the spinster, bridling.  "I would be delighted, but
you know how I can't move without that Seth Holcomb a-taggin' after me;
it's just awful the way I am persecuted.  I do wish I'd get old and
then there'll be an end of it."  She held out a pair of mittens,
vintage of 1812, to Kate, appealingly.

Seth Holcomb stumped in sight as she concluded; he had been Martha's
faithful admirer these twenty years, but she would never reward him;
her hopes of younger and less rheumatic game seemed to spring eternal.

During the few days that Anna had made one of the Squire's family she
went about with deep thankfulness in her heart; she had been given the
chance to work, to earn her bread by these good people.  Who could
tell--as time went on perhaps they would grow fond of her, learn to
regard her as one of themselves--it was so much better than being so
utterly alone.

Her energy never flagged, she did her share of the work with the light
hand of experience that delighted the old housekeeper.  It was so good
to feel a roof over her head, and to feel that she was earning her
right to it.

Supper had been cooked, the table laid and everything was in readiness
for the family meal, but the old clock wanted five minutes of the hour;
the girl came out into the glowing sunset to draw a pail of water from
the old well, but paused to enjoy the scene.  Purple, gold and crimson
was the mantle of the departing day; and all her crushed and hopeless
youth rose, cheered by its glory.

"Thank God," she murmured fervently, "at last I have found a refuge.  I
am beginning life again.  The shadow of the old one will rest on me
forever, but time and work, the cure for every grief, will cure me."

Her eyes had been turned toward the west, where the day was going out
in such a riot of splendor, and she had not noticed the man who entered
the gate and was making his way toward her, flicking his boots with his
riding crop as he walked.

She turned suddenly at the sound of steps on the gravel; in the
gathering darkness neither could see nor recognize the other till they
were face to face.

The woman's face blanched, she stifled an exclamation of horror and
stared at him.

"You! you here!"

It was Lennox Sanderson, and the sight of him, so suddenly, in this
out-of-the-way place, made her reel, almost fainting against the
well-curb.

He grabbed her arm and shook her roughly, and said, "What are you doing
here, in this place?"

"I am trying to earn my living.  Go, go," she whispered.

"Do you think I came here after you?" he sneered.  "I've come to see
the Squire."  All the selfishness and cowardice latent in Sanderson's
character were reflected in his face, at that moment, destroying its
natural symmetry, disfiguring it with tell-tale lines, and showing him
at his par value--a weak, contemptible libertine, brought to bay.

This meeting with his victim after all these long months of silence, in
this remote place, deprived him, momentarily, of his customary poise
and equilibrium.  Why was she here?  Would she denounce him to these
people?  What effect would it have? were some of the questions that
whirled through his brain as they stood together in the gathering
twilight.

But the shrinking look in her eyes allayed his fears.  He read terror
in every line of her quivering figure, and in the frantic way she clung
to the well-curb to increase the space between them.  She, with the
right to accuse, unconsciously took the attitude of supplication.  The
man knew he had nothing to fear, and laid his plans accordingly.

"I don't believe you've come here to look for work," he said, stooping
over the crouching figure.  "You've come here to make trouble--to hound
the life out of me."

"My hope in coming here was that I might never see you again.  What
could I want of you, Lennox Sanderson?"

The measured contempt of her tones was not without its effect.  He
winced perceptibly, but his coarse instincts rallied to his help and
again he began to bully:

"Spare me the usual hard-luck story of the deceived young woman trying
to make an honest living.  If you insist on drudging, it's your own
fault.  I offered to take care of you and provide for your future, but
you received my offers of assistance with a 'Villain-take-your-gold'
style, that I was not prepared to accept.  If, as you say, you never
wish to see me again, what is simpler than to go away?"

His cold-blooded indifference, his utter withdrawal from the calamity
he had brought upon her, his airy suggestion that she should go because
it suited his pleasure to remain, maddened Anna.  The blood rushed to
her pale cheeks and there came her old conquering beauty with it.  She
eyed him with equal defiance.

"I shall not go, because it does not suit me."  And then wavering a
little at the thought of her wretched experience--"I had too much
trouble finding a place where an honest home is offered for honest
work, to leave this one for your whim.  No, I shall not go."

They heard footsteps moving about the house.  A lamp shone out from the
dining-room window.  The Squire's voice, inquiring for Kate, came
across to them on the still summer air.  They looked into each other's
pale, determined faces.  Which would yield?  It was the old struggle
between the sexes--a struggle old as earth, unsettled as chaos.

Which should yield?  The man who had sinned much, or the woman who had
loved much?

Sanderson employed all the force of his brutality to frighten Anna into
yielding.  "See here," and he caught her arm in no uncertain grasp.
"You've got to go.  You can't stay here in the same place with me.  If
money is what you want, you shall have it; but you've got to go.  Do
you understand?  _Go_!"

He had emphasized his words by tightening the grip on her arm, and the
pain of it well nigh made her cry out.  He relaxed his hold just as Hi
Holler came out on the porch, seized the supper horn and blew it
furiously.  The Squire came down and looked amazed at the smartly
dressed young city man talking to Anna.

"Squire," she said, taking the initiative, "this gentleman is inquiring
for you."

On hearing the Squire's footsteps, Sanderson turned to him with all the
cordiality at his command, and, slapping him on the back, said: "Hello,
Squire, I've just ridden over to talk to you about your prize Jersey
heifer."  The Squire had only met Sanderson once or twice before, and
that was prior to Kate's visit to Boston; but he knew all about the
young man who had become his neighbor.

Lennox Sanderson was a lucky fellow, and while waiting impatiently for
his father to start him in life, his uncle, the judge, died and
mentioned no one but Lennox Sanderson in his will.

The Squire had known the late Judge Sanderson, the "big man" of the
county, very well, and lost no time in cultivating the acquaintance of
the judge's nephew, who had fallen heir to the fine property the judge
had accumulated, no small part of which was the handsome "country seat"
of the judge in the neighborhood.

That is how this fine young city man happened to drop in on the Squire
so unceremoniously.  He had learned of Kate's return from Boston and
was hastening to pay his respects to the pretty girl.  To say he was
astounded to find Anna on the spot is putting it mildly.  He believed
she had learned of his good fortune and had followed him, to make
disagreeable exactions.  It put him in a rage and it cost him a strong
effort to conceal it before the Squire.

"Walk right in," said the Squire, beaming with hospitality.  Sanderson
entered and the girl found herself alone in the twilight.  Anna sat on
the bench by the well-curb and faced despair.  She was physically so
weak from her long and recent illness that the unexpected interview
with Sanderson left her faint and exhausted.  The momentary flare up of
her righteous indignation at Sanderson's outrageous proposition that
she should go away had sapped her strength and she made ready to meet
one of the great crises of life with nerveless, trembling body and a
mind incapable of action.

She pressed her throbbing head on the cool stones of the well-curb and
prayed for light.  What could she do--where could she go?  Her fate
rose up before her like a great stone prison wall at which she beat
with naked bleeding hand and the stones still stood in all their
mightiness.

How could she cope with such heartless cruelty as that of Sanderson?
All that she had asked for was an honest roof in return for honest
toil.  And there are so few such, thought the helpless girl,
remembering with awful vividness her efforts to find work and the
pitfalls and barriers that had been put in her way, often in the guise
of friendly interest.

She could not go out and face it all over again.  It was so bleak--so
bleak.  There seemed to be no place in the great world that she could
fill, no one stood in need of her help, no one required her services.
They had no faith in her story that she was looking for work and had no
home.

"What, a good-looking young girl like you!  What, no home?  No, no; we
don't need you," or the other frightful alternative.

And yet she must go.  Sanderson was right.  She could not stay where he
was.  She must go.  But where?

She could hear his voice in the dining-room, entertaining them all with
his inimitable gift of story-telling.  And then, their laughter--peal
on peal of it--and his voice cutting in, with its well-bred modulation:
"Yes, I thought it was a pretty good story myself, even if the joke was
on me."  And again their laughter and applause.  She had no weapons
with which to fight such cold-blooded selfishness.  To stay meant
eternal torture.  She saw herself forced to face his complacent sneer
day after day and death on the roadside seemed preferable.

She tried to face the situation in all its pitiful reality, but the
injustice of it cried out for vengeance and she could not think.  She
could only bury her throbbing temples in her hands and murmur over and
over again: "It is all wrong."

David found her thus, as he made his way to the house from the barn,
where he had been detained later than the others.  When he saw her
forlorn little figure huddled by the well-curb in an attitude of
absolute dejection, he could not go on without saying some word of
comfort.

"Miss Anna," he said very gently, "I hope you are not going to be
homesick with us."

She lifted a pale, tear-stained face, on which the lines of suffering
were written far in advance of her years.

"It does not matter, Mr. David," she answered him, "I am going away."

"No, no, you are not going to do anything of the kind," he said gently;
"the work seems hard today because it is new, but in a day or two you
will become accustomed to it, and to us.  We may seem a bit hard and
unsympathetic; I can see you are not used to our ways of living, and
looking at things, but we are sincere, and we want you to stay with us;
indeed, we do."

She gave him a wealth of gratitude from her beautiful brown eyes.  "It
is not that I find the place hard, Mr. David.  Every one has been so
kind to me that I would be glad to stay, but--but----"

He did not press her for her reason.  "You have been ill, I believe you
said?"

"Yes, very ill indeed, and there are not many who would give work to a
delicate girl.  Oh, I am sorry to go----"  She broke off wildly, and
the tears filled her eyes.

"Miss Anna, when one is ill, it's hard to know what is best.  Don't
make up your mind just yet.  Stay for a few days and give us a trial,
and just call on me when you want a bucket of water or anything else
that taxes your strength."

She tried to answer him but could not.  They were the first words of
real kindness, after all these months of sorrow and loneliness, and
they broke down the icy barrier that seemed to have enclosed her heart.
She bent her head and wept silently.

"There, there, little woman," he said, patting her shoulder when he
would have given anything to put his arm around her and offer her the
devotion of his life.  But Dave had a good bit of hard common sense
under his hat, and he knew that such a declaration would only hasten
her departure and the wise young man continued to be brotherly, to urge
her to stay for his mother's sake, and because it was so hard for a
young woman to find the proper kind of a home, and really she was not a
good judge of what was best for her.

