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Title: Molly Brown's Orchard Home
Author: Speed, Nell, 1878-1913
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 "Molly Brown's Orchard Home" ***

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MOLLY BROWN'S ORCHARD HOME

by

NELL SPEED

Author of
"The Tucker Twins Series," "The Carter Girls Series," etc.



A. L. Burt Company
Publishers      New York
Printed in U. S. A.
Copyright, 1915,
by
Hurst & Company
Printed in U. S. A.



[Illustration: Jo proved to be a singularly tactful hostess.]



CONTENTS

   CHAPTER

       I. Letters

      II. Bon Voyage

     III. The Deep Sea

      IV. What Molly Overheard

       V. Paris

      VI. La Marquise

     VII. The Faubourg

    VIII. The Opera

      IX. The Postscript

       X. Bohemia

      XI. A Studio Tea in the Latin Quarter

     XII. The Green-eyed Monster

    XIII. A Julia Kean Scrape

     XIV. Coals of Fire

      XV. Mr. Kinsella's Indian Summer

     XVI. Apple Blossom Time in Normandy

    XVII. The Ghost in the Chapel

   XVIII. The Prescription

     XIX. Fontainebleau and What Came of It

      XX. More Letters

     XXI. Molly Brown's Orchard Home



Molly Brown's Orchard Home.



CHAPTER I.

LETTERS.


From Miss Molly Brown of Kentucky to Miss Nance Oldham of Vermont.

     Chatsworth, Kentucky.

     My dearest Nance:

     Our passage to Antwerp is really engaged and in two weeks Mother
     and I will be on the water. I can hardly believe it is I, Molly
     Brown, about to have this "great adventure." That is what Mother
     and I call this undertaking: "Our great adventure." Mother says it
     sounds Henry Jamesy and I take her word for it (so far I have not
     read that novelist), but he must be very interesting, as Mother and
     Professor Green used to discuss him for hours at a time.

     Our going is not quite so happy as we meant it to be. Kent can't
     come with us as we had planned, but will have to stay in Louisville
     for some months, and may not be able to leave at all this winter.
     There is some complication of our affairs, that makes it best for
     him to be on hand until the matter is settled. I remember how
     interested you were in the fact that oil was found on my mother's
     land and that she expected to realize an independent income from
     the sale of the land, also pay off the mortgage on Chatsworth, our
     beloved home. Don't be too uneasy, the oil is there all right
     enough and we shall finally get the money, but the arrangement was:
     so much down and the rest when the wells should begin operation.

     The first payment Mother used immediately to pay the mortgage, but
     the second payment has not been made yet, as Mother's sister, Aunt
     Clay, living on the adjoining place, has got out an injunction
     against the Oil Trust as a public nuisance, and all work in the oil
     land has had to be stopped for the time being. The lawyer for the
     Trust told my brother, Paul, that Aunt Clay has not a leg to stand
     on, but of course the law has to take its leisurely course, and in
     the meantime the money for Mother is not forthcoming until the
     wells are in operation. Aunt Clay is in her element, making
     everyone as uncomfortable as possible and engaged in a foolish
     lawsuit. She is always going to law about something and always
     losing. We are devoutly thankful that her suit is with the Trust
     and not our Mother, as we know that Mother is so constituted she
     could not stand up against a member of her family in a lawsuit. I
     truly believe she would let Aunt Clay take the oil lands and all
     the rest of Chatsworth, rather than have a row over it.

     This property, where the oil was found, was given to Mother by Aunt
     Clay when she settled up Grandfather Carmichael's estate. Of course
     she considered the property of no value or she would never have let
     it out of her clutches, and as executrix and administratrix of the
     estate she had absolute power. Now that she sees it is worth more
     than all the rest put together, she is in such a rage with Mother
     that it is really absurd. She does not want us to go to Paris and
     is furious at the idea of Kent's "stopping work," as she calls it.
     She has got out this injunction just to keep us from going, I
     believe, as she is intelligent enough to know there is no use in
     trying to get ahead of a mighty Trust, and they will have to win in
     the end; but she had an idea that we would not go unless we had
     plenty of money to have a good time on. She little knows our
     Mother, in spite of being her sister.

     Mother says she believes it will be more fun and easier to
     economize in Paris than in Kentucky; and she is as gay as a lark
     over the prospect. Kent may be able to come later and take that
     much talked of and longed for course in Architecture at the Beaux
     Arts. In the meantime, he is very busy and, as he says, "making
     good with his boss." Mother refuses to discuss Aunt Clay's behavior
     and actually goes to see her as though nothing had happened; but I
     know she has had many a sleepless night, brooding over her sister's
     unsisterly act.

     I am longing to see you, dearest Nance, and wish you could manage
     to meet me in New York before we sail, but if you can't, be sure to
     have a letter on the steamer for me. We are going on a slow boat to
     Antwerp. We think the long sea trip will be good for Mother, who is
     tired out with all this worry and the work of getting Chatsworth in
     condition to leave; and besides, the slow boats are much cheaper.
     _Laurens_ is the name of our boat, sailing from Hoboken. I will
     write you from Paris, where Julia Kean is already installed and
     hard at work on her beloved art.

     I am afraid you will think I am horrid about Aunt Clay. Mother says
     she is the only person she ever knew me to feel bitter about. So
     she is, but then she is the only person who was ever mean to my
     beloved Mother. Maybe when my hair turns gray I can be as much of a
     lady as Mother is, but so far I am too red-headed to be a perfect
     lady.

     I am going to miss you, Nance, more than I can tell you. We have
     been roommates for five years at college, and never once did we
     have a shadow of a disagreement. Of course we occasionally got in a
     kind of penumbra. Once I remember when I was touchy because you
     called Professor Edwin Green an oldish person, but my pettishness
     only lasted "like a cloud's flying shadow," and that ought not to
     count.

     I think you are splendid to make such a happy home for your father
     and I know you are a wonderful housekeeper. Please give him my
     kindest regards. Kent drove Mother and me into Louisville to hear
     your mother speak at the Equal Suffrage Convention. She was simply
     overpowering in her arguments, and converted Kent in five minutes.
     I wish Aunt Clay, who is such an ardent Anti, had heard her. We
     were so sorry Mrs. Oldham could not come out to Chatsworth to visit
     us, but she did not have the time. I must stop. I have written two
     stamps' worth already.

     Ever your devoted friend and roommate in heart,

     MOLLY BROWN.

       *       *       *       *       *

     To Miss Molly Brown, Chatsworth, Kentucky,

     From Miss Julia Kean, Paris, France.

     71 Boulevard St. Michel, Paris.

     Molly dear:

     The news that you and your mother are to sail in a few weeks threw
     me into the seventh heaven of happiness,--I am already on the
     seventh floor of a _pension_ with not much more of an elevator than
     the tower of Babel had. Mamma and Papa brought me here and
     installed me and then shot off to Turkey, Papa like a comet and
     Mamma like the tail of one, to finish up the bridge that has kept
     them so busy for the last year.

     This _pension_ is kept by an American lady and is full of
     Americans. It is rather fun to be here for a while, but I am
     longing for the time to come when you will be with me and we can go
     apartment hunting, that is, if your mother still thinks it will be
     wiser for us to keep house and not try to board. Of course you will
     come here first and we can take our time about getting settled for
     the winter. Mrs. Pace, the landlady, (but you had better not call
     her that to her face, as she is very much the _grande dame_, with
     so much blue blood she finds it difficult to keep it to herself,)
     wants you to stay all winter with her and has many arguments
     against housekeeping, but I'll let her get them off herself to your
     mother.

     She is looking forward with great interest to meeting dear Mrs.
     Brown, as it seems she knows intimately a cousin and old friend of
     hers, a certain Sally Bolling of Kentucky, who is now the Marquise
     d'Ochtè, a swell of the Faubourg St. Germain, with a chateau in
     Normandy, family ghost, devoted peasantry and what not. I fancy
     your mother has told you of her. It will be great fun to meet some
     of the nobility, I think.

     I am enrolled at the Julien Academy for the winter and am going to
     put in some months of hard drawing before I jump into color. I work
     only in the morning and spend the afternoons looking at pictures. I
     am such a sober person pacing the long galleries of the Louvre
     studying the wonderful paintings that no one would dream I am the
     harum-scarum I really am. Papa gave me a very serious talking to
     about how to conduct myself in Paris and I find, as usual, his
     advice is excellent. His theory is that any grown woman can go
     anywhere she wants to alone in Paris, provided she has some
     business to attend to and attends to it.

     Of course Mrs. Pace is merely a nominal chaperone for me until your
     mother comes. She really seldom sees me, and when she does she is
     so full of her own affairs that she hardly remembers I have any;
     and then when she recalls that she is supposed to be my chaperone,
     she feels called upon to tell me to do my hair differently, or she
     does not like my best hat, or something else equally out of her
     province. But I am not going to tell you any more about her, as you
     can judge for yourself when you see her.

     I am sorry your brother, Kent, cannot carry out his plan of
     studying at the Beaux Arts, but maybe something will turn up and he
     can come after all. I might have known Aunt Clay would obstruct,
     all she had in her power, but thank goodness, her power is limited
     and your mother will finally get the full amount of money for her
     oil lands that Papa thought she should have. As for being in Paris
     without much money, it really is a grand place to be poor in; and
     one can have more fun here on a franc than in New York on a dollar.

     Hug your darling mother for me, and tell Kent that I refuse to
     answer his letters unless he gets some thin paper to write on. I am
     tired of paying double extra postage on his bulky epistles.

     Let me know in plenty of time when to expect you and your mother,
     so I can engage the room of Mrs. Pace and meet you at the station.
     I wish I could go to Antwerp to be there when you arrive or even
     meet you halfway in Brussels, but I must put the temptation from me
     and await you quietly in Paris. Good-by, my darling old Molly
     Brown,

     Your own devoted, ever loving

     JUDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Steamer letter from Professor Edwin Green
     of Wellington College to Miss Molly Brown of
     Kentucky, sailing on _S. S. Laurens_.

     Wellington College.

     My dear Miss Molly:

     Surely the "best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft aglee." I
     feel more like a mouse caught in a trap than a man, just now. I
     have been thinking of nothing else all summer but the delightful
     time I should have with you and your mother in Paris. It is my
     sabbatical year at Wellington, which means a fine long holiday, one
     much needed and looked forward to by all hard-worked professors.
     But just as I began to prepare for this delightful trip, I found
     that my substitute had in the most unaccountable manner,
     disappointed the President, Miss Walker, and Wellington was in a
     fair way to open without a professor of English. Of course I had to
     rush to the rescue and here I am in the old grind again.

     I really do not mind teaching, enjoy it, in fact, but oh, my
     holiday and those walks and jaunts I have been dreaming of in
     Paris! Miss Walker is deeply grateful to me for helping her out of
     this difficulty, and is doing all in her power to find a suitable
     person to take my place; and of course, I, too, am reaching out in
     every direction for help.

     One thing, I do not intend to be like poor Jacob: serve seven years
     more before I get my reward. I feel in a way that this is making up
     to the College for the long, enforced holiday two years ago, when I
     was so ill with typhoid fever.

     My sister Grace had made her plans to spend the winter in New York
     as she did not expect to be needed by me as housekeeper, so I am
     "baching" again; and very lonesome it is after being so spoiled and
     looked after by Grace.

     The place seems sad and gloomy to me and the College is full of raw
     and unattractive girls. I could hardly refrain from throwing a copy
     of Rosetti at a forward miss the other day in class, when she
     attempted to read "The Blessed Damozel" and I remembered a certain
     little Freshman, who, five years ago, held me enthralled by her
     rendering of that wonderful poem.

     I was delighted to see your friend Miss Melissa Hathaway, who is a
     relief indeed, after all of these chattering school girls. What a
     wonderful personality she has! Her beauty is even richer and more
     glowing than formerly. She reminds me of October in the mountains,
     her own Kentucky mountains. Did you ever notice her eyes and the
     quality they possess, which is a very rare one: that of seeming to
     hold the reflection of trees and skies when she is indoors? It is
     as though she were still seeing her forests at home.

     I hope to help her a great deal in her English as she is afraid
     this will have to be her last year at college. She feels that she
     is needed at home to carry on the work of her friend and teacher
     Miss Allfriend, whose long and arduous labors among the mountain
     folk have impaired her health. Melissa thinks she should take up
     the work and give her friend a rest. Noble girl! Dicky Blount
     thinks so, too, and even more so. Did you know that he found or
     manufactured some business in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, last summer
     and surprised Miss Hathaway in her mountain fastness?

     Please give my kindest regards to your mother and express to her my
     deep regret that I am not to be her cicerone for some of the sights
     of Paris. I am hoping that before the winter is over I may be
     relieved and then, ho, for the fastest steamer afloat!

     I am sending you some novels that may amuse you both on your
     voyage; also, a box of crystallized ginger that is the very best
     thing for seasickness that I know,--not that you are to be seasick,
     but just in case.

     I am trying to be cheerful and not let Miss Walker see how I am
     kicking at fate, but I am as mad as a schoolboy who has to do
     chores on Saturday! Very sincerely your friend,

     EDWIN GREEN.



CHAPTER II.

BON VOYAGE.


Mrs. Brown and her daughter Molly were at last safely off on what they
called their "great adventure." They had waved their handkerchiefs until
the dock at Hoboken was nothing more than a blur to them and they felt
sure that the _Laurens_ was little more than a speck to the friends that
had turned up to see them off.

Molly's classmates at Wellington College, Katherine and Edith Williams,
Edith with the nice, new husband whom Molly was overjoyed to meet, had
appeared, bearing books and candy for the trip. Jimmy Lufton, of course,
just to show that there was no hard feeling, as he whispered to Molly,
was there, also, doing everything for their comfort; finding their
luggage; engaging the steamer chairs; seeing to it that the stewardess
understood about the baths before breakfast; and attending to many
things of the importance of which Molly and her mother were ignorant.

Richard Blount, too, had turned up ten minutes before sailing, but he
had managed to get in a word with Molly about Melissa Hathaway.

"She is a queen among women, Miss Molly, and I consider that Edwin Green
is a lucky dog to have the privilege of teaching her. To think of seeing
her day after day and hearing her read poetry with that wonderful voice!
He tells me she is the most remarkable reader he has ever known. I am
too fond of old Ed to hate him, otherwise I should find it easy. By the
way I have left something in care of the steward for you and your mother
as a cure for seasickness. You will find that there is nothing like it!"

"Oh, thank you so much! I feel sure that I shall not be sick, but I am
just as obliged as though I were going to be. Mother may be. You see we
have never been on the ocean in our lives, but we have always felt that
we would like it beyond anything, and that liking it so much would keep
us from being harmed by it," Molly had answered, a little chagrined at
what Richard Blount had had to say about Professor Green and Melissa,
but determined not to show it to that young man or to let herself think
there was anything in it.

Miss Grace Green and dear, good Mary Stewart had been on the steamer
waiting when Molly and her mother came aboard. Their devotion to Molly
was so apparent that they won Mrs. Brown's heart at once, and that
charming lady with her cordial manner and gracious bearing as usual made
Molly's friends hers.

Miss Green had had a little private talk with Molly, giving her messages
from her younger brother, Dodo, and telling her what she knew of
Professor Edwin's disappointment in having to go on with his duties for
the time being at least. Molly had not had a chance to open and read the
steamer letter he had written her, but was forced to postpone it until
the vessel sailed and she could compose herself after the flurry of
good-bys and the bustle of the departure.

There were many letters waiting in the cabin, but the harbor was so
fascinating to these two women who had done so little traveling, that
they could not tear themselves from the deck until they were out of
sight of land.

"Mother, isn't it too lovely and aren't we going to be the happiest pair
on earth? I am glad we are seeing the ocean for the first time together,
because you know exactly how I feel and I know how you feel. The idea of
our being seasick! Richard Blount sent some remedy to the steamer for
us, just in case we were seasick. It was very kind of him but absolutely
unnecessary, I am sure. I never felt better in my life and look, there
is quite a little swell."

"Seasick indeed! I have no more feeling of sickness than I have on the
Ohio River at home," said Mrs. Brown, taking deep breaths of the bracing
salt air. "I suspect it is incumbent upon us to go read our letters now,
but I must say I do not want to miss one moment on deck during our
entire voyage. I feel as though twenty years had dropped off me." And
indeed she looked it, too, with a pretty pink in her cheeks and her wavy
hair blown about her face.

Molly rather wanted to read Professor Green's letter first, but she put
it aside and opened those from Nance Oldham and several other college
mates. Then she discovered a thoroughly characteristic note from Aunt
Clay, dry and dictatorial but enclosing a check for ten dollars on
Monroe & Co., the Paris bankers. "For you and your extravagant mother to
spend on foolishness," wrote that stern lady.

"Oh, Mother! Isn't she hateful? How easy it would have been to send a
pleasant message with the check! Now all the fun of having it is gone
and I have a great mind to send it back!"

"No, my dear, don't do that. Your Aunt Clay does not mean to be as
unkind as she seems. I know she intended this check as a kind of peace
offering to me, and we must take it as she meant it and pay no attention
to her words."

"Mother, you are an angel and I have to hug you right here in the cabin,
even if that black-eyed man over there with the pile of telegrams in
front of him is looking a hole through us."

She suited the action to the word and Mrs. Brown, emerging from the bear
hug that Molly was prone to give, surprised a smile on the dark face of
their fellow traveler. He was seated across from them at the same table
behind a pile of telegrams a foot high, and was very busy opening the
messages, making notes on them as he read. He was an interesting looking
man with dark, fathomless eyes, swarthy complexion and iron gray hair,
but he bore a youthful look that made one feel he had not the right of
years to the gray hair. His expression was gloomy and not altogether
pleasant, but when he smiled he displayed a row of dazzling white teeth
and his eyes lost the sad look and held the smile long after his mouth
had closed with a determined click.

"'Duty before pleasure,' as King Richard said when he killed the old
king before a-smothering of the babies," said Molly as she finished Aunt
Clay's letter and opened Edwin Green's. What a nice letter it was to be
sure! She laughed aloud over his wanting to throw Rosetti at the girl
and blushed with pleasure at the compliment to her reading of the
blessed Damozel, for well she knew whom he had in mind. His praise of
Melissa would have merely pleased her as praise of her friends always
did, had she not already been somewhat disturbed by what Dicky Blount
had said to her of Professor Edwin Green and the beautiful mountain
girl.

"I am a silly girl and intend to put all such foolish notions out of my
head," declared Molly to herself. "Surely Professor Green has as much
right to make friends as I have, and I intend to know as many people and
like as many as I can. I am not the least bit in love with Edwin
Green,--but somehow I don't think he and Melissa are suited to one
another."

As the young girl sat reading over her letter, a feeling of sadness and
loneliness took possession of her and, looking up, she surprised a
furtive tear in her mother's eye. Mrs. Brown was reading a letter from
her married daughter Mildred, then living in Iowa where her husband
Crittenden Rutledge was at work as a bridge engineer.

The cabin had begun to fill with people who were leaving decks and
staterooms to hunt up their letters and belongings and generally prepare
themselves for a ten-day trip on the Atlantic.

"Mother, they say this is a small steamer, but it seems huge to me! Did
you ever see so many strange people? I don't believe we ever shall know
any of them. They all of them look at home and I feel so far from home.
Don't you?"

"Now, Molly, please don't get blue or I shall have to weep outright. Of
course we shall come to know most of the passengers and no doubt will
find many charming persons ready to know and like us. Suppose we hurry
up with our letters and go on deck again."

Just then a young man bounded into the cabin, made a hasty survey of the
crowd and came rapidly over to the dark gentleman seated opposite them.

"Oh, Uncle Tom, how can you stay down in this stuffy cabin? There is a
sunset on the water that is just screaming out to be looked at. As for
that work, you have ten days to attend to those tiresome telegrams and
letters."

"Nonsense, Pierce, I have no idea of waiting ten days for this important
business. You forget the wireless," answered the uncle, looking fondly
at the enthusiastic young fellow, who was so like him except for the
gray hair that it was almost ludicrous.

"Oh, goodness gracious me, where is your holiday to be, with you tied to
your Mother Country with a stringless apron? That is what that old
wireless telegraphy reminds me of," laughed the young man, showing all
his perfect teeth. "Well, I've got your chair and steamer rug all ready
for you and all you have to do is come sit in it."

"Now, Pierce, don't wait on me. Part of having a holiday is to forget
how old I am. When I get these telegrams off, I am going to show you how
skittish I can be and forget all about business. I fancy you will have
to hold me back in my race for a good time. This limerick is to be my
motto:

    "Said this long-legged daddy of Troy,
    'Although I'm no longer a boy,
    I bet I can show
    You chaps how to go.'
    Which he did to his own savage joy."

Mrs. Brown and Molly could not help overhearing this conversation and at
the above limerick they laughed outright. The young man called Pierce
looked at them with a friendly glance and the uncle smiled another of
his rare smiles, which made the ladies from Kentucky feel that the ocean
was not going to be such a terribly lonesome place after all. They
gathered up their belongings and made their way on deck to view the
sunset that was "screaming to be looked at."

"It really is worth seeing, isn't it, Mother? Somehow, though, I never
do like to be made to look at a sunset. The persons who insist on your
doing it always seem to have a kind of proprietary air. Now that young
man wanted to bulldoze his uncle into coming when--when----" Molly
stopped suddenly, realizing that the two men in great-coats, with the
collars turned up to their ears, who had taken their places at the
railing next to her mother, were no other than the two in question.

"You are perfectly right, madam," said the elder, raising his hat. "This
nephew of mine is always doing it. Now I should much rather come on deck
when the sun is down and see the after-glow. The crepuscule appeals to
me more than the brilliancy of the sunset."

"I fancy my daughter had no complaint to make of the brilliancy of the
color, but of being coerced into looking at it. She likes to be the
discoverer herself and the one to make others come to look. Isn't it so,
Molly?"

"Maybe it is," said Molly blushing. "I did not really mean much of
anything and was just talking for talk's sake."

"Anyhow," spoke the nephew, "this sunset is mine and I think it is
beautiful and all of you have simply got to look at it." Turning to
Molly, "You can have to-morrow's and make us look all you want to, but
this is my discovery."

The ice was broken and Molly and her mother made their first
acquaintances on their travels. Mr. Kinsella introduced himself and his
nephew Pierce and in the course of half an hour they were all good
steamer friends. Everyone must make up his or her mind to be ready to
make friends on a steamer or to have a very stupid, lonesome crossing.
Mrs. Brown and Molly were both too sociable and friendly to be guilty of
such standoffishness and were as pleased at making friends with the two
Kinsellas as those gentlemen were to secure such pleasant companions as
these ladies were proving themselves to be.

"We are all of us to be at the captain's table," said Pierce.

"And how do you know where we are to be?" asked Molly. "I don't know
myself where we are to sit, and how can you know?"

"Oh, that is easy. While you and your mother and Uncle Tom were busy
reading your letters and before I got my sunset ready, I was finding out
things like Rikki-tikki. First I got the steward's list and located the
Kinsellas at mess; then I looked over all the names and where the people
hailed from and decided that Miss Molly Brown of Kentucky sounded kind
of cheerful. And when I knew there was a Mrs. Brown along, too, I
decided that Miss Molly Brown was young enough to have a mother along
and the mother was young enough to be along, and you were more than
likely a pretty nice couple to cultivate. The steward told me you were
to be at the captain's table, too, as you were friends of Miss Mary
Stewart. Her father owns much stock in these nice old tubs of steamers,
and the daughter had made a special request that you should be very well
looked after."

"Isn't that too like Mary? She did not say one word about it. That
accounts for our having such a lovely stateroom to ourselves, too. We
had engaged a stateroom that was supposed to hold three persons. The
company had the privilege of putting someone else in with us, and as the
steamer is quite full, of course we had expected to have a roommate. We
hated the thought of it, too, but it was so much less expensive. And
Mother and I hoped to spend most of our time on deck, anyhow. We could
not understand the number not being the same as that on our tickets, but
thought the officials knew best and if we did not belong there they
would oust us in good time."

"Well, I am jolly glad you have the best stateroom on board. Uncle tried
to get it but had to content himself with second best."

"Are you seasick, as a rule? I do hope not," asked the young man of Mrs.
Brown, who had been conversing with Mr. Kinsella while the nephew and
Molly were making friends.

"No, we don't make it a rule to be any kind of sick; but my daughter and
I are on the ocean for the first time. In fact, we are really seeing the
ocean for the first time and do not know how we are to behave. So far we
feel as well as possible, but I fancy such a smooth sea is no test."

"Only fancy, Uncle Tom, what it must seem to see the ocean for the first
time! I almost wish I had never seen it until now, just for the
sensation."

"There was a superior New York girl at Wellington College who had a
great time trying to tease me because I had never seen the ocean. She
kept it up so long that I began to feel like a 'po' nigger at a frolic',
so I retaliated by asking her if she had ever been to a hanging. I
completely took the wind out of her sails, and then confessed that I
hadn't either," said Molly with a laugh.

"Good for you, Miss Brown, give it to him. New York people are certainly
very superior in their own estimation and need a good taking down every
now and then. They are often more provincial than villagers, with no
excuse for so being," and Mr. Kinsella gave his nephew an affectionate
push.

The air was clear and crisp, with a rising wind that gave promise of a
heavy sea. The passengers had begun to fill the decks, dragging steamer
chairs into sheltered nooks and looking about for desirable places out
of the wind, where they could see the sun set and the moon rise, get out
of the way of the smokestacks, the fog horn and the whistle, and at the
same time be in a good locality to see everything that was going on.
Molly and her mother were much amused at the sight. They were both
inclined to be rather careless of their ease and it had never entered
their heads to hustle and bustle to make themselves comfortable on the
trip.

"Jimmy Lufton has had our chairs placed on deck and lashed to the
railing. He said he knew we would never look out for ourselves, and
unless he saw to it, we would go abroad standing up or sitting on the
floor! He tagged our chairs, too, as our names were on the backs only.
He said there were always some 'chair hogs' who would push the chairs
against the wall with the name out of sight and refuse to budge," said
Molly.

"Where are your chairs?" asked Pierce. "Let's go find them and afterward
we can get Uncle's and mine and have a snug foursome of a chat. Oh, Miss
Brown, how lovely your mother is! I want to paint her; but I should have
to put you in the picture, too, so that I could catch the wonderful
expression on her face. It is when she is looking at _you_ that she is
most lovely."

"Well, don't you think I could be present to inspire the desired
expression without being in the picture?" laughed Molly, delighted by
the praise of her beloved mother. "But can you paint? I have been
wondering what you are and what your uncle is, but I did not like to be
too inquisitive."

"Well, one does not have to be with me long to hear the story of my
life," said the boy. "You ask if I can paint: yes, I can paint; not as
well as I want to by a long shot, but I mean to be a great painter. That
sounds conceited, but it is not. I have talent and there is no use in
being mealy-mouthed over it. To be a great painter means work, work,
work; and I am prepared to do that with every breath I breathe. Painting
isn't work to me; it is joy and life. Besides, I mean to make it up to
Uncle for his disappointment in life, and the only way I can do it is by
succeeding."

Molly was dying to know more about the uncle and what his disappointment
was, but she was too well bred to show her desire and Pierce did not
seem inclined to go on with his family disclosures. He stood looking at
two ladies who had just come on deck, followed by a maid carrying rugs
and cushions. The ladies were a very handsome mother and daughter,
although the mother appeared too young to have such a very
sophisticated, grown-up daughter. They were beautifully dressed in long
fur coats and small toques. "Rather warm for October," thought Molly,
but the rising cold wind soon made her know her mistake.

