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: How Janice Day Won
Author: Long, Helen Beecher
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 "How Janice Day Won" ***

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



Transcriber's note:

   The book's Frontispiece was missing.  There were no other
   illustrations.



HOW JANICE DAY WON

by

HELEN BEECHER LONG

Author of "Janice Day the Young Homemaker,"
  "The Testing of Janice Day,"
  "The Mission of Janice Day," Etc.

Illustrated by Corinne Turner



The Goldsmith Publishing Co.
Cleveland

Copyright, 1917, by
Sully & Kleinteich



CONTENTS


CHAPTER

      I. TROUBLE FROM NEAR AND FAR
     II. "TALKY" DEXTER, INDEED
    III. "THE SEVENTH ABOMINATION"
     IV. A RIFT IN THE HONEYMOON
      V. "THE BLUEBIRD--FOR HAPPINESS"
     VI. THE TENTACLES OF THE MONSTER
    VII. SWEPT ON BY THE CURRENT
   VIII. REAL TROUBLE
     IX. HOW NELSON TOOK IT
      X. HOW POLKTOWN TOOK IT
     XI. "MEN MUST WORK WHILE WOMEN MUST WEEP"
    XII. AN UNEXPECTED EMERGENCY
   XIII. INTO THE LION'S DEN
    XIV. A DECLARATION OF WAR
     XV. AND NOW IT IS DISTANT TROUBLE
    XVI. ONE MATTER COMES TO A HEAD
   XVII. THE OPENING OF THE CAMPAIGN
  XVIII. HOPEWELL SELLS HIS VIOLIN
    XIX. THE GOLD COIN
     XX. SUSPICIONS
    XXI. WHAT WAS IN THE PAPER
   XXII. DEEP WATERS
  XXIII. JOSEPH US COMES OUT FOR PROHIBITION
   XXIV. ANOTHER GOLD PIECE
    XXV. IN DOUBT
   XXVI. THE TIDE TURNS
  XXVII. THE TEMPEST
 XXVIII. THE ENEMY RETREATS
   XXIX. THE TRUTH AT LAST
    XXX. MARM PARRADAY DOES HER DUTY



HOW JANICE DAY WON


CHAPTER I

TROUBLE FROM NEAR AND FAR

At the corner of High Street, where the lane led back to the stables of
the Lake View Inn, Janice Day stopped suddenly, startled by an eruption
of sound from around an elbow of the lane--a volley of voices,
cat-calls, and ear-splitting whistles which shattered Polktown's usual
afternoon somnolence.

One youthful imitator expelled a laugh like the bleating of a goat:

"Na-ha-ha-ha!  Ho!  Jim Nar-ha-nay!  There's a brick in your hat!"

Another shout of laugher and a second boy exclaimed:

"Look out, old feller!  You'll spill it!"

All the voices seemed those of boys; but this was an hour when most of
the town lads were supposed to be under the more or less eagle eye of
Mr. Nelson Haley, the principal of the Polktown school.  Janice
attended the Middletown Seminary, and this chanced to be a holiday at
that institution.  She stood anxiously on the corner now to see if her
cousin, Marty, was one of this crowd of noisy fellows.

With stumbling feet, and with the half dozen laughing, mocking boys
tailing him, a bewhiskered, rough-looking, shabby man came into sight.
His appearance on the pleasant main thoroughfare of the little lakeside
town quite spoiled the prospect.

Before, it had been a lovely scene.  Young Spring, garbed only in the
tender greens of the quickened earth and the swelling buds of maple and
lilac, had accompanied Janice Day down Hillside Avenue into High Street
from the old Day house where she lived with her Uncle Jason, her Aunt
'Mira, and Marty.  All the neighbors had seen Janice and had smiled at
her; and those whose eyes were anointed by Romance saw Spring dancing
by the young girl's side.

Her eyes sparkled; there was a rose in either cheek; her trim figure in
the brown frock, well-built walking shoes of tan, and pretty toque, was
an effective bit of life in the picture, the background of which was
the sloping street to the steamboat dock and the beautiful, blue,
dancing waters of the lake beyond.

An intoxicated man on the streets of Polktown during the three years of
Janice Day's sojourn here was almost unknown.  There had been no demand
for the sale of liquor in the town until Lem Parraday, proprietor of
the Lake View Inn, applied to the Town Council for a bar license.

The request had been granted without much opposition.  Mr. Cross Moore,
President of the Council, held a large mortgage on the Parraday
premises, and it was whispered that this fact aided in putting the
license through in so quiet a way.

It was agreed that Polktown was growing.  The "boom" had started some
months before.  Already the sparkling waters of the lake were plied by
a new _Constance Colfax_, and the C. V. Railroad was rapidly completing
its branch which was to connect Polktown with the Eastern seaboard.

Whereas in the past a half dozen traveling men might visit the town in
a week and put up at the Inn, there had been through this Winter a
considerable stream of visitors.  And it was expected that the Inn, as
well as every house that took boarders in the town, would be well
patronized during the coming Summer.

To Janice Day the Winter had been lovely.  She had been very busy.
Well had she fulfilled her own tenet of "Do Something."  In service she
found continued joy.  Janice loved Polktown, and almost everybody in
Polktown loved her.

At least, everybody knew her, and when these young rascals trailing the
drunken man spied the accusing countenance of Janice they fell back in
confusion.  She was thankful her cousin Marty was not one of them; yet
several, she knew, belonged to the boys' club, the establishment of
which had led to the opening of Polktown's library and free
reading-room.  However, the boys pursued Tim Narnay no farther.  They
slunk back into the lane, and finally, with shrill whoops and laughter,
disappeared.  The besotted man stood wavering on the curbstone,
undecided, it seemed, upon his future course.

Janice would have passed on.  The appearance of the fellow merely
shocked and disgusted her.  Her experience of drunkenness and with
drinking people, had been very slight indeed.  Gossip's tongue was busy
with the fact that several weak or reckless men now hung about the Lake
View Inn more than was good for them; and Janice saw herself that some
boys had taken to loafing here.  But nobody in whom she was vitally
interested seemed in danger of acquiring the habit of using liquor just
because Lem Parraday sold it.

The ladies of the sewing society of the Union Church missed "Marm"
Parraday's brown face and vigorous tongue.  It was said that she
strongly disapproved of the change at the Inn, but Lem had overruled
her for once.

"And, poor woman!" thought Janice now, "if she has to see such sights
as this about the Inn, I don't wonder that she is ashamed."

The train of her thought was broken at the moment, and her footsteps
stayed.  Running across the street came a tiny girl, on whose bare head
the Spring sunshine set a crown of gold.  Such a wealth of tangled,
golden hair Janice had never before seen, and the flowerlike face
beneath it would have been very winsome indeed had it been clean.

She was a neglected-looking little creature; her patched clothing
needed repatching, her face and hands were begrimed, and----

"Goodness only knows when there was ever a comb in that hair!" sighed
Janice.  "I would dearly love to clean her up and put something decent
to wear upon her, and----"

She did not finish her wish because of an unexpected happening.  The
little girl came so blithely across the street only to run directly
into the wavering figure of the intoxicated Jim Narnay.  She screamed
as Narnay seized her by one thin arm.

"What ye got there?" he demanded, hoarsely, trying to catch the other
tiny, clenched fist.

"Oh!  don't do it! don't do it!" begged the child, trying her best to
slip away from his rough grasp.

"Ye got money, ye little sneak!" snarled the man, and he forced the
girl's hand open with a quick wrench and seized the dime she held.

He flung her aside as though she had been a wisp of straw, and she
would have fallen had not Janice caught her.  Indignantly the older
girl faced the drunken ruffian.

"You wicked man!  How can you?  Give her back that money at once!  Why,
you--you ought to be arrested!"

"Aw, g'wan!" growled the fellow.  "It's my money."

He stumbled back into the lane again--without doubt making for the rear
door of the Inn barroom from which he had just come.  The child was
sobbing.

"Wait!" exclaimed Janice, both eager and angry now.  "Don't cry.  I'll
get your ten cents back.  I'll go right in and tell Mr. Parraday and
he'll make him give it up.  At any rate he won't give him a drink for
it."

The child caught Janice's skirt with one grimy hand.  "Don't--don't do
that, Miss," she said, soberly.

"Why not?"

"'Twon't do no good.  Pop's all right when he's sober, and he'll be
sorry for this.  I oughter kep' my eyes open.  Ma told me to.  I could
easy ha' dodged him if I'd been thinkin'.  But--but that's all ma had
in the house and she needed the meal."

"He--he is your father?" gasped Janice.

"Oh, yes.  I'm Sophie Narnay.  That's pop.  And he's all right when
he's sober," repeated the child.

Janice Day's indignation evaporated.  Now she could feel only sympathy
for the little creature that was forced to acknowledge such a man for a
parent.

"Ma's goin' to be near 'bout distracted," Sophie pursued, shaking her
tangled head.  "That's the only dime she had."

"Never mind," gasped Janice, feeling the tears very near to the
surface.  "I'll let you have the dime you need.  Is--is your papa
always like that?"

"Oh, no!  Oh, no!  He works in the woods sometimes.  But since the
tavern's been open he's been drinkin' more.  Ma says she hopes it'll
burn down," added Sophie, with perfect seriousness.

Suddenly Janice felt that she could echo that desire herself.
Ethically two wrongs do not make a right; but it is human nature to see
the direct way to the end and wish for it, not always regarding ethical
considerations.  Janice became at that moment converted to the cause of
making Polktown a dry spot again on the State map.

"My dear!" she said, with her arm about the tangle-haired little
Sophie, "I am sorry for--for your father.  Maybe we can all help him to
stop drinking.  I--I hope he doesn't abuse you."

"He's awful good when he's sober," repeated the little thing,
wistfully.  "But he ain't been sober much lately."

"How many are there of you, Sophie?"

"There's ma and me and Johnny and Eddie and the baby.  We ain't named
the baby.  Ma says she ain't sure we'll raise her and 'twould be no use
namin' her if she ain't going to be raised, would it?"

"No-o--perhaps not," admitted Janice, rather startled by this
philosophy.  "Don't you have the doctor for her?"

"Once.  But it costs money.  And ma's so busy she can't drag clean up
the hill to Doc Poole's office very often.  And then--well, there ain't
been much money since pop come out of the woods this Spring."

Her old-fashioned talk gave Janice a pretty clear insight into the
condition of affairs at the Narnay house.  She asked the child where
she lived and learned the locality (down near the shore of Pine Cove)
and how to get to it.  She made a mental note of this for a future
visit to the place.

"Here's another dime, Sophie," she said, finding the cleanest spot on
the little girl's cheek to kiss.  "Your father's out of sight now, and
you can run along to the store and get the meal."

"You're a good 'un, Miss," declared Sophie, nodding.  "Come and see the
baby.  She's awful pretty, but ma says she's rickety.  Good-bye."

The little girl was away like the wind, her broken shoes clattering
over the flagstones.  Janice looked after her and sighed.  There seemed
a sudden weight pressing upon her mind.  The sunshine was dimmed; the
sweet odors of Spring lost their spice in her nostrils.  Instead of
strolling down to the dock as she had intended, she turned about and,
with lagging step, took her homeward way.

The sight of this child's trouble, the thought of Narnay's weakness and
what it meant to his unfortunate family, brought to mind with crushing
force Janice's own trouble.  And this personal trouble was from afar.

Amid the kaleidoscopic changes in Mexican affairs, Janice's father had
been laboring for three years and more to hold together the mining
properties conceded to him and his fellow-stockholders by the
administration of Porfirio Diaz.  In the battle-ridden State of
Chihuahua Mr. Broxton Day was held a virtual prisoner, by first one
warring faction and then another.

At one time, being friendly with a certain chief of the belligerents,
Mr. Day had taken out ore and had had the mine in good running
condition.  Some money had flowed into the coffers of the mining
company.  Janice benefited in a way during this season of plenty.

Now, of late, the Yaquis had swept down from the mountains, Mr.  Day's
laborers had run away, and his own life was placed in peril again.  He
wrote little about his troubles to his daughter, living so far away in
the Vermont village, but his bare mention of conditions was sufficient
to spur Janice's imagination.  She was anxious in the extreme.

"If Daddy would only come home on a visit as he had expected to this
Spring!" was the longing thought now in her mind.  "Oh, dear me!  What
matter if the season does change?  It won't bring him back to me.
I'd--I'd sell my darling car and take the money and run away to him if
I dared!"

This was a desperate thought indeed, for the Kremlin automobile her
father had bought Janice the year before remained the apple of her eye.
That very morning Marty had rolled it out of the garage he and his
father had built for it, and started to overhaul it for his cousin.
Marty had become something of a mechanic since the arrival of the
Kremlin at the Day place.

The roads were fast drying up, and Marty promised that the car would
soon be in order.  But the thought now served to inspire no
anticipation of pleasure in Janice's troubled mind.

She passed Major Price just at the foot of Hillside Avenue.  The major
was Polktown's moneyed man--really the magnate of the village.  His was
the largest house on the hill--a broad, high-pillared colonial mansion
with a great, shaded, sloping lawn in front.  An important looking
house was the major's and the major was important looking, too.

But Janice noted more particularly than ever before that there were
many purple veins distinctly lined upon the major's nose and cheeks and
that his eyes were moist and wavering in their glance.  He used a cane
with a flourish; but his legs had an unsteadiness that a cane could not
correct.

"Good day!  Good day, Miss Janice!  Happy to see you!  Fine Spring
weather--yes, yes," he said, with great cordiality, removing his silk
hat.  "Charming weather, indeed.  It has tempted me out for a
walk--yes, yes!" and he rolled by, swinging his cane and bobbing his
head.

Janice knew that nowadays the major's walks always led him to the Lake
View Inn.  Mrs. Price and Maggie did their best to hide the major's
missteps, but the children on the streets, seeing the local magnate
making heavy work of his journey back up the hill, would giggle and
follow on behind, an amused audience.  This was another victim of the
change in Polktown's temperance situation.

Poor Major Price----

"Hi, Janice!  Did you notice the 'still' the major's got on?" called
the cheerful voice of Marty, her cousin.  "He's got more than he can
carry comfortably already; Walky Dexter will be taking him home again.
He did the other night."

"No, Marty! did he?" cried the troubled girl.

"Sure," chuckled Marty.  "Walky says he thinks some of giving up the
express business and buyin' himself a hack.  Some of these old soaks
around town will be glad to ride home under cover after a session at
Lem Parraday's place.  Think of Walky as a 'nighthawk'!" and Marty, who
was a short, freckled-faced boy several years his cousin's junior, went
off into a spasm of laughter.

"Don't, Marty!" cried Janice, in horror.  "Don't talk so lightly about
it!  Why, it is dreadful!"

"What's dreadful?  Walky getting a hack?"

"Be serious," commanded his cousin, who really had gained a great deal
of influence over the thoughtless Marty during the time she had lived
in Polktown.  "Oh, Marty!  I've just seen such a dreadful thing!"

"Hullo!  What's that?" he asked, eyeing her curiously and ceasing his
laughter.  He knew now that she was in earnest.

"That horrid old Jim Narnay--you know him?"

"Sure," agreed Marty, beginning to grin faintly again.

"He was intoxicated--really staggering drunk.  And he came out of the
back door of the Inn, and some boys chased him out on to the street,
hooting after him.  Perry Grimes and Sim Howell and some others.  Old
enough to know better----"

"He, he!" chuckled Marty, exploding with laughter again.  "Old Narnay's
great fun.  One of the fellows the other day told him there was a brick
in his hat, and he took the old thing off to look into it to see if it
was true.  Then he stood there and lectured us about being truthful.
He, he!"

"Oh, Marty!" ejaculated Janice, in horror.  "You never!  You don't!
You _can't_ be so mean!"

"Hi tunket!" exploded the boy.  "What's the matter with you?  What d'ye
mean?  'I never, I don't, I can't'!  What sort of talk is that?"

"There's nothing funny about it," his cousin said sternly.  "I want to
know if _you_ would mock at that poor man on the street?"

"At Narnay?"

"Yes."

"Why not?" demanded Marty.  "He's only an old drunk.  And he is great
fun."

"He--he is disgusting!  He is horrid!" cried the girl earnestly.  "He
is an awful, ruffianly creature, but he's nothing to laugh at.  Listen,
Marty!" and vividly, with all the considerable descriptive powers that
she possessed, the girl repeated what had occurred when little Sophie
Narnay had run into her drunken parent on the street.

Marty was a boy, and not a thoughtful boy at all; but, as he listened,
the grin disappeared from his face and he did not look like laughing.

"Whew!  The mean scamp!" was his comment.  "Poor kid!  Do you s'pose he
hurts her?"

"He hurts her--and her mother--and the two little boys--and that
unnamed baby--whenever he takes money to spend for drink.  It doesn't
particularly matter whether he beats her.  I don't think he does that,
or the child would not love him and make excuses for him.  But tell me,
Marty Day!  Is there anything funny in a man like that?"

"Whew!" admitted the boy.  "It does look different when you think of it
that way.  But some of these fellers that crook their elbows certainly
do funny stunts when they've had a few!"

"Marty Day!" cried Janice, clasping her hands, "I didn't notice it
before.  But you even _talk_ differently from the way you used to.
Since the bar at the Inn has been open I believe you boys have got hold
of an entirely new brand of slang."

"Huh?" said Marty.

"Why, it is awful!  I had been thinking that Mr. Parraday's license
only made a difference to himself and poor Marm Parraday and his
customers.  But that is not so.  Everybody in Polktown is affected by
the change.  I am going to talk to Mr. Meddlar about it, or to Elder
Concannon.  Something ought to be done."

"Hi tunket!  There ye go!" chuckled Marty.  "More _do something_
business.  You'd better begin with Walky."

"Begin what with Walky?"

"Your temperance campaign, if that's what you mean," said the boy, more
soberly.

"Not Walky Dexter!" exclaimed Janice, amazed.  "You don't mean the
liquor selling has done him harm?"

"Well," Marty said slowly, "Walky takes a drink now and then.
Sometimes the drummers he hauls trunks and sample-cases for give him a
drink.  As long as he couldn't get it in town, Walky never bothered
with the stuff much.  But he was a little elevated Saturday
night--that's right."

"Oh!" gasped Janice, for the town expressman was one of her oldest
friends in Polktown, and a man in whom she took a deep interest.

A slow grin dawned again on Marty's freckled countenance.  "Ye ought to
hear him when he's had a drink or two.  You called him 'Talkworthy'
Dexter; and he sure is some talky when he's been imbibing."

"Oh, Marty, that's dreadful!" and Janice sighed.  "It's just wicked!
Polktown's been a sleepy place, but it's never been wicked before."

Her cousin looked at her admiringly.  "Hi jinks, Janice!  I bet you got
it in your mind to stir things up again.  I can see it in your eyes.
You give Polktown its first clean-up day, and you've shook up the dry
bones in general all over the shop.  There's going to be _something
doing_, I reckon, that'll make 'em all set up and take notice."

"You talk as though I were one of these awful female reformers the
funny papers tell about," Janice said, with a little laugh.  "You see
nothing in my eyes, Marty, unless it's tears for poor little Sophie
Narnay."

The cousins arrived at the old Day house and entered the grass-grown
yard.  It was an old-fashioned, homely place, a rambling farmhouse up
to which the village had climbed.  There was plenty of shade, lush
grass beneath the trees, with crocuses and other Spring flowers peeping
from the beds about the front porch, and sweet peas already breaking
the soil at the side porch and pump-bench.

A smiling, cushiony woman met Janice at the door, while Marty went
whistling barnward, having the chores to do.  Aunt 'Mira nowadays
usually had a smile for everybody, but for Janice always.

"Your uncle's home, Janice," she said, "and he brought the mail."

"Oh!" cried the girl, with a quick intake of breath.  "A letter from
daddy?"

"Wal--I dunno," said the fleshy woman.  "I reckon it must be.  Yet it
don't look just like Brocky Day's hand of write.  See--here 'tis.  It's
from Mexico, anyway."

The girl seized the letter with a gasp.  "It--it's the same stationery
he uses," she said, with a note of thankfulness.  "I--I guess it's all
right.  I'll run right up and read it."

She flew upstairs to her little room--her room that looked out upon the
beautiful lake.  She could never bring herself to read over a letter
from her father first in the presence of the rest of the family.  She
sat down without removing her hat and gloves, pulled a tiny hairpin
from the wavy lock above her ear and slit the thin, rice-paper
envelope.  Two enclosures were shaken out into her lap.



CHAPTER II

"TALKY" DEXTER, INDEED!

The moments of suspense were hard to bear.  There was always a
fluttering at Janice's heart when she received a letter from her
father.  She always dreamed of him as a mariner skirting the coasts of
Uncertainty.  There was no telling, as Aunt 'Mira often said, what was
going to happen to Broxton Day next.

First of all, on this occasion, the young girl saw that the most
important enclosure was the usual fat letter addressed to her in
daddy's hand.  With it was a thin, oblong card, on which, in minute and
very exact script, was written this flowery note:


"With respect I, whom you know not, venture to address you humbly, and
in view of the situation of your honorable father, the Señor B Day, beg
to make known to you that the military authorities now in power in this
district have refused him the privilege of sending or receiving mail.
Yet, fear not, sweet Señorita; while the undersigned retains the boon
of breath and the power of brain and arm, thy letters, if addressed in
my care, shall reach none but thy father's eye, and his to thee shall
be safely consigned to the government mails beyond the Rio Grande.

"Faithfully thine,

  "JUAN DICAMPA."


Who the writer of this peculiar communication was, Janice had no means
of knowing.  In the letter from her father which she immediately
opened, there was no mention of Juan Dicampa.

Mr. Day did say, however, that he seemed to have incurred the
particular enmity of the Zapatist chief then at the head of the
district because he was not prepared to bribe him personally and engage
his ragged and barefoot soldiery to work in the mine.

He did not say that his own situation was at all changed.  Rather, he
joked about the half-breeds and the pure-blood Yaquis then in power
about the mine.  Either Mr. Broxton Day had become careless because of
continued peril, or he really considered these Indians less to be
feared than the brigands who had previously overrun this part of
Chihuahua.

However, it was good to hear from daddy and to know that--up to the
time the letter was written, at least--he was all right.  She went down
to supper with some cheerfulness, and took the letter to read aloud, by
snatches, during the meal.

A letter from Mexico was always an event in the Day household.  Marty
was openly desirous of emulating "Uncle Brocky" and getting out of
Polktown--no matter where or how.  Aunt 'Mira was inclined to wonder
how the ladies of Mexico dressed and deported themselves.  Uncle Jason
observed:

"I've allus maintained that Broxton Day is a stubborn and foolish
feller.  Why! see the strain he's been under these years since he went
down to that forsaken country.  An' what for?"

"To make a fortune, Dad," interposed Marty.  "Hi tunket!  Wisht I was
in his shoes."

"Money ain't ev'rything," said Uncle Jason, succinctly.

"Well, it's a hull lot," proclaimed the son.

"I reckon that's so, Jason," Aunt Almira agreed.  "It's his money
makin' that leaves Janice so comfterble here.  And her automobile----"

"Oh, shucks!  Is money wuth life?" demanded Mr. Day.  "What good will
money be to him if he's stood up against one o' them dough walls and
shot at by a lot of slantindicular-eyed heathen?"

"Hoo!" shouted Marty.  "The Mexicans ain't slant-eyed like Chinamen and
Japs."

"And they ain't heathen," added Aunt Almira.  "They don't bow down to
figgers of wood and stone."

"Besides, Uncle," put in Janice, softly, and with a smile, "it is
_adobe_ not _dough_ they build their houses of."

"Huh!" snorted Uncle Jason.  "Don't keer a continental.  He's one
foolish man.  He'd better throw up the whole business, come back here
to Polktown, and I'll let him have a piece of the old farm to till."

"Oh! that would be lovely, Uncle Jason!" cried Janice, clasping her
hands.  "If he only _could_ retire to dear Polktown for the rest of his
life and we could live together in peace."

"Hi tunket!" exclaimed Marty, pushing back his chair from the supper
table just as the outer door opened.  "He kin have _my_ share of the
old farm," for Marty had taken a mighty dislike to farming and had long
before this stated his desire to be a civil engineer.

"At it ag'in, air ye, Marty?" drawled a voice from the doorway.  "If
repetition of what ye want makes detarmination, Mart, then you air the
most detarmined man since Lot's wife--and she was a woman, er-haw! haw!
haw!"

"Come in, Walky," said Uncle Jason, greeting the broad and ruddy face
of his neighbor with a brisk nod.

"Set up and have a bite," was Aunt 'Mira's hospitable addition.

"No, no!  I had a snack down to the tavern, Marthy's gone to see her
folks terday and I didn't 'spect no supper to hum.  I'm what ye call a
grass-widderer.  Haw! haw! haw!" explained the local expressman.

Walky's voice seemed louder than usual, his face was more beaming, and
he was more prone to laugh at his own jokes.  Janice and Marty
exchanged glances as the expressman came in and took a chair that
creaked under his weight.  The girl, remembering what her cousin had
said about the visitor, wondered if it were possible that Walky had
been drinking and now showed the effects of it.

It was true, as Janice had once said--the expressman should have been
named "Talkworthy" rather than "Walkworthy" Dexter.  To-night he seemed
much more talkative than usual.

"What were all you younkers out o' school so early for, Marty?" he
asked.  "Ain't been an eperdemic o' smallpox broke out, has there?"

"Teachers' meeting," said Marty.  "The Superintendent of Schools came
over and they say we're going to have fortnightly lectures on Friday
afternoons--mebbe illustrated ones.  Crackey! it don't matter what they
have," declared this careless boy, "as long as 'tain't lessons."

"Lectures?" repeated Walky.  "Do tell!  What sort of lectures?"

"I heard Mr. Haley say the first one would proberbly be illustrated by
a collection of rare coins some rich feller's lent the State School
Board.  He says the coins are worth thousands of dollars."

"Lectures on coins?" cackled Walky.  "I could give ye a lecture on
ev'ry dollar me and Josephus ever airned!  Haw! haw! haw!"

Walky rolled in his chair in delight at his own wit.  Uncle Jason was
watching him with some curiosity as he filled and lit his pipe.

"Walky," he drawled, "what was the very hardest dollar you ever airned?
It strikes me that you allus have picked the softest jobs, arter all."

"Me?  Soft jobs?" demanded Walkworthy, with some indignation.  "Ye
oughter try liftin' some o' them drummers' sample-cases that I hatter
wrastle with.  Wal!"  Then his face began to broaden and his eyes to
twinkle.  "Arter all, it was a soft job that I airned my hardest dollar
by, for a fac'."

"Let's have it, Walky," urged Marty.  "Get it out of your system.
You'll feel better for it."

"Why, ter tell the truth," grinned Walky, "it was a soft job, for I
carried five pounds of feathers in a bolster twelve miles to old Miz'
Kittridge one Winter day when I was a boy.  I got a dollar for it and
come as nigh bein' froze ter death as ever a boy did and save his
bacon."

"Do tell us about it, Walky," said Janice, who was wiping the supper
dishes for her aunt.

"I should say it was a soft job--five pounds of feathers!" burst out
Marty.

"How fur did you haf to travel, Walky?" asked Aunt 'Mira.

"Twelve mile over the snow and ice, me without snowshoes and it thirty
below zero.  Yes, sir!" went on Walky, beginning to stuff the tobacco
into his own pipe from Mr. Day's proffered sack.  "That was some job!
Miz Bob Kittridge, the old lady's darter-in-law, give me the dollar
_and_ the job; and I done it.

"The old lady lived over behind this here very mountain, all alone on
the Kittridge farm.  The tracks was jest natcherly blowed over and hid
under more snow than ye ever see in a Winter nowadays.  I believe there
was five foot on a level in the woods.

"There'd been a rain; then she'd froze up ag'in," pursued Walky.  "It
put a crust on the snow, but I had no idee it had made the ice rotten.
And with Mr. Mercury creepin' down to thirty below--jefers-pelters!
I'd no idee Mink Creek had open air-holes in it.  I ain't never
understood it to this day.

"Wal, sir! ye know where Mink Creek crosses the road to Kittridge's,
Jason?"

Mr. Day nodded.  "I know the place, Walky," he agreed.

"That's where it happened," said Walky Dexter, nodding his head many
times.  "I was crossin' the stream, thinkin' nothin' could happen, and
'twas jest at sunup.  I'd come six mile, and was jest ha'f way to the
farm.  I kerried that piller-case over my shoulder, and slung from the
other shoulder was a gun, and I had a hatchet in my belt.

"Jefers-pelters!  All of a suddint I slumped down, right through the
snow-crust, and douced up ter my middle inter the coldest water I ever
felt I did, for a fac'!

"I sprung out o' that right pert, ye kin believe; and then the next
step I went down ker-chug! ag'in--this time up ter my armpits."

"Crackey!" exclaimed Marty.  "That was some slip.  What did you do?"

"I got out o' that hole purty careful, now I tell ye; but I left my cap
floatin' on the open pool o' water," the expressman said.  "Why, I was
a cake of ice in two minutes--and six miles from anywhere, whichever
way I turned."

"Oh, Walky!" ejaculated Janice, interested.  "What ever did you do?"

"Wal, I had either to keep on or go back.  Didn't much matter which.
And in them days I hated ter gin up when I'd started a thing.  But I
had ter git that cap first of all.  I couldn't afford ter lose it
nohow.  And another thing, I'd a froze my ears if I hadn't got it.

"So I goes back to the bank of the crick and cut me a pole.  Then I
fished out the cap, wrung it out as good as I could, and clapped it on
my head.  Before I'd clumb the crick bank ag'in that cap was as stiff
as one o' them tin helmets ye read about them knights wearin' in the
middle ages--er-haw! haw! haw!

"I had ter laig it then, believe me!" pursued the expressman.  "Was
cased in ice right from my head ter my heels.  Could git erlong jest
erbout as graceful as one of these here cigar-store Injuns--er-haw!
haw! haw!

"I dunno how I made it ter Ma'am Kittridge's--but I done it!  The old
lady seen the plight I was in, and she made me sit down by the kitchen
fire just like I was.  Wouldn't let me take off a thing.

"She het up some kinder hot tea--like ter burnt all the skin off my
tongue and throat, I swow!" pursued Walky.  "Must ha' drunk two quarts
of it, an' gradually it begun ter thaw me out from the inside.  That's
how I saved my feet--sure's you air born!

"When I come inter her kitchen I clumped in with feet's big as an
elephant's an' no more feelin' in them than as though they'd been boxes
and not feet.  If I'd peeled off that ice and them boots, the feet
would ha' come with 'em.  But the old lady knowed what ter do, for a
fac'.

"Hardest dollar ever I airned," repeated Walky, shaking his head, "and
jest carryin' a mess of goose feathers----

"Hullo! who's this here comin' aboard?"

Janice had run to answer a knock at the side door.  Aunt 'Mira came
more slowly with the sitting room lamp which she had lighted.

"Well, Janice Day!  Air ye all deef here?" exclaimed a high and rather
querulous voice.

"Do come in, Mrs. Scattergood," cried the girl.

"I declare, Miz Scattergood," said Aunt 'Mira, with interest, "you here
at this time o' night?  I am glad to see ye."

"Guess ye air some surprised," said the snappy, birdlike old woman whom
Janice ushered into the sitting room.  "I only got back from Skunk's
Holler, where I been visitin', this very day.  And what d'ye s'pose I
found when I went into Hopewell Drugg's?"

"Goodness!" said Aunt 'Mira.  "They ain't none o' them sick, be they?"

"Sick enough, I guess," exclaimed Mrs. Scattergood, nodding her head
vigorously: "Leastways, 'Rill oughter be.  I told her so!  I was
faithful in season, and outer season, warnin' her what would happen if
she married that Drugg."

"Oh, Mrs. Scattergood!  What has happened?" cried Janice, earnestly.

"What's happened to Hopewell?" added Aunt 'Mira.

"Enough, I should say!  He's out carousin' with that fiddle of
his'n--down ter Lem Parraday's tavern this very night with some wild
gang of fellers, and my 'Rill hum with that child o' his'n.  And what
d'ye think?" demanded Mrs. Scattergood, still excitedly.  "What d'ye
think's happened ter that Lottie Drugg?"

"Oh, my, Mrs. Scattergood!  What _has_ happened to poor little Lottie?"
Janice cried.

"Why," said 'Rill Drugg's mother, lowering her voice a little and
moderating her asperity.  "The poor little thing's goin' blind again, I
do believe!"



CHAPTER III

"THE SEVENTH ABOMINATION"

Sorrowful as Janice Day was because of the report upon little Lottie
Drugg's affliction, she was equally troubled regarding the storekeeper
himself.  Janice had a deep interest in both Mr. Drugg and 'Rill
Scattergood--"that was," to use a provincialism.  The girl really felt
as though she had helped more than a little to bring the storekeeper
and the old-maid school-teacher together after so many years of
misunderstanding.

It goes without saying that Mrs. Scattergood had given no aid in making
the match.  Indeed, as could be gathered from what she said now, the
birdlike woman had heartily disapproved of her daughter's marrying the
widowed storekeeper.

"Yes," she repeated; "there I found poor, foolish 'Rill--her own eyes
as red as a lizard's--bathing that child's eyes.  I never did believe
them Boston doctors could cure her.  Yeou jest wasted your money,
Janice Day, when you put up fer the operation, and I knowed it at the
time."

"Oh, I hope not, Mrs. Scattergood!" Janice replied.  "Not that I care
about the money; but I do, _do_ hope that little Lottie will keep her
sight.  The poor, dear little thing!"

"What's the matter with Lottie Drugg?" demanded Marty, from the
doorway.  Walky Dexter had started homeward, and Marty and Mr. Day
joined the women folk in the sitting room.

"Oh, Marty!" Janice exclaimed, "Mrs. Scattergood says there is danger
of the poor child's losing her sight again."

"And that ain't the wust of it," went on Mrs. Scattergood, bridling.
"My darter is an unfortunate woman.  I knowed how 'twould be when she
married that no-account Drugg.  He sartainly was one 'drug on the
market,' if ever there was one!  Always a-dreamin' an' never
accomplishin' anything.

"Now Lem Parraday's opened that bar of his'n--an' he'd oughter be
tarred an' feathered for doin' of it--I 'spect Hopewell will be hangin'
about there most of his time like the rest o' the ne'er-do-well male
critters of this town, an' a-lettin' of what little business he's got
go to pot."

"Oh, Miz Scattergood," said Aunt 'Mira comfortably, "I wouldn't give
way ter sech forebodin's.  Hopewell is rather better than the ordinary
run of men, I allow."

Uncle Jason chuckled.  "It never struck me," he said, "that Hopewell
was one o' the carousin' kind.  I'd about as soon expec' Mr. Middler to
cut up sech didoes as Hope Drugg."

Mrs. Scattergood flushed and her eyes snapped.  If she was birdlike,
she could peck like a bird, and her bill was sharp.

"I reckon there ain't none of you men any too good," she said;
"minister, an' all of ye.  Oh!  I know enough about _men_, I sh'd hope!
I hearn a lady speak at the Skunk's Holler schoolhouse when I was there
at my darter-in-law's last week.  She was one o' them suffragettes ye
hear about, and she knowed all about men and their doin's.

"I wouldn't trust none o' ye farther than I could sling an elephant by
his tail!  As for Hopewell Drugg--he never was no good, and he never
will be wuth ha'f as much again!"

"Well, well, well," chuckled Uncle Jason, easily.  "How did this here
sufferin-yet l'arn so much about the tribes o' men?  I 'spect she was a
spinster lady?"

"She was a Miss Pogannis," was the tart reply.

"Ya-as," drawled Mr. Day.  "It's them that's never summered and
wintered a man that 'pears ter know the most about 'em.  Ev'ry old maid
in the world knows more about bringin' up children than the wimmen
that's had a dozen."

"Oh, yeou needn't think she didn't know what she was talkin' abeout!"
cried Mrs. Scattergood, tossing her head.  "She culled her examples
from hist'ry, as well as modern times.  Look at Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob!  All them men kep' their wimmen in bondage.

"D'yeou s'pose Sarah wanted to go trapesing all over the airth, ev'ry
time Abraham wanted ter change his habitation?" demanded the
argumentative suffragist.  "Of course, he always said God told him to
move, not the landlord.  But, my soul! a man will say anything.

"An' see how Jacob treated Rachel----"

"Great Scott!" ejaculated Uncle Jason, letting his pipe go out.  "I
thought Jacob was a fav'rite hero of you wimmen folks.  Didn't he
sarve--how many was it?--fourteen year, for Rachel?"

"Bah!" exclaimed the old lady.  "I 'spect she wished he'd sarved
fourteen year _more_, when she seen the big family she had to wash and
mend for.  Don't talk to me!  Wimmen's never had their rights in this
world yet, but they're goin' to get 'em now."

Here Aunt 'Mira broke in to change the topic of conversation to one
less perilous: "I never did hear tell that Hopewell Drugg drank a drop.
It's a pity if he's took it up so late in life--and him jest married."

"Wal!  I jest tell ye what I know.  There's my 'Rill cryin' her eyes
out an' she confessed that Drugg had gone down to the tavern to fiddle,
and that he'd been there before.  She has to wait on store evenin's, as
well as take care of that young one, while he's out carousin'."

"Carousin'!  Gosh!" exploded Marty, suddenly.  "I know what it is.
There's a bunch of fellers from Middletown way comin' over to-night
with their girls to hold a dance.  I heard about it.  Hopewell's goin'
to play the fiddle for them to dance by.  Tell you, the Inn's gettin'
to be a gay place."

"It's disgustin whatever it is!" cried Mrs. Scattergood, rather taken
aback by Marty's information, yet still clinging to her own opinion.
It was not Mrs. Scattergood's nature to scatter good--quite the
opposite.  "An' no married man should attend sech didoes.  Like enough
he _will_ drink with the rest of 'em.  Oh, 'Rill will be sick enough of
her job before she's through with it, yeou mark my words."

"Oh, Mrs. Scattergood," Janice said pleadingly, "I hope you are wrong.
I would not want to see Miss 'Rill unhappy."

"She's made her bed--let her lie in it," said the disapproving mother,
gloomily.  "I warned her."

Later, both Janice and Marty went with Mrs. Scattergood to see her
safely home.  She lived in the half of a tiny cottage on High Street
above the side street on which Hopewell Drugg had his store.  Had it
not been so late, Janice would have insisted upon going around to see
"Miss 'Rill," as all her friends still called, the ex-school teacher,
though she was married.

As they were bidding their caller good night at her gate, a figure
coming up the hill staggered into the radiance of the street light on
the corner.  Janice gasped.  Mrs. Scattergood ejaculated:

"What did I tell ye?"

Marty emitted a shrill whistle of surprise.

"What d'ye know about _that_?" he added, in a low voice.

There was no mistaking the figure which turned the corner toward
Hopewell Drugg's store.  It was the proprietor of the store himself,
with his fiddle in its green baize bag tightly tucked under his arm;
but his feet certainly were unsteady, and his head hung upon his breast.

They saw him disappear into the darkness of the side street.  Janice
Day put her hand to her throat; it seemed to her as though the pulse
beating there would choke her.

"What did I tell ye?  What did I tell ye?" cried the shrill voice of
Mrs. Scattergood.  "_Now_ ye'll believe what I say, I hope!  The
disgraceful critter!  My poor, poor 'Rill!  I knew how 'twould be if
she married that man."

It chanced that Janice Day's Bible opened that night to the sixth of
Proverbs and she read before going to bed these verses:


"These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination
unto him.

"A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.

"An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in
running to mischief.

"A false witness that speaketh lies, _and he that soweth discord among
brethren_."



CHAPTER IV

A RIFT IN THE HONEYMOON

Janice could not call at the little grocery on the side street until
Friday afternoon when she returned from Middletown for over Sunday.
While the roads were so bad that she could not use her car in which to
run back and forth to the seminary she boarded during the school days
near the seminary.

But 'Rill Drugg and little Lottie were continually in her mind.  From
Walky Dexter, with whom she rode home to Polktown on Friday, she gained
some information that she would have been glad not to hear.

"Talk abeout the 'woman with the sarpint tongue,'" chuckled Walky.  "We
sartain sure have our share of she in Polktown."

"What is the matter now, Walky?" asked Janice, gaily, not suspecting
what was coming.  "Has somebody got ahead of you in circulating a
particularly juicy bit of gossip?"

"Huh!" snorted the expressman.  "I gotter take a back seat, _I_ have.
Did ye hear 'bout Hopewell Drugg gittin' drunk, an' beatin' his wife,
an' I dunno but they say by this time that it's his fault lettle
Lottie's goin' blind again----"

"Oh, Walky! it can't be true!" gasped the girl, horrified.

"What can't?  That them old hens is sayin' sech things?" demanded the
driver.

"That Lottie is truly going blind?"

"Dunno.  She's in a bad way.  Hopewell wants to send her back to Boston
as quick's he can.  I know that.  And them sayin' that he's turned
inter a reg'lar old drunk, an' sich."

"What do you mean, Walky?" asked Janice, seriously.  "You cannot be in
earnest.  Surely people do not say such dreadful things about Mr.
Drugg?"

"Fact.  They got poor old Hopewell on the dissectin' table, and the way
them wimmen cut him up is a caution to cats!"

"What women, Walky?"

"His blessed mother-in-law, for one.  And most of the Ladies Aid is
a-follerin' of her example.  They air sayin' he's nex' door to a ditch
drunkard."

"Why, Walky Dexter! nobody would really believe such talk about Mr.
Drugg," Janice declared.

"Ye wouldn't think so, would ye?  We've all knowed Hopewell Drugg for
years an' years, and he's allus seemed the mildest-mannered pirate that
ever cut off a yard of turkey-red.  But now--Jefers-pelters! ye oughter
hear 'em!  He gits drunk, beats 'Rill Scattergood, _that was_, and
otherwise behaves himself like a hardened old villain."

"Oh, Walky!  I would not believe such things about Mr. Drugg--not if he
told them to me himself!" exclaimed Janice.