And Anna, whose storm-swept soul was so weary of beating against the
rocks, listened and made up her mind to enjoy the wholesome
companionship of these good people, for a little while at least.



CHAPTER XI.

RUSTIC HOSPITALITY.


  "Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crowned,
  Where all the ruddy family around
  Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
  Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale."--_Goldsmith_.


Sanderson's clothes, his manner, his slightly English accent, were all
so many items in a good letter of credit to those simple people.  The
Squire was secretly proud at having a city man like young Sanderson for
a neighbor.  It would unquestionably add tone to Wakefield society.

Kate regarded him with the frank admiration of a young woman who
appreciates a smart appearance, good manner, and the indefinable
something that goes to make up the ensemble of the man of the world.
He could say nothing, cleverly; he had little subtleties of manner that
put the other men she had met to poor advantage beside him.  On the
night in question the Squire was giving a supper in honor of the
berry-pickers who had helped to gather in the crop the week before.
Afterwards, they would sing the sweet, homely songs that all the
village loved, and then troop home by moonlight to the accompaniment of
their own music.

"Well, Mr. Sanderson," said the Squire, "suppose you stay to supper
with us.  See, we've lots of good company"--and he waved his hand,
indicating the different groups, "and we'll talk about the stock
afterwards."

He accepted their invitation to supper with flattering alacrity; they
were so good to take pity on a solitaire, and Mrs. Bartlett was such a
famous housekeeper; he had heard of her apple-pies in Boston.  Dave
scented patronage in his "citified" air; he and other young men at the
table--young men who helped about the farm--resented everything about
the stranger from the self-satisfied poise of his head to the
aggressive gloss on his riding-boots.

"Why, Dave," said Kate to her cousin in an undertone, "you look
positively fierce.  If I had a particle of vanity I should say you were
jealous."

"When I get jealous, Kate, it will be of a man, not of a tailor's sign."

"Say, Miss Kate," said Hi Holler, "they're a couple of old lengths of
stove-pipes out in the loft; I'm going to polish 'em up for leggins.
Darned if I let any city dude get ahead o' me."

"The green-eyed monster is driving you all crazy," laughed Kate, in
great good humor.  "The girls don't seem to find any fault with him."
Cynthia and Amelia were both regarding him with admiring glances.

Dave turned away in some impatience.  Involuntarily his eyes sought out
Anna Moore to see if she, too, was adding her quota of admiration to
the stranger's account.  But Anna had no eyes or ears for anything but
the business of the moment, which was attending to the Squire's guests.
Evidently one woman could retain her senses in the presence of this
tailor's figure.  Dave's admiration of Anna went up several points.

She slipped about as quietly as a spirit, removing and replacing dishes
with exquisite deftness.  Even the Squire was forced to acknowledge
that she was a great acquisition to the household.  She neither sought
to avoid nor to attract the attention of Sanderson; she waited on him
attentively and unobtrusively as she would have waited on any other
guest at the Squire's table.  The Squire and Sanderson retired to the
porch to discuss the purchase of the stock, and Mrs. Bartlett and Anna
set to work to clear away the dishes.  Kate excused herself from
assisting, as she had to assume the position as hostess and soon had
the church choir singing in its very best style.  Song after song rang
out on the clear summer air.  It was a treat not likely to be forgotten
soon by the listeners.  All the members of the choir had what is known
as "natural talent," joined to which there was a very fair amount of
cultivation, and the result was music of a most pleasing type, music
that touches the heart--not a mere display Of vocal gymnastics.

Toward the close of the festivities, the sound of wheels was heard, and
the cracked voice of Rube Whipple, the town constable, urging his
ancient nag to greater speed, issued out of the darkness.  Rube was
what is known as a "character."  He had held the office, which on
account of being associated with him had become a sort of municipal
joke, in the earliest recollections of the oldest inhabitants.  He
apparently got no older.  For the past fifty years he had looked as if
he had been ready to totter into the grave at any moment, but he took
it out apparently, in attending to other people's funerals instead.
His voice was cracked, he walked with a limp, and his clothes, Hi
Holler said: "was the old suit Noah left in the ark."

The choir had just finished singing "Rock of Ages" as the constable
turned his venerable piece of horseflesh into the front yard.

"Well, well," he said, in a voice like a graphophone badly in need of
repair, "I might have knowed it was the choir kicking up all that
rumpus.  Heard the row clear up to the postoffice, and thought I'd come
up to see if anyone was getting murdered."

"Thought you'd be on the spot for once, did you, Rube?" inquired Hi
Holler.  "Well, seeing you're here, we might accommodate you, by
getting up a murder, or a row, or something.  'Twould be too bad to
have nothing happen, seeing you are on hand for once."

The choir joined heartily in the laugh on the constable, who waited
till it had subsided and then said:

"Well, what's the matter with jailing all of you for disturbing the
public peace.  There's law for it--'disturbin' the public peace with
strange sounds at late and unusual hours of the night.'"

"All right, constable," said Cynthia, "I suppose you'll drive us to
jail in that rig o' yourn.  I'd be willing to stay there six months for
the sake o' driving behind so spry a piece of horse-flesh as that."

"'Tain't the horseflesh she's after, constable, it's the driver.
Everyone 'round here knows how Cynthia dew admire you."

"Professional jealousy is what's at the bottom of this," declared Kate,
"the choir is jealous of Uncle Rube's reputation as a singer, and Uncle
Rube does not care for the choir's new-fangled methods of singing.
Rivalry!  Rivalry!  That's what the matter."

"That's right, Miss Kate," squeaked the constable, "they're jealous of
my singing.  There ain't one of 'em, with all their scaling, and
do-re-mi-ing can touch me.  If I turned professional to-day, I'd make
more'n all of 'em put together."

"That's cause they'd pay you to quit.  Ha, ha," said Hi Holler.

And so the evening passed with the banter that invariably took place
when Rube was of the party.  It was late when they left the Squire's,
the constable going along with them, and all singing merrily as birds
on a summer morning.

David went out under the stars and smoked innumerable pipes, but they
did not give their customary solace to-night.  There was an upheaval
going on in his well regulated mind.  "Who was she?  What was the
mystery about her?  How did a girl like that come to be tramping about
the country looking for work?"  Her manner of speaking, the very
intonations of her voice, her choice of words, all proclaimed her from
a different world from theirs.  He had noticed her hands, white and
fragile, and her small delicate wrists.  They did not belong to a
working woman.

And her eyes, that seemed to hold the sorrows of centuries in their
liquid depths.  What was the mystery of it all?  And that insolent city
chap!  What a look he had given her.  The memory of it made Dave's
hands come together as if he were strangling something.  But it was all
too deep for him.  The lights glimmered in the rooms upstairs.  His
father walked to the outer gate to say good-night to Mr. Sanderson--and
he tried to justify the feeling of hatred he felt toward Sanderson, but
could not.  The sound of a shutter being drawn in, caused him to look
up.  Anna, leaned out in the moonlight for a moment before drawing in
the blind.  Dave took off his hat--it was an unconscious act of
reverence.  The next moment, the grave, shy countryman had smiled at
his sentimentality.  The shutters closed and all was dark, but Dave
continued to think and smoke far into the night.

The days slipped by in pleasant and even tenor.  The summer burned
itself out in a riot of glorious colors, the harvest was gathered in,
and the ripe apples fell from the trees--and there was a wail of coming
winter to the night wind.  Anna Moore had made her place in the
Bartlett family.  The Squire could not imagine how he ever got along
without her; she always thought of everyone's comfort and remembered
their little individual likes and dislikes, till the whole household
grew to depend on her.

But she never spoke of herself nor referred to her family, friends or
manner of living, before coming to the Bartlett farm.

When she had first come among them, her beauty had caused a little
ripple of excitement among the neighbors; the young men, in particular,
were all anxious to take her to husking bees and quilting parties, but
she always had some excellent excuse for not going, and while her
refusals were offered with the utmost kindness, there was a quiet
dignity about the girl that made any attempt at rustic playfulness or
familiarity impossible.

Sanderson came to the house from time to time, but Anna treated him
precisely as she would have treated any other young man who came to the
Squire's.  She was the family "help," her duty stopped in announcing
the guests--or sometimes, and then she felt that fate had been
particularly cruel--in waiting on him at table.

Once or twice when Sanderson had found her alone, he had attempted to
speak to her.  But she silenced him with a look that seat him away
cowering like a whipped cur.  If he had any interest in any member of
the Squire's family, Anna did not notice it.  He was an ugly scar on
her memory, and when not actually in his presence she tried to forget
that he lived.



CHAPTER XII.

KATE BREWSTER HOLDS SANDERSON'S ATTENTION.


  "A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
  Incapable of pity, void and empty
  From any dram of mercy."--_Shakespeare_.


It was perhaps owing to the fact that Anna strove hourly to eliminate
the memory of Lennox Sanderson from her life, that she remained wholly
unaware of that which every member of the Squire's household was
beginning to notice: namely, that Lennox Sanderson was becoming daily
more attentive to Kate Brewster.

She had more than once hazarded a guess on why a man of Sanderson's
tastes should care to remain in so quiet a neighborhood, but could
arrive at no solution of the case.  In discussing him, she had heard
the Bartletts quote his reason, that he was studying practical farming,
and later on intended to take it up, on a large scale.  When she had
first seen him at the Squire's, she had made up her mind that it would
be better for her to go away, but the memory of the homeless wanderings
she had endured after her mother's death, filled her with terror, and
after the first shock of seeing Sanderson, she concluded that it was
better to remain where she was, unless he should attempt to force his
society on her, in which case she would have to go, if she died by the
wayside.

Dave was coming across the fields late one autumn afternoon when he saw
Anna at the well, trying with all her small strength to draw up a
bucket of water.  The well--one of the old-fashioned kind that worked
by a "sweep" and pole, at the end of which hung "the old oaken bucket"
which Anna drew up easily till the last few feet and then found it was
hard work.  She had both hands on the iron bale of the bucket and was
panting a little, when a deep, gentle voice said in her ear: "Let go,
little woman, that's too heavy for you."  And she felt the bucket taken
forcibly out of her hand.