"There are our chairs," said Molly, starting toward the railing where
the ever handy-man, Jimmy, had lashed the two steamer chairs.

At the same moment the elegant, fur-clad lady rapidly crossed the deck
and placing her hand on the back of the nearest chair, said in a cold
and haughty tone to the maid: "Here, Marie, place the rugs and cushions
in these chairs. They will do quite nicely."

"Excuse me, but these chairs are ours, mine and my mother's," said
Molly. "But we are not going to use them until after supper, I mean
dinner, so you are welcome to them until then."

"Some mistake surely," rejoined the older woman, eying Molly scornfully
through her lorgnette. "You will have to complain to the steward if you
cannot find your chairs, young woman; these are mine, engaged and paid
for." With that, she prepared to seat herself with the help of the maid,
who was blushing furiously, mortified by the flagrant untruth of her
mistress.

Molly was, by nature, easy-going and peace-loving and her inclination
was to leave the haughty dame in possession of the chairs and beat a
hasty retreat; but she remembered Jimmy Lufton's remark about "chair
hogs" and a joking promise she had made him to stand up for her mother
if not for herself, so she braced herself for battle. Despite her
girlish face and figure, Molly Brown could command as much dignity as
any member of the Four Hundred.

With a polite smile and gently modulated voice she said, very calmly and
firmly: "Madam, as I said before, these are my chairs but you are quite
welcome to them until after dinner. If you have any doubt about it, you
will find our names on the backs; but to save you the trouble of moving
to look behind you, if you will be so kind as to glance at these tags
you can verify my statement."

"Oh, I did not dream I was to call forth such a tirade," yawned the
nonplussed woman, reading the tags: "'Mrs. M. Brown, Kentucky; Miss M.
Brown, Kentucky.' If you are not going to use the chairs until after
dinner, my daughter and I will just stay in them until other
arrangements can be made. These small steamers are wretchedly managed. I
can't imagine where our chairs are. Elise," calling to her daughter, "it
seems these are not our chairs, after all."

"Well, I did not think they could be, as these chairs seem real enough
and ours are entirely imaginary," answered the daughter rudely. "Mother,
this is Mr. Kinsella, whom I have known at the Art Students' League. My
mother, Mrs. Huntington, Mr. Kinsella."

"I am so glad to meet you, Mrs. Huntington. Your daughter, Miss O'Brien,
and I have been working in the same costume class at the League. I did
not dream she was to be on this boat and when I saw her come on deck I
thought I was seeing ghosts."

Pierce had come eagerly forward to meet the mother of the interesting
girl he had known and liked at the art school; but Mrs. Huntington
looked as though she, too, were seeing ghosts. She shrank back in her
down pillows and her face became pinched and pale, and it was a moment
before the hardened woman of the world could command her voice to return
the greeting of the young man.

"Kinsella, did you say? Could you be Tom Kinsella's son? You are
strangely like him."

"Thank you, madam, for that. There is no one I want to be like so much
as my Uncle Tom. I am his nephew; my uncle has never married. Did you
know my uncle? He is on board and I know would be glad to renew his
acquaintance with you. But let me introduce Miss Brown to both of you."

The two girls shook hands, and as they looked in each other's eyes,
Molly felt in her heart an instinctive liking for the older girl. There
was something honest and straight about her face despite the rather
sullen expression of her mouth. She was beautiful, besides, and beauty
always appealed to Molly,--almost always, at least, for although Mrs.
Huntington was beautiful, too, Molly felt no leaning toward her. Mother
and daughter looked enough alike to make it not difficult to guess the
relationship at the first glance; but the more one saw of them, the
fainter grew the resemblance. The older woman was smaller, fairer and
plumper; her hair was golden while the daughter's was light brown; her
complexion pink and white, the daughter's rather sallow; her eyes baby
blue, the other's gray green. But the daughter's features were more
pronounced and her well-cut chin and mouth showed character and pride,
while the mother's looked a little petulant.

"I am very glad to meet you, Miss Brown. I believe I have heard of you.
Aren't you Julia Kean's 'Molly'?" And Elise O'Brien gave Molly's hand a
little squeeze.

"Of course I am. To think of your knowing my Judy! You must have met her
at the League. Perhaps you knew her, too, Mr. Kinsella."

"Who? Miss Kean? I should say I did. She was the life of the outdoor
sketch club we got up; and believe me, she has a soul for color. Why,
that little 'postage stamp landscape' she had in the American Artists'
Exhibition was a winner. Did you see a memory sketch she did for the
final exhibition at the League? It was a tall girl in black standing up
singing and a beautiful red-headed girl in diaphanous blue playing an
accompaniment on a guitar, with a background of holly and a great bunch
of mistletoe at one side." Pierce stopped suddenly in the midst of his
description of Judy's picture and, gazing intently at Molly, cried out,
"By the great jumping jingo, if Miss Brown isn't the red-headed girl in
diaphanous blue!"

"Yes, I saw it," exclaimed Elise, "and thought it was wonderfully
clever. Miss Kean got a splendid likeness of you, considering it was
from memory."

"Oh, Judy has sketched me until she says doing me is almost as easy as
writing her name. That must have been the Christmas party at Professor
Green's when Melissa Hathaway was singing 'The Mistletoe Bough.' I
remember Judy sat opposite us and I almost laughed out because she kept
making pictures in the air with her thumb, which is a habit of hers when
anything appeals to her as paintable. Won't it be splendid to see her
again? Are you both going to Paris? You know Judy is there now and my
mother and I are to join her."

"Glorious!" exclaimed the enthusiastic Pierce. "Of course I am going
there; but how about you, Miss O'Brien?"

"Oh, I am to be there for a while, but my art is not considered
seriously enough for me to stick at it long enough to accomplish much.
Mother thinks Paris is nothing but one big shop, and when she has bought
all the clothes we are supposed not to be able to be decent without, we
have to go on. I am going to work while she shops. Thank goodness, she
is so fussy that it takes her twice as long to get an outfit as it would
anyone else, so I shall have time to get in some work," answered the
girl bitterly.

Just then the gong was sounded for dinner. There was a general movement
toward the saloon and the growing darkness prevented Molly from seeing
the resentment on the face of Mrs. Huntington, if resentment she held,
at the daughter's rudeness toward her.

"Such a nice girl," thought Molly, "and so clever and beautiful! But
how, how can she be so horrid to her mother? There is no telling what
provocation she has, though. Her mother was certainly not honest about
the chairs; but then, your mother is your mother. Thank goodness, Aunt
Clay is not mine!"

Molly hastened to her own mother's side and they made their way to the
first meal on board.



CHAPTER III.

THE DEEP SEA.


Such a pleasant bustle, as the passengers came streaming into the cabin!
Everyone seemed to have made or met some friend, with the exception of a
few shy-looking, lonesome persons, and Molly devoutly hoped that these
would find some congenial souls before very long and not be so forlorn.
She and her mother had made such a fine beginning in the way of pleasant
acquaintances that she wished the same good luck to all on board.

Their seats were next to the Captain, with Mr. Kinsella and Pierce
opposite. The Captain was just what a captain ought to be: big and
hearty, blond and bearded, with a booming laugh. "Like a Viking of old,"
whispered Molly to her mother.

"Good sailor, madam?" asked the Captain of Mrs. Brown.

"A Mississippi steamboat is the only test I have given myself so far,
but my daughter and I are hoping we will prove good sailors," answered
his neighbor. "We are evidently expected to be sick by our friends, as
several of them have sent us remedies. Champagne from one, crystallized
ginger from another and a box of big black pills from a third that look
for all the world like shoe buttons."

"Well, don't trust to any of them. If you are sick, get on deck all you
can and don't waste your champagne on seasickness, but get ginger ale,
which is much cheaper and quite as effective," boomed the Captain with a
laugh that made the glasses rattle.

Molly wished they would stop talking about seasickness! The food looked
good. A plate of cream celery soup had just been placed in front of her.
It seemed all that celery soup should be, but a qualm had suddenly
arisen in her soul, (at least she called it her soul,) and she decided
to let the soup go and wait for the next course.

"Uncle Tom, I have met an old friend of yours on board; also an
acquaintance of my own from the Art Students' League," said Pierce as
soon as the business of eating was well under way.

"Is that so? I'll bet on you for nosing around to find out things! Who
is the gentleman?" inquired Mr. Kinsella.

"Gentleman much! It's a lady, and a very beautiful lady at that, who
complimented you greatly by saying you looked like me," laughed the boy.
"Her name is Mrs. Huntington."

"Huntington? I know no one of that name that I can remember. She must be
some casual acquaintance who has slipped from my memory."

"Well, maybe,--anyhow, she called you Tom. Her daughter, Miss Elise
O'Brien, is my friend."

Mr. Kinsella's face flushed and his somber eyes lit up with what Molly
thought an angry light.

"So," he muttered, "she has married again. Yes, yes, my boy, I--I did
know a Miss Lizzie Peck in my youth who married an old friend of mine,
George O'Brien. I have not seen or heard of them for years and did not
know George was dead. I shall take great pleasure in meeting his little
girl."

"Little! She is as tall as Miss Brown, who is certainly not stumpy, and
is some years older, if I am any judge of the fair sex."

"Of course you are a judge of the fair sex, a most competent one, I
should say. What boy of eighteen is not?" teased his uncle. "Where are
your new acquaintances seated?"

"They are at the other end of the next table with their backs to us. You
will have to rubber a little to get a good view of them."

Mr. Kinsella accordingly "rubbered," as his slangy nephew put it, and
satisfied himself of the identity of Mrs. Huntington. Molly was greatly
interested in the occurrence. Mr. Kinsella was different from anyone she
had ever seen before and Pierce's hint of a disappointed life had fired
her imagination, ever ready for a romance. She had a feeling that the
proud, beautiful, inconsiderate woman whose acquaintance she had
recently made was in some way connected with Mr. Kinsella's
disappointment.

Soup was removed and the next course of baked bluefish brought on.
Molly's senses reeled and a drowsy numbness stole over her. "What a
strange feeling! What on earth is the matter with me? I was so hungry
when I came down here and now I can't touch a thing," she said to
herself.

Mr. Kinsella was watching her and finally spoke:

"My dear Miss Brown, let me take you on deck. You will feel much better
in the air."

"Why, my darling daughter, are you sick?" inquired the anxious mother,
who was eating her dinner with the greatest enjoyment.

"I believe I'll go to bed," gasped poor Molly. "But don't you come,
Mother. I'll be better in a minute."

A grim smile went down the Captain's table as Molly beat a hasty and
ignominious retreat. Mrs. Huntington was heard to remark to her daughter
as a white and hollow-eyed Molly flew past their chairs on the way to
her stateroom: "There goes that red-headed girl from Kentucky, who was
so rude to me on deck. I fancy we can occupy her chairs for a while
longer."

"Oh, Mamma, why do we not have chairs of our own? It is so embarrassing
to sponge on other people all the time, and the expense of chairs is not
very great," implored Elise.

"Nonsense, Elise; I have crossed the ocean innumerable times and never
get chairs. There are always enough seasick people who have to stay in
their bunks, and since I abhor waste, I use their chairs. As you say,
the expense is not very great, but if I do not save in small ways I
cannot make ends meet and keep up appearances and that is most
important, until you see fit to catch a husband."

All this was in an aside to her daughter, who seemed accustomed to such
remarks and coolly helped herself to stuffed mangoes without deigning
any reply. But after brooding a few seconds she spoke:

"Do you think that the chair episode on deck before dinner was 'keeping
up appearances' very well?"

"And so you have your eye on young Mr. Kinsella, have you?"

"Not at all, Mamma, and you know I haven't. In the first place, Pierce
Kinsella is years younger than I am, and while he is tremendously clever
with his brush, he is not the intellectual man I must have or do
without."

"Never mind your age. If you do not mind being frank on the subject, you
must have some consideration for me, who am your unwilling mother. No
one will ever believe I was a mere school girl when I married George
O'Brien. If I should not keep up appearances for young Kinsella, who was
it, please? Surely not that Miss Smith!"

"Miss Brown, Mamma, Molly Brown. She is a lovely girl and a perfect
lady; and what will have more weight with you, she is a friend of the
Stewarts. Pierce Kinsella told me it was at Mr. Stewart's request that
she and her mother were put next to the Captain and they have the best
stateroom the ship affords."

"Ah, dead-heads, I surmise."

"Not at all. They had their tickets and stateroom engaged and did not
know of the honor done them until Pierce Kinsella told them himself. I
fancy we are the only dead-heads on board."

"Elise, I will not have you be so cynical. Mr. Stewart is a connection
of mine and I am entitled to some consideration from him," snapped the
mother.

"Yes, I know, a very close connection: Mr. Huntington's first wife's
cousin-in-law. For that reason, you must have transportation free on a
line of steamers Mr. Stewart is interested in; but you had to send me to
ask for the favor, and I'll tell you now what I did not tell you before
for fear of hurting your feelings, that Mr. Stewart said he was glad to
do it for my sake."

The last was a poser for the angry woman, and mother and daughter ceased
their wrangling and devoted themselves to the very good dinner.

Poor Molly got to bed as best she could and stayed there twenty-four
hours. She was sure her seasickness was the worst that had ever been
known, but we all feel that. On the second day she was persuaded to go
on deck by her solicitous mother,--who, by the way, was not
uncomfortable one minute,--and as she dropped limply into her steamer
chair, carefully arranged for her by the Kinsellas, she for the first
time had a desire to live. The ocean was a wonderful color, all pearly
gray with little flecks of pink on top of every wave. The sun was
setting in a mist. The wind had died down and there was a delicious
dampness in the air that smelt of salt.

"Oh, how glad I am to get up here! All of you are so good to me. It
seems a year since I went to my stateroom and I believe it is only a day
and a night. Has anything happened since I disappeared?"

"Nothing," answered Pierce. "The sun and the ship have moved but the
rest of us have just stood still waiting for you to come back. By the
way, this is your sunset, you remember. You forgot to advertise it, so
you have not a very large audience."

"Well, if Miss Brown can get up that good a show without even trying,
what couldn't she accomplish if she put her mind on it? I believe I like
yours better than Pierce's," said Mr. Kinsella. "His was so flamboyant,
while yours has a certain reserve and distinction."

The conversation went gayly on between uncle and nephew while Mrs. Brown
hovered over her daughter, tucking in the rug and shifting the pillows
for more perfect comfort. Molly smiled a little wanly at first but soon
the good air and gay talk got in their perfect work, and before she knew
it she was laughing outright at some of Pierce's sallies. The color
began to come back into her cheeks. A desire for life grew stronger and
stronger. Mr. Kinsella noticed the change in the girl, and while Mrs.
Brown and Pierce were engaged in an animated discussion on Woman's
Suffrage, Pierce taking the Anti side "just for practice," he slipped
away and soon returned with a tray of dainty food.

"Please eat a little something now, Miss Brown. It will put new life in
you and I feel sure you are on the mend and can trust yourself to take
some nourishment. Chicken aspic and dry toast can't hurt you, and I feel
sure it will do you good."

"Why, Mr. Kinsella, you are too good to me! How did you know I was
hungry? I was ashamed to say so, but I felt that a little food was all
that was needed to make me perfectly well." And Molly fell to with an
avidity that surprised her mother, who had not been able to persuade her
to take a mouthful all day.

"I have seen seasick persons before now," laughed Mr. Kinsella, "and
know by experience that there is a crucial moment when food must be
administered, and then the patient gets well immediately. I noticed you
were laughing, and no one with _mal-de-mer_ can laugh! And then your
color came back, and that is a signal for food, too. I am so glad you
like what I brought you."

"Mr. Kinsella, I cannot tell you how grateful I am," said Mrs. Brown. "I
don't wish you to be seasick, but I do wish Molly and I could repay your
kindness in some way."

"My dear lady, I am already in your debt for permitting my scape-grace
nephew and me to know you and your daughter. I have had my nose at the
grindstone of business for so many years that I feared it had grown out
of my power to make new friends; but I begin to see that I have not lost
the knack. Perhaps my somber presence is tolerated because of my gay,
jolly boy," and Mr. Kinsella gazed rather wistfully after Pierce, who
had crossed the deck to meet Elise O'Brien, just emerging from the
cabin.

"Oh, Mr. Kinsella, you must not think that," eagerly implored Molly. "I
always like serious men better than boys, and besides you are not somber
but full of gaiety and jokes. You are not fair to yourself if you think
people like you only on account of Pierce. He is a delightful boy,
but----"

"But what?"

"Don't press her too far, Mr. Kinsella," laughed Mrs. Brown. "She has
already confessed to a penchant to seriousness and finds 'beauty in
extreme old age'," and pinching Molly's blushing cheek, she went over to
join a group of recently made acquaintances who were looking at a
distant sail through an overworked spyglass belonging to one of the
tourists.

"What a tease Mother is! But she looks so like my brother Kent when she
teases me that I don't mind. Kent is always teasing and the only reason
I can stand it is that it makes him look like Mother! You see, Kent is
my special beloved brother and you know what my mother is."

"Yes, I know," answered Mr. Kinsella, who had sunk into the chair
vacated by Mrs. Brown. "Your mother is a rare woman: beautiful and
honest and tolerant, charming and well-bred, broad-minded and cultured.
Eternal youth is in her heart, but she has a character gracefully to
accept the years that Providence has allotted her and that only serve to
make her more lovely. I have no patience with the assumption of extreme
youth in the middle-aged, despite the limerick I have taken for my
motto."

"But, Mr. Kinsella, you are not middle-aged," protested Molly. "I never
even think of Mother as being middle-aged. I think that is the ugliest
word in our language, except, maybe, stout. I'd a great deal rather be
called fat and forty than stout and middle-aged!"

"Well, it will be many a year before you will be called either, and by
that time you may change your mind. 'A rose by any other name would
smell as sweet,' and, after all, it is being stout and middle-aged that
makes the difference, not being called it."

While Molly was having the little chat with Mr. Kinsella, Mrs.
Huntington had come on deck and had approached them from behind. Looking
up, Molly surprised on her face an expression of extreme bitterness, and
she wondered if she had overheard Mr. Kinsella's views on the subject of
the assumption of youth in the middle-aged. "I do hope she didn't,"
thought Molly. "She is so pretty, and it must be hard to give up youth
and to feel your beauty slipping from you. Especially hard when beauty
has been your chief asset in life, as I fancy it has been with Mrs.
Huntington." She gave the older woman a polite bow and smile and Mr.
Kinsella formally offered her his chair but with no great cordiality.

"Oh, thank you, Tom. And how are you, Miss Brown? I do hope you are
feeling better. My daughter has taken such a fancy to you, she has been
quite _désolé_ at your nonappearance all day."

"Oh, I am all well again, thanks to Mr. Kinsella's getting me some food
at the psychological moment when health was returning," answered Molly,
wondering at Mrs. Huntington's change of tactics since the evening
before, when she had been so insolent in her bearing to her. "It is
certainly nicer to have her polite to me than rude, whether she means it
or not," she said to herself. "I do wish I had not been sick all day. I
did want to see her first meeting with Mr. Kinsella. I know she had
something to do with his premature grayness and the disappointment that
Pierce hinted at. How coldly polite he is to her now. If a man like that
had ever loved me and then could be so cold to me, I believe it would
kill me," which shows that Molly was very sentimental and on the lookout
for romance.

The gong rang for dinner and there was a general move toward the cabin.

"Please tell Mother I am all right and will sit here while she is at
dinner, and that she must not hurry. I believe 'discretion would be the
better part of valor' for me and I had better not try to eat anything
more for a while."

After the deck was clear except for a few helplessly, hopelessly sick
persons who lay like mummies in their chairs, ranged along the deck,
Molly decided to get up and walk around a little, feeling anxious to try
her sea legs. Then as the wind had shifted, she determined to move her
chair to a sheltered nook behind one of the life-boats. She bundled
herself up in her rug, pulling the corner of it over her head and lay
for all the world like the rest of the mummies. "Only, thank goodness, I
am no longer sick," she thought gratefully.

Her soul was at peace, after the night and day of agony, and she dropped
off easily into a doze. She dreamed that she was at home in the old
apple tree that they had called "The Castle" and that Kent was gently
shaking the tree, trying to make her get out so Professor Green could
build his bungalow there; and when she refused and declared it was her
Castle and she intended to stay in it, the Professor himself had come,
with his kind brown eyes looking into hers, and said: "But, Miss Molly,
the bungalow is yours, too, and the Orchard is still your home." She
awoke but lay quite still wondering at the reality of her dream.



CHAPTER IV.

WHAT MOLLY OVERHEARD.


It had grown quite dark. The passengers were evidently still at dinner.
A man loomed up close to her and then stopped, evidently unaware of her
presence. Leaning over the rail and gazing into the black depths of
water, he emitted a sigh that seemed to come from his soul. Suddenly a
woman joined him. Molly was still half asleep, thinking of the orchard
at Chatsworth and of what Professor Green's bungalow would look like
among the apple trees. Her thoughts came back to the ship with a bounce
when she heard the woman say:

"Tom, why do you avoid me? Can't you let bygones be bygones?"

"That is exactly what I am doing, Mrs. Huntington: letting bygones be
bygones. It seems a useless thing for us to rake up the past."

"'Mrs. Huntington' sounds very cold and formal coming from your lips."

"Well, I gathered you did not think much of the name of Lizzie since you
have changed your daughter's to Elise."

"Oh, Tom, you are cruel!"

"Now see here, Mrs. Huntington, I do not want to be rude to you. I have
lived in total ignorance of you and your affairs for twenty-five years,
and since by chance we meet on a steamer, you cannot make me feel that
what I do or say is of the slightest importance to you. You made the
young Tom Kinsella about as miserable as a man could be, but the old Tom
is immune from misery, thank God, and there is no use in trying to get a
flame from the dead ashes of the past. I am very glad to see you again
and especially glad to make the acquaintance of the daughter of my old
friend, George O'Brien."

"You forgive George but do not forgive me."

"I have nothing to forgive George, and you know it. He was the soul of
honor and had no idea of there being an engagement between us, when he
married you. I am as sure of this as though George himself had told me.
In those good old days in Paris when we were all of us art students,
George and I were great chums. I could read him like a book and there
never lived a more honest fellow.

"When my father died and his foundry at Newark seemed in a fair way to
be on its last legs for want of management and the family income was in
danger of being decidedly lessened, you persuaded me, in fact, you put
it up to me, to give you up or give up art and go to work and pull the
foundry out of the hole.

"Art meant a lot to me, but at the time you meant a lot more. You
remember you would not let me announce our engagement to our friends,
not even to George.

"I went back to America and piled into a work, entirely uncongenial, but
determined to win out. Things were in an awful mess because of my
father's long inability to attend to business. My brother Pierce was
still in college and could be of no assistance to me. I had to master
the business from the beginning, learning every detail before I could
put it on the efficiency basis that I knew it must attain before I could
be satisfied.

"I wrote you rather discouraged letters, I will admit, but I felt I
could pour out my soul to you and you alone. I knew it would be two or
three years before it would be expedient for us to marry, but my faith
in you was supreme and it never entered my head you would not wait for
me.

"When the goal was in sight, you may imagine the shock it gave me when a
casual acquaintance, recently returned from Paris, spoke of having had
such a gay time at your wedding breakfast, given in old George's studio
(the one I used to share with him) by his fellow students.

"Not a word from you; later on a letter from George, full of happiness
and your charms and explaining to me how it came about he could marry.
He had been one of the poorest among a lot of fellows, where poverty was
the rule and not the exception; but his uncle, the Brooklyn politician,
had died and left him a hundred thousand dollars. That seemed immense
wealth to the Latin Quarter, and there was rejoicing in all of the
atéliers where George O'Brien was a general favorite and Lizzie Peck was
known as the prettiest American girl in the Quarter.

"The shock was so great I was like a dead man for weeks, but I never
told a soul of my pitiful love affair. I got over the loss of you as
soon as I could pull myself together enough to think that if you were
the kind who could do as you did, I was well out of it; and George had
my pity and not my envy. But my Art--my Art--nothing can ever make up to
me for giving it up. I could not go back to it, as I had plunged too
deeply into the foundry affairs to pull out, and one cannot serve
business and Art at the same time. Art is too jealous a mistress to
share her lover's time with anything else. I went on with the work and
came out very well.

"This is the first real holiday I have had for many years, but I am
determined to have a good time and am not going to let regret prey upon
me."

Molly had been a forced listener to this long speech, but she could not
fool herself into thinking she had been an unwilling one. She was
thrilled to the soul by Mr. Kinsella's history. No wonder he was so sad
looking and occasionally so bitter! She was glad he had not truckled to
the spoiled Mrs. Huntington, but had let her know exactly where he
stood. It was not so very chivalrous of him, but she needed a good
mental and moral slap and Mr. Kinsella had administered it as gently as
possible, no doubt.

What was Molly to do now? To let them know she was there would make it
horribly embarrassing for all concerned, and still she felt she had
already heard more than she had any business to know.

"I'll have to pretend I am asleep and never divulge to a soul, (except
Mother, of course,) that I have overheard this tremendously interesting
conversation."

Mrs. Huntington was silenced for a few moments by Mr. Kinsella's
harangue, but finally spoke:

"Tom, you are hard on me. I was very young at the time and had always
been so poor."

"That is so, Lizzie. It was hard on you to be so poor; but you were not
so very young. You must have been about the age your daughter is now,
and I fancy you would not excuse much in her because of her youth. You
were two years older than I was in those days."

"Brute!"

"Mind you, I said 'in those days.' I do not mean you are still two years
older than I am."

Molly was sorry that Mr. Kinsella was pushing the poor lady so far. She
made a quick calculation from the evidence in hand and realized that
Mrs. Huntington must be about forty-nine. "Almost as old as Mother! And
just look at her hair and clothes! She looks much younger, and I know it
is hard on her to give up her youth. I do wish Mr. Kinsella had not said
that to her about being two years older than he is! It was not very
kind, even if she did jilt him. It seems a small revenge to me. I wish I
could have made my presence known and then I should not have heard Mr.
Kinsella belittle himself, which I certainly think he did."

Poor Mrs. Huntington swallowed her resentment as best she could and
continued the conversation: "There is one thing I should like to ask of
you as a favor, Tom, and that is: please do not tell Elise that her
father and I ever studied art. Not that I ever studied very hard, but
George was certainly much interested and it took a deal of managing to
persuade him to give it up and go into politics. You see, his uncle's
influence was still hot and there were many plums waiting for him. I was
too ignorant in those days to know that it did not necessarily follow
that political jobs brought social success.

"George was very successful and doubled his inheritance, but we had no
position at all. He changed a great deal. You would hardly have known
him in his last years. You remember how gay and light-hearted and
good-tempered he always was. Well, he lost it all and became morose and
bitter. Elise was the only person who had any influence on him at all.
We had to live in Brooklyn and how I did hate it!"

"How long has George been dead?"

"Oh, ten years or so. Elise was a mere child and George never spoke to
her of having wished to become an artist. It seemed best to me for her
to live in ignorance of the fact as she is already ridiculously fond of
trying to paint; and if she knew there were any hereditary reasons for
it, there is no telling what stand she would take. I hate the Bohemian
life that artists lead, and now that I have made so many sacrifices for
her to place her in the best society, I have no idea of allowing her to
drop out.

"We are received in the most exclusive houses in New York and Newport,
and while our means do not permit us to entertain very largely, our
at-homes are most popular with the Four Hundred.