"An' I reckon nobody would ha' dreamed sech things about him if Marm
Scattergood hadn't got home from Skunk's Holler.  I expect she stirred
up things over there abeout as much as her son and his wife'd stand,
and they shipped her back to Polktown.  And Polktown--includin'
Hopewell--will hafter stand it."

"It is a shame!" cried Janice, with indignation.  Then she added,
doubtfully, remembering the unfortunate incident she and Marty and Mrs.
Scattergood had viewed so recently: "Of course, there isn't a word of
truth in it?"

"That Hopewell's become a toper and beats his wife?" chuckled Walky.
"Wal--I reckon not!  Maybe Hopewell takes a glass now and then--I
dunno.  I never seen him.  But they _do_ say he went home airly from
the dance at Lem Parraday's t'other night in a slightly elevated
condition.  Haw! haw! haw!"

"It is nothing to laugh at," Janice said severely.

"Nor nothin' ter cry over," promptly returned Walkworthy Dexter.
"What's a drink or two?  It ain't never hurt _me_.  Why should it
Hopewell?"

"Don't argue with me, Walky Dexter!" Janice exclaimed, much
exasperated.  "I--I _hate_ it all--this drinking.  I never thought of
it much before.  Polktown has been free of that curse until lately.  It
is a shame the bar was ever opened at the Lake View Inn.  _And
something ought to be done about it!_"

Walky had pulled in his team for her to jump down before Hopewell
Drugg's store.  "Jefers-pelters!" murmured the driver, scratching his
head.  "If that gal detarmines to put Lem Parraday out o' the licker
business, mebbe--mebbe I'd better go down an' buy me another drink
'fore she does it.  Haw! haw! haw!"

Hopewell Drugg's store was a very different looking shop now from its
appearance that day when Janice had led little blind Lottie up from the
wharf at Pine Cove and delivered her to her father for safe keeping.

Then the goods had been dusty and fly-specked, and the interior of the
store dark and musty.  Now the shelves and showcases were neatly
arranged, everything was scrupulously clean, and it was plain that the
reign of woman had succeeded the pandemonium of man.

There was nobody in the store at the moment; but from the rear the
sobbing tones of a violin took up the strains of "Silver Threads Among
the Gold."  Janice listened.  There seemed, to her ear, a sadder strain
than ever in Hopewell's playing of the old ballad.  For a time this
favorite had been discarded for lighter and brighter melodies, for the
little family here on the by-street had been wonderfully happy.

They all three welcomed Janice Day joyfully now.  The storekeeper, much
sprucer in dress than heretofore, smiled and nodded to her over the
bridge of his violin.  His wife, in a pretty print house dress, ran out
from her sitting room where she was sewing, to take Janice in her arms.
As for little Lottie, she danced about the visitor in glee.

"Oh, Janice Day!  Oh, Janice Day!  Looker me!" she crowed.  "See my new
dress?  Isn't it pretty?  And Mamma 'Rill made it for me--all of it!
She makes me lots and lots of nice things.  Isn't she just the bestest
Mamma 'Rill that ever was?"

"She certainly is," admitted Janice, laughing and kissing the pretty
child.  But she looked anxiously into the beautiful blue eyes, too.
Nothing there betrayed growing visual trouble.  Yet, when Lottie Drugg
was stone-blind, the expression of her eyes had been lovely.

"Weren't you and your papa lucky to get such a mamma?" continued Janice
with a swift glance over her shoulder at Hopewell.

The storekeeper was drawing the bow across the strings softly and just
a murmur came from them as he listened.  His eyes, Janice saw, were
fixed in pride and satisfaction upon his wife's trim figure.

On her part, Mrs. Drugg seemed her usual brisk, kind self.  Yet there
was a cheerful note lacking here.  The honeymoon for such a loving
couple could not yet have waned; but there was a rift in it.

'Rill wanted to talk.  Janice could see that.  The young girl had been
the school teacher's only confidant previous to her marriage to
Hopewell Drugg, and she still looked upon Janice as her dearest friend.
They left Lottie playing in the back room of the store and listening to
her father's fiddle, while 'Rill closed the door between that room and
the dwelling.

"Oh, my dear!" Janice hastened to ask, first of all, "is it true?"

'Rill flushed and there was a spark in her eye--Janice thought of
indignation.  Indeed, her voice was rather sharp as she asked:

"Is what true?"

"About Lottie.  Her eyes--you know."

"Oh, the poor little thing!" and instantly the step-mother's
countenance changed.  "Janice, we don't know.  Poor Hopewell is 'most
worried to death.  Sometimes it seems as though there was a blur over
the child's eyes.  And she has never got over her old habit of shutting
her eyes and seeing with her fingers, as she calls it."

"Ah!  I know," the girl said.  "But that does not necessarily mean that
she has difficulty with her vision."

"That is true.  And the doctor in Boston wrote that, at times, there
might arise some slight clouding of the vision if she used her eyes too
much, if she suffered other physical ills, even if she were frightened
or unhappy."

"The last two possibilities may certainly be set aside," said Janice,
with confidence.  "And she is as rosy and healthy looking as she could
be."

"Yes," said 'Rill.

"Then what can it be that has caused the trouble?"

"We cannot imagine," with a sigh.  "It--it is worrying Hopewell, night
and day."

"Poor man!"

"He--he is changed a great deal, Janice," whispered the bride.

Janice was silent, but held 'Rill's hand in her own comforting clasp.

"Don't think he isn't good to me.  He is!  He is!  He is the sweetest
tempered man that ever lived!  You know that, yourself.  And I thought
I was going to make him--oh!--so happy."

"Hush! hush, dear!" murmured Janice, for Mrs. Drugg's eyes had run over
and she sobbed aloud.  "He loves you just the same.  I can see it in
the way he looks at you.  And why should he not love you?"

"But he has lost his cheerfulness.  He worries about Lottie, I know.
There--there is another thing----"

She stopped.  She pursued this thread of thought no further.  Janice
wondered then--and she wondered afterward--if this unexplained anxiety
connected Hopewell Drugg with the dances at the Lake View Inn.



CHAPTER V

"THE BLUEBIRD--FOR HAPPINESS"

Could it be possible that Janice Day had alighted from Walky Dexter's
old carryall at the little grocery store for still another purpose?  It
was waning afternoon, yet she did not immediately make her way homeward.

Mrs. Beaseley lived almost across the street from Hopewell Drugg's
store, and Nelson Haley, the principal of Polktown's graded school,
boarded with the widow.  Janice ran in to see her "just for a moment."
Therefore, it could scarcely be counted strange that the young school
principal should have caught the girl in Mrs. Beaseley's bright kitchen
when he came home with his satchel of books and papers.

"There!  I do declare for't!" ejaculated the widow, who was a rather
lugubrious woman living in what she believed to be the remembrance of
"her sainted Charles."

"There!  I do declare for't!  I git to talkin' and I forgit how the
time flies.  That's what my poor Charles uster say--he had _that_ fault
to find with me, poor soul.  I couldn't never seem to git the vittles
on the table on time when I was young.

"I was mindin' to make you a shortcake for your supper to-night, Mr.
Haley, out o' some o' them peaches I canned last Fall!  But it's so
late----"

"You needn't hurry supper on my account, Mrs. Beaseley," said Nelson,
cheerily, and without removing his gloves.  "I find I've to go downtown
again on an errand.  I'll not be back for an hour."

Janice was smiling merrily at him from the doorway.

Mrs. Beaseley began to bustle about.  "That'll give me just time to
toss up the shortcake," she proclaimed.  "Good-bye, Janice.  Come
again.  Mr. Haley'll like to walk along with you, I know."

Mrs. Beaseley was blind to what most people, in Polktown knew--that
Janice and the schoolteacher were the very closest of friends.  Only
their years--at least, only Janice's youth--precluded an announced
engagement between them.

"Wait until I can come home and get a square look at this phenomenal
young man whom you have found in Polktown," Daddy had written, and
Janice would not dream of going against her father's expressed wish.

Besides, Nelson Haley was a poor young man, with his own way to make in
the world.  His work in the Polktown school had attracted the attention
of the faculty of a college not far away, and he had already been
invited to join the teaching staff of that institution.

Janice had been the young man's inspiration when he had first come to
Polktown, a raw college graduate, bent only on "teaching for a living"
and on earning his salary as easily as possible.  Awakened by his
desire to stand well in the estimation of the serious-minded
girl--eager to "make good" with her--Nelson Haley had put his shoulder
to the wheel, and the result was Polktown's fine new graded school,
with the young man himself at the head of it.

Nelson was good looking--extremely good looking, indeed.  He was light,
not dark like Janice, and he was muscular and sturdy without being at
all fleshy.  The girl was proud of him--he was always so well-dressed,
so gentlemanly, and carried himself with such an assured air.  Daddy
was bound to be pleased with a young man like Nelson Haley, once he
should see the schoolteacher!

In his companionship now, Janice rather lost sight of the troubles that
had come upon her of late.  Nelson told her of his school plans as they
strolled down High Street.

"And I fancy these lectures and readings the School Committee are
arranging will be a good thing," the young man said.  "We'll slip a
little extra information to the boys and girls of Polktown without
their suspecting it."

"Sugar-coated pills?" laughed Janice.

"Yes.  The old system of pounding knowledge into the infant cranium
isn't in vogue any more."

"Poor things!" murmured Janice Day, from the lofty rung of the
scholastic ladder she had attained.  "Poor things!  I don't blame them
for wondering: 'What's the use?'  Marty wonders now, old as he is.
There is such a lot to learn in the world!"

They talked of other things, too, and it was the appearance of Jim
Narnay weaving a crooked trail across High Street toward the rear of
the Inn that brought back to the girl's mind the weight of new trouble
that had settled upon it.

"Oh, dear! there's that poor creature," murmured Janice.  "And I
haven't been to see how his family is."

"Who--Jim Narnay's family?" asked Nelson.

"Yes."

"You'd better keep away from such people, Janice," the young man said
urgently.

"Why?"

"You don't want to mix with such folk, my dear," repeated the young
man, shaking his head.  "What good can it do?  The fellow is a drunken
rascal and not worth striving to do anything for."

"But his family?  The poor little children?" said Janice, softly.

"If you give them money, Jim'll drink it up."

"I believe that," admitted Janice.  "So I won't give them money.  But I
can buy things for them that they need.  And the poor little baby is
sick.  That cunning Sophie told me so."

"Goodness, Janice!" laughed Nelson, yet with some small vexation.  "I
see there's no use in opposing your charitable instincts.  But I really
wish you would not get acquainted with every rag-tag and bob-tail in
town.  First those Trimminses--and now these Narnays!"

Janice laughed at this.  "Why, they can't hurt me, Nelson.  And perhaps
I might do them good."

"You cannot handle charcoal without getting some of the smut on your
fingers," Nelson declared, dogmatically.

"But they are not charcoal.  They are just some of God's unfortunates,"
added the young girl, gently.  "It is not Sophie's fault that her
father drinks.  And maybe it isn't altogether _his_ fault."

"What arrant nonsense!" exclaimed Nelson, with some exasperation.  "It
always irritates me when I hear these old topers excused.  A man should
be able to take a glass of wine or beer or spirits--or let it alone."

"Yes, indeed, Nelson," agreed Janice, demurely.  "He _ought_ to."

The young man glanced sharply into her rather serious countenance.  He
suspected that she was not agreeing with him, after all, very strongly.
Finally he laughed, and the spark of mischief immediately danced in
Janice Day's hazel eyes.

"That is just where the trouble lies, Nelson, with drinking
intoxicating things.  People should be able to drink or not, as they
feel inclined.  But alcohol is insidious.  Why! you teach that in your
own classes, Nelson Haley!"

"Got me there," admitted the young school principal, with a laugh.
Then he became sober again, and added: "But _I_ can take a drink or
leave it alone if I wish."

"Oh, Nelson!  You _don't_ use alcoholic beverages, do you?" cried
Janice, quite shocked.  "Oh! you _don't_, do you?"

"My, my!  See what a little fire-cracker it is!" laughed Nelson.  "Did
I say I was in the habit of going into Lem Parraday's bar and spending
my month's salary in fiery waters?"

"Oh, but Nelson!  You don't _approve_ of the use of liquor, do you?"

"I'm not sure that I do," returned the young man, more gravely.  "And
yet I believe in every person having perfect freedom in that as well as
other matters."

"Anarchism!" cried Janice, yet rather seriously, too, although her lips
smiled.

"I know the taste of all sorts of beverages," the young man said.  "I
was in with rather a sporty bunch at college, for a while.  But I knew
I could not afford to keep up that pace, so I cut it out."

"Oh, Nelson!" Janice murmured.  "It's too bad!"

"Why, it never hurt me," answered the young schoolmaster.  "It never
could hurt me.  A gentleman eats temperately and drinks temperately.
Of course, I would not go into the Lake View Inn and call for a drink,
now that I am teaching school here.  My example would be bad for the
boys.  And I fancy the School Committee would have something to say
about it, too," and he laughed again, lightly.

They had turned into Hillside Avenue and the way was deserted save for
themselves.  The warm glow of sunset lingered about them.  Lights
twinkling in the kitchens as they went along announced the preparation
of the evening meal.

Janice clasped her hands over Nelson's arm confidingly and looked
earnestly up into his face.

"Nelson!" she said softly, "don't even _think_ about drinking anything
intoxicating.  I should be afraid for you.  I should worry about the
hold it might get upon you----"

"As it has on Jim Narnay?" interrupted the young man, laughing.

"No," said Janice, still gravely.  "You would never be like him, I am
sure------"

"Nor will drink ever affect me in any way--no fear!  I know what I am
about.  I have a will of my own, I should hope.  I can control my
appetites and desires.  And I should certainly never allow such a
foolish habit as tippling to get a strangle hold on me."

"Of course, I know you won't," agreed Janice.

"I thank goodness I'm not a man of habit, in any case," continued
Nelson, proudly.  "One of our college professors has said: 'There is
only one thing worse than a bad habit--and that's a good habit.'  It is
true.  No man can be a well-rounded and perfectly poised man, if he is
hampered by habits of any kind.  Habits narrow the mind and contract
one's usefulness in the world----"

"Oh, Nelson!" excitedly interrupted Janice.  "See the bluebird!  The
first I have seen this Spring.  The dear, little, pretty thing!"

"Good-_night_!" exploded the school teacher, with a burst of laughter.
"My little homily is put out of business.  A bluebird, indeed!"

"But the bluebird is so pretty--and so welcome in Spring.  See! there
he goes."  Then she added softly, still clinging to Nelson's arm:

"'The bluebird--for happiness.'"



CHAPTER VI

THE TENTACLES OF THE MONSTER

The sweet south wind blew that night and helped warm to life the
Winter-chilled breast of Mother Earth.  Her pulses leaped, rejuvenated;
the mellowing soil responded; bud and leaf put forth their effort to
reach the sun and air.

At Janice Day's casement the odors of the freshly-turned earth and of
the growing things whispered of the newly begun season.  The ruins of
the ancient fortress across the lake to the north still frowned in the
mists of night when Janice left her bed and peered from the open
window, looking westward.

Behind the mountain-top which towered over Polktown it was already
broad day; but the sun would not appear, to gild the frowning fortress,
or to touch the waters of the lake with its magic wand, for yet several
minutes.

As the first red rays of the sun graced the rugged prospect across the
lake, Janice went through the barnyard and climbed the uphill pasture
lane.  She was bound for the great "Overlook" rock in the
second-growth, from which spot she never tired of looking out upon the
landscape--and upon life itself.

Janice Day took many of her problems to the Overlook.  There, alone
with the wild things of the wood, with nothing but the prospect to
tempt her thoughts, she was wont to decide those momentous questions
that come into every young girl's life.

As she sped up the path past the sheep sheds on this morning, her feet
were suddenly stayed by a most unexpected incident.  Janice usually had
the hillside to herself at this hour; but now she saw a dark figure
huddled under the shelter, the open side of which faced her.

"A bear!" thought Janice.  Yet there had not been such a creature seen
in the vicinity of Polktown for years, she knew.

She hesitated.  The "bear" rolled over, stretched himself, and yawned a
most prodigious yawn.

"Goodness, mercy, me!" murmured Janice Day.  "It's a man!"

But it was not.  It was a boy.  Janice popped down behind a boulder and
watched, for at first she had no idea who he could be.  Certainly he
must have been up here in the sheepfold all night; and a person who
would spend a night in the open, on the raw hillside at this time of
year, must have something the matter with him, to be sure.

"Why--why, that's Jack Besmith!  He worked for Mr. Massey all Winter.
What is he doing here?" murmured Janice.

She did not rise and expose herself to the fellow's gaze.  For one
thing, the ex-drug clerk looked very rough in both dress and person.

His uncombed hair was littered with straw and bits of corn-blades from
the fodder on which he had lain.  His clothing was stained.  He wore no
linen and the shoes on his feet were broken.

Never in her life had Janice Day seen a more desperate looking young
fellow and she was actually afraid of him.  Yet she knew he came of a
respectable family, and that he had a decent lodging in town.  What
business had he up here at her uncle's sheepfold?

Janice continued her walk no farther.  She remained in hiding until she
saw Jack Besmith stumble out of the sheep pasture and down the hill
behind the Day stables--taking a retired route toward the village.

Coming down into the barnyard once more, Janice met Marty with a
foaming milk pail.

"Hullo, early bird!" he sang out.  "Did you catch the worm this
morning?"

Janice shuddered a trifle.  "I believe I did, Marty," she confessed.
"At least, I saw some such crawling thing."

"Hi tunket!  Not a snake so early in the year?"

"I don't know," and his cousin smiled, yet with gravity.

"Huh?" queried the boy, with curiosity, for he saw that something
unusual had occurred.

Janice gravely told him whom she had seen in the sheepfold.  "And,
Marty, I believe he must have been up there all night--sleeping
outdoors such weather as this.  What for, do you suppose?"

Marty professed inability to explain; but after he had taken the milk
in to his mother, he slipped away and ran up to the sheep pasture
himself.

"I say, Janice," he said, grinning, when he came back.  "I can solve
the mystery, I can."

"What mystery?" asked his cousin, who was flushed now with helping her
aunt get breakfast.

"The mystery of the 'early worm' that you saw this mornin'."  He
brought his hand from behind him and displayed an empty, amber-colored
flask on which was a gaudy label announcing its contents to have been
whiskey and sold by "_L. Parraday, Polktown._"

"Oh, dear!  Is _that_ the trouble with the Besmith boy?" murmured
Janice.

"That's how he came to lose his job with Massey."

"Poor fellow!  He looked dreadful!"

"Oh, he's a bad egg," said her cousin, carelessly.

Janice hurried through breakfast, for the car was to be brought forth
to-day.  Marty had been fussing over it for almost a week.  The wind
was drying up the roads and it was possible for Janice to take a spin
out into the open country.

Marty's prospects of enjoying the outing, however, were nipped before
he could leave the table.

"Throw the chain harness on the colts, Marty," said his father.  "The
'tater-patch is dry enough to put the plow in.  And I'll want ye to
help me."

"Oh--Dad!  I got to help Janice get her car out.  This ain't no time to
plow for 'taters," declared Marty.

"Your mouth'll be open wider'n anybody else's in the house for the
'taters when they're grown," said Uncle Jason, calmly.  "You got to do
your share toward raisin' 'em."

"Oh, Dad!" ejaculated the boy again.

"Now, Marty, you stop talkin'!" cried his mother.

"Huh! you wanter make a feller dumb around here, too.  S'pose Janice
breaks down on the road?" he added, with reviving hope.

"I guess she'll find somebody that knows fully as much about them
gasoline buggies as you do, Son," observed Uncle Jason, easily.  "You
an' me'll tackle the 'tater field."

When his father spoke so positively Marty knew there was no use trying
to change him.  He frowned, and muttered, and kicked the table leg as
he got up, but to no avail.

Janice, later, got into her car and started for a ride.  She put the
Kremlin right at the hill and it climbed Hillside Avenue with wonderful
ease.  The engine purred prettily and not a thing went wrong.

"Poor Marty!  It's too bad he couldn't go, too," she thought.  "I'd
gladly share this with somebody."

Nelson, she knew, was busy this forenoon.  It took no little of his
out-of-school time to prepare the outline for the ensuing week's work.
Besides, on this Saturday morning, there was a special meeting of the
School Committee, as he had told her the afternoon before.  Something
to do with the course of lectures before mentioned.  And the young
principal of Polktown's graded school was very faithful to his duties.

She thought of Mrs. Drugg and little Lottie; but there was trouble at
the Drugg home.  Somehow, on this bright, sweet-smelling morning,
Janice shrank from touching anything unpleasant, or coming into
communication with anybody who was not in attune with the day.

She was fated, however, to rub elbows with Trouble wherever she went
and whatever she did.  She ran the Kremlin past the rear of Walky
Dexter's place and saw Walky himself currying Josephus and his mate on
the stable floor.  The man waved his currycomb at her and grinned.  But
his well-known grimace did not cheer Janice Day.

"Dear me!  Poor Walky is in danger, too," thought the young girl.
"Why! the whole of Polktown is changing.  In some form or other that
liquor selling at the Inn touches all our lives.  I wonder if other
people see it as plainly as I do."

She ran up into the Upper Middletown Road, as far out as Elder
Concannon's.  The old gentleman--once Janice Day's very stern critic,
but now her staunch friend--was in the yard when Janice approached in
her car.  He waved a cordial hand at her and turned away from the man
he had been talking with.

"Well, there ye have it, Trimmins," the girl heard the elder say, as
her engine stopped.  "If you can find a man or two to help you, I'll
let you have a team and you can go in there and haul them logs.
There's a market for 'em, and the logs lie jest right for hauling.  You
and your partner can make a profit, and so can I."

Then he said to Janice: "Good morning, child!  You're as fresh to look
at as a morning-glory."

She had nodded and smiled at the patriarchal old gentleman; but her
eyes were now on the long and lanky looking woodsman who stood by.

"Good day, Mr. Trimmins," she said, when she had returned Elder
Concannon's greeting.  "Is Mrs. Trimmins well?  And my little Virginia
and all the rest of them?"

"The fambly's right pert, Miss," Trimmins said.

Janice had a question or two to ask the elder regarding the use of the
church vestry for some exercises by the Girl's Guild of which she had
been the founder and was still the leading spirit.

"Goodness, yes!" agreed the elder.  "Do anything you like, Janice, if
you can keep those young ones interested in anything besides dancing
and parties.  Still, what can ye expect of the young gals when their
mothers are given up to folly and dissipation?

"There's Mrs. Marvin Petrie and Mrs. Major Price want to be
'patronesses,' I believe they call themselves, of an Assembly Ball, an'
want to hold the ball at Lem Parraday's hotel.  It's bad enough to have
them dances; but to have 'em at a place where liquor is sold, is a sin
and a shame!  I wish Lem Parraday had lost the hotel entirely, before
he got a liquor license."

"Oh, Elder!  It is dreadful that liquor should be sold in Polktown,"
Janice said, from the seat of the automobile.  "I'm just beginning to
see it."

"That's what it is," said the elder, sturdily.

"It's a shame Mr. Parraday was ever allowed to have a license at the
Lake View Inn."

"Wal--it does seem too bad," the elder agreed, but with less confidence
in his tone.

"I know they say the Inn scarcely paid him and his wife, and he might
have had to give it up this Spring," Janice said.

"Ahem!  That would have been unfortunate for the mortgagee," slowly
observed the old man.

"Mr. Cross Moore?" Janice quickly rejoined.  "Well! he could afford to
lose a little money if anybody could."

"Tut, tut!" exclaimed the elder, who had a vast respect for money.
"Don't say that, child.  Nobody can afford to lose money."

Janice turned her car about soberly.  She saw that the ramification of
this liquor selling business was far-reaching, indeed.  Elder Concannon
spoke only too truly.

Where self-interest was concerned most people would lean toward the
side of liquor selling.

"The tentacles of the monster have insinuated themselves into our
social and business life, as well as into our homes," she thought.
"Why--why, what can _I_ do about it?  Just _me_, a girl all alone."



CHAPTER VII

SWEPT ON BY THE CURRENT

Janice picked up Trimmins on the road to town.  The lanky Southerner,
who lived as a squatter with his ever-increasing family back in the
woods, was a soft-spoken man with much innate politeness and a great
distaste for regular work.  He said the elder had just offered him a
job in the woods that he was going to take if he could get a man to
help him.

"I heard you talking about it, Mr. Trimmins," the young girl said, with
her eyes on the road ahead and her foot on the gas pedal.  "I hope you
will make a good thing out of it."

"Not likely.  The elder's too close for that," responded the man, with
a twinkle in his eye.

"Yes.  I suppose that Elder Concannon considers a small profit
sufficient.  He got his money that way--by 'littles and dribbles'--and
I fancy he thinks small pay is all right."

"My glo-_ree_!  You bet he does!" said Trimmins.  "But the elder never
had but one--leastways, two--chillen to raise.  He wouldn't ha' got
rich very fast with _my_ family--no, sir!"

"Perhaps that is so," Janice admitted.

"Tell ye what, Miss," the woodsman went on to say, "a man ought to git
paid accordin' to the mouths there is to home to feed.  I was readin'
in a paper t'other day that it took ten dollars a week to take proper
care of a man and his wife, and there ought to be added to them ten
dollars two dollars a week ev'ry time they got a baby."

"Why! wouldn't that be fine?" cried Janice, laughing.

"It sure would be a help," said Trimmins, the twinkle in his eye again.
"I reckon both me an' Narnay would 'preciate it."

"Oh! you mean Jim Narnay?" asked Janice, with sudden solemnity.

"Yes ma'am.  I'm goin' to see him now.  He's a grand feller with the
axe and I want him to help me."

Janice wondered how much work would really be done by the two men if
they were up in the woods together.  Yet Mrs. Narnay and the children
might get along better without Jim.  Janice had made some inquiries and
learned that Mrs. Narnay was an industrious woman, working steadily
over her washtub, and keeping the children in comparative comfort when
Jim was not at home to drink up a good share of her earnings.

"Are you going down to the cove to see Narnay now, Mr. Trimmins?"
Janice asked, as she turned the automobile into the head of High Street.

"Yes, ma'am.  That is, if I don't find him at Lem Parraday's."

"Oh, Mr. Trimmins!" exclaimed Janice, earnestly.  "Look for him at the
house first.  And don't you go near Lem Parraday's, either."

"Wal!" drawled the man.  "I s'pose you air right, Miss."

"I'll drive you right down to the cove," Janice said.  "I want to see
little Sophie, and--and her mother."

"Whatever you say, Miss," agreed the woodsman.

They followed a rather rough street coveward, but arrived safely at the
small collection of cottages, in one of which the Narnays lived.  Jim
Narnay was evidently without money, for he sat on the front stoop,
sober and rather neater than Janice was used to seeing him.  He was
whittling a toy of some kind for the little boys, both of whom were
hanging upon him.

Their attitude, as well as what Sophie Narnay had told her, assured
Janice that the husband and father of the household was not a cruel man
when he was sober.  The children still loved him, and he evidently
loved them.

"Got a job, Jim?" asked Trimmins, after thanking Janice for the ride,
and getting out of the automobile.

"Not a smitch of work since I come out of the woods," admitted the
bewhiskered man, rising quickly from the stoop to make way for Janice.

"Come on, old feller," said Trimmins.  "I want to talk to you.  If you
are favorable inclined, I reckon I got jest the job you've been lookin'
for."

The two went off behind the cottage.  Janice did not know then that
there was a short cut to High Street and the Lake View Inn.

Sophie came running to the door to welcome the visitor, her thin little
arms red and soapy from dish-water.

"I knowed 'twas you," she said, smiling happily.  "They told me you was
the only girl in town that owned one o' them cars.  And I told mom that
you must be awful rich and kind.  Course, you must be, or you couldn't
afford to give away ten cent pieces so easy."

Mrs. Narnay came to the door, too, her arms right out of the washtub;
but Janice begged her not to inconvenience herself.  "Keep right on
with your work and I'll come around to the back and sit on that stoop,"
said the young girl.

"And you must see the baby," Sophie urged.  "I can bring out the baby
if I wrap her up good, can't I, Marm?"

"Have a care with the poor child, Sophie," said Mrs. Narnay, wearily.
"Where's your pop gone?"

"He's walked out with Mr. Trimmins," said the little girl.

The woman sighed, and Janice, all through her visit, could see that she
was anxious about her absent husband.  The baby was brought out--a
pitifully thin, but pretty child--and Sophie nursed her little sister
with much enjoyment.

"I wisht she was twins," confessed the little girl.  "It must be awful
jolly to have twins in the family."

"My soul, child!" groaned Mrs. Narnay.  "Don't talk so reckless.  One
baby at a time is affliction enough--as ye'll find out for yourself
some day."

Janice, leaving a little gift to be hidden from Jim Narnay and divided
among the children, went away finally, with the determination that Dr.
Poole should see the baby again and try to do something for the poor,
little, weakly thing.  Trimmins and Jim Narnay had disappeared, and
Janice feared that, after all, they had drifted over to the Inn, there
to celebrate the discovery of the job they both professed to need so
badly.

"That awful bar!" Janice told herself.  "If it were not here in
Polktown those two ne'er-do-wells would have gone right about their
work without any celebration at all.  I guess Mrs. Scattergood is
right--Mr. Lem Parraday ought to be tarred and feathered for ever
taking out that license!  And how about the councilmen who voted to let
him have it?"

As she wheeled into High Street once more a tall, well groomed young
man, with rosy cheeks and the bluest of blue eyes, hailed her from the
sidewalk.

"Oh, Janice Day!" he cried.  "How's the going?"

"Mr. Bowman!  I didn't know you had returned," Janice said, smiling and
stopping the car.  "The going is pretty good."

"Have you been around by the Lower Road where my gang is working?"

"No," Janice replied.  "But Marty says the turnout is being put in and
that the bridge over the creek is almost done."

"Good!  I'll get over there by and by to see for myself."  He had set
down a heavy suitcase and still held a traveling bag.  "Just now," he
added, "I am hunting a lodging."

"Hunting a lodging?  Why!  I thought you were a fixture with Marm
Parraday," Janice said.

"I thought so, too.  But it's got too strong for me down there.
Besides, it is a rule of the Railroad Company that we shall find board,
if possible, where no liquor is sold.  I had a room over the bar and it
is too noisy for me at night."

"Marm Parraday will be sorry to lose you, Mr. Bowman," Janice said.
"Isn't it dreadful that they should have taken up the selling of liquor
there?"

"Bad thing," the young civil engineer replied, promptly.  "I'm sorry
for Marm Parraday.  Lem ought to be kicked for ever getting the
license," he added vigorously.

"Dear me, Mr. Bowman," sighed Janice.  "I wish everybody thought as you
do.  Polktown needs reforming."

"What!  Again?" cried the young man, laughing suddenly.  Then he added:
"I expect, if that is so, you will have to start the reform, Miss
Janice.  And--and you'd better start it with your friend, Hopewell
Drugg.  Really, they are making a fool of him around the Inn--and he
doesn't even know it."

"Oh, Mr. Bowman! what do you mean?" called Janice after him; but the
young man had picked up his bag and was marching away, so that he did
not hear her question.  Before she could start her engine he had turned
into a side street.

She ran back up Hillside Avenue in good season for dinner.  The potato
patch was plowed and Marty had gone downtown on an errand.  Janice
backed the car into the garage and went upstairs to her room to change
her dress for dinner.  She was there when Marty came boisterously into
the kitchen.

"My goodness! what's the matter with you, Marty Day?" asked his mother
shrilly.  "What's happened?"

"It's Nelson Haley," the boy said, and Janice heard him plainly, for
the door at the foot of the stairs was ajar.  "It's awful!  They are
going to arrest him!"

"What do you mean, Marty Day?  Be you crazy?" Mrs. Day demanded.

"What's this?  One o' your cheap jokes?" asked the boy's father, who
chanced to be in the kitchen, too.

"Guess Nelson Haley don't think it's a joke," said the boy, his voice
still shaking.  "I just heard all about it.  There ain't many folks
know it yet----"

"Stop that!" cried his mother.  "You tell us plain what Mr. Haley's
done."

"Ain't done nothin', of course.  But they _say_ he has," Marty stoutly
maintained.

"Then what do they accuse him of?" queried Mr. Day.

"They accuse him of stealin'!  Hi tunket! ain't that the meanest thing
ye ever heard?" cried the boy.  "Nelson Haley, stealin'.  It gets _me_
for fair!"

"Why--why I can't believe it!" Aunt 'Mira gasped, and she sat down with
a thud on one of the kitchen chairs.

"I got it straight," Marty went on to say.  "The School Committee's all
in a row over it.  Ye see, they had the coins----"

"_Who_ had _what_ coins?" cried his mother.

"The School Committee.  That collection of gold coins some rich feller
lent the State Board of Education for exhibition at the lecture next
Friday.  They only come over from Middletown last night and Mr. Massey
locked them in his safe."

"Wal!" murmured Uncle Jason.

"Massey brought 'em to the school this morning where the committee held
a meeting.  I hear the committee left the trays of coins in their room
while they went downstairs to see something the matter with the heater.
When they come up the trays had been skinned clean--'for a fac'!"
exclaimed the excited Marty.

"What's that got to do with Mr. Haley?" demanded Uncle Jason, grimly.

"Why--he'd been in the room.  I believe he don't deny he was there.
Nobody else was in the buildin' 'cept the janitor, and he was with
Massey and the others in the basement.

"Then coins jest disappeared--took wings and flewed away," declared
Marty with much earnestness.

"What was they wuth?" asked his father, practically.

"Dunno.  A lot of money.  Some says two thousand and some says five
thousand.  Whichever it is, they'll put him under big bail if they
arrest him."

"Why, they wouldn't dare!" gasped Mrs. Day.

"Say!  Massey and them others has got to save their own hides, ain't
they?" demanded the suspicious Marty.

"Wal.  'Tain't common sense that any of the School Committee should
have stolen the coins," Uncle Jason said slowly.  "Mr. Massey, and
Cross Moore, and Mr. Middler----"

"Mr. Middler warn't there," said Marty, quickly.  "He'd gone to
Middletown."

"Joe Pellet and Crawford there?" asked Uncle Jason.

"All the committee but the parson," his son admitted.

"And all good men," Uncle Jason said reflectively.  "Schoolhouse
locked?"

"So they say," Marty declared.  "That's what set them on Nelson.  Only
him and the janitor carry keys to the building."

"Who's the janitor?" asked Uncle Jason.

"Benny Thread.  You know, the little crooked-backed feller--lives on
Paige Street.  And, anyway, there wasn't a chance for him to get at the
coins.  He was with the committee all the time they was out of the
room."

"And are they sure Mr. Haley was in there?" asked Aunt 'Mira.

"He admits it," Marty said gloomily.  "I don't know what's going to
come of it all----"

"Hush!" said Uncle Jason suddenly.  "Shut that door."

But it was too late, Janice had heard all.  She came down into the
kitchen, pale-faced and with eyes that blazed with indignation.  She
had not removed her hat.

"Come, Uncle Jason," she said, brokenly.  "I want you to go downtown
with me.  If Nelson is in trouble we must help him."

"Drat that boy!" growled Uncle Jason, scowling at Marty.  "He's a
reg'lar big mouth!  He has to tell ev'rything he knows all over the
shop."



CHAPTER VIII

REAL TROUBLE

It seemed to Janice Day as though the drift of trouble, which had set
her way with the announcement by her father of his unfortunate
situation among the Yaqui Indians, had now risen to an overwhelming
height.

'Rill's secret misgivings regarding Hopewell Drugg, little Lottie's
peril of blindness, the general tendency of Polktown as a whole to
suffer the bad effects of liquor selling at the tavern--all these
things had added to Janice's anxiety.

Now, on the crest of the threatening wave, rode this happening to
Nelson Haley, an account of which Marty had brought home.

"Come, Uncle Jason," she said again to Mr. Day.  "You must come with
me.  If Nelson is arrested and taken before Justice Little, the justice
will listen to _you_.  You are a property owner.  If they put Nelson
under bail----"

"Hold your hosses," interrupted Uncle Jason, yet not unkindly.  "Noah
didn't build the ark in a day.  We'd best go slow about this."

"Slow!" repeated Janice.

"I guess you wouldn't talk about bein' slow, Jason Day, if _you_ was
arrested," Aunt 'Mira interjected.

"Ma's right," said Marty.  "Mebbe they'll put him in the cell under the
Town Hall 'fore you kin get downtown."

"There ain't no sech haste as all that," stated Uncle Jason.  "What's
the matter of you folks?"

He spoke rather testily, and Janice looked at him in surprise.  "Why,
Uncle!" she cried, "what do you mean?  It's Nelson Haley who is in
trouble."

"I mean to eat my dinner fust of all," said her uncle firmly.  "And so
had you better, my gal.  A man can't be expected to go right away to
court an' put up every dollar he's got in the world for bail, until
he's thought it over a little, and knows something more about the
trouble."

"Why, Jason!" exploded Aunt 'Mira.  "Of course Mr. Haley is innocent
and you will help him."

"Hi tunket, Dad!" cried Marty.  "You ain't goin' back on Nelson?"

Janice was silent.  Her uncle did not look at her, but drew his chair
to the table.  "I ain't goin' back on nobody," he said steadily.  "But
I can't do nothing to harm my own folks.  If, as you say, Marty, them
coins is so vallible, his bail'll be consider'ble--for a fac'.  If I
put up this here property that we got, an'--an' anything happens--not
that I say anythin' will happen--where'd we be?"

"What ever do ye mean, Jason Day?" demanded his wife.  "That Nelson
Haley would run away?"

"Ahem!  We don't know how strongly the young man's been tempted," said
Mr. Day doggedly.

"Uncle!" cried Janice, aghast.

"Dad!" exclaimed Marty.

"Jase Day!  For the land's sake!" concluded Aunt 'Mira.

"Sit down and eat your dinner, Janice," said Uncle Jason a second time,
ignoring his wife and son.  "Remember, I got a duty to perform to your
father as well as to you.  What would Broxton Day do in this case?"

"I--I don't know, Uncle Jason," Janice said faintly.

"Fust of all, he wouldn't let you git mixed up in nothin' that would
make the neighbors talk about ye," Mr. Day said promptly.  "Now,
whether Nelson Haley is innercent or guilty, there is bound ter be
slathers of talk about this thing and about ev'rybody connected with
it."

"He is not guilty, Uncle," said Janice, quietly.

"That's my opinion, too," said Mr. Day, bluntly.  "But I want the
pertic'lars, jest the same.  I want to know all about it.  Where
there's so much smoke there must be some fire."

"Not allus, Dad," growled Marty, in disgust.  "Smoke comes from an
oak-ball, but there ain't no fire."

"You air a smart young man," returned his father, coolly.  "You'll grow
up to be the town smartie, like Walky Dexter, I shouldn't wonder.
Nelson must ha' done somethin' to put himself in bad in this thing, and
I want to know what it is he done."

"He went into the schoolhouse," grumbled Marty.

"Howsomever," pursued Mr. Day, "if they shut Nelson Haley up on this
charge and he ain't guilty, we who know him best will git together and
bail him out, if that seems best."

"'If that seems best!'" repeated Aunt 'Mira.  "Jason Day!  I'm glad the
Lord didn't make me such a moderate critter as you be."

"You're a great friend of Nelse Haley--I don't think!" muttered Marty.

But Janice said nothing more.  That Uncle Jason did not rush to
Nelson's relief as she would have done had it been in her power, was
not so strange.  Janice was a singularly just girl.

The hurt was there, nevertheless.  She could not help feeling keenly
the fact that everybody in Polktown did not respond at once to Nelson's
need.

That he should be accused of stealing the collection of coins was
preposterous indeed.  Yet Janice was sensible enough to know that there
would be those in the village only too ready and willing to believe ill
of the young schoolmaster.

Nelson Haley's character was not wishy-washy.  He had made everybody
respect him.  His position as principal of the school gave him almost
as much importance in the community as the minister.  But not all the
Polktown folk loved Nelson Haley.  He had made enemies as well as
friends since coming to the lakeside town.

There were those who would seize upon this incident, no matter how
slightly the evidence might point to Nelson, and make "a mountain of a
molehill."  Nelson was a poor young man.  He had come to Polktown with
college debts to pay off out of his salary.  To those who were not
intimately acquainted with the school-teacher's character, it would not
seem such an impossibility that he should yield to temptation where
money was concerned.

But to Janice the thought was not only abhorrent, it was ridiculous.
She would have believed herself capable of stealing quite as soon as
she would have believed the accusation against Nelson.

Yet she could not blame Uncle Jason for his calm attitude in this
event.  It was his nature to be moderate and careful.  She did not
scold like Aunt 'Mira, nor mutter and glare like Marty.  She could not,
however, eat any dinner.

It was nerve-racking to sit there, playing with her fork, awaiting
Uncle Jason's pleasure.  Janice's eyes were tearless.  She had learned
ere this, in the school of hard usage, to control her emotions.  Not
many girls of her age could have set off finally with Mr. Day for the
town with so quiet a mien.  For she insisted upon accompanying her
uncle on this quest.  She felt that she could not remain quietly at
home and wait upon his leisurely report of the situation.

First of all they learned that no attempt had been made as yet to
curtail the young schoolmaster's liberty; otherwise the situation was
quite as bad as Marty had so eagerly reported.

The collection of gold coins, valued at fifteen hundred dollars, had
been left in the committee room next to the principal's office in the
new school building.  It being Saturday, the outer doors of the
building were locked--or supposedly so.

Benny Thread, the janitor, was with the four committeemen in the
basement for a little more than half an hour.  During that half-hour
Nelson Haley had entered the school building, using his pass key, had
been to his office, and entered the committee room, and from thence
departed, all while the committee was below stairs.

He had been seen both going in and coming out by the neighbors.  He
carried his school bag in both instances.  The collection of coins was
of some weight; but Nelson could have carried that weight easily.

The committee, upon returning to the second floor and finding the trays
empty, had at once sent for Nelson and questioned him.  In their first
excitement over the loss of the coins, they had been unwise enough to
state the trouble and their suspicions to more than one person.  In an
hour the story, with many additions, had spread over Polktown.  A fire
before a high wind could have traveled no faster.