"Never mind me, Mr. David," she said, giving way reluctantly.

"Always at some hard work or other," he said; "you won't quit till you
get laid up sick."

He filled the water-pail from the bucket for her, which she took up and
was about to go when he found courage to say:

"Won't you stay a minute, Anna, I want to talk to you.

"Anna, have you any relatives?"

"Not now."

"But have you no friends who knew you and loved you before you came to
us?"

"I want nothing of my friends, Mr. David, but their good will."

"Anna, why will you persist in cutting yourself off from the rest of
the world like this?  You are too good, too womanly a girl, to lead
this colorless kind of an existence forever."

She looked at him pleadingly out of her beautiful eyes.  "Mr. David,
you would not be intentionally cruel to me, I know, so don't speak to
me of these things.  It only distresses _me_--and can do you no good."

"Forgive me, Anna, I would not hurt you for the world--but you must
know that I love you.  Don't you think you could ever grow to care for
me?"

"Mr. David, I shall never marry any one.  Do not ask me to explain, and
I beg of you, if you have a feeling of even ordinary kindness for me.
that you will never mention this subject to me again.  You remember how
I promised your father that if he would let me make my home with you,
he should never live to regret it?  Do you think that I intend to repay
the dearest wish of his heart in this way?  Why, Mr. David, you are
engaged to marry Kate."  She took up the water-pail to go.

"Kate's one of the best girls alive, but I feel toward her like a
brother.  Besides, Anna, what have you been doing with those big brown
eyes of yours?  Don't you see that Kate and Lennox Sanderson are head
over heels in love with each other?"

The pail of water slipped from Anna's hand and sent a flood over
David's boots.

"No, no--anything but that!  You don't know what you are saying!"

Dave looked at her in absolute amazement.  He had no chance to reply.
As if in answer to his remark, there came through the outer gate, Kate
and Sanderson arm in arm.  They had been gathering golden-rod, and
their arms were full of the glory of autumn.

There was a certain assumption of proprietary right in the way that
Sanderson assisted Kate with the golden-rod that Anna recognized.  She
knew it, and falseness of it burned through, her like so much corrosive
acid.  She stood with the upturned pail at her feet, unable to recover
her composure, her bosom heaving high, her eyes dilating.  She stood
there, wild as a startled panther, uncertain whether to fight or fly.

"You don't know what a good time we've been having," Kate called out.

"You see, Anna dear, I was right," David said to her.

But Anna did not answer.  Sorrow had broken her on its wheel.  Where
was the justice of it?  Why should he go forth to seek his
happiness--and find it--and she cower in shame through all the years to
come?

Dave saw that she had forgotten his presence; she stood there in the
gathering night with wild, unseeing eyes.  Memory had turned back the
hands of the clock till it pointed out that fatal hour on another
golden afternoon in autumn, and Sanderson, the hero of the hour, had
come to her with the marks of battle still upon him, and as the crowd
gave away for him, right and left, he had said: "I could not help
winning with your eyes on me."

Oh, the lying dishonor of it!  It was not jealousy that prompted her,
for a moment, to go to Kate and tell her all.  What right had such
vultures as he to be received, smiled upon, courted, caressed?  If
there was justice on earth, his sin should have been branded on him,
that other women might take warning.

Dave knew that her thoughts had flown miles wide of him, and his
unselfishness told him that it would be kindness to go into the house
and leave her to herself, which he did with a heavy heart and many
misgivings.

Hi Holler had none of Dave's sensitiveness.  He saw Anna standing by
the gate, and being a loquacious soul, who saw no advantage in silence,
if there was a fellow creature to talk to; he came up grinning: "Say,
Anna, I wonder if me and you was both thinkin' about the same thing--I
was thinkin' as I seen Sanderson and Kate passing that I certainly
would enjoy a piece o' weddin' cake, don't care whose it was."

"No, Hi," Anna said, being careful to restrain any bitterness of tone,
"I certainly was not wishing for a wedding cake."

"I certainly do like wedding cake, Anna, but then, I like everything to
eat.  Some folks don't like one thing, some folks don't like another.
Difference between them an' me is, I like everything."

Anna laughed in spite of herself.

"Yes, since I like everything, and I like it all the time, why, I ain't
more than swallowed the last buckwheat for breakfast, than I am ready
for dinner.  You don't s'pose I'm sick or anything, do you, Anna?"

"I don't think the symptoms sound alarming, Hi."

"Well, you take a load off my mind, Anna, cause I was getting scared
about myself."  Seeing the empty water-pail, Hi refilled it and carried
it in the house for Anna.  Dave was not the only one in that household
who was miserable, owing to Cupid's unaccountable antics.  Professor
Sterling, the well-paying summer boarder, continued to remain with the
Bartletts, though summer, the happy season during which the rustic may
square his grudge with the city man within his gates, had long since
passed.

The professor had spared enough time from his bugs and beetles to
notice how blue Kate's eyes were, and how luxurious her hair; then he
had also, with some misgivings, regarded his own in the mirror, with
the unassuring result that his hair was thinning on top and his eyes
looked old through his gold-bowed spectacles.

The discovery did not meet with the indifference one might have
expected on the part of the conscientious entomologist.  He fell even
to the depths of reading hair-restoring circulars and he spent
considerable time debating whether he should change his spectacles for
a pince-nez.

The spectacles, however, continued to do their work nobly for the
professor, not only assisting him to make his scientific observations
on the habits of a potato-bug in captivity, but showing him with far
more clearness that Kate Brewster and Lennox Sanderson contrived to
spend a great deal of time in each other's society, and that both
seemed to enjoy the time thus spent.

The professor went back to his beetles, but they palled.  The most
gorgeous butterfly ever constructed had not one-tenth the charm for him
that was contained in a glance of Kate Brewster's eyes, or a glimpse of
her golden head as she flitted about the house.  And so the autumn
waned.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE QUALITY OF MERCY


  "Teach me to feel another's woe,
  To hide the fault I see;
  That mercy I to others show,
  That mercy show to me."--_Pope_.


Sanderson, during his visits to the Bartlett farm--and they became more
frequent as time went on--would look at Anna with cold curiosity, not
unmixed with contempt, when by chance they happened to be alone for a
moment.  But the girl never displayed by so much as the quiver of an
eye-lash that she had ever seen him before.

Had Lennox Sanderson been capable of fathoming Anna Moore, or even of
reading her present marble look or tone, he would have seen that he had
little to apprehend from her beyond contempt, a thing he would not in
the least have minded; but he was cunning, and like the cunning
shallow.  So he began to formulate plans for making things even with
Anna--in other words, buying her off.

His admiration for Kate deepened in proportion as the square of that
young woman's reserve increased.  She was not only the first woman who
refused to burn incense at his shrine, but also the first who frankly
admitted that she found him amusing.  She mildly guyed his accent, his
manner of talking, his London clothes, his way of looking at things.
Never having lived near a university town, she escaped the traditional
hero worship.  It was a new sensation for Sanderson, and eventually he
succumbed to it.

"You know, Miss Kate," he said one day, "you are positively the most
refreshing girl I have ever met.  You don't know how much I love you."

Kate considered for a moment.  There was a hint of patronage, it seemed
to her, in his compliment, that she did not care for.

"Oh, consider the debt cancelled, Mr. Sanderson.  You have not found my
rustic simplicity any more refreshing than I have found your poster
waistcoats."

"Why do you persist is misunderstanding and hurting me?"

"I apologize to your waistcoats, Mr. Sanderson.  I have long considered
them the substitute for your better nature."

"Better natures and that sort of thing have rather gone out of style,
haven't they?"

"They are always out of style with people who never had them."

"Is this quarreling, Kate, or making love?"

"Oh, let's make it quarreling, Mr. Sanderson.  And now about that horse
you lent me.  That's a vile bit you've got on him."  And the
conversation turned to other things, as it always did when he tried to
be sentimental with Kate.  Sometimes he thought it was not the girl,
but her resistance, that he admired so much.

Things in the Bartlett household were getting a bit uneasy.  The Squire
chafed that his cherished project of Kate and Dave's marrying seemed no
nearer realization now than it had been two years ago.

Dave's equable temper vanished under the strain and uncertainty
regarding Anna Moore's silence and apparent indifference to him.  He
would have believed her before all the world; her side of the story was
the only version for him; but Anna did not see fit to break her
silence.  When he would approach her on the subject she would only say:

"Mr. David, your father employs me as a servant.  I try to do my work
faithfully, but my past life concerns no one but myself."

And Dave, fearing that she might leave them, if he continued to force
his attentions on her, held his peace.  The thought of losing even the
sight of her about the house wrung his heart.  He could not bear to
contemplate the long winter days uncheered by her gentle presence.

It was nearly Thanksgiving.  The first snow had come and covered up
everything that was bare and unsightly in the landscape with its
beautiful mantle of white, and Anna, sitting by the window, dropped the
stocking she was darning to press the bitter tears back to her eyes.

The snow had but one thought for her.  She saw it falling, falling soft
and feathery on a baby's grave in the Episcopal Cemetery at Somerville.
She shivered; it was as if the flakes were falling on her own warm
flesh.

If she could but go to that little grave and lie down among the
feathery flakes and forget it all, it would be so much easier than this
eternal struggle to live.  What had life in store for her?  There was
the daily drudgery, years and years of it, and always the crushing
knowledge of injustice.

She knew how it would be.  Scandal would track her down--put a price on
her head; these people who had given her a home would hear, and what
would all her months of faithful service avail?

"Is this true?" she already heard the Squire say in imagination, and
she should have to answer: "Yes"--and there would be the open door and
the finger pointing to her to go.

She heard the Squire's familiar step on the stair; unconsciously, she
crouched lower; had he come to tell her to go?

But the Squire came in whistling, a picture of homely contentment,
hands in pocket, smiling jovially.  She knew there must be no telltale
tears on her cheeks, even if her heart was crying out in the cold and
snow.  She knew the bitterness of being denied the comfort of tears.
It was but one of the hideous train of horrors that pursued a woman in
her position.

She forced them back and met the Squire with a smile that was all the
sweeter for the effort.

"Here's your chair, Squire, all ready waiting for you, and the only
thing you want to make you perfectly happy--is--guess?"  She held out
his old corncob pipe, filled to perfection.