"Elise is very stubborn. She has had several excellent offers but
refuses to consider anyone whom she does not love. George O'Brien was
very sentimental and she has inherited that from him, along with her
love for dabbling."

Mr. Kinsella had maintained a grim silence during this heartless speech;
but he now asked: "What sacrifice have you made for your daughter's
welfare, you poor put-upon lady?"

"Why, I married Ponsonby Huntington! He had not a _sou_ to his name but
he had the _entrée_ into all the fashionable homes in the East. He was a
great expense, but it fully repaid me, as he lived long enough to
establish Elise and me in that society for which we are eminently
fitted. I am deeply grateful to him and his family and do not begrudge
the money, now that he is dead.

"I was keen enough not to let him go into my principal very largely. I
am an excellent business woman, Tom, and have managed my affairs
wonderfully well."

"So it seems," muttered Mr. Kinsella. "You have evidently satisfied all
your ideals. I am glad to tell you that I have already divulged to Elise
that her father might have become a very good painter, and was
astonished that she was ignorant of the fact that he had ever drawn a
line in his life. I say that I am glad, as I want to talk to George's
daughter about her father, and I cannot think of my old friend, George
O'Brien, as anything but the gay, care-free art student, always ready to
go on a lark and to share his last penny, of which he had very few, with
any needy fellow-student. Don't you ever feel like painting yourself?"

"No! I hate the sight of a paint brush, and as for adding in any way to
the ever-increasing flood of poorly painted pictures,--I can at least
claim my innocence of that crime."

"Perhaps you are right, but you used to be so clever at catching a
likeness."

"Elise has the same power, but I hate to see it in her and never
encourage her by the least praise. Of course you can't understand this
feeling, but I know the girl would fly off at the slightest chance and
live in that shabby Latin Quarter. There, no doubt, she would marry some
down-at-the-heel artist, who would live on her money and go on painting
bad pictures to the end of time; and she would aid and abet him and
paint worse ones herself!"

"Elise has money, then?"

"The money is all hers except my pitiful third that the law allows me,
and I had to go into that a little to keep Ponsonby Huntington in a good
humor. However, Elise cannot get control of her money until she is
twenty-five and I have several years yet. She is quite equal to throwing
me over in spite of all I have done for her." Mrs. Huntington spoke with
a rancor that was really astounding to Molly, whose own mother was so
different that the girl had an idea that all mothers must have some of
Mrs. Brown's qualities.

"Oh, I am sure you are mistaken in judging your daughter thus severely!
She must have inherited from George some other traits along with the
artistic talent."

"That is just it. She inherited from him this very tendency to be hard
on me. Was it kind or right for George to leave all the money to her;
and to me, his devoted and long-suffering wife, nothing more than the
law exacted? My only hope is that she may marry a man rich enough to
make a handsome settlement on me. One who will have money enough not to
regard Elise's fortune at all, except, perhaps, to realize the necessity
of turning it over to me. Now tell me: do you think the Latin Quarter a
likely place for a girl to find such a husband?"

"Oh, I don't know. You did pretty well there, and if you had waited for
me, you might have done even better from a financial standpoint, as I
have been very successful as the world takes it. Perhaps poor little
Elise might have equal luck. Oh, Lizzie, Lizzie, how changed you are!
You have spoken only of money and position and society; never once of
love and humanity. I can't bear to see you this way. When I think of you
as a girl with your soft, sweet manner and no more worldliness than a
kitten, I can hardly bear to contemplate this change in you."

"Oh la, la, Tom, you and I know that a kitten only takes a year to grow
into a horrid cat, and as you so brutally and frankly put it, I have had
about twenty-five years to grow and sharpen my claws. You struck this
note first in our conversation. I was prepared to be as nice as you once
thought me, but I saw how cynical you had grown and I knew there was no
use in putting on; so I have rather enjoyed showing you my true self.
Anyhow, you are grateful to me for throwing you over, now that you see
what I am. Is it not so?"

Mr. Kinsella did not answer for a moment, but finally said, changing the
subject: "There is one thing I am going to ask of you for auld lang syne
and I think maybe you will grant it: let Elise put in this winter in a
good studio in Paris. She is hungry for a long period of uninterrupted
work and I know it will soften her toward you instead of hardening her;
and I feel sure that when the dreaded twenty-fifth birthday arrives, she
will want to settle half of the fortune on you. Do this for me, Lizzie.
I guarantee it will come out well for you."

Mrs. Huntington hesitated for a moment and then by a quick calculation
came to the conclusion that it would be a good thing, after all, and
would leave her free to go where she chose. She well knew how cheaply a
girl could board in Paris when she was at work in a studio, and, as Tom
said, there was every chance of her picking up a rich husband among the
students. There were always some young men who were rolling in wealth,
but still had the artistic bee in their bonnets.

"I'll do it, Tom, but if it turns out badly I'll have you to thank."

"Lizzie, now you are more like your old self and I am grateful to you
for this concession. Come, let us find Elise and tell her the good
news."

Molly was indeed glad to have the interview over. It was against her
whole honest nature to eavesdrop, but she felt it best for all concerned
for her to remain quiet. As soon as Mr. Kinsella and Mrs. Huntington had
disappeared, Molly beat a hasty retreat to her stateroom where her
mother was looking for her, not being able to find her on deck.

"Oh, Mother, I am so excited!" And she told Mrs. Brown all about her
forced concealment during the intimate conversation between the old
lovers.

"It is very interesting, certainly, and I hardly know how you could help
being a listener. Since it will go no farther, as of course neither of
us will ever mention the matter to a soul, it will do no harm. I wish
you had not had to hear it, however, as I hate for my Molly to realize
that such women as Mrs. Huntington exist, so cold and selfish and
worldly. I am glad poor Elise is to be allowed to stay in Paris all
winter and work. Perhaps we can make up to her some for her mother's
heartlessness."

So mother and daughter kissed and went to bed; Molly waked the next
morning with no trace of seasickness, ready and eager to enjoy the rest
of the voyage.

The trip was delightful to both mother and daughter. They made many
acquaintances on board, but Elise O'Brien and the two Kinsellas they
counted among their real friends. So closely were the five thrown
together on the voyage, that they often said it seemed as though they
had known one another all their lives. Mrs. Huntington kept to herself
much of the time. She seemed to realize that it was policy to let Elise
have as good a time as she could with her father's old friend and his
nephew; and since the Browns seemed to have influential and wealthy
friends, they could, at least, do her daughter no harm, and might even
prove useful during the girl's sojourn in Paris.

Elise bloomed in this congenial atmosphere and did not look like the
same girl. She had a ready wit, was quick at repartee, and after a while
her tongue lost its bitterness and her sarcastic humor became much more
genial.

Mr. Kinsella would often say: "That is like your father. He had the
kindest humor in the world and was truly Irish in his wit." But when she
was too critical or inclined to let her wit run away with her heart, he
would shake his head and look sad; and the girl began to care what her
father's friend thought of her, and tried to please him.

She had liked Molly from the minute they clasped hands when Pierce
introduced them, and this liking grew to enthusiastic love. She had had
few intimates and this friendship was wonderful to her. Mr. Kinsella
realized the importance of this wholesome influence on his charge, (he
had made Elise his charge ever since he wrung from her mother the
promise to let her continue her studies in art), and he did everything
to throw the girls together and give them opportunities to talk their
eager girls' talk.

"I hate to think of the journey coming to an end," said Molly. "It has
been splendid; but if the trip is nearly over, our friendship has just
begun! And what times we can have in Paris! Isn't it great that you and
Judy know each other and that the three of us are so congenial?"

Elise looked sad. "Yes, it is fine, but I know you and Judy will want me
out of the way. You are such old friends, and I shall always feel like
an interloper."

"Oh, Elise, Elise! You must not feel that way for an instant. Judy and I
love each other a whole lot, but we are not a bit inclined to pair off
and not make new friends. Judy is more than likely already to have begun
a big affair of friendship with somebody. She will get so thick with
that one that she will have no time for anyone else; and then she will
find out the person is not the paragon she had imagined and come weeping
back to me," said Molly, throwing her arm around Elise and giving her a
warm hug.

"Well, let's enjoy the few hours left to us. It seems hardly possible
that this is the same, stupid old boat that we boarded a little over
a week ago. I hated it, our stuffy stateroom, the crowded table;
and then I always dread a long voyage with Mamma. She gets so cross
and overbearing when she is cut off from society and amusements
and----" Elise stopped suddenly. She felt Molly's friendly arm growing
slack around her waist and she realized that her new friends, the Browns,
could not tolerate her impertinent remarks to and about her mother. "Oh,
Molly, please excuse me. I am trying to be nicer about Mamma. It is
awfully ill-bred of me to speak of her in that way, no matter how I
feel."

"Elise, why don't you try to feel differently and then it would be
impossible for you to speak so?"

"Oh, Molly, I will try." And it shows she was already trying, for she
did not add what was in her heart to say, "If you only knew my mother
you would not ask that of me."



CHAPTER V.

PARIS.


"Judy! Judy! I can't believe that we are really here, that this is
Paris, and that you are you! As for me, I feel like 'there was an old
woman as I've heard tell' who said 'Lawk a mercy on me, this surely
can't be I.'"

Molly settled herself with a sigh of supreme enjoyment on the lumpy seat
of an extremely rickety taxi that Judy had engaged to take the Browns
from the station to Mrs. Pace's very exclusive pension on the Boulevard
St. Michel.

"It does seem almost too good to be true that I have got you and your
dear mother at last. I have not been able to work for a week because of
the excitement of expectation. I went over to Monroe's this morning and
got your mail. I could hardly lug it home, both of you had such a batch.
You see, the mail has beaten your slow steamer in and everyone is
writing to have a greeting ready for you in Paris." And Judy, who was in
the middle, put embracing arms around both Mrs. Brown and Molly as they
rode down the Avenue de l'Opera.

How wonderful Paris looked to them on that clear, crisp day in autumn!
She was showing her best and most smiling aspect to the travelers, which
delighted Judy, as she felt quite responsible for her beloved city and
wanted her friends to like it as much as she did. They passed various
points of interest which Judy pointed out with pride, and which brought
answering thrills from Mrs. Brown and Molly.

The streets were gay with little pushcarts, laden with chrysanthemums
and attended by the most delightful looking old women. Everyone seemed
to be in a good humor and no one in much of a hurry except the
chauffeurs, and they went whizzing by at a most incredible speed through
the crowded thoroughfares.

"How clean the streets are!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "And what a good
smell!"

"Oh, I just wondered if you would notice the smell! That is Paris.
'Every city has an odor of its own,' Papa says, and I believe he is
right. Paris smells better than New York, although I like the smell in
New York, too; but Paris has a strange freshness in its odor that
reminds me of flowers and good things to eat, and suggests gay times,
rollicking fun and adventure."

"Same old Judy," laughed Molly, "with her imagination on tap."

Just then they ran under the arches of the Louvre into the Place du
Carrousel, and Molly held her breath with wonder and delight. Then came
the Seine with its beautiful bridges, its innumerable boats, and its
quays with the historic secondhand book stalls where Edwin Green had
looked forward to walking with her, searching for treasures of first
editions and what not. "Never mind," thought Molly, "Professor Green may
come later and the first editions will keep."

"There is the wonderful statue of Voltaire, and through this street you
can catch a glimpse of the Beaux Arts," chanted Judy. "Now look out, for
before you know it we will be in the aristocratic Faubourg St.
Germain,--and then the Luxembourg Gardens,--and here we are at our own
respectable door before we are ready for it! Now Mrs. Pace will eat both
of you up for a while and I cannot get a word in edgewise."

The Pension Pace was on the corner where a small street ran into the
broad boulevard at a sharp angle, making the building wedge-shaped. It
was a very imposing looking house and Mrs. Brown wondered at a woman
being able to conduct such a huge affair. She expressed her surprise to
Judy, who informed her that Mrs. Pace had only the three upper floors
and that the other flats were let to different tenants.

"The elevator takes us to the fifth floor, where Mrs. Pace has her
parlors, dining salon and swellest boarders,--at least the boarders able
to pay the most. Of course _we_ do not think that they are the swellest,
since we are on the seventh floor ourselves. Who so truly swell as we?"
Judy got out of the taxi with such an assumption of great style that the
chauffeur, much impressed, demanded a larger _pourboire_ than she saw
fit to give him.

"They always try to make you pay more, no matter what you offer. I am
adamant, however, where cabbies and chauffeurs are concerned. Papa says,
'Look after the tips and the legitimate expenses will look after
themselves.' So I look after the tips and trust to luck for the rest to
come out right. I am not much of an economist, I fear, but I am
learning, now that I am on a strict allowance."

An elevator, so slow that its progress was almost imperceptible, took
them to the fifth floor where Mrs. Pace was in readiness to receive
them. Her greeting was very cordial and condescending. She seemed to be
taking them under her protecting wing, giving them to understand that
with her they had nothing more to fear or worry about; and as Molly and
her mother had nothing in particular to worry about and certainly
nothing to fear, they were very much amused by her attitude toward them.
Judy was purple with suppressed merriment as Mrs. Pace advised them to
go right to bed, to rest up from their long journey, poor sick,
miserable, friendless females.

Mrs. Brown assured her that she was not at all tired and never felt
better in her life; that she had made many friends on the steamer; and
that she would freshen up a bit with some soap and water and then go out
for a walk with Miss Julia Kean. Mrs. Brown had reckoned without her
host, however, as the intrepid Mrs. Pace took them to their room on the
seventh floor, just across the hall from Judy's, and did not leave them
until they were in their kimonos and actually lying down.

"You must not try to keep up, dear ladies, when you are overfatigued and
ill. Bed is the best place for you, bed and quiet. Miss Kean had better
leave you now and let you have a little nap."

While Mrs. Pace talked, she had plumped up their pillows and lowered the
shade of the one large window, opened their suitcases and got out their
kimonos and, despite their feeble protest, had actually undressed them
and put them to bed! Then, forcibly ejecting Judy, she shut the door
with admonitions for them to sleep until dinner at six-thirty.

Judy went very dutifully to her room until she heard the last of Mrs.
Pace's ponderous tread on the stairs; then she crept softly to the
Browns' door and gently opened it to find Mrs. Brown and Molly rolling
on the bed, overcome with laughter.

"Oh, oh, oh! She has taken at least forty-five years off of my age,"
giggled Mrs. Brown like a veritable boarding-school miss. "I have never
in my life seen such a born boss as the redoubtable Mrs. Pace! Did you
see her undo my belt and take off my skirt? I could not have felt more
like a child if my waist had been a pinafore instead of a respectable
black silk. And as for Molly, she was treated as though she were just
about old enough to go into rompers." And they all went off into peals
of laughter.

"Well, now is the time to take a stand or you will never be able to,"
said Judy. "I defied her from the first and she lets me alone
wonderfully."

"Yes, I noticed how you withstood her authority when you were sent to
your room!" grinned Molly, as she got back into the clothes that had
been forcibly removed only five minutes before. "I see you have sneaked
in our letters and I, for one, am going to read mine, and then if we can
get down stairs without the dragon devouring us, let's take a walk. We
shall have plenty of time before dinner."

They accordingly read their letters and crept down stairs and out on the
street for a breath of air and a stroll in the Luxembourg Gardens. It
was too late to try to see the pictures in the Gallery of the Luxembourg
and, after all, they had the winter before them. And now that she was
out on the street, having escaped the dragon, Mrs. Brown confessed to
feeling a little mite tired, so they sat down on a bench in the Gardens
and watched the children play.

"Poor Mrs. Brown, of course you are tired! That is the most irritating
thing about Mrs. Pace: she is always right. 'It is best to rest after a
trip whether you feel tired or not, as the reaction after a journey is
obliged to come, and you pay up for it to-morrow if you do not rest
to-day'," and Judy imitated Mrs. Pace to the life.

"Well, you may be sure, my dear girls, that wild horses will not drag
the fact from me in the presence of the dragon, even if I am weary unto
death. Does she coerce all her boarders as she did me, Judy?"

"Most of them are completely under her dominion, finding it easiest and
best to take the course of least resistance. Some few rebel, but they
usually end by moving on. If you stay at the Pension Pace and wish to
"_requiescat in pace_," you do as she says to do. I have defied her from
the first and now I am rated as an undesirable boarder. Had it not been
that she was wild to have you with her because of your relationship to
the Marquise d'Ochtè, she would have raised some cock and bull story
about my room having been engaged by someone a year ago and, since her
honor was at stake, she would have to ask me to vacate.

"I tell you she is a sly one. You must either have lots and loads of
money, or you must do as she says, do--or die. Of course she has an
excellent house in a most desirable quarter and she caters to Americans.
You will notice that the food is much more American than French; and
after people have been knocking around the Continent, of course they are
overjoyed to have some food that seems like home."

"But I don't want American food," wailed Molly. "I want French things,
even snails; and I want to learn how to ask for these things in the most
Frenchy style. What is the use in coming to Paris and staying with a
stuffy old dame from Philadelphia and eating the things we have at
home?"

"Oh, I am so glad you feel that way! How about you, Mrs. Brown? Papa and
Mamma made me promise to do just as you thought best. They put me in
Mrs. Pace's house and I have been determined not to worry them about
changing, but I am 'most dead of her and her ways. Do say you think we
ought to go to housekeeping or should get in a French family; anything
to get out of the dragon's den," pleaded Judy.

"For how long did you engage our room?" asked Mrs. Brown, smiling at
Judy's despair.

"One week; and mine, also, is taken by the week. She tried to make Papa
sign for the whole winter, but he was on to her from the first and
refused to do more than take it from week to week. He and Mamma stayed
here a few days on their way to Turkey, and you would have died laughing
if you had seen Mrs. Pace try to make Papa 'Fletcherize.' You know he
always eats as though the train would not wait. At every meal she
remarked on it and one day said at dinner: 'This is veal, Mr. Kean, and
should be thoroughly masticated.' Whereupon he put down his knife and
fork and, looking her solemnly in the eye, said: 'That is good advice no
doubt for ordinary mortals, but after long years in railroad camps I
have acquired a gizzard.' With that he took a great piece of _blanquette
de veau_ and to all appearances swallowed it whole without changing his
expression. I choked so I had to leave the table and I believe Mrs.
Pace, to this day, thinks that by a skillful legerdemain I swallowed the
veal! Anyhow, Bobby ate to suit himself after that."

"Oh, Judy, how ridiculous you are! I wish I could have seen Mr. Kean
execute his daring feat," laughed Molly. "Mother, let's look around for
an apartment and go to housekeeping immediately. I am sorry we told
Elise O'Brien about Mrs. Pace's. I can't bear for her to be anywhere
that is not pleasant. She has had tribulations enough in her day."

Judy had not yet heard anything of their fellow passengers, as they had
been so occupied with Paris and the pension that they had had no time to
tell her of their voyage and the pleasant people they had met. She was
much interested in the fact that Miss O'Brien was to be at the art
school for the winter and said she was a girl of undoubted talent. As
for young Kinsella, he was the cleverest draughtsman at the League.

"Do you girls think you like Elise enough to have her come to live with
us for the winter?" asked Mrs. Brown. "I feel sure the poor girl would
be happy, and if you would all fit in together and be congenial, I
really think it would be an act of charity to ask her. We must consider
it from all sides before we rush into it, however."

"Mother, it would be splendid!" declared Molly. "I believe Mrs.
Huntington was dying for you to ask Elise, but of course had to wait for
you to suggest it. We could divide the expenses into four parts and I
know it would be cheaper than boarding and infinitely more agreeable."

"Mrs. Brown, I am sure we should get on like a house afire, and it does
seem as though we might take Elise in and give her a pleasant home. I
promise to be real good and get on with everybody, if I can only know I
am to leave the _Maison Pace_ in peace," promised Judy.

So it was decided by these three impulsive souls to take in Elise
O'Brien and to get a flat forthwith and leave the sheltering wing of the
dragon. Mrs. Brown thought it best to stay a fortnight in their present
quarters so they could look well about them; she also wanted to see her
old friend and cousin, the Marquise d'Ochtè, for if she were anything
like the Sally Bolling of old, she felt sure she could depend on her for
some assistance in the matter of getting settled.

"Of course, she may have changed so, after being married to a French
nobleman for some twenty-eight years, that I will hesitate to ask
anything of her; but I have an idea old Sally could not change. I
remember her as being a great harum-scarum but with the best heart in
the world, and absolutely honest and unaffected. My experience is that
honest, unaffected people do not change in the long run."

"What did she look like, Mother?" asked Molly.

"Well, when I come to think of it, she looked a little like you. She is
only my second cousin, once removed, not such very close kin; but this
red hair of yours comes cropping out in every generation or so in my
family and the similar coloring makes one fancy a likeness even if there
is none; but Sally had your eyes and your chin. She took life much more
lightly than my Molly does, saw a jest where none was intended and
sometimes cracked a joke when seriousness would have been in better
taste. I have not seen her for many years and she stopped corresponding
with all of us; not that there was any disagreement, but letter-writing
simply died a natural death, as time went on. I am greatly interested in
seeing her."

Mrs. Brown also decided to let Mr. Kinsella approach the O'Briens in
regard to having Elise live with her. She was very well aware of Mrs.
Huntington's nature and felt that that lady would be fully capable of
treating her as though Elise were necessary to the housekeeping scheme
to help out the financial end; and Mrs. Brown was determined to have no
one with her as a boarder, but to run the _ménage_ on a co-operative
principle, letting all of them share the expense.

Mrs. Huntington and Elise had stopped in Brussels for a visit with some
friends and Mr. Kinsella and Pierce were still in Antwerp getting their
fill of the pictures to be seen there. They were uncertain how long it
would take them to grow tired of the interesting Belgian city and could
not tell just when their friends might expect them in Paris.

When the three renegades returned from their walk in the Luxembourg
Gardens, they hoped to reach their rooms without being seen by Mrs.
Pace, but that lady's motto was "Eternal Vigilance," and no one went out
of her house or came in unobserved. She met them as they stepped off the
elevator on the fifth floor and gently but firmly admonished them for
their disobedience. Molly noticed her mother's heightening color and her
quivering nostrils and remembered with a smile what Aunt Mary, their old
cook, always said to them when they were children: "Ole Miss is long
suffrin' an' slow to anger but when her nose gits to wuckin', you
chillun ought to learn that she done had 'nuf and you had better make
yo'sefs scurse." Peace-loving Molly drew Mrs. Brown's arm through her
own and gently pressing it, led her upstairs.

"Thank you, my dear, I was on the verge of attacking the dragon, and
since we are to be here two weeks, I must not do anything to make it
more difficult. But did you ever see anyone more impertinent?" asked
Mrs. Brown, still sniffing the battle from afar.

"Never," sympathized Judy. "I wish you had said your say. I believe you
could get ahead of the fabulous monster in open combat. She is, after
all, a very flabby, fabulous monster and one prick would do for her."



CHAPTER VI.

LA MARQUISE.


"_La Marquise d'Ochtè_ is attending _Madame Brune_ in the _salon au
cinquième étage_," announced a very excited little housemaid, who was
supposed to speak English for the benefit of the American pensionnaires
at _Maison Pace_. "_Madame Pace_ is some time gone at the _boucher_, not
expecting callers at so early _heur_. _La Marquise_ demanded not _Madame
Pace_; but said very _distinctment 'Madame Brune et sa fille'_."

"Very well, Alphonsine, thank you so much. My daughter and I will come
down immediately," said Mrs. Brown, smiling at the agitation of the
little maid. Mrs. Pace had evidently given her servants to understand
the importance her pension gained from the visits of a marchioness.

"Milly, Milly, how I have longed to see you," and the Marquise d'Ochtè
rose from her seat and clasped her one-time friend and beloved cousin in
a warm embrace. "And this is your daughter? Goodness, child, you look
like me,--at least, like me when I was young!"

Molly knew in the first second of greeting that she was going to like
this cousin, and Mrs. Brown was delighted to see in the marchioness the
same Sally Bolling of thirty years ago. She was like Molly in a way, but
it was hard to realize that Molly could ever be quite so buxom as this
middle-aged cousin. She was a very large woman with an excellent figure
for her weight, and hair a little darker than Molly's with no silver
threads showing so far.

"I pull 'em out if they dare to so much as show their noses. They say
forty will come in when you pull out one, but then I'll make my maid
pull out forty, if it kills me in the pulling," she declared when Mrs.
Brown remarked on it in the course of their inventory of each other. "My
Jean declares he got caught in my hair and could not get away, and I
mean still to keep him."

"I am afraid I would snatch myself bald-headed if I tried to pull all of
my gray hairs out," laughed Mrs. Brown; "but, Sally, you are exactly the
same girl who left Kentucky ages ago; there is just a little more of
you."

"A little more of me, indeed! There is about twice as much of me as
there used to be. But, Milly, you are exactly the same; there is not
even any more of you. You look much more like a member of the French
nobility than I do."

The marchioness did not look in the least French, but more like a
well-groomed English woman. Her dark brown suit was very simple and well
made, and her shoes bore the earmarks of an English boot maker, fitting
her perfectly but with low heels, broad toes and heavy soles. Her hat
was the only French touch about her, and that could have been concocted
in no spot in the world but Paris, so perfectly did it blend with her
hair and furs.

"Now tell me all about yourselves and what you are going to do with your
winter, and we can 'reminisce' another time. We must hurry before Henny
Pace gets back from market. I came early so as to avoid her and see you
a moment alone. She is a kind, good soul and I am really very fond of
her for auld lang syne, but you might as well try to hold a conversation
with a bumping bug in the room as Henrietta. Firstly, do you mean to
stay here?"

Molly and her mother laughed outright at the bumping bug comparison. It
was very apt.

"Why, Cousin Sally, we could not think of spending the winter being
coerced at every turn," returned Molly. "We were hardly in the house
before Mrs. Pace actually took Mother's clothes off and put her to bed,
and last night at dinner she refused to let me have any coffee. She said
it would ruin my complexion!"

The marchioness roared with laughter. "How like old Henny that is! She
always was a boss, but I don't blame you for objecting. I let her seem
to boss me just for the fun of it. I have known her since first coming
to Paris and understand how good she is at bottom, but wild horses could
not drag me to spend a night in her house. I ask her to _la Roche Craie_
every year and try to give her a rest, (she really works awfully hard,)
but she is so busy there trying to change my housekeeper's methods and
rearrange the linen presses that she gets very little rest after all.
Jean cannot stand her, but my son Philippe sees the good in her that I
have brought him up to see; and then he clings to any and everything
American. I am anxious for you to know my husband and son and for them
to meet you. Do you know French?"

"Mother speaks better French than I do in spite of my work at college,"
confessed Molly.

"Well, I studied French with the old time method more as we study Latin,
and while my accent is vile, my verbs are all right. I am going to try
to brace up in accent, and Molly and Judy are endeavoring to perfect
themselves in grammar. But you have not met our friend Judy, Miss Julia
Kean," said Mrs. Brown.

"No, I have not, but from all the complaints Henny Pace has made of her,
I know she must be charming. When Henny gives a boarder a good
character, I know without meeting her that she is some spineless old
maid who is afraid to call her soul her own, or that she is a hypocrite
like me who wants peace at any price. Now she tells me that Miss Kean is
head-strong, self-willed, flippant, slangy, ill-bred, inconsiderate----"

"Oh, how could she tell such things?" interrupted Molly. "Why, Cousin
Sally, Judy is splendid! She is independent and knows her own mind, and
all of us are a little slangy, I am afraid; but she is very well-bred
and Mother says the most considerate visitor she has ever had."