Uncle Jason listened, digested, and made up his mind.  Although a
moderate man, he thought to some purpose.  He was soon satisfied that
the four committeemen, having got over their first fright, would do
nothing rash.  And Janice had much to thank her uncle for in this
emergency; for he was outspoken, once having formed an opinion in the
matter.

Finding the four committeemen in the drugstore, Uncle Jason berated
them soundly:

"I did think you four fellers was safe to be let toddle about alone.  I
swan I did!  But here ye ac' jest like ye was nuthin' but babies!

"Jest because ye acted silly and left that money open for the fust
comer to pocket, ye hafter run about an' squeal, layin' it all to the
fust person that come that way.  If Mr. Middler or Elder Concannon had
come inter that school buildin', I s'pose it'd ha' been jest the same.
You fellers would aimed ter put it on them--one or t'other.  I'm
ashamed of ye."

"Wal, Jase Day, you're so smart," drawled Cross Moore, "who d'ye reckon
could ha' took the coins?"

"Most anybody _could_.  Mr. Haley sartinly did _not_," Uncle Jason
returned, briskly.

"How d'ye know so much?" demanded Massey, the druggist.

"'Cause I know him," rejoined Mr. Day, quite as promptly as before.

"Aw--that's only talk," said Joe Pellet, pulling his beard
reflectively.  "Mr. Haley's a nice young man----"

"I've knowed him since ever he come inter this town," Mr. Day
interrupted, with energy.  "He's too smart ter do sech a thing, even if
he was so inclined.  You fellers seem ter think he's an idiot.  What!
steal them coins when he's the only person 'cept the janitor that's
knowed to have a key to the school building?

"Huh!" pursued Uncle Jason, with vast disgust.  "You fellers must have
a high opinion of your own judgment, when you choosed Mr. Haley to
teach this school.  Did ye hire a nincompoop, I wanter know?  Why! if
he'd wanted ever so much ter steal them coins, he'd hafter been a fule
ter done it in this way."

"There's sense in what ye say, Jason," admitted Mr. Crawford.

"I sh'd hope so!  But there ain't sense in what you fellers have
done--for a fac!  Lettin' sech a story as this git all over town.  By
jiminy! if I was Mr. Haley, I'd sue ye!"

"But what are we goin' ter do, Jason?" demanded Cross Moore.  "Sit here
an' twiddle our thumbs, and let that feller 't owns the coins come down
on us for their value?"

"You'll have to make good to him anyway," said Mr. Day, bluntly.  "You
four air responserble."

"Hi tunket!" exploded Joe Pellet.  "And let the thief git away with
'em?"

"Better git a detecertif, an' put him on the case," said Mr. Day.  "Of
course, you air all satisfied that nobody could ha' got into the
schoolhouse but Mr. Haley?"

"He an' Benny is all that has keys," said Massey.

"Sure about this here janitor?" asked Uncle Jason, slowly.

"Why, he was with us all the time," said Crawford, in disgust.

"And he's a hardworkin' little feller, too," Massey added.  "Not a
thing wrong with Benny but his back.  That is crooked; but he's as
straight as a string."

"How's his fambly?" asked Uncle Jason.

"Ain't got none--but a wife.  A decent, hard-working woman," proclaimed
the druggist.  "No children.  Her brother boards with 'em.  That's all."

"Well, sir!" said Uncle Jason, oracularly.  "There air some things in
this worl' ye kin be sure of, besides death and taxes.  There's a few
things connected with this case that ye kin pin down.  F'r instance:
The janitor didn't do it.  Nelse Haley didn't do it.  None o' you four
fellers done it."

"Say! you goin' to drag us under suspicion, Jase?" drawled Cross Moore.

"If you keep on sputterin' about Nelse Haley--yes," snapped Mr. Day,
nodding vigorously.  "Howsomever, there's still another party ter which
the finger of suspicion p'ints."

"Who's that?" was the chorus from the school committee.

"A party often heard of in similar cases," said Mr. Day, solemnly.
"His name is _Unknown_!  Yes, sir!  Some party unknown entered that
building while you fellers was down cellar, same as Nelson Haley did.
This party, Unknown, stole the coins."

"Aw, shucks, Jase!" grunted Mr. Cross Moore.  "You got to give us
something more satisfactory than that if you want to shunt us off'n
Nelson Haley's trail," and the other three members of the School
Committee nodded.



CHAPTER IX

HOW NELSON TOOK IT

Something more than mere curiosity drew Janice Day's footsteps toward
the new school building.  There were other people drawn in the same
direction; but their interest was not like hers.

Somehow, this newest bit of gossip in Polktown could be better
discussed at the scene of the strange robbery itself.  Icivilly Sprague
and Mabel Woods walked there, arm in arm, passing Janice by with side
glances and the tossing of heads.

Icivilly and Mabel had attended Nelson's school the first term after
Miss 'Rill Scattergood gave up teaching; but finding the young
schoolmaster impervious to their charms, they had declared themselves
graduated.

They were not alone among the older girls who found Nelson provokingly
adamant.  He did not flirt.  Of late it had become quite apparent that
the schoolmaster had eyes only for Janice Day.  Of course, that fact
did not gain Nelson friends among girls like Icivilly and Mabel in this
time of trial.

Janice knew that they were whispering about her as she passed; but her
real thought was given to more important matters.  Uncle Jason had told
her just how the affair of the robbery stood.  There was a mystery--a
deep, deep mystery about it.

In the group about the front gate of the school premises were Jim
Narnay and Trimmins, the woodsmen.  Both had been drinking and were
rather hilarious and talkative.  At least, Trimmins was so.

"Wish _we'd_ knowed there was all that cash so free and open up here in
the schoolhouse--heh, Jim?" Trimmins said, smiting his brother toper
between the shoulders.  "We wouldn't be diggin' out for no swamp to
haul logs."

"You're mighty right, Trimmins!  You're mighty right!" agreed the
drunken Narnay.  "Gotter leave m' fambly--hate ter do it!" and he
became very lachrymose.  "Ter'ble thing, Trimmins, f'r a man ter be
sep'rated from his fambly jest so's ter airn his livin'."

"Right ye air, old feller," agreed the Southerner.  "Hullo! here's the
buddy we're waitin' for.  How long d'ye s'pose he'll last, loggin?"

Janice saw the ex-drug clerk, Jack Besmith, mounting the hill with a
pack on his back.  Rough as the two lumbermen were, Besmith looked the
more dissolute character, despite his youth.

The trio went away together, bound evidently for one of Elder
Concannon's pieces of woodland, over the mountain.

Benny Thread came out of the school building and locked the door
importantly behind him.  Several of the curious ones surrounded the
little man and tried to get him into conversation upon the subject of
the robbery.

"No, I can't talk," he said, shaking his head.  "I can't, really.  The
gentlemen of the School Committee have forbidden me.  Why--only think!
It was more by good luck than good management that I wasn't placed in a
position where I could be suspected of the robbery.  Lucky I was with
the committeemen every moment of the time they were down cellar.  No, I
am not suspected, thanks be!  But I must not talk--I must not talk."

It was evident that he wanted to talk and he could be over-urged to
talk if the right pressure was brought to bear.  Janice came away,
leaving the eagerly curious pecking at him--the one white blackbird in
the flock.

Uncle Jason had given her some blunt words of encouragement.  Janice
felt that she must see Nelson personally and cheer him up, if that were
possible.  At least, she must tell him how she--and, indeed, all his
friends--had every confidence in him.

Some people whom she met as she went up High Street looked at her
curiously.  Janice held her head at a prouder angle and marched up the
hill toward Mrs. Beaseley's.  She ignored these curious glances.

But there was no escaping Mrs. Scattergood.  That lover of gossip must
have been sitting behind her blind, peering down High Street, and
waiting for Janice's appearance.

She hurried out of the house, beckoning to the girl eagerly.  Janice
could not very well refuse to approach, so she walked on up the hill
beyond the side street on which Mrs. Beaseley's cottage stood, and met
the birdlike little woman at her gate.

"For the good land's sake, Janice Day!" exploded Mrs. Scattergood.  "I
was wonderin' if you'd never git up here.  Surely, you've heard abeout
this drefful thing, ain't you?"

Janice knew there was no use in evasion with Mrs. Scattergood.  She
boldly confessed.

"Yes, Mrs. Scattergood, I have heard about it.  And I think Mr. Cross
Moore and those others ought to be ashamed of themselves--letting
people think for a moment that Mr. Haley took those coins."

"Who _did_ take 'em?" asked the woman, eagerly.  "Have they found out?"

"Why, nobody but the person who really is the thief knows who stole the
coins; but of course everybody who knows Nelson at all, is sure that it
was not Mr. Haley."

"Wal--they gotter lay it to somebody," Mrs. Scattergood said, rather
doubtfully.  "That's the best them useless men could do," she added,
with that birdlike toss of the head that was so familiar to Janice.

"If there'd been a woman around, they'd laid it on to her.  Oh!  I know
'em all--the hull kit an' bilin' of 'em."

Janice tried to smile at this; but the woman's beadlike eyes seemed to
be boring with their glance right through the girl and this made her
extremely uncomfortable.

"I expect you feel pretty bad, Janice Day," went on Mrs. Scattergood.
"But it's allus the way.  You'll find as you grow older that there
ain't much in this world for females, young or old, but trouble."

"Why, Mrs. Scattergood!" cried the girl, and this time she did call up
a merry look.  "What have you to trouble you?  You have the nicest time
of any person I know--unless it is Mrs. Marvin Petrie.  No family to
trouble you; enough to live on comfortably; nothing to do but go
visiting--or stay at home if you'd rather----"

"Tut, tut, tut, child!  All is not gold that glitters," was the quick
reply.  "I ain't so happy as ye may think.  I have my troubles.  But,
thanks be! they ain't abeout men.  But you've begun yours, I kin see."

"Yes, I am troubled because Mr. Haley is falsely accused," admitted
Janice, stoutly.

"Wal--yes.  I expect you air.  And if it ain't no worse than you
believe--Wal!  I said you was a new-fashioned gal when I fust set eyes
on you that day comin' up from the Landing in the old _Constance
Colfax_; and you be."

"How am I different from other girls?" asked Janice, curiously.

"Wal!  Most gals would wait till they was sure the young man wasn't
goin' to be arrested before they ran right off to see him.  But mebbe
it's because you ain't got your own mother and father to tell ye
diff'rent."

Janice flushed deeply at this and her eyes sparkled.

"I am sure Aunt 'Mira and Uncle Jason would have told me not to call on
Nelson if they did not believe just as I do--that he is guiltless and
that all his friends should show him at once that they believe in him."

"Hoity-toity!  Mebbe so," said the woman, tartly.  "Them Days never did
have right good sense--yer uncle an' aunt, I mean.  When _I_ was a gal
we wouldn't have been allowed to have so much freedom where the young
fellers was consarned."

Janice was quite used to Mrs. Scattergood's sharp tongue; but it was
hard to bear her strictures on this occasion.

"I hope it is not wrong for me to show my friend that I trust and
believe in him," she said firmly, and nodding good-bye, turned abruptly
away.

Of herself, or of what the neighbors thought of her conduct, Janice Day
thought but little.  She went on to Mrs. Beaseley's cottage, solely
anxious on Nelson's account.

She found the widow in tears, for selfishly immured as Mrs. Beaseley
was in her ten-year-old grief over the loss of her "sainted Charles,"
she was a dear, soft-hearted woman and had come to look upon Nelson
Haley almost as her son.

"Oh, Janice Day! what ever are we going to do for him?" was her
greeting, the moment the girl entered the kitchen.  "If my poor, dear
Charles were alive I know he would be furiously angry with Mr. Cross
Moore and those other men.  Oh!  I cannot bear to think of how angry he
would be, for Charles had a very stern temper.

"And Mr. Haley is such a pleasant young man.  As I tell 'em all, a
nicer and quieter person never lived in any lone female's house.  And
to think of their saying such dreadful things about him!  I am sure _I_
never thought of locking anything away from Mr. Haley in this
house--and there's the 'leven sterling silver teaspoons that belonged
to poor, dear Charles' mother, and the gold-lined sugar-basin that was
my Aunt Abby's, and the sugar tongs--although they're bent some.

"Why!  Mr. Haley is jest one of the nicest young gentlemen that ever
was.  And here he comes home, pale as death, and won't eat no dinner.
Janice, think of it!  I allus have said, and I stick to it, that if one
can eat they'll be all right.  My sainted Charles," she added, stating
for the thousandth time an uncontrovertible fact, "would be alive to
this day if he had continued to eat his victuals!"

"I'd like to speak to Mr. Haley," Janice said, finally "getting a word
in edgewise."

"Of course.  Maybe he'll let you in," said the widow.  "He won't me,
but I think he favors you, Janice," she added innocently, shaking her
head with a continued mournful air.  "He come right in and said:
'Mother Beaseley, I don't believe I can eat any dinner to-day,' and
then shut and locked his door.  I didn't know what had happened till
'Rene Hopper, she that works for Mrs. Cross Moore, run in to borry my
heavy flat-iron, an' she tol' me about the stolen money.  Ain't it
_awful_?"

"I--I hope Nelson will let me speak to him, Mrs. Beaseley," stammered
Janice, finding it very difficult now to keep her tears back.

"You go right along the hall and knock at his door," whispered Mrs.
Beaseley, hoarsely.  "An' you tell him I've got his dinner down on the
stove-hearth, 'twixt plates, a-keepin' it hot for him."

Janice did as she was bidden as far as knocking at the door of the
front room was concerned.  There was no answer at first--not a sound
from within.  She rapped a second time.

"I am sorry, Mrs. Beaseley; I could not possibly eat any dinner
to-day," Nelson's voice finally replied.

There was no tremor in the tone of it.  Janice knew just how proud the
young man was, and no matter how bitterly he was hurt by this trouble
that had fallen upon him, he would not easily reveal his feelings.

She put her lips close to the crack of the door.  "Nelson!" she
whispered.  "Nelson!" a little louder.

She heard him spring to his feet and overturn the chair in which he had
been sitting.

"Nelson! it's only me," Janice quavered, the pulse beating painfully in
her throat.  "Let me in--do!"

He came across the room slowly.  She heard him fumble at the key and
knob.  Then the door opened.

"Oh, Nelson!" she repeated, when she saw him in the darkened parlor.

The pallor of his face went to her heart.  His hair was disheveled; his
eyes red from weeping.  After all, he was just a big boy in trouble,
and with no mother to comfort him.

All the maternal instincts of Janice Day's nature went out to the young
fellow.  "Nelson!  Nelson!" she cried, under her breath.  "You poor,
poor boy!  I'm so sorry for you."

"Janice--you----"  He stammered, and could not finish the phrase.

She cried, emphatically: "Of course I believe in you, Nelson.  We _all_
do!  You must not take it so to heart.  You will not bear it all alone,
Nelson.  Every friend you have in Polktown will help you."

She had come close to him, her hands fluttering upon his breast and her
eyes, sparkling with teardrops, raised to his face.

"Oh, Janice!" he groaned, and swept her into his arms.



CHAPTER X

HOW POLKTOWN TOOK IT

That was a very serious Saturday night at the old Day house, as well as
at the Beaseley cottage.  Aunt 'Mira had whispered to Janice before the
girl had set forth with her uncle in the afternoon:

"Bring him home to supper with ye, child--the poor young man!  We got
to cheer him up, betwixt us.  I'm goin' to have raised biscuits and
honey.  He does dote on light bread."

But Nelson would not come.  Janice had succeeded in encouraging him to
a degree; but the young schoolmaster was too seriously wounded, both in
his self-respect and at heart, to wish to mingle on this evening with
any of his fellow-townsmen--even those who were his declared friends
and supporters.

"Don't look for me at church to-morrow, either, Janice," the young man
said.  "It may seem cowardly; but I cannot face all these people and
ignore this disgrace."

"It is _not_ disgrace, Nelson!" Janice cried hotly.

"It is, my dear girl.  One does not have to be guilty to be disgraced
by such an accusation.  I may be a coward; I don't know.  At least, I
feel it too keenly to march into church to-morrow and know that
everybody is whispering about me.  Why, Janice, I might break down and
make a complete fool of myself."

"Oh, no, Nelson!"

"I might.  Even the children will know all about it and will stare at
me.  I have to face them on Monday morning, and by that time I may have
recovered sufficient self-possession to ignore their glances and
whispers."

And with that decision Janice was obliged to leave him.

"The poor, foolish boy!" Aunt 'Mira said.  "Don't he know we all air
sufferin' with him?"

But Uncle Jason seemed better to appreciate the schoolmaster's attitude.

"I don't blame him none.  He's jest like a dog with a hurt paw--wants
ter crawl inter his kennel and lick his wounds.  It's a tough
propersition, for a fac'."

"He needn't be afraid that the fellers will guy him," growled Marty.
"If they do, I'll lick 'em!"

"Oh, Marty!  All of them?" cried Janice, laughing at his vehemence, yet
tearful, too.

"Well--all I _can_," declared her cousin.  "And there ain't many I
can't, you bet."

"If you was as fond of work as ye be of fightin', Marty," returned Mr.
Day, drily, "you sartin sure'd be a wonderful feller."

"Ya-as," drawled his son but in a very low tone, "maw says I'm growin'
more'n more like you, every day."

"Marty," Janice put in quickly, before the bickering could go any
further, "did you see little Lottie?  It was so late when I came out of
Mrs. Beaseley's, I ran right home."

"I seed her," her cousin said gloomily.

"How air her poor eyes?" asked Aunt 'Mira.

"They're not poor eyes.  They're as good as anybody's eyes," Marty
cried, with exasperation.

"Wal--they say she's' goin' blind again," said tactless Aunt 'Mira.

"I say she ain't!  She ain't!" ejaculated Marty.  "All foolishness.  I
don't believe a thing them doctors say.  She's got just as nice eyes as
anybody'd want."

"That is true, Marty," Janice said soothingly; but she sighed.

The door was open, for the evening was mild.  On the damp Spring breeze
the sound of a husky voice was wafted up the street and into the old
Day house.

"Hello!" grunted Uncle Jason, "who's this singin' bird a-comin' up the
hill?  Tain't never Walky a-singin' like that, is it?"

"It's Walky; but it ain't him singin'," chuckled Marty.

"Huh?" queried Uncle Jason.

"It's Lem Parraday's whiskey that's doin' the singin'," explained the
boy.  "Hi tunket!  Listen to that ditty, will ye?"

  "'I wish't I was a rock
    A-settin' on a hill,
  A-doin' nothin' all day long
    But jest a-settin' still,'"

roared Walky, who was letting the patient Josephus take his own gait up
Hillside Avenue.

"For the Good Land o' Goshen!" cried Aunt 'Mira.  "What's the matter o'
that feller?  Has he taken leave of his senses, a-makin' of the night
higeous in that-a-way?  Who ever told Walky Dexter 't he could sing?"

"It's what he's been drinking that's doing the singing, I tell ye,"
said her son.

"Poor Walky!" sighed Janice.

The expressman's complaint of his hard lot continued to rise in song:

  "'I wouldn't eat, I wouldn't sleep,
    I wouldn't even wash;
  I'd jest set still a thousand years,
    And rest myself, b'gosh!'"


"Whoa, Josephus!"

He had pulled the willing Josephus (willing at all times to stop) into
the open gateway of the old Day place.  Marty went out on the porch to
hail him.

  "'I wish I was a bump
    A-settin' on a log,
  Baitin' m' hook with a flannel shirt
    For to ketch a frog!

  "And when I'd ketched m' frog,
    I'd rescue of m' bait--
  An' what a mess of frog's hind laigs
    I _wouldn't_ have ter ate!'"


"Come on in, Walky, and rest your voice."

"You be gittin' to be a smart young chap, Marty," proclaimed Walky,
coming slowly up the steps with a package for Mrs. Day and his book to
be signed.

The odor of spirits was wafted before him.  Walky's face was as round
and red as an August full moon.

"How-do, Janice," he said.  "What d'yeou think of them fule
committeemen startin' this yarn abeout Nelson Haley?"

"What do folks say about it, Walky?" cut in Mr. Day, to save his niece
the trouble of answering.

"Jest erbeout what you'd think they would," the philosophical
expressman said, shaking his head.  "Them that's got venom under their
tongues, must spit it aout if they open their lips at all.  Polktown's
jest erbeout divided--the gossips in one camp and the kindly talkin'
people in t'other.  One crowd says Mr. Haley would steal candy from a
blind baby, an' t'other says his overcoat fits him so tight across't
the shoulders 'cause his wings is sproutin'.  Haw! haw! haw!"

"And what d' ye say, Mr. Dexter?" asked Aunt 'Mira, bluntly.

The expressman puckered his lips into a curious expression.  "I tell ye
what," he said.  "Knowin' Mr. Haley as I do, I'm right sure he's
innercent as the babe unborn.  But, jefers-pelters! who _could_ ha'
done it?"

"Why, Walky!" gasped Janice.

"I know.  It sounds awful, don't it?" said the expressman.  "I don't
whisper a word of this to other folks.  But considerin' that the
schoolhouse doors was locked and Mr. Haley had the only other key
besides the janitor, who air Massey and them others goin' to blame for
the robbery?"

"They air detarmined to save their own hides if possible," Uncle Jason
grumbled.

"Natcherly--natcherly," returned Walky.  "We know well enough none o'
them four men of the School Committee took the coins, nor Benny Thread,
neither.  They kin all swear alibi for each other and sartain sure they
didn't all conspire ter steal the money and split it up 'twixt 'em.
Haw! haw! haw!  'Twouldn't hardly been wuth dividin' into five parts,"
he added, his red face all of a grin.

"That sounds horrid, Mr. Dexter," said Aunt 'Mira.

"Wal, it's practical sense," the expressman said, wagging his head.
"It's a problem for one o' them smart detecatifs ye read abeout in the
magazines--one o' them like they have in stories.  I read abeout one of
'em in a story.  Yeou leave him smell the puffumery on a gal's
handkerchief and he'll tell right away whether she was a blonde or a
brunette, an' what size glove she wore!  Haw! haw! haw!

"This ain't no laughing matter, Walky," Mr. Day said, with a side
glance at Janice.

"Better laff than cry," declared Walky.  "Howsomever, folks seed Mr.
Haley go into the schoolhouse and come out ag'in----"

"He told the committee he had been there," Janice interrupted.

"That's right, too.  Mebbe not so many folks would ha' knowed they'd
seen him there if he hadn't up and said so.  Proberbly there was ha'f a
dozen other folks hangin' abeout the schoolhouse, too, at jest the time
the coin collection was stole; but they ain't remembered 'cause they
didn't up and tell on themselves."

"Oh, Walky!" gasped the girl, startled by the suggestion.

"Wal," drawled the expressman, in continuation, "that ain't no good to
us, for nobody had a key to the door but him and Benny Thread."

"I wonder----" murmured Janice; but said no more.

"It's a scanderlous thing," Walky pursued, receiving his book back and
preparing to join Josephus at the gate.  "Goin' ter split things wide
open in Polktown, I reckon.  'Twill be wuss'n a church row 'fore it
finishes.  Already there's them that says we'd oughter have another
teacher in Mr. Haley's place."

"Oh, my!" cried Aunt 'Mira.

"Ain't willin' ter give the young feller a chance't at all, heh?" said
Mr. Day, puffing hard at his pipe.  "Wall! we'll see abeout _that_."

"We'd never have a better teacher, I tell 'em," Walky flung back over
his shoulder.  "But Mr. Haley's drawin' a good salary and there's them
that think it oughter go ter somebody that belongs here in Polktown,
not to an outsider like him."

"Hi tunket!" cried Marty, after Walky had gone.  "There ye have it.
Miss Pearly Breeze, that used ter substi-_toot_ for 'Rill Scattergood,
has wanted the school ever since Mr. Haley come.  She'd do fine tryin'
to be principal of a graded school--I don't think!"

"Oh, don't talk so, I beg of you," Janice said.  "Of course Nelson
won't lose his school.  If he did, under these circumstances, he could
never go to Millhampton College to teach.  Why! perhaps his career as a
teacher would be irrevocably ruined."

"Now, don't ye take on so, Janice," cried Aunt 'Mira, with her arm
about the girl.  "It won't be like that.  It _can't_ be so bad--can it,
Jason?"

"We mustn't let it go that fur," declared her spouse, fully aroused
now.  "Consarn Walky Dexter, anyway!  I guess, as Marty says, what he
puts in his mouth talks as well as sings for him.

"I snum!" added the farmer, shaking his head.  "I dunno which is the
biggest nuisance, an ill-natered gossip or a good-natered one.  Walky
claims ter feel friendly to Mr. Haley, and then comes here with all the
unfriendly gossip he kin fetch.  Huh!  I ain't got a mite o' use fer
sech folks."

Uncle Jason was up, pacing the kitchen back and forth in his stocking
feet.  He was much stirred over Janice's grief.  Aunt 'Mira was in
tears, too.  Marty went out on the porch, ostensibly for a pail of
fresh water, but really to cover his emotion.

None of them could comfortably bear the sight of Janice's tears.  As
Marty started the pump a boy ran into the yard and up the steps.

"Hullo, Jimmy Gallagher, what you want?" demanded Marty.

"I'm after Janice Day.  Got a note for her," said the urchin.

"Hey, Janice!" called her cousin; but the young girl was already out on
the porch.

"What is it, Jimmy?  Has Nelson----"

"Here's a note from Miz' Drugg.  Said for me to give it to ye," said
the boy, as he clattered down the steps again.



CHAPTER XI

"MEN MUST WORK WHILE WOMEN MUST WEEP"

Janice brought the letter indoors to read by the light of the kitchen
lamp.  Her heart fluttered, for she feared that it was something about
Nelson.  The Drugg domicile was almost across the street from the
Beaseley cottage and the girl did not know but that 'Rill had been
delegated to tell her something of moment about the young schoolmaster.

Marty, too, was eagerly curious.  "Hey, Janice! what's the matter?" he
whispered, at her shoulder.

"Mr. Drugg has to be away this evening and she is afraid to stay in the
house and store alone.  She wants me to come over and spend the night
with her.  May I, Auntie?"

"Of course, child--go if you like," Aunt 'Mira said briskly.  "You've
been before."

Twice Mr. Drugg had been away buying goods and Janice had spent the
night with 'Rill and little Lottie.

"Though what protection I could be to them if a burglar broke in, I'm
sure I don't know," Janice had said, laughingly, on a former occasion.

She went upstairs to pack her handbag rather gravely.  She was glad to
go to the Drugg place to remain through the night.  She would be near
Nelson Haley!  Somehow, she felt that being across the street from the
schoolmaster would be a comfort.

When she came downstairs Marty had his hat and coat on.  "I'll go
across town with ye--and carry the bag," he proposed.  "Going to the
reading room, anyway."

"That's nice of you, Marty," she said, trying to speak in her usual
cheery manner.

Janice was rather glad it was a moonless evening as she walked side by
side with her cousin down Hillside Avenue.  It was one of the first
warm evenings of the Spring and the neighbors were on their porches, or
gossiping at the gates and boundary fences.

What about?  Ah! too well did Janice Day know the general subject of
conversation this night in Polktown.

"Come on, Janice," grumbled Marty.  "Don't let any of those old cats
stop you.  They've all got their claws sharpened up."

"Hush, Marty!" she begged, yet feeling a warm thrill at her heart
because of the boy's loyalty.

"There's that old Benny Thread!" exploded Marty, as they came out on
the High Street.  "Oh! he's as important now as a Billy-goat on an
ash-heap.  You'd think, to hear him, that he'd stole the coins
himself--only he didn't have no chance't.  He and Jack Besmith wouldn't
ha' done a thing to that bunch of money--no, indeed!--if they'd got
hold of it."

"Why, Marty!" put in Janice; "you shouldn't say that."  Then, with
sudden curiosity, she added: "What has that drug clerk got to do with
the janitor of the school building?"

"He's Benny's brother-in-law.  But Jack's left town, I hear."

"He's gone with Trimmins and Narnay into the woods," Janice said
thoughtfully.

"So _he's_ out of it," grumbled Marty.  "Jack went up to Massey's the
other night to try to get his old job back, and Massey turned him out
of the store.  Told him his breath smothered the smell of iodoform in
the back shop," and Marty giggled.  "That's how Jack come to get a pint
and wander up into our sheep fold to sleep it off."

"Oh, dear, Marty," sighed Janice, "this drinking in Polktown is getting
to be a dreadful thing.  See how Walky Dexter was to-night."

"Yep."

"Everything that's gone wrong lately is the fault of Lem Parraday's
bar."

"Huh!  I wonder?" questioned Marty.  "Guess Nelse Haley won't lay _his_
trouble to liquor drinking."

"No?  I wonder----"

"Here's the library building, Janice," interrupted the boy.  "Want me
to go any further with you?"

"No, dear," she said, taking the bag from him.  "Tell Aunt 'Mira I'll
be home in the morning in time enough to dress for church."

"Aw-right."

"And, Marty!"

"Yep?" returned he, turning back.

"I see there's a light in the basement of the library building.  What's
going on?"

"We fellers are holding a meeting," said Marty, importantly.  "I called
it this afternoon.  I don't mind telling you, Janice, that we're going
to pass resolutions backing up Mr. Haley--pass him a vote of
confidence.  That's what they do in lodges and other societies.  And if
any of the fellers renege tonight on this, I'll--I'll--Well, I'll show
'em somethin'!" finished Marty, very red in the face and threatening as
he dived down the basement steps.

"Oh, well," thought Janice, encouraged after all.  "Nelson has some
loyal friends."

She came to the store on the side street without further incident.  She
looked across timidly at Nelson's windows.  A lamp burned dimly there,
so she knew he was at home.

Indeed, where would he go--to whom turn in his trouble?  Aside from an
old maiden aunt who had lent him enough of her savings to enable him to
finish his college course, Nelson had no relatives alive.  He had no
close friend, either young or old, but herself, Janice knew.

"Oh, if daddy were only home from Mexico!" was her unspoken thought, as
she lifted the latch of the store door.

There were no customers at this hour; but it was Hopewell Drugg's
custom to keep the store open until nine o'clock every evening, and
Saturday night until a much later hour.  Every neighborhood store must
do this to keep trade.

"I'm so glad to see you, Janice," 'Rill proclaimed, without coming from
behind the counter.  "You'll stay?"

"Surely.  Don't you see my bag?" returned Janice gaily.  "Is Mr. Drugg
going to be away all night?"

"He--he could not be sure.  It's another dance," 'Rill said, rather
apologetically.  "He feels he must play when he can.  Every five
dollars counts, you know, and Hopewell is sure that Lottie will have to
go back to the school."

"Where is the dance?" asked Janice gravely.  "Down at the Inn?"

"Yes," replied the wife, quite as seriously, and dropping her gaze.

"Oh!  I hear my Janice!  I hear my Janice Day!" cried Lottie's sweet,
shrill voice from the rear apartment and she came running out into the
store to meet the visitor.

"Have a care! have a care, dear!" warned 'Rill.  "Look where you run."

Janice, seeing more clearly from where she stood in front of the
counter, was aware that the child ran toward her with her hands
outstretched, and with her eyes tightly closed--just as she used to do
before her eyes were treated and she had been to the famous Boston
physician.

"Oh, Lottie dear!" she exclaimed, taking the little one into her arms.
"You will run into something.  You will hurt yourself.  Why don't you
look where you are going?"

"I _do_ look," Lottie responded pouting.  Then she wriggled all her ten
fingers before Janice's face.  "Don't you see my lookers?  I can
see--oh! so nicely!--with my fingers.  You know I always could, Janice
Day."

'Rill shook her head and sighed.  It was plain the bride was a very
lenient stepmother indeed--perhaps too lenient.  She loved Hopewell
Drugg's child so dearly that she could not bear to correct her.  Lottie
had always had her own way with her father; and matters had not
changed, Janice could see.

"Mamma 'Rill," Lottie coaxed, patting her step-mother's pink cheek,
"you'll let me sit up longer, 'cause Janice is here--won't you?"

Of course 'Rill could not refuse her.  So the child sat there, blinking
at the store lights like a little owl, until finally she sank down in
the old cushioned armchair behind the stove and fell fast asleep.
Occasionally customers came in; but between whiles Janice and the
storekeeper's wife could talk.

The racking "clump, clump, clump," of a big-footed farm horse sounded
without and a woman's nasal voice called a sharp:

"Whoa!  Whoa, there!  Now, Emmy, you git aout and hitch him to that
there post.  Ain't no ring to it?  Wal!  I don't see what Hope Drugg's
thinkin' of--havin' no rings to his hitchin' posts.  He ain't had none
to that one long's I kin remember."

"Here comes Mrs. Si Leggett," said 'Rill to Janice.  "She's a
particular woman and I am sorry Hopewell isn't here himself.  Usually
she comes in the afternoon.  She is late with her Saturday's shopping
this time."

"Take this basket of eggs--easy, now, Emmy!" shrilled the woman's
voice.  "Handle 'em careful--handle 'em like they _was_ eggs!"

A heavy step, and a lighter step, on the porch, and then the store door
opened.  The woman was tall and raw-boned.  She wore a sunbonnet of
fine green and white stripes.  Emmy was a lanky child of fourteen or
so, with slack, flaxen hair and a perfectly colorless face.

"Haow-do, Miz' Drugg," said the newcomer, putting a large basket of
eggs carefully on the counter.  "What's Hopewell givin' for eggs
to-day?"

"Just what everybody else is, Mrs. Leggett.  Twenty-two cents.  That's
the market price."

"Wal--seems ter me I was hearin' that Mr. Sprague daowntown was
a-givin' twenty-three," said the customer slowly.

"Perhaps he is, Mrs. Leggett.  But Mr. Drugg cannot afford to give even
a penny above the market price.  Of course, either cash or trade--just
as you please."

"Wal, I want some things an' I wasn't kalkerlatin' to go 'way daowntown
ter-night--it's so late," said Mrs. Leggett.

'Rill smiled and waited.

"Twenty-two's the best you kin do?" queried the lanky woman querulously.

"That is the market price."

"Wal! lemme see some cheap gingham.  It don't matter abeout the
pattern.  It's only for Emmy here, and it don't matter what 'tis that
covers her bones' long's it does cover 'em.  Will this fade?"

"I don't think so," Mrs. Drugg said, opening the bolt of goods so that
the customer could get at it better.

Janice watched, much amused.  The woman pulled at the piece one way,
and then another, wetting it meantime and rubbing it with her fingers
to ascertain if the colors were fast.  She was apparently unable to
satisfy herself regarding it.

Finally she produced a small pair of scissors and snipped off a tiny
piece and handed it to Emmy.  "Here, Emmy," she said, "you spit aout
that there gum an' chew on this here awhile ter see if it fades any."

Janice dodged behind the post to hide the expression of amusement that
she could not control.  She wondered how 'Rill could remain so placid
and unruffled.

Emmy took the piece of goods, clapped it into her mouth with the most
serious expression imaginable, and went to work.  Her mother said:

"Ye might's well count the eggs, Miz' Drugg.  I make 'em eight dozen
and ten.  I waited late for the rest of the critters ter lay; but they
done fooled me ter-day--for a fac'!"

Emmy having chewed on the gingham to her mother's complete
satisfaction, Mrs. Leggett finished making her purchases and they
departed.  Then 'Rill and her guest could talk again.  Naturally the
conversation almost at the beginning turned upon Nelson Haley's trouble.

"It is terrible!" 'Rill said.  "Mr. Moore and those others never could
have thought what they were doing when they accused Mr. Haley of
stealing."

"They were afraid that they would have to make good for the coins, and
felt that they must blame somebody," Janice replied with a sigh.

"Of course, Hopewell went right over to tell the schoolmaster what he
thought about it as soon as the story reached us.  Hopewell thinks
highly of the young man, you know."

"Until this thing happened, I thought almost everybody thought highly
of him," said Janice, with a sob.

"Oh, my dear!" cried 'Rill, tearful herself, "there is such gossip in
Polktown.  So many people are ready to make ill-natured and untruthful
remarks about one----"

Janice knew to what secret trouble the storekeeper's wife referred.  "I
know!" she exclaimed, wiping away her own tears.  "They have talked
horridly about Mr. Drugg."

"It is untruthful!  It is unfair!" exclaimed Hopewell Drugg's wife, her
cheeks and eyes suddenly ablaze with indignation.  To tell the truth,
she was like an angry kitten, and had the matter not been so serious,
Janice must have laughed at her.

"They have told all over town that Hopewell came home intoxicated from
that last dance," continued the wife.  "But it is a story--a wicked,
wicked story!"

Janice was silent.  She remembered what she and Marty and Mrs.
Scattergood had seen on the evening in question--how Hopewell Drugg had
looked as he staggered past the street lamp on the corner on his way
home with the fiddle under his arm.

She looked away from 'Rill and waited.  Janice feared that the poor
little bride would discover the expression of her doubt in her eyes.



CHAPTER XII

AN UNEXPECTED EMERGENCY

'Rill seemed to understand what was in Janice's mind and heart.  She
kept on with strained vehemence:

"I know what they all say!  And my mother is as bad as any of them.
They say Hopewell was intoxicated.  He was sick, and the bartender
mixed him something to settle his stomach.  I think maybe he put some
liquor in it unbeknown to Hopewell.  Or something!

"The poor, dear man was ill all night, Janice, and he never did
remember how he got home from the dance.  Whatever he drank seemed to
befuddle his brain just as soon as he came out into the night air.
That should prove that he's not a drinking man."

"I--I am sorry for you, dear," Janice said softly.  "And I am sorry
anybody saw Mr. Drugg that evening on his way home."

"Oh, I know you saw him, Janice--and Marty Day and my mother.  Mother
can be as mean as mean can be!  She has never liked Hopewell, as you
know."

"Yes, I know," admitted Janice.

"She keeps throwing such things up to me.  And her tongue is never
still.  It is true Hopewell's father was a drinking man."

"Indeed?" said Janice, curiously.

"Yes," sighed 'Rill Drugg.  "He was rather shiftless.  Perhaps it is
the nature of artists so to be," she added reflectively.  "For he was
really a fine musician.  Had Hopewell had a chance he might have been
his equal.  I often think so," said the storekeeper's bride proudly.

"I know that the elder Mr. Drugg taught the violin."

"Yes.  And he used to travel about over the country, giving lessons and
playing in orchestras.  That used to make Mrs. Drugg awfully angry.
She wanted him to be a storekeeper.  She made Hopewell be one.  How she
ever came to marry such a man as Hopewell's father, I do not see."

"She must have loved him," said Janice wistfully.

"Of course!" cried the bride, quite as innocently.  "She couldn't have
married him otherwise."

"And was Hopewell their only child?"

"Yes.  He seldom saw his father, but he fairly worshiped him.  His
father was a handsome man--and he used to play his violin for Hopewell.
It was this very instrument my husband prizes so greatly now.  When Mr.
Drugg died the violin was hid away for years in the garret.

"You've heard how Hopewell found it, and strung it himself, and used to
play on it slyly, and so taught himself to be a fiddler, before his
mother had any idea he knew one note from another.  She was extremely
deaf at the last and could not hear him playing at odd times, up in the
attic."

"My!" said Janice, "he must have really loved music."

"It was his only comfort," said the wife softly.  "When he was
twenty-one what little property his father had left came to him.  But
his mother did not put the violin into the inventory; so Hopewell said:
'Give me the fiddle and you can have the rest.'"

"He loved it so!" murmured Janice appreciatively:

"Yes.  I guess that was almost the only time in his life that Hopewell
really asserted himself.  With his mother, at least.  She was a very
stubborn woman, and very stern; more so than my own mother.  But Mrs.
Drugg had to give in to him about the violin, for she needed Hopewell
to run the store for her.  They had little other means.

"But she made him marry 'Cinda Stone," added 'Rill.  "Poor 'Cinda! she
was never happy.  Not that Hopewell did not treat her well.  You know,
Janice, he is the sweetest-tempered man that ever lived.

"And that is what hurts me more than anything else," sobbed the bride,
dabbling her eyes with her handkerchief.  "When they say Hopewell gets
intoxicated, and is cruel to me and to Lottie, it seems as though--as
though I could scratch their eyes out!"

For a moment Hopewell's wife looked so spiteful, and her eyes snapped
so, that Janice wanted to laugh.  Of course, she did not do so.  But to
see the mild and sweet-tempered 'Rill display such venom was amusing.

The store door opened with a bang.  The girl and the woman both started
up, Lottie remaining asleep.

"Hush!  Never mind!" whispered Janice to 'Rill.  "I'll wait on the
customer."

When she went out into the front of the store, she saw that the figure
which had entered was in a glistening slicker.  It had begun to rain.

"Why, Frank Bowman!  Is it you?" she asked, in surprise.

"Oh! how-do, Janice!  I didn't expect to find you here."

"Nor I you.  What are you doing away up here on the hill?" Janice asked.

Frank Bowman did not look himself.  The girl could not make out what
the trouble with him was, and she was puzzled.

"I guess you forgot I told you I was moving," he said hesitatingly.

"Oh, I remember!  And you've moved up into this neighborhood?"

"Not exactly.  I am going to lodge with the Threads, but I shall
continue to eat Marm Parraday's cooking."

"The Threads?" murmured Janice.

"You know.  The little, crooked-backed man.  He's janitor of the
school.  His wife has two rooms I can have.  Her brother has been
staying with them; but he's lost his job and has gone up into the
woods.  It's a quiet place--and that's what I want.  I can't stand the
racket at the hotel any longer," concluded the civil engineer.

But Janice thought he still looked strange and spoke differently from
usual.  His glance wandered about the store as he talked.

"What did you want to buy, Frank?" she asked.  "I'm keeping store
to-night."  She knew that 'Rill would not want the young man to see her
tears.

"Oh--ah--yes," Bowman stammered.  "What did I want?"

At that Janice laughed outright.  She thought highly of the young civil
engineer, and she considered herself a close enough friend to ask,
bluntly:

"What ever is the matter with you, Frank Bowman?  You're acting
ridiculously."

He came nearer to her and whispered: "Where's Mrs. Drugg?"

Janice motioned behind her, and her face paled.  What had happened?

"I--I declare I don't know how to tell her," murmured the young man,
his hand actually trembling.