"I declare, Anna, you are just spoiling me, and some day you'll be
going off and getting married to some of these young fellows 'round
here, and where will I be then?"

"You need have no fears on that score," she said, struggling to
maintain a smile.

"Well, well, that's what girls always say, but I don't know what we'll
do without you.  How long have you been with us, now?"

"Let me see," counting on her fingers: "just six months."

"So it is, my dear.  Well, I hope it will be six years before you think
of leaving us.  And, Anna, while we are talking, I like to say to you
that I have felt pretty mean more than once about the way I treated you
that first day you come."

"Pray, do not mention it, Squire.  Your kindness since has quite made
me forget that you hesitated to take an utter stranger into your
household."

"That was it, my dear--an utter stranger--and you cannot really blame
me; here was Looizy and Kate and I was asked to take into the house
with them a young woman whom I had never set eyes on before; it seemed
to me a trifle risky, but you've proved that I was wrong, my dear, and
I'll admit it."

The girl dropped the stocking she was mending; her trembling hand
refused to support even the pretense of work.  Outside the snow was
falling just as it was falling, perhaps, on the little grave where all
her youth and hope were buried.

The thought gave her courage to speak, though the pale lips struggled
pitifully to frame the words.

"Squire, suppose that when I came to you that day last June you had
been right--I am only saying this for the sake of argument, Squire--but
suppose that I had been a deceived girl, that I had come here to begin
all over again; to live down the injustice, the scandal and all the
other things that unfortunate woman have to live down, would you still
have felt the same?"

"Why, Anna, I never heard you talk like this before; of course I should
have felt the same; if a commandment is broke, it's broke; nothing can
alter that, can it?"

"But, Squire, is there no mercy, no chance held out to the woman who
has been unfortunate?"

"Anna, these arguments don't sound well from a proper behaving young
woman like you.  I know it's the fashion nowadays for good women to
talk about mercy to their fallen sisters, but it's a mistake.  When a
woman falls, she loses her right to respect, and that's the end of it."

She turned her face to the storm and the softly falling flakes were no
whiter than her face.

As Anna turned to leave the room on some pretext, she saw Kate coming
in with a huge bunch of Jacqueminot roses in her hand.  Of course,
Sanderson had sent them.  The perfume of them sickened Anna, as the
odor of a charnel house might have done.   She tried to smile bravely
at Kate, who smiled back triumphantly as she went in to show her uncle
the flowers.  But the sight of them was like the turning of a knife in
a festering wound.

Anna made her way to the kitchen.  Dave was sitting there smoking.
Anna found strength and sustenance in his mere presence, though she did
not say a word to him, but he was such a faithful soul.  Good, honest
Dave.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE VILLAGE GOSSIP SNIFFS SCANDAL.


  "Flavia, most tender of her own good name,
  Is rather careless of her sister's fame!
  Her superfluity the poor supplies,
  But if she touch a character it dies."--_Cowper_.


It was characteristic of Marthy Perkins and her continual pursuit of
pleasure, that she should wade through snowdrifts to Squire Bartlett's
and ask for a lift in his sleigh.  The Squire's family were going to a
surprise party to be given to one of the neighbor's, and Marthy was as
determined about going as a debutante.

She came in, covered with snow, hooded, shawled and coated till she
resembled a huge cocoon.  The Squire placed a big armchair for her near
the fire, and Marshy sat down, but not without disdaining Anna's offers
to remove her wraps.  She sniffed at Anna--no other word will express
it--and savagely clutched her big old-fashioned muff when Anna would
have taken it from her to dry it of the snow.

The sleighbells jingled merrily as the different parties drove by,
singing, whistling, laughing, on their way to the party.  The church
choir, snugly installed in "Doc" Wiggins' sleigh, stopped at the
Squire's to "thaw out," and try a step or two; Rube Whipple, the town
constable, giving them his famous song, "All Bound 'Round with a Woolen
String."

Rube was, as usual, the pivot around which the merry-making centered.
A few nights before, burglars had broken into the postoffice and
carried off the stamps, and the town constable was, as usual, the last
one to hear of it.  On the night in question, he had spent the evening
at the corner grocery store with a couple of his old pals, the stove
answering the purpose of a rather large bulls-eye, at which they
expectorated, with conscientious regularity, from time to time.  Seth
Holcomb, Marthy Perkins' faithful swain, had been of the corner grocery
party.

"Well, Constable, hear you and Seth helped keep the stove warm the
other night, while thieves walked off with the postoffice," Marthy
announced; "what I'd like to know is, how much bitters, rheumatism
bitters, you had during the evening?"

"Well, Marthy Perkins, you ought to be the last to throw it up to Seth
that he's obliged to spend his evenings round a corner grocery--that's
adding insult to injury."

"Insult to injury I reckon can stand, Rube; it's when you add Seth's
bitters that it staggers."

But Seth, who never minded Marthy's stings and jibes, only remarked:
"The recipy for them bitters was given to me by a blame good doctor."

"That cuts you out, Wiggins," the Squire said playfully.

"No, I don't care about standing father to Seth's bitters," "Doc"
Wiggins remarked, "but I've tasted worse stuff on a cold night."

"Oh, Seth ain't pertickler about the temperature, when he takes a dose
of bitters.  Hot or cold, it's all the same to him," finished Marthy.

Seth took the opportunity to whisper to her: "You're going to sit next
to me in 'Doc' Wiggins' sleigh to-night, ain't you, Marthy?"

"Indeed I ain't," said the spinster, scornfully tossing her head, "my
place will have to be filled by the bitters-bottle; I am going with the
Squire and Mrs. Bartlett."

"Doc" Wiggins' party left in high good humor, the Squire and his party
promising to follow immediately.  Anna ran upstairs to get Mrs.
Bartlett's bonnet and cloak, and Marthy, with a great air of mystery,
got up, and, carefully closing the door after the girl, turned to the
Squire and his wife with:

"I've come to tell you something about her."

"Something about Anna?" said the Squire indignantly.

"Oh, no, not about our Anna," protested Mrs. Bartlett: "Why, she is the
best kind of a girl; we are all devoted to her."

"That's just the saddest part of it, I says to myself when I heard.
How can I ever make up my mind to tell them pore, dear Bartletts, who
took her in, and has been treating her like one of their own family
ever since?  It will come hard on, them, I sez, but that ought not to
deter me from my duty."

"Look here, Marthy," thundered the Squire, "if you've got anything to
say about that girl, out with it----"

"Well, land sake--you needn't be so touchy; she ain't kin to you, and
you might thank your lucky stars she ain't."

"Well, what is it, Marthy?" interposed Mrs. Bartlett.  "Anna'll be down
in a minute."

"Well, you know, I have been sewin' down to Warren Center this last
week, and Maria Thomson, from Belden, was visiting there, and naturally
we all got to talking 'bout folks up this way, and that girl Anna
Moore's name was mentioned, and I'm blest if Maria Thomson didn't
recognize her from my description.

"I was telling them 'bout the way she came here last June, pale as a
ghost, and how she said her mother had just died and she'd been sick,
and they knew right off who she was."

Marthy loved few things as she did an interested audience.  It was her
meat and drink.

"Well, she didn't call herself Moore in Belden, though that was her
mother's name--she called herself Lennox," Marthy grinned.  "She was
one of those married ladies who forgot their wedding rings."

The Squire knit his brows and his jaws came together with a snap; there
were tears in Mrs. Bartlett's eyes.  The gossip looked from one to the
other to see the impression her words were making.

It spurred her on to new efforts.  She positively rolled the words
about in delight before she could utter them.

"Well, the girl's mother, who had been looking worried out of her skin,
took sick and died all of a sudden, and the girl took sick herself very
soon afterwards--and what do you think?  A girl baby was born to Mrs.
Lennox, but her husband never came near her.  Fortunately, the baby did
not live to embarrass her.  It died, and she packed up and left Belden.
That's when she came here.

"And now," continued the village inquisitor, summing up her terrible
evidence, "what are we to think of a girl called Miss Moore in one town
and Mrs. Lennox in the other, with no sign of a wedding ring and no
sign of a husband?  And what are we going to think of that baby?  It
seems to me scandalous."  And she leaned back in her chair and rocked
furiously.

[Illustration: Martha Perkins tells the story of Anna Moore's past
life.]

The Squire brought his hand down or the table with terrible force, his
pleasant face, was distorted with rage and indignation.

"Just what I always said would come of taking in strange creatures that
we knew nothing about.  Do you think that I will have a creature like
that in my house with my wife and my niece, polluting them with her
very presence?--out she goes this minute!"

He strode over to the door through which Anna had passed a few moments
before, he flung it open and was about to call when he felt his wife
cling frantically to his arm.

"Father, don't do anything in anger that you'll repent of later.  How
do you know this is true?  Look how well the girl has acted since she
has been here"--and in a lower voice, "you know that Marthy's given to
talking."

The hand on the knob relaxed, a kindly light replaced the anger in his
eyes.

"You are right, Looizy, what we've heard is only hearsay, I'll not say
a word to the girl till I know; but to-morrow I am going to Belden and
find out the whole story from beginning to end."

Kate and the professor came in laden with wraps, laughing and talking
in great glee.  Kate was going to ride in the sleigh with the
professor, and the discovery of a new species of potato-bug could not
have delighted him more.  He was in a most gallant mood, and concluding
that this was the opportunity for making himself agreeable, he
undertook to put on Kate's rubbers over her dainty dancing slippers.

Perhaps it was a glimpse of the cobwebby black silk stocking that
ensnared his wits, perhaps it was the delight of kneeling to Kate even
in this humble capacity.  In either case, the result was equally
grotesque; Kate found her dainty feet neatly enclosed in the
professor's ungainly arctics, while he hopelessly contemplated her
overshoe and the size of his own foot.

Anna returned with Mrs. Bartlett's bonnet and cloak before the laugh at
the professor had subsided.  She adjusted the cloak, tied Mrs.
Bartlett's bonnet strings with daughterly care and then turned to look
after the Squire's comfort, but he strode past her to the sleigh with
Marthy.  Kate and the professor called on a cheery "Good-night," but
Mrs. Bartlett remained long enough to take the pretty, sorrowful face
in her hands and give it a sweet, motherly kiss.