"Well, child, her report of your friend had no effect on me but to make
me want to meet the young lady, so I can judge for myself. I want you
and your mother to come and dine with us this evening at six-thirty and
to bring Miss Kean with you. We will go to the opera to hear _Louise_.
It is wonderful and I know you will like it," and la Marquise d'Ochtè
smiled on her young Kentucky cousin and pressed her hand, pleased to see
how she could speak up for her friend.

"We shall be delighted to come," said Mrs. Brown, "and I know Judy will
appeal to you. She is a dear child and as free from affectation as you
yourself. Now, Sally, tell me how we must go to work to find an
apartment and where we should settle ourselves. We are far from affluent
and want something inexpensive but, of course, respectable. Judy is to
be with us; also a Miss Elise O'Brien, whose acquaintance we made on the
steamer. You know so many persons, I wonder if you ever met her mother:
she was a Miss Lizzie Peck, who married a young artist, George O'Brien,
some twenty-five years ago here in Paris. At his death she married Mr.
Huntington."

"Know Lizzie Peck? I should say I did,--the outrageous piece! You see,
before Jean succeeded to the estate and before I had my windfall from
Aunt Sarah Carmichael, we lived in a very small way and our principal
society was in Bohemia. At that time Lizzie Peck was the beauty of the
Latin Quarter. She was supposed to be studying art, and indeed she was
quite clever. But she was such a belle and so busy drawing young men to
her, that she did not give much time to any other drawing. George
O'Brien was much too good for her in every way. He was one of the
wittiest men I ever knew and good nature itself. It is to be hoped that
the daughter Elise inherited a disposition from him and not from the
flirtatious Lizzie. Jean always insisted that there was an understanding
between Tom Kinsella and Lizzie, but I hardly think a man as keen as Tom
could ever have been taken in by the likes of Lizzie," and the
marchioness got up preparatory to making her departure.

"Why, Mother, to think of Cousin Sally's knowing Mr. Kinsella, too! You
liked him, didn't you, Cousin Sally?" asked Molly eagerly. "He was on
our steamer and so kind to us."

"Yes, my dear, I liked him very much and should like to see him again,
and so would my Jean. I fancy a great many persons are kind to my little
cousin," and she pinched Molly's blushing cheek. "Now, Milly, don't
worry for one moment about an apartment as I am almost sure I know of a
place that will just suit you. It is a studio apartment on the Rue Brea,
just across the Luxembourg Garden from here. It belongs to an American
artist named Bent. He and his wife are going to Italy for the winter and
would be delighted to rent it furnished, I am sure. It is very superior
to many of the studios in the Latin Quarter as it has a bathroom. But I
am not going to tell you any more about it until I find out if you can
get it, what the price is, and just what sleeping accommodations it has.
I have my limousine at the door and shall go immediately to the Rue
Brea, and to-night when you come to us for dinner I can tell you more.
_Au revoir_, then, my long lost cousin," and she kissed Mrs. Brown on
both cheeks.

"That is the first Frenchy thing she has done yet," thought Molly; and
then when the elevator had slowly descended out of hearing distance she
remarked to her mother: "How could anyone live in a foreign country for
almost thirty years and stay so exactly like 'home folks'? Cousin
Sally's accent is much more southern than yours and mine. Did you notice
her 'sure' was almost 'sho' and she spoke of Lizzie Peck's dra-a-win'
young men? I love her for keeping the same. And oh what fun to be going
there to dinner! I can hardly wait for Judy to come home from the studio
to tell her."

Mrs. Brown was equally pleased with her cousin's having remained so
unaffected and looked forward with much pleasure to renewing the
girlhood intimacy, and also to meeting the Marquis d'Ochtè, of whom his
wife spoke so enthusiastically as "my Jean," and the son Philippe. She
had some misgivings about the son because the literature of the day does
not paint a young Frenchman in particularly desirable colors as the
companion of girls; but she hoped that the mother's innate good sense
had served to bring up the boy in the proper way. Then Molly and Judy
could meet him as they would any young man from their own country, and
he would understand their easy freedom of manner and of speech,
different, she well knew, from that of the unmarried French girl. She
determined to say nothing to the girls of the difference, as she did not
want them changed or embarrassed by self-consciousness, and she felt
sure of their having breeding and _savoir faire_ to carry them through
any situation with flying colors.

As the marchioness had indicated, she had married before Jean had
succeeded to the estates and indeed before he had any idea of being the
heir presumptive. His uncle, the Marquis d'Ochtè, was at the time a
comparatively young man, a widower with a son of twelve; and everyone
expected that he would marry again and perhaps have other sons. Jean
d'Ochtè, when she met him, was a rising young journalist, making,
however, but a meager salary. His father was dead. His mother, Madame
d'Ochtè, was a very superior woman and recognized Sally Bolling's worth
in spite of the fact that she had but a tiny dot to bestow at her
marriage. She saw her son's infatuation for the American girl and gave
her consent to the marriage, without which, as is the law in France,
they could not have been wed. Sally's alliance gave her the _entrée_
into the most exclusive homes of the Faubourg St. Germain but she was
not a whit impressed by it. She took her honors so simply and naturally
that she won the hearts of all her husband's connection and they ended
by applauding the leniency of Madame d'Ochtè in permitting the match,
which they had formerly condemned as sentimental.

Jean and his wife spent their first married years living in the simplest
style and Sally learned the economy for which the French are famous.
Then came the windfall of fifty thousand dollars from Aunt Sarah
Carmichael, which reconciled the exclusive Faubourg more than ever to
the match; and then the death of the little cousin of Jean's, making him
his uncle's heir; and finally the death of the uncle, which gave Jean
the title of Marquis d'Ochtè. It meant giving up his profession, to
which he was much attached; but the estates had to be looked after and
the dignity of the title maintained; and now there was leisure for the
reading and writing of plays, which had been his secret ambition.

Sally made a delightful marchioness. She had been accustomed to the best
society in Kentucky and she declared good society was the same all over
the world; as far as she could see the only way to get on was just to be
yourself and not put on airs. She was very popular in the select circle
to which the title of Marquise d'Ochtè admitted her but she did not
confine herself to that circle; she knew all kinds and conditions of
people, and never forgot a friend, no matter how humble.

Judy was very much excited at the prospect of dining with a live member
of the old nobility, but her excitement was nothing to that of Mrs.
Pace. That lady, when she received the message from Mrs. Brown telling
her they would not be at home for dinner as they would dine out,
immediately climbed to the seventh story to find out where they were to
dine, and on being informed of their destination, she went off into
transports of delight. Her ardor was somewhat dampened when it was
divulged that Judy was to be one of the party.

"Sally is very good natured but entirely too democratic for her position
as the wife of one of the very oldest of the nobility in France. Of
course she asked Miss Kean because of her friendship with your
daughter," panted the irate dame, out of breath from her climb up two
flights.

"I don't believe that was the only reason," said Molly, rather glad to
give Mrs. Pace a dig after her report of her darling Judy. "Cousin Sally
said she had been anxious to meet Miss Kean from what you had told her
of my friend; so you are really responsible for the pleasure in store
for her."

"Well, I only hope she appreciates the honor done her," spluttered Mrs.
Pace. "What are you going to wear? A dinner in the Faubourg and the
Opera afterward calls for the very best in your wardrobe."

"Perhaps you had better advise us about our clothes," said Mrs. Brown
sweetly, remembering what her cousin had said of Mrs. Pace's kind heart
and how she humored her by seeming to let her boss her. "I have a very
pretty black crêpe de Chine. I think I am too old to go décolleté, but I
am sure this is suitable, especially as I have nothing else."

"It is perfectly suitable, and if you take my advice you will wear it
and leave the neck exactly as it is with that lovely old lace finishing
it off in a V. For pity sakes, don't tell Sally you are too old for low
necks as she is about your age and wears décolleté gowns on every
occasion where one is warranted," said Mrs. Pace, much pleased at being
taken into anyone's confidence on the subject of clothes or anything
else.

Molly, taking her cue from her mother, then got out her dress and showed
it to the eager landlady.

"It is lovely and just your color. Sally used to be given to that blue
when she was young, but she says now she is too big and red to wear
anything but brown or black. You must have a taxi to go in. I will
attend to it for you. I hope Miss Kean will not do herself up in any
fantastic, would-be artistic get-up, but will do you and your daughter
credit, to say nothing of me, after I have got her this invitation," and
Mrs. Pace bustled off, filled with importance.

Mrs. Brown and the girls, left alone at last, dressed themselves with
the greatest care for the occasion, realizing what it meant to dine with
the nobility and then go to the far-famed Opera.

"Only think, the tomb of Napoleon, dinner with a marquis and the Opera,
all in one day! I almost wish we had put off the tomb until to-morrow.
Our impressions are coming too fast," exclaimed Molly.



CHAPTER VII.

THE FAUBOURG.


At the toot of the horn, the porte cochère of the Hotel d'Ochtè was
thrown open by a venerable porter and the taxi containing Mrs. Brown and
the girls swept into the court in great style. How beautiful it was! The
soft color of the stone walls blended with the formal box bushes and
tubs of oleanders; here and there a wrought-iron lantern projected from
the pilasters; rows of snub-nosed caryatides held up little balconies,
also of wrought iron, of the most delicate design and workmanship. Judy
held her breath at the effect of line and color and wondered if she
would ever know the inmates well enough to be allowed to make a picture
of the court.

They were met in the hall by the most gracious and least formal of
hostesses and taken immediately to her boudoir to remove their wraps.

"And this is Miss Julia Kean, the friend of my cousin, as the easy
lessons in French put it. I am afraid I shall just have to call you
Judy, my dear, and not start out trying to 'miss' you. And Molly in my
own blue! Ah, child, for the first time in my life I tremble for the
affections of my Jean! There is something about the combination of that
particular blue with red hair that goes to his head. Milly, you are
beautiful! How proud I am of my kin!" And the marchioness chattered on,
leading them down a long, dim hall, hung with tapestries and armor, to
the library.

"We live in our library. It is so much cosier than the great salon and
we feel more at home in the smaller room; and here we can talk without
having to shout across space."

The door was opened at their approach by Philippe who bowed low as they
entered and stood aside, while they were introduced to his father, the
Marquis d'Ochtè.

The marquis was a very interesting-looking man, tall for a Frenchman,
with merry brown eyes and a black, closely cut, pointed beard. His hair
was iron gray, thick and rather bushy. His manner was very cordial and
all of the ladies were secretly relieved to find that he spoke English
fluently, if with an accent.

Philippe was a handsomer man than his father, having that rare
combination of coloring: dark eyes and golden hair. He wore a pointed
beard, too, as is the almost invariable custom of Frenchmen; his eye was
as merry as his father's and he had inherited his mother's strong chin,
big honest mouth and perfect teeth. The d'Ochtè family certainly made a
wonderfully fine looking trio. The marchioness was radiant in black
velvet and diamonds, her neck and arms beautiful and white, her abundant
hair parted in the middle and done in a loose knot on her neck. She was
a very distinguished looking woman and worthy to take her place with
royalty as well as with the nobility. Years had touched her but lightly;
but the eternal youth in her heart, as in that of Mrs. Brown, was what
gave her the charm of expression and manner.

Cordial relations were established immediately between old and young.

"There is nothing like a good American handshake to make strangers
acquainted," said the host, looking admiringly at his wife's cousins and
their attractive companion, Judy, who in spite of Mrs. Pace's fears that
she might get herself up in "paint rags," was most artistically gowned
in old-rose messaline. "It is more pleasure than I can express to meet
the cousins of my Sara; also Mademoiselle Kean, of whom we have heard
much from the respected Madame Pace," he added with a mischievous
twinkle.

"Heavens, how must I behave if Mrs. Pace has already given me a
character?" exclaimed Judy. "Must I be as she says I am, or must I be as
she wants me to be?"

"Be yourself, and you will be as we want you," said the marchioness,
kindly. "Jean and Philippe do not have the chance to meet many American
girls and they do not, as a rule, care to meet Henny's boarders, who are
usually dry-as-dust old maids, especially the ones Henny recommends."

"Oh, please don't change yourselves, any of you," begged Philippe in a
voice and accent so southern that it was amusing coming from a veritable
Frenchman. "All my life, I have longed to meet some of my cousins and to
hear more of the Kentucky stories, and of Chatsworth and the Carmichael
place. Does Cousin Sarah Carmichael, Mrs. Clay, I believe she is now,
still take the biggest piece of cake, and are the beech trees as
beautiful as they were when my mother used to play under them with you,
Cousin Mildred?"

"Oh, Philippe, you should not tell tales out of school! Sarah is Milly's
sister and she might not like the cake reminiscences. Sarah was mighty
grabby, though, wasn't she, Milly? I am afraid she will never forgive me
for getting the legacy from Aunt Sarah Carmichael. You see we were both
named for her and Sarah naturally expected an equal division if not the
'biggest piece of cake,' and when the whole fifty thousand came to me,
it was a sad blow to Sarah. But she was quite comfortable and Jean and I
were the needy members of the family, as far as money went. That was all
we did need as we had everything else," and the marchioness laid her
hand lightly on her husband's bushy hair whence he gently drew it down
to his cheek.

Mrs. Brown could not help smiling over Sister Clay and the big piece of
cake. She remembered how the two Sarahs had always been at daggers
drawn. Her sister was much older than Sally Bolling and had always been
critical of the lively girl who had repaid her by laughing at her and
cracking jokes at her expense.

"Yes indeed, Philippe, the beeches are even more beautiful having had
some years since then to grow. Trees are one of the things that improve
with age. I hope you will come to Kentucky and make us a long visit and
see all of your kin and their homes," said Mrs. Brown cordially.

"That would be fine, if the mother and father could come, too. You don't
know how beautiful your southern tongue sounds to me, Cousin Mildred.
You say 'kin' just as my mother does and as I do. I am laughed at by my
English friends for my way of speaking their language, but I would not
give up my southern accent for worlds."

Dinner was announced, interrupting Philippe, and they made their way to
the _salle a manger_. The marquis gave his arm to Mrs. Brown; Judy fell
to the share of the handsome young son; and the marchioness put her arm
affectionately around Molly's waist.

"My dear," she said, "having you with us is a pleasure, indeed. I wish I
had a daughter just like you. I think your mother might spare you to me.
She has two other daughters and four sons. That is too much for any
woman."

"You had better not say that to mother," laughed Molly. "The only time I
ever saw her lose her temper with Aunt Clay, who would try the patience
of a saint, was when Aunt Clay intimated that it would be much more
economical if there had been only half of us, three children and a half
instead of seven. I was a tiny little girl, but I can remember how I
crawled under the table I was so scared. I had never seen mother get
really mad before and she turned on Aunt Clay in such a rage that I felt
sorry for her. You know it must have been pretty bad if I felt sorry for
Aunt Clay, for she is the one person in the world I can't like."

"Molly, we are alike in more ways than one! She is an abomination unto
me! Sarah Clay made my childhood unhappy. You see, I had no regular home
as my mother and I were very poor. We spent much of our time visiting
and Cousin George Carmichael, your grandfather, was goodness itself to
us. The Carmichael place was more like home than any other to me. I
simply loved it and spent many happy hours playing with your dear
mother; but Sarah never lost a chance to rub it in on me that I was in a
measure a dependent. As a child it would cut me to the quick; but as I
got older and made my visits at Cousin George's, I would retaliate by
making game of my older cousin; and no one can abide being made fun of.
I tell you I gave her tit for tat and usually came out ahead. But we
must stop this whispering. Your mother can't stand any criticism of her
sister. Some day we can get together and say all the mean things we've a
mind to about old Sarah!" Then the marchioness was transformed in the
twinkling of an eye from the naughty Sally Boiling to the gracious
hostess, seeing that her guests were seated and leading the conversation
into the most agreeable channels.

The dinner was perfect, every detail in absolute taste, served
beautifully but with an elegant simplicity. Molly made mental notes on
the sauce with the fish, trying to find out without asking what was in
it; and then the gravy with the filet of beef occupied her attention.
Such a wonderful gravy with a character all its own. She remembered what
Edwin Green had told her of the Frenchman who was visiting America. When
asked his impressions of the country, he had said: "America is a country
with a thousand different religions and one sauce." She wondered what
Miss Morse would think of this gravy, and smiled as she recalled the
lecture on gravies delivered by that highly educated teacher of domestic
science and the smooth, perfect specimen she demonstrated, with no more
flavor than Miss Morse herself.

"What is the little joke my Cousin Mollee is having all to herself,"
asked the marquis.

Molly frankly confessed what had made her smile, since her cousin wanted
to know, and of course in her confession praise of the gravy had to be
included.

"Brava, brava," and the Marquis d'Ochtè clapped his hands. "She is like
my Sara in all ways. She is also a discriminator in foods. This gravy,
my dear Mademoiselle, is the _chef d'oeuvre_ of my chef. You notice
the butler, Jules, has left the room. _Pourquoi_ does he go? He cannot
wait to tell Gaston, the chef, that Madame's cousin from across the seas
has been so gracious as to praise his work of art. If you will turn ever
so little you will see the happy face of Gaston peeping in to view the
beautiful young lady."

Molly turned, and sure enough, tip-toeing to see over the shoulder of
Jules the butler, was Gaston, his face radiant.

"Molly is a wonderful cook herself," said Judy. "She has an instinct for
food that is truly remarkable. At college an invitation to a Molly Brown
spread was looked upon with greater reverence than being asked to have
tea with the President. But has she not learned from Aunt Mary, that
dear old colored woman who cooks like an angel? We trembled for fear
that the domestic science teacher would ruin Molly's touch and make her
too academic, but I hope it hasn't."

"Dear Aunt Mary, I had almost forgotten her!" exclaimed the marchioness.
"Don't tell me you can make Aunt Mary's spoon corn bread, Molly! If you
can, I'll make the Bents move out of their studio to-morrow so you can
move in. And I'll come to live with you and get you to make me some for
every meal until all the cornmeal to be purchased at the American
grocers' is used up!"

"Indeed she can, Sally, and many things besides. Aunt Mary has initiated
her into all the secrets of her trade," said Mrs. Brown. "I remember so
well hearing the old woman say to Molly, when she was a little girl, 'Ef
you wan' ter know how ter make bread, you have ter begin at de
beginnin'. Now yeast is de fust an' maindest thing and tater yeast is
the onliest kin' fit ter use, an' you can't git taters 'thout diggin'
'em; so fer the fust step, s'pose you go an' dig some taters.' So, you
see, my Molly can do it all."

"Oh, how I love to hear about Aunt Mary!" sighed Philippe. "Am I to have
some of this ambrosial bread, too, Cousin Molly?"

"Yes, indeed, but I am afraid the meal we get in Paris will not be
right. Tell us, Cousin Sally, about the studio in the Rue Brea. Can we
get it? We have had so many things to talk about, we have not asked you
about it."

"The Bents expect to go to Italy for six months and are very much
pleased to have good tenants in their absence. I am going to take you
and your mother and Miss Kean, if she can come, to see the place
to-morrow morning. The rent is reasonable, ridiculously cheap even, one
hundred and twenty-five francs a month."

Mrs. Brown's face fell at the rental named by her cousin. The
marchioness saw it and gave a merry laugh. "I know just what you are
doing, Milly; you are thinking in dollars. I said a hundred and
twenty-five _francs_; that is only twenty-five dollars."

"Oh, how silly I am! I did think you meant dollars. Of course, that is
cheap and well within our means. We are so grateful to you, Sally, and I
am sure it will suit," said Mrs. Brown, blushing at her mistake, which
she need not have done as it is no easy matter to think in foreign
money.

The dinner went gaily on. Molly and Judy told Philippe all about
Wellington College, and he in turn had much to tell them of Nancy, where
he had been studying forestry after his course at the Sorbonne. The
marquis and marchioness had many questions to ask Mrs. Brown of the
relatives in Kentucky. The talk was interesting and delightful and they
felt as though they had known one another always.

They lingered over their coffee and cheese until the butler announced
that the limousine was at the door ready to take them to the Opera.
There was a general move for wraps and gloves, but Philippe stopped his
mother long enough to embrace her and whisper in her ear: "Both of them
are jewels and I can't tell which one is the more precious"; and Molly
and Judy, unconscious of their being rivals, hugged each other in Cousin
Sally's boudoir and said in chorus: "What an Adonis!"



CHAPTER VIII.

THE OPERA.


The ride through the brilliantly lighted streets; across the Seine with
its myriad of small boats with their red and green lanterns; through the
Place du Carrousel where the Louvre loomed up dark and mysterious; under
the arch and across the Rue de Rivoli; then into the Avenue de l'Opera,
seemed to Mrs. Brown and Molly the very most delightful experience of
their "great adventure." It was an old story to Judy but one she could
not hear too often, this Paris at night; and the marchioness confessed
that after thirty years, the Avenue, if you approached it as they were
doing, gave her a thrill that was ever new and wonderful. They proceeded
slowly, as the procession of automobiles was endless.

"The horse is almost an extinct animal in Paris," said the marquis to
Mrs. Brown, who had remarked that she feared she was coming to Paris too
late to see the much written of type of "cab, cab horse and cabby." One
sees occasionally a specimen of the old days: rickety cab, thin horse
and fat, red-faced _cocher_; but such an equipage seems to be in demand
only by the very timid who are afraid to trust themselves to the modern
means of locomotion. Those poor souls are not, as a rule, on the
boulevards at this hour, but shut snugly behind doors, locked and
barred, safe from the "dread Apaches and all the terrors of the night."

"I love automobiles," exclaimed Molly, "but nothing could ever take the
place of a horse to me, even a poor, abused, old cab horse."

"Ah then, you can ride!" cried the delighted Philippe. "And you, too,
Miss Kean? American girls are the finest on earth surely," (only he said
"sholy"). "We have horses at _Roche Craie_ and all of us ride. Mother is
a splendid horsewoman."

"Yes indeed, I am going to ride just as long as a horse can be found big
enough to carry me," laughed the marchioness. "Sometimes I think my poor
beast must look like a pet duck I had when I was a child. It got run
over by a wagon, and my old mammy said, 'Yo' lil duck got run over,
honey chile. He is right down in the back but still able to bear up!'

"But it is fine that you girls can ride, and when you come to visit us
at _Roche Craie_ you can have some famous gallops. I hate the English
riding horse with his eternal trotting and the rider working himself to
death posting. Our horses are good Kentucky riding stock with gaits. I
hope you brought your riding habits."

"I did!" and "I did!" said Molly and Judy almost in the same breath.

"I never move without my riding habit, bathing suit and skates,"
declared Judy. "I learned my lesson about my bathing suit once when I
spent the summer in camp with Papa. I did not know we would have any
bathing worthy the name and did not put mine in the trunk. When we got
there we found that the only form of bath that could be had was in a
creek as there was not even a basin in camp, and there was I without a
bathing suit! Papa was furious at my stupidity. We were miles from any
kind of shop. 'Necessity is the mother of invention,' so I took a big
laundry bag, cut slits for arms and legs, tied the draw string around my
neck, and with a neat belt I looked quite chic. It did not give me much
freedom for swimming but I could at least get the necessary bath."

Every one roared at the picture Judy drew of herself tied up in the
laundry bag and just then they got out of the jam on the Avenue, crossed
the great Boulevard des Italiens, and stopped at the beautiful entrance
to the Opera.

The d'Ochtè box was in the first tier and proved very roomy and
comfortable, commanding an excellent view of the house as well as the
stage.

"We have come early on purpose," said the marchioness, "as I wanted you
to see the house fill. I can point out any celebrities I happen to know
before the performance begins."

The girls and Mrs. Brown were seated in the front, with the host and
hostess and their son in the back of the box. There were two extra
seats, but madame declared that she liked to have some left for
visitors.

"_Louise_ is the opera of all others to introduce strangers to Paris,"
explained Philippe to Molly. "It is Paris, Paris sounds, Paris sights,
the tragedy and comedy of Paris."

Molly was devoutly thankful that she had bought the libretto of the
opera of _Louise_ when she and her mother had ventured out to see the
tomb of Napoleon after the visit of Cousin Sally in the morning; and
when they were taking their much needed rest before dressing for dinner
in the Faubourg, she had read it aloud to her mother.

"I was so afraid I might miss something," she explained ingenuously to
her cousin. "You see, mother and I want to see and hear everything we
can. We have done so little traveling and seen so little in our lives
that this coming to Paris is like a visit to fairyland to us. I am
afraid I'll wake up and find it is all a dream."

"I feel as though I were in a dream, too," said Philippe. "I have had so
little chance to talk to girls like you and Miss Kean. _La jeune fille_,
_bien élevèe_, in France is so missish and afraid to speak out to a man.
You and your friend look me straight in the eye without the least
affectation of timidity, just as though you were boys instead of girls;
and at the same time you are delightfully feminine. It is a strange
thing to me to watch one of these girls of my country, with downcast
eyes and so much modesty she can hardly speak above a whisper. The
moment she becomes _madame_ all this timidity disappears, and in the
twinkling of an eye she is the charming young married woman, full of all
the arts and graces. The transformation is so sudden, it makes one doubt
the sincerity of the former modesty. Mother says the French girl is thus
because it is what the average Frenchman wants, the old story of supply
and demand. But I am half Anglo-Saxon and want no such person for my
wife. My mother has spoiled me, and I can never be happy with a
hypocrite."

Molly smiled, thinking that while her cousin was declaring himself
Anglo-Saxon, he was certainly not talking like one. Such candor is
seldom seen in the male Anglo-Saxon. His warmth and fervor were
decidedly French.

The house was beginning to fill and many glasses were leveled at the box
of Madame la Marquise d'Ochtè. The general verdict was that it was a
very effective grouping. Certainly there were not two middle-aged women
in the whole audience more distinguished looking or handsomer than the
marchioness and her cousin; nor were there two fresher or sweeter
looking girls, charming in their eagerness to see and not for one moment
conscious that they were attracting any attention. The marquis and
Philippe formed a pleasing background of masculinity to these beautiful
women.

The opening scene, _Louise's_ garret room in her father's house with the
view through the window of her lover's studio; the duet with her lover
in which she tells him of her father's refusal to their marriage; and
then her promise to run away with him in event of her parent's
persisting in his hard-hearted resolution to separate them, seemed to
Molly most wonderful and touching; but when the mother came in and
berated the lover, _Julien_, as "a rascal, a starveling, a dissipator";
and when _Louise_ defended him as being "so good, so courageous," and
the mother retaliated by calling him the pillar of a wine shop and
attempted to beat her daughter, Molly covered her eyes and wept, all
unconscious of the amused glances of the occupants of the neighboring
box.

But in a moment she was watching again: The father has come in and there
is some sort of reconciliation between him and Louise, although her
mother is still furious and slaps her in the face when she takes up for
him; then the father interferes and embraces _Louise_, and they are
finally all seated around the table, the mother with her sewing, the
father with his pipe, when _Louise_ starts to read aloud from the
newspaper: "The Spring Season is most brilliant. All Paris is in holiday
garb." _Louise_ stops reading and after a moment sobs: "Paris----" and
the curtain slowly descends.

There was a storm of applause, and Molly came to the realization that
she was in a fair way to have a red nose if she did not control her
emotions. She gave a sad little smile and hoped that Philippe would talk
to Judy and let her be sure of herself before she trusted her voice.

As she looked out over the "sea of upturned faces," she saw Mr. Kinsella
and Pierce in the pit. They were applauding vigorously but Mr. Kinsella
had an eye on their box, evidently in hopes of recognition. Molly gave
him a delighted bow and then told her mother and the marchioness of his
presence. The marquis overheard her remark.