"Tell her what?" gasped Janice.

"Or even that I ought to tell her," added Frank Bowman, shaking his
head.

Janice seized him by the lapel of his coat and tried to shake him.
"What do you mean?  What are you talking about?" she demanded.

"What is the matter, Janice?" called 'Rill's low voice from the back.

"Never mind!  I can attend to _this_ customer," Janice answered gaily.
"It's Frank Bowman."

Then she turned swiftly to the civil engineer again and whispered:
"What is it about?  Hopewell?"

"Yes," he returned in the same low tone.

"What is the matter with him?" demanded the girl greatly worried.

"He's down at the Inn----"

"I know.  He went there to play at a dance tonight.  That's why I am
here--to keep his wife company," explained Janice.

"Well," said Bowman.  "I went down to get some of my books I'd left
there.  They're having a high old time in that big back room,
downstairs.  You know?"

"Where they are going to have the Assembly Ball?"

"Yes," he agreed.

"But it's nothing more than a dance, is it?" whispered Janice.
"Hopewell was hired to play----"

"I know.  But such playing you never heard in all your life," said
Bowman, with disgust.  "And the racket!  I wonder somebody doesn't
complain to Judge Little or to the Town Council."

"Not with Mr. Cross Moore holding a mortgage on the hotel," said
Janice, with more bitterness than she usually displayed.

"You're right there," Bowman agreed gloomily.

"But what about Hopewell?"

"I believe they have given him something to drink.  That Joe Bodley,
the barkeeper, is up to any trick.  If Hopewell keeps on he will
utterly disgrace himself, and----"

Janice clung to his arm tightly, interrupting his words with a little
cry of pity.  "And it will fairly break his wife's heart!" she said.



CHAPTER XIII

INTO THE LION'S DEN

Janice Day was growing up.

What really ages one in this life?  Emotions.
Fear--sorrow--love--hate--sympathy--jealousy--all the primal passions
wear one out and make one old.  This young girl of late had suffered
from too much emotion.

Nelson Haley's trouble; her father's possible peril in Mexico; the many
in whom she was interested being so affected by the sale of liquor in
Polktown--all these things combined to make Janice feel a burden of
responsibility that should not have rested upon the shoulders of so
young a girl.

"Frank," she whispered to Bowman, there in the front of the dusky
store, "Frank, what shall we do?"

"What can we do?" he asked quite blankly.

"He--he should be brought home."

"My goodness!" Bowman stammered.  "Do you suppose Mrs. Drugg would go
down there after him?"

"She mustn't," Janice hastened to reply, with decision; "but I will."

"Not you, Janice!" Bowman exclaimed, recoiling at the thought.

"Do you suppose I'd let you tell Mrs. Drugg?" demanded the girl,
fiercely, yet under her breath.

"He's her husband."

"And I'm her friend."

Bowman looked admiringly at the flushed face of the girl.  "You are
fine, Janice," he said.  "But you're too fine to go into that place
down there and get Drugg out of it.  If you think it is your duty to go
for the man, I'll go with you.  And I'll go in after him."

"Oh, Mr. Bowman!  If you would!"

"Oh, I will.  I only wish we had your car.  He may be unable to walk
and then the neighbors will talk."

"It's got beyond worrying about what the neighbors say," said Janice
wearily.  "Now, wait.  I must go and excuse myself to Mrs. Drugg.  She
must not suspect.  Maybe it isn't as bad as you think and we'll get
Hopewell home all right."

The storekeeper's wife had carried Lottie back to the sitting room.
The child was still asleep and 'Rill was undressing her.

"What is the matter, Janice?" she asked curiously.  "Has Mr. Bowman
gone?  What did he want?"

"He didn't want to buy anything.  He wanted to see me.  I--I am going
out with him a little while, Miss 'Rill."

The latter nodded her head knowingly.  "I know," she said.  "You are
going across the street.  I am glad Mr. Bowman feels an interest in Mr.
Haley's affairs."

"Yes!" gasped Janice, feeling that she was perilously near an untruth,
for she was allowing 'Rill to deceive herself.

"Will you put the window lamps out before you go, dear?" the
storekeeper's wife said.

"Certainly," Janice answered, and proceeded to do so before putting on
her coat and hat.

"Don't be long," 'Rill observed softly.  "It's after eleven now."

Janice came and kissed her--oh, so tenderly!  They stood above the
sleeping child.  'Rill had eyes only for the half naked, plump limbs
and body of the little girl, or she might have seen something in
Janice's tearful glance to make her suspicious.

Janice thought of a certain famous picture of the "Madonna and Child"
as she tiptoed softly from the room, looking back as she went 'Rill
yearned over the little one as only a childless and loving woman does.
Perhaps 'Rill had married Hopewell Drugg as much for the sake of being
able to mother little Lottie as for any other reason.

Yet, what a shock that tender, loving heart was about to receive--what
a blow!  Janice shrank from the thought of being one of those to bring
this hovering trouble home to the trusting wife.

Could she not escape it?  There was her handbag on the end of the
counter.  She was tempted to seize it, run out of the store, and make
her way homeward as fast as possible.

She could leave Frank Bowman to settle the matter with his own
conscience.  He had brought the knowledge of this trouble to the little
store on the side street.  Let him solve the problem as best he might.

Then Janice gave the civil engineer a swift glance, and her heart
failed her.  She could not leave that unhappy looking specimen of
helplessness to his own devices.

Frank's pompadour was ruffled, his eyes were staring, and his whole
countenance was a troubled mask.  In that moment Janice Day realized
for the first time the main duty of the female in this world.  That is,
she is here to pull the incompetent male out of his difficulties!

She thought of Nelson, thoughtful and sensible as he was, actually
appalled by his situation in the community.  And here was Frank Bowman,
a very efficient engineer, unable to engineer this small matter of
getting Hopewell Drugg home from the dance, without her assistance.

"Oh, dear me! what would the world be without us women?" thought
Janice--and gave up all idea of running away and leaving Frank to
bungle the situation.

The two went out of the store together and closed the door softly
behind them.  Janice could not help glancing across at the lighted
front windows of Mrs. Beaseley's cottage.

"There's trouble over yonder," said young Bowman gently.  "I went in to
see him after supper.  He said you'd been there to help him buck up,
Janice.  Really, you're a wonderful girl."

"I'm sorry," sighed Janice.

"What?" cried Frank.

"Yes.  I am sorry if I am wonderful.  If I were not considered so, then
not so many unpleasant duties would fall my way."

Frank laughed at that.  "I guess you're right," he said.  "Those that
seem to be able to bear the burdens of life certainly have them to
bear.  But poor Nelson needs somebody to hold up his hands, as it were.
He's up against it for fair, Janice."

"Oh!  I can't believe that the committee will continue this
persecution, when they come to think it over," the girl cried.

"It doesn't matter whether they do or not, I fear," Bowman said, with
conviction.  "The harm is done.  He's been accused."

"Oh, dear me!  I know it," groaned Janice.

"And unless he is proved innocent, Nelson Haley is bound to have
trouble here in Polktown."

"Do you believe so, Frank?"

"I hate to say it.  But we--his friends--might as well face the fact
first as last," said the civil engineer, sheltering Janice beneath the
umbrella he carried.  It was misting heavily and she was glad of this
shelter.

"Oh, I hope they will find the real thief very quickly!"

"So do I.  But I see nothing being done toward that.  The committee
seems satisfied to accuse Nelson--and let it go at that."

"It is too, too bad!"

"They are following the line of least resistance.  The real thief is,
of course, well away--out of Polktown, and probably in some big city
where the coins can be disposed of to the best advantage."

"Do you really believe so?" cried the girl.

"I do.  The thief was some tramp or traveling character who got into
the schoolhouse by stealth.  That is the only sensible explanation of
the mystery."

"Do you really believe so?" repeated Janice.

"Yes.  Think of it yourself.  The committee and Benny Thread are not
guilty.  Nelson is not guilty.  Only two keys to the building and those
both accounted for.

"Some time--perhaps on Friday afternoon or early evening--this tramp I
speak of crept into the cellar when the basement door of the
schoolhouse was open, with the intention of sleeping beside the
furnace.  In the morning he slips upstairs and hides from the janitor
and keeps in hiding when the four committeemen appear.

"He sees the trays of coins," continued Frank Bowman, waxing
enthusiastic with his own story, "and while the committeemen are
downstairs, and before Nelson comes in, he takes the coins."

"Why _before_ Nelson entered?" asked Janice sharply.

"Because Nelson tells me that he did not see the trays on the table in
the committee room when he looked in there.  The thief had removed
them, and then put the trays back.  Had Nelson seen them he would have
stopped to examine the coins, at least.  You see, they were brought
over from Middletown and delivered to Massey, who kept them in his safe
all night.  Nelson never laid eyes on them."

"I see!  I see!" murmured Janice.

"So this fellow stole the coins and slipped out of the building with
them.  They may even be melted down and sold for old gold by this time;
although that would scarcely be possible.  At any rate, the committee
will have to satisfy the owner of the collection.  That is sure."

"And that is going to make them all just as mad as they can be,"
declared the girl.  "They want to blame somebody----"

"And they have blamed Nelson.  It remains that he must prove himself
innocent--before public opinion, not before a court.  There they have
to prove guilt.  He is guilty already in the eyes of half of Polktown.
No chance of waiting to be proved guilty before he is considered so."

Janice flushed and her answer came sharply: "And how about the other
half of Polktown?"

"We may be evenly divided--fifty-fifty," and Bowman laughed grimly.
"But the ones who believe--or _say_ that they believe--Nelson Haley
guilty, will talk much louder than those who deny."

"Oh, Frank Bowman! you take all my hope away."

"I don't mean to.  I want to point out to you--and myself, as
well--that to sit idle and wait for the matter to settle itself, is not
enough for us who believe Haley is guiltless.  We've got to set about
disproving the accusation."

"I--I can see you are right," admitted the girl faintly.

"Yes; I am right.  But being right doesn't end the matter.  The
question is: How are we going about it to save Nelson?"

Janice was rather shocked by this conclusion.  Frank had seemed so
clear up to this point.  And then he slumped right down and practically
asked her: "What are _you_ going to do about it?"

"Oh, dear me!" cried Janice Day, faintly, "I don't know.  I can't
think.  We must find some way of tracing the real thief.  Oh! how can I
think of that, when here poor 'Rill and Hopewell are in trouble?"

"Never mind!  Never mind, Janice!" said Frank Bowman.  "We'll soon get
Hopewell home.  And I hope, too, that his wife will know enough to keep
him away from the hotel hereafter."

"But, suppose she can't," whispered Janice.  "You know, his father was
given to drinking."

"No!  Is that so?"

"Yes.  Maybe it is hereditary----"

"Queer it didn't show itself before," said Bowman sensibly.  "I am more
inclined to believe that Joe Bodley is playing tricks.  Why! he's kept
bar in the city and I know he was telling some of the scatter-brained
young fools who hang around the Inn, that he's often seen 'peter' used
in men's drink to knock them out.  'Peter,' you know, is 'knock-out
drops!'"

"No, I don't know," said Janice, with disgust.  "Or, I didn't till you
told me."

"Forgive me, Janice," the civil engineer said humbly.  "I was only
explaining."

"Oh, I'm not blaming you at all," she said.  "But I am angry to think
that my own mind--as well as everybody's mind in Polktown--is being
contaminated from this barroom.  We are all learning saloon phrases.  I
never heard so much slang from Marty and the other boys, as I have
caught the last few weeks.  Having liquor sold in Polktown is giving us
a new language."

"Well," said Bowman, as the lights of the Inn came in sight, "I hadn't
thought of it that way.  But I guess you are right.  Now, now, Janice,
what had we better do?  Hear the noise?"

"What kind of dance is it?" asked Janice, in disgust.  "I should think
that it was a sailor's dance hall, or a lumber camp dance.  I have
heard of such things."

"It's going a little too strong for Lem Parraday himself to-night, I
guess.  Marm shuts herself in their room upstairs, I understand, and
reads her Bible and prays."

"Poor woman!"

"She's of the salt of the earth," said Bowman warmly.  "But she can't
help herself.  Lem would do it.  The Inn did not pay.  And it is paying
now.  At least, he says it is."

"It won't pay them in the end if this keeps up," said Janice, listening
to the stamping and the laughter and the harsh sounds of violins and
piano.  "Surely Hopewell isn't making _all_ that--that music?"

"I'll go in and see.  I shouldn't wonder if he was not playing at all
now.  Maybe one of the boys has got his fiddle."

"Oh, no!  He'd never let that precious violin out of his own hands,
would he?" queried Janice.  "Why! do you know, Frank, I believe that is
quite a valuable instrument."

"I don't know.  But when I started uptown one of the visitors was
teasing to get hold of the violin.  I don't know the man.  He is a
stranger--a black-haired, foxy-looking chap.  Although, by good rights,
I suppose a 'foxy-looking' person should be red-haired, eh?"

Janice, however, was not splitting hairs.  She said quickly: "Do go in;
Frank, and see what Hopewell is about."

"How'll I get him out?"

"Tell him I want to see him.  He'll think something has happened to
'Rill or Lottie.  I don't care if he is scared.  It may do him good."

"I'll go around by the barroom door," said the young engineer, for they
had come to the front entrance of the hotel.

Lights were blazing all over the lower floor of the sprawling building;
but from the left of the front door came the sound of dancing.  Some of
the windows were open and the shades were up.  Janice, standing in the
darkness of the porch, could see the dancers passing back and forth
before the windows.

By the appearance of those she saw, she judged that the girls and women
were mostly of the mill-hand class, and were from Middletown and
Millhampton.  She knew the men of the party were of the same class.
The tavern yard was full of all manner of vehicles, including huge
party wagons which carried two dozen passengers or more.  There was a
big crowd.

Janice felt, after all, as though she had urged Frank Bowman into the
lion's den!  The dancers were a rough set.  She left the front porch
after a while and stole around to the barroom door.

The door was wide open, but there was a half-screen swinging in the
opening which hid all but the legs and feet of the men standing at the
bar.  Here the voices were much plainer.  There were a few boys hanging
about the doorway, late as the hour was.  Janice was smitten with the
thought that Marty's boys' club, the foundation society of the Public
Library and Reading Room, would better be after these youngsters.

"Why, Simeon Howell!" she exclaimed suddenly.  "You ought not to be
here.  I don't believe your mother knows where you are."

The other boys, who were ragamuffins, giggled at this, and one said to
young Howell:

"Aw, Sim!  Yer mother don't know yer out, does she?  Better run home,
Simmy, or she'll spank ye."

Simeon muttered something not very complimentary to Janice, and moved
away.  The Howells lived on Hillside Avenue and he was afraid Janice
would tell his mother of this escapade.

Suddenly a burst of voices proclaimed trouble in the barroom.  She
heard Frank Bowman's voice, high-pitched and angry:

"Then give him his violin!  You've no right to it.  I'll take him away
all right; but the violin goes, too!"

"No, we want the fiddle.  He was to play for us," said a harsh voice.
"There is another feller here can play instead.  But we want both
violins."

"None of that!" snapped the engineer.  "Give me that!"

There was a momentary struggle near the flapping screen.  Suddenly
Hopewell Drugg, very much disheveled, half reeled through the door; but
somebody pulled him back.

"Aw, don't go so early, Hopewell.  You're your own man, ain't ye?
Don't let this white-haired kid boss you."

"Let him alone, Joe Bodley!" commanded Bowman again, and Janice,
shaking on the porch, knew that it must be the barkeeper who had
interfered with Hopewell Drugg's escape.

The girl was terror-stricken; but she was indignant, too.  She shrank
from facing the half-intoxicated crowd in the room just as she would
have trembled at the thought of entering a cage of lions.

Nevertheless, she put her hand against the swinging screen, pushed it
open, and stepped inside the tavern door.



CHAPTER XIV

A DECLARATION OF WAR

The room was a large apartment with smoke-cured and age-blackened beams
in the ceiling.  This was the ancient tap-room of the tavern, which had
been built at that pre-Revolutionary time when the stuffed catamount,
with its fangs and claws bared to the York State officers, crouched on
top of the staff at Bennington--for Polktown was one of the oldest
settlements in these "Hampshire Grants."

No noisier or more ill-favored crew, Janice Day thought, could ever
have been gathered under the roof of the Inn, than she now saw as she
pushed open the screen.  Tobacco smoke poisoned the air, floating in
clouds on a level with the men's heads, and blurring the lamplight.

There was a crowd of men and boys at the door of the dance hall.  At
the bar was another noisy line.  It was evident that Joe Bodley had
merely run from behind the bar for a moment to stop, if he could,
Hopewell Drugg's departure.  Hopewell was flushed, hatless, and
trembling.  Whether he was intoxicated or ill, the fact remained that
he was not himself.

The storekeeper clung with both hands to the neck of his violin.  A
greasy-looking, black-haired fellow held on to the other end of the
instrument, and was laughing in the face of the expostulating Frank
Bowman, displaying a wealth of white teeth, and the whites of his eyes,
as well.  He was a foreigner of some kind.  Janice had never seen him
before, and she believed he must be the "foxy-looking" man Frank had
previously mentioned.

It was, however, Joe Bodley, whom the indignant young girl confronted
when she came so suddenly into the room.  Most of the men present paid
no attention to the quarreling group at the entrance.

"Come now, Hopewell, be a sport," the young barkeeper was saying.
"It's early yet, and we want to hear more of your fiddling.  Give us
that 'Darling, I Am Growing Old' stuff, with all the variations.
Sentiment!  Sentiment!  Oh, hullo!  Evening, Miss!  What can I do for
you?"

He said this last impudently enough, facing Janice.  He was a
fat-faced, smoothly-shaven young man--little older than Frank Bowman,
but with pouches under his eyes and the score of dissipation marked
plainly in his countenance.  He had unmeasured impudence and bravado in
his eyes and in his smile.

"I have come to speak to Mr. Drugg," Janice said, and she was glad she
could say it unshakenly, despite her secret emotions.  She would not
give this low fellow the satisfaction of knowing how frightened she
really was.

Frank Bowman's back was to the door.  Perhaps this was well, for he
would have hesitated to do just what was necessary had he known Janice
was in the room.  The young engineer had not been bossing a
construction gang of lusty, "two-fisted" fellows for six months without
many rude experiences.

"So, you won't let go, eh?" he gritted between his teeth to the smiling
foreigner.

With his left hand in his collar, Frank jerked the man toward him,
thrust his own leg forward, and then pitched the fellow backward over
his knee.  This act broke the man's hold upon Drugg's violin and he
crashed to the floor, striking the back of his head soundly.

"All right, Mr. Drugg," panted Frank.  "Get out."

But it was Janice, still confronting Bodley, that actually freed the
storekeeper from his enemies.  Her eyes blazed with indignation into
the bartender's own.  His fat, white hand dropped from Hopewell's arm.

"Oh, if the young lady's really come to take you home to the missus, I
s'pose we'll have to let you go," he said, with a nasty laugh.  "But no
play, no pay, you understand."

Janice drew the bewildered Hopewell out of the door, and Frank quickly
followed.  Few in the room had noted the incident at all.

The three stood a minute on the porch, the mist drifting in from the
lake and wetting them.  The engineer finally took the umbrella from
Janice and raised it to shelter her.

"They--they broke two of the strings," muttered Hopewell, with thought
for nothing but his precious violin.

"You'd better cover it up, or it will be wet; and that won't do any
fiddle any good," growled Frank, rather disgusted with the storekeeper.

But there was something queer about Hopewell's condition that both
puzzled Janice and made her pity him.

"He is not intoxicated--not as other men are," she whispered to the
engineer.

"I don't know that he is," said Frank.  "But he's made us trouble
enough.  Come on; let's get him home."

Drugg was trying to shelter the precious violin under his coat.

"He has no hat and the fiddle bag is gone," said Janice.

"I'm not going back in there," said the civil engineer decidedly.  And
then he chuckled, adding:

"That fellow I tipped over will be just about ready to fight by now.  I
reckon he thinks differently now about the 'white-headed kid,' as he
called me.  You see," Frank went on modestly, "I was something of a
boxer at the Tech school, and I've had to keep my wits about me with
those 'muckers' of the railroad construction gang."

"Oh, dear, me!  I think there must be something very tigerish in all of
us," sighed Janice.  "I was glad when I saw that black-haired man go
down.  What did he want Hopewell's violin for?"

"Don't know.  Just meanness, perhaps.  They doctored Hopewell's drink
somehow, and he was acting like a fool and playing ridiculously."

They could talk plainly before the storekeeper, for he really did not
know what was going on.  His face was blank and his eyes staring, but
he had buttoned the violin beneath the breast of his coat.

"Come on, old fellow," Frank said, putting a heavy hand on Drugg's
shoulder.  "Let's be going.  It's too wet to stand here."

The storekeeper made no objection.  Indeed, as they walked along,
Hopewell between Frank and Janice, who carried the umbrella, Drugg
seemed to be moving in a daze.  His head hung on his breast; he said no
word; and his feet stumbled as though they were leaden and he had no
feeling in them.

"Mr. Bowman!" exclaimed Janice, at last, and under her breath, "he is
ill!"

"I am beginning to believe so myself," the civil engineer returned.
"I've seen enough drunken fellows before this to know that Hopewell
doesn't show many of the usual symptoms."

Janice halted suddenly.  "There's a light in Mr. Massey's back room,"
she said.

"Eh?  Back of the drugstore?  Yes, I see it," Bowman said, puzzled.

"Why not take Mr. Drugg there and see if Massey can give him something?
I hate to take him home to 'Rill in this condition."

"Something to straighten him up--eh?" cried the engineer.  "Good idea.
If he's there and will let us in," he added, referring to the druggist,
for the front store was entirely dark, it being now long past the usual
closing hour of all stores in Polktown.

Janice and Frank led Hopewell Drugg to the side door of the shop, he
making no objection to the change in route.  It was doubtful if he even
knew where they were taking him.  He seemed in a state of partial
syncope.

Frank had to knock the second time before there was any answer.  They
heard voices--Massey's and another.  Then the druggist came to the
entrance, unbolted it and stuck his head out--his gray hair all ruffled
up in a tuft which made him, with his big beak and red-rimmed eyes,
look like a startled cockatoo.

"Who's this, now?  Jack Besmith again?  What did I tell you?" he
snapped.  Then he seemed to see that he was wrong, and the next moment
exclaimed: "Wal!  I am jiggered!" for, educated man though he was, Mr.
Massey had lived in the hamlet of his birth all of his life and spoke
the dialect of the community.  "Wal!  I am jiggered!" he repeated.
"What ye got there?"

"I guess you see whom we have, Mr. Massey," said Frank Bowman pushing
in and leading the storekeeper.

"Oh, Mr. Massey!  It's Hopewell Drugg," Janice said pleadingly.  "Can't
you help him?"

"Janice Day!  I declare to sun-up!" ejaculated the druggist.  "What you
beauing about that half-baked critter for?  And he's drunk?"

"He is _not_!" cried the girl, with indignation.  "At least, he is like
no other drunken person I have seen.  He is ill.  They gave him
something to drink down at the Inn--at that dance where he was playing
his violin--and it has made him ill.  Don't you _see_?" and she stamped
her foot impatiently.

"Hoity-toity, young lady!" chuckled Massey.

They were all inside now and the druggist locked the door again.
Behind the stove, in the corner, sat Mr. Cross Moore, and he did not
say a word.

"You can see yourself, Mr. Massey," urged Frank Bowman, helping Drugg
into a chair, "that this is no ordinary drunk."

"No," Massey said reflectively, and now looked with some pity at the
helpless man.  "Alcohol never did exhilarate Hopewell.  It just dopes
him.  It does some folks.  And it doesn't take much to do it."

"Then Hopewell Drugg has been in the habit of drinking?" asked Bowman,
in surprise.  "You have seen him this way before?"

"No, he hasn't.  Never mind what these chattering old women in town say
about him now.  I never saw him this way but once before.  That was
when he had been given some brandy.  'Member that time, Cross, when we
all went fishin' down to Pine Cove?  Gosh!  Must have been all of
twenty years ago."

All that Mr. Cross Moore emitted was a grunt, but he nodded.

"Hopewell cut himself--'bad--on a rusty bailer.  He fell on it and
liked ter bled to death.  You know, Cross, we gave him brandy and he
was dead to the world for hours."

"Yes," said Mr. Moore.  "What did he want to drink now for?"

"I do not believe he knowingly took anything intoxicating," Janice said
earnestly.  "They have been playing tricks down there at the tavern on
him."

"Tricks?" repeated Mr. Moore curiously.

"Yes, sir," said Janice.  "Men mean enough to sell liquor are mean
enough to do anything.  And not only those who actually sell the stuff
are to blame in a case like this, but those who encourage the sale of
it."

Mr. Cross Moore uncrossed his long legs and crossed them slowly the
other way.  He always had a humorous twinkle in his shrewd gray eye.
He had it now.

"Meaning me?" he drawled, eyeing the indignant young girl just as he
would look at an angry kitten.

"Yes, Mr. Moore," said Janice, with dignity.  "A word from you, and Lem
Parraday would stop selling liquor.  He would have to.  And without
your encouragement he would never have entered into the nefarious
traffic.  Polktown is being injured daily by that bar at the Inn, and
you more than any other one person are guilty of this crime against the
community!"

Mr. Cross Moore did not change his attitude.  Janice was panting and
half crying now.  The selectman said, slowly:

"I might say that you are an impudent girl."

"I guess I am," Janice admitted tearfully.  "But I mean every word I
have said, and I won't take it back."

"You and I have been good friends, Janice Day," continued Mr. Moore in
his drawling way.  "I never like to quarrel with my friends."

"You can be no friend of mine, Mr. Moore, till the sale of liquor stops
in this town, and you are converted," declared Janice, wiping her eyes,
but speaking quite as bravely as before.

"Then it is war between us?" he asked, yet not lightly.

"Yes, sir," sobbed Janice.  "I always have liked you, Mr. Cross Moore.
But now I can't bear even to look at you!  I don't approve of you at
all--not one little bit!"



CHAPTER XV

AND NOW IT IS DISTANT TROUBLE

Mr. Massey had been attending to the overcome Hopewell Drugg.  He mixed
him something and forced it down his throat.  Then he whispered to Frank
Bowman:

"It was brandy.  I can smell it on his breath.  Pshaw!  Hopewell's a
harmless critter.  Why couldn't they let him alone?"

Frank had taken up the violin.  The moisture had got to it a little on
the back and the young man thoughtlessly held it near the fire to dry.
Hopewell's eyes opened and almost immediately he staggered to his feet,
reaching for the instrument.

"Wrong! wrong!" he muttered.  "Never do that.  Crack the varnish.  Spoil
the tone."

"Hullo, old fellow!" said Mr. Massey, patting Hopewell on the shoulder.
"Guess you feel better--heh?"

"Ye--yes.  Why! that you, Massey?" ejaculated the storekeeper, in
surprise.

"'Twas me when I got up this mornin'," grunted the druggist.

"Why--why--I don't remember coming here to your store, Massey," said the
mystified Hopewell Drugg.  "I--I guess I didn't feel well."

"I guess you didn't," said the druggist, drily, eyeing him curiously.

"Was I sick?  Lost consciousness?  This is odd--very odd," said Hopewell.
"I believe it must have been that lemonade."

Mr. Cross Moore snorted.  "Lemonade!" he ejaculated.  "Suthin' b'sides
tartaric acid to aid the lemons in that lemonade, Hopewell.  You was
drunk!"

Drugg blinked at him.  "That--that's a hard sayin', Cross Moore," he
observed gently.

"What lemonade was this, Hopewell?" demanded the druggist.

"I had some.  Two glasses.  The other musicians took beer.  I always take
lemonade."

"That's what did it," Frank Bowman said, aside to Janice.  "Joe Bodley
doped it."

"You had brandy, Hopewell.  I could smell it on your breath," said
Massey.  "And I know how that affects you.  Remember?"

"Oh, no, Massey!  You know I do not drink intoxicants," said Hopewell
confidently.

"I know you are a dern fool, Hopewell--and mebbe I'm one!" declared Mr.
Cross Moore, suddenly rising.  Then he bolted for the door and went out
without bidding anybody good night.

Massey looked after his brother committeeman with surprise.  "Now!" he
muttered, "what's got into him, I'd like for to be told?"

Meanwhile Hopewell was saying to Janice: "Miss Janice, how do you come
here?  I know Amarilla expected you.  Isn't it late?"

"Mr. Drugg," said the girl steadily, "we brought you here to be treated
by Mr. Massey--Mr. Bowman and I.  I do not suppose you remember our
getting you out of the Lake View Inn?"

"Getting me out of the Inn?" he gasped flushing.

"Yes.  You did not know what you were doing.  They did not want you to
leave the dance, but Mr. Bowman made them let you come away with us."

"You don't mean that, Miss Janice?" said the storekeeper horrified.
"Are--are you sure?  I had not been drinking intoxicants."

"Brandy, I tell ye, Hopewell!" exclaimed the druggist exasperated.  "You
keep away from the Inn.  They're playing tricks on you down there, them
fellers are.  You ain't fit to run alone, anyway--and never was," he
added, too low for Hopewell to hear.

"And look out for that violin, Mr. Drugg, if you prize it at all," added
Frank Bowman.

"Why do you say that?" asked Hopewell puzzled.

"I believe there was a fellow down there trying to steal it," the
engineer said.  "He had got it away from you and was looking inside of
it.  Is the name of the maker inside the violin?  Is it a valuable
instrument, Mr. Drugg?"

"I--I don't know," the other said slowly.  "Only for its associations, I
presume.  It was my father's instrument and he played on it a great many
years.  I--I think," said Hopewell diffidently, "that it has a
wonderfully mellow tone."

"Well," said Frank, "that black-haired fellow had it.  And he looks like
a fellow that's not to be trusted.  There's more than Joe Bodley around
that hotel who will bear watching, I guess."

"I will not go down to Lem Parraday's again," sighed Hopewell.  "I--I
felt that I should earn all the extra money possible.  You see, my little
girl may have to return to Boston for treatment."

"It's a mean shame!" muttered the civil engineer.

"Oh!  I hope you are wrong about Lottie," Janice said quickly.  "The dear
little thing!  She seemed very bright to-night," she added, with more
cheerfulness in her tone than she really felt.

"Say, you don't want that violin stole, Hopewell," said Mr. Massey
reflectively.  "Enough's been stole in Polktown to-day, I should say, to
last us one spell."

"Never mind," put in Frank Bowman, scornfully, looking full at the
druggist.  "You won't have to pay for Mr. Drugg's violin if it is stolen."

"Hum!  Don't I know that?" snarled Massey.  "We committeemen have our
hands full with that missin' collection.  Wish't we'd never voted to have
the coins brought over here.  Them lectures are mighty foolish things,
anyway.  That is scored up against young Haley, too.  He wanted the
lecture to come here."

"And you are foolish enough to accuse Nelson of stealing the coins," said
Bowman, in a low voice.  "I should think you'd have more sense."

"Hey!" exclaimed the druggist.  "Who would _you_ accuse?"

"Not Haley, that's sure."

"Nobody but the committee, the janitor, and Haley knew anything about the
coins," the druggist said earnestly.  "They were delivered to me last
night right here in the store by Mr. Hobart, the lecturer.  He came
through from Middletown a-purpose.  He took the boat this morning for the
Landing.  Now, nobody else knew about the coins being in town----"

"Who was here with you, Mr. Massey, when the coins were delivered to your
keeping?" Janice Day interposed, for she had been listening.

"Warn't nobody here," said Mr. Massey promptly.

"You were alone in the store?"

"Yes, I was," quite as positively.

"What did you do with the trays?"

"Locked 'em in my safe."

"At once?" again asked Janice.

"Say! what you tryin' to get at, young lady?" snorted the druggist.
"Don't you s'pose I knew what I was about last night?  I hadn't been down
to Lem Parraday's."

"Some of you didn't know what you were about this morning, or the coins
never would have been lost," said Frank Bowman significantly.

"That's easy enough to say," complained the committeeman.  "It's easy
enough to blame us----"

"And it seems to be easy for you men to blame Mr. Haley," Janice
interrupted indignantly.

"Well!"

"I'd like to know," continued the girl, "if there was not somebody around
here who saw Mr. Hobart bring the coins in here and leave them with you."

"What if there was?" demanded Mr. Massey with sudden asperity.  "The
coins were not stolen from this shop--make up your mind on that score,
Miss Janice."

"But if some evilly disposed person had seen them in your possession, he
might have planned to do exactly what was afterward done."

"What's that?" demanded the druggist.

"Planned to get into the schoolhouse, wait till you brought the coins
there, and then steal them."

"Aw, young lady!" grunted the druggist.  "That's too far-fetched.  I
don't want to hurt your feelin's; but young Haley was tempted, and young
Haley fell.  That's all there is to it."

Janice was not silenced.  She said reflectively:

"We may all be mistaken.  I really wish you would put your mind to it,
Mr. Massey, and try to remember who was here in the evening, about the
time that Mr. Hobart brought you the coin collection."

She was not looking at the druggist as she spoke; but she was looking
into the mirror over the prescription desk.  And she could see Massey's
face reflected in that glass.  She saw his countenance suddenly change.
It flushed, and then paled, and he showed great confusion.  But he did
not say a word.  She was puzzled, but said no more to him.  It did not
seem as though there was anything more to say regarding the robbery and
Nelson Haley's connection with it.

Besides, Hopewell Drugg was gently reminding her that they must start for
home.

"I'm afraid Amarilla will be anxious.  It--it is dreadfully late," he
suggested.

"We'll leave Mr. Massey to think it over," said Frank Bowman.  "Maybe
he'll come to a better conclusion regarding Nelson Haley."

"I don't care who stole the coins.  We want 'em back," growled the
druggist, preparing to lock them all out.

The trio separated on the corner.  Hopewell was greatly depressed as he
walked on with Janice Day.

"I--I hope that Amarilla will not hear of this evening's performance.  I
declare!  I had no idea that that Bodley young man would play me such a
trick.  I shall have to refuse to play for any more of the dances," he
said, in his hesitating, stammering way.

"You may be sure I shall not tell her," Janice said firmly.

They went into the dark store together as though they had just met on the
porch.  "I'm awfully glad you've both come," said 'Rill Drugg.  "I was
getting real scared and lonesome.  Mr. Bowman gone home, Janice?"

The girl nodded.  She had not much to say.  The last hour had been so
full of incident that she wanted to be alone and think it over.  So she
hurried to bid the storekeeper and his wife good night and went into the
bedroom she was to share with little Lottie.

Janice lay long awake.  That was to be expected.  Her mind was
overwrought and her young heart burdened with a multitude of troubles.

Her night spent with 'Rill had not turned out just as she expected, that
was sure.  From her window she could watch the front of Mrs. Beaseley's
cottage and she saw that Nelson's lamp burned all night.  He was wakeful,
too.  It made another bond between them; but it was not a bond that made
Janice any more cheerful.

She returned to the Day house early on Sunday morning, and her
unobservant aunt did not notice the marks the young girl's sleepless
night had left upon her countenance.  Aunt 'Mira was too greatly
distracted just then about a new gown she, with the help of Mrs. John-Ed.
Hutchins, had made and was to wear for the first time on this occasion.

"That is, if I kin ever git the pesky thing ter set straight over my
hips.  Do come here an' see what's the matter with it, Janice," Aunt
'Mira begged, in a great to-do over the frock.  "What do you make of it?"

"It doesn't fit very smoothly--that is true," Janice said gently.  "I--I
am afraid, Aunt 'Mira, that it draws so because you are not drawn in just
the same as you were when the dress was fitted by Mrs. John-Ed."

"My soul and body!" gasped the heavy lady, in desperation.  "I knowed it!
I felt it in my bones that she'd got me pulled in too tight."

Janice finally got the good woman into proper shape to fit the new frock,
rather than the new frock to fitting her, and started off with Aunt 'Mira
to church, leaving Mr. Day and Marty to follow.

Janice looked hopefully for Nelson.  She really believed that he would
change his determination at the last moment and appear at church.  But he
did not.  Nor did anybody see him outside the Beaseley cottage all day.
It was a very unhappy Sunday for Janice.

The whole town was abuzz with excitement.  There were two usually
inoffensive persons "on the dissecting table," as Walky Dexter called
it--Nelson and Hopewell Drugg.  Much had already been said about the
missing coin collection and Nelson Haley's connection with it; so the
second topic of conversation rather overshadowed the schoolmaster's
trouble.  It was being repeated all about town that Hopewell Drugg had
been taken home from the dance at the Lake View Inn "roaring drunk."

Monday morning saw Nelson put to the test.  Some of the boys gathered on
the corner of High Street near the teacher's lodging, whispering together
and waiting for his appearance.  It was said by some that Mr. Haley would
not appear; that he "didn't dare show his head outside the door."

About quarter past eight that morning there were many more people on the
main street of the lakeside village than were usually visible at such an
hour.  Especially was there a large number of women, and it was notorious
that on that particular Monday more housewives were late with their
weekly wash than ever before in the annals of Polktown.

"Jefers-pelters!" muttered Walky Dexter, as he urged Josephus into High
Street on his first trip downtown.  "What's got ev'rybody?  Circus in
town?  If so, it must ha' slipped my mind."

"Yep," said Massey, the druggist, at his front door, and whom the
expressman had hailed.  "And here comes the procession."

From up the hill came a troop of boys--most of them belonging in the
upper class of the school.  Marty was one of them, and in their midst
walked the young schoolmaster!

"I snum!" ejaculated Walky.  "I guess that feller ain't got no
friends--oh, no!" and he chuckled.

The druggist scowled.  "Boy foolishness.  That don't mean nothing."

"He, he, he!  It don't, hey?" drawled Walky, chirping to Josephus to
start him.  "Wal--mebbe not.  But if I was you, and had plate glass
winders like you've got, an' no insurance on 'em, I wouldn't let that
crowd of young rapscallions hear my opinion of Mr. Haley."

Indeed, Marty and his friends had gone much further than passing
resolutions.  Nelson was their friend and chum as well as their teacher.
He coached their baseball and football teams, and was the only instructor
in gymnastics they had.  The streak of loyalty in the average boy is the
biggest and best thing about him.

Nelson often joined the crowd on the way to the only level lot in town
where games could be played; and this seemed like one of those Saturday
occasions, only the boys carried their books instead of masks and bats.

Their chorus of "Hullo, Mr. Haley!" "Morning, Mr. Haley!" and the like,
as he reached the corner, almost broke down the determination the young
man had gathered to show a calm exterior to the Polktown inhabitants.
More than a few other well-wishers took pains to bow to the schoolmaster
or to speak to him.  And then, there was Janice, flying by in her car on
her way to Middletown to school, passing him with a cheery wave of her
gloved hand and he realized that she had driven this way in the car on
purpose to meet him.

Indeed, the young man came near to being quite as overwhelmed by this
reception as he might have been had he met frowning or suspicious faces.
But he got to the school, and the School Committee remained under
cover--for the time being.

Janice, coming back from Middletown in the afternoon, stopped at the
post-office and got the mail.  In it was a letter which she knew must be
from her father, although the outer envelope was addressed in the same
precise, clerkly hand which she associated with the mysterious Juan
Dicampa.

No introductory missive from the flowery Juan was inside, however; and
her father's letter began as follows:


"Dear daughter:--

"I am under the necessity of putting on your young shoulders more
responsibility than I think you should bear.  But I find that of a sudden
I am confined to an output of one letter a month, and that one to you.
As I write in English, and these about me read (if they are able to read
at all) nothing but Spanish, I have some chance of getting information
and instructions to my partners in Ohio, by this means, and by this means
only.

"First of all, I will assure you, dear child, that my health is quite,
quite good.  There is nothing the matter with me save that I am a 'guest
of the State,' as they pompously call it, and I cannot safely work the
mining property.  I am not going to dig ore for the benefit of either the
Federal forces or the Constitutionalists.

"I shall stay to watch the property, however, and meanwhile the Zapatist
chief in power here watches me.  He takes pleasure in nagging and
interfering with me in every possible way; so issues this last decree
limiting the number of letters to one a month.

"He would do more, but he dare not.  I happen to be on friendly terms
with a chief who is this fellow's superior.  If the chief in charge here
should harm me and my friend should feel so inclined, he might ride up
here, and stand my enemy up against an adobe wall.  The fellow knows
it--and is aware of my friend's rather uncertain temper.  That temper, my
dear Janice, known to all who have ever heard of Juan Dicampa, and his
abundant health, is the wall between me and a possibly sudden and very
unpleasant end."


There was a great deal more to the letter, but at first Janice could not
go on with it for surprise.  The clerkly writer with the abundance of
flowery phrases, Juan Dicampa was, then, a Mexican chieftain--perhaps a
half-breed Yaqui murderer!  The thought rather startled Janice.  Yet she
was thankful to remember how warmly the man had written of her father.

Much of what followed in her father's letter she had to transmit to the
bank officials and others of his business associates in her old home
town.  But the important thing, it seemed all the time to Janice, was
Juan Dicampa.

She thought about him a great deal during the next few days.  Mostly she
thought about his health, and the chances of his being shot in some
battle down there in Mexico.

She began to read even more than heretofore of the Mexican situation in
the daily papers.  She began to look for mention of Dicampa, and tried to
learn what manner of leader he was among his people.

If Juan Dicampa should be removed what, then, would happen to Broxton Day?



CHAPTER XVI

ONE MATTER COMES TO A HEAD

That was a black week for Janice as well as for the young schoolmaster.
She could barely keep her mind upon her studies at the seminary.
Nelson Haley's salvation was the attention he was forced to give to his
classes in the Polktown school.

One or another of the four committeemen who had constituted themselves
his enemies, were hovering about Nelson all the time.  He felt himself
to be continually watched and suspected.

Mr. Middler, who had been away on an exchange over Sunday, returned to
find his parish split all but in two by the accusation against Nelson
Haley.  Mr. Middler was the fifth member of the School Committee, and
both sides in the controversy clamored for him to take a hand in the
case.