When the jingling of the sleighbells died away across the snow, Hi
offered to read jokes to Anna from "Pickings from Puck," which he had
selected as a Christmas present from Kate, if she would consent to have
supper in the sitting-room, where it was warm and cosy.  Anna began to
pop the corn, and Hi to read the jokes with more effort than he would
have expended on the sawing of a cord of wood.

He bit into an apple.  An expression of perfect contentment illuminated
his countenance and in a voice husky with fruit began: "Oh, here is a
lovely one, Anna," and he declaimed, after the style usually employed
by students of the first reader.

"Weary Raggles: 'Say, Ragsy, w'y don't you ask 'em for something to eat
in dat house.  Is you afraid of de dog?'"

"Ragsy Reagan: 'No, I a-i-n-t 'fraid of the dog, but me pants is frayed
of him.'"

"Ha, ha, ha--say, Anna, that's the funniest thing I ever did see.  The
tramp wasn't frayed of him, but his pants was 'fraid of him.  Gee,
ain't that a funny joke?  And say, Anna, there's a picture with his
clothes all torn."

Hi was fairly convulsed; he read till the tears rolled down his cheeks.
"'Pickin's from Puck, the funniest book ever wrote.'  Here's another,
Anna."

"'A p-o-o-r old man was sunstruck on Broadway this morning.  His son
struck him for five dollars.'"  Hi sat pondering over it for a full
minute, then he burst into a loud guffaw that continued so long and
uproariously that neither heard the continued rapping on the front door.

"Hi, some one is knocking on the front door.  Do go and see who it is."

"O! let 'em knock, Anna; don't let's break up our party for strangers."

"Well, Hi, I'll have to go myself," and she laid down the corn-popper,
but the boy got up grumbling, lurched to the door and let in Lennox
Sanderson.

"'Tain't nobody at home, Mr. Sanderson," said Hi, inhospitably blocking
the way.  Anna had crouched over the fire, as if to obliterate herself.

"Here, Hi, you take this and go out and hold my horse; he's mettlesome
as the deuce this cold weather.  I want to get warm before I go to
Putnam's."

Hi put on his muffler, mits and cap--each with a favorite "swear word,"
such as "ding it," "dum it," "darn it."  Nevertheless he wisely
concluded to take the half dollar from him and save it for the spring
crop of circuses.

Anna started to leave the room, but Sanderson's peremptory "Stay here,
I've got to talk to you," detained her.

They looked into each other's faces--these two, who but a few short
months ago had been all in all to each other--and the dead fire was not
colder than their looks.

"Well, Anna," he said sneeringly, "what's your game?  You've been
hanging about here ever since I came to the neighborhood.  How much do
you want to go away?"

"Nothing that you could give me, Lennox Sanderson.  My only wish is
that I might be spared the sight of you."

"Don't beat around the bush, Anna; is it money, or what?  You are not
foolish enough to try to compel me to marry you?"

"Nothing could be further from my mind.  I did think once of compelling
you to right the wrong you have done me, but that is past.  It is
buried in the grave with my child."

"Then the child is dead?"  He came over to the fireplace where she
stood, but she drew away from him.

"You have nothing to fear from me, Lennox Sanderson.  The love I felt
once is dead, and I have no feeling for you now but contempt."

"You need not rub it in like that, Anna.  I was perfectly willing to do
the square thing by you always, but you flared up, went away, and
Heaven only knew what became of you.  It's bad enough to have things
made unpleasant for me in Boston on your account without having you
queering my plans here."

"Boston--I never told anyone in Boston."

"No, but that row got into the papers about Langdon and the Tremonts
cut me."

"Hush," said Anna, as a spasm of pain crossed her face: "I never wish
you to refer to my past life again."

"Indeed, Anna, I am only too anxious to do the right thing by you, even
now.  If you will go away, I will give you what you want, if you don't
intend to interfere between Kate and me."

"Are you sure that Kate is in earnest?  You know that the Squire
intends her to marry Dave."

"I shall have no difficulty in preventing that if you don't interfere."

She did not answer.  She was again considering the same old question
that she had thrashed out a thousand times--should she tell Kate?  How
would she take it?  Would the tragedy of her life be regarded as a
little wild-oat sowing on the part of Sanderson and her own eternal
disgrace?

The man was in no humor for her silence.  He grasped her roughly by the
arm, and his voice was raised loud in angry protest.  "Tell me--do you,
or do you not intend to interfere?"

In the excitement of the moment neither heard the outer door open, and
neither heard David enter.  He stood in his quiet way, looking from one
to the other.  Sanderson's angry question died away in some foolish
commonplace, but David had heard and Anna and Sanderson knew it.



CHAPTER XV.

DAVID CONFESSES HIS LOVE.


  "Come live with me and be my love;
  And we will all the pleasures prove
  That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
  Woods, or steep mountains, yield."--_Marlowe_.


Sanderson, recovering his self-possession almost immediately, drawled
out:

"Glad to see you, Dave.  Came over thinking I might be in time to go
over to Putnam's with your people.  They had gone, so I stopped long
enough to get warm.  I must be going now.  Good-night, Miss--Miss"--(he
seemed, to have great difficulty in recalling the name) "Moore."

David paid no attention to him; his eyes were riveted on Anna, who had
changed color and was now like ivory flushing into life.  She trembled
and fell to her knees, making a pretense of gathering up her knitting
that had fallen.

"What brought Sanderson here, Anna?  Is he anything to you--are you
anything to him?"

She tried to assume a playful lightness, but it failed dismally.  It
was all her pallid lips could do to frame the words: "Why, Mr. David,
what a curious question!  What possible interest could the 'catch' of
the neighborhood have in your father's servant?"

The suggestion of flippancy that her words contained irritated the
grave, quiet man as few things could have done.  He turned from her and
would have left the room, but she detained him.

"I am sorry I wounded you, Mr. David, but, indeed, you have no right to
ask."

"I know it, Anna, and you won't give me the right; but how dared that
cub Sanderson speak to you in that way?"  He caught her hand, and
unconsciously wrung it till she cried out in pain.  "Forgive me, dear,
I would not hurt you for the world; but that man's manner toward you
makes me wild."

She looked up at him from beneath her long, dark lashes; he thought her
eyes were like the glow of forest fires burning through brushwood.  "We
will never think of him again, Mr. David.  I assure you that I am no
more to Mr. Sanderson than he is to me, and that is--nothing."

"Thank you for those words, Anna.  I cannot tell you how happy they
make me.  But I do not understand you at all.  Even a countryman like
me can see that you have never been used to our rough way of living;
you were never born to this kind of thing, and yet when that man
Sanderson looks at you or talks to you, there is always an undertone of
contempt in his look, his words."

She sank wearily into an armchair.  It seemed to her that her limit of
endurance had been reached, but he, taking her silence for
acquiescence, lost no time in following up what he fondly hoped might
be an advantage.  "I did not go to the Putnams to-night, Anna, because
you were not going, and there is no enjoyment for me when you are not
there."

"Mr. David, if you continue to talk to me like this I shall have to
leave this house."

"Tell me, Anna," he said so gravely that the woman beside him knew that
life and death were balanced with her words: "tell me, when you said
that day last autumn by the well that you never intended to marry, was
it just a girl's coquetry or was there some deeper reason for your
saying so?"

She could not face the love in those honest eyes and answer as her
conscience prompted.  She was tired, so tired of the struggle, what
would she not have given to rest here in the shelter of this perfect
love and trust, but it was not for her.

"Mr. David," she said, looking straight before her with wide, unseeing
eyes; "I can be no man's wife."

He knew from the lines of suffering written deep on the pale young
face, that maiden coquetry had not inspired her to speak thus; but word
for word, it had been wrung from out of the depths of a troubled soul.

"Anna!" cried David, in mingled astonishment and pain.  But Anna only
turned mutely toward him with an imploring look.  She stretched out her
hands to him, as if trying to tell him more.  But words failed her.
Her tears overcame her and she fled, sobbing, to her room.  All the way
up the winding night of stairs, David could hear her anguished moans.
He would have followed her, but Hi burst into the room, stamping the
snow from his boots.  He shoved in the front door as if he had been an
invading army.  He unwound his muffler and cast it from him as if he
had a grudge against it, as he proceeded to deliver himself of his
wrongs.

"If there's any more visitors coming to the house to-night that wants
their horses held, they can do it themselves, for I am going to have my
supper."  David made no reply, but went to his own room to brood over
the day's events.  And so Anna was spared any further talk with David
that night; a circumstance for which she was devoutly thankful.

The next day the snow was deeper by a foot, but this did not deter the
Squire from making his proposed trip to Belden.  He started immediately
after breakfast, prepared to sift matters to the bottom.

An air of tension and anxiety pervaded the household all that long,
miserable day.  Anna was tortured with doubts.  Should she slip away
quietly without telling, or should she make her humiliating confession
to Kate?  Mrs. Bartlett, who knew the object of her husband's errand,
could not control her nerves.  She knew intuitively "that something was
going to happen," as the good soul put it to herself.

Altogether it was one of those nerve-wracking days that come from time
to time in the best regulated households, apparently for no other
purpose but to prove the fact that a solitary existence is not
necessarily the most unhappy.

Mrs. Bartlett, for the first time in her life, was worried about Dave.
He was moody and morose, even to her, his sworn friend and ally, with
whom he had never had a word's difference.  He had gone off that
morning shortly after the Squire left the house; and his mother,
watching him carefully at breakfast, noticed that he had shoved away
his plate with the food untasted.

A fatal symptom to the ever-watchful maternal eye.

Kate felt sulky because her aunt and uncle had been urging her to marry
Dave, and apparently Dave had no affection for her beyond that of a
cousin, the situation irritating her in the extreme.

"Aunt Louisa, what is the matter with every one?" she said, flouncing
into the kitchen.  "Something seems to have jarred the family nerves.
Here is uncle off on some mysterious business, Dave goes off in the
snow in a tantrum, and you look as if you had just buried your last
friend."  And the young lady left the room as suddenly as she entered
it.