"What! Do you mean my old friend, Tom Kinsella? Where, where? Point him
out to me. I'll go and bring him to our box."

He hurried out and made his way to where the Kinsellas were seated. The
twenty-five years since he had seen his American friend were forgotten.
He remembered him as the glowing, enthusiastic boy, for whom the whole
Latin Quarter felt such sympathy when he had to give up his beloved art
and go into business. It escaped his mind entirely that time had not
stood still with Tom Kinsella any more than with him. Jean d'Ochtè made
a very natural mistake. He put his arm lovingly around Pierce and in his
impulsive French way said: "_Mon cher Tom, je t'embrasse._"

Pierce looked up, very much amused at being hugged at the Opera by a
distinguished looking French gentleman with a black beard and bushy,
gray hair. Mr. Kinsella rose from his seat and clasping the marquis by
the hand, exclaimed:

"Jean, how splendid to meet you on this my first night in Paris after
all these years! Don't apologize for mistaking my nephew for me," and he
introduced Pierce to him, calling him "Monsieur d'Ochtè," being entirely
ignorant of the fact of his old friend's having inherited a title and
estates. "Now tell me of Madame. I do hope I am to be allowed to see
her."

"_Certainment_, my friend. She now awaits you in the box where we are
entertaining Sara's cousins, Mrs. and Miss Brown, of Kentukee, also a
charming _jeune fille_, by name Miss Kean."

Uncle and nephew were led, willing captives, to fill the unoccupied
seats in the box. Mrs. Brown and Molly were delighted to see them again,
and Judy and Pierce plunged into a discussion of art schools and
pictures. The marchioness was overjoyed to meet a friend from the old
Bohemian days and her husband was like a boy in his enthusiasm over this
long lost companion. Philippe looked a little sad and downcast, although
he was studiously polite to the strangers. He had been having such a
splendid time with the girls that he could not help resenting the
interruption to his pleasure caused by the entrance of these two
Americans. He was secretly glad when the curtain went up and the whole
party was forced to give their attention to the stage.

The next act, in front of the wine shop, the lover _Julien_ and his
companions playing and making horseplay, had the note of true comedy and
Molly could find nothing to weep over, for which she was truly thankful.
She whispered to Mr. Kinsella that when there was anything to cry over,
she simply had to cry, and he said:

"I see you have what Mr. Dooley calls 'the stage delusion'. It is a
delightful quality to feel the reality of the drama and not remember
there is any 'behind the scenes'. I fancy at this minute _Louise_, who
got a little husky in that duet with _Julien_, when she promised to
leave her mother and father and come to him, is off in her dressing room
spraying her throat and gargling with peroxide to get her voice in trim
for the third act. In that she has a long and very beautiful love scene
in the little home at the apex of the Butte Montmartre where _Julien_
takes her."

"Why did you come to Paris so soon?" asked Mrs. Brown just then. "You
meant to exhaust the sights of Antwerp before leaving, did you not?"

"Well, you see the sights exhausted me before I exhausted them, and
then, like _Louise_, I felt the call of Paris. We got in only an hour
ago, and after a very hasty dinner came to the Opera. _Louise_ seemed to
me to be the very best introduction I could give my nephew to this
wonderful city."

"That is exactly what I have been saying to my cousin Molly!" broke in
Philippe. "It seems to me that Charpentier has given the true Paris with
all of its charm and its dangers. Of course one should see this opera
for the first time in the spring of the year, as that is when Paris is
most alluring and in that season the scene is laid."

"Molly, look in the second tier of boxes almost directly opposite us and
see if that good looking young woman in the rather _outré_ gown is an
acquaintance of yours," said the marchioness. "She has been looking at
our box steadily ever since we arrived."

"Her face is familiar but I can't place her. Judy, see if you know her,"
said Molly, as she adjusted Mr. Kinsella's opera glasses to her eyes.
She and Judy got the focus at the same moment and exclaimed in unison:
"Frances Andrews!"

"She is a girl we knew in our freshman year at college" explained Molly
to her Cousin Sally. "I remember she came to Paris to join her
grandmother, but we have never seen or heard of her since she left
college. She was a very peculiar person but clever and bright, and
always awfully nice to me."

"Humph!" sniffed Judy. "I'd like to see the person who isn't nice to
you, you old saint! The only thing I ever liked about Frances Andrews
was that she got into bigger scrapes than I did and made my misdemeanors
seem small in comparison. She was clever enough, I'll grant you that,
but peculiar is a kind adjective to use in describing that girl. Why,
Molly, she was the most unpopular girl at Wellington. Even her own class
did not stand by her. She was crooked, as crooked as a snake."

"Oh, Judy, there was a lot of good in Frances, but she got in bad with
her class and could not redeem herself somehow. She was so young, too,
and I haven't a doubt that she is vastly improved," and Molly caught the
eager eye of the handsome girl in the opposite box and gave her a
cordial bow.

In a moment an usher brought a card to the door of the d'Ochtè box. On
it was scrawled the following note:

"Molly darling: I am wild to see you. Give me your address and I'll come
to-morrow.--Frances."

Molly wrote the address of the _Maison Pace_ and said she would be glad
to see her, but had an engagement for the time named. She was a little
sorry that Frances had turned up, as she knew that Judy would refuse to
see any good in her and did not know just how the very sophisticated
young woman would impress her mother. But Molly was not one to turn her
back on any one who was fond of her and she had always been sorry for
Frances, feeling in the old days at college that she had been too easily
condemned by her classmates. "There was good in her," reiterated Molly
to herself, "and there still is, and I am going to be nice to her. Judy
can be as stand-offish as she pleases. I know mother will be kind; she
always is."

The last act of _Louise_ was the most wonderful of all and Molly felt
herself becoming so filled with emotion that she feared she would spill
over again. She was grateful to Mr. Kinsella when he said to her in an
undertone: "The gargle evidently did her good as the huskiness has
gone." She smiled in spite of herself and the tears had to go.

It was over all too soon. _Louise's_ father, after he realizes that
_Louise_ has gone for good to her devoted lover in Montmartre, gazes
through the garret window at Paris, which, lighted, seems like a
thousand-eyed monster to the old man. He shakes his fist in a rage and
cries, "Oh, _Paris_!"

As they put on their wraps, Molly heard the marchioness whisper to her
husband: "Ah, Jean, your mother was wise to let us marry, wise and good.
How much better it would have been for this poor old man if he could
have let youth have its say!"

"Ah, my Sara, indeed she was. And now _ma mère_ can still hear the voice
of Paris calling as did _Louise_ in the first act, and she does not have
to curse it as did _la père_ in the last." And the marquis disguised a
fervent hug in the pretext of helping his wife with her cloak.



CHAPTER IX.

THE POSTSCRIPT.


The Bents' studio apartment proved to be exactly the thing for Mrs.
Brown and the girls, and arrangements were made with the artist and his
wife to have it turned over to them in ten days, which would just fill
out their time at _Maison Pace_.

The apartment consisted of a large studio, kitchenette and two small
bedrooms. The plan was for Mrs. Brown to have one of the bedrooms and
Elise O'Brien the other, while Molly and Judy, to their unbounded
delight, were to sleep in a balcony that ran across one end of the
studio. The Marquise d'Ochtè explained to them that this was quite
customary in Bohemia, and that she and her husband had occupied a
similar roost for several years during their early married life.

"I am versed in many a makeshift and this minute could come to live in
the Latin Quarter on half of what you, with your extravagant American
notions, will spend," declared the marchioness, as she showed our
friends over the apartment. "Now this is my advice for the conducting of
your _ménage_, Milly, but I am not like Henny Pace to get riled if you
do not take it. Get your own breakfast, which is a simple matter in
France, having fresh rolls and butter sent in every morning and making
your own coffee or chocolate; take your _déjeuner à la fourchette_, I
mean your luncheon at a restaurant; and then leave your dinners to
circumstances, sometimes having them at home or going out as the
occasion offers.

"Get a servant to come in and clean for you every morning by the hour,
but do not have a regular _bonne_. It would be a useless expense and
then there is no sense in your having to slave over housekeeping. The
way for foreigners to become acquainted with Paris is to see the
restaurants, and there are so many you need not get tired of the cooking
in any one. All I ask of you is to have a regular Kentucky supper for me
some night with----but never mind what with, it will be sure to be what
I want if Molly cooks it."

Molly was busy inspecting the kitchenette, which Mrs. Bent was showing
with much pride as it was quite unique in the Latin Quarter. There was a
tiny gas range, a convenience not often enjoyed as gas was a luxury not
as a rule afforded in Bohemia. The floor was of octagonal, terra cotta
tiles and there was a high mullioned window over the infinitesimal sink.
Long-handled copper skillets and stew pans were ranged along the walls,
suspended from hooks; and a strangely colored china press filled with an
odd assortment of dishes was at one side.

Mrs. Bent laughed when she saw Molly examining the press. "That is
inherited from Mr. Bent's student days. It is a plain deal closet,
colored with palette scrapings. It is always a great stunt with students
to make something like this. Mr. Bent has long ago outgrown it as a
studio furnishing and will have nothing short of mahogany around him,
but it is too roomy and useful for me to give up, so it is banished to
the limbo of the kitchen. I have known students to clean their palettes
many times a day just to get a little more scrapings on their presses."

The effect was a peculiarly deep, rich tone and Judy declared that she
liked it.

"It looks like the shadows in some of Monet's landscapes, dark, but
clear, with light all through them. Some day I am going to make a press
just like this one if I have to clean my palette a hundred times a day
to get scrapings."

The apartment was on the ground floor and one entered across a very
pretty paved court which had green tubs of evergreens here and there
along the wall. The indoor studio balcony, where Judy and Molly were to
sleep, had a long casement that opened on a tiny iron balcony which
overhung the court. There were four similar balconies belonging to the
neighboring studios and all had porch boxes filled with ivy or
chrysanthemums, making a wonderful effect of color.

Judy was Judy-like, entranced. She stepped upon the balcony and holding
out her arms to the tubbed spruce trees, exclaimed in a melodramatic
voice:

    "'O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
    Deny thy father and refuse thy name:
    Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
    And I'll no longer be a Capulet.'"

Suddenly what should she see, from the open door of the opposite studio,
but the faun-like face of Pierce Kinsella, grinning delightedly at the
unexpected encounter. He proved himself equal to the occasion and said
in a low and feeling voice:

    "'Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?'"

And Judy came back with:

    "'How cam'st thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
    The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
    And the place death, considering who thou art,
    If any of my kinsmen find thee here.'"

And Pierce answered:

    "'With love's light wings did I o'erperch these walls;
    For stony limits cannot hold love out,
    And what love can do that dares love attempt;
    Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me.'"

By this time Mr. Kinsella had come out into the court and Molly, hearing
the spouting of so much poetry, joined Judy on the balcony to see what
was going on. She and Mr. Kinsella applauded loudly until the windows of
the two other balconies opened, and from one the head of a long-haired
man and from the other that of a short-haired woman were poked out.

"Poetry aside, Mr. Kinsella, what are you and Pierce doing here in the
Rue Brea?" called Judy.

"We are looking at a studio that is for rent. And what are you doing
here, please?"

"Sitting under our own vine and fig tree, sir! At least, it will be ours
in about ten days," answered Molly.

"You don't mean it! Well, if this isn't luck! Pierce, I'll go back and
sign up with the concierge immediately. Such neighbors as these would
make the meanest studio desirable and, after all, these are pretty good
rooms. We could hardly do better in the Quarter."

Pierce was pleased to have the matter settled, as he felt himself to be
among friends and had visions of many good times in store for him after
working hours with the three bright girls and Mrs. Brown, who was even
more attractive to him than the girls. Mr. Kinsella had assured Mrs.
Brown that Elise would be sure to fall in with any plans that good lady
may have made for her, and he answered for Mrs. Huntington's
acquiescence in any arrangements he saw fit to bring about for her
daughter. She had really washed her hands of the matter, and had given
him to understand that since he had interfered and insisted upon Elise's
having a chance to go on with her much interrupted art studies, he could
go ahead and place her where he chose. For her part, she declared, it
made no difference one way or the other. She had seen too much of
Bohemia in the old days to want ever to cross the borderland again. Mr.
Kinsella felt sure she had secretly hoped that Mrs. Brown would want
Elise with her, and he only awaited their arrival from Brussels to let
them know of the studio apartment in the Rue Brea and of the cordial
welcome Elise O'Brien would have from all three of the ladies concerned.

The next ten days were very busy and exciting ones. Judy and Pierce
plunged into their drawing with renewed zest. Pierce was at Julien's,
too, but as the men's school is in an entirely different part of Paris
from the women's, he and Judy saw each other only in picture galleries
or on the delightful jaunts that the whole crowd took. The _Maison Pace_
was not a very pleasant place to make a call, as there was always a
bunch of snuffy old maids huddled together in the parlor, knitting
shawls and swapping tales of the good and bad pensions they had
encountered in their travels. When a caller braved the ordeal, they
always stopped knitting and talking and sat spellbound, intent on not
losing one word of the visitor's conversation.

Mr. Kinsella and Pierce made one essay, but the occasion was so stiff
and formal and Mrs. Pace so monopolizing that they determined never to
repeat it, but to wait until their friends were installed in their own
apartment. That longed-for time arrived quickly enough for Molly and her
mother, who were sight-seeing in a most systematic manner, with
Baedecker in one hand and Hare's "Walks in Paris" in the other. They
would come home tired and footsore but very happy and enthusiastic.

Molly wrote Professor Green that she felt like the little girl at the
fair, who, when her mother noticed she lagged behind and asked her if
she were tired, said: "My hands and feet are tired, but my face isn't."

"We do become weary unto death but each morning we get up with renewed
zest," she wrote, "with so many wonderful things to see before
nightfall. One thing that bothers us is having to dress and sit through
a formal dinner with the eagle eye of Mrs. Pace upon us. We are looking
forward to the time when we shall be in our own apartment, where we need
not dress for dinner unless we have a mind to. My Cousin Philippe
d'Ochtè declares that already my mother and I know more about Paris than
he does. We are trying to be systematic in our sight-seeing and not to
hurry, as we have the winter before us, but at every corner and square
there is something interesting to find out about.

"Philippe is very kind to us and ready to escort us through any parts of
the city where he thinks it best for women not to go alone. For my part,
I think we could go anywhere we wished. The Parisians are so obliging
and courteous, and so far no one has been the least rude to us. The old
maids in our pension have many tales to tell of the encounters they have
had with impertinent men, and one lady declares that she never goes on
the street without being insulted. But I agree with Mr. Kean who says:
'If you have some business to attend to--and attend to it, you women can
go anywhere in the world you want to in perfect safety.'

"I have not begun my studies yet, as my time has been so taken up with
seeing the places of interest, but Philippe is going to see that I am
put in the proper class in French Lit. at the Sorbonne where he has
obtained a very important degree. He says there are several English and
American women there, so I shall not feel strange.

"I am so glad your orchard home is coming on so well. Kent writes us
that it is already beginning to look like a house. The rough stone
chimneys and foundations are lovely, I know, and will make such a
beautiful support for English ivy.

"We are looking forward to Christmas with great eagerness. This is the
first Christmas I have had with my mother for five years and the first
one she has spent away from all of her other children ever. I shall have
to make a noise like seven Browns to keep her from being homesick."

Here Molly stopped and reflected that some of those five Christmases she
had spent in the company of Professor Edwin Green and she wondered if he
would remember it, too; and if he would miss her as she felt she was
missing him, in spite of all the delightful things she was doing and
seeing. "I know he is not thinking of me at all and I am a goose to
waste any sentiment on him. I have never had a single letter from him I
could not show mother and Judy. When Judy gets a letter from Kent she
never shows it to us, but takes it to her own room and evidently gets
great satisfaction from its perusal, as she always comes out beaming. Ah
me! I am sure I shall die an old maid,--but anyhow I do not intend to
knit shawls and sit around a boarding house talking about the food!"

When poor Professor Green received the letter, part of which is given
above, he, too, was plunged into sad reflections. He reached for a
pretty azure paper weight that always stood on his desk and reminded him
of a certain pair of blue, blue eyes, and looking into it as though he
were crystal-gazing, he shook his head mournfully and said: "Ah, Molly,
you little know how you hurt me! And still, what right have I to expect
anything else from you? I see you now being conducted around Paris by
your Cousin Philippe. I'll be bound he thinks you need a courier even
when you go to a Duval restaurant, the sly dog. I know his type: small
and dark, with a pointed beard and insinuating manner.

"Here I am tied to Wellington and these hated classes and lectures, when
I hoped to be in Paris acting courier for Molly instead of this
disgusting foreigner, who won't know how to appreciate her----But what
an ass I am! I don't know that Philippe is disgusting, and from what
Miss Molly says of his mother, the marchioness, she must be charming.

"I do wish she would not write so coolly of my 'orchard home.' I should
think she would know by telepathy that I always think of it as 'Molly
Brown's Orchard Home.' I was a fool to take Mrs. Brown's advice and not
tell Molly of my love. It may be too late now, and then what shall I
do?"

The distinguished professor of English at Wellington College groaned
aloud. His housekeeper, who was bringing in his tea, heard him and
almost dropped the tray in her alarm.

"And is it the schtomic ache ye be ahfter havin'?"

"No, Mrs. Brady, it is higher up than the stomach. I am glad to see my
tea. 'The beverage which cheers but does not inebriate' may make me feel
better."

"Phwat ye need is a wife to look ahfter ye and keep ye straight.
Schmokin', schmokin' all the time an' brroodin' over the fire is not
good for a young gintleman. An' your disk and floor littered up wit'
paaperrs and ashes."

The kindly old soul began to clear off the untidy desk and stooped to
pick up a piece of paper that had fallen from Molly's letter without
Professor Green's having read it or noticed its existence. She started
to put it in the waste basket, but the professor noticed the action,
being, like most scholars, impatient of having his books and papers
touched. In fact, he had over his desk a framed rubbing of Shakespeare's
epitaph which he had once confided to Molly he kept there especially to
scare Mrs. Brady and make her let his things alone:

    "Good friend for Iesus sake forbeare
    To digg ye dust encloased heare
    Bleste be ye man yt spares the stones
    And curst be he yt moves my bones."

"Wait, my good Mrs. Brady! What is that you are throwing away?"

"Nawthin' but a bit o' blue paaperr, Profissorr. To be shure there's a
schrap o' writin' on the back. Blue things always brring to me mind the
swate eyes o' Miss Molly Brown, the saints protict her" and she handed
the stray piece of thin, blue, foreign letter paper to the eager young
man, who clutched it and smoothed it out and read the following
postscript:

"My cousins, the d'Ochtès, have been very anxious to get up a party and
take us to Fontainebleau to see the palace and then drive through the
forest; but I have done everything to keep from going and I hope the
scheme has fallen through. You have told me so much of the wonderful
forest and the walk from Fontainebleau to Barbizon that I am hoping to
see the place for the first time with you. The spring is the time to see
it, anyhow, I am sure, and perhaps by then you can find a suitable
substitute and have a holiday."

Professor Green looked up from the perusal of the little half sheet of
paper with his face beaming. What can't a woman put in a postscript? The
pain, which he had confessed to Mrs. Brady was a little higher up than
his stomach, had entirely disappeared. He was no longer jealous of "any
little, black, dried-up Frenchman." That is the way he thought of
Philippe; and it was certainly well for the young American's peace of
mind that he did not know that Molly and Judy always spoke of Philippe
d'Ochtè as "the Adonis."

"Mrs. Brady, your good, strong, hot tea has done wonders for me. I am
feeling so much better, I am going to take your advice and go for a long
walk and not sit over the fire any longer."

He accordingly unwound his long legs, put the little blue letter with
its health-giving postscript carefully in his breast pocket, (right over
the spot of the vanished pain!) and went for one of his fifteen-mile
tramps, humming sentimentally, "When the robins nest again, and the
flowers are in bloom."

Mrs. Brady looked after him and smilingly shook her head: "He may say
it's the tay, but there was some preschription in that bit o' blue
paaperr I was ahfter destroyin' that was the pain-killer this toime for
the poor young gintleman. Me prrivit opinion is that he, too, is
a-missin' the swate eyes o' Miss Molly Brown!"

Professor Edwin Green came home from his long walk in an excellent frame
of mind, happy and tired; but he was not too tired to write to Molly a
letter that somehow she forgot to read to her mother and Judy.



CHAPTER X.

BOHEMIA.


What fun it was to be moving to their own apartment! Mrs. Pace was the
only drawback to their happiness. She was very lugubrious and was sure
they would find the ground floor damp, although it was explained to her
that there was a good cellar under the studio and you went up several
steps to the entrance. For a week before they left her, she would emit
groans and shake her head sadly, saying: "I know it is a great mistake.
These artists are notoriously careless and the place will be filthy, I
haven't a doubt. And then the expense of keeping house is so great.
Never mind, I shall hold your rooms in readiness for you and you can
come back to them at any time."

"I beg you will do no such thing," said Mrs. Brown. "Of course we shall
stay in the studio for six months, as we have rented it for that time.
As for the dirt we are sure to find: you see Mrs. Bent is not an artist
and she has the cleanest rooms I have ever seen."

But nothing convinced Henrietta Pace. She only knew that she was not to
have the very pleasant boarders, so well connected, too, and so easy to
please and courteous. Of course she blamed it on that very pert Miss
Kean, who had defied her from the beginning; but what could one expect
from a girl brought up in no place in particular, not even born in a
fixed spot, (Julia Kean, you remember, was born at sea,) with a father
who openly boasted of having a gizzard? And Mrs. Pace would give what
Judy called, "one of her black satin sighs."

"Why should she dress in black satin all the time?" exclaimed Judy,
after a particularly dismal dinner where Mrs. Pace had spent the time
telling of all the misguided persons who had left her protecting wing
and of the direful things that had befallen them. "The idea of any one
as huge as she is wearing tight black satin! Why, I noticed two great
square high-lights on her, measuring six inches across, one on her arm
and one on her capacious bosom. In the latter, the whole dinner table
was reflected. She should wear soft, loose things where no accenting
high-lights could find a foothold."

"Oh, Judy, you are too delicious!" laughed Molly. "Who but you would
notice the high-lights on your landlady's bosom, and then even the
reflections in those high-lights? But weren't you amused at the
'unmerciful disaster that followed fast and followed faster' all the
boarders that had not stayed at _Maison Pace_?

"One girl married a worthless art student and had to paint bathtubs for
a living; one girl got lead poisoning in a studio where she was
studying; one lady got her pocket picked on the Bois de Boulogne and one
poor gentleman was lost at sea. Two of these calamities certainly could
not have happened in this place. I'd defy anyone to get married here,
even to a worthless art student, nor could one very well get lost at
sea. I am glad we are to leave to-morrow and also glad that Elise
O'Brien will not come until we are installed in the Rue Brea."

Molly had seen Frances Andrews several times since the recognition at
the Opera, and had found her very agreeable but still peculiar,
passionate and moody. She was extravagant in her affection for Molly and
seemed eager to please Mrs. Brown. On the one occasion in which she had
seen Judy when she called at the _Maison Pace_, she had been embarrassed
and ill at ease with her and a little wistful, Molly thought.

She whispered to Molly on leaving: "I know Miss Kean despises me, but
don't let her influence you. I am not as good as you think I am, but I
am not half so bad as Miss Kean thinks I am. I got in wrong at
Wellington and never could live down that scrape. Breaking the eleventh
commandment is a terrible mistake: getting found out, I mean. I really
did not do anything nearly so bad as lots of the other girls: Judith
Blount, for instance. She did _mean_ things and I never did. I was my
own worst enemy and harmed no one else."

"Well, Judith Blount has 'come through,' as the darkeys say when they
get religion, wonderfully well. It was the best thing that ever happened
for her to become poor; and then she had such a wise little friend,
Madeleine Pettit, who showed her how to work. You know I am your friend,
Frances, and always did like you. You must not think Judy Kean does not,
too. I am sure she has no reason to dislike you," and Molly bade her
good-by with promises to come to call on her and her grandmother very
soon.

But Frances was not mistaken about Judy's feelings for her. That young
woman had a deep-seated dislike to the handsome, dashing Frances. "I
don't trust her, Molly. She certainly did a dishonorable thing at
college, and her eyes, although they are so beautiful, are a little
shifty. I don't want to like her and I don't mean to, so there!"

The Browns' move from Boulevard St. Michael amounted almost to a
flitting in the eyes of Mrs. Pace, as they departed while she was at
market and had to leave their good-bye with Alphonsine for their
respected landlady. The Marquise d'Ochtè sent her limousine to convey
them to their new quarters, and knowing the habits of the redoubtable
Henny, she deliberately had the chauffeur call very early for her
cousins so that they could avoid the stormy good-bye she knew they would
have to undergo.

They found the apartment shining and beautiful, everything swept and
garnished, a fire burning in the big stove in the studio and a wonderful
green bowl of chrysanthemums on the table. A little note was stuck in
the flowers, bidding them welcome from the Bents and wishing them joy in
the apartment where they had been so happy themselves.

"Aren't they the nicest people you ever saw," exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "The
place looks as though it had been arranged for honored guests instead of
just renters. I don't see how they could have slept here last night,
eaten breakfast here, and left everything in such apple pie order. I
almost wish Mrs. Pace could see it, just to keep her from feeling so
sorry for us. Now let's unpack, put away our clothes, and make a list of
what we need in the larder. When we go out for luncheon, we can do our
purchasing."

"Of course we'll have dinner at home to-night. Elise gets in at
four-thirty and Mr. Kinsella says he thinks there will be no doubt about
her coming straight to us. He is to meet them at the station and intends
to put the question immediately to Mrs. Huntington, and if her answer is
favorable, he will bring Elise to us bag and baggage. So Pierce told me
when he stopped in on his way to the art school to see if he could be of
any service to us in the move. Oh, my mother, aren't we going to have a
lovely time in our own little flat and away from that terrible dragon?"
Molly kissed her mother and then flew up the steps of the balcony to the
sleeping quarters that she and Judy were to occupy, just to peep out of
the window into the court. Then she ran to the tiny kitchen. "I am
itching to get to work on that little gas stove and see how it cooks,"
she exclaimed.

"Now, Molly, there is one thing I am going to put my foot down about:
you are not to be working and cooking all the time we are in Paris. If
this housekeeping is going to make you slave constantly, we will give it
up and go back to Mrs. Pace. We will all share the work; the girls must
do their part, too," and Mrs. Brown looked quite serious and determined.

"I promise, Mumsy, not to overwork but please let me do most of the
cooking. I simply love to cook and I know Judy can't brew a cup of tea
or boil an egg, and I fancy Elise has not had the kind of training that
would make her very domestic. Of course, I'll be studying myself before
so very long at the Sorbonne, and then I am afraid you will be the one
to be overworked."

Just then there was a knock at the door: it proved to be the
short-haired female artist from the adjoining studio. "I saw you had
just moved in and I came to offer my assistance in settling you if you
need me," she said in a voice singularly low and sweet for one of her
very mannish appearance.

Her sandy hair was parted on the side and rather tousled, she had a
freckled face and a turned-up nose, and a broad, good-natured, clever
looking mouth. Her clothes were just as near being a man's as the law
allowed: black Turkish trousers and a workman's blouse with paint all
over the back, giving it very much the effect of the Bents' china press.
Mrs. Brown and Molly looked at her wonderingly. She was a new and
strange specimen to them. Their politeness was equal, however, to any
shock and they thanked her for her kindness and asked her to come in.