"Gentlemen," he said to his four brother committeemen in Massey's back
room, "I have not a doubt in my mind that you are all honestly
convinced that Mr. Haley has stolen the coins.  Otherwise you would not
have made a matter public that was quite sure to ruin the young man's
reputation."

The four committeemen writhed under this thrust, and the minister went
on:

"On the other hand, I have no doubt in my mind that Mr. Haley is just
as innocent as I am of the robbery."

"Ye say that 'cause you air a clergyman," said Cross Moore bluntly.
"It's your business to be allus seeing the good side of folks, whether
they've got a good side, or not."

The minister flushed.  "I thank God I can see the good side of my
fellow men," he said quickly.  "I can even see your good side, Mr.
Moore, when you are willing to uncover it.  You do not show it now,
when you persecute this young man----"

"'Persecute'?  We oughter prosecute," flashed forth Cross Moore.  "The
fellow's as guilty as can be.  Nobody else could have done it."

"I wonder?" returned the minister, and walked out before there could be
further friction between them; for he liked the hard-headed, shrewd,
and none-too-honest politician, as he liked few men in Polktown.

If the minister did not distinctly array himself with the partisans of
Nelson Haley, he expressed his full belief in his honesty in a public
manner.  And at Thursday night prayer meeting he incorporated in his
petition a request that his parishioners be not given to judging those
under suspicion, and that a spirit of charity be spread abroad in the
community at just this time.

The next day, Walky Dexter said, that charitable spirit the minister
had prayed for "got awfully swatted."  News spread that on the previous
Saturday, only a few hours after the coin collection was missed, Nelson
Haley had sent away a post-office money order for two hundred dollars.

"That's where a part of the missing money went," was the consensus of
public opinion.  How this news leaked out from the post-office was a
mystery.  But when taxed with the accusation Nelson's pride made him
acknowledge the fact without hesitation.

"Yes; I sent away two hundred dollars.  It went to my aunt in
Sheffield.  I owed it to her.  She helped me through college."

"Where did I get the money?  I saved it from my salary."

Categorically, these were his answers.

"If that young feller only could be tongue-tied for a few weeks, he
might git out o' this mess in some way," Walky Dexter said.  "He talks
more useless than th' city feller that was a-sparkin' one of our
country gals.  He talked mighty high-falutin'--lots dif'rent from what
the boys she'd been bringed up with talked.

"Sez he: 'See haow b-e-a-u-tiful th' stars shine ter-night.  An' if th'
moon would shed--would shed----'  'Never mind the woodshed,' sez the
gal.  'Go on with yer purty talk.'  Haw! haw! haw!

"Now, this here Nelson Haley ain't got no more control of his tongue
than that feller had.  Jefers-pelters! what ye goin' ter do with a
feller that tells ev'rything he knows jest because he's axed?"

"He's perfectly honest," Janice cried.  "That shows it."

"If he's puffec' at all," grunted Walky, "he's a puffec' fule!  That's
what he is!"

And Nelson Haley's frankness really did spell disaster.  Taking courage
from the discovery of the young schoolmaster's use of money, the
committee swore a warrant out for him before Judge Little.  It was done
very quietly; but Nelson's friends, who were on the watch for just such
a move, were informed almost as soon as the dreadful deed was done.

News of it came to the Day house on Saturday afternoon, just before
supper-time.  On this occasion Uncle Jason waited for no meal to be
eaten.  Marty ran and got out Janice's car.  His cousin and Mr. Day
joined him while Aunt 'Mira came to the kitchen door with the
inevitable slice of pork dangling from her fork.

"I'd run him right out o' the county, that's what I'd do, Janice, an'
let Cross Moore and Massey whistle for him!" cried the angry lady.
"Leastwise, don't ye let that drab old crab, Poley Cantor, take him to
jail."

"We'll see about _that_," said Uncle Jason grimly.  "Let her go,
Marty--an' see if ye can git us down the hill without runnin' over
nobody's pup."

Perhaps Judge Little had purposely delayed giving the warrant to
Constable Cantor to serve.  The Days found Nelson at home and ran him
down to the justice's office before the constable had started to hunt
for his prey.

The "drab" old constable met them in front of the justice's office and
marched back into the room with Janice and Nelson and Marty and his
father.  Judge Little looked surprised when they entered.

"What's this? what's this?" he demanded, smiling at Janice.  "Another
case of speeding, Janice Day?"

"Somebody's been speeding, I reckon, Jedge," drawled Mr. Day.  "And
their wheels have skidded, too.  I understand that you've issued a
warrant for Mr. Haley?"

"Had to do it, Jason--positively _had_ to," said the justice.  "Better
serve it right here, quietly, Constable.  This is a serious matter, Mr.
Haley.  I'm sorry."

"Wal," drawled Uncle Jason, "it ain't so serious; I s'pose, but what
you kin take bail for him?  I'm here to offer what leetle tad of
property I own.  An' if ye want more'n I got, I guess I kin find all ye
want purty quick."

"That'll be all right, Jason," Judge Little said quickly.  "I'll put
him under nominal bail, only.  We'll have a hearing Monday evening, if
that's agreeable to----"

"Nossir!" exclaimed Uncle Jason promptly.  "This business ain't goin'
ter be hurried.  We gotter git a lawyer--and a good one.  I dunno but
Mr. Haley will refuse to plead and the case will hatter be taken to a
higher court.  Why, Jedge Little! this here means life an' repertation
to this young man, and his friends aren't goin' ter see no chance
throwed away ter clear him and make them school committeemen tuck their
tails atween their laigs, an' skedaddle!"

"Oh, very well, Jason.  We'll set the examination for next Saturday,
then?"

"That'll be about right," said Uncle Jason.  "Give us a week to turn
around in.  What d'ye say, Mr. Haley?"

"I'd like to have it over as quickly as possible," sighed the young
man.  "But I think you know best, Mr. Day."

He could not honestly feel grateful.  As they got into the car again to
whirl up the hill to the Day house for supper, Nelson felt a little
doubtful, after all, of Mr. Day's wisdom in putting off the trial.

"I might just as well be tried, convicted, and sentenced right now, as
to have it put off a week," he said, after they reached the Day place.
"They've got me, and they mean to put me through.  A demand has been
made upon the committee through the State Board by the owner of the
collection of coins.  The value of the collection is placed by the
owner at sixteen hundred and fifty dollars, their face value--although
some of the pieces were rare, and worth more.  There is not a man of
the quartette that would not sell his soul for four hundred and twelve
dollars and fifty cents!"

"_Now_ you've said a mouthful!" grunted Marty, in agreement.

"That's a hard sayin'," Mr. Day observed judiciously.  "They're
all--th' hull quadruped (Yes, Marty, that's what I meant, 'quartette,')
of 'em--purty poor pertaters, I 'low.  But four hundred dollars is a
lot of money for any man ter lose."

Nelson was very serious, however.  He said to Janice:

"You see now, can't you, why I can not teach any longer?  I should not
have done it this past week.  I shall ask for my release.  It is
neither wise, nor right for a person accused of robbery to teach school
in the community."

"Oh, Nelson!" gasped the girl despairing.

"Hi tunket!  I won't go to school--_a-tall_, if they don't let you
teach, Mr. Haley," cried Marty.

"Of course you will, Marty," said the schoolmaster.  "I shall need you
boys right there to stand up for me."

"Well!" gasped the very red lad, "you kin bet if they put Miss Pearly
Breeze inter your place, I won't go.  I've vowed I won't never go to
school to no old maid again!"

"Wal, now you've said it," sniffed his father, "and hev relieved your
mind, s'pose ye bring in some wood for the settin' room stove.  We need
a spark o' fire to take the chill off."

Meanwhile Nelson was saying: "I will resign; I will not wait for them
to request me to get out.  If you will lend me ink and paper, Janice,
I'll write my resignation here and hand it to Massey as I go home."

"But, Mr. Middler----" began Janice.

"Mr. Middler is only one of five.  He has no power now in the
committee, for the other four are against him.  Cross Moore and Massey
and Crawford and Joe Pellet mean to put it on me if they can.  I think
they have already had legal advice.  I think they will attempt to
escape responsibility for the loss of the coin collection by
prosecuting and convicting me of having stolen the money.  They were
not under bond, you know."

"It's a mess! it's a mess!" groaned Uncle Jason, "whichever way ye look
at it.  What ye goin' ter do, Mr. Haley, if ye don't teach?"

"I'd go plumb away from here an' never come back to Polktown no more!"
declared the heated Marty, coming in with an armful of wood.

"I feel as though I might as well do that, Marty, when I hear you
speak," said Nelson, shaking his head.  "What good does it do you to go
to school?  I have failed somewhere when you use such poor grammar
as----"

"Huh! what's good grammar?" demanded the boy, so earnest that he
interrupted the teacher.  "That won't make ye a civil engineer--and
that's what I'm goin' ter be."

"A proper use of English will help even in that calling in life," said
the schoolmaster.  "But seriously, I have no intention of running away."

"Ye don't wanter be idle," Mr. Day said.

"I'll find something to do, I fancy.  But whether or no, it shall not
be said of me that I was afraid to face this business.  I won't run
away from it."

Janice squeezed his hand privately in approval.  She had been afraid
that he might wish to flee.  And who could blame him?  During this week
of trial, however, Nelson Haley had recovered his self-control, and had
deliberately made up his mind to the manly course.

Nevertheless, he did not appear in his accustomed place in church on
the morrow.  It was not possible for him to walk boldly up the church
aisle among the people who doubted his honesty, or would sneer at him,
either openly or behind his back.  And it was known all over the town
by church time that Sunday that he had been arrested, bailed, and had
asked the school committee for a vacation of indefinite length and
without pay, and that this had been granted.

Miss Pearly Breeze and her contingent of trends were not happy for
long.  The School Committee knew that a return to old methods in school
matters would never satisfy Polktown again.

They telegraphed the State Superintendent of Schools and a proper and
capable substitute for Mr. Haley was expected to arrive on Monday.

It was on Monday morning, too, that Nelson's partisans and the enemy
came to open warfare.  That is, the junior portion of the community
began belligerent action.

Janice was rather belated that morning in starting for Middletown in
the Kremlin car.  Marty jumped on the running board with his school
books in a strap, to ride down the hill to the corner of School Street.

Just as they came in sight of Polktown's handsome brick schoolhouse,
there was Nelson Haley briskly approaching.

He had given up his key to the committee on Saturday night; but there
were books and private papers in his desk that he desired to remove
before his successor arrived.  The front door was locked and he had to
wait for Benny Thread to hobble up from the basement to open it.

This delay brought every woman on the block to her front windows.  Some
peeped from behind the blinds; some boldly came out on their "stoops"
to eye the unfortunate schoolmaster askance.  A group of boys were
gathered on the corner within plain earshot of the schoolmaster.  As
Janice turned the car carefully into School Street Sim Howell, one of
these young loungers, uttered a loud bray.

"What d'ye s'pose he's after now?" he then demanded of nobody in
particular, but loud enough for all the neighbors to hear.  "S'pose he
thinks there's any more money in there ter steal?"

"Stop, Janice!" yelped Marty.  "I knew I'd got ter do it.  That
feller's been spoilin' for it for a week!  Lemme down, I say!"

He did not wait for his cousin to obey his command.  Before she could
stop the car he took a flying leap from the running-board of the
automobile.  His books flew one way, his cap another; and with a wild
shout of rage, Marty fell upon Sim Howell!



CHAPTER XVII

THE OPENING OF THE CAMPAIGN

Janice ran the car on for half a block before she stopped.  She looked
back.  She had never approved of fisticuffs--and Marty was prone to
such disgraceful activities.  Nevertheless, when she saw Sim Howell's
blood-besmeared countenance, his wide-open mouth, his clumsy fists
pawing the air almost blindly, something primal--instinctive--made her
heart leap in her bosom.

She delighted in Marty's clean blows, in his quick "duck" and
"side-step;" and when her cousin's freckled fist impinged upon the
fatuous countenance of Sim Howell, Janice Day uttered an unholy gasp of
delight.

She saw Nelson striding to separate the combatants.  She hoped he would
not be harsh with Marty.

Then, seeing the neighbors gathering, she pressed the starter button
and the Kremlin glided on again.  The tall young schoolmaster was
between the two boys, holding each off at arm's length, when Janice
wheeled around the far corner and gave a last glance at the field of
combat.

"I am getting to be a wicked, wicked girl!" she accused herself, when
she was well out of town and wheeling cheerfully over the Lower Road
toward Middletown.  "I have just longed to see that Simeon Howell
properly punished ever since I caught him that day mocking Jim Narnay.
And _that_ arises from the influence of Lem Parraday's bar.  Oh, dear
me!  _I_ am affected by the general epidemic, I believe.

"If the Inn did not sell liquor, in all human probability, Narnay would
not have been drunk that day; at least, not where I could see him.  And
so Sim and those other young rascals would not have chased and mocked
him.  I would not have felt so angry with Sim--Dear me! everything
dovetails together, Nelson's trouble and all.  I wonder if, after all,
the selling of liquor at the Inn isn't at the bottom of Nelson's
trouble.

"It sounds foolish--or at least, far-fetched.  But it may be so.
Perhaps the person who stole those coins was inspired to do the wicked
deed because he was under the influence of liquor.  And, of course, the
Lake View Inn was the nearest place where liquor was to be bought.

"Dear me!  Am I foolish?  Who knows?" Janice concluded, with a sigh.

The thought of Sim Howell mocking Jim Narnay reminded her of the
latter's unfortunate family.  She had been only once to the little
cottage near Pine Cove since Narnay had gone into the woods with
Trimmins and Jack Besmith.

Nor had she been able to see Dr. Poole, amid her multitudinous duties,
and ask him how the nameless little baby was getting on; although she
had at once left a note at the doctor's office asking him to call and
see the child at her expense.

The peril threatening her father and the peril threatening Nelson Haley
filled Janice Day's mind and heart so full that other interests had
been rather lost sight of during the past eventful week.

She had not seen Frank Bowman since the time they had separated on the
street corner by the drug store, late Saturday night, when she had
taken Hopewell Drugg home.

Bowman was with his railroad construction gang not far off the Lower
Middletown Road.  But Janice had been going to and from school by the
Upper Road, past Elder Concannon's place, because it was dryer.

This morning, however, Frank heard her car coming, and he appeared,
plunging through the jungle, shouting to her to stop.  He could
scarcely make a mistake in hailing the car, for Janice's automobile was
almost the only one that ran on this road.  By summer time, however,
the boarding house people and Lem Parraday hoped that automobiles in
Polktown would be, in the words of Walky Dexter, "as thick as fleas on
a yaller hound."

Janice saw Frank Bowman coming, if she did not hear him call, and
slowed down.  He strode crashingly down the hillside in his high boots,
corduroys, and canvas jacket, his face flushed with exercise and, of
course, broadly smiling.  Janice liked the civil engineer immensely.
He lacked Nelson Haley's solid character and thoughtfulness; but he
always had a fund of enthusiasm on tap.

"How goes the battle, Janice?" was his cheery call, as he leaped down
into the roadway and thrust out a gloved hand to grasp hers.

"I guess, by now, Simmy Howell has learned a thing or two," she
declared, her mind on the scrimmage she had just seen.

"What?" demanded Bowman, wonderingly.

At that Janice burst into a laugh.  "Oh!  I am a perfect heathen.  I
suppose you did not mean Marty's battle with his schoolmate.  But that
was in my mind."

"What's Marty fighting about now?" asked the civil engineer, with a
puzzled smile.  "And are you interested in such sparring encounters?"

"I was in this one," confessed Janice.  Then she told him of the
occurrence--and its cause, of course.

"Well, I declare!" said Frank Bowman, happily.  "For once I fully
approve of Marty."

"Do you?  Well, to tell the truth, so do I!" gasped Janice, laughing
again.  "But I know it is wicked."

"Guess the whole Day family feels friendly toward Nelson," declared the
engineer.  "I hear Mr. Day went on Nelson's bond Saturday night."

"Yes, indeed.  Dear Uncle Jason!  He's slow, but he's dependable."

"Well, I am glad Nelson Haley has some friends," Bowman said quickly.
"But I didn't stop you to say just this."

"No?"

"No," said the civil engineer.  "When I asked you, 'How goes the
battle?' I was thinking of something you said the other night when we
were rounding up that disgraceful old reprobate, Hopewell Drugg," and
he laughed.

"Oh, poor Hopewell!  Isn't it a shame the way they talk about him?"

"It certainly is," agreed Frank Bowman.  "But whether Hopewell Drugg is
finally injured in character by Lem Parraday's bar or not, enough other
people are being injured.  You said you'd do anything to see it closed."

"I would," cried Janice.  "At least, anything I could do."

"By jove! so would I!" exclaimed Frank Bowman, vigorously.  "It was pay
night for my men last Saturday night.  One third of them have not shown
up this morning, and half of those that have are not fit for work.
I've got a reputation to make here.  If this drunkenness goes on I'll
have a fat chance of making good with the Board of Directors of the
railroad."

"How about making good with that pretty daughter of Vice President
Harrison's?" asked Janice, slily.

Bowman blushed and laughed.  "Oh! she's kind.  She'll understand.  But
I can't take the same excuses for failure to a Board of Directors."

"Of course not," laughed Janice.  "A mere Board of Directors hasn't
half the sense of a lovely girl--nor half the judgment."

"You're right!" cried Bowman, seriously.  "However, to get back to my
men.  They've got to put the brake on this drinking stuff, or I'll
never get the job done.  As long as the drink is right here handy in
Polktown, I'm afraid many of the poor fellows will go on a spree every
pay day."

"It is too bad," ventured Janice, warmly.

"I guess it is!  For them and me, too!" said Bowman, shaking his head.
"Do you know, these fellows don't want to drink?  And they wouldn't
drink if there was anything else for them to do when they have money in
their pockets.  Let me tell you, Janice," he added earnestly, "I
believe that if these fellows had it to vote on right now, they'd vote
'no license' for Polktown--yes, ma'am!"

"Oh!  I wish we could _all_ vote on it," cried Janice.  "I am sure more
people in Polktown would like to see the bar done away with, than
desire to have it continued."

"I guess you're right!" agreed Bowman.

"But, of course, we 'female women,' as Walky calls us, can't vote."

"There are enough men to put it down," said Bowman, quickly.  "And it
can come to a vote in Town Meeting next September, if it's worked up
right."

"Oh, Frank!  Can we do that?"

"Now you've said it!" crowed the engineer.  "That's what I meant when I
wondered if you had begun your campaign."

"_My_ campaign?" repeated Janice, much flurried.

"Why, yes.  You intimated the other night that you wanted the bar
closed, and Walky has told all over town that you're 'due to stir
things up,' as he expresses it, about this dram selling."

"Oh, dear!" groaned Janice, in no mock alarm.  "My fatal reputation!
If my friends really loved me they would not talk about me so."

"I'm afraid there is some consternation under Walky's talk," said
Bowman, seriously.  "He likes a dram himself and would be sorry to see
the bar chased out of Polktown.  I hope you can do it, Janice."

"Me--_me_, Frank Bowman!  You are just as bad as any of them.  Putting
it all on my shoulders."

"The time is ripe," went on the engineer, seriously.  "You won't be
alone in this.  Lots of people in the town see the evil flowing from
the bar.  Mrs. Thread tells me her brother would never have lost his
job with Massey if it hadn't been for Lem Parraday's rum selling."

"Do you mean Jack Besmith?" cried Janice, startled.

"That's the chap.  Mrs. Thread is a decent little woman, and poor Benny
is harmless enough.  But she is worried to death about her brother."

Janice, remembering the condition of the ex-drug clerk when he left
Polktown for the woods, said heartily: "I should think she would be
worried."

"She tells me he tried to get back his job with Massey on Friday
night--the evening before he went off with Trimmins and Narnay.  But I
expect he'd got Mr. Massey pretty well disgusted.  At any rate, the
druggist turned him down, and turned him down hard."

"Poor fellow!" sighed Janice.

"I don't know.  Oh, I suppose he's to be pitied," said Frank Bowman,
with some disgust.  "Anyhow, Besmith got thoroughly desperate, went
down to the Inn after his interview with his former employer, and spent
all the money he had over Lem's bar.  He didn't come home at all that
night----"

"Oh!" exclaimed Janice, remembering suddenly where Jack Besmith had
probably slept off his debauch, for she had seen him asleep in her
uncle's sheepfold on that particular Saturday morning.

"He's a pretty poor specimen, I suppose," said the engineer, eyeing
Janice rather curiously.  "He's one of the weak ones.  But there are
others!"

Janice was silent for a moment.  Indeed, she was not following closely
Bowman's remarks.  She was thinking of Jack Besmith.  Mr. Massey had
evidently been much annoyed by his discharged clerk.

When she and Frank Bowman, with Hopewell Drugg, had gone to the
druggist's back door that eventful Saturday night, Massey had thought
it was Jack Besmith summoning him to the door.  Massey had spoken
Besmith's name when he first opened the door and peered out into the
mist.

"Now, Janice," she suddenly heard Frank Bowman say, "what shall we do?"

She awoke to the subject under discussion with a start.  "Goodness! do
you really expect me to tell you?"

"Why--why, you see, Janice, you've got ideas.  You always do have,"
said the civil engineer, humbly.  "I've talked to such of my men as
have come back to work this morning.  Of course, they have been off
before, on pay day; but this is the worst.  They had a big time down
there at the Inn Saturday night and Sunday morning."

"Poor Mrs. Parraday!" sighed Janice.

"You're right.  I'm sorry for Marm Parraday.  She's the salt of the
earth.  But there are more than Marm Parraday suffering through Lem's
selling whiskey.  But about my boys," added the engineer.  "They tell
me if the stuff wasn't so handy they would finish the job without going
on these sprees.  And I believe they would."

"Well!  I'll think about it," Janice rejoined, preparing to start her
car.  "I suppose if I don't go ahead in the matter, the railroad will
never get its branch road built into Polktown?" and she laughed.

"That's about the size of it!" cried Bowman, as the wheels began to
roll.

But it was of Jack Besmith, the ex-drug clerk, that Janice Day thought
as she sped on toward the seminary and not of the opening of the
campaign against the liquor traffic in Polktown, which she felt had
really been organized on this morning.

In some way the ne'er-do-well was connected in her mind with another
train of thought that, until now, had had "the right of way" in her
inner consciousness.  What had Jack Besmith to do with Nelson Haley's
troubles?

Janice Day was puzzled.



CHAPTER XVIII

HOPEWELL SELLS HIS VIOLIN

Janice Day had no intention of avoiding what seemed, finally, to be a
duty laid upon her.  If everybody else in Polktown opposed to the sale
of liquor, merely complained about it--and in a hopeless, helpless
way--it was not in her disposition to do so.  She was Broxton Day's own
daughter and she absolutely had to _do something_!  She was imbued with
her father's spirit of helpfulness, and she believed thoroughly in his
axiom: If a thing is wrong, go at it and make it right.

Of course, Janice knew very well that a young girl like herself could
do little in reality about this awful thing that had stalked into
Polktown.  She could do nothing of her own strength to put down the
liquor traffic.  But she believed she might set forces in motion which,
in the end, would bring about the much-desired reformation.

She had done it before.  Her inspiration had touched all of Polktown
and had awakened and rejuvenated the old place.  She had learned that
all that the majority of people needed to rank them on the active side
of right, was to be made to think.  She determined that Polktown should
be made to think upon this subject of liquor selling.

After school she drove around by the Upper Road and branched off into a
woods path that she had not dared venture into the week before.  The
Spring winds had done much to dry this woodroad and there were not many
mud-holes to drive around before she came in sight of the squatters'
cabin occupied by the family of Mr. Trimmins.

This transplanted family of Georgia "crackers" had been a good deal of
a misfit in the Vermont community until Janice had found and interested
herself in them.  Virginia, a black-haired sprite of eleven or twelve,
was the leader of the family in all things, although there were several
older children.  But "Jinny" was born to be a commander.

Having made a friend of the little witch of a girl, and of Buddy, who
had been the baby the year before, but whose place had been usurped
because of the advent of another tow-head into the family, the others
of "them Trimminses," as they were spoken of in Polktown, had become
Janice Day's staunch friends.  Virginia and two of her sisters came
regularly to the meetings of the Girls' Guild which Janice had founded;
but it was a long walk to the Union Church and Janice really wondered
how they ever got over the road in stormy weather.

It always puzzled Janice where so many children managed to sleep when
bedtime came, unless they followed the sea law of "watch and watch."
Now all the children who were at home poured out of the cabin to greet
the driver of the Kremlin car.  The whole family, as now arrayed before
her, she had not seen since Christmas.

She had not forgotten to bring a great bag of "store cakes," of which
these poor little Trimminses were inordinately fond; so most of them
soon drifted away, each with a share of the goodies, leaving Janice to
talk with Mrs. Trimmins and Jinny and play with Buddy and the baby.

"It's a right pretty evening, Miss Janice," said Mrs. Trimmins.  "I
shell be glad enough when the settled weather comes to stay.  I kin git
some o' these young'uns out from under foot all day long, then.

"Trimmins has got a gang wo'kin' for him over th' mountain a piece----"

"Here comes dad now," said the sharp-eyed Virginia.  "And the elder's
with him."

"Why--ya-as," drawled her mother, "so 'tis.  It's one of Concannon's
timber lots Trimmins is a-wo'kin' at."

The elder, vigorous and bewhiskered, came tramping into the clearing
like a much younger man.  Trimmins slouched along by his side, chewing
a twig of black birch.

"No, Trimmins," the elder was saying decisively.  "We'll stick to the
letter of the contract.  I furnish the team and feed them.  I went a
step further and furnished supplies for three men instead of two.  But
not one penny do you nor they handle till the job is finished."

"That's all right, Elder," drawled the Georgian.  "That's 'cordin' to
contrac', I know.  I don't keer for myself.  But Narnay and that other
feller are mighty hongree for a li'le change."

"Powerful thirsty, ye mean!" snorted the elder.

"Wa-al--mebbe so! mebbe so!" agreed Trimmins, with a weak grin.

"They knew the agreement before they started in with you on the job,
didn't they?"

"Oh, ya-as.  They knowed about the contrac'."

"'Nuff said, then," grunted the elder.  "Oh! is that you, Janice Day?
I'll ride back with you," added the elder, who had quite overcome his
dislike for what he had formerly termed "devil wagons," since one very
dramatic occasion when he himself had discovered the necessity for
traveling much "faster than the law allowed."

"You are very welcome, Elder Concannon," Janice said, smiling at him.

She kissed the two babies and Virginia, shook hands with Mrs. Trimmins,
and then waved a gloved hand to the rest of the family as she settled
herself behind the steering wheel.  The elder got into the seat beside
her.

"I declare for't, Janice!" the elder said, as the started, the words
being fairly jerked ouf of his mouth, "I dunno but I'd like to own one
of these contraptions myself.  You can git around lively in 'em--and
that's a fac'."

"They are a whole lot better than 'shanks' mare,' Elder," said the
young girl, laughing.

"I--should--say!  And handy, too, when the teams are all busy.  Now I
had to walk clean over the mountain to-day to that piece where Trimmins
and them men are working.  Warn't a hoss fit to use."

"Has Mr. Trimmins a big gang at work?"

The elder chuckled.  "He calls it a gang--him, and Jim Narnay, and a
boy.  They've all got a sleight with the axe, I do allow; and the boy
handles the team right well."

"Is he Jack Besmith?" questioned Janice.

"That's his name, I believe," said the elder.  "Likely boy, I guess.
But if I let 'em have any money before the job is done--as Trimmins
wants me to--none of 'em would do much till the money was spent--boy
and all."

"It is too bad about young Besmith," Janice said, shaking her head.
"He is only a boy."

"Yep.  But a month or so in the woods without drink will do him a heap
of good."

That very evening, however, Janice saw Jack Besmith in town.  From
Marty she learned that he did not stay long.

"He came in for booze--that's what he come for," said her cousin, in
disgust.  "He started right back for the woods with a two-gallon
demi-john."

"And I thought they had no money up there," Janice reflected.  "Can it
be that Lem Parraday or his barkeeper would trust them for drink?"

Marty was nursing a lump on his jaw and a cut lip.  The morning's
battle, had not gone all his way, although he said to Janice with his
usual impish grin when she commented upon his battered appearance:
"You'd orter see the other feller!  If Nelson Haley hadn't got in
betwixt us I'd ha' whopped Sim Howell good and proper.  I was some
excited, I allow.  If I hadn't been I needn't never run ag'inst Sim's
fist a-_tall_.  He's a clumsy kid, if ever there was one--and I reckon
he's got enough of me for a spell.  Anyway, he won't get fresh with Mr.
Haley again--nor none of the rest of 'em."

"Dear me, Marty! it seems too bad that any of the boys should feel so
unkindly toward Mr. Haley, after all he's done for them."

"They're a poor lot--fellers like Sim Howell.  Hang around the tavern
hoss sheds all the time.  Can't git 'em to come up to the Readin' Room
with the decent fellers," Marty said belligerently.

Marty had forgotten that--not so long before--he had been a frequenter
of the tavern "hoss sheds" himself.  That was before Janice had started
the Public Library Association and the boys' club.

Janice did not see Nelson that evening, and she wondered what he was
doing with his idle time.  So the following afternoon she came home by
the Lower Road, meaning to call on the schoolmaster.  She stopped her
car before Hopewell Drugg's store and ran in there first.

'Rill was behind the counter; but from the back room the wail of the
violin announced Hopewell's presence.  The lively tunes which the
storekeeper had played so much through the Winter just past--such as
"Jingle Bells" and "Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party"--seemed now forgotten.
Nor was Hopewell in a sentimental mood and his old favorite, "Silver
Threads Among the Gold," could not express his feelings.

"Old Hundred" was the strain he played, and he drew it lingeringly out
of the strings until it fairly rasped the nerves.  No son of Israel,
weeping against the wall in old Jerusalem, ever expressed sorrow more
deeply than did Hopewell's fiddle at the present juncture.

"Oh, dear, Janice! that's the way he is all day long," whispered the
bride, the tears sparkling in her eyes.  "He says Lottie _must_ go to
Boston, and I guess he's right.  The poor little thing doesn't see
anywhere near as good as she did."

"Oh, my dear!" cried Janice, under her breath.  "I wish I could help
pay for her trip."

"No.  You've done your part, Janice.  You paid for the treatment
before----"

"I only helped," interrupted Janice.

"It was a great, big help.  Hopewell can never repay you," said the
wife.  "And he can accept no more from you, dear."

"But I haven't got it to offer!" almost wailed Janice.  "Daddy's mine
is shut down again.  I--I could almost wish to sell my car--only it was
a particular present from daddy----"

"No, indeed!  There is going to be something else sold, I expect,"
'Rill said gravely.  "Here! let us go back.  I don't like even to see
this fellow come in here.  Hopewell must wait on him."

Janice turned to see Joe Bodley, the fat, smirking bartender from the
Lake View Inn, now entering the store.

"Afternoon, Mrs. Drugg!" he called after the storekeeper's retreating
wife.  "I won't bite ye."

"Mr. Drugg will be right in," said 'Rill, beckoning Janice away.

Hopewell entered, violin in hand.  He greeted Janice in his quiet way
and then spoke to Bodley.

"You wanted to see me, Mr. Bodley?"

"Now, how about that fiddle, Hopewell?  D'ye really want to sell it?"
asked the bartender, lightly.

"I--I must sell it, Mr. Bodley.  I feel that I _must_," said Hopewell,
in his gentle way.

"It's as good as sold, then, old feller," said the barkeeper.  "I've
got a customer for it."

"Ah! but I must have my price.  Otherwise it will do me no good to sell
the violin which I prize so highly--and which my father played before
me."

"That's Yankee talk," laughed Bodley.  "How much?"

"I believe it is a valuable instrument--a very valuable instrument,"
said poor Hopewell, evidently in fear of not making the sale, yet
determined to obtain what he considered a fair price for it.  "At
least, I know 't is an _old_ violin."

"One of the 'old masters,' eh?" chuckled Bodley.

"Perhaps.  I do not think you will care to pay my price, sir," said the
storekeeper, with dignity.

"I've got a customer for it.  He seen it down to the dance--and he
wants it.  What's your price?" repeated Bodley.

"I thought some of sending it to New York to be valued," Hopewell said
slowly.

"My man will buy it--sight unseen, as ye might say--on my recommend.
He only saw it for a moment," said Bodley.

"What will he give for it?" asked Hopewell.

"How much do you want?"

"One hundred dollars, Mr. Bodley," said the storekeeper, this time with
more firmness.

"_What_?  One hundred of your grandmother's grunts!  Why, Hopewell,
there _ain't_ so much money--not in Polktown, at least--'nless it's hid
away in a broken teapot on the top shelf of a cupboard in Elder
Concannon's house.  They say he's got the first dollar he ever earned,
and most all that he's gathered since that time."

Janice heard all this as she stood in the back room with 'Rill.  Then,
having excused herself to the storekeeper's wife, she ran out of the
side door to go across the street to Mrs. Beaseley's.

In fact, she could not bear to stay there and hear Hopewell bargain for
the sale of his precious violin.  It seemed too, too, bad!  It had been
his comfort--his only consolation, indeed--for the many years that
circumstances had kept him and 'Rill Scattergood apart.  And after all,
to be obliged to dispose of it----

Janice remembered how she had brought little Lottie home to the
storekeeper the very day she first met him, and how he had played
"Silver Threads Among the Gold" for her in the dark, musty back room of
the old store.  Why!  Hopewell Drugg would be utterly lost without the
old fiddle.

She was glad Mrs. Beaseley was rather an unobservant person, for
Janice's eyes were tear-filled when she looked into the cottage
kitchen.  Nelson, however, was not at home.  He had gone for a long
tramp through the fields and had not yet returned.  So, leaving word
for him to come over to the Day house that evening, Janice went slowly
back to her car.

Before she could start it 'Rill came outside.  Bodley had gone, and the
storekeeper's wife was frankly weeping.

"Poor Hopewell! he's sold the fiddle," sobbed 'Rill.

"To that awful bartender?" demanded Janice.

"Just as good as.  The fellow's paid a deposit on it.  If he comes back
with the rest of the hundred dollars in a month, the fiddle is his.
Otherwise, Hopewell declares he will send it to New York and take what
he can get for it."

"Oh, dear me!" murmured Janice, almost in tears, too.

"It--it is all Hopewell can do," pursued 'Rill.  "He has nothing else
on which he can raise the necessary money.  Lottie must have her
chance."



CHAPTER XIX

THE GOLD COIN

The campaign against liquor selling in Polktown really had been opened
on that Monday morning when Janice and Frank Bowman conferred together
near the scene of the young engineer's activities for the railroad.

The determination of two wide-awake young people to _do something_ was
the beginning of activities.

Not only was the time ripe, but popular feeling was already stirred in
the matter.  The thoughtful people of Polktown were becoming
dissatisfied with the experiment.  Those who had considered it of small
moment in the beginning were learning differently.  If Polktown was to
be "boomed" through such disgraceful means as the sale of intoxicants
at the only hotel, these people with suddenly awakened consciences
would rather see the town lie fallow for a while longer.

The gossip regarding Hopewell Drugg's supposed fall from sobriety was
both untrue and unkind.  That the open bar at Lem Parraday's was a real
and imminent peril to Polktown, however, was a fact now undisputed by
the better citizens.

Janice had sounded Elder Concannon on that very Monday when she had
brought him home from the Trimmins place.  The old gentleman, although
conservative to a fault where money was concerned--his money, or
anybody's--agreed that one or two men should not be allowed to benefit
at the moral expense of their fellow townsmen.

That the liquor selling was causing a festering sore in the community
of Polktown could not be gainsaid.  Sim Howell and two other boys in
their early teens had somehow obtained liquor, and had been picked up
in a frightful condition on the public street by Constable Poley Cantor.

The boys were made very ill by the quantity of liquor they had drunk,
and although they denied that they had bought the stuff at the hotel,
it was soon learned that the supply of spirits the boys had got hold
of, came from Lem Parraday's bar.

One of the town topers had purchased the half-gallon bottle and had hid
it in a barn, fearing to take it home.  The boys had found it and dared
each other to taste the stuff.

"It's purty bad stuff 'at Lem sells, I allow," observed Walky Dexter.
"No wonder it settled them boys.  It's got a 'kick' to it wuss'n
Josephus had that time the swarm of bees lit on him."

The town was ablaze with the story of the boys' escapade on Wednesday
afternoon when Janice came back from Middletown.  She stopped at
Hopewell Drugg's store, which was a rendezvous for the male gossips of
the town, and Walky was holding forth upon the subject uppermost in the
public mind:

"Them consarned lettle skeezicks--I'd ha' trounced the hull on 'em if
they'd been mine."

"How would you have felt, Mr. Dexter, if they really were yours?" asked
Janice, who had been talking to 'Rill and Nelson Haley.  "Suppose Sim
Howell were your boy?  How would you feel to know that, at his age, he
had been intoxicated?"

"Jefers-pelters!" grunted Walky.  "I reckon I wouldn't git
pigeon-breasted with pride over it--nossir!"

"Then don't make  fun," admonished the girl, severely.  "It is an
awful, _awful_ thing that the boys of Polktown can even get hold of
such stuff to make them so ill."

"That is right, Miss Janice," Hopewell said, busy with a customer.
"What else, Mrs. Massey?"

"That's all to-day, Hopewell.  I hate to give you so big a bill, but
that's all I've got," said the druggist's wife, as she handed the
store-keeper a twenty-dollar gold certificate.

"He, he!" chuckled Walky, "Guess Massey wants all the change in town in
his own till, heh?"

"That is all right, Mrs. Massey," said Hopewell, in his gentle way.  "I
can change it.  Have to give you a gold piece--there."

"What's going to be done about this liquor selling, anyway?" demanded
Nelson Haley, in a much more serious mood, it would seem, than usual.
"I think Janice has the right of it--although I did not think so at
first.  'Live and let live,' is a good motto; but it is foolish to let
a mad dog live in a community.  Lem Parraday's bar is certainly doing a
lot of harm to innocent people."

Janice clapped her hands softly, and her eyes shone.  The school
teacher went on with increased warmth:

"Polktown is really being vastly injured by the liquor selling.  To
think of those boys becoming intoxicated--one of them of my school,
too----"

The young man halted suddenly in this speech.  In his earnestness he
had forgotten that it was his school no longer.

"It is a disgraceful state of affairs," 'Rill hastened to say, kindly
covering Nelson's momentary confusion.

But Janice beamed at the young man.  "Oh, Nelson!  I am delighted to
hear you speak so.  We are going to hold a temperance meeting--Mr.
Middler and I have talked it over.  And I have obtained Elder
Concannon's promise to be one of those on the platform.  Polktown must
be waked up----"

"What!  _Again_?  Haw! haw! haw!" burst out Walky.  "Jefers-pelters,
Janice Day!  You've abeout give Polktown insomnia already!  I sh'd say
our eyes was purty well opened----"

"_Yours_ are not, old fellow," said Nelson, good-naturedly, but with
marked earnestness, too.  "You're patronizing the barroom side of the
hotel altogether more than is good for you, and if you don't know it
yourself, Walky, I feel myself enough your friend to tell you so."

"Nonsense! nonsense!" returned the expressman, reddening a little, yet
man enough to accept personal criticism when he was so prone to
criticizing other people.  "What leetle I drink ain't never goin' ter
hurt me."

"Nor anybody else?" asked Janice, softly, for she liked Walky and was
sorry to see him go wrong.  "How about your example, Walky?"

"Shucks!  Don't talk ter me abeout 'example.'  That's allus the excuse
of the weak-headed.  If my example was goin' ter hurt the boys, ev'ry
one o' them would wanter be th' town expressman!  Haw! haw! haw!  I
ain't never seen none o' them tumblin' over each other fer th' chance't
ter cut me out on my job.  An' 'cause I chaw terbaccer, is ev'ry
white-headed kid in town goin' ter take up chawin' as a habit?

"Jefers-pelters!  I 'low if I had a boy o' m' own mebbe I'd be a lettle
keerful how I used either licker, or terbaccer.  But I hain't.  I got
only one child, an' she's a female.  I reckon I ain't gotter worry
about little Matildy bein' inflooenced either by her daddy's chawin',
or his takin' a snifter of licker on a cold day--I snum!"

"Unanswerable logic, Walky," said Nelson, with some scorn.  "I've used
the same myself.  And it serves all right if one is utterly selfish.  I
thought _that_ out after Janice, here, opened my eyes."

"You show me how my takin' a drink 'casionally hurts anybody or
anything else, an', jefers-pelters!  I'll stop it mighty quick!"
exclaimed the expressman, with some heat.

"I shall hold you to that, Walky," said Janice, quickly, interfering
before there should be any further sharp discussion.

"And," muttered Nelson, "she's as good as got you, Walky--she has that!"

At the moment the door opened with a bang, and Mr. Massey plunged in.
He was without a hat and wore the linen apron he always put on when he
was compounding prescriptions in the back room of his shop.  In his
excitement his gray hair was ruffled up more like a cockatoo's topknot
than usual, and his eyes seemed fairly to spark.

"Hopewell Drugg!" he exclaimed, spying the storekeeper.  "Was my wife
just in here?"

"Hul-_lo_!" ejaculated Walky Dexter.  "Hopewell hasn't been sellin' her
Paris green for buckwheat flour, has he?  That would kinder be in your
line, wouldn't it, Massey?"

But the druggist paid the town humorist no attention.  He hurried to
the counter and leaned across it, asking his question for a second time.

"Why, yes, she was here, Mr. Massey," said Hopewell, puzzled.

"She changed a bill with you, didn't she?"

"Jefers-pelters! was it counterfeit?" put in Walky, drawing nearer.

"A twenty dollar bill--yes, sir," said the storekeeper.

"Did you give her a gold piece--a ten dollar gold piece--in the
change?" shot in Massey, his voice shaking.

"Why--yes."

"Is this it?" and the druggist slapped a gold coin down on the counter
between them.

Hopewell picked up the coin, turned it over in his hand, holding it
close to his near-sighted eyes.  Nothing could ever hurry Hopewell
Drugg in speech.

"Why--yes," he said again.  "I guess so."

"But look at the date, man!" shouted Massey.  "Don't you see the date
on it?"