"It does feel as if trouble was brewing," Mrs. Bartlett admitted to
Anna, with a gloomy shake of the head.  "I'm getting that worried about
Dave, he's been away all day, and it's not usual for him to stay away
like this."  Her voice broke a little, and she left the room hurriedly.

He came in almost immediately, stamping the snow from his boots and
looking twice as savage as when he went away.

"Mrs. Bartlett had been worrying about you all day, Mr. David," Anna
said as she turned from the dresser with her arms full of plates.

"And did you care, Anna, that I was not here?"  He gave her the
appealing glance of a great mastiff who hopes for a friendly pat on the
head.

"My feelings on the subject can be of no interest to you," she answered
with chilling decision.

"All right," and he went to the hat-rack to get his muffler and cap,
preparatory to again facing the storm.

The snow had been falling steadily all day.  Drifting almost to the
height of the kitchen window, it whirled about the house and beat
against the window panes with a muffled sound that was inexpressibly
dreary to the girl, who felt herself the center of all this pitiful
human contention.

"David, David; where have you been all day, and where are you going
now?"  His mother looked at his gray, haggard face and tried to guess
his hidden trouble, the first he had ever kept from her.

"Mother, I am not a child, and you can't expect me to hang about the
stove like a cat, all my life."  It was his first harsh word to her and
she shrank before it as if it had been a blow.  David, her boy, to
speak to her like that!  She turned quickly away to hide the tears, the
first she had ever shed on his account.

"Here, Anna," she said, struggling to recover her composure, "take this
bucket and get it filled for me, please."

The girl reached for her cloak that hung on a peg near the door.

"No, Anna, you shall not go out for water a night like this; it's not
the work for you to do."  David had sprung forward and caught the
bucket from her hand and plunged with it into the storm.  Kate's quick
eyes caught the expression of David's face--while Mrs. Bartlett only
heard his words.  She gave Anna a searching look as she said: "So it is
you whom David loves."  At last Kate understood the secret of Anna's
distracted face--and at last the mother understood the secret of her
boy's moodiness--he loved Anna.  And her heart was filled with
bitterness and anger at the very thought; she had taken her boy, this
stranger, with whom the tongue of scandal was busy.  The kindly,
gentle, old face lost all its sweetness; jealous anger filled it with
ugly lines.  Turning to Anna she said:

"It would have been better for all of us if we had not taken you in
that day to break up our home with your mischief."

Anna was cut to the quick.  "Oh, Mrs. Bartlett, please do not say that;
I will go away as soon as you like, but it is not with my consent that
David has these foolish fancies about me."

"And do you mean to say that you have never encouraged him,"
indignantly demanded the irate mother, who with true feminine
inconsistency would not have her boy's affections go begging, even
while she scorned the object of it.

"Encouraged him?  I have begged, entreated him to let me alone; I do
not want his love."

An angry sparrow defending her brood could not have been more
indignantly demonstrative than this gentle old lady.

"And isn't he good enough for you, Miss?" she asked in a voice that
shook with wrath.

"Dear Mrs. Bartlett, would you have me take his love and return it?"

"No, no; that would never do!" and the inconsistent old soul rocked
herself to and fro in an agony of despair.

Anna did not resent Mrs. Bartlett's indignation, unjust though it was;
she knew how blind good mothers could be when the happiness of their
children is at stake.  She felt only pity for her and remembered only
her kindness.  So slipping down on her knees beside the old lady's
chair, she took the toil-worn old hands in her own and said:

"Do not think hardly of me, Mrs. Bartlett.  You have been so good--and
when I am gone, I want you to think of me with affection.  I will go
away, and all this trouble will straighten itself out, and you will
forget that I ever caused you a moment's pain."

Dave came in with the bucket of water that had caused the little squall
and prevented his mother from replying, but the hard lines had relaxed
in the good old face.  She was again "mother" whom they all knew and
loved.  Sanderson followed close after David; he had just come from
Boston, he said, and inquired for Kate with a simple directness that
left no doubt as to whom he had come to see.

It is an indisputable law of the eternal feminine for all women to
flaunt a conquest in the face of the man who had declined their
affection.  Kate was not in love with her cousin David, but she was
devoutly thankful to Providence that there was a Lennox Sanderson to
flaunt before him in the capacity of tame cat, and prove that he "was
not the only man in the world," as she put it to herself.

Therefore when Lennox Sanderson handed her a magnificent bunch of
Jacqueminot roses that he had brought her from Boston, Kate was not at
all backward in rewarding Sanderson with her graciousness.

"How beautiful they are, Mr. Sanderson; it was so good of you."

"You make me very happy by taking them," he answered with a wealth of
meaning.

Anna, who had gone to the storeroom for some apples, after her
reconciliation with Mrs. Bartlett, returned to find Sanderson talking
earnestly to Kate by the window.  Kate held up the roses for Anna to
smell.  "Aren't they lovely, Anna?  There is nothing like roses for
taking the edge off a snowstorm."

Anna was forced to go through the farce of admiring them, while
Sanderson looked on with nicely concealed amusement.

"Well, what do you think of them, Anna?" said Kate, disappointed that
she made no comment.

"The best thing about roses, speaking generally, Miss Kate, is that
they fade quickly and do not embarrass one by outliving the little
affairs in which they have played a part."  She returned Sanderson's
languid glance in a way that made him quail.

"That is quite true," said Kate, being in the humor for a little
cynicism.  "What a pity that love letters can't be constructed on the
same principle."

Sanderson did not feel particularly at ease while these two young women
served and returned cynicism; he was accordingly much relieved when
Mrs. Bartlett and Anna both left the room, intent on the solemn
ceremony of opening a new supply of preserved peaches.

"Kate, did you mean what you just said to that girl?" Sanderson asked
when they were alone.

"What did I say?  Oh, yes, about the love letters.  Well, what
difference does it make whether I meant it or not?"

"It makes all the difference in the world to me, Kate."  He read
refusal in the big blue eyes, and he made haste to plead his cause
before she could say anything.

"Don't answer yet, Kate; don't give me my life-sentence," he said
playfully, taking her hand.  "Think it over; take as long as you like.
Hope with you is better than certainty with any other woman."

[Illustration: Lillian Gish and Burr McIntosh.]

Professor Sterling, who had been to a neighboring town on business for
the past two or three days, walked into the middle of this little
tableau in time to hear the last sentence.  Kate and Sanderson had
failed to hear him, partly because he had neglected to remove his
overshoes, and partly because they were deeply engrossed with each
other.

Though his rival's declaration, which he had every reason to suppose
would be accepted, was the death blow to his hopes, yet he unselfishly
stepped out into the snow, waited five minutes by his watch--a liberal
allowance for an acceptance, he considered--and then rapped loud and
theatrically before entering a second time.  Could unselfishness go
further?

Kate and Sanderson had no other opportunity for confidential talk that
evening.

They were barely seated about the supper table, when there came a
tremendous rapping at the door, and Marthy Perkins came in, half
frozen.  For once her voluble tongue was silenced.  She retailed no
gossip while submitting to the friendly ministrations of Mrs. Bartlett
and Anna, who chafed her hands, gave her hot tea and thawed her back to
life--and gossip.

"Is the Squire back yet?" asked Marthy with returning warmth.  "Land
sakes, what can be keeping him?  Heard him say last night that he
intended going away this morning, and thought he might have come back."

"With news?" naively asked Sanderson.

"Why, yes.  I did think it was likely that he might have gathered up
something interesting, away a whole day."  Every one laughed but Mrs.
Bartlett.  She alone knew the object of her husband's quest.

"Your father's not likely to be back to-night--do you think so, Dave?"
she asked her son, more by way of drawing him out than in the hope of
getting any real information.

"No, I do not think it is likely, mother," he answered.

"Good land! and I nearly froze to death getting here!" Marthy said in
an aside to Mrs. Bartlett.  "I tell you, Looizy, there is nothing like
suspense for wearing you out.  I couldn't get a lick of sewing done
to-day, waiting for Amasy to get in with the news."

"Hallo! hallo!  Let us in quick--here we are, me and the Squire--most
froze!  Hallo, hallo"--The rest of Hi's remarks were a series of whoops.

Every one rose from the table, Mrs. Bartlett pale with apprehension.
Marthy flushed with delight.  She was not to be balked of her prey.
The Squire was here with the news.



CHAPTER XVI.

ALONE IN THE SNOW.


  "The cold winds swept the mountain-height,
    And pathless was the dreary wild,
  And mid the cheerless hours of night
    A mother wandered with her child:
  As through the drifting snows she pressed,
    The babe was sleeping on her breast."--_Seba Smith_.


The head of the house was home from his mysterious errand, the real
object of which was unknown to all but Marthy and his wife.

Kate unwound his muffler and took his cap; his wife assured him that
she had been worried to death about him all day; the men inquired
solicitously about his journey--how had he stood the cold--and Anna
made ready his place at the table.  But neither this domestic adulation
nor the atmosphere of warmth and affection awaiting him at his own
fireside served for a moment to turn him from the wanton brutality that
he was pleased to dignify by the name of duty.

Anna could not help feeling the "snub," and David, whose eyes always
followed Anna, saw it before the others.  "Father," said he, "what's
the matter, you don't speak to Anna."

"I don't want to speak to her.  I don't want to look at her.  I don't
want anything to do with her," replied the Squire.  Every one except
Martha and Mrs. Bartlett was startled by this blunt, almost brutal
outburst.

"I am glad you are all here, the more the better: Marthy, Professor,
Mr. Sanderson, glad to see you and all the home folks"--he had a word,
a nod, a pat on the back for every one but Anna, and though she sought
more than one opportunity to speak to him, he deliberately avoided her.

His wife, who knew all the varying weathers of his temper was using all
her small stock of diplomacy to get him to eat his supper.  "When in
doubt about a man, feed him," had been Louisa Bartlett's unfailing rule
for the last thirty years.  "Here, Amasy, sit down in your place that
Anna has fixed for you.  You can talk after you've had your tea.  Anna,
please make the Squire some fresh tea.  I'm afraid this is a little
cool."

"She need not make my tea, now, or on any future occasion--her days of
service in my family are done for."  And he hammered the table with his
clenched fist.

Anna closed her eyes; it had come at last; she had always known that it
was only a question of time.