"My name is Williams, Josephine Williams, commonly known as Jo Bill.
Mrs. Bent told me of you and asked me to look after you until you got on
to the ways of the Quarter and the tricks of the concierge. I thought
I'd begin by asking you to afternoon tea to-morrow. I wish I could have
you to-day but I've got a model posing for me and I must work every
minute of daylight. I am going to get in the Kinsellas, our other
neighbors, and Polly Perkins,--that is the man who lives in the court
with us. He is not nearly such a big fool as he looks and talks."

"Is his name really 'Polly?'" asked Molly.

"Oh, no! He has a perfectly good man's name, but I am blessed if I
remember it. Everybody calls him Polly. He is a cubist painter, you
know; does the weirdest things and now has taken up a kind of cubist
effect in sculpture; but you will see his things for yourself. I'd like
to give him a good shaking and stand him in the corner. The poor fool
can draw; made quite a name for himself at Carlo Rossi's and has a sense
of color that even this crazy cult can't down. Goodness, how I am
rattling on! I must fly back to my model who has rested long enough. You
will come to-morrow, then? Please bring three tea cups with you," and
the strange looking female strode off.

"Mother, isn't she funny? I like her, though, and think it will be grand
to have tea with her and to meet 'Polly'."

"I like her, too," said Mrs. Brown. "She has such a nice, big, honest
mouth. You know I never could stand little mouths. But, Molly, how on
earth does she manage to wipe her paint brush on the back of her blouse
and keep the front so clean? I wonder what kind of an artist she is."

"Maybe she is a futurist or a symbolist. Anyhow, she is very cordial and
kind. I wish Aunt Clay could know that we are to have tea with a woman
in trousers and a long-haired man."

The shops in the Rue Brea proved to be all that could be desired. A
delightful little coffee, tea and chocolate shop was the first to be
visited. It was no bigger than their tiled kitchen, but was lined with
mirrors which gave it quite a spacious effect. The madame who presided
was lovely and looked just like a cocoa advertisement in her cap and
apron. They made their purchases of freshly ground Mocha-and-Java coffee
and chocolate. The tea they had been warned against by the Marquise
d'Ochtè. "Never get tea from a French shop or let a French person make
it for you. Tea is beyond the ken of the French."

Then they went to a creamery, painted white inside and out as are all
the creameries in Paris. There were great pyramids of butter ranged
along the marble counter according to its freshness, with rosy girls
deftly patting off pounds and half pounds, quarter pounds and even two
sous' worth. Molly and her mother followed their noses to the freshest
pyramid. It seemed to be just out of the churn and Molly declared that
it made her homesick for Aunt Mary and the dairy at Chatsworth. They
bought some of the delicious unsalted butter for dinner and left an
order for a fresh pat to be sent in every morning for breakfast, also
milk and cream and eggs.

Next came the grocery where they got their list of dull necessities in
the way of flour, lard, salt, pepper, sugar and what not. Then the
bakery, to order the little crescent rolls, _croissants_, to be sent in
every morning and also to purchase a crusty loaf for dinner.

"Mother, smell that smell!" exclaimed Molly as they left the bakery.
"What can it be? It is a mixture of all good cooking but I can't
distinguish any particular odor."

Next to the bakery was a poultry shop, with every kind of winged
creature hanging from hooks, inside and out: turkeys, ducks, chickens,
geese, guineas, grouse, pigeons, partridges. In the back of the small,
dark shop was a great open fireplace where logs of wood were blazing
brightly, and in front of this fire were a series of spits, one over the
other, stretching across the whole fireplace, all arranged to turn by a
common crank. On these spits were stuck specimens of the different
birds, and a fat, red-faced youth in white cap and blouse turned the
spit and basted the browning fowls from a long, deep trough which caught
all of the drippings. And so it happened that the turkeys borrowed
delicacy from the pigeons; and the chickens, flavor from the wild duck,
etc. And the gravy: Oh that gravy! All the perfumes of Araby could not
equal it. The Browns were carried away by their discovery of this
wonderful place. They immediately purchased a fine fat hen and monsieur,
the proprietor, promised to have it roasted and sent hot to them by
six-thirty.

"And please give us a whole lot of gravy, _beaucoup de jus_," demanded
Molly.

The charming fat boy gave her a beaming smile and determined to take an
extra quantity to the beautiful Americaine if he lost his job as
spitter.

The dinner was a great success. Elise did come directly from the station
as they had hoped she would, and she was so happy at being made one of
the gay little crowd in the Rue Brea and so grateful to Mrs. Brown for
taking her into her fold, that it made all of them glad to have her.

"Isn't it splendid to be able to loosen up and undress for dinner? It is
especially fine when the dinner is so delicious," exclaimed Elise. "I am
going to learn how to cook, if Molly will help me. Mamma never would let
me go near the kitchen, and do you know I have never even seen any
uncooked food except in shop windows and don't know a raw beefsteak from
an old boot leg?"

"Papa says a French chef can cook up a boot leg with a sauce surprise
that you couldn't for the life of you tell from the finest kind of
steak. Now this roast chicken is the best I have ever tasted, with a
gravy that has the squawk of the wild duck and the coo of a pigeon
and----" but here Judy stopped to help herself plentifully to the
wonderful gravy and Molly finished out her speech for her:

"And the gobble of a turkey; and what attribute of the goose?"

The table in the studio, with its bowl of chrysanthemums, strips of
Japanese toweling in lieu of a cloth, and odd blue china was very
attractive. The china was odd in two senses of the word, as not a single
saucer matched its cup and no two plates were of the same size. But what
mattered that? Was not the coffee in the cups of the hottest and
clearest and strongest? Was not the chicken and gravy, on the
miscellaneous plates, food for the gods? Was not the rice, _à la New
Orleans_, a marvel of culinary skill? Where but in Paris could one find
such crusty bread and delicious butter? The _salade Romaine_ was crisp
and fresh and Judy had made the salad dressing. It was her one
accomplishment in the way of preparing food. She did it in great style
and was always much hurt if any one else was given her job.

"Judy reminds me of Garrick and ought to make the dressing, anyhow,"
said Molly. "You remember what Sydney Smith said of him: 'Our Garrick's
a salad, for in him we see, oil, vinegar, pepper, and mustard agree.'"

"Do you know the Spanish recipe for salad dressing?" asked Elise. "'A
spendthrift for oil; a niggard for vinegar; a sane man for salt and a
maniac for beating it.'"

Judy was proving her suitability by beating so vigorously and clicking
so loudly with the fork, that a gentle knock on the door had to be
sharply repeated before they were sure of it. There was a general
scramble from the kimonoed crowd, who were not expecting a visitor at
this hour. But Mrs. Brown, who wore a black China silk wrapper and was
always presentable, went to the door where a small boy in a long white
linen apron and a baker's cap stood with a huge flat basket on his head.

"_Un gâteau pour Madame Brune._"

"But we have not ordered a cake."

But the small boy was sure it was a cake for Mrs. Brown, and when the
great flat basket was lifted from his head, there, in verity, was
reposing a beautiful mocha cake with Mrs. Brown's name and address
distinctly written on a card, but nothing else.

"An anonymous cake for Mumsy," laughed Molly. "Oh, you chaperone!"

There was another knock at the door, which this time turned out to be a
bunch of violets apiece for the four ladies from Mr. Kinsella and a box
of chocolates from Pierce.

"Why, this is a house warming, girls! What next? I wonder who sent the
cake."

Mrs. Brown cut generous slices of that _spécialité_ of Paris, with its
luscious, soft coffee-flavored covering, hardly an icing, as it is too
soft and creamy to be called that.

"_Ah, j'en ai jusque à la_," said Judy, disposing of the last crumb of
cake and making a motion of cutting her throat with her hand, "which in
plain English means 'stuffed'. I am glad we can't eat the violets. Maybe
after we move around a little we can hold some chocolates, but not yet,
not yet!"

Mrs. Brown and Molly began to clear off the table, but they were
forcibly held by Elise and Judy who insisted that the scullions' part
was theirs.

"Mamma tried to make me promise to stand twenty minutes after meals for
form's sake, I mean my own form," said Elise. "And what could be better
than washing dishes for the complexion? A good steaming is what Mamma
has said I need, as she declares I am so sallow, so I shall steam over
the dishpan. Let's make a rule never to leave the dishes, no matter how
tired we are. Mr. Kinsella says that when he and my father were sharing
a studio here in Paris, when they were boys, they used to leave the
dishes until they had used up all their supply; and then they would turn
them over and eat off the bottoms of the plates. He says those careless
ways are what disgust one finally with Bohemia."

"It was certainly kind of Mr. Kinsella to remember me, too, and send me
a bunch of violets," said Judy as she wiped the cups Elise was washing.

"Mr. Kinsella is always kind," said Elise. "There never was such a
thoughtful man. I feel so grateful to him, and I am going to work like a
Trojan to let him see how I appreciate his interest in me." Elise
blushed rather more than mere gratitude called for, and Judy thought
that the dish water steaming was improving her complexion greatly
already. She determined to wash next time herself and let Elise do the
drying!



CHAPTER XI.

A STUDIO TEA IN THE LATIN QUARTER.


"The only thing that worries me in this delightful arrangement of
co-operative housekeeping is the accounts," sighed Mrs. Brown at
breakfast the next morning. "I am such a poor hand at arithmetic and a
franc is so like a quarter that it is hard for me to remember it is only
twenty cents; and a sou is so huge and heavy, I feel that it must be
more than a cent. I pin my faith to a five franc piece which is like and
is a dollar. I'd turn the money part over to Molly if she were not even
worse than I am about it."

"Don't give it to me, please," begged Molly. "You know dear old Nance
Oldham used to say I could do without money but I could not keep it."

"Well, Mrs. Brown, you should not be bothered to death about it, and I
think we should elect a secretary and treasurer; and since there is no
one here fitted to fill the place, I propose a new member to our club."
Judy got up and reached from a high plate rack a funny, glazed Toby jug.

"I propose the name of Sir Toby Belch as a member of this club."

"I second the nomination and wish to offer an amendment to the motion,"
said Elise: "that the said Sir Toby be made secretary and treasurer of
this association. All in favor of this amendment say 'Aye,' contrary
'No.' The ayes have it. Now are we ready to vote on the motion?"

The result was that Sir Toby Belch was unanimously elected and Mrs.
Brown's duties were lightened. The plan was that every week the four
members of the Co-operative Housekeepers' Association should put into
Sir Toby a certain amount of money which would be drawn out for expenses
as the occasion arose. If Sir Toby should get hungry and empty before
the week was up, an assessment was to be made on all of the members and
he was to be fed, even if it did happen to be between meals for him. If
any member should be out of funds at the time, she could give an I. O.
T. (I Owe Toby) which could be cashed when convenient.

"Dear lady, you shall not be worried," said Elise affectionately. "I
believe this arrangement with Sir Toby will work beautifully."

And so it did. Sometimes Toby would get very lean and hungry and the few
stray sous left in him would clink dismally against his ribs; and again
he would be bursting with silver, paper and copper. Sometimes he would
have to suspend payment until he could negotiate his I. O. T.'s., and
sometimes when the week was up and all outstanding bills settled, he
would be so affluent that he would treat the whole crowd to the theater
or give a party to the friends in the Latin Quarter. Many a jest was
made at his expense and sometimes Mrs. Brown and Judy, both of them able
to quote Shakespeare at any point, would give whole pages of "Twelfth
Night," impersonating the immortal Sir Toby and Sir Andrew Ague-cheek
and the naughty Maria.

Our friends went to many studio teas during their stay in Paris, but the
first one with their erratic neighbor, Miss Jo Bill, they never forgot.
Her studio was the size of their own but had no apartment attached. The
hostess slept in a balcony, similar to the one Judy and Molly occupied,
and her housekeeping and sleeping arrangements were much in evidence.
Molly, going over ahead of the others to take the three tea cups
requested, found Miss Williams washing her own five cups with their
varied assortment of saucers and clearing off a table littered with
papers and magazines, preparatory to placing the alcohol lamp, kettle
and teapot thereon.

"Do let me help you," begged Molly. "Where is your tea towel? I can wipe
the cups."

"Tea towel!" exclaimed Miss Williams. "Why, I don't possess such a
thing! If the water is good and hot and clean, you don't need a towel.
Just let the dishes drain. It is much more sanitary. Towels are awful
germ harborers. But if you want to help, you might straighten up this
table. Don't ask for a cloth or you will embarrass me."

Molly accordingly went to work and got order out of chaos in a short
while. She piled the papers and magazines neatly on a shelf; emptied the
teapot of its former drawing of leaves; washed and rinsed it; filled the
kettle with fresh water; and replenished the alcohol lamp from a bottle
of wood alcohol she found on the shelf.

"Well, if you aren't a peach, Miss Brown!" said the admiring Jo Bill. "I
bet you are dying to go up on my roost and clear it out some. I was
going to let it alone hoping to make it so interesting _en bas_ that no
one would glance up; but if you feel a calling to go up there and stir
around a little, you are welcome."

Molly was itching to get her hands on the balcony, which reminded her of
Mrs. Jellyby's closet, full to overflowing with every conceivable and
inconceivable thing. The floor was strewn with coats, dresses and hats
while the shoes were neatly hung on a row of hooks. Very pretty,
well-shaped shoes they were, too, as it seemed Jo's feet were her one
vanity.

"I never make up my bed, but just kick the covers over the dash board
and let it air all day. Much more sanitary than tucking the germs in,
giving them chance to multiply. You can make it up if you want to,
though, since we are by the way of giving a party. Yes, hang up the
dresses if you think it will improve the looks of things. I keep my
shoes on the hooks so they can dry well and not be losing themselves all
the time. I don't often need the dresses as I usually wear these
painting togs. By Jove, speaking of dresses, I fancy I ought to put on
one this afternoon! I wonder if your mother would think I was not
showing her proper respect if I just put on a clean blouse and didn't
try to get into one of those pesky dresses."

"Oh, don't dress up for mother, please! She would feel bad if she
thought her coming would make any trouble for you, and besides, you
hardly have time to do much; it is after five now," laughed Molly.

So Jo pulled off her workman's blouse and donned a clean one.

"Please tell me what makes you wipe your paint brushes on your back and
how you manage it," asked Molly.

"What a question!" roared the amused Jo. "I wipe the brushes on the
front of my blouses until it gets too gummy, and then I turn it hind
part before. You and your mother must have thought I was some
contortionist yesterday," and she extracted a hair brush from one of the
shoes hanging on a hook and gave her tousled hair a vigorous punishment.

"Shall I put this tub out of sight?" asked Molly, picking up a great
English hat tub.

"No, indeed, leave it there. I always put it where Polly Perkins can see
it to shame him. You see he is as tidy as I am careless, but he leads an
unhealthy, uncleanly life in spite of all of his pernickity ways, and I
am really very sanitary and healthy in spite of all of my untidiness. In
the first place, I take a cold bath every morning of my life and sleep
in a hurricane of fresh air; and if my bed is in a mess, you notice my
sheets are clean; while Polly is one of these once-a-weekers as to
baths, and he is afraid of opening windows and letting in dust, and he
makes up his bed the minute he gets out of it, animal heat, germs and
all."

Molly was vastly amused and interested in her neighbor and her evident
rivalry with the long-haired cubist, whom she now saw daintily picking
his way across the court, in velveteen jacket and Byronic collar with
the loose flowing tie common in the Latin Quarter. In his hand he held a
stiff bouquet of red and yellow chrysanthemums, which, bowing low, he
presented to Jo as she jerked the door open at his knock.

"The flower which you most resemble, I bring as an offering of----"

"Stuff and nonsense! That's a nice thing to tell a girl: that she looks
like a ragged chrysanthemum! I have brushed my hair, too, so your
'comparison is odious.' I have a great mind not to introduce you to Miss
Brown just to pay you back for being so saucy."

But Mr. Perkins did not wait for the formal introduction. He came into
the studio, his pasty face beaming, and gave Molly's hand a cordial
shake. Then the others began to arrive: Mrs. Brown, Judy and Elise, Mr.
Kinsella and Pierce.

"Polly, put the kettle on and we'll all have tea," sang Jo, and the
obedient Mr. Perkins did her bidding. In a short while the water was
boiling and the tea put to draw, and Jo produced from her cupboard a
plate of Napoleons (that delicious pastry of Paris) and a _brioche_.

"Now, Jo Bill, that is mean to go have my kind of cake, too," exclaimed
Polly Perkins fretfully. "You know I never have Napoleons at my teas
because you call them yours, but _brioche_ has always been mine; and
when I have our neighbors in to my studio, what can I give them? I did
not know you could be so sneaky."

Strange to tell, Jo took the repulse quite meekly and confessed that it
was low, but there were not enough Napoleons at the _patisserie_ and she
had to fill out with something else.

"Please don't be cross, Polly. I got _brioche_ because I know you like
it so much. I like macaroons myself," and she helped the indignant
cubist to a generous slice of his favorite cake and he was mollified.

The party was very gay. Jo proved to be a singularly tactful hostess and
put them at their ease immediately. The tea was perfect.

"Where on earth do you get it?" asked Mrs. Brown as she accepted a
second cup.

"Smuggle it," responded Jo. "Every time I go to California I bring
enough back to run me for a year; enough for Polly, too. The custom
house officials never hunt through my luggage for tea. They often remark
that I am 'not the tea drinking type', but Polly, here, can't bring in a
leaf of it without getting found out. He is a regular tea drinking
type."

"Are you from California, too?" asked Molly, smiling at Polly and
wondering if Jo's frankness hurt his feelings. But if it did he
concealed his wounds remarkably well.

"Yes, indeed, Jo and I are from the same town. I have known her ever
since she was a little boy. She is an awful clever sort and as kind and
good as can be. I never mind her blague. We are the best friends in the
world and she likes me as much as I do her. Have you seen her painting?
She does the best and highest paid miniature work among the American
artists in Paris. She has a very interesting way of working: paints
everything big first and then in miniature. She says it keeps her from
getting a sissy manner."

"I can't fancy Miss Williams with a sissy manner in anything," laughed
Elise, who joined Molly and Mr. Perkins. "I want to see her things so
much; and I do hope you will show us some of your work, Mr. Perkins. I
hear you are of the new movement in art."

"Yes," said poor Polly sadly. "Jo hates me for it and refuses to think I
am sincere or that there is any good in the movement, but I declare that
she is the insincere one in not trying to see the good in the cubist
movement. Jo is very hard-headed and conventional at heart, in spite of
her pants."

The girls burst out laughing at this. The idea of Jo's being
conventional was certainly absurd. Hard-headed she no doubt was.

"This will show you how stubborn she is: she pretends she does not
remember my name. I don't mind her calling me Polly, but I do think she
should address my letters to Mr. Peter Perkins and not Polly. I have
known her ever since we were both of us babies and she must remember
what my parents call me, even though she never did call me Peter
herself," said the poor cubist who looked ready to weep.

Just then there was a diversion caused by a great knocking on a door in
the court. It proved to be none other than Mrs. Pace.

"She has come to spy out the nakedness of the land," whispered Judy to
Mr. Kinsella, who had been having a long talk with her. Pierce had had
so much to say of this delightful young lady that his uncle was
determined to make her acquaintance and find out if she were the kind of
girl to be a help to his beloved nephew, or if there could be a chance
of Judy's being the type that he had unfortunately come in contact with
in his youth, causing so much disaster to his happiness. Judy was in her
gayest mood and was enjoying herself hugely, and Mr. Kinsella seemed to
find her quite as delightful as Pierce had led him to believe her to be.
That young man was looking rather disconsolate since his uncle was
occupying the place he coveted. He wandered over to where Elise was
examining some of Jo's miniatures. Elise, too, was a little wistful. She
had looked forward with so much eagerness to meeting Mr. Kinsella again,
and now on the first occasion when they might have had a real
conversation, here he was spending the whole time laughing and talking
with Julia Kean. She was glad of the diversion of Mrs. Pace's entrance,
as it necessarily caused some cessation of what looked to her like a
flirtation between Mr. Kinsella and Judy.

Enter, Mrs. Pace did, with a scornful sniff. After rapping sharply on
the Browns' door and receiving no answer, she had made her way to the
studio where the tea was being held. When Jo Bill opened the door,
without waiting to tell her whom she was seeking, she swept into the
room, "not like a ship in full sail," declared Judy to her companion,
"but like a great coal barge in her shiny black satin and her huge jet
bonnet."

Mrs. Brown introduced her to the members of the party with whom she was
not already acquainted, but she acknowledged the honor only with a
slight quiver of the stiff jet trimmings of her headgear.

"Well, Mrs. Brown! Is this what you left my house for?"

Mrs. Brown made no answer but Molly noticed that her nose was what Aunt
Mary called "a-wucken'"; and she was wondering what would be the outcome
of Mrs. Pace's rudeness, when Polly Perkins saved the day. He was taking
tea to the uninvited guests at Jo's bidding. That young woman was
totally oblivious and indifferent to Mrs. Pace's scornful attitude. She
was Mrs. Brown's friend and she, Jo Bill, knew how to behave in her own
house. Mrs. Pace was seated so that the last rays of the setting sun
slanted through the window on her bonnet and the lighted lamp on the
other hand shone full on her capacious chest, making the large square
high lights of which Judy had made such merry jests. Polly handed her
the cup of tea and slice of _brioche_ and then backed away from her,
standing with his eyes half closed and his hands clasped in adoration.

"Well, young man, what are you looking at me that way for?" snapped the
irate Henny.

"Oh, Madame, you are so beautiful! You must pardon my raptures, but I am
a cubist and you are exactly the type I am looking for to make myself
famous withal. As I stand and gaze at you with my eyes half-closed, you
present the most wonderful spectacle. I see a series of beautiful cubes,
one on top of the other: black and gray, black and gray, and now and
then where the light strikes, a brilliant white one. And oh, your
_chapeau_! I can hardly wait to get to work on your portrait! You will
sit to me, won't you?"

During this effusion, Mrs. Pace sat with a pleased smirk on her face. It
had been many a long day since any one had called her beautiful, and no
one had ever called her beautiful with such enthusiasm or wanted to
paint her portrait. To be sure it was nothing but a small, pasty-faced,
long-haired artist, but he was a man for all that, and his eyes were
kind and earnest and his voice most appealing.

"I am a very busy woman," she answered gently, "but I will pose for you
with pleasure, if it will help you in any way."

Her shiny ornaments trembled with emotion and she gave a sentimental
sigh that broke the beautiful square high-light, so admired by Polly,
into a dozen little ripples.

Mrs. Brown arose to make her adieux, taking Mrs. Pace with her to show
the new quarters to the much softened lady. Mrs. Brown knew by the look
in Judy's eyes that she would explode with laughter in a moment. Molly
and Elise were bending over Jo's miniatures, their shoulders shaking.
Pierce was standing in the middle of the floor with an alert expression
as though he were in readiness to seize the lunatic, poor Polly, if he
should become dangerous. Mr. Kinsella's composure was ominous of an
outbreak. Jo Bill stood with arms akimbo and gazed at her former
playmate, anger gradually gaining the ascendency over the amusement
caused by his outspoken admiration of the ponderous and impolite Mrs.
Pace.

As the door closed on the two ladies, Jo suddenly reached out, and
grabbing Polly by his flowing tie, she boxed his ears soundly. "There,
you goose, I've been wanting to do that for years!"

Polly received the chastisement with the utmost delight and actually
seemed to look upon it as a form of caress from the enraged Jo. He
whispered to Molly: "I believe Jo is jealous of the beautiful Mrs.
Pace."

Mr. Kinsella asked Elise to take a walk with him that evening before
dinner and they had the long talk that the girl had been eager for; and
the little cloud of--not exactly jealousy, more envy of Judy's powers of
attraction than jealousy, was dispelled for the time being.



CHAPTER XII.

THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER.


The winter went merrily on. Elise and Judy worked diligently at
Julien's, the hard academic drawing being good for them and helping to
counteract a tendency both had to rather slipshod methods. They gave
only the morning to the school and in the afternoon looked at pictures
or painted at home, if they could get a model among their acquaintances.

Judy made some charming memory sketches of the Paris streets. Seeing
some bit that took her fancy, going or coming, she would burn to get her
impression on canvas. She could hardly wait to get her hat and coat off,
but would come tearing into the studio, pulling off her wraps as she
came, hair flying, cheeks glowing, looking very like Brer Rabbit, Molly
declared, when he ran down the hill with the six tin plates fer the
chillun to sop outen; and the six tin cups fer the chillun to drink
outen; the coffee pot fer the fambly; and the hankcher fer hisself,
hollerin': "Gimme room, gimme room". They gave her room, all right,
especially if her medium happened to be water color, as Judy was a grand
splasher and spared neither water nor paint.

Elise was delighting in her steady work, the first she had ever been
allowed to do. She lacked Judy's sense of color but on the other hand
was very clever at sketching and getting a likeness, and had inherited
her father's inimitable powers of caricature.

"Oh," sighed Judy, "if I could only get the people in my memory sketches
to stand on their legs and seem to move as yours do, Elise, how happy I
should be!"

"And I," said Elise, "would give anything if I could see and put on
canvas the lovely colors that you can. I can't see anything but drab,
somehow. It must be a somberness of disposition that affects my
eyesight."

"But, Elise," broke in Molly, "you are not somber at all. You are full
of jokes and _bon mots_."

"Oh, that is just my way here with all of you lovely, good, happy
people. I am usually very dull and sober. Mamma says I can be the
stupidest company in all the world, and I am sure she is right."

Elise had indeed blossomed in the congenial atmosphere in which she
found herself for the first time in her life. Mr. Kinsella watched her
eagerly, seeing many things about her to remind him of his old friend
George O'Brien; and when the girl occasionally let drop some of the
worldly cynicism that she had perforce learned from her mother, the sad
look in his eyes would make her quickly repent her bitterness, and her
endeavors to bring back his rarely sweet smile were almost pathetic in
their eagerness. Mrs. Brown understood the girl thoroughly and did
everything in her power to make her feel that she was one of the little
coterie and a valued member; but Elise found it difficult to look upon
herself as anything but an outsider. She was sensitively afraid of being
in the way where Molly's and Judy's intimacy was concerned, and the
girls often had to force her to join them on a lark unless Mrs. Brown
was one of the party.

Pierce was "making good," as he expressed it, at the school. He had gone
through several years of hard drawing at the League in New York, so
decided that he could give his time to the painting that was to be his
life's work. His uncle was delighted with his progress, and felt that
his own youth was not lost at all but reincarnated in the glowing genius
of his beloved nephew.

Molly was studying at the Sorbonne, where her Cousin Philippe d'Ochtè
had duly installed her. It did not seem like studying, but more like
going to the theater for several hours a day. The lecturers were so
charming, so vivacious; their delivery was so dramatic, their gestures
so animated. She drank in every word and found herself understanding
French as she had never dreamed that she could.

She wrote on her stories when she was not attending the lectures. The
Latin Quarter had given her several good plots and she was eager to work
them out before Professor Green should put in his appearance, as she was
anxious to let him see she had accomplished something during her Paris
winter. That poor young man was still teaching the young idea how to
shoot at Wellington and saw no hope of his release before March.

Kent Brown wrote cheerful letters from Kentucky. He was very busy in his
chosen field of architecture and was learning French in a night class to
fit himself for the Beaux Arts when he would finally be able to get to
Paris. Aunt Clay was fighting the Trust vindictively as only she could
fight and was dying hard, but Kent predicted that the end was near; and
as soon as the suit was settled, he intended to take the first steamer
abroad.