Amazed, Drugg repeated the date aloud, reading it carefully from the
coin.  "Why, yes, that's the date, sir," said the storekeeper.

"Don't ye know that's one of the rarest issues of ten dollar coins in
existence?  Somethin' happened to the die: they only issued a few,"
Massey stammered.  "Where'd you git it, Hopewell?"

"Why--why--Is it valuable?" asked Hopewell.  "A rare coin, you say?"

"Rare!" shouted Massey.  "Yes, I tell ye!  It's rare.  There ain't but
a few in existence.  Mr. Hobart told me when he brought them coins over
here that night.  And he pointed one of them out to me in that
collection.  Where did you get this one, Hopewell--where'd you get it,
I say?"

And on completing the demand he turned sharply and stared with his
blinking, red eyes directly at Nelson Haley.



CHAPTER XX

SUSPICIONS

"Why--why--why----" stammered Hopewell Drugg, and could say no more.

The others had noted Massey's accusing glance at the schoolmaster; but
not even Walky Dexter commented upon it at the moment.

"Come, Hopewell!" exclaimed the druggist; "where did you get it?"

"Where--where did I get the gold piece?" repeated the storekeeper,
weakly.

"Yes.  Who paid it in to you?  Hi, man! surely you don't think for a
moment I accuse you of having stolen the coin collection--or having
guilty knowledge of the theft?"

"Oh, Mr. Massey! what are you saying?" cried the storekeeper's wife.

"The coins?" whispered Hopewell.  "Is that one of them?"

"Jefers-pelters!" ejaculated Walky, "Here's a purty mess."

"Who gave it to you?" again demanded Mr. Massey.

"Why, it would be hard to say offhand," the storekeeper had sufficient
wit to reply.

"Oh, but Hopewell!" implored the druggist.  "Don't ye see what I am
after?  Stir yourself, man!  Perhaps we are right on the trail of the
thief--this is maybe a clue," and he cast another glance at Nelson as
though he feared the schoolmaster might try to slip out of the store if
he did not watch him.

Nelson came forward to the counter.  At first he had grown very red;
now he was quite pale and the look of scorn and indignation he cast
upon the druggist might have withered that person at a time of less
excitement.

"I ran 'way up here the minute my wife gave me that gold piece,
Hopewell," Massey continued.  "Don't you remember how you came by it?"

"He means, Mr. Drugg," broke in Nelson, "that he suspects you got it
from me.  Now tell him, if you please: Have I passed a gold piece over
your counter since the robbery--that piece, or any other?"

"Not--not to my knowledge, Mr. Haley," the storekeeper said, shaking
his head slowly.

"Oh, Nelson!" gasped Janice, coming nearer and touching his arm lightly.

The young man's hands were clenched.  He had a temper and it nearly
mastered him now.  But he had learned to control himself.  Otherwise he
could never have been as successful as he was in handling his pupils.
His eyes darted lightning at the druggist; but the latter was too
excited to realize Nelson Haley's mood.

"This fellow has been to the postmaster to try to discover if I bought
my money-order the other day with gold coin; but the postmaster obeyed
the rules of the Department and refused to answer.  He and the other
committeemen are doing every underhanded thing possible to injure me.
Cross Moore even tried to get into my rooms to search my trunk--but
Mrs. Beaseley threatened him with a broom.

"It doesn't surprise me that Mr. Massey should attempt in this way to
find what he calls 'a clue.'  The only clue he and his friends are
looking for is something with which to connect me with the robbery."

Janice's light touch on his arm again, stayed his wrathful words; but
the druggist's freckled face glowed--red under the young man's gaze.

"Wal!" he grunted, shortly, "we're bound to look after our own
skins--not after yours, Mr. Haley."

"I believe you!" exclaimed the schoolmaster in scorn, and turned away.

"But, say, Hopewell, ye ain't answered me yet," went on Massey, again
addressing the storekeeper.

"Well--I couldn't say offhand----"

"Great goodness, Hopewell!" cried Massey, pounding his fist upon the
counter for emphasis, "you're the most exasperating critter.  If
this--this----  If Mr. Haley didn't give you the coin, _who did_?"

"Why--I--I----"

Drugg was slow enough at best.  Now he was indeed very irritating.  He
was not the man to allow anything he said to injure another, if he
could help it.

"Le's see," he continued; "I've had that gold piece sev'ral days.  I am
sure, of course, that Mr. Haley did not give it to me.  No.  Come to
think of it----"

"Well?" gasped Mr. Massey.

"I _do_ remember the transaction, now.  It--it was give me as an option
on my violin," said Hopewell Drugg, with growing confidence.  "Yes.  I
remember now all about it."

"What's that?  Yer fiddle, Hopewell?" put in Dexter.  "Ye ain't goin'
ter sell yer fiddle?"

"I must," Hopewell said simply.  "I accepted that ten dollar gold piece
and two five dollar bills, as a payment upon it."

"Who from?" demanded Massey, sticking to his text, and that only.

"Young Joe Bodley, of the Lake View Inn."

"Joe Bodley!  Why, he was abed when them coins was stolen--I know
that," blurted out the druggist, very much disappointed.  "Lem Parraday
'tends bar himself forenoons, for Joe's allus up till past midnight.
You know that, Walky."

"Ya-as--f'r sure," agreed the expressman.  "But one o' these here
magazine deteckatiffs might be able ter hook up Joe with them missin'
coins, jes' the same.  Mebbe he's a sernamb'list," suggested, Walky,
with a sly grin.

"A _what_?" demanded Massey, with a startled look.  "He's an Odd
Feller, an' a Son o' Jethro.  I don't know what other lodges he b'longs
to."

"Jefers-pelters!" ejaculated Walky, "who's talkin' about lodges?  I
mean mebbe Joe walks in his sleep.  He might ha' stole them coins when
he was sernamb'latin' about----"

The druggist snorted.  "That's some o' your funny business, I s'pose,
Walky Dexter.  If you stood ter lose four hundred dollars you wouldn't
chuckle none about it, I'm bound."

"Mebbe that's so," admitted Walky.  "But I dunno's I'd go around
suspectin' everybody there was of stealin' that money.  Caesar's
wife--er was it his darter?--wouldn't 'scape suspicion in your mind,
Mr. Massey."

"By hickory!" exclaimed the exasperated druggist, "I'd suspect my own
grandmother!"

"Sure ye would--ef ye thought by so doin' ye'd escape payin' out four
hundred dollars!  Hay! haw! haw!" laughed the expressman.  "Ye ac'
right fullish, Massey.  All sorts of money is passed over that bar.  I
seen a feller count out forty pennies there t'other day for a flask of
whiskey: an' I bet he'd either robbed his baby's bank, or the
missionary-fund box.  Haw! haw! haw!"

"You can laugh," began the druggist, looking sour enough, when Walky
broke in again:

"Sure I can.  It's lucky I can, too.  If I couldn't laff at most of the
folks that live in this town, I'd be tempted ter commit
sooicide--that's right!  And you air one of the most amusin' of the
lot, Massey.  Them other committeemen run ye a clost second."

"Oh!  I can't stop here and fool with you all day, Walky Dexter,"
snapped the druggist, pretty well worked up by now.  "I tell ye this
gold piece is a clue----"

"Mebbe," said Walky.  "Mebbe 'tis a clue.  But I reckon it's what them
magazine deteckatifs call a blind clue.  Haw! haw! haw!  An' afore ye
git anywhere with it, it'll proberbly go on crutches an' be deef an'
dumb inter the bargain!"

Massey did not look as though he enjoyed these gibes much.  "I'll go
down an' see Joe," he grunted.  "Mebbe he'll know something about it."

"I hope you do not expect to find that I spent that ten dollar gold
piece at the Inn bar," said Nelson, bitterly.

"Well!  I'll find out how it got into Joe's hands," growled Massey.

"If Joe tells you," chuckled Walky.  "An' do stop for yer hat, Massey.
You'll ketch yer death o' dampness."

The druggist had opened a fruitful subject for speculation.  Those he
left behind in the store were eagerly interested.  Indeed, Janice and
Nelson could not fail to be excited by the occurrence, and the latter
rode home with Janice in the car to talk the matter over with Uncle
Jason.

"Of course," the schoolmaster said, when the family was assembled in
the sitting room of the old Day house, "_that_ gold piece may not be
one of those stolen at all.  There are plenty of ten dollar gold pieces
in circulation."

"Not in Polktown!" exclaimed Uncle Jason.

"And if we are to believe Mr. Massey," added Janice, "there are not
many ten dollar gold pieces of that particular date in existence."

"We don't really know.  Perhaps Massey is mistaken.  We know he was
excited," said Nelson.

"Hold hard, now," advised Uncle Jason, "It's a breach in their walls,
nevertheless."

"How is that, Mr. Day?" asked the schoolmaster.

"Why, don't you see?" said Uncle Jason, puffing on his pipe in some
excitement.  "They have opened th' way for Doubt ter stalk in," and he
chuckled.  "Them committeemen have been toller'ble sure--er they've
_said_ they was--it was you stole the money, Mr. Haley.  If they can't
connect this coin with you at all, they'll sartain sure be up a stump.
And they air a-breakin' down their own case against ye.  I guess I'm
lawyer enough ter see that."

"Oh, goodness, Uncle Jason!  So they will!" cried Janice.

"But it does not seem reasonable that the person stealing the coins
would spend one of them in Polktown," Nelson said slowly.

"I dunno," reflected Mr. Day.  "I never did think that a thief had any
medals fer good sense--nossir!  He most allus leaves some openin' so's
ter git caught."

"And if he spent the money at the tavern--and for liquor--of course he
_couldn't_ have good sense."

"I take off my hat to you on that point, Janice," laughed Nelson.  "I
believe you are right."

"Ya-as, ain't she?" Aunt Almira said proudly.  "An' our Janice
has done suthin' this time that'll make Polktown put her on a
ped-ped-es-tri-an----"

"'Pedestal,' Maw!" giggled Marty.

"Wal, never mind," said the somewhat flurried Mrs. Day.  "Mr. Middler
said it.  Mr. Haley, ye'd oughter hear all 't Mr. Middler said about
her this arternoon at the meetin' of the Ladies' Aid."

"Oh, Auntie!" murmured Janice, turning very red.

"Go on, Maw, and tell us," said Marty.  "What did he say?" and he
grinned delightedly at his cousin's rosy face.

"Sing her praises, Mrs. Day--do," urged Nelson.  "We know she deserves
to have them sung."

"Wal!  I should say she did," agreed Aunt 'Mira, proudly.  "It's her,
the parson says, that's re'lly at the back of this temp'rance movement
that's goin' ter be inaugurated right here in Polktown.  Nex' Sunday
he's goin' to give a sermon on temperance.  He said 'at he was ashamed
to feel that he--like the rest of us--was content ter drift along and
_do nothin'_ 'cept ter talk against rum selling, until Janice began ter
_do somethin'_."

"Now, Auntie!" complained the girl again.

"Wal!  You started it--ye know ye did, Janice.  They was talkin' about
holdin' meetings, an' pledge-signin', and stirrin' up the men folks ter
vote nex' Fall ter make Polktown so everlastin'ly dry that all the old
topers, like Jim Narnay, an' Bruton Willis, an'--an' the rest of 'em,
will jest natcherly wither up an' blow away!  I tell ye, the Ladies'
Aid is all worked up."

"I wonder, now," said Uncle Jason, reflectively.

"Ye wonder what, Jase Day?" demanded his spouse, with some warmth.

"I wonder if it can be _did_?" returned Uncle Jason.  "Lemme tell ye,
rum sellin' an' rum drinkin' is purty well rooted in Polktown.  If
Janice is a-goin' ter stop th' sale of licker here, she's tackled purty
consider'ble of a job, lemme tell ye."



CHAPTER XXI

WHAT WAS IN THE PAPER

As the days passed it certainly looked as though Mr. Day was correct in
his surmise about the difficulties of "Janice's job," as he called it.
The girl was earnestly talking to everybody whom she knew, especially
to the influential men of Polktown, regarding the disgraceful things
that had happened in the lakeside hamlet since the bar had been opened
at the Inn.  And it was among these influential men that she found the
most opposition to making Polktown "dry" instead of "wet."

She had thrown down her gauntlet at Mr. Cross Moore's feet, so she
troubled no more about him.  Janice realized that nobody was more
politically powerful in Polktown than Mr. Moore.  But she believed she
could not possibly obtain him on the side of prohibition, so she did
not waste her strength or time in trying.

Not that Mr. Cross Moore was a drinking man himself.  He was never
known to touch either liquor or tobacco.  He was just a hard-fisted,
hard-hearted, shrewd and successful country politician; and there
appeared to be no soft side to his character.  Unless that side was
exposed to his invalid wife.  And nobody outside ever caught Mr. Moore
displaying tenderness in particular to her, although he was known to
spend much time with her.

He had fought his way up in politics and in wealth, from very poor and
small beginnings.  From his birth in an ancient log cabin, with parents
who were as poor and miserable as the Trimminses or the Narnays to
being president of the Town Council and chairman of the School
Committee, was a long stride for Mr. Cross Moore--and nobody
appreciated the fact more clearly than himself.

Money had been the best friend he had ever had.  Without Elder
Concannon's streak of acquisitiveness in his character that made the
good old man almost miserly, Mr. Cross Moore possessed the
money-getting ability, and a faith in the creed that "Wealth is Power"
that nothing had yet shaken in his long experience.

For a number of years Polktown had been free of any public
dram-selling, although the voters had not put themselves on record as
desiring prohibition.  Occasionally a more or less secret place for the
selling of liquor had risen and was quickly put down.  There had, in
the opinion of the majority of the citizens, been no call for a
drinking place, and there would probably have been no such local demand
had Lem Parraday--backed by Mr. Moore, who held the mortgage on the
Inn--not desired to increase the profits of that hostelry.  The license
was taken out that visitors to Polktown might be satisfied.

There had been no local demand for the sale of liquor, as has been
said.  Those who made a practise of using it could obtain all they
wished at Middletown, or other places near by.  But once having allowed
the traffic a foothold in the hamlet, it would be hard to dislodge it.

John Barleycorn is fighting for his life.  He has few real friends,
indeed, among his consumers.  No man knows better the danger of alcohol
than the man who is addicted to its use--until he gets to that besotted
stage where his brain is so befuddled that his opinion would scarcely
be taken in a court of law on any subject.

Janice Day was determined not to listen to these temporizers in
Polktown who professed themselves satisfied if the license was taken
away from the Lake View Inn.  Something more drastic was needed than
that.

"The business must be voted out of town.  We all must take a stand upon
the question--on one side or the other," the girl had said earnestly,
in discussing this point with Elder Concannon.

"If you only shut up this bar, another license, located at some other
point, will be asked for.  Each time the fight will have to be begun
again.  Vote the town _dry_--that is the only way."

"Well, I reckon that's true enough, my girl," said the cautious elder.
"But I doubt if we can do it.  They're too strong for us."

"We can try," Janice urged.  "You don't _know_ that the wets will win,
Elder."

"And if we try the question in town meeting and get beaten, we'll be
worse off than we are now."

"Why shall we?" Janice demanded.  "And, besides, I do not believe the
wets can carry the day."

"I'm afraid the idea of making the town dry isn't popular enough,"
pursued the elder.

"Why not?"

"We are Vermonters," said Elder Concannon, as though that were
conclusive.  "We're sons of the Green Mountain Boys, and liberty is
greater to us than to any other people in the world."

"Including the liberty to get drunk--and the children to follow the
example of the grown men?" asked Janice, tartly.  "Is _that_ liberty so
precious?"

"That's a harsh saying, Janice," said the old man, wagging his head.

"It's the truth, just the same," the girl declared, with doggedness.

"You can't make the voters do what you want--not always," said Elder
Concannon.  "I don't want to see liquor sold here; but I think we'll be
more successful if we oppose each license as it comes up."

"What chance had you to oppose Lem Parraday's license?" demanded the
girl, sharply.

"Well!  I allow that was sprung on us sudden.  But Cross Moore was
interested in it, too."

"Somebody will always be particularly interested in the granting of the
license.  I believe with Uncle Jason that it's foolish to give Old Nick
a fair show.  He does not deserve the honors of war."

More than Elder Concannon did not believe that Polktown could be
carried for prohibition in Town Meeting.  But election day was months
ahead, and if "keeping everlastingly at it" would bring success, Janice
was determined that her idea should be adopted.

Mr. Middler's first sermon on temperance was in no uncertain tone.
Indeed, that good man's discourses nowadays were very different from
those he had been wont to give the congregation of the Union Church
when Janice had first come to Polktown.  In the old-fashioned phrase,
Mr. Middler had "found liberty."

There was nothing sensational about his sermons.  He was a drab man,
who still hesitated before uttering any very pronounced view upon any
subject; but he thought deeply, and even that super-critic, Elder
Concannon, had begun to praise the pastor of the Union Church.

To start the movement for prohibition in the largest church in the
community was all very well; but Janice and the other earnest workers
realized that the movement must be broader than that.  A general
meeting was arranged in the Town House, the biggest assembly room in
town, and speakers were secured who were really worth hearing.  All
this went on quite satisfactorily.  Indeed, the first temperance rally
was a pronounced success, and white ribbons became common in Polktown,
worn by both young and old.

But Janice's and Nelson Haley's private affairs remained in a most
unsatisfactory state indeed.

First of all, there was a long month to wait before Janice could expect
to see another letter from daddy.  It puzzled her that he was forbidden
to write but once in thirty days, by an under lieutenant of the
Zapatist chief, Juan Dicampa, who was Mr. Day's friend--or supposed to
be, and yet the letters came to her readdressed in Juan Dicampa's hand.

She watched the daily papers, too, for any word printed regarding the
chieftain, and perhaps never was a brigand's well-being so heartily
prayed for, as was Juan Dicampa's.  Janice never forgot that her father
said Dicampa stood between him and almost certain death.

Considering Nelson Haley's affairs, that young man was quite impatient
because they had come to no head.  Nor did it seem that they were
likely to soon.

Nelson had secretly objected when Uncle Jason had asked Judge Little to
put off for a full week the examination of Nelson in his court.  The
unfortunate schoolmaster felt that he wanted the thing over and the
worst known immediately.

But it seemed that he was neither to be acquitted at once of the crime
charged against him, nor was he to be found guilty and punished.

Uncle Jason was right about the turning up of the ten dollar gold piece
being a blow to the accusation the School Committee had lodged against
Nelson.  They could not connect the young schoolmaster with the gold
coin.

By Uncle Jason's advice, too, Nelson had put off engaging a lawyer in
Middletown to come over to defend the young man in Judge Little's court.

"And well he did wait, too," declared Mr. Day, very much pleased with
his own shrewdness.  "_That_ would have meant a twenty dollar note.
Now it don't cost Mr. Haley a cent."

"What do you mean, Jase Day?" demanded Aunt Almira, for her husband
announced the above at the supper table on Friday evening of that
eventful week.  "They ain't goin' ter send Mr. Haley to jail without a
trial?"

"Hear the woman, will ye?" apostrophized Uncle Jason, with disgust.
"Ain't thet jes' like ye, Almiry--goin' off at ha'f cock thet-a-way?
Who said anythin' about Mr. Haley goin' ter jail?"

"Wal----"

"He ain't goin' yet awhile, I reckon," and Mr. Day chuckled.  "I told
ye them fule committeemen would overreach themselves.  They've
withdrawn the charge."

"_What_?" chorused the family, in joy and amazement.

"Yessir! that's what they've done.  Jedge Little sent word to me an'
give me back my bond.  'Course, we could ha' demanded a hearin' an'
tried ter git a clear discharge.  And then ag'in--Wal!  I advised Mr.
Haley ter let well enough alone."

"Then they know who is the thief at last?" asked Janice, quaveringly.

"No."

"But they know Mr. Haley never stole them coins!" cried Aunt Almira.

"Wal--ef they do, they don't admit of it," drawled Uncle Jason.

"What in tarnation is it, then, Dad?" demanded Marty.

"Why, they've made sech a to-do over findin' that gold piece in Hope
Drugg's possession, that they don't dare go on an' prosercute the
schoolmaster--nossir!"

"Bully!" exclaimed the thoughtless Marty.  "That's all right, then."

"But--but," objected Janice, with trembling lip, "that doesn't clear
Nelson at all!"

"It answers the puppose," proclaimed Uncle Jason.  "He ain't under
arrest no more, and he don't hafter pay no lawyer's fee."

"Ye-es," admitted his niece, slowly.  "But what is poor Nelson to do?
He's still under a cloud, and he can't teach school."

"And believe me!" growled Marty, "that greeny they got to teach in his
place don't scu'cely know beans when the bag's untied."

It was true that the four committeemen had considered it wise to
withdraw their charge against Nelson Haley.  Without any evidence but
that of a purely presumptive character, their lawyer had advised this
retreat.

Really, it was a sharp trick.  It left Nelson worse off, as far as
disproving their charge went, than he would have been had they taken
the case into court.  The charge still lay against the young man in the
public mind.  He had no opportunity of being legally cleared of
suspicion.

The ancient legal supposition that a man is innocent until he is found
guilty, is never honored in a New England village.  He is guilty unless
proved innocent.  And how could Nelson prove his innocence?  Only by
discovering the real thief and proving _him_ guilty.

The shrewd attorney hired by the four committeemen knew very well that
he was not prejudicing his clients' case when he advised them to quash
the warrant.

But as for the discovery of the rare coin in circulation--one known to
belong to the collection stolen from the schoolhouse--that injured the
committeemen's cause rather than helped it, it must be confessed.

Joe Bodley frankly admitted having paid over the gold piece to Hopewell
Drugg, as a deposit on the fiddle.  But he professed not to know how
the coin had come into the till at the tavern.

Joe had full charge of the cash-drawer when Mr. Parraday was not
present, and he had helped himself to such money as he thought he would
need when he went up town to negotiate for the purchase of the fiddle.
He denied emphatically that the man who had engaged him to purchase the
fiddle had given him the ten dollar gold piece.  Who the purchaser of
the fiddle was, however, the barkeeper declined to say.

"That's my business," Joe had said, when questioned on this point.
"Ya-as.  I expect to take the fiddle.  Hopewell's agreed to sell it to
me, fair and square.  If I can make a lettle spec on the side, who's
business is it but my own?"

When Janice heard the report of this--through Walky Dexter, of
course--she was reminded of the black-haired, foreign looking man, who
had been so much interested in Hopewell's violin the night she and
Frank Bowman had taken the storekeeper home from the dance.

"I wonder if he can be the customer that Joe Bodley speaks of?  Oh,
dear me!" sighed Janice.  "I'm so sorry Hopewell has to sell his
violin.  And I'm sorry he is going to sell it this way.  If that 'foxy
looking foreigner,' as Mr. Bowman called him, is the purchaser of the
instrument, perhaps it is worth much more than a hundred dollars.

"Lottie _must_ go again and have her eyes examined.  Hopewell will take
her himself next month--the poor, dear little thing!  Oh! if daddy's
mine wasn't down there among those hateful Mexicans----

"And I wonder," added the young girl, suddenly, "what one of those real
old violins is worth."

She chanced to be reflecting on this subject on a Saturday afternoon
near the end of the month Hopewell had allowed to Joe Bodley to find
the rest of the purchase price for the violin.  She had been up to the
church vestry to attend a meeting of her Girls' Guild.  As she passed
the Public Library this thought came to her:

"I'll go in and look in the encyclopaedia.  _That_ ought to tell about
old violins."

She looked up Cremona and read about its wonderful violins made in the
sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries by the Amati family
and by Antonio Stradivari and Josef Guarnerius.  It did not seem
possible that Hopewell's instrument could be one of these beautifully
wrought violins of the masters; yet----

"Who knows?" sighed Janice.  "You read about such instruments coming to
light in such queer places.  And Hopewell's fiddle _looks_ awfully old.
From all accounts his father must have been a musician of some
importance, despite the fact that he was thought little of in Polktown
by either his wife or other people.  Mr. Drugg might have owned one of
these famous violins--not one of the most ancient, perhaps--and told
nobody here about it.  Why! the ordinary Polktownite would think just
as much of a two-dollar-and-a-half fiddle as of a real Stradivarius or
an Amati."

While she was at the task, Janice took some notes of what she read.
While she was about this, Walky Dexter, who brought the mail over from
Middletown, daily, came in with the usual bundle of papers for the
reading desk, and the girl in charge that afternoon hastened to put the
papers in the files.

Major Price had presented the library with a year's subscription to a
New York daily.  Janice or Marty always found time to scan each page of
that paper for Mexican news--especially for news of the brigand chief,
Juan Dicampa.

She went to the reading desk after closing and returning the
encyclopaedia to its proper shelf, and spread the New York paper before
her.  This day she had not to search for mention of her father's
friend, the Zapatist chief.  Right in front of her eyes, at the top of
the very first column, were these headlines:


  JUAN DICAMPA CAPTURED

  THE ZAPATIST CHIEFTAIN CAPTURED BY
  FEDERALS WITH 500 OF HIS FORCE AND
  IMMEDIATELY SHOT.  MASSACRE
  OF HIS FOLLOWERS.



CHAPTER XXII

DEEP WATERS

The dispatch in the New York paper was dated from a Texan city on the
day before.  It was brief, but seemed of enough importance to have the
place of honor on the front page of the great daily.

There were all the details of a night advance, a bloody attack and a
fearful repulse in which General Juan Dicampa's force had been nearly
wiped out.

The half thousand captured with the famous guerrilla chief were
reported to have been hacked to pieces when they cried for quarter, and
Juan Dicampa himself was given the usual short shrift connected in most
people's minds with Mexican justice.  He had been shot three hours
after his capture.

It was an awful thing--and awful to read about.  The whole affair had
happened a long way from that part of Chihuahua in which daddy's mine
was situated; but Janice immediately realized that the "long arm" of
Dicampa could no longer keep Mr. Broxton Day from disaster, or punish
those who offended the American mining man.

The very worst that could possibly happen to her father, Janice
thought, had perhaps already happened.

That was a very sorrowful evening indeed at the old Day house on
Hillside Avenue.  Although Mr. Jason Day and Janice's father were half
brothers only, the elder man had in his heart a deep and tender love
for Broxton, or "Brocky," as he called him.

He remembered Brocky as a lad--always.  He felt the superiority of his
years--and presumably his wisdom--over the younger man.  Despite the
fact that Mr. Broxton Day had early gone away from Polktown, and had
been deemed very successful in point of wealth in the Middle West,
Uncle Jason considered him still a boy, and his ventures in business
and in mining as a species of "wild oat sowing," of which he could
scarcely approve.

"No," he sighed.  "If Brocky had been more settled he'd ha' been better
off--I snum he would!  A piece o' land right here back o' Polktown--or
a venture in a store, if so be he must trade--would ha' been safer for
him than a slather o' mines down there among them Mexicaners."

"Don't talk so--don't talk so, Jason!" sniffed Aunt Almira.

"Wal--it's a fac'," her husband said vigorously.  "There may be some
danger attached ter store keepin' in Polktown; it's likely ter make a
man a good deal of a hawg," added Uncle Jason.  "But I guess the life
insurance rates ain't so high as they be on a feller that's determined
ter spend his time t'other side o' that Rio Grande River they tell
about."

"I wonder," sighed Aunt Almira, quite unconscious that she spoke aloud,
"if I kin turn that old black alpaca gown I got when Sister Susie died,
Jason, an' fashion it after one o' the new models?"

"Heh?" grunted the startled Mr. Day, glaring at her.

"Of course, we'll hafter go inter black--it's only decent.  But I did
fancy a plum-colored dress this Spring, with r'yal purple trimmins.  I
seen a pattern in the fashion sheet of the Fireside Love Letter that
was re'l sweet."

"What's eatin' on you, Maw?" demanded her son gruffly.  "Whatcher
wanter talk that way for right in front of Janice?  I reckon we won't
none of us put on crêpe for Uncle Brocky yet awhile," he added, stoutly.

On Monday arrived another letter from Mr. Broxton Day.  Of course, it
was dated before the dreadful night attack which had caused the death
of General Juan Dicampa and the destruction of his forces; and it had
passed through that chieftain's hands and had been remailed.

Janice put away the envelope, directed in the sloping, clerkly hand,
and sighed.  Daddy was in perfect health when he had written this last
epistle and the situation had not changed.

"But no knowing what has happened to poor daddy since he wrote,"
thought Janice.  "We can know nothing about it.  And another whole
month to wait to learn if he is alive."

The girl was quite well aware that she could expect no inquiry to be
made at Washington regarding Mr. Broxton Day's fate.  The
administration had long since warned all American citizens to leave
Mexico and to refrain from interference in Mexican affairs.  Mr. Day
had chosen to stay by his own, and his friends', property--and he had
done this at his peril.

"Oh, I wish," thought the girl, "that somebody could go down there and
capture daddy, and just make him come back over the border!  As Uncle
Jason says, what's money when his precious life is in danger?"

In almost the same breath, however, she wished that daddy could send
her more money.  For Lottie Drugg had gone to Boston.  Her father had
given over the violin to Joe Bodley, and that young speculator paid the
storekeeper the remainder of the hundred dollars agreed upon.  With
this hundred dollars Hopewell started for Boston with Lottie, leaving
his wife to take care of the store for the few days he expected to be
absent.  Janice went over to stay with Mrs. Drugg at night during
Hopewell's absence.

Perhaps it was just as well that Janice was not at home during these
few days, as it gave her somebody's troubles besides her own to think
about.  And the Day household really, if not visibly, was in mourning
for Broxton Day.  Uncle Jason's face was as "long as the moral law,"
and Aunt 'Mira, lachrymose at best, was now continuously and deeply
gloomy.  Marty was the only person in the Day household able to cheer
Janice in the least.

'Rill and Hopewell were in deep waters, too.  Had Lottie not been such
an expense, the little store on the side street would have made a very
comfortable living for the three of them.  They lived right up to their
income, however; and so Hopewell was actually obliged to sell his
violin to get Lottie to Boston.

Mrs. Scattergood was frequently in the store now that her son-in-law
was away.  She was, of course, ready with her criticisms as to the
course of her daughter and her husband.

"Good Land o' Goshen!" chirped the little old woman to Janice, "didn't
I allus say it was the fullishest thing ever heard of for them two to
marry?  Amarilly had allus airned good money teachin' and had spent it
as she pleased.  And Hope Drugg never did airn much more'n the salt in
his johnny-cake in this store."

Meanwhile she was helping herself to sugar and tea and flour and butter
and other little "notions" for her own comfort.  Hopewell always said
that "Mother Scattergood should have the run of the store, and take
what she pleased," now that he had married 'Rill; and, although the
woman was not above maligning her easy-going son-in-law, she did not
refuse to avail herself of his generosity.

"An' there it is!" went on Mrs. Scattergood.  "'Rill was fullish enough
to put the money she'd saved inter a mortgage that pays her only five
per cent.  An' ter git th' int'rest is like pullin' eye-teeth, and I
tell her she never will see the principal ag'in."

Mrs. Scattergood neglected to state that she had urged her daughter to
put her money in this mortgage.  It was on her son's farm, across the
lake at "Skunk's Hollow," as the place was classically named; and the
money would never have been tied up in this way had her mother not
begged and pleaded and fairly "hounded" 'Rill into letting the
shiftless brother have her savings on very uncertain security.

"Them two marryin'," went on Mrs. Scattergood, referring to 'Rill and
Hopewell, "was for all the worl' like Famine weddin' with Poverty.  And
a very purty weddin' that allus is," she added with a sniff.  "Neither
of 'em ain't got nothin', nor never will have--'ceptin' that Hopewell's
got an encumbrance in the shape of that ha'f silly child."

Janice was tempted to tell the venomous old woman that she thought
Hopewell's only encumbrance was his mother-in-law.

"And him fiddlin' and drinkin' and otherwise wastin' his substance,"
croaked Mrs. Scattergood.

At this Janice did utter an objection:

"Now, that is not so, Mrs. Scattergood.  You know very well that that
story about Hopewell being a drinking man is not true."

"My! is that so?  Didn't I see him myself?  And you seen him, too,
Janice Day, comin' home that night, a wee-wawin' like a boat in a heavy
sea.  I guess I see what I see.  And as for his fiddlin'----"

"You need not be troubled on that score, at least," sighed Janice.
"Poor Hopewell!  He's sold his violin."

Walky Dexter came into the store that same evening, chuckling over the
sale of the instrument.

"I wouldn't go for ter say Hopewell is a sharper," he grinned; "but
mebbe he ain't so powerful innercent as he sometimes 'pears.  If so,
I'm sartainly glad of it."

"What do you mean, Mr. Dexter?" asked 'Rill, rather sharply.

"Guess Joe Bodley feels like he'd like ter know whether Hopewell done
him or not.  Joe's condition is suthin' like the snappin' turtle's when
he cotched a-holt of Peleg Swift's red nose as he was stoopin' ter git
a drink at the spring.  He didn't durst ter let go while Peke was
runnin' an' yellin' 'Murder!' but he was mighty sorry ter git so fur
from home.  Haw! haw! haw!"

"What is the matter with Joe Bodley now, Walky?" asked Nelson, who was
present.  "Didn't he make a good thing out of the violin transaction?"

"Why--haw! haw!--he dunno yit.  But I b'lieve he's beginnin' ter have
his doubts--like th' feller 't got holt of the black snake a-thinkin'
it was a heifer's tail," chuckled Walky, whose face was very red and
whose spicy breath--Joe Bodley always kept a saucer of cloves on the
end of the bar--was patent to all in the store.

"Joe's a good sport; he ain't squealin' none," pursued Dexter; "but
there is the fiddle a-hangin' behint th' bar an' Joe's beginnin' ter
look mighty sour when ye mention it to him."

"Why, Mr. Dexter!" 'Rill said, in surprise, "hasn't he turned it over
to the man he said he bought it for?"

"Wal--not so's ye'd notice it," Walky replied, grinning fatuously.  "I
dunno who the feller is, or how much money he gin Joe in the fust place
to help pay for the fiddle--some, of course.  But if Joe paid Hopewell
a hundred dollars for the thing you kin jest bet he 'spected to git
ha'f as much ag'in for it.

"But I reckon the feller's reneged or suthin'.  Joe ain't happy about
it--he! he!  Mebbe on clost examination the fiddle don't 'pear ter be
one o' them old masters they tell about!  Haw! haw! haw!"

Janice started to say something.  "Why don't they look inside----"

"Inside o' what?" demanded Walky, when the girl halted.

"I am positive that Hopewell would never have sold it for a hundred
dollars if he hadn't felt he must," broke in the storekeeper's wife,
and Janice did not complete her impulsive observation.

"Ye can't most allus sometimes tell!" drawled Walky.  "Mebbe Hopewell
had suthin' up his sleeve 'sides his wrist.  Haw! haw! haw!

"Shucks! talk about a fiddle bein' wuth a hunderd dollars!
Jefers-pelters!  I seen one a-hangin' in a shop winder at Bennington
once 't looked every whit as good as Hopewell's, and as old, an' 'twas
marked plain on a card, 'two dollars an' a ha'f.'"

"I guess there are fiddles and _fiddles_," said 'Rill, a little tartly
for her.

"No," laughed Nelson.  "There are fiddles and _violins_.  Like the word
'vase.'  If it's a cheap one, plain 'vase' is well enough to indicate
it; but if it costs over twenty-five dollars they usually call it a
'vahze.'  I have always believed Hopewell's instrument deserved the
dignity of 'violin.'"

"Wal," declared Walky.  "I guess ye kin have all the dignity, _and_ the
vi'lin, too, if you offer Joe what he paid for it.  I don't b'lieve
he'll hang off much for a profit--er--haw! haw! haw!"

"I wish I were wealthy enough to buy the violin back from that fellow,"
whispered Janice to the schoolmaster.

"Ah!  I expect you do, Janice," he said softly, eyeing her with
admiration.  "And I wish I could give you the money to do so.  It would
give you more pleasure, I fancy, to hand Hopewell back his violin when
he returns from Boston than almost anything we could name.  Wouldn't
it?"

"Oh, dear me! yes, Nelson," she sighed.  "I just wish I were rich."

Just about this time there were a number of things Janice desired money
for.  She had a little left in the bank at Middletown; but she dared
not use it for anything but actual necessities.  No telling when daddy
could send her any more for her own private use.  Perhaps, never.

The papers gave little news of Mexican troubles just now.  Of course,
Juan Dicampa being dead, there was no use watching the news columns for
_his_ name.

And daddy was utterly buried from her!  She had no means of informing
herself whether he were alive or dead.  She wrote to him faithfully at
least once each week; but she did not know whether the letters reached
him or not.

As previously advised, she addressed the outer envelope for her
father's letters in care of Juan Dicampa.  But that seemed a hollow
mockery now.  She was sending the letters to a dead man.

Was it possible that her father received the missives?  Could Juan
Dicampa's influence, now that he was dead, compass their safety?  It
seemed rather a ridiculous thing to do, yet Janice continued to send
them in care of the guerrilla chieftain.

Indeed, Janice Day was wading in deep waters.  It was very difficult
for her to carry a cheerful face about during this time of severe trial.

But she threw herself, whole-heartedly, into the temperance campaign,
and strove to keep her mind from dwelling upon her father's peril.



CHAPTER XXIII

JOSEPHUS COMES OUT FOR PROHIBITION

It was while Janice was staying with Mrs. Hopewell Drugg during the
storekeeper's absence in Boston, that she met Sophie Narnay on the
street.

The child looked somewhat better as to dress, for Janice had found her
some frocks weeks before, and Mrs. Narnay had utilized the gifts to the
very best advantage.  But the poor little thing was quite as hungry
looking as ever.

"Oh, Miss Janice!" she said, "I wish you'd come down to see our baby.
She's ever so much worse'n she was.  I guess 'twas a good thing 'at we
never named her.  'Twould jest ha' been a name wasted."

"Oh, dear, Sophie! is she as bad as all that?" cried Janice.

"Yep," declared the child.

"Can't the doctor help her?"

"He's come a lot--an' he's been awful nice.  Mom says she didn't know
there was such good folks in the whole worl' as him an' you.  But
there's somethin' the matter with the baby that no doctor kin help, so
he says.  An' I guess he's got the rights of it," concluded Sophie, in
her old-fashioned way.

"I will certainly come down and see the poor little thing," promised
Janice.  "And your mamma and Johnnie and Eddie.  Is your father at home
now?"

"Nop.  He's up in Concannon's woods yet.  They've took a new
contrac'--him and Mr. Trimmins.  An' mebbe it'll last all Summer.  Dear
me!  I hope so.  Then pop won't be home to drink up all the money mom
earns."

"I will come down to-morrow," Janice promised, for she was busy just
then and could not accompany Sophie to Pine Cove.

This was Saturday afternoon and Janice was on her way to the steamboat
dock to see if certain freight had arrived by the _Constance Colfax_
for Hopewell Drugg's store.  She was doing all she could to help 'Rill
conduct the business while the storekeeper was away.

During the week she had scarcely been home to the Day house at all.
Marty had run the car over to the Drugg place in the morning in time
for her to start for Middletown; and in the afternoon her cousin had
come for the Kremlin and driven it across town to the garage again.

This Saturday she would not use the car, for she wished to help 'Rill,
and Marty had taken a party of his boy friends out in the Kremlin.
Marty had become a very efficient chauffeur now and could be trusted,
so his father said, not to try to hurdle the stone walls along the way,
or to make the automobile climb the telegraph poles.

"Marm" Parraday was sweeping the front porch and steps of the Lake View
Inn.  Although the Inn had become very well patronized now, the
tavernkeeper's vigorous wife was not above doing much of her own work.

"Oh, Janice Day! how be ye?" she called to the girl.  "I don't see ye
often," and Mrs. Parraday smiled broadly upon her.

As Janice came nearer she saw that Marm Parraday did not look as she
once did.  Her hair had turned very gray, there were deeper lines in
her weather-beaten face, and a trembling of her lips and hands made
Janice's heart ache.

If the Inn was doing well and Lem Parraday was prospering, his wife
seemed far from sharing in the good times that appeared to have come to
the Lake View Inn.

The great, rambling house had been freshened with a coat of bright
paint; the steps and porch and porch railings were mended; the sod was
green; the flower gardens gay; the gravel of the walks and driveway
freshly raked; while the round boulders flanking the paths were
brilliant with whitewash.

"Why!" said Janice honestly, "the old place never looked so nice
before, Mrs. Parraday.  You have done wonders this Spring.  I hope you
will have a prosperous season."

Mrs. Parraday clutched the girl's arm tightly.  Janice saw that her
eyes seemed quite wild in their expression as she pointed a trembling
finger at the gilt sign at the corner of the house, lettered with the
single word: "Bar."

"With that sign a-swingin' there, Janice Day?" she whispered.  "You air
wishin' us prosperity whilst Lem sells pizen to his feller men?"

"Oh, Mrs. Parraday!  I was not thinking of the liquor selling," said
Janice sympathetically.

"Ye'd better think of it, then," pursued the tavernkeeper's wife.
"Ye'd better think of it, day and night.  That's what _I_ do.  I git on
my knees and pray 't Lem won't prosper as long as that bar room's open.
I do it 'fore Lem himself.  He says I'm a-tryin' ter pray the
bread-and-butter right aout'n aour mouths.  He's so mad at me he won't
sleep in the same room an' has gone off inter the west wing ter sleep
by hisself.  But I don't keer," cried Mrs. Parraday wildly.  "Woe ter
him that putteth the cup to his neighbor's lips!  That's what _I_ tell
him.  'Wine is a mocker--strong drink is ragin'.'  That's what the
Bible says.

"An' Lem--a perfessin' member of Mr. Middler's church--an' me attendin'
the same for goin' on thutty-seven years----"

"But surely, Mrs. Parraday, you are not to blame because your husband
sells liquor," put in Janice, sorry for the poor woman and trying to
comfort her.

"Why ain't I?" sharply demanded the tavern-keeper's wife.  "I've been
Lem's partner for endurin' all that time, too--thutty-seven years.
I've been hopin' all the time we'd git ahead an' have suthin' beside a
livin' here in Polktown.  _I've been hungry for money_!