The rest looked at the Squire dumbfounded.  Ah, that is, but Marthy.
She was licking her lips in delightful anticipation--with much the same
expression as a cat would regard an uncaged canary.

"Why, father, what do you mean?" asked David in amazement.  He had
heard no rumor of why his father had gone to Belden.

"Now, listen, all of you," and again he thundered on the table with his
fist.  "Last summer I was persuaded, against my will, to take a strange
woman into my house.  I found out to-day that my judgment then was
right.  I have been imposed on--she is an imposter, an adventuress."

"Amasy, Amasy, don't be so hard on her," pleaded his wife.  But the
Squire had the true huntsman's instinct--when he went out to hunt, he
went out to kill.

"The time has come," he continued, raising his voice and ignoring his
wife's pleading, "when this home is better without her."

Anna had already begun her preparation to go.  She took her cloak down
from its peg and wrapped it about her without a word.

"Father, if Anna goes, I go with her," and David rose to his feet, the
very incarnation of wrath, and strode over to where Anna stood apart
from the rest.  He put his arm about her protectingly, and stood there
defiant of them all.

"David, you must be mad.  What, you, a son of mine, defy your father
here in the presence of your friends for that--adventuress?"

"Father, take back that word about Anna.  A better woman never lived.
You--who call yourself a Christian--would you send away a friendless
girl a night like this?  And for what reason?  Because a few old cats
have been gossiping about her.  It is unworthy of you, father; I would
not have believed it."

"So you have appointed yourself her champion, sir.  No doubt she has
been trying her arts on you.  Don't be a fool, David; stand aside, if
she wants to go, let her; women like her can look out for themselves;
let her go."

"Don't make me forget, sir, that you are my father.  I refuse
absolutely to hear the woman I love spoken of in this way."

The rest looked on in painful silence; they seemed to be deprived of
the power of speech or action by the Squire's vehemence; the wind
howled about the house fitfully, and was still, then resumed its
wailing grief.

"And you stand there and defy me for that woman in the presence of
Kate, to whom you are as good as betrothed?"

"No, no; there is no question of an engagement between David and me,
and there never can be," said Kate, not knowing in the least what to
make of the turn that things had taken.

David continued to stand with his arm about Anna.  He had heard the
Belden gossip--a wealthy young man from Boston had been attentive to
her, then left the place; jilted her, some said; been refused by her,
said others.  It did not make a bit of difference to David which
version was true; he was ready to stand by Anna in the face of a
thousand gossips.  This was just his father's brutal way of upholding
what he was pleased to term his authority.

"What do you know about her, David?" reiterated the Squire.  "I heard
reports, but like you, I would not believe them till I had investigated
them fully.  Ask her if she has not been the mother of an illegitimate
child, who is now buried in the Episcopal cemetery at Belden--ask her
if she was not known there under the name of Mrs. Lennox?"

"It is true," said the girl, raising her head, "that I was known as
Mrs. Lennox.  It is true that I have a child buried in Belden----"

David's arm fell from her, he buried his face in his hands and groaned.
Anna opened the door, a whirling gust flared the lamps and drove a
skurrying cloud of snowflakes within, yet not one hand was raised to
detain her.  She swayed uncertain for a moment on the threshold, then
turned to them: "You have hunted me down, you have found out that I
have been a mother, that I am without the protection of a husband's
name, and that was enough for you--your duty stopped at the scandal.
Why did you not find out that I was a young, inexperienced girl who was
betrayed by a mock marriage--that I thought myself an honorable
wife--why should your duty stop in hunting down a defenseless girl
while the man who ruined her life sits there, a welcome guest in your
house to-night?"

She was gone--David, who had been stunned by his father's words, ran
after her, but the whirling flakes had hidden every trace of her, and
the howling wind drove back his cry of "Anna, Anna! come back!"

Anna did not feel the cold after closing the door between her and the
Squire's family; the white flame of her wrath seemed to burn up the
blood in her veins, as she plunged through the snowdrifts, unconscious
of the cold and storm.  She had no words in which to formulate her fury
at the indignity of her treatment.  Her native sweetness, for the
moment, had been extinguished and she was but the incarnation of
wronged womanhood, crying aloud to high Heaven for justice.

The blood throbbed at her brain and the quickened circulation warmed
her till she loosened the cloak at her throat and wondered, in a dazed
sort of way, why she had put it on on such a stifling night.  Then she
remembered the snow and eagerly uplifted her flushed cheeks that the
falling flakes might cool them.

But of the icy grip of the storm she was wholly unconscious.  There was
a mad exhilaration in facing the wild elements on such a night, the
exertion of forcing through the storm chimed in with her mood; each
snowdrift through which she fought her way was so much cruel injustice
beaten down.  She felt that she had the strength and courage to walk to
the end of the earth and she went on and on, never thinking of the
storm, or her destination, or where she would rest that night.  Her
head felt light, as if she had been drinking wine, and more than once
she stopped to mop the perspiration from her forehead.  How absurd for
the snow to fall on such a sultry night, and foolish of those people
who had turned her out to die, thinking it was cold--the thermometer
must be 100.  She paused to get her breath; a blast of icy wind caught
her cape, and almost succeeded in robbing her of it, and the chill
wrestled with the fever that was consuming her, and she realized for
the first time that it was cold.

"Well, what next?" she asked herself, throwing back her head and
unconsciously assuming the attitude of a creature brought to bay but
still unconquered.

"What next?" She repeated it with the dull despair of one who has
nothing further to fear in the way of suffering.  The Fates had spent
themselves on her, she no longer had the power to respond.  Suppose she
should become lost in a snowdrift?  "Well, what did it matter?"

Then came one of those unaccountable clearings of the mental vision
that nature seems to reserve for the final chapter.  Her quickened
brain grasped the tragedy of her life as it never had before.  She saw
it with impersonal eyes.  Anna Moore was a stranger on whose case she
could sit with unbiased judgment.  Her mind swung back to the football
game in the golden autumn eighteen months ago, and she heard the cheers
and saw the swarms of eager, upturned faces and the dots of blue and
crimson, like flowers, in a great waving field.  What a panorama of
life, and force, and struggle it had been!  How typical of life, and
the end--but no, the end was not yet; there must be some justice in
life, some law of compensation.  God must hear at last!

The wind came tearing down from, the pine forest, surging through the
hills till it became a roar.  Ah, it had sounded like that at the game.
They had called "Rah, Rah Sanderson" till they were hoarse, "Sanderson,
Rah!  Sander-son!  Rah!  Rah!"  The crackling forest seemed to have
gone mad with the echo of his name.  It had become the keynote of the
wind.  Rah!  Rah!  Sanderson!

"You can't escape him even in death" something seemed to whisper in her
ear.  "Ha-ha, Sanderson, San-der-son."  She put her hands to her ears
to shut out the hateful sound, but she heard it, like the wail of a
lost soul; this time faint and far off: Sander-son--San-der-son.  It
was above her in the groaning, creaking branches of the trees, in the
falling snow, in the whipping wind, the mockery would not be stilled.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, howled the wind, then sinking to a sigh,
San-der-son--San-der-son.

The cold had begun to strike into the marrow.  She moved as if her
limbs were weighted.  There was a mist gathering before her eyes, and
she put up her hand and tried to brush it away, but it remained.  She
felt as if she were carrying something heavy in her arms and as she
walked it grew heavier and heavier.  To her wandering mind it took a
pitifully familiar shape.  Ah, yes!  She knew what it was now; it was
the baby, and she must not let it get cold.  She must cover it with her
cape and press it close to her bosom to keep it warm, but it was so
far, so far, and it was getting heavier every moment.

And the wind continued to wail its dirge of "San-der-son, San-der-son."
She went through the motion of covering up the baby's head; she did not
want it to waken and hear that awful cry.  She lifted up her empty arms
and lowered her head to soothe the imaginary baby with a kiss, and was
shocked to feel how cold its little cheek had grown.  She hurried on
and on.  She would beg the Squire to let his wife take it in for just a
minute, to warm it.  She would not ask to come in herself, but the
baby--no one would be so cruel as to refuse her that.  It would die out
here in the cold and the storm.  It was so cruel, so hard to be
wandering about on a night like this with the baby.  Her eyes began to
fill with tears, and her lower lip to quiver, but she plodded on,
sometimes gaining a few steps and then retracing them, but always with
the same instinct that had spurred her on to efforts beyond her
strength, and this done, she had no further concern for herself.  Her
body especially, where the cape did not protect it against the blast,
was freezing, shivering, aching all over.  A latent consciousness began
to dawn as the dread presence of death drew nearer; some intuitive
effort of preservation asserted itself, and she kept repeating over and
over: "I must not give up.  I must not give up."

Presently the scene began to change, and the white formless world about
her began to assume definite shape.  She had seen it all before, the
bare trees pointing their naked branches upward, the fringe of willows,
the smooth, glassy sheet of water that was partly frozen and partly
undulating toward the southern shore.  The familiarity of it all began
to haunt her.  Had she dreamed it--was she dreaming now?  Perhaps it
was only a dream after all!  Then, as if in a wave of clear thought,
she remembered it all.  It was the lake, and she had been there with
the Sunday school children last summer on their picnic.

It came to her like a solution of all her troubles; it was so placid,
so still, so cold.  A moment and all would be forgotten.  She stood
with one foot on the creaking ice.  It was but to walk a dozen steps to
the place where the ice was but a crash of crystal and that would end
it all.  She was so weary of the eternal strife of things, she was so
glad to lay down the burden under which her back was bending to the
point of breaking.

And yet, there was the primitive instinct of self-preservation
combating her inclination, urging her on to make one more final effort.
Back and forth, through the snow about the lake she wandered; without
being able to decide.  Her strength was fast ebbing.  Which--which,
should it be?  "God have mercy!" she cried, and fell unconscious.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE NIGHT IN THE SNOWSTORM.


  "Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
  Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
  Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
  Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven."--_Emerson_.


All through that long, wild night David searched and shouted, to find
only snow and silence.

Through the darkness and the falling flakes he could not see more than
a foot ahead, and when he would stumble over a stone or the fallen
trunk of a tree, he would stoop down and search through the drifts with
his bare hands, thinking perhaps that she might have fallen, and not
finding her, he would again take up his fruitless search, while cold
fear gnawed at his heart.