Mrs. Brown was not concerning herself in the least about her financial
affairs. She felt sure that sooner or later she would realize on the
sale of oil lands, and in the meantime the economy she and Molly were
compelled to practice was rather exciting and interesting than annoying.
Mrs. Brown had the happy faculty of adaptability, and living on Rue Brea
she found there were many American students who were compelled to
exercise the greatest thrift to exist.

Poor Polly Perkins was a sad example of the unproductive consumer. He
had never earned a cent in his life and it looked as though he never
would earn one, but still he stayed on in Paris, hoping against hope
that his luck would change and that he could either sell a picture or
that his cubist theories would become so popular that pupils would flock
to him to sit at the feet of learning. He had a small monthly remittance
from home that enabled him to pay his rent and by the strictest economy
to clothe himself in the artistic garb of the Quarter (velveteen is
fortunately very durable and not very costly); also to feed and partly
nourish his far from robust little body. Mrs. Brown and Molly felt very
sorry for Polly.

"He is such a sad little fellow," said Molly, "and he is very kind and
good and takes Jo's teasing and bossing so patiently. He is really
sincere about his art, and just because we can't see his way, we ought
not to laugh at him. I believe Jo likes him a lot more than she knows
she does. It nearly kills her for him to make himself ridiculous. I am
crazy to see his portrait of Mrs. Pace. I do hope I can keep my face
straight when he unveils it for us."

"Mrs. Pace declares it is wonderful. She told your Cousin Sally and me
that it was a speaking likeness."

"Well, any likeness of Mrs. Pace would have to be a speaking likeness,"
laughed Molly.

Mrs. Brown and Molly were having one of their confidential talks, rather
rare at that time, as Judy and Elise were usually at home when Molly
was; or if mother and daughter did have a few moments alone, they were
interrupted by callers: the Kinsellas or the d'Ochtès, Jo Williams or
Polly Perkins or some of the new acquaintances they had made among the
students.

"Mother, don't you notice a kind of sadness about Elise lately? She does
not seem to me to be quite herself. Sometimes that old bitter way of
talking gets hold of her and although she knows it pains Mr. Kinsella,
she takes especial delight in giving vent to this satire when he is
present. I am glad he has gone off to the Riviera for a change. She is
devoted and grateful to him for influencing her mother to let her have
the winter in Paris, but she has taken a strange way to show her
gratitude in the last week or so.

"Did you see an almost noisy flirtation she was having with Philippe the
last time we had all of them in to tea? She was not a bit like her
sincere self, the natural, well-bred Elise that we all love so much, but
more like her mother with her smart-set manner and flippant witticisms.
I thought Cousin Sally was a little concerned about her precious
Philippe. Cousin Sally is much more Frenchified in her soul than she
dreams. I believe she is going to control the destiny of her son just as
much as any mother in France."

Mrs. Brown smiled. She had an idea that she knew what Sally Bolling's
plans for her son were: namely, her own Molly Brown. But since Molly
herself had no idea of it, she was the last woman in the world to
suggest it to her. She felt sure of her Molly, sure that no rank or
wealth would influence her in choosing a mate (if choose one she must).
She was confident that Molly liked Professor Green better than any man
she knew, and that Philippe d'Ochtè with all his charm and good looks,
wealth and position, did not appeal to her little daughter as did Edwin
Green, the quiet, scholarly professor with no wealth at all. She had
mentioned the professor only casually to her cousin, Sally d'Ochtè, as
she did not feel it was incumbent upon her to speak of him as Molly's
lover, since Molly herself did not consider him as one.

As for Philippe's heart, she did not think there was any danger of its
being broken. She had carefully observed her young cousin and could see
no sign of the languishing lover. That young man seemed to find
difficulty in deciding which young lady he considered the most
attractive. Molly was all that was lovely and sweet and delightful; Judy
had a singular charm for him, with her vivacious manner and originality;
Elise O'Brien evidently amused him and interested him greatly; and now a
new star had come on his horizon: Frances Andrews, whom he had met at
the Browns' and found very fascinating, a mixture of American and
French. Philippe had, in truth, met too many charmers in too short a
space of time and they had proved an embarrassment of riches, as it
were.

His Cousin Mildred Brown knew what safety in numbers there was for him,
and hoped he would not come to the conclusion that her Molly was the one
of all others for him. Not that she did not like him. She was very fond
of him and fully appreciated all of the d'Ochtè kindness to her and her
little crowd of girls; but she had in a measure given her word to Edwin
Green: that if he would not speak to Molly of his love for her for a
year, he would find her daughter still unattached. She felt that she had
done right in asking this of Professor Green. She was confident that she
knew Molly's inmost thoughts and feelings, and that if she had any
preference at all, it was for the young professor.

There were times when this anxious mother realized that one could not be
too cocksure about the heart of anyone, even of one's own flesh and
blood. Molly had noticed that Elise was not herself, and Mrs. Brown had
noticed that none of her girls were quite themselves. For the last few
days there had been a condition in the apartment in the Rue Brea of
nerves at high tension; tempers a little uncertain; feelings a little
tender. Mrs. Brown held her peace and endeavored tactfully to steer
their little _ménage_ safely over the shoals.

She thought she understood Elise. The poor girl was suffering with
jealousy of Judy, who had plunged into an intimacy with the Kinsellas,
uncle and nephew alike. She and Pierce would go on long tramps into the
country and play a kind of game of memory sketches, seeing which one
could bring home the greater number of impressions. Mr. Kinsella had
become interested in their game and had joined them on one of their
walks, becoming so fired with enthusiasm that he had actually tried to
do some painting himself. He had been quite successful, considering the
number of years that had passed since he had even so much as squeezed
paint out of a tube. They had asked Elise to join them, but she had
coldly refused. After those walks had become so popular with the trio,
then it was that Elise had begun a rather half-hearted flirtation with
Philippe d'Ochtè.

Judy was in one of her gayest and most irritating moods. "Getting ready
for what she calls 'a Judy Kean scrape,' I am afraid," thought Mrs.
Brown. "Our winter has been so peaceful and harmonious; but this mist
will clear away soon, I know."

Judy seemed to realize that she was hurting Elise in some way but to be
perfectly careless of the result. She never lost an opportunity to give
Molly a dig about Frances Andrews, and when that young woman had come to
the studio to tea, Judy had been very cold and almost rude to her.
Molly, on her side, was a little distrait and listless and very touchy.

"What is the matter with my girls?" thought poor Mrs. Brown. "For the
last week they have been like naughty children."

When Molly and her mother were having the little confidential talk
recorded above, the elder lady did not realize that two American mails
had come and that neither Judy nor Molly had received the bulky epistles
that they usually did,--Judy one from Kentucky, and Molly one from
Wellington. This was the cause of their unreasonable tempers. And had
she but known it, on the other side of the Atlantic her own son Kent was
eaten up with the green-eyed monster all because Judy had mentioned the
name of Kinsella six times in her last letter! And he, Kent, had only
that morning called his brother Paul "a conceited ass" because Paul had
on a cravat to match his socks; and he had been equally unreasonable
with a misguided waiter who brought him macaroni when he ordered
spaghetti.

As for the dignified Professor Green, he had actually "hollered" at a
poor freshman who had in reading some poetry pronounced "unshed tears"
as though unshed were in one syllable. "'Unched tears', I could almost
shed them," said the much-tried teacher; and all because a certain Molly
Brown had a cousin Philippe who was kind enough to see that she heard
all the lectures worth while at the Sorbonne.

Mrs. Brown decided to take Molly into her confidence and divulge to her
her ideas concerning Elise and Mr. Kinsella. Molly was astonished and
delighted.

"Oh, mother, how wise you are and how blind I am! I realize now how
Elise must have suffered and all for nothing. I just know Mr. Kinsella
adores her. I see it all. He went off just because he thought Elise was
serious about Philippe and he could not stay to see it. How I wish he
would come back and it could all be set right, and dear Elise could make
up to him for all the suffering her mother caused him! I do wish I could
put a flea in Judy's ear and she would behave."

"But you must not do that, my dear," said Mrs. Brown. "That would not be
quite fair to Elise. You see it is only surmise on our part."

"Right as usual, mother, but it is going to be hard to see things going
wrong when a word would right them. Judy means no harm and is really
doing nothing. She takes long walks with Mr. Kinsella and Pierce, and
Mr. Kinsella delights in Judy's frankness and originality. He likes to
be with her, but as for thinking of her in any other light than as
Pierce's playmate,--I don't believe it has entered his head."

"I am sure it hasn't; but Elise has had very few friends and has been
brought up in such a selfish world, that she is perhaps prone to see the
wrong motive. Molly, do you feel well? I have fancied you were a little
pale lately and not quite so enthusiastic as usual."

Just then there was a knock on the door and the concierge's little son
entered, bringing a stack of mail. One from Wellington was on top, and
Molly was able truthfully to tell her mother that she never felt better
in her life.



CHAPTER XIII.

A JULIA KEAN SCRAPE.


One day in late February when there was a faint hint of spring in the
air, on the way to the art school Judy said to Elise:

"I am dead tired of drawing from a model indoors. I've a great mind to
cut the whole thing and do something desperate. I know the sap is rising
in the trees and the color is getting wonderful and more wonderful every
day. I believe I'll go on a high old lonesome to the country, take my
sketch box, pick up some luncheon where I happen to land and have a
general holiday. Why don't you come, too?"

"Thank you, no. If I should go, too, it would not be a high old lonesome
for you; and then, besides, I am so interested in the model this week,"
said Elise.

She did not say that she half expected Mr. Kinsella back that afternoon
and could not bear to be out of Paris when he returned. Mr. Kinsella had
been off on a three weeks' jaunt, and during his absence Elise had taken
herself severely to task for her behavior to him and to everyone. She
had reasoned herself into seeing how absurd her jealousy was toward
Judy, and when Mr. Kinsella should return, he was to find a much
chastened Elise.

"But, Judy," continued Elise, "if you do go, you will skip a criticism
from the master; and then, isn't it a little imprudent for you to go out
to the country all alone?"

"Oh, I am glad to skip a criticism from old C----, he is such an old
fogy. All he can say is: '_Ça va mieux, mademoiselle, ça va mieux!_' As
for being imprudent going to the country alone, why, I am surely big
enough, old enough and ugly enough to take care of myself," and Judy
made a face and assumed a militant air.

"Well, you are ridiculous enough to carry through any project," laughed
Elise. "And where will you go, you big, ugly, old thing?"

"Oh, not far. St. Cloud, perhaps. I fancy I'll be back before you get
home. I am not so crazy about being by myself when I once get there. I
am a gregarious animal when all is told. Good-by, my love to old C----,"
and Judy swung off, determined to take one of the little boats to St.
Cloud.

It was a glorious day. The water of the Seine was clear and blue; the
little boats were puffing up and down; the fishermen lined the walls and
patiently and diligently cast their hooks. Judy stood on the Pont Neuf
glad she was living; glad she was in Paris and had eyes to see it and
ears to hear it; glad of her truancy; gladdest of all when one old
fisherman actually caught a fish and she was there to behold it. She had
been told that none were ever caught, that the fishermen sat there day
after day, year after year, with never a reward for their patience. She
wandered up the quay, not certain whether she would take a boat to St.
Cloud or go to the station and catch a train for Versailles. As she
loafed along, an ogling old man joined her and with voluble
protestations assured her of his admiration of her beauty. Judy gave him
a withering glance and, quickening her pace, soon left him far behind.

"That is exactly what Papa warned me against," she thought. "He said:
'Never loaf along the streets when you are alone. Have some business to
attend to and attend to it and no one will have anything to say to you.'
I must assume some business if I have it not."

She accordingly put on an air of great purpose, grasped her sketching
kit very firmly, and went and got on a little "penny puff puff" that was
just starting out for Sèvres and St. Cloud.

St. Cloud was beautiful, indeed. The sap was rising in the trees and a
few buds were showing their noses on bush and shrub. There was a haze
over everything like a tulle veil, and Judy had an idea if that would
lift, she could catch a glimpse of spring. She remembered that these
groves were the ones that Corot loved to paint and indeed the effect was
very much that obtained by that great artist: a soft, lovely, misty
atmosphere, with vistas through the trees, and an occasional glimpse of
shining water. Judy made several tiny "postage stamp" sketches. "Taking
notes from nature," she called it.

"I wish some nymphs would come dancing out now," she exclaimed. "Corot
could call them up at any time, and why not I? 'I can call spirits from
the vasty deep. And so can I, and so can any man; but will they come
when you do call them thus?'" No nymphs came, but a wedding party
appeared, the buxom bride dressed in white with a long veil and wreath
of artificial orange blossoms, the groom in dress coat, gray trousers,
and red cravat.

St. Cloud is a famous place for wedding parties of the _petit
bourgeois_, and Judy felt herself to be very fortunate to witness this
first one of the spring. The bride's dress looked rather chilly for
February although it was such a warm, sunny day; but through the coarse
lace yoke it was easy to see that the prudent young woman had on a
sensible red flannel undershirt, and as she turned around and around in
the mazes of the dance, with the ecstatic groom, an equally sensible
gray woolen petticoat was in plain view. A hurdy-gurdy furnished the
music and the greensward was their ballroom floor. Everyone danced, old
and young, fat and lean.

Judy sat entranced and beat time with her eager feet. It was such a
good-natured crowd. The groom's mother danced with the bride's father,
and the bride's mother danced with the groom's father. Everyone had a
partner and everyone seemed to feel it to be his or her duty as well as
pleasure to dance as long as the hurdy-gurdy man could grind out a tune.
The fat mother of the bride (at least Judy thought she must be her
mother from a similarity of gray woolen petticoats) sank on the bench
almost into the wet sketch with the Corot effect, and made speechless
signals that she could proceed no farther. Her disconsolate partner was
not nearly through with his breath or enthusiasm. He was as lean as his
partner was fat and had not so much to carry as the poor mother of the
bride. He took two or three steps alone, kicking out his long legs like
a jumping-jack, and then he made a sudden resolve. Coming over to Judy,
he took off his hat, pressed it to his starched shirt bosom, made a low
bow and asked her to take pity on a poor old man who would have to dance
alone, as dance he must, unless she would be his partner.

Impulsive Julia Kean found herself on a terrace at St. Cloud, spinning
around like a dancing dervish. She, with her partner, danced down the
whole wedding party; even the untiring street piano gave up, and their
last spin was taken without music. The good-natured revelers applauded
loudly; and some of them congratulated her on her powers of endurance;
and the flattered _bon père_ declared that in his youth he had been able
to dance down three charming partners but he had never had the pleasure
of dancing with a young lady with the endurance of the English miss.
With that, he heard a scornful "Bah" from his good wife, who berated him
for his stupidity in not knowing _l'Americaine_ from _l'Anglaise_.

"An English lady would be scornful of our kind, but an American would
not be so particular, blockhead?" And the large grenadier of a woman,
looking like one of the commune, gave his ear a playful tweak.

"My wife is jealous, mademoiselle. She was ever thus," said the lean
dancer; and all the company roared with delight at his wit. Then the
hurdy-gurdy started up a brisk polka. Judy was claimed by the grinning
groom, and once more her endurance was put to the test. For the honor of
her country, she was glad of her athletic training and record at
Wellington. The bride was dancing with her new father-in-law, Judy's
former partner, and it was recognized at the beginning that this was to
be fight to the finish between the two couples.

"Breathe through your nose and save your wind," she whispered to her
partner, who was puffing like a porpoise and showed signs of giving in.
The others had one by one succumbed to fatigue and were now sitting in a
more or less exhausted state on the various benches, noisily applauding
the endurance of the spinning couples and betting on their favorites.

The groom was not the man his father was, but he had youth in his favor;
and Judy had the advantage of the bride in lightness and training. The
old father was beginning to look grim and haggard, and the bride very
hot, with her red flannel shirt showing in splotches through her moist
wedding finery. Judy's soul was filled with compassion. This was the
bride's day and no honor should be wrested from her. If the husband
scored one on her to-day she might never catch even, and he might hold
the whip hand over her for the rest of their married life. As for the
old man, it was hard enough to be old and have young ones usurp your
place.

Judy made a sudden resolve to let her opponents win. She was the
stronger member of their team and knew if it had not been for her
endurance, the young man would have given in long ago; so assuming a
shortness of breath that she did not really feel, she slid from her
partner's flabby embrace and sank on a bench by the side of the bride's
mother, just a second before the old man and his daughter-in-law flopped
in an ignominious heap on the grass.

Being tired and victorious is a very different thing from being tired
and beaten, so the fallen pair were soon restored. The groom picked up
his lady-love and bestowed a burning kiss on her panting mouth, (just to
let her know there was no hard feeling,) and Judy, remembering she had
in her shirtwaist in lieu of a missing button, a tiny enamelled American
flag, went forward and pinned it on the lapel of the old man's coat, and
making a low curtsey, said:

"A tribute from America to France!"

There was much applause. Judy was urged by all present to stay with them
all day, but she had decided to take a train at the nearby station for
Versailles and get her luncheon there, so she bade them good-by.
Gathering up her sketches and sliding them into the grooves in the back
of her kit, she left the gay throng and soon got a local to Versailles.

On reaching Versailles, she did not go into the palace but wandered in
the park, stopping to feed the carp in the pond with some gingerbread
she had bought from a red-cheeked old woman. These carp are large and
fat and lazy, lying at the bottom of the pool, moving their tails almost
imperceptibly and opening and shutting their eyes with such a bored
expression that Judy had to laugh. There is a rumor that they are the
same carp that Marie Antoinette used to feed; certainly they are very
old and very tired. Judy remembering this legend of the carp, began to
think of poor Marie Antoinette and decided to go over to the Trianon.
The poor misunderstood queen had always been one of Judy's favorites.
She walked along under the trees in a brown study musing on the fortunes
of that royal lady.

Suddenly she rubbed her eyes. Was she dreaming or was she crazy? The
Trianon was before her and on the terrace was Marie Antoinette herself
dressed as a shepherdess and leading a beautiful woolly lamb by a blue
ribbon. Accompanying her was a pretty maid of honor dressed as a milk
maid with a pail in her hand and a three-legged stool under her arm. The
Count d'Artois, gay, handsome, debonair, met them and held them in
conversation, then the grave, sedate Monsieur, as the elder of the two
brothers of King Louis XVI was styled, approached, and with him was our
own Benjamin Franklin, dressed in sober brown.

"Where am I? What can it mean? I am wide awake, and that is as certainly
Benjamin Franklin as that I ate Quaker Oats every morning for breakfast
at Wellington. But who is this madman?"

A furious person in shirt sleeves came tearing across the terrace. In
plain American he berated Marie Antoinette, the grave Monsieur, d'Artois
and even the dignified Franklin, and, strange to say, they took it very
amiably. True, the spoiled Marie pouted a bit, but Franklin, with a vile
Cockney accent, said:

"I saiy, wot's your 'urry? The negative hain't spoiled none. Hold 'Press
the Button' hain't in his box."

"Moving picture actors," exclaimed Judy. "What a sell!"

She sat and watched them for some time, amused by the vociferous
manager, who did not hesitate to swear at the royal Louis XVI, who came
into view, forgetting to show the bunch of keys he was supposed to have
fashioned with his own kingly hands.

The day had been full of adventure and in consequence a great success in
Judy's eyes. She was tired of the humdrum of the last few weeks and her
soul thirsted for excitement. "I do wish Molly had come. How she would
have enjoyed the thrill of seeing Marie Antoinette in her own setting of
the Trianon; but if I had been with anyone, I am sure the dear old
dancing father would never have asked me to dance and I should have
missed that delightful experience of being one of a wedding party at St.
Cloud.

"Molly is a little hurt with me, anyhow, because I have been rather
nasty about Frances Andrews. Frances is improved but I have not had the
courage to tell Molly I am sorry, and knowing I am wrong makes me ruder
than ever to Frances. As soon as I get back to town I am going to 'fess
up. Frances is off on a trip with her grandmother, but when she comes
back she will find me as polite as a basket of chips. Suppose Molly had
turned her back on me when I got into all of those mix-ups with Adele
Windsor! I don't know whether I would have had the backbone to go
through with the senior year or not if it had not been for Molly.
Frances is certainly much more of a lady than Adele Windsor and she has
never done a thing to hurt me. I am going to try to be good. I know dear
Mrs. Brown will be glad.

"I fancy that dear lady has had some worried moments lately. Elise has
got over her dumps and is behaving like a rational human being, and I am
the only one who has not reformed. I am going to get my lunch and go
right back to Paris and tell them what a brute I am and how good I am
going to be. Kent would hate me for worrying his mother, and he despises
meanness in anyone."

Judy accordingly went to a little café near the station and ordered a
good luncheon, which took almost all of the change she had in her
pocket; but her ticket back to Paris, which was only a few sous, was all
that she needed so she did not let her finances worry her. She still had
a bag with a big slab of gingerbread in it. This she determined to leave
at the café as it was a cumbersome parcel, but the _garçon_ ran after
her with it and she thought it a simpler matter just to take it along,
not knowing that the time would come when she would look upon that
gingerbread as her preserver. Inquiring at the station, she found there
would not be a train back to Paris for about half an hour and so, after
buying her ticket, she determined to take a walk in the Versailles
grounds rather than spend the time waiting.

She chose a rather unfrequented path leading to the lake and walked
slowly for Judy, who was ever quick in her movements; but the day was
beginning to drag a little. She was, as she had told Elise, a gregarious
animal, and a whole day of her own company was beginning to pall on her.
She sat down on a bench. Along the path came a typical Boulevardier, a
very much over-dressed dandy, with shiny boots and hat, lemon colored
gloves, waxed black mustache and beard, and all the manner of a
"would-be-masher." How Judy hated his expression as he ogled her! But
she thought utter disregard of him would discourage him, so she assumed
a very superior air and looked the other way. The Frenchman was so
certain of his powers of fascination that he could not believe her
manner to be anything but coy, so he sank on the bench by her side and
began in the most insinuating way to praise her beauty and style, her
hair, eyes and mouth. The girl was furious, but determined to say
nothing, hoping by her scornful silence to drive off her admirer. He
persisted, however, in his unwelcome attentions.

"_Peut-être madamoiselle_ does not schpick _Français_. I can _parler_ a
leetle Eenglesh, _mais pas beaucoup_." Judy rose from her seat, overcome
with indignation and a slight feeling of fear.

"I know he can't hurt me," thought the girl, "but he can make things
very disagreeable and embarrassing for me."

The place seemed singularly lonesome and desolate. The bright sun had
gone behind a cloud and a sharp breeze had sprung up. There was not a
soul in sight and the station was at least a five minutes' walk distant.
As she hurried off, the man picked up the bag, from the top of which
gingerbread was protruding, and followed her.

"You have forgot your _gouter_, _cherie_. Do you like puddeen very much,
my dear?"

Judy seized the bag of gingerbread that she seemed unable to lose, and a
sudden remembrance of her talk with Elise came to her: "I am big enough,
old enough and ugly enough to take care of myself." She thought if it
was beauty that he was admiring she would cure him fast enough. She
grabbed the slab of soggy brown cake from the bag and crammed about six
inches of it into her mouth, the rest of it sticking out in a manner far
from dainty. It had the desired effect. The fastidious Frenchman was
completely disgusted. He immediately stopped his pursuit, exclaiming
with a shrug: "_Ah quelle betise!_"

When Judy arrived at the little station a train was on the track, and
without waiting to ask any question of the guard, since she had her
ticket, she jumped into a second class coach from which someone had just
alighted, slammed the door shut, sank back on the cushions and burst out
crying. Crying was something in which Judy was not an adept and only a
few tears came, but she felt better because of them. Then she settled
herself for a pleasant, if short, trip to Paris. There was no one in the
coach with her, for which she was very thankful.

"I'd hate for anyone, even a Frenchy, to see me blubber. Oh, how I
should have liked to hit that man a good uppercut on the jaw! I shall
crow over Molly. I did as much with a piece of gingerbread as she did
with a tennis racket when she floored the burglar who was after Mildred
Brown's wedding presents. This looks like a long trip to Paris. We
should be getting there by this time. We are going mighty fast for a
local. Oh, these beastly foreign trains where they hermetically seal you
and you can't ask a question until you get to a station."

The train slowed up but did not stop. They passed a village and then
another and another. The country was not familiar to Judy. She read
"Rambouillet" on a passing station, and then the fact became clear to
her that she was on the wrong train, going from Paris instead of towards
it.

"Rambouillet is at least twenty miles from Paris. Judy Kean, you idiot,
you idiot, you idiot!"

Judy was in truth on the Chartres express with six sous in her pocket,
left after she bought her ticket to Paris; and the one piece of jewelry
she might have converted into enough cash at least to telegraph her
friends, was pinned on the coat of that crazy old dancing fiend.



CHAPTER XIV.

COALS OF FIRE.


A furious, vociferous guard bundled Judy out of the coach, when on
arriving at Chartres the door was unlocked. She showed her ticket to
Paris and endeavored to explain her mistake and situation, but he was
almost inarticulate with rage at her for having "stolen a ride" as he
expressed it; and now she could look out for herself. It was none of his
affair. She went into the waiting room to find out when the next train
to Paris was due. She debated whether or not she should tell the ticket
agent of her trouble and see if he could pass her back to Paris, but his
appearance was so forbidding and his eyes so fishy that she could hardly
make up her mind even to ask the time for the train. She made out from a
bulletin that it was not due until ten at night. That would land her in
Paris at midnight. In the meantime, she must raise enough money to pay
for her ticket and hire a taxi when she got to Paris. She must also
manage to send a telegram to Molly.

"Julia Kean, you have always thought yourself pretty clever and this is
the first time in all your life you have had really and truly to depend
on yourself. Now let's see what you can do. First thing, I warn you not
to sniffle and get sorry for yourself. If you do, the game is up.
Suppose I can't raise the spondulicks in time for the ten train! Maybe I
had better drop a postal to Molly with some of my six sous so she can
get it first pop in the morning."

This she accordingly did. She found a tobacco shop where stamps and
postal cards were sold and mailed a piteous appeal to Molly. She then
found a telegraph office and wrote a telegram to be sent collect, but
the hard-hearted operator refused to send it unless she prepaid it, and
that she could not do. Her French deserted her whenever she thought of
explaining her situation to anyone. She kept her eye open for Americans
or even English, but not a sign of a foreigner did she see.

"I might have raised a little money on the American flag if I only had
not been so smart-Alec and given it to that old man. I wonder what
possessed me to eat such an expensive lunch at Versailles! I fancy it
was my virtuous resolve to be nice to Frances Andrews that made me feel
like treating myself. Thank goodness for the gingerbread! I won't
starve, at least," and she hugged to her faint heart the remains of her
preserver in time of peril and need.

Whom should she see approaching at this juncture but Frances Andrews and
her grandmother? Judy's first feeling was one of delight; but she
remembered how rude she had been to Frances and her resolve to be nice
to her, and felt if she should be cordial now there could be but one
interpretation for Frances to put on it, and that would be: she had an
"axe to grind."

She bowed coldly and Frances returned the salutation, but she stopped
her to ask if the Browns were in Chartres, too.

"No, I am here alone," said Judy with great nonchalance, "I bid you good
afternoon," and she walked on, trying to keep her back from looking
dejected.

"Grandmother, there is something the matter with Miss Kean and I feel as
though I should find out if she needs help," said Frances, gazing after
Judy until she turned the corner.