"Like enough if I hadn't been so sharp after it, an' complained so
'cause we didn't git ahead, Lem an' Cross Moore wouldn't never got
their heads together an' 'greed ter try rum-selling to make the old Inn
pay a profit.

"Oh, yes!  I see my fault now.  Oh, Lord!  I see it," groaned Marm
Parraday, clasping her trembling hands.  "But, believe me, Janice Day,
I never seen this that's come to us.  We hev brought the curse of rum
inter this taown after it had been free from it for years.  An' we
shell hafter suffer in the end--an' suffer more'n anybody else is
sufferin' through our fault."

She broke off suddenly and, without looking again at Janice, mounted
the steps with her broom and disappeared inside the house.

Janice, heartsick and almost in tears, was turning away when a figure
appeared from around the corner of the tavern--from the direction of
the bar-room, in fact.  But Frank Bowman's smiling, ruddy face
displayed no sign of _his_ having sampled Lem Parraday's bar goods.

"Hullo, Janice," he said cheerfully.  "I've just been having a set-to
with Lem--and I don't know but he's got the best of me."

"In what way?" asked the girl, brushing her eyes quickly that the young
man might not see her tears.

"Why, this is pay day again, you know.  My men take most of the
afternoon off on pay day.  They are cleaning up now, in the camp house,
and will be over by and by to sample some of Lem's goods," and the
engineer sighed.

"No, I can't keep them away from the place.  I've tried.  Some of them
won't come; but the majority will be in that pleasing condition known
as 'howling drunk' before morning."

"Oh, Frank!  I wish Lem would stop selling the stuff," cried Janice.'

"Well, he won't.  I've just been at him.  I told him if he didn't close
his bar at twelve o'clock tonight, according to the law, I'd appear in
court against him myself.  I mean to stand outside here with Constable
Cantor to-night and see that the barroom is dark at twelve o'clock,
anyway."

"That will be a splendid move, Frank!" Janice said quickly, and with
enthusiasm.

"Ye-es; as far as it goes.  But Lem said to me: 'Don't forget this is a
hotel, Mr. Bowman, and I can serve my guests in the dining room or in
their own rooms, all night long, if I want to.'  And that's true."

"Oh, dear me!  So he can," murmured Janice.

"He's got me there," grumbled young Bowman.  "I never thought Lem
Parraday any too sharp before; but he's learned a lot from Joe Bodley.
That young fellow is about as shrewd and foxy as they make 'em."

"Yet they say he did not sell Hopewell's violin at a profit, as he
expected to," Janice observed.

"That's right, too.  And it's queer," the engineer said.  "I've seen
that black-haired, foxy-looking chap around town more than once since
Joe bought the fiddle.  Hullo! what's the matter with Dexter?"

The engineer had got into step at once with Janice, and they had by
this time walked down High Street to the steamboat dock.  The
freight-house door was open and Walky Dexter had loaded his wagon and
was ready to drive up town; but Josephus was headed down the dock.

The expressman was climbing unsteadily to his seat, and in reply to
something said by the freight agent, he shouted:

"Thas all right! thas all right!  I kin turn Josephus 'round on this
dock.  Jefers-pelters! he could _back_ clean up town with _this_ load,
I sh'd hope!"

Janice had said nothing in reply to Frank Bowman's last query; but the
latter added, under his breath: "Goodness!  Walky is pretty well
screwed-up, isn't he?  I just saw him at the hotel taking what he calls
a 'snifter.'"

"Poor Walky!" sighed Janice.

"Poor Josephus, _I_ should say," rejoined Frank quickly.

The expressman was turning the old horse on the empty dock.  There was
plenty of room for this manoeuver; but Walky Dexter's eyesight was not
what it should be.  Or, perhaps he was less patient than usual with
Josephus.

"Git around there, Josephus!" the expressman shouted.  "Back!  Back!  I
tell ye!  Consarn yer hide!"

He yanked on the bit and Josephus' heavy hoofs clattered on the
resounding planks.  The wagon was heavily laden; and when it began to
run backward, with Walky jerking on the reins, it could not easily be
stopped.

A rotten length of "string-piece" had been removed from one edge of the
dock, and a new timber had not yet replaced it.  As bad fortune would
have it, Walky backed his wagon directly into this opening.

"Hold on there!  Where ye goin' to--ye crazy ol' critter?" bawled the
freight agent.

"Hul-_lo_!  Jefers-pelters!" gasped the suddenly awakened Walky,
casting an affrighted glance over his shoulder.  "I'm a-backin' over
the dump, ain't I?  Gid-_ap_, Josephus!"

But when once Josephus made up his slow mind to back, he did it
thoroughly.  He, too, expected to feel the rear wheels of the heavy
farm wagon bump against the string-piece.

"Gid-_ap_, Josephus!" yelled Walky again, and rose up to smite the old
horse with the ends of the reins.  He had no whip--nor would one have
helped matters, perhaps, at this juncture.

The rear wheels went over the edge of the dock.  The lake was high,
being swelled by the Spring floods.  "Plump!" the back of the wagon
plunged into the water, and, the bulk of the load being over the rear
axle, the forward end shot up off the front truck.

Wagon body and freight sunk into the lake.  Walky, as though shot from
a catapult, described a parabola over his horse's head and landed with
a crash on all fours directly under Josephus' nose.

Never was the old horse known to make an unnecessary motion.  But the
sudden flight and unexpected landing on the dock of his driver, quite
excited Josephus.

With a snort he scrambled backward, the front wheels went over the edge
of the dock and dragged Josephus with them.  Harnessed as he was, and
still attached to the shafts, the old horse went into the lake with a
great splash.

"Hey!  Whoa!  Whoa, Josephus!  Jefers-pelters! ain't this a purty
to-do?" roared Walky, recovering his footing with more speed than grace.

"Naow see that ol' critter!  What's he think he's doin'--takin' a
swimmin' lesson?"

For Josephus, with one mighty plunge, broke free from the shafts.  He
struck out for the shore and reached shallow water almost immediately.
Walky ran off the dock and along the rocky shore to head the old horse
off and catch him.

But Josephus had no intention of being so easily caught.  Either he had
lost confidence in his owner, or some escapade of his colthood had come
to his memory.  He splashed ashore, dodged the eager hand of Walky, and
with tail up, nostrils expanded, mane ruffled, and dripping water as he
ran, Josephus galloped up the hillside and into the open lots behind
Polktown.

Walky Dexter, with very serious mien, came slowly back to the dock.
Janice and Frank Bowman, as well as the freight agent, had been held
spellbound by these exciting incidents.  Frank and the agent were now
convulsed with laughter; but Janice sympathized with the woeful
expressman.

The latter halted on the edge of the dock, gazing from the shafts of
his wagon sticking upright out of the lake to the snorting old horse up
on the hill.  Then he scratched his bare, bald crown, sighed, and
muttered quite loud enough for Janice to hear:

"Jefers-pelters!  I reckon old Josephus hez come out for prohibition,
an' no mistake!"



CHAPTER XXIV

ANOTHER GOLD PIECE

Fortunately for Walky Dexter, the freight that he had backed into the
lake was not perishable.  It could not be greatly injured by water.
With the help of neighbors and loiterers and a team of horses, the two
sections of the unhung wagon and the crates of agricultural tools were
hauled out of the lake.

"There, Walky," said the freight agent, wiping his perspiring brow when
the work was completed--for this happened on a warm day in early June.
"I hope ter goodness you look where you air backin' to, nex' time."

"Perhaps it will be just as well if he _backs_ where he's _looking_,"
suggested the young engineer, having removed his coat and aided very
practically in the straightening out of Walky's affairs.  This greatly
pleased Janice, who had remained to watch proceedings.

"Come, naow, tell the truth, Walky Dexter," drawled another of the
expressman's helpers.  "Was ye seein' double when ye did that trick?"

There was a general laugh at this question.  Walky Dexter, for once,
had no ready reply.  Indeed, he had been particularly serious all
through the work of re-establishing his wagon on the dock.

"Well, Walky, ye oughter stand treat on this, I vum!" said the freight
agent.  "Suthin' long, an' cool, would go mighty nice."

"Isuckles is aout o' season--he! he!" chuckled another, frankly
doubtful of Walky's generosity.

"Lock up your freight house, Sam, and ye shall have it," declared
Walky, with sudden briskness.

"That's the ticket!" exclaimed the Doubting Thomas, with a quick change
of tone.  "Spoke like a soldier, Walky.  I hope Joe's jest tapped a
fresh kaig."

Walky halted and scratched his head as he looked from one to another of
the expectant group.  "Why, ter tell the trewth," he jerked out, "I'm
feelin' more like some o' thet thar acid phosphate Massey sells out'n
his sody-fountain.  Le's go up there."

"Jest as yeou say, Walky.  You're the doctor," said the freight agent,
though somewhat crestfallen, as were the others, at this suggestion.

"Don't count me in, Walky--though I'm obliged to you," laughed Bowman,
who was getting into his coat.

"Jest the same we'll paternize the drug store for this once," said the
expressman, stoutly, and with gravity he led the way up the hill.

Later Walky went across into the fields and tried to catch Josephus;
but that wise old creature seemed suddenly to have lost confidence in
his master, and refused to be won by his tones, or even the shaking of
an empty oat-measure.  So Walky was obliged to go home and bring down
Josephus' mate to draw the freight to its destination.

Janice parted from the young engineer and walked up Hillside Avenue,
intending to take supper at home and afterward return to the Drugg
place to spend another night or two with the storekeeper's lonely wife.

She was sitting with Aunt 'Mira on the side porch before supper, while
the "short bread" was baking and Uncle Jason and Marty were at the
chores, when Walky Dexter drew near with his now all but empty wagon,
and stopped in the lane to bring in a new cultivator Uncle Jason had
sent for.

"Evenin', Miz' Day," observed Walky, eyeing Aunt 'Mira and her niece
askance.  "Naow say it!"

"Say what, Mr. Dexter?" asked Mrs. Day puzzled.

"Why, I been gittin' of it all over taown," groaned the expressman.
"Sarves me right, I s'pose.  I see the reedic'lous side o' most things
that happen ter other folks--an' they gotter right ter laff at me."

"Why, what's happened ye?" asked Aunt 'Mira.

"Jefers-pelters!"  ejaculated  Walky.  "Ain't Janice tol' ye?"

"Nothin' about you," Mrs. Day assured him.

"She'd be a good 'un ter tell secrets to, wouldn't she?" the expressman
said, with a queer twist of his face.  "Ain't ye heard how I dumped m'
load--an' Josephus--inter the lake?" and he proceeded to recount the
accident with great relish and good humor.

Marty and his father, bringing in the milk, stopped to listen and
laugh.  At the conclusion of the story, as Marty was pumping a pail of
water for the kitchen shelf, Walky said:

"Gimme a dipper o' that, boy.  My mouth's so dry I can't speak the
trewth.  That's it--thanky!"

"Ye oughtn't to be dry, Walky--comin' right past Lem Parraday's
_ho_-tel," remarked Mr. Day, with a chuckle.

"Wal, naow! that's what I was goin' ter speak abeout," said Walky, with
sudden vigor.  "Janice, here, an' me hev been havin' an argyment right
along about that rum sellin' business----"

"About the _drinking_, at any rate, Walky," interposed Janice, gently.

"Wal--ahem!--ya-as.  About the drinkin' of it, I s'pose.  Yeou said,
Janice, that my takin' a snifter now and then was an injury to other
critters as well as to m'self."

"And I repeat it," said the girl confidently.

"D'ye know," jerked out Walky, with his head on one side and his eyes
screwed up, "that I b'lieve Josephus agrees with ye?"

"Ho! ho!" laughed Marty.  "Was you fresh from Lem Parraday's bar when
you backed the old feller over the dock?"

"Wal, I'd had a snifter," drawled Walky, his eyes twinkling.  "Anyhow,
I'm free ter confess that I don't see how I could ha' done sech a
fullish thing if I hadn't been drinkin'--it's a fac'!  I never did
b'lieve what little I took would ever hurt anybody.  But poor ol'
Josephus!  He might ha' been drowned."

"Oh, Walky!" cried Janice.  "Do you see that?"

"I see the light at last, Janice," solemnly said the expressman.  "I
guess I'd better let the stuff alone.  I dunno when I'd git a hoss as
good as Josephus----"

"No nearer'n the boneyard," put in Marty, _sotto voce_.

"Anyhow, I see my failin' sure enough.  Never was so reckless b'fore in
all my life," pursued Walky.  "Mebbe, if I kep' on drinkin' that stuff
they sell daown ter the _ho_-tel, I'd drown both m' hosses--havin'
drowned m' own brains--like twin kittens, in ha'f an inch o' alcohol!
Haw! haw! haw!"

But despite his laughter Janice saw that Walky Dexter was much in
earnest.  She said to Nelson that evening, in Hopewell Drugg's store:

"I consider Walky's conversion is the best thing that's happened yet in
our campaign for prohibition."

"A greater conquest than _mine_?" laughed the schoolmaster.

"Why, Nelson," Janice said sweetly, "I know that you have only to think
carefully on any subject to come to the right conclusion.  But poor
Walky isn't 'long' on thought, if he is on 'talk,'" and she laughed a
little.

It was after Sunday School the following afternoon that Janice went
again to Pine Cove to see the Narnay baby.  She had conversed with busy
Dr. Poole for a few moments and learned his opinion of the case.  It
was not favorable.

"Not much chance for the child," said the brusk doctor.  "Never has
been much chance for it.  One of those children that have no right to
be born."

"Oh, Doctor!" murmured Janice.

"A fact.  It has never had enough nutrition and is going to die of
plain starvation."

"Can nothing be done to save it?  If it had plenty of nourishment
_now_?"

"No use.  Gone too far," growled the physician, shaking his grizzled
head.  "If I knew how to save it, I would; that's my job.  But the best
thing that can happen is its death.  Ought to be a hangin' matter for
poor folks to have so many children, anyway," he concluded grimly.

"That sounds _awful_ to me, Dr. Poole," Janice said.

"There is something awful about Nature.  Nature takes care of these
things, if we doctors are not allowed to."

"Why! what do you mean?"

"The law of the survival of the fittest is what keeps this old world of
ours from being overpopulated by weaklings."

Janice Day was deeply impressed by the doctor's words, and thought over
them sadly as she walked down the hill toward Pine Cove.  She went by
the old path past Mr. Cross Moore's and saw him in his garden, wheeling
his wife in her chair.

Mrs. Moore was a frail woman, and because of long years of invalidism,
a most exacting person.  She had great difficulty in keeping a maid
because of her unfortunate temper; and sometimes Mr. Moore was left
alone to keep house.  Nobody could suit the invalid as successfully as
her husband.

"Wheel me to the fence.  I want to speak to that girl, Cross,"
commanded the wife sharply, and the town selectman did so.

"Janice Day!" called Mrs. Moore, "I wish to speak to you."

Janice, smiling, ran across the street and shook hands with the sick
woman over the fence palings.  But she barely nodded to Mr. Cross Moore.

"I understand you're one o' these folks that's talking so foolish about
prohibition, and about shutting up the hotel.  Is that so?" demanded
Mrs. Moore, her sunken, black eyes snapping.

"I don't think it is foolish, Mrs. Moore," Janice said pleasantly.
"And we don't wish to close the Inn--only its bar."

"Same thing," decided Mrs. Moore snappishly.  "Takin' the bread and
butter out o' people's mouths!  Ye better be in better business--all of
ye.  And a young girl like you!  I'd like to have my stren'th and have
the handling of you, Janice Day.  I'd teach ye that children better be
seen than heard.  Where you going to, Cross Moore?" for her husband had
turned the chair and was starting away from the fence.

"Well--now--Mother!  You've told the girl yer mind, ain't ye?"
suggested Mr. Moore.  "That's what you wanted to do, wasn't it?"

"I wish she was my young one," said Mrs. Moore, between her teeth, "and
I had the use o' my limbs.  I'd make her behave herself!"

"I wish she _was_ ours, Mother," Mr. Moore said kindly.  "I guess we'd
be mighty proud of her."

Janice did not hear his words.  She had walked away from the fence with
flaming cheeks and tears in her eyes.  She was sorry for Mrs. Moore's
misfortunes and had always tried to be kind to her; but this seemed
such an unprovoked attack.

Janice Day craved approbation as much as any girl living.  She
appreciated the smiles that met her as she walked the streets of
Polktown.  The scowls hurt her tender heart, and the harsh words of
Mrs. Moore wounded her deeply.

"I suppose that is the way they both feel toward me," she thought, with
a sigh.

The wreck of the old fishing dock--a favorite haunt of little Lottie
Drugg--was at the foot of the hill, and Janice halted here a moment to
look out across it, and over the quiet cove, to the pine-covered point
that gave the shallow basin its name.

Lottie had believed that in the pines her echo lived, and Janice could
almost hear now the childish wail of the little one as she shouted,
"He-a! he-a! he-a!" to the mysterious sprite that dwelt in the pines
and mocked her with its voice.  Blind and very deaf, Lottie had been
wont to run fearlessly out upon the broken dock and "play with her
echo," as she called it.  A wave of pity swept over Janice's mind and
heart.  Suppose Lottie should again completely lose the boon of sight.
What would become of her as she grew into girlhood and womanhood?

"Poor little dear!  I almost fear for Hopewell to come home and tell us
what the doctors say," sighed Janice.

Then, even more tender memories associated with the old wharf filled
Janice Day's thought.  On it, in the afterglow of a certain sunset,
Nelson Haley had told her how the college at Millhampton had invited
him to join its faculty, and he had asked her if she approved of his
course in Polktown.

It had been decided between them that Polktown was a better field for
his efforts in his chosen profession for the present--as the college
appointment would remain open to him--and Janice was proud to think
that meanwhile he had built the Polktown school up, and had succeeded
so well.  This spot was the scene of their first really serious talk.

She wondered now if her advice had been wise, after all.  Suppose
Nelson had gone to Millhampton immediately when he was called there?
He would have escaped this awful accusation that had been brought
against him--that was sure.

His situation now was most unfortunate.  Having requested a vacation
from his school, he was receiving no pay all these weeks that he was
idle.  And Janice knew the young man could ill afford this.  He had
been of inestimable help to Mr. Middler and the other men who had
charge of the campaign for prohibition that was moving on so grandly in
Polktown.  But that work could not be paid for.

Janice believed Nelson was now nearly penniless.  His situation
troubled her mind almost as much as that of her father in Mexico.

She went on along the shore to the northward, toward the little group
of houses at the foot of the bluff, in one of which the Narnays lived.

There were the children grouped together at one end of the rickety
front porch.  Their mother sat on the stoop, rocking herself to and fro
with the sickly baby across her lean knees, her face hopeless, her
figure slouched forward and uncouth to look at.

A more miserable looking party Janice Day had never before seen.  And
the reason for it was quickly explained to her.  At the far end of the
porch lay Narnay, on his back in the sun, his mouth open, the flies
buzzing around his red face, sleeping off--it was evident--the night's
debauch.

"Oh, my dear!" moaned Janice, taking Mrs. Narnay's feebly offered hand
in both her own, and squeezing it tightly.  "I--I wish I might help
you."

"Ye can't, Miss.  There ain't nothin' can be done for us--'nless the
good Lord would take us all," and there was utter hopelessness and
desperation in her voice.

"Don't say that!  It must be that there are better times in store for
you all," said Janice.

"With _that_?" asked Mrs. Narnay, nodding her uncombed head toward the
sleeping drunkard.  "Not much.  Only for baby, here.  There's a better
time comin' for her--thanks be!"

"Oh!"

"Doctor says she can't live out th' Summer.  She's goin' ter miss
growin' up ter be what _I_ be--an' what Sophie'll proberbly be.  It's a
mercy.  But it's hard ter part 'ith the little thing.  When she is
bright, she's that cunnin'!"

As Janice came up the steps to sit down beside the poor woman and play
with the baby, that smiled at her so wanly, the sleeping man grunted,
rolled over toward them, half opened his eyes, and then rolled back
again.

Something rattled on the boards of the porch.  Janice looked and saw
several small coins that had rolled out of the man's trousers pocket.
Mrs. Narnay saw them too.

"Git them, Sophie--quick!" she breathed peremptorily.

"Cheese it, Mom!" gasped Sophie, running on tiptoe toward her sleeping
father.  "He'll nigh erbout kill us when he wakes up."

"I don't keer," said the woman, grabbing the coins when Sophie had
collected them.  "He come out o' the woods last night and he had some
money an' I hadn't a cent.  I sent him to git things from the store and
all he brought back--and that was at midnight when they turned him out
o' the hotel--was a bag of crackers and a pound of oatmeal.  And he's
got money!  He kin kill me if he wants.  I'm goin' ter have some of
it--Oh, look! what's this?"

Janice had almost cried out in amazement, too.  One of the coins in the
woman's toil-creased palm was a gold piece.

"Five dollars!  Mebbe he had more," Mrs. Narnay said anxiously.  "Mebbe
Concannon's paid 'em all some more money, and Jim's startin' in to
drink it up."

"Better put that money back, Mom, he'll be mad," said Sophie, evidently
much alarmed.

"He won't be ugly when the drink wears off and he ain't got no money to
git no more," her mother said.  "Jim never is."

"But he'll find out youse got that gold coin.  He's foxy," said the
shrewd child.

Janice drew forth her purse.  "Let me have that five dollar gold
piece," she said to Mrs. Narnay.  "I'll give you five one dollar bills
for it.  You won't have to show but one of the bills at a time, that is
sure."

"That's a good idea, Miss," said the woman hopefully.  "And mebbe I can
make him start back for the woods again to-night.  Oh, dear me!  'Tis
an awful thing!  I don't want him 'round--an' yet when he's sober he's
the nicest man 'ith young'uns ye ever see.  He jest dotes on this poor
little thing," and she looked down again into the weazened face of the
baby.

"It is too bad," murmured Janice; but she scarcely gave her entire mind
to what the woman was saying.

Here was a second gold piece turned up in Polktown.  And, as Uncle
Jason had said, such coins were not often seen in the hamlet.  Janice
had more than one reason for securing the gold piece, and she
determined to learn, if she could, if this one was from the collection
that had been stolen from the school-house weeks before.



CHAPTER XXV

IN DOUBT

The first of all feminine prerogatives is the right to change one's
mind.  Janice Day changed hers a dozen times about that five dollar
gold piece.

It was at last decided, however, by the young girl that she would not
immediately take Nelson Haley into her confidence.  Why excite hope in
his mind only, perhaps, to have it crushed again?  Better learn all she
could about the gold coin that had rolled out of Jim Narnay's pocket,
before telling the young schoolmaster.

In her heart Janice did not believe Narnay was the person who had
stolen the coin collection from the schoolhouse.  He might have taken
part in such a robbery, at night, and while under the influence of
liquor; but he never would have had the courage to do such a thing by
daylight and alone.

Narnay might be a companion of the real criminal; but more likely,
Janice believed, he was merely an accessory after the fact.

This, of course, if the gold piece should prove to be one of those
belonging to the collection which Mr. Haley was accused of stealing.
The coin found in Hopewell Drugg's possession, and which had come to
him through Joe Bodley, might easily have been put into circulation by
the same person as this coin Narnay had dropped.  The ten dollar coin
had gone into the tavern till, and this five dollar coin would probably
have gone there, too, had chance not put it in Janice Day's way.

"First of all, I must discover if there was a coin like this one in
that collection," the girl told herself.  And early on Monday morning,
on her way to the seminary, she drove around through High Street and
stopped before the drugstore.

Fortunately Mr. Massey was not busy and she could speak to him without
delaying her trip to Middletown.

"What's that?" he asked her, rumpling his topknot in his usual fashion
when he was puzzled or disturbed.  "List of them coins?  I should say I
did have 'em.  The printed list Mr. Hobart left with 'em wasn't taken
by--by--well, by whoever took 'em.  Here 'tis."

"You speak," said Janice quickly, "as though you still believed Mr.
Haley to be the thief."

"Well!" and again the druggist's hands went through his hair.  "I dunno
what to think.  If he done it, he's actin' mighty funny.  There ain't
no warrant out for him now.  He can leave town--go clean off if he
wants--and nobody will, or can, stop him.  And ye'd think if he had all
that money he _would_ do so."

"Oh, Mr. Massey!"

"Well, I'm merely puttin' the case," said the druggist.  "That would be
sensible.  He's got fifteen hundred dollars or more--if he took the
coin collection.  An' it ain't doin' him a 'tarnal bit of good, as I
can see.  I told Cross Moore last night that I believe we'd been
barkin' up the wrong tree all this time."

"What did he say?" cried Janice eagerly.

"Well--he didn't _say_.  Ye know how Cross is--as tight-mouthed as a
clam with the lockjaw.  But it is certain sure that we committeemen
have our own troubles.  Mr. Haley was a master good teacher.  Ye got to
hand it to him on _that_.  And this feller the Board sent us ain't got
no more idea of handling the school than I have of dancing the Spanish
fandango.

"However, that ain't the p'int.  What I was speakin' of is this: Nelse
Haley is either a blamed fool, or else he never stole that money," and
the druggist said it with desperation in his tone.  "I hear he's took a
job at sixteen a month and board with Elder Concannon--and farmin' for
the elder ain't a job that no boy with money _and_ right good sense
would ever tackle."

"Oh, Mr. Massey!  Has he?" for this was news indeed to Janice.

"Yep.  That's what he's done.  It looks like his runners was scrapin'
on bare ground when he'd do that.  Course, I need a feller right in
this store--behind that sody-fountain.  And a smart, nice appearin' one
like Nelse Haley would be just the ticket--'nough sight better than
Jack Besmith was.  But I couldn't hire the schoolteacher, 'cause it
would create so much talk.  But goin' to work on a farm--and for a
slave-driver like the elder--Well!"

Janice understood very well why Nelson had said nothing to her about
this.  He was very proud indeed and did not want the girl to suspect
how poor he had really become.  Nelson had said he would stay in
Polktown until the mystery of the stolen coin collection was cleared
up--or, at least, until it was proved that he had nothing to do with it.

"And the poor fellow has just about come to the end of his rope,"
thought Janice commiseratingly.  "Oh, dear, me!  Even if I had plenty
of money, he wouldn't let me help him.  Nelson wouldn't take money from
a girl--not even borrow it!"

However, Janice stuck to her text with Massey and obtained the list of
the lost collection to look at.  "Dunno what you want it for," said the
druggist.  "You going sleuthing for the thief, Miss Janice?"

"Maybe," she returned, with a serious smile.

"I reckon that ten dollar gold piece that Joe Bodley took in at the
hotel was a false alarm."

"If Joe Bodley had told you how he came by it, it would have helped
some, would it not, Mr. Massey?"

"Sure--it might.  But he couldn't remember who gave it to him," said
the man, wagging his head forlornly.

"I wonder?" said Janice, using one of her uncle's favorite expressions,
and so made her way out of the store and into her car again.  When she
had time that forenoon at the seminary she spread out the sheet on
which the description of the coins was printed, and looked for the note
relating to the five dollar gold piece in her possession.

It was there.  It was not a particularly old or a very rare coin,
however.  There might be others of the same date and issue in
circulation.  So, after all, the fact that Narnay had it proved
nothing--unless she could discover how he came by it--who had given it
to him.

In the afternoon Janice drove home by the Upper Road and ran her car
into Elder Concannon's yard.  It was the busy season for the elder, for
he conducted two big farms and had a number of men working for him
besides his regular farm hands.

He was ever ready to talk with Janice Day, however, and he came out of
the paddock now, in his old dust coat and broad-brimmed hat, smiling
cordially at her.

"Come in and have a pot of tea with me," he said.  "Ye know I'm partial
to 'old maid's tipple' and Mrs. Grayson will have it ready about now, I
s'pose.  Stop!  I'll tell her to bring it out on the side porch.  It's
shady there.  You look like a cup would comfort you, Janice.  What's
the matter?"

"I've lots of troubles, Elder Concannon," she said, with a sigh.  "But
you have your share, too, so I'll keep most of mine to myself," and she
hopped out from behind the wheel of the automobile.

They went to the porch and the elder halloaed in at the screen door.
His housekeeper soon bustled out with the tray.  She remained to take
one cup of tea herself.  Then, when she had gone about her duties,
Janice opened the subject upon which she had come to confer.

"How are those men getting on in your wood lot, Elder?"

"What men--and what lot?" he asked smiling.

"I don't know what lot it is; but I mean Mr. Trimmins and those others."

"Oh!  Trimmins and Jim Narnay and that Besmith boy?"

"Yes."

"Why, they are moving on slowly.  This is their third job with me since
Winter.  Once or twice they've kicked over the traces and gone on a
spree----"

"That was when you paid them?"

"That was when I _had_ to pay them," said the elder.  "They work pretty
well when they haven't any money."

"Have you paid them lately, Sir?" asked Janice.  "I am asking for a
very good reason--not out of curiosity."

"I have not.  It's a month and more since they saw the color of my
money.  Hold on! that's not quite true," he added suddenly.  "I gave
Jim Narnay a dollar Saturday afternoon."

"Oh!"

"He came by here on his way to town.  Said he was going down to see his
sick baby.  She _is_ sick, isn't she?"

"Oh, yes," murmured Janice.  "Poor little thing!"

"Well, he begged for some money, and I let him have a dollar.  He said
he didn't want to go down home without a cent in his pocket.  So I gave
it to him."

"Only a dollar?" repeated the girl thoughtfully.

The old man's face flushed a little, and he said tartly: "I reckon
_that_ did him no good.  By the looks of his face when he went through
here Sunday night he'd proberbly spent it all in liquor, I sh'd say."

"Oh, no!  I didn't mean to criticize your generosity," Janice said
quickly.  "I believe you gave him more than was good for him.  I know
that Mrs. Narnay and the children had little benefit of it."

"That's what I supposed," grunted the elder.

Janice sipped her tea and, looking over the edge of her cup at him,
asked:

"Having much trouble, Elder, with your new man?"

"What new man?" snorted the old gentleman, his mouth screwed up very
tightly.

"I hear you have the school teacher working for you," she said.

"Well!  So I have," he admitted, his face suddenly broadening.  "Trust
you women folks for finding things out in a hurry.  But he ain't
teaching school up here--believe me!"

"No?"

"He's helping clean up my hog lot.  I dunno but maybe he thinks it
isn't any worse than managing Polktown boys," and the elder chuckled.

But Janice was serious and she bent forward and laid a hand upon the
old man's arm.  "Oh, Elder Concannon! don't be too hard on him, will
you?" she begged.

He grinned at her.  "I won't break him all up in business.  We want to
use him down town in these meetings we're going to hold for temperance.
He's got a way of talking that convinces folks, Janice--I vow!
Remember how he talked for the new schoolhouse?  I haven't forgotten
that, for he beat me that time.

"Now; we can't afford to hire many of these outside speakers for
prohibition--it costs too much to get them here.  But I have told Mr.
Haley to brush up his ideas, and by and by we'll have him make a speech
in Polktown.  He can practise on the pigs for a while," added the elder
laughing; "and maybe after all they won't be so dif'rent from some of
them in town that I want should hear the young man when he does spout."

So Janice was comforted, and ran down town to the Drugg place in a much
more cheerful frame of mind.  Marty was waiting at the store for the
car.  There was a special reason for his being so prompt.

"Look-a-here!" he called.  "What d'ye know about this?" and he waved
something over his head.

"What is it, Marty Day?" Janice cried, looking at the small object in
wonder.

"Another letter from Uncle Brockey!  Hooray! he ain't dead yet!"
shouted the boy.

His cousin seized the missive--fresh from the post-office--and gazed
anxiously at the envelope.  It was postmarked in one of the border
towns many days after the report of Juan Dicampa's death; yet the
writing on the envelope was the handwriting of the guerrilla chief.

"Goodness me!" gasped Janice, "what can this mean?"

She broke the seal.  As usual the envelope inside was addressed to her
by her father.  And as she hastily scanned the letter she saw no
mention made of Juan Dicampa's death.  Indeed, Mr. Broxton Day wrote
just as though his own situation, at least, had not changed.  And he
seemed to have received most of her letters.

What did it mean?  If the guerrilla leader had been shot by the
Federals, how was it possible for her father's letters to still come
along, redirected in Juan Dicampa's hand?

Doubt assailed her mind--many doubts, indeed.  Although Mr. Broxton Day
seemed still in safety, the mystery surrounding his situation in Mexico
grew mightily in Janice's mind.

That evening Hopewell Drugg returned from Boston and reported that
Lottie would have to remain under the doctors' care for a time.  They,
too, were in doubt.  Nobody could yet say whether the child would lose
her sight or not.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE TIDE TURNS

These doubts, however, did not switch Janice Day's thought off the line
of the stolen gold coins.

The five dollar gold piece found in the possession of Jim Narnay still
raised in the girl's mind a number of queries.  It was a mystery, she
believed, that when solved might aid in clearing Nelson Haley of
suspicion.

Of course, the coin she carried in her purse might not be one of those
lost with the collection.  That was impossible to decide at the moment.
The case of the ten-dollar coin was different.  That was an exceedingly
rare one and in all probability nobody but a person ignorant of its
value would have put it into circulation.

Nevertheless, how did Jim Narnay get hold of a five dollar gold piece?

Elder Concannon had not given it to him.  Narnay had come to town on
that Saturday evening with only a dollar of the elder's money in his
pocket.  Did he bring the coin with him, or did he obtain it after
reaching town?  And who had given the gold piece to the man, in either
case?

Janice would have been glad to take somebody into her confidence in
this matter; but who should it be?  Not her uncle or her aunt.  Neither
Hopewell nor 'Rill was to be thought of.  And the minister, or Elder
Concannon, seemed too much apart from this business to be conferred
with.  And Nelson----

She did go to Mrs. Beaseley's one evening, hoping that she might find
Nelson there, for she had not seen the young man or heard from him
since he had gone out of town to work for Elder Concannon.  He was not
at the widow's, and she found that good but lachrymose woman in tears.

"I'm a poor lone woman--loner and lorner than I've felt since my poor,
sainted Charles passed away.  Oh, Janice! it seems a pitiful shame that
such a one as Mr. Haley should have to go to work on a farm when he can
do such a lot of other things--and better things."

"I don't know about there being anything much better than farming--if
one has a taste for it," said Janice cheerfully.

"But an educated man--a teacher!" groaned Mrs. Beaseley.  "An' I felt
like he was my own son--'specially since Cross Moore and them others
been houndin' him about that money.  Cross Moore come to me, an' says
he: 'Miz Beaseley, 'tis your duty to let me look through that young
man's things when he's out.  We'll either clear him or clench it on
him.'

"An' says I: 'Cross Moore, if you put your fut across my threshold I'll
sartain sure take the broom to you--an' ye'll find _that's_ clenched,
a'ready!'"

"Oh, Mrs. Beaseley!" gasped Janice, yet inclined to laugh, too.

"Oh, I'd ha' done it," threatened the widow, the tears still on her
cheeks.  "Think o' them, houndin' poor Mr. Haley so!  Why! if my poor
sainted Charles was alive, he'd run Cross Moore clean down to the
lake--an' inter it, I expect, like Walky Dexter's boss.

"And if he warn't so proud----"

"_Who_ is so proud, Mrs. Beaseley?" asked Janice, who had some
difficulty at times in following the good woman's line of talk.

"Why--Mr. Nelson Haley.  I did make him leave his books here, and
ev'rything he warn't goin' ter use out there at the elder's.  And I'm
going to keep them two rooms jest as he had 'em, and he shell come back
here whenever he likes.  Money!  What d' I keer whether he pays me
money or not?  My poor, sainted Charles left me enough to live on as
long as a poor, lorn, lone creeter like me wants ter live.  Nelson
Haley is welcome ter stay here for the rest of his endurin' life, if he
wants to, an' never pay me a cent!"

"I don't suppose he could take such great favors as you offer him, Mrs.
Beaseley," said Janice, kissing her.  "But you are a _dear_!  And I
know he must appreciate what you have already done for him."

"Wish't 'twas more!   Wish't 'twas more!" sobbed Mrs. Beaseley.  "But
he'll come back ter me nex' Fall.  I know!  When he goes ter teachin'
ag'in, he _must_ come here to live."

"Oh, Mrs. Beaseley! do you think they will _let_ Nelson teach again in
the Polktown school?" cried the girl.

"My mercy me!  D'yeou mean to tell me Cross Moore and Massey and them
other men air perfect fules?" cried the widow.  "Here 'tis 'most time
for school to close, and they tell me the graduatin' class ain't
nowhere near where they ought to be in their books.  The supervisor
come over himself, and he says he never seen sech ridiculous work as
this Mr. Adams has done here.  He--he's a _baby_!  And he ought to be
teachin' babies--not bein' principal of a graded school sech as Mr.
Haley built up here."

There were plenty of other people in Polktown who spoke almost as
emphatically against the present state of the school and in Nelson's
favor.  Three months or so of bad management had told greatly in the
discipline and in the work of the pupils.

A few who would graduate from the upper grade were badly prepared, and
would have to make up some of their missed studies during the Summer if
they were to be accepted as pupils in their proper grade at the
Middletown Academy.

Mr. Haley's record up to the very day he had withdrawn from his
position of teacher was as good as any teacher in the State.  Indeed,
several teachers from surrounding districts had met with him in
Polktown once a month and had taken work and instructions from him.
The State Board of Education and the supervisors had appreciated
Nelson's work.  Mr. Adams had been the only substitute they could give
Polktown at such short notice.  He was supposed to have had the same
training, as Mr. Haley; but--"different men, different minds."

"Ye'd oughter come over to our graduation exercises, Janice," said
Marty, with a grin.  "We're goin' to do ourselves proud.  Hi tunket!
that Adams is so green that I wonder Walky's old Josephus ain't bit him
yet, thinkin' he was a wisp of grass."

"Now Marty!" said his mother, admonishingly.

"Fact," said her son.  "Adams wants me to speak a piece on that great
day.  I told him I couldn't--m' lip's cracked!" and Marty giggled.
"But Sally Prentiss is going to recite 'A Psalm of Life,' and Peke
Ringgold is going to tell us all about 'Bozzar--Bozzar--is'--as though
we hadn't been made acquainted with him ever since Hector was a pup.
And Hector's a big dog now!"

"You're one smart young feller, now, ain't ye?" said his father, for
this information was given out by Marty at the supper table one evening
just before the "great day," as he called the last session of school
for that year.

"I b'lieve I'm smart enough to know when to go in and keep dry,"
returned his son, flippantly.  "But I've my doubts about Mr. Adams--for
a fac'."

"Nev' mind," grunted his father.  "There'll be a change before next
Fall."

"There'd better be--or I don't go back for my last year at school.
Now, you can bet on that!" cried Marty, belligerently.  "Hi tunket!
I'd jest as soon be taught by an old maid after all as Adams."

Differently expressed, the whole town seemed of a mind regarding the
school and the failure of Mr. Adams.  The committee got over that
ignominious graduation day as well as possible.  Mr. Middler did all he
could to make it a success, and he made a very nice speech to the
pupils and their parents.

The minister could not be held responsible in any particular for the
failure of the school.  Of all the committee, he had had nothing to do
with Nelson Haley's resignation.  As Walky Dexter said, Mr. Middler
"flocked by himself."  He had little to do with the other four members
of the school committee.

"And when it comes 'lection," said Walky, dogmatically, "there's a hull
lot on us will have jest abeout as much to do with Cross Moore and
Massey and old Crawford and Joe Pellett, as Mr. Middler does.
Jefers-pelters!  If they don't put nobody else up for committeemen,
I'll vote for the taown pump!"

"Ya-as, Walky," said Uncle Jason, slily.  "That'd be likely, I reckon.
I hear ye air purty firmly seated on the water wagon."



CHAPTER XXVII

THE TEMPEST

Mr. Cross Moore was not a man who easily or frequently recanted before
either public or private opinion.  As political "boss" of the town he
had often found himself opposed to many of his neighbors' wishes.
Neither sharp tongue nor sharp look disturbed him--apparently, at least.

Besides, Mr. Moore loved a fight "for the fight's sake," as the
expression is.  He had backed Lem Parraday in applying for a liquor
license, to benefit his own pocket.  It had to be a good reason indeed,
to change Mr. Moore's attitude on the liquor selling question.

The hotel barroom held great attractions for many of Cross Moore's
supporters, although Mr. Moore himself seldom stepped into that part of
the hotel.  The politician did not trust Lem Parraday to represent him,
for Lem was "no wiser than the law allows," to quote his neighbors.
But Joe Bodley, the young barkeeper, imported from the city, was just
the sort of fellow Cross Moore could use.

And about this time Joe Bodley was in a position where his fingers
"itched for the feel of money."  Not other people's money, but his own.
He had scraped together all he had saved, and drawn ahead on his wages,
to make up the hundred dollars paid Hopewell Drugg for the violin,
and----

"Seems ter me that old fiddle is what they call a sticker, ain't it,
'stead of a Straddlevarious?" chuckled Walky Dexter, referring to the
instrument hanging on the wall behind Joe's head.

"Oh, I'll get my money back on it," Bodley replied, with studied
carelessness.  "Maybe I'll raffle it off."

"Not here in Polktown ye won't," said the expressman.  "Yeou might as
well try ter raffle off a white elephant."

"Pshaw! of course not.  But a fine fiddle like that--a real
Cremona--will bring a pretty penny in the city.  There, Walky, roll
that barrel right into this corner behind the bar.  I'll have to put a
spigot in it soon.  Might's well do it now.  'Tis the real Simon-pure
article, Walky.  Have a snifter?"

"On the haouse?" queried Walky, briskly.

"Sure.  It's a tin roof," laughed Bodley.

"Much obleeged ter ye," said Walky.  "As yer so pressin'--don't mind if
I do.  A glass of sars'p'rilla'll do me."

"What's the matter with you lately, Walky?" demanded the barkeeper,
pouring the non-alcoholic drink with no very good grace.  "Lost your
taste for a man's drink?"

"Sort o'," replied Walky, calmly.  "Here's your health, Joe.  I thought
you had that fiddle sold before you went to Hopewell arter it?"

"To tell ye the truth, Walky----"

"Don't do it if it hurts ye, Joe.  Haw! haw!"