At home in the warm farm house, sat the Squire who had done his duty.
The consciousness of having done it, however, did not fill him with
that cheerful glow of righteousness that is the reward of a good
conscience--on the contrary, he felt small.  It might have been
imagination, but he felt, somehow, as if his wife and Kate were
shunning him.  Once he had tried to take his wife's hand as she stood
with her face pressed to the window trying to see if she could make out
the dim outline of David returning with Anna, but she withdrew her hand
impatiently as she had never done in the thirty years of their married
life.  Amasy's hardness was a thing no longer to be condoned.

Furthermore, when the clock had struck eleven and then twelve, and yet
no sign of David or Anna, the Squire had reached for his fur cap and
announced his intention of "going to look for 'em."  But like the
proverbial worm, the wife of his bosom had turned, and with all the
determination of a white rabbit she announced:

"If I was you, Amasy, I'd stay to hum; seems as if you had made almost
enough trouble for one day."  With the old habit of authority, strong
as ever, he looked at the worm, but there was a light in its eyes that
warned him as a danger signal.

They were alone together, the Squire and his wife, and each was alone
in sorrow, the yoke of severity she had bowed beneath for thirty years
uncomplainingly galled to-night.  It had sent her boy out into the
storm--perhaps to his death.  There was little love in her heart for
Amasy.

He tried to think that he had only done his duty, that David and Anna
would come back, and that, in the meantime, Louisa was less a comfort
to him, in his trouble, than she had ever been before.  It was, of
course, his trouble; it never occurred to him that Louisa's heart might
have been breaking on its own account.

The Squire found that duty was a cold comforter as the wretched hours
wore on.

Sanderson had slunk from the house without a word immediately after
Anna's departure.  In the general upheaval no one missed him, and when
they did it was too late for them to enjoy the comfort of shifting the
blame to his guilty shoulders.

The professor followed Kate with the mute sympathy of a faithful dog;
he did not dare attempt to comfort her.  The sight of a woman in tears
unnerved him; he would not have dared to intrude on her grief; he could
only wait patiently for some circumstance to arise in which he could be
of assistance.  In the meantime he did the only practical thing within
his power--he went about from time to time, poked the fires and put on
coal.

Marthy would have liked to discuss the iniquity of Lennox Sanderson
with any one--it was a subject on which she could have spent hours--but
no one seemed inclined to divert Marthy conversationally.  In fact, her
popularity was not greater that night in the household than that of the
Squire.  She spent her time in running from room to room, exclaiming
hysterically:

"Land sakes!  Ain't it dreadful?"

The tension grew as time wore on without developments of any kind, the
waiting with the haunting fear of the worst grew harder to bear than
absolute calamity.

Toward five o'clock the Squire announced his intention of going out and
continuing the search, and this time no one objected.  In fact, Mrs.
Bartlett, Kate and the professor insisted on accompanying him and
Marthy decided to go, too, not only that she might be able to say she
was on hand in case of interesting developments, but because she was
afraid to be left in the house alone.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Toward morning, David, spent and haggard, wandered into a little
maple-sugar shed that belonged to one of the neighbors.  Smoke was
coming out of the chimney, and David entered, hoping that Anna might
have found here a refuge.

He was quickly undeceived, however, for Lennox Sanderson stood by the
hearth warming his hands.  The men glared at each other with the
instinctive fierceness of panthers.  Not a word was spoken; each knew
that the language of fists could be the only medium of communication
between them; and each was anxious to have his say out.

The men faced each other in silence, the flickering glare of the
firelight painting grotesque expressions on their set faces.  David's
greater bulk loomed unnaturally large in the uncertain light, while
every trained muscle of Sanderson's athletic body was on the alert.

It was the world old struggle between patrician and proletarian.

Sanderson was an all-round athlete and a boxer of no mean order.  This
was not his first battle.  His quick eye showed him from David's
awkward attitude, that his opponent was in no way his equal from a
scientific standpoint.  He looked for the easy victory that science,
nine times out of ten, can wrest from unskilled brute force.

For, perhaps, half a minute the combatants stood thus.

Then, with lowered head and outstretched arms, David rushed in.

Sanderson side-stepped, avoiding the on-set.  Before David could
recover himself, the other had sent his left fist crashing into the
country-man's face.

The blow was delivered with all the trained force the athlete possessed
and sent David reeling against the rough wall of the house.

Such a blow would have ended the fight then and there for an ordinary
man; but it only served to rouse David's sluggish blood to white heat.

Again he rushed.

This time he was more successful.

True, Sanderson partially succeeded in avoiding the sledge-hammer fist,
though it missed his head, it struck glancingly on the left shoulder.
numbing for the moment the whole arm.  Sanderson countered as the blow
fell, by bringing his right arm up with all his force and striking
David on the face.  He sank to his knees, like a wounded bull, but was
on his feet again before Sanderson could follow up his advantage.

David, heedless of the pain and fast flowing blood, rushed a third
time, catching Sanderson in a corner of the room whence he could not
escape.

In an instant, the two were locked in a death-like grip.

To and fro they reeled.  No sound could be heard save the snapping of
brands on the hearth, the shuffle of moving feet and the short gasps of
struggling men.

In that terrible grasp, Sanderson's strength was as a child's.

He could not call into play any of the wrestling tricks that were his,
all he could do was to keep his feet and wait for the madman's strength
to expend itself.

The iron grip about his body seemed to slacken for a moment.  He
wriggled free, and caught the fatal underhold.

By this new grip, he forced David's body backward till the larger man's
spine bade fair to snap.

David felt himself caught in a trap.  Exerting all his giant strength
he forced one arm down between their close-locked bodies, and clasped
his other hand on Sanderson's face, pushing two fingers into his
eyeballs.

No man can endure this torture.  Sanderson loosed his hold.  David had
caught him by the right wrist and the left knee, stooping until his own
shoulders were under the other's thigh.  Then, with this leverage, he
whirled Sanderson high in the air above his head and threw him with all
his force down upon the hearth.

A shower of sparks arose and the strong smell of burning clothes, as
Sanderson, stunned and helpless, lay across the blazing fire-place.

For a moment, David thought to leave his vanquished foe to his own
fate, then he turned back.  What was the use?  It could not right the
wrong he had done to Anna.  He bent over Sanderson, extinguished the
fire, pulled the unconscious man to the open door and left him.

It came to David like an inspiration that he had not thought of the
lake; the ice was thin on the southern shore below where the river
emptied.  Suppose she had gone there; suppose in her utter desolation
she had gone there to end it all?  Imagination, quickened by suspense
and suffering, ran to meet calamity; already he was there and saw the
bare trees, bearing their burden of snow, and the placid surface, half
frozen over, and on the southern shore, that faintly rippled under its
skimming of ice, something dark floating.  He saw the floating black
hair, and the dead eyes, open, as if in accusation of the grim
injustice of it all.

He hurried through the drifted snow, as fast as his spent strength
would permit, stumbling once or twice over some obstruction, and
covered the weary distance to the lake.

About a hundred yards from the lake Dave saw something that made his
heart knock against his ribs and his breath come short, as if he had
been running.  It was Anna's gray cloak.  It lay spread out on the snow
as if it had been discarded hastily; there were footprints of a woman's
shoes near by; some of them leading toward the lake, others away from
it, as if she might have come and her courage failed her at the last
moment.  The cape had not the faintest trace of snow on its upturned
surface.  It must, therefore, have been discarded lately, after the
snowstorm had ceased this morning.

Dave continued his search in an agony of apprehension.  The sun faintly
struggled with the mass of gray cloud, revealing a world of white.  He
had wandered in the direction of a clump of cedars, and remembered
pointing the place out to her in the autumn as the scene of some boyish
adventure, which to commemorate he had cut his name on one of the
trees.  Association, more than any hope of finding her, led him to the
cedars--and she was there.  She had fallen, apparently, from cold and
exhaustion.  He bent down close to the white, still face that gave no
sign of life.  He called her name, he kissed her, but there was no
response--it was too late.

Dave looked at the little figure prostrate in the snow, and despair for
a time deprived him of all thought.  Then the lifelong habit of being
practical asserted itself.  Unconsciousness from long exposure to cold,
he knew, resembled death, but warmth and care would often revive the
fluttering spark.  If there was a chance in a thousand, Dave was
prepared to fight the world for it.

He lifted Anna tenderly and started back for the shed where he had
fought Sanderson.  Frail as she was, it seemed to him, as he plunged
through the drifts, that his strength would never hold out till they
reached their destination.  Inch by inch he struggled for every step of
the way, and the sweat dripped from him as if it had been August.  But
he was more than rewarded, for once.  She opened her eyes--she was not
dead.

He found them all at the shed--the Squire, his mother, Kate, the
professor and Marthy.  There was no time for questions or speeches.
Every one bent with a will toward the common object of restoring Anna.
The professor ran for the doctor, the women chafed the icy hands and
feet and the Squire built up a roaring fire.  Their efforts were
finally rewarded and the big brown eyes opened and turned inquiringly
from one to another.

"What has happened?  Why are you all here?" she asked faintly; then
remembering, she wailed: "Oh, why did you bring me back?  I went to the
lake, but it was so cold I could not throw myself in; then I walked
about till almost sunrise, and I was so tired that I laid down by the
cedars to sleep--why did you wake me?"

"Anna," said the Squire, "we want you to forgive us and come back as
our daughter," and he slipped her cold little hand in David's.  "This
boy has been looking for you all night, Anna.  I thought maybe he had
been taken from us to punish me for my hardness.  But, thank God, you
are both safe."

"You will, Anna, won't you? and father will give us his blessing."  She
smiled her assent.

"I say, Squire, if you are giving out blessings, don't pass by Kate and
me."

In the general kissing and congratulation that followed, Hi Holler
appeared.  "Here's the sleigh, I thought maybe you'd all be ready for
breakfast.  Hallo, Anna, so he found you!  The station agent told me
that Mr. Sanderson left on the first train for Boston this morning.
Says he ain't never coming back."

"And a good thing he ain't," snapped Marthy Perkins--"after all the
trouble he's made."



THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "'Way Down East - A Romance of New England Life" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home