The barkeeper made a wry face and continued:

"That feller I got it for, only put up a part of the price.  I thought
he was a square sport; but he ain't.  When he got a squint at the old
fiddle while Hopewell was down here playing for the dance, he was just
crazy to buy it.  Any old price, he said!  After I got it," proceeded
Joe, ruefully, "he tries to tell me it ain't worth even what I paid for
it."

"Wal--'tain't, is it?" said Walky, bluntly.

"If it's worth a hundred it's worth a hundred and fifty," said the
barkeeper doggedly.

"Ya-as--_if_," murmured the expressman.

"However, nobody's going to get it for any less--believe me!  Least of
all that Fontaine.  I hate these Kanucks, anyway.  I know _him_.  He's
trying to jew me down," said Joe, angrily.

"Wal, you take it to the city," advised Walky.  "You kin make yer spec
on it there, ye say."

There was a storm cloud drifting across Old Ti as the expressman
climbed to his wagon seat and drove away from the Inn.  It had been a
very hot day and was now late afternoon--just the hour for a summer
tempest.

The tiny waves lapped the loose shingle along the lake shore.  There
was the hot smell of over-cured grass on the uplands.  The flower beds
along the hilly street which Janice Day mounted after a visit to the
Narnays, were quite scorched now.

This street brought Janice out by the Lake View Inn.  She, too, saw the
threatening cloud and hastened her steps.  Sharp lightnings flickered
along its lower edge, lacing it with pale blue and saffron.  The mutter
of the thunder in the distance was like a heavy cannonade.

"Maybe it sounded so years and years ago when the British and French
fought over there," Janice thought.  "How these hills must have echoed
to the roll of the guns!  And when Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain
Boys discharged the guns in a salvo of thanksgiving over Old Ti's
capture--Oh! is that you, Nelson?  How you startled me."

For the young schoolmaster had come up the hill behind her at a
breathless gait.  "We've got to hurry," he said.  "That's going to be
what Marty would call a 'humdinger' of a storm, Janice."

"Dear me!  I didn't know you were in town," she said happily.

"We got the last of the hay in this morning," said the bronzed young
fellow, smiling.  "I helped mow away and the elder was kind enough to
say that I had done well and could have the rest of the day to myself.
I fancy the shrewd old fellow knew it was about to rain," and he
laughed.

"And how came you down this way?" Janice asked.

"Followed your trail," laughed Nelson.  I went in to Mrs. Beaseley's of
course.  "And then at Drugg's I learned you had gone down to see Jim
Narnay's folks.  But I didn't catch you there.  Goodness, Janice, but
they are a miserable lot!  I shouldn't think you could bear to go
there."

"Oh, Nelson, the poor little baby--it is so sick and it cheers Mrs.
Narnay up a little if I call on her.  Besides, Sophie and the little
boys are just as cunning as they can be.  I can't help sympathizing
with them."

"Do save some of your sympathy for other folks, Janice," said Nelson,
rather ruefully.  "You ought to have seen the blisters I had on my
hands the first week or two I was a farmer."

"Oh, Nelson!  That's too bad," she cried, with solicitude.

"Too late!" he returned, laughing.  "They are callouses now--marks of
honest toil.  Whew! see that dust-cloud!"

The wind had ruffled the lake in a wide strip, right across to the
eastern shore.  Whitecaps were dancing upon the surface and the waves
ran a long way up the beach.  The wind, rushing ahead of the
rain-cloud, caught up the dust in the streets and advanced across the
town.

Janice hid her face against the sleeve of her light frock.  Nelson led
her by the hand as the choking cloud passed over.  Then the rain, in
fitful gusts at first, pelted them so sharply that the girl cried out.

"Oh, Nelson, it's like hail!" she gasped.

A vivid flash of lightning cleaved the cloud; the thunder-peal drowned
the schoolmaster's reply.  But Janice felt herself fairly caught up in
his arms and he mounted some steps quickly.  A voice shouted:

"Bring her right this way, school teacher!  Right in here!"

It was Lem Parraday's voice.  They had mounted the side porch of the
Inn and when Janice opened her eyes she was in the barroom.  The
proprietor of the Inn slammed to the door against the thunderous rush
of the breaking storm.  The rain dashed in torrents against the house.
The blue flashes of electricity streaked the windows constantly, while
the roll and roar of the thunder almost deafened those in the darkened
barroom.

Joe Bodley was behind the bar briskly serving customers.  He nodded
familiarly to Janice, and said:

"Bad storm, Miss.  Glad to see you.  You ain't entirely a stranger
here, eh?"

"Shut up, Joe!" commanded Mr. Parraday, as Janice flushed and the
schoolmaster took a threatening step toward the bar.

"Oh, all right, Boss," giggled the barkeeper.  "What's yours, Mister?"
he asked Nelson Haley.

A remarkable clap of thunder drowned Nelson's reply.  Perhaps it was as
well.  And as the heavy roll of the report died away, they heard a
series of shrieks somewhere in the upper part of the house.

"What in good gracious is the matter now?" gasped Lem Parraday,
hastening out of the barroom.

Again a blinding flash of light lit up the room for an instant.  It
played upon the fat features of Joe Bodley--pallidly upon the faces of
his customers.  Some of them had shrunk away from the bar; some were
ashamed to be seen there by Janice and the schoolmaster.

The thunder discharged another rolling report, shaking the house in its
wrath.  The rain beat down in torrents.  Janice and Nelson could not
leave the place while the storm was at its height, and for the moment,
neither thought of going into the dining room.

Again and again the lightning flashed and the thunder broke above the
tavern.  It was almost as though the fury of the tempest was centered
at the Lake View Inn.  Janice, frankly clinging to Nelson's hand,
cowered when the tempest rose to these extreme heights.

Echoing another peal of thunder once again a scream from within the
house startled the girl.  "Oh, Nelson! what's that?"

"Gee!  I believe Marm Parraday's on the rampage," exclaimed Joe Bodley,
with a silly smile on his face.

The door from the hall flew open.  In the dusky opening the woman's
lean and masculine form looked wondrous tall; her hollow eyes burned
with unnatural fire; her thin and trembling lips writhed pitifully.

With her coming another awful flash and crash illumined the room and
shook the roof tree of the Inn.

"It's come! it's come!" she said, advancing into the-room.  Her face
shone in the pallid, flickering light of the intermittent flashes, and
the loafers at the bar shrank away from her advance.

"I told ye how 'twould be, Lem Parraday!" cried the tavern keeper's
wife.  "This is the end!  This is the end!"

Another stroke of thunder rocked the house.  Marm Parraday fell on her
knees in the sawdust and raised her clasped hands wildly.  The act
loosened her stringy gray hair and it fell down upon her shoulders.  A
wilder looking creature Janice Day had never imagined.

"Almighty Father!" burst from the quivering lips of the poor woman.
"Almighty Father, help us!"

"She's prayin'!" gasped a trembling voice back in the shrinking crowd.

"Help us and save us!" groaned the woman, her face and clasped hands
uplifted.  "We hear Thy awful voice.  We see the flash of Thy anger.
Ah!"

The thunder rolled again--ominously, suddenly, while the casements
rattled from its vibrations.

"_Forgive Lem and these other men for what they air doin', O Lord!_"
was the next phrase the startled spectators heard.  "_They don't
deserve Thy forgiveness--but overlook 'em!_"

The Voice in the heavens answered again and drowned her supplication.
One man screamed--a shrill, high neigh like that of a hurt horse.
Janice caught a momentary glimpse of the pallid face of Joe Bodley
shrinking below the edge of the counter.  There was no leer upon his
fat face now; it expressed nothing but terror.

Lem Parraday entered hastily.  He caught his wife by her thin shoulders
just as she pitched forward.  "Now, now, Marm!  This ain't no way to
act," he said, soothingly.

The thunder muttered in the distance.  Suddenly the flickering
lightning seemed less threatening.  As quickly as it had burst, the
tempest passed away.

"My jimminy!  She's fainted," Lem Parraday murmured, lifting the woman
in his strong arms.



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE ENEMY RETREATS

As the Summer advanced visitors flocked to Polktown.  From the larger
and better known tourist resorts on the New York side of the lake,
small parties had ventured into Polktown during the two previous
seasons.  Now news of the out-of-the-way, old-fashioned hamlet had
spread; and by the end of July the Lake View Inn was comfortably
filled, and most people who were willing to take "city folks" to board
had all the visitors they could take care of.

"But I dunno's we're goin' to make much by havin' sech a crowd," Lem
Parraday complained.  "With Marm sick nothin' seems ter go right.  Sech
waste in the kitchen I never did see!  An' if I say a word, or look
skew-jawed at them women, they threaten ter up an' leave me in a bunch."

For Marm Parraday, by Dr. Poole's orders, had been taken out into the
country to her sister's, and told to stay there till cool weather came.

"If you are bound to run a rum-hole, Lem," said the plain-spoken
doctor, "don't expect a woman in her condition to help you run it."

Lem thought it hard--and he looked for sympathy among his neighbors.
He got what he was looking for, but of rather doubtful quality.

"I cartainly do wish Marm'd git well--or sumpin'," he said one day in
Walky Dexter's hearing.  "I don't see how a man's expected to run a
_ho_-tel without a woman to help him.  It beats me!"

"It'll be _sumpin'_ that happens ter ye, I reckon," observed Walky,
drily.  "Sure as yeou air a fut high, Lem.  In the Fall.  Beware the
Ides o' September, as the feller says.  Only mebbe I ain't got jest the
month right.  Haw! haw! haw!"

Town Meeting Day was in September.  The call had already been issued,
and included in it was the amendment calling for no license in
Polktown--the new ordinance, if passed, to take immediate effect.

The campaign for prohibition was continued despite the influx of Summer
visitors.  Indeed, because of them the battle against liquor selling
grew hotter.  Not so many "city folks" as the hotel-keeper and his
friends expected, desired to see a bar in the old-fashioned community.
Especially after the first pay day of the gang working on the branch of
the V. C. Road.  When the night was made hideous and the main street of
Polktown dangerous for quiet people, by drink-inflamed fellows from the
railroad construction camp, a strong protest was addressed to the Town
Selectmen.

There was a possibility of several well-to-do men building on the
heights above the town, another season.  Uncle Jason had a chance to
sell his sheep-lot at such a price that his cupidity was fully aroused.
But the buyer did not care to close the bargain if the town went "wet"
in the Fall.  Naturally Mr. Day's interest in prohibition increased
mightily.

The visiting young people would have liked to hold dances in Lem
Parraday's big room at the Inn.  But gently bred girls did not care to
go where liquor was sold; so the dancing parties of the better class
were held in the Odd Fellows Hall.

The recurrent temperance meetings which had at first been held in the
Town House had to seek other quarters early in the campaign.  Mr. Cross
Moore "lifted his finger" and the councilmen voted to allow the Town
Hall to be used for no such purpose.

However, warm weather having come, in a week the Campaign Committee
obtained a big tent, set it up on the old circus grounds behind Major
Price's place, somewhat curtailing the boys' baseball field, and the
temperance meetings were held not only once a week, but thrice weekly.

The tent meetings became vastly popular.  When Nelson Haley, urged by
the elder, made his first speech in the campaign, Polktown awoke as
never before to the fact that their schoolmaster had a gift of oratory
not previously suspected.

And, perhaps as much as anything, that speech raised public opinion to
a height which could be no longer ignored by the School Committee.
There was an unveiled demand in the Polktown column of the Middletown
Courier that Nelson Haley should be appointed teacher of the graded
school for the ensuing year.

Even Mr. Cross Moore saw that the time had come for him and his
comrades on the committee to back down completely from their position.
It was the only thing that would save them from being voted out of
office at the coming election--and perhaps that would happen anyway!

Before the Summer was over the request, signed by the five
committeemen, came to Nelson that he take up his duties from which he
had asked to be relieved in the Spring.

"It's a victory!" cried Janice, happily.  "Oh, Nelson!  I'm _so_ glad."

But there was an exceedingly bitter taste on Nelson Haley's lips.  He
shook his head and could not smile.  The accusation against his
character still stood.  He had been accused of stealing the collection
of coins, and he had never been able to disprove the charge.



CHAPTER XXIX

THE TRUTH AT LAST

Daddy had not written for nearly two months.  At least, no letter from
him had reached Janice.  The Day family in Polktown had not gone into
mourning in the Spring and Aunt 'Mira gloried in a most astonishing
plum-colored silk with "r'yal purple" trimmings.  Nevertheless, Janice
had now all but given up hope for her father's life.

The uncertainty connected with his fate was very hard for the young
girl to bear.  She had the thought with her all the time--a picture in
her mind of a man, blindfolded, his wrists fastened behind him,
standing with his back against a sunburnt wall and a file of ragged,
barefooted soldiers in front of him.

In desperation she had written a letter addressed personally to
"General Juan Dicampa," sending it to the same place to which she
addressed her father's letters.  She did this almost in fear of the
consequences.  Who would read her letter now that the guerrilla chief
was dead?

In the appeal Janice pleaded for her father's life and for news of him.
Days passed and there was no reply.  But the letter, with her name and
address on the outside, was not returned to her.

Broxton Day's fate was discussed no more before Janice at home.  And
other people who knew of her trouble, save Nelson Haley, soon forgot
it.  For the girl did not "wear her heart on her sleeve."

As for the Druggs--Hopewell and his wife--they were so worried about
little Lottie's case that they had thought for nobody's troubles but
their own.

The doctors would not let the child return to Polktown at present.
They kept her all through the Summer, watching her case.  And Lottie,
at a Summer school in Boston, was enjoying herself hugely.  She was not
yet at an age to worry much about the future.

These months of Lottie's absence were weary ones indeed for her father.
Sometimes he wandered about the store quite distraught.  'Rill was
worried about him.  He missed the solace of his violin and refused to
purchase a cheap instrument to take the place of the one he had been
obliged to sacrifice.

"No, Miss Janice," he told the girl once, when she spoke of this.  "I
could not play another instrument.  I am no musician.  I was never
trained.  It was just a natural talent that I developed, because I
found in my heart a love for the old violin my father had played so
many years.

"Through its vibrant strings I expressed deeper feelings than I could
ever express in any other way--or upon any other instrument.  My lips
would never have dared tell my love for 'Rill," and he smiled in his
gentle way, "half so boldly as my violin told it!  Ask her.  She will
tell you that my violin courted her--not Hopewell Drugg."

"Oh, it is too, too bad!" cried Janice.  "And that fellow down at Lem
Parraday's hotel has never succeeded in disposing of the fiddle.  I
wish he would sell it back to you."

"I could not buy it at the price he gave me for it," said Hopewell,
sadly shaking his head.  "No use to think of it."

But Janice thought of it--and thought of it often.  If daddy were
only--only _successful_ again!  That is the way she put it in her mind.
If he could only send her some more money!  There was many a thing
Janice Day needed, or wanted.  But she thought that she would deny
herself much for the sake of recovering the violin for Hopewell Drugg.

Meanwhile nothing further had come to light regarding the missing
collection of gold coins.  No third coin had been put into
circulation--in Polktown, at least.  The four school committeemen who
were responsible for the collection had long since paid the owner out
of their own pockets rather than be put to further expense in law.

Jim Narnay's baby was growing weaker and weaker.  The little thing had
been upon the verge of passing on so many times, that her parents had
grown skeptical of the doctor's prophecy--that she could not live out
the Summer.

It seemed to Janice, however, that the little body was frailer, the
little face wanner, the tiny smile more pitiful, each time she went to
Pine Cove to see the baby.  Nelson, who had come back to town and again
taken up his abode with the overjoyed Mrs. Beaseley while he prepared
for the opening of the school, urged Janice not to go so often to the
Narnay cottage.

"You've enough on your heart and mind, dear girl," he said to her.
"Why burden yourself with other people's troubles?"

"Why--do you know, Nelson," she told him, thoughtfully, "that is one of
the things I have learned of late."

"What is one of the things you have learned?"

"I have been learning, Nelson, that the more we share other people's
burdens the less weight our own assume.  It's wonderful!  When I am
thinking of the poor little Narnay baby, I am not thinking of daddy
away down there in Mexico.  And when I am worrying about little Lottie
Drugg--or even about Hopewell's lost violin--I am not thinking about
those awful gold coins and _who_ could have taken them----"

"Here! here, young woman!" exclaimed the schoolmaster, stopping short,
and shaking his head at her.  "_That's_ certainly not your personal
trouble."

"Oh, but, Nelson," she said shyly.  "Whatever troubles _you_ must
trouble _me_ quite as though it were my really, truly own!"

What Nelson might have said, right there on Hillside Avenue, too--even
what he might have _done_!--will never be known; for here Marty
suddenly appeared running wildly and shrieking at the top of his lungs
for them to stop.

"Hi! hi! what's the matter wi' you folks?" he yelled, his face red, and
his breath fairly gasping in his throat.  "I been yellin' after ye all
down High Street.  Look what I found!"

"Looks like a newspaper, Marty," said Nelson, calmly.

"_But what is in it?_" cried Janice, turning pale.

Nelson seized the paper and held it open.  He read rapidly:


"'Great battle fought southwest of Chihuahua.  Federal forces
thoroughly whipped.  Rebels led by the redoubtable General Juan
Dicampa, whose reported death last Spring was only a ruse to blind the
eyes of the Federals to his movements.  At the head of a large force of
regular troops and Yaqui Indians, Dicampa fell upon the headquarters of
General Cesta, capturing or killing his entire command, and becoming
possessed of quantities of munition and a great store of supplies.  A
telling blow that may bring about the secure establishment of a _de
facto_ government in our ensanguined sister Republic."


"Goodness me, Janice! what do you think of that?  There is a lot more
of it, too."

"Then--if Juan Dicampa is not dead----" began the girl.

"Sure, Uncle Brocky ain't dead!" finished Marty.

"At least, dear girl," said Nelson, sympathetically, "there is every
reason to believe that what Marty says is true."

"Oh, I can hope!  I can hope again!" she murmured.  "And, perhaps--who
knows, Nelson?--perhaps my own great trouble is going to melt away and
be no more, just like last Winter's snow!  Perhaps daddy is safe, and
will come home."

"I wish my difficulties promised as quick a solution, Janice," said
Nelson, shaking his head.  "But I am glad for you, my dear."

Marty ran ahead with the paper to spread the good news of Uncle
Brocky's probable safety.  Janice and Nelson were not destined to be
left to their own devices for long, however.  As they slowly mounted
the pleasant and shady street there was the rattle of wheels behind
them, and a masterful voice said:

"Whoa!  That you, Schoolmaster?  How-do, Janice."

"Dr. Poole!" they cried, as one.

"Bad news for you, Janice," said the red-faced doctor, in his brusk
way.  "Know you're interested in that Narnay youngster.  I've just come
from there.  I've got to go half way to Bristol to set a feller's leg.
They telephoned me.  Before I could get there and back that Narnay baby
is going to be out of the reach of all my pills and powders."

He did not say it harshly; it was Dr. Poole's way to be brusk.

"Oh, Doctor!  Will it surely die?"

"Not two hours to live--positively," said the physician, gathering up
the reins.  "I'm sorry for Jim.  If the fellow is a drunkard, he is
mighty tender-hearted when it comes to kids--and he's sober," he added,
under his breath.

"Is he there?" asked Janice, quickly.

"No.  Hasn't been in town for two weeks.  Up in the woods somewhere.
It will break him all up in business, I expect.  I told you, for I
didn't know but you'd want to go down and see the woman."

"Thank you, Doctor," Janice said, as the chaise rattled away.  But she
did not turn back down the hill.  Instead, she quickened her steps in
the opposite direction.

"Well!  I am glad for once you are not going to wear yourself out with
other people's troubles," said Nelson, looking sideways at her.

"Poor Mr. Narnay," said the girl.  "I am going after him.  He must see
the baby before she dies."

"Janice!"

"Yes.  The car is all ready, I know.  It will take only half an hour to
run up there where those men are at work.  I took Elder Concannon over
there once.  The road isn't bad at all at this time of year."

"Do you mean you are going clear over the mountain after that drunken
Narnay?" demanded Nelson, with some heat.

"I am going after the baby's father, Nelson," she replied softly.  "You
may go, too, if you are real good," and she smiled up at him so
roguishly that his frown was dissipated and he had to smile in return.

They reached the Day house shortly and Janice hurried in for her
dust-coat and goggles.  Marty offered his own cap and "blinders," as he
called them, to the schoolmaster.

"You'll sure need 'em, Mr. Haley, if you go with Janice, and she's
drivin'.  I b'lieve she said she was in a hurry," and he grinned as he
opened the garage door and ran the Kremlin out upon the gravel.

The automobile moved out of the yard and took the steep hill easily.
Once on the Upper Road, Janice urged the car on and they passed Elder
Concannon's in a cloud of dust.

The camp where the baby's father was at work was easily found.  Jim
Narnay seemed to know what the matter was, for he flung down the axe he
was using and was first of the three at the side of the car when Janice
stopped.  Mr. Trimmins sauntered up, too, but the sullen Jack Besmith
seemed to shrink from approaching the visitors.

"I will get you there if possible in time to see the baby once more,
Mr. Narnay, if you will come right along as you are," said Janice,
commiseratingly, after explaining briefly their errand.  "Dr. Poole
told me the time was short."

"Go ahead, Jim," said Trimmins, giving the man's hand a grip.  "Miss
Day, you sartain sure are a good neighbor."

Janice turned the car as soon as Narnay was in the tonneau.  The man
sat clinging with one hand to the rail and with the other over his face
most of the way to town.

Speed had to be reduced when they turned into High Street; but
Constable Poley Cantor turned his back on them as they swung around the
corner into the street leading directly down to Pine Cove.

Janice left Nelson in the car at the door, and ran into the cottage
with the anxious father.  Mrs. Narnay sat with the child on her lap,
rocking herself slowly to and fro, and weeping.  The children--even
Sophie--made a scared little group in the corner.

The woman looked up and saw her husband.  "Oh, Jim!" she said.  "Ain't
it too bad?  She--she didn't know you was comin'.  She--she's jest
died."


Janice was crying frankly when she came out of the house a few minutes
afterward.  Nelson, seeing her tears, sprang out of the car and
hastened up the ragged walk to meet her.

"Janice!" he exclaimed and put his arm around her shoulders, stooping a
little to see into her face.  "Don't cry, child!  Is--is it dead?"

Janice nodded.  Jim Narnay came to the door.  His bloated, bearded face
was working with emotion.  He saw the tenderness with which Nelson
Haley led the girl to the car.

The heavy tread of the man sounded behind the young folk as Nelson
helped Janice into the car, preparing himself to drive her home.

"I say--I say, Miss Janice," stammered Narnay.

She wiped her eyes and turned quickly, in sympathy, to the broken man.

"I will surely see Mr. Middler, Mr. Narnay.  And tell your wife there
will be a few flowers sent down--and some other things.  I--I know you
will remain and be--be helpful to her, Mr. Narnay?"

"Yes, I will, Miss," said Narnay.  His bleared eyes gazed first on the
young girl and then on Haley.  "I beg your pardon, Miss," he added.

"What is it, Mr. Narnay?" asked Janice.

"Mebbe I'd better tell it ter schoolmaster," said the man, his lips
working.  He drew the back of his hand across them to hide their
quivering.  "I know something mebbe Mr. Haley would like to hear."

"What is it, Narnay?" asked Nelson, kindly.

"I--I----I hear folks says ye stole them gold coins out of the
schoolhouse."

Nelson looked startled, but Janice almost sprang out of her seat.  "Oh,
Jim Narnay!" she cried, "can you clear Mr. Haley?  Do you know who did
it?"

"I see you--you and schoolmaster air fond of each other," said the man.
"I never before went back on a pal; but you've been mighty good to me
an' mine, Miss Janice, and--and I'm goin' to tell."

Nelson could not speak.  Janice, however, wanted to cry aloud in her
delight.  "I knew you could explain it all, Mr. Narnay, but I didn't
know that you _would_," she said.

"You knowed I could tell it?" demanded the startled Narnay.

"Ever since that five dollar gold piece rolled out of your
pocket--yes," she said, and no more to Narnay's amazement than to
Nelson's, for she had told the schoolmaster nothing about that incident.

"My mercy, Miss!  Did _you_ git that five dollar coin?" demanded Narnay.

"Yes.  Right here on your porch.  The Sunday you were at home."

"And I thought I'd lost it.  I didn't take the whiskey back to the
boys, and Jack's been sayin' all the time I double-crossed him.  Says I
must ha' spent the money for booze and drunk it meself.  And mebbe I
would of--if I hadn't lost the five," admitted Narnay, wagging his head.

"But I don't understand," broke in Nelson Haley.

Janice touched his arm warningly.  "But you didn't lose the ten dollar
coin he gave you before that to change at Lem Parraday's, Mr. Narnay?"
she said slyly.

"I guess ye do know about it," said the man, eyeing Janice curiously.
"I can't tell you much, I guess.  Only, you air wrong about me passin'
the first coin.  Jack did that himself--and brought back to camp a two
gallon jug of liquor."

"_Jack Besmith!_" gasped the school teacher, the light dawning in his
mind.

"Yes," said Narnay.  "Me and Trimmins has knowed it for a long time.
We wormed it out o' Jack when he was drunk.  But he was putting up for
the stuff right along, so we didn't tell.  He's got most of the money
hid away somewhere--we don't know where.

"He told us he saw the stuff up at Massey's the night before he stole
it.  He went there to try to get his job back, and seen Massey puttin'
the trays of coin into his safe.  He knowed they was goin' down to the
schoolhouse in the mornin'.

"He got drunk," pursued Narnay.  "He didn't go home all night.  Early
in the mornin' he woke up in a shed, and went back to town.  It was so
early that little Benny Thread (that's Jack's brother-in-law) was just
goin' into the basement door of the schoolhouse to 'tend to his fire.

"Jack says he slipped in behind him and hid upstairs in a clothes
closet.  He thought he'd maybe break open the teacher's desk and see if
there wasn't some money in it, if he didn't git a chance at them coins.
But that was too easy.  The committee left the coins right out open in
the committee room, and Jack grabbed up the trays, took 'em to the
clothes room, and emptied them into the linin' of his coat, and into
his pants' pockets.  They was a load!

"So, after the teacher come into the buildin' and went out again, Jack
put back the trays, slipped downstairs, dodged Benny and the four
others, and went out at the basement door.  Benny's always swore that
door was locked; but it's only a spring lock and easy enough opened
from inside.

"That--that's all, I guess," added Narnay, in a shamefaced way.  "Jack
backed that load of gold coin clean out to our camp.  And he hid 'em
all b'fore we ever suspected he had money.  We don't know now where his
_cache_ is----"

"Oh, Nelson!" burst out Janice, seizing both the schoolmaster's hands.
"The truth at last!"

"Ye--ye've been so good to us, Miss Janice," blubbered Narnay, "I
couldn't bear to see the young man in trouble no longer--and you
thinkin' as much as you do of him----"

"If I have done anything at all for you or yours, Mr. Narnay," sobbed
Janice, "you have more than repaid me--over and over again you have
repaid me!  Do stay here with your wife and the children.  I am going
to send Mr. Middler right down.  Let's drive on, Nelson."

The teacher started the car.  "And to think," he said softly when the
Kremlin had climbed the hill and struck smoother going, "that I have
been opposed to your doing anything for these Narnays all the time,
Janice.  Yet because _you_ were kind, _I_ am saved!  It--it is
wonderful!"

"Oh, no, Nelson.  It is only what might have been expected," said
Janice, softly.



CHAPTER XXX

MARM PARRADAY DOES HER DUTY

It was on the day following the burial of the Narnay baby that the
mystery surrounding Mr. Broxton Day's situation in Mexico was quite
cleared up, and much to his daughter's satisfaction.  Quite a packet of
letters arrived for Janice--several delayed epistles, indeed, coming in
a single wrapper.

With them was a letter in the exact script of Juan Dicampa--that
mysterious brigand chief who was Mr. Day's friend--and couched in much
the same flowery phraseology as the former note Janice had received.
It read:


"Señorita:--

"I fain would beg thy pardon--and that most humbly--for my seeming
slight of thy appeal, which reached my headquarters when your humble
servant was busily engaged elsewhere.  Thy father, the Senior B. Day,
is safe.  He has never for a moment been in danger.  The embargo is now
lifted and he may write to thee, sweet señorita, as he may please.  The
enemy has been driven from this fair section of my troubled land, and
the smile of peace rests upon us as it rests upon you, dear señorita.
Adios.

"Faithfully thine,

  "JUAN DICAMPA."


"Such a strangely boyish letter to come from a bloodthirsty bandit--for
such they say he is.  And he is father's friend," sighed Janice,
showing the letter to Nelson Saley.  "Oh, dear!  I wish daddy would
leave that hateful old mine and come home."

Nevertheless, daddy's return--or his abandonment of the mine--did not
appear imminent.  Good news indeed was in Mr. Broxton Day's most recent
letters.  The way to the border for ore trains was again open.  For six
weeks he had had a large force of peons at work in the mine and a great
amount of ore had been shipped.

There was in the letter a certificate of deposit for several hundred
dollars, and the promise of more in the near future.

"You must be pretty short of feminine furbelows by this time.  Be good
to yourself, Janice," wrote Mr. Day.

But his daughter, though possessing her share of feminine vanity in
dress, saw first another use for a part of this unexpected windfall.
She said nothing to a soul but Walky Dexter, however.  It was to be a
secret between them.

There was so much going on in Polktown just then that Walky could keep
a secret, as he confessed himself, "without half trying."

"Nelson Haley openin' aour school and takin' up the good work ag'in
where he laid it daown, is suthin' that oughter be noted a-plenty,"
declared Mr. Dexter.  "And I will say for 'em, that committee
reinstated him before anybody heard anythin' abeout Jack Besmith havin'
stole the gold coins.

"Sure enough!" went on Walky, "that's another thing that kin honestly
be laid to Lem Parraday's openin' that bar at the Inn.  That's where
Jack got the liquor that twisted his brain, that led him astray, that
made him a thief----  Jefers-pelters! sounds jest like 'The Haouse That
Jack Built,' don't it?  But poor Jack Besmith has sartainly built him a
purty poor haouse.  And there's steel bars at the winders of it--poor
feller!"

However, it was Nelson Haley himself who used the story of Jack Besmith
most tellingly, and for the cause of temperance.  As the young fellow
had owned to the crime when taxed with it, and had returned most of the
coins of the collection, he was recommended to the mercy of the court.
But all of Polktown knew of the lad's shame.

Therefore, Nelson Haley felt free to take the incident--and nobody had
been more vitally interested in it than himself--for the text of a
speech that he made in the big tent only a week or so before Town
Meeting Day.

Nelson stood up before the audience and told the story simply--told of
the robbery and of how he had felt when he was accused of it, sketching
his own agony and shame while for weeks and months he had not been
under suspicion.  "I did not believe the bad influence of liquor
selling could touch _me_, because I had nothing to do with _it_," he
said.  "But I have seen the folly of that opinion."

He pointed out, too, the present remorse and punishment of young Jack
Besmith.  Then he told them frankly that the blame for all--for Jack's
misdeed, his own suffering, and the criminal's final situation--lay
upon the consciences of the men who had made liquor selling in Polktown
possible.

It was an arraignment that stung.  Those deeply interested in the cause
of prohibition cheered Nelson to the echo.  But one man who sat well
back in the audience, his hat pulled over his eyes, and apparently an
uninterested listener, slipped out after Nelson's talk and walked and
fought his conscience the greater part of that night.

Somehow the school teacher's talk--or was it Janice Day's scorn?--had
touched Mr. Cross Moore in a vulnerable part.

Had the Summer visitors to Polktown been voters, there would have been
little doubt of the Town Meeting voting the hamlet "dry."  But there
seemed to be a large number of men determined not to have their
liberties, so-called, interfered with.

Lem Parraday's bar had become a noisy place.  Some fights had occurred
in the horse sheds, too.  And on the nights the railroad construction
gang came over to spend their pay, the village had to have extra police
protection.

Frank Bowman was doing his best with his men; but they were a rough set
and he had hard work to control them.  The engineer was a never-failing
help in the temperance meetings, and nobody was more joyful over the
clearing up of Nelson Haley's affairs than he.

"You have done some big things these past few months, Janice Day," he
said with emphasis.

"Nonsense, Frank!  No more than other people," she declared.

"Well, I guess you have," he proclaimed, with twinkling eyes, "Just
think!  You've brought out the truth about that lost coin collection;
you've saved Hopewell Drugg from becoming a regular reprobate--at
least, so says his mother-in-law; you've converted Walky Dexter from
his habit of taking a 'snifter'----"

"Oh, no!" laughed Janice.  "Josephus converted Walky."

Save at times when he had to deliver freight or express to the hotel,
the village expressman had very little business to take him near Lem
Parraday's bar nowadays.  However, because of that secret between
Janice and himself, Walky approached the Inn one evening with the
avowed purpose of speaking to Joe Bodley.

Marm Parraday had returned home that very day--and she had returned a
different woman from what she was when she went away.  The Inn was
already being conducted on a Winter basis, for most of the Summer
boarders had flitted.  There were few patrons now save those who hung
around the bar.

Walky, entering by the front door instead of the side entrance, came
upon Lem and his wife standing in the hall.  Marm Parraday still had
her bonnet on.  She was grimly in earnest as she talked to Lem--so much
in earnest, indeed, that she never noticed the expressman's greeting.

"That's what I've come home for, Lem Parraday--and ye might's well know
it.  I'm a-goin' ter do my duty--what I knowed I should have done in
the fust place.  You an' me have worked hard here, I reckon.  But you
ain't worked a mite harder nor me; and you ain't made the Inn what it
is no more than I have."

"Not so much, Marm--not so much," admitted her husband evidently
anxious to placate her, for Marm Parraday was her old forceful self
again.

"I'd never oughter let rum sellin' be begun here; an' now I'm a-goin'
ter end it!"

"My mercy, Marm!  'Cordin' ter the way folks talk, it's goin' to be
ended, anyway, when they vote on Town Meeting Day," said Lem,
nervously.  "I ain't dared renew my stock for fear the 'drys' might git
it----"

"Lem Parraday--ye poor, miser'ble worm!" exclaimed his wife.  "Be you
goin' ter wait till yer neighbors put ye out of a bad business, an'
then try ter take credit ter yerself that ye gin it up?  Wal, _I_
ain't!" cried the wife, with energy.

"We're goin' aout o' business right now!  I ain't in no prayin' mood
terday--though I thank the good Lord he's shown me my duty an' has give
me stren'th ter do it!"

On the wall, in a "fire protection" frame, was coiled a length of hose,
with a red painted pail and an axe.  Marm turned to this and snatched
down the axe from its hooks.

"Why, Marm!" exploded Lem, trying to get in front of her.

"Stand out o' my way, Lem Parraday!" She commanded, with firm voice and
unfaltering mien.

"Yeou air crazy!" shrieked the tavern keeper, dancing between her and
the barroom door.

"Not as crazy as I was," she returned grimly.

She thrust him aside as though he were a child and strode into the
barroom.  Her appearance offered quite as much excitement to the
loafers on this occasion as it had the day of the tempest.  Only they
shrank from her with good reason now, as she flourished the axe.

"Git aout of here, the hull on ye!" ordered the stern woman.  "Ye have
had the last drink in this place as long as Lem Parraday and me keeps
it.  Git aout!"

She started around behind the bar.  Joe Bodley, smiling cheerfully,
advanced to meet her.

"Now, Marm!  You know this ain't no way to act," he said soothingly.
"This ain't no place for ladies, anyway.  Women's place is in the home.
This here----"

"Scat! ye little rat!" snapped Marm, and made a swing at him--or so he
thought--that made Joe dance back in sudden fright.

"Hey! take her off, Lem Parraday!  _The woman's mad!_"

"You bet I'm mad!" rejoined Marm Parraday, grimly, and _smash!_ the axe
went among the bottles on the shelf behind the bar.  Every bottle
containing anything to drink was a target for the swinging axe.  Joe
jumped the bar, yelling wildly.  He was the first out of the barroom,
but most of the customers were close at his heels.

"Marm!  Yeou air ruinin' of us!" yelled Lem.

"I'm a-savin' of us from the wrath to come!" returned the woman,
sternly, and swung her axe again.

The spigot flew from the whiskey barrel in the corner and the next blow
of the axe knocked in the head of the barrel.  The acrid smell of
liquor filled the place.

Not a bottle of liquor was left.  The barroom of the Lake View Inn
promised to be the driest place in town.

Up went the axe again.  Lem yelled loud enough to be heard a block:

"Not that barrel, Marm!  For the good Land o' Goshen! don't bust in
_that_ barrel."

"Why not?" demanded his breathless wife, the axe poised for the stroke.

"Cause it's merlasses!  If ye bust thet in, ye will hev a mess here,
an' no mistake."

"Jefers-pelters!" chuckled Walky Dexter, telling of it afterward, "I
come away then an' left 'em erlone.  But you kin take it from me--Marm
Parraday is quite in her us'al form.  Doc. Poole's a wonderful
doctor--ain't he?

"But," pursued Walky, "I had a notion that old fiddle of Hopewell's
would be safer outside than it was in Marm Parraday's way, an' I tuk it
down 'fore I fled the scene of de-vas-ta-tion!  Haw! haw! haw!

"I run inter Joe Bodley on the outside.  'Joe,' says I, 'I reskered
part of your belongin's.  It looks ter me as though yeou'll hev time
an' to spare to take this fiddle to the city an' raffle it off.  But
'fore ye do that, what'll ye take for the fiddle--lowest cash price?'

"'Jest what it cost me, Walky,' says Joe.  'One hundred dollars.'

"'No, Joe; it didn't cost ye that,' says I.  'I mean what _yeou_ put
into it yerself.  That other feller that backed out'n his bargain put
in some.  How much?'

"Wal," pursued the expressman, "he hummed and hawed, but fin'ly he
admitted that he was out only fifty dollars.  'Here's yer fifty, Joe,'
says I.  'Hopewell wants his fiddle back.'

"I reckon Joe needed the money to git him out o' taown.  He can take a
hint as quick as the next feller--when a ton of coal falls on him!
Haw! haw! haw!  He seen his usefulness in Polktown was kind o' passed.
So he took the fifty, an' here's the vi'lin, Janice Day.  I reckon ye
paid abeout forty-seven-fifty too much for it; but ye told me ter git
it at _any_ price."

To Hopewell and 'Rill, Janice, when she presented the storekeeper with
his precious fiddle, revealed a secret that she had _not_ entrusted to
Walky Dexter.  By throwing the strong ray of an electric torch into the
slot of the instrument she revealed to their wondering eyes a peculiar
mark stamped in the wood of the back of it.

"That, Mr. Drugg," the girl told him, quietly, "is a mark to be found
only in violins manufactured by the Amati family.  The date of the
manufacture of this instrument I do not know; but it is a genuine
Cremona, I believe.  At least, I would not sell it again, if I were
you, without having it appraised first by an expert."

"Oh, my dear girl!" cried 'Rill, with streaming eyes, "Hopewell won't
ever sell it again.  I won't let him.  And we've got the joyfulest
news, Janice!  You have doubled our joy to-day.  But already we have
had a letter from Boston which says that our little Lottie is in better
health than ever and that the peril of blindness is quite dissipated.
She is coming home to us again in a short time."

"Joyful things," as Janice said, were happening in quick rotation
nowadays.  With the permanent closing of the Lake View Inn bar, several
of the habitués of the barroom began to straighten up.  Jim Narnay had
really been fighting his besetting sin since the baby's death.  He had
found work in town and was taking his wages home to his wife.

Trimmins was working steadily for Elder Concannon.  And being so far
away from any place where liquor was dispensed, he was doing very well.

Really, with the abrupt closing of the bar, the cause of the "wets" in
Polktown rather broke down.  They had no rallying point, and, as Walky
said, "munitions of war was mighty scurce."

"A feller can't re'lly have the heart ter _vote_ for whiskey 'nless
ther's whiskey in him," said Walky, at the close of the voting on Town
Meeting Day.  "How about that, Cross Moore?  We dry fellers have walked
over ye in great shape--ain't that so?"

"I admit you have carried' the day, Walky," said the selectman, grimly.

"He! he!  I sh'd say we had!  Purty near two ter one.  Wal!  I thought
ye said once that no man in Polktown could best ye--if ye put yer mind
to it?"

Cross Moore chewed his straw reflectively.  "I don't consider I have
been beaten by a man," he said.

"No?  Jefers-pelters! what d'ye call it?" blustered Walky.

"I reckon I've been beaten by a girl--and an idea," said Mr. Cross
Moore.


"Wal," sighed Aunt 'Mira, comfortably, rocking creakingly on the front
porch of the old Day house in the glow of sunset, "Polktown does seem
rejoovenated, jest like Mr. Middler preached last Sunday, since rum
sellin' has gone out.  And it was a sight for sore eyes ter see Marm
Parraday come ter church ag'in--an' that poor, miser'ble Lem taggin'
after her."

Janice laughed, happily.  "I know that there can be nobody in town as
glad that the vote went 'no license' as the Parradays."

"Ya-as," agreed Aunt 'Mira, rather absently.  "Did ye notice Marm's new
bonnet?  It looked right smart to me.  I'm a-goin' ter have Miz Lynch
make me one like it."

"Say, Janice! want anything down town?" asked Marty coming out of the
house and starting through the yard.

"It doesn't seem to me as though I really wanted but one thing in all
this big, beautiful world!" said his cousin, with longing in her voice.

"What's that, child?" asked her aunt.

"I want daddy to come home."

Marty went off whistling.  Aunt 'Mira rocked a while, "Ya-as," she
finally said, "if Broxton Day would only let them Mexicaners alone an'
come up here to Polktown----"

Janice suddenly started from her chair; her cheeks flushed and her eyes
sparkled.  "Oh! here he is!" she murmured.

"Here _who_ is?  Who d'ye mean, Janice Day?  _Not yer father?_" gasped
Aunt 'Mira, staring with near-sighted eyes down the shadowy path.

Janice smiled.  "It's Nelson," she said softly, her gaze upon the manly
figure mounting the hill.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "How Janice Day Won" ***

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