"Nonsense, my child. She is a bad-mannered piece. I have an idea I know
why she is in Chartres. I believe it is a runaway match between her and
that dark, middle-aged man we met at the Browns' tea. I caught a glimpse
of him at the hotel at déjeuner to-day. Kinsella is his name. I could
not quite place him but knew his face was familiar. You keep out of it.
It is none of your business if persons choose to make fools of
themselves," and the irate old woman clutched her granddaughter's arm
and dragged her along.

"There is no use in trying to stop me, Grandmother. She is Molly Brown's
friend, and while she is horrid to me, I am going to see if she needs my
help for Molly's sake. You can get back to the hotel alone; if you
can't, just call a cab," and Frances whisked off, leaving her aged
relative fussing and fuming in the street.

With all of Judy's acting, Frances had seen that she was excited about
something and she certainly had not the air of one coming to meet a
lover. The day in the country had not been conducive to tidiness. Judy's
hair was blown, her collar and shirtwaist were rumpled, her shoes dusty
and the tears in the train had left a smudge on her cheek.

On turning the corner, Judy had discovered a pawnbroker's shop. "That is
where people in books go when they are hard up, so that is where I am
going," she thought.

It was kept by a benevolent looking old Jew, and benevolent he may have
been, but Judy soon found out, as she expressed it, "He was not in
business for his health."

She asked him what he would give her for her sketching kit. It was a
very attractive and expensive little box, with a palette, a drawer full
of color tubes, a partition with sliding panels for sketching and a tray
of brushes. He sniffed with disgust and said, "Two francs."

Judy's heart sank. Forty cents for a box that cost at least ten dollars,
counting the tubes of expensive colors! But she remembered that at a
pawnbroker's you can redeem your belongings, so she decided to take the
forty cents and send a telegram with it.

"There are some sketches in here that I should like to dispose of, too,
but they are more valuable than the box," she added slyly, having an
instinct that she must meet the old man on his own ground and cry up her
wares. "Be careful! The paint is not quite dry on them."

She slid the panel with the Corot effect out of the back of the box and
held it out to the ancient Shylock. He adjusted his horn spectacles on
the end of his long nose and holding the sketch upside down, viewed it
critically.

"Ah, very pretty, very pretty; two francs fifty for it; but I want to
buy it, not to be redeemed. Any more?" and the dealer stretched out his
eager hand.

Judy had two more which she got a franc apiece for, making in all six
francs fifty, one dollar and thirty cents, enough to get her back to
Paris traveling third class, since she already had her ticket from
Versailles to Paris.

"I can't telegraph to Molly, though, I haven't enough money," she
thought sorrowfully. "I hate to think how worried all of them will be. I
should have told Frances about my predicament, but somehow I could not
bring myself to ask a favor of her when I have always been so nasty to
her."

The old pawnbroker could hardly wait for Judy to get out of his shop to
begin his work on the sketches, converting them into perfectly good,
authentic antiques. The Corot effect he put by a very hot fire, not
quite hot enough to scorch it but hot enough to dry it very quickly and
bake it, so it was covered with innumerable tiny cracks. Then he took
some shellac, dissolved in alcohol and mixed with a little yellow ochre,
and sprayed this all over the sketch. The result was remarkable. He then
slipped it into a heavy gilt frame (still upside down), and displayed it
in his window with the price mark: forty francs, without the frame.

Judy, feeling a little sad over her beloved sketching kit but jubilant
over her financial success, started down the street and bumped right
into Frances Andrews, who was eagerly searching for her. Judy made a
sudden resolve to be nice to Frances from that time on. Frances spoke
first:

"Miss Kean, I do not want to intrude on you, but I want you to feel that
you can call on me to serve you in any way in my power. We are both of
us Molly's friends and somehow I have a feeling that you need help of
some sort."

"Frances--I am not going to call you Miss Andrews--I have been in a
pickle but since I met you and your grandmother on the street I have
come into a fortune of a dollar and thirty cents, so my troubles are
about over. I am going to tell you all about it, but first I want to
tell you that I am sorry I have been so rude and hateful and cold to
you. I have been out in the country alone with my conscience all day and
determined to be a nicer, sweeter girl and to apologize to you and to
Molly; but I got on the train at Versailles going away from Paris
instead of towards it, and landed here in Chartres with only six sous in
my purse. When I met you on the street, I felt if I told you how sorry I
was that I had been so studiedly mean, you would think I had a change of
heart because I wanted something out of you; but now that I have earned
enough to get back to Paris, you can't think that. You show yourself to
be generous-hearted and kind by coming back to look me up after I was so
unbearable to you and your grandmother. You have heaped coals of fire on
my head."

As the girls talked they had come near the hotel where Frances and her
grandmother were stopping.

"Well, Judy--I can't call you Miss Kean ever again--I think you are
simply splendid and worthy to be Molly's friend and I do thank you for
what you have said. Now you must promise to have dinner with grandmother
and me at the hotel and you can come up to my room and rest." And be it
said right here that Frances proved herself to be very much of a lady
for not adding "and wash your face," for Judy's face was ludicrously
dirty. "Grandmother said she thought she saw Mr. Kinsella at the hotel."

"What, Uncle Tom? How splendid!" exclaimed Judy, realizing that her
troubles were at last over.

Mr. Kinsella was sitting on the piazza as they approached. He jumped to
his feet and hurried down the steps. Explanations were soon over and the
kind gentleman took affairs in his own hands. The plan was that all of
them should take the ten o'clock train back to Paris. Mr. Kinsella went
off immediately to telegraph Mrs. Brown of Judy's whereabouts.

The friends in Rue Brea had begun to be very uneasy about Judy. All they
knew was what Elise could tell them of the girl's sudden determination
to cut the art school and spend the morning in the country. Dark came
and no Judy. Pierce Kinsella was called into consultation and could
throw no light on the subject. Jo Williams consoled them greatly by
saying:

"Don't worry about Judy Kean. She is the kind to light on her feet."

So she was, but worry they did. Elise reproached herself for not going
with her. Pierce wished his uncle had come back as he had half hoped he
would that afternoon. They were a very disconsolate crowd. It was seven
o'clock and no clue to their beloved friend. A knock on the door: "_Une
dépêche pour Madame Brune!_"

"A telegram, a telegram!" Mrs. Brown's hands trembled so that Pierce had
to open it for her.

"Why, it is from Uncle Tom! 'Miss Judy Kean safe in Chartres with me.
Will arrive in Paris at midnight. T. Kinsella.' That's all."

"Well, of all things! What is Judy doing in Chartres?" exclaimed Molly
and her mother in one breath.

Elise, her face crimson and eye flashing, burst out with: "Lighting on
her feet, evidently, like the cat she is!" She covered her face with her
hands and fled to her room.

Pierce looked mystified, the Browns both distressed, and Jo Williams
snorted: "So that's what is the matter!"

In the meantime, Judy was having a splendid time. Knowing her friends in
Rue Brea were no longer worrying about her, she gave herself up to
enjoyment. Mr. Kinsella dined with the three ladies and Judy kept them
in a gale with the description of her day of adventure. That young woman
never did things by halves, and she was now engaged in fascinating
Frances and her grandmother with as much spirit as she had formerly
exercised in insulting them. The old lady was completely won over and
Frances was too glad to have Molly's friends like her not to want to let
bygones be bygones.

After dinner Mr. Kinsella redeemed the sketching kit, paying twenty per
cent. interest for the loan. He saw the Corot in the window, where it
looked very genuine in its old gilt frame. He offered the man forty
francs for it, including the frame and the bargain was clinched in short
order. They made very merry over this, and Judy descanted on the genius
that could paint a picture that looked just as well upside down as
rightside up.

"You see the bit of sky in the upper right corner makes very good water
when turned over, and the water in the lower right corner makes a dandy
sky."

Mr. Kinsella wrapped his prize up very carefully and said he intended to
fool Pierce with his find of a genuine old master.



CHAPTER XV.

MR. KINSELLA'S INDIAN SUMMER.


The next morning Molly arranged a tray with a very inviting breakfast
and took it to Elise's room. She found her still in bed, looking very
woebegone and wistful.

"Oh, Molly! You should not spoil me so. I was getting up, at least
thinking about getting up. I did not sleep very well at first and
towards morning went off into such a deep slumber that I could not wake
up," exclaimed the girl.

"I love to spoil people, besides you are always the energetic one and
might for once be allowed a little morning snooze. I hope Judy and I did
not keep you awake. She had so many adventures to tell me that it was
two o'clock before we quieted down. She got into the wrong train at
Versailles and was landed at Chartres with only six sous in her pocket.
With part of this wealth she sent me this postal which has just come,
fearing when she sent it that she might have to spend the night in
Chartres. Only read it and see what a plight she was in," said Molly,
handing the smudgy, pencilled postal to Elise.

"Dearest Molly: Here I am alone in Chartres, where as far as I can see
there is not one friendly soul. Got on the wrong train at Versailles.
Have five sous left after buying this postal but am not discouraged.
Will try to sell my sketch box. Have no jewelry but have enough
gingerbread to keep me from starving. Will sit up all night in station.
Get Pierce to come for me in morning and bring my toothbrush. Will be
home soon as I get some money. Judy."

"Guess whom she met first in Chartres: Frances Andrews and her
grandmother! Then Mr. Kinsella. But before she did anything, she sold
her sketches for enough to get her here third class on the train. She
has made up with Frances and is now as enthusiastic about her as she
used to be down on her. What a Judy she is, anyhow!

"Mr. Kinsella has been here twice this morning to ask if he could see
you. He is afraid you are ill because you are sleeping so late. He told
me to beg you not to go to the art school this morning but to take a
holiday with him. He says this wonderful weather will have to break
soon, as it is too unseasonable to last."

Molly's heart was filled with joy to see the effect her words had on her
friend.

Elise finished the last crumb of _croissant_ and drained the last drop
of coffee. "It does seem best to take advantage of the good weather for
a little outing, and, besides, the model we have is thoroughly
uninteresting this week."

Elise bounced out of bed and Molly noticed that all trace of her bad
night had left her face. Elise did not remember that only the day before
she had thought the model too interesting to think of cutting work for
the day!

Judy, peeping from her balcony where Molly had been spoiling her, too,
with breakfast in bed, saw Mr. Kinsella and Elise start off on their
jaunt.

"Molly, Molly!" she screamed. "I have made a most wonderful discovery:
Elise and Mr. Kinsella are--are--well, seekin'! As they went off just
now there was something in the way he looked at her and she looked at
him that made me know it's so."

"Well, old mole, if you had not been as blind as a bat you would have
seen that all winter. I was dead to tell you, so you would not make
Elise so jealous of you, but mother would not let me. She thought it
would not be fair to Elise. I knew if you knew you would be
careful----" but Judy could not let Molly finish.

"Careful! Elise jealous of me! Uncle Tom and me! Oh, Molly, Molly, how
absurd! Why, Mr. Kinsella has kept close to me to be ready to catch
Pierce by the heels and pull him out, in case I should decide to gobble
him up. I thought everybody knew that. The only reason he decided to go
off on this trip was that I had a heart-to-heart talk with him and told
him that he need not have any fear of me, that I was--was--but never
mind what I told him. Anyhow, he is not afraid I'll make a meal of his
beloved Pierce."

"How about Pierce?" asked Molly. "Is he, too, relieved at his assured
safety?"

"That kid!" sniffed Judy. "He is not in the least in love with anything
but his art. I fancy it would bore him to death if he thought Uncle Tom
and I had had that talk. He likes me just as he would another boy."

Molly felt very happy that the clouds were all clearing away and her
friends were behaving as friends should. She went off to her lecture
hoping that Mr. Kinsella and Elise would quickly come to an
understanding, and glad that she and her beloved Judy were once more on
the old confidential terms.

Mr. Kinsella and Elise did come to an understanding and that
understanding was perfectly satisfactory to both of them. They spent a
wonderful day together, following the trail Judy had taken the day
before, the morning at St. Cloud, with luncheon later on at Versailles.
But they did not dance with the wedding parties they met, nor did they
take the wrong train and go to Chartres instead of back to Paris.

It seemed so marvelous to Mr. Kinsella that this young, handsome,
brilliant girl should find anything in him to care for, middle-aged,
careworn man that he felt himself to be. On the other hand, Elise was
equally astonished that a man of Mr. Kinsella's keen intelligence and
experience could put up with a foolish, silly girl like herself. He
endeavored to make her understand what a remarkable young woman she
really was; and she tried equally hard to explain to him that his age
was one of his chief attractions in her eyes, but that his virtues were
so numerous it was hard to tell which ones made her love him so much.

At any rate, they came back to Paris with a much better opinion of
themselves than they had taken away. Mr. Kinsella looked more than ever
like a gray-haired Pierce. He said he had taken a dip in the fountain of
eternal youth and never intended to get a day older than he was. Elise's
eyes were sparkling and her cheeks all aglow. Her mother could not have
complained that she lacked animation now or that her sallow complexion
needed steaming.

When they returned to the studio in Rue Brea, they found Mrs. Brown,
Molly and Judy trying not to look expectant, but, as Judy said, "ready
to pop with curiosity." Elise ran to Mrs. Brown, and throwing her arms
around her dear chaperone, hid her blushing face on her shoulder; while
Mr. Kinsella, with boyish ingenuousness, said: "Well, what do you think?
Elise and I have gone and done it!"

Enthusiastic congratulations followed and no one asked the question:
"Done what?"

"We thought at first we would not tell for a few days, but keep our
secret; but I have been persuading Elise that there is no use in waiting
for wedding finery. She is beautiful enough in the clothes she has. And
we have determined to go to Rome, where Mrs. Huntington now is, and be
married immediately."

"That will be splendid," declared Mrs. Brown, "but we are sorry not to
have it here, so we can all be present. I hate to give up my girl, but,
of course, she must go straight to her mother."

"The only thing I don't like about it is for me, of all people, to be
the one to interrupt Elise's studies at the art school, after all my
talk about its being so important for her to get in a winter of hard,
continuous work! I am afraid Mrs. Huntington will think I am not very
consistent," laughed the happy fiancé.

Molly was wondering, too, what Mrs. Huntington would think of the match.
She hoped Mr. Kinsella had told Elise of his former attachment to her
mother, and that Elise would be prepared for the more than probable
taunts from that far from considerate lady. Mr. Kinsella was well aware
of the disposition of his prospective mother-in-law, and had prepared
Elise by divulging to her the fact that he had at one time been engaged
to her mother; but he spared her the knowledge of her perfidy. Mrs.
Huntington had already told her daughter of what she designated a
conquest of Tom Kinsella, as she was ever inclined to boast of the
number of scalps of former suitors and to wear them as ornaments.

Mrs. Huntington proved to be very much pleased with the alliance. She
had tried to inform herself of Mr. Kinsella's affairs and had been
delighted to learn that he was really rich. She was too keen an observer
not to know that Mr. Kinsella's interest in Elise was not altogether
because of her father, nor yet her artistic talent. She had predicted to
herself from the first that Tom Kinsella was falling in love with her
daughter, and felt that her wisest course was to take herself off and
not interfere in any way.

Elise, accompanied by her adoring lover and Pierce (Pierce rather dazed
by the rapidity of the proceedings), and chaperoned by a lady produced
by the ever resourceful Marquis d'Ochtè, made her journey to Rome. She
found her mother in a most gracious humor and not even inclined to
object to the marriage being hurried. Elise had rather feared she would
obstruct their plans with a plea for wedding clothes, but her mother
knew very well when it was wise to acquiesce. She gave in very
gracefully and actually consented to Elise's being married in a dress
that was not absolutely new nor of the latest cut.

She felt repaid for her amiability when Mr. Kinsella informed her that
his wife intended, with his entire approval, to make over the bulk of
her fortune to her mother on her twenty-fifth birthday.

"I have enough for all of us, but I know you will be happier if you have
an independent fortune," said the happy bridegroom. "I am so grateful to
you for letting me have Elise that I wish I could do something to show
my appreciation."

"All I can say is that Elise is a very fortunate girl," said Mrs.
Huntington; and there was a glitter in her eye that looked hard but it
was really an unaccustomed tear trying to form itself.

And so Elise and Mr. Kinsella went off on their honeymoon. We will not
even try to find out where they went, but be glad to know that they
found each other more and more delightful and congenial as time passed.
Mr. Kinsella gave the impression more than ever of being a prematurely
gray young man as happiness smoothed out the few lines in his face.
Elise lost altogether the hard, bitter expression that had occasionally
marred her beauty, and quickly blossomed into the sweet, lovely woman
that Mother Nature had planned her to be but that her own mother had
blindly and selfishly tried to nip in the bud.



CHAPTER XVI.

APPLE BLOSSOM TIME IN NORMANDY.


After the excitement occasioned by Elise's and Mr. Kinsella's sudden
decision to go to Rome and be married, our friends in the Rue Brea
settled down to weeks of hard work, interspersed with many delightful
jaunts to theaters, picture galleries and places of interest in and near
Paris.

Molly got much from the lectures at the Sorbonne and to her delight
found she could "think in French." They say that is the true test of
whether you know a language.

Judy and Pierce worked diligently at their respective art schools and
made great progress. Judy took no more trips to the country alone. She
said she was big enough, old enough, and ugly enough to take care of
herself, but she was afraid she did not have sense enough.

Mrs. Brown was enjoying herself quite as much as the young people. Her
cousin, the marchioness, looked to it that she did not become lonesome,
including her in all of her plans, taking her shopping, to clubs and
lectures, to teas and receptions. The Marquis d'Ochtè and his son
Philippe were always delighted when the American cousins were able to
dine with them, and they had many charming evenings in their company.

Philippe was a faithful courier, holding himself in readiness to conduct
them any and everywhere. He confided to his mother that he could not
decide which girl, Molly or Judy, he loved most.

"How happy could I be with either, were t'other dear charmer away," he
sighed.

"Well, my opinion is you will fall between two stools if you can't
decide which one you want," answered his mother a little sharply,
considering that it was her beloved son she was addressing. "Of course
Molly is my choice, but Judy is charming and lovely, and if you think
you will be happier with her you must not consider me. For my part, I
have my doubts about either one of them accepting you." But Sally
Bolling d'Ochtè was not quite her honest self when she made that last
remark, as she did not see how any girl in her senses could refuse her
beautiful young son. "Next week we will all be at _Roche Craie_ and
maybe you can fix your seesawing heart. Cousin Mildred and the girls are
delighted at the thought of getting out to the country for awhile, and
goodness knows, I'll be glad to quit the glitter of Paris for a quiet
rest."

All of them were glad to have a change. The spring was well under way.
Paris was never more beautiful, with flowers everywhere; but Mrs. Brown
confessed to being a little tired of housekeeping; and Molly was looking
a little fagged. The lecture rooms were hot and the dinners at the
restaurants were not so delightful, now that the novelty had worn off.
Spring fever was the real matter with them and a good lazy time at the
chateau in Normandy was all that was necessary to put them on their feet
again. Pierce Kinsella had been included in the invitation, as the
marchioness slyly told her son, to take care of the girl that he,
Philippe, would finally decide not to be the one of all others for him.

_Roche Craie_ was very interesting to the Americans. It was a castle
literally dug out of chalk cliffs. The so-called new chateau (only about
two hundred years old), was built out in front, but the original old
castle was little more than a cave or series of caves. The family used
only the new part but kept it all in absolute repair. The architecture
was pure Gothic, vaulted roofs and pointed arches. Where the roof and
walls were dug in the chalk, there was an attempt at carving, carrying
out the Gothic spirit. Huge chimneys had their openings in the fields
overhead, and strange, indeed, did it seem to find one of these old
chimneys in a wheat field with poppies and corn flowers growing in its
crevices.

"A very convenient country for Santa Claus to ply his trade," said Molly
to Philippe, who was showing her over the estate. "But what is this
peaked thing with the cross on it?"

"Oh, that is the steeple to the chapel, which is dug very far back under
the hill and is one of the most interesting things about _Roche Craie_.
We did not take you there this morning when we were showing you over the
old castle, as my mother has a kind of horror of it and hates to go in
it. There is a ghost story connected with it, and you must know by this
time how _ma mère_ shuns the disagreeable things of this life," answered
Philippe, looking at Molly with growing admiration. Some persons seem to
belong out of doors and Molly was one of them. Her clear, fine
complexion could stand the searchlight of the brightest sun, her hair
was like burnished gold, her eyes, Philippe thought, like the bluets in
the fields of Normandy.

"Cousin Molly, you remind me of the beautiful Jehane de Saint-Pol.
Jehane of the Fair Girdle, the beloved of Richard Coeur de Lion,
Richard Yea-and-Nay. Her eyes were gray green while yours are of the
most wonderful blue, but there is something about your height and
slenderness, your poise, the set of your head, the glory of your hair
that suggests her. If Mother gives the fancy dress ball that she is
threatening, please go as Jehane. I should like to go as Richard."

Molly blushed. She was always confused by compliments and personalities
and hoped Philippe would stop pressing them on her. They had been
pleasant companions in Paris and she had liked being with him very much.
He was extremely agreeable and well-informed, handsome and charming, but
Molly preferred him as a cousin to a courtier. She had an idea that the
title of "Yea-and-Nay" was rather suitable for him, more suitable than
"Lion Hearted."

"Please tell me the ghost story about the chapel," she begged, changing
the subject adroitly.

"All right, if you won't tell mother I told it. She has a horror of it
and is afraid the servants might get timid and refuse to stay here alone
while we are in Paris, if the old tale were revived. My people, you
perhaps know, were Huguenots. The archives show that it was from flocks
of sheep belonging to _Roche Craie_ that the wool was taken to send as a
present to Queen Elizabeth of England, in return for her gift of nine
pieces of cannon to the downtrodden Huguenots.

"The owner of _Roche Craie_ was one Jean d'Ochtè, a man of great
intelligence and integrity. He had been a gay courtier at the court of
Charles IX, but, there, had come under the influence of Admiral Coligny
and had turned Huguenot. His wife, much younger than himself, the
beautiful Elizabeth, a cousin of the Guises, followed her husband's
example but saw no reason why she need give up all gaiety and pleasure
because of her change of heart. But Jean took her away from the court
and all of its dissipations and dangers and brought her here to the old
chateau, where she was literally buried alive in stupidity and ennui.

"Jean fought with the Prince of Condé against the Guises, but when peace
was finally declared in 1570, I think it was, he came back to _Roche
Craie_ and began to get his estate in order. Elizabeth besought him to
take her back to court where she had been a great favorite, but he
feared that the life of gaiety would undermine her not too strenuous
piety, and refused.

"The Huguenots were seemingly in great favor with Catherine de Medicis,
who was preparing for her great coup, the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.
The d'Ochtès were not overlooked by the cruel queen, but a guard was
sent to _Roche Craie_ headed by a zealous Jesuit. Jean was murdered in
his bed but Elizabeth escaped with her little son Henri to the chapel.
She shut the great iron door and managed to place the heavy bar so that
the soldiers could not open it, but the artful Jesuit came up into this
field and made the soldiers tear down the steeple and then he lowered
himself into the chapel with a rope. It was raining in torrents and as
the steeple was removed the floor was deluged. Elizabeth hid her little
son behind the altar and ran to the door hoping, it is supposed, to
divert the attention of the furious priest from her son to herself. She
shrieked, and the soldiers in the field above heard her agonizing cry,
'God help me, God help me!'

"There was a tremendous clap of thunder and a blinding flash of
lightning. The Jesuit lunged forward with his dagger raised, but the
lightning struck before he could, and he and the Lady Elizabeth met
death at the same moment. Strange to say, the little Henri, hiding
behind the altar, was unharmed. The bolt from heaven had come straight
through the aperture made by tearing down this steeple, not touching the
soldiers in the field above or the frightened child below. It is said
that the bodies of the lady and the priest were both entirely consumed.
The soldiers, taking it as a sign from heaven, spared the young heir of
_Roche Craie_; otherwise, the race would have been exterminated on that
dreadful day.

"And now for the ghost story after my long narrative, which I am afraid
must have bored you sadly."

"Oh, don't think it! I have been thrilled by it. Please go on,"
exclaimed Molly.

"You are very kind to find it interesting. It always excites me,
especially when I think how close little Henri was to being killed; and
had he not been spared, I myself could never have come into existence."

"That would have been a calamity, indeed," laughed Molly.

"Would it have made any difference to you, Cousin Molly? I should like
to think it would have made some difference to you," and Philippe looked
rather more ardent than Molly liked to see him.

"Of course it would make loads of difference to all of us, Philippe. But
the ghost story, the ghost story! I believe you are afraid to tell it to
me."

"Well, the legend runs that on a stormy night if the floor of the
chapel, which is paved with soapstone, gets wet, the footprints of the
Lady Elizabeth, where she ran across the deluged floor, are plainly
visible. She was just out of her bed and her feet were bare. They say it
shows she had a very small foot with a high arch, the print of the heel,
a space where the instep arches over, and then the ball of the foot and
the tiny toes. Peasants passing in the field above have heard (provided
the night is stormy enough), the agonizing cry, 'God help me, God help
me!' seeming to come from the old steeple."

"How wonderful! But tell me, have you never seen the footprints
yourself?"

"Mother has such a horror of the story and the talk about ghosts that I
have spared her feelings and never put the legend to the test. I used to
think I'd go some stormy night alone to the chapel, but when the stormy
nights come I am too sleepy or too indolent or afraid of disturbing
mother or something else turns up, and I never have done it."

The young heir of the d'Ochtès led his cousin to a higher point of the
hill overlooking the chateau where he could show her the whole estate of
_Roche Craie_. It was a beautiful sight. The gentle hills sloped to the
Seine with here and there a sharp cleft showing a cliff of chalk,
standing out very white against the green of the spring grass.

Some of the peasants had their homes in the cliffs, and Philippe assured
Molly that they were very comfortable, dry houses. It was a vast estate
in the highest state of cultivation. The village was clean and
prosperous, consisting of about twenty houses besides the ones dug in
the cliffs, two shops and an inn. Across the river was a forest of great
trees that made the beeches at Chatsworth seem saplings.

"Is the land across the river yours, too?" she asked.

"Yes, indeed, that is the best part of _Roche Craie_. My studies at
Nancy have taught me what to do to keep our forest, and I am at work now
preserving those beautiful old trees. You do like it here, don't you,
Cousin Molly? It does not seem small and mean to you after Chatsworth,
does it?"

"Small and mean! It is beautiful, the most beautiful place I ever saw!
You must not get an idea that Chatsworth is magnificent like this."

As Molly looked out across the hills of this splendid French estate she
thought of her home in Kentucky, of the beech woods and the orchard as
it was before the old tree they called their castle blew down; and then
she began to wonder what the orchard looked like now with Professor
Green's bungalow occupying the site of the old castle. There had been no
letter for her from Wellington, the week before she left Paris for
Normandy, and the girl had secretly hoped it meant perhaps that her
friend was on the eve of his departure from America. She longed for some
definite news both of Professor Green and her brother Kent.

"What are you thinking about, Cousin Molly?"

"Apple trees," answered Molly, coming back to earth.

"Oh, are you especially fond of apple trees? I must show you the orchard
over this hill. It is in bloom and a very beautiful sight. Not much to
look at unless it is in bloom, however," and Philippe conducted Molly
over the brow of another hill where a very orderly apple orchard was in
full bloom.

Philippe broke off a spray for her. "I must not let the steward see me
do such a thing. The old man would count the blossoms and tell me I had
spoiled so many apples."

Molly buried her face in the cluster of flowers and her thoughts flew
back again to the trees at Chatsworth, not the orderly, trimmed ones
like these of Normandy, but old and gnarled and twisted. The dream she
had had on the steamer came back to her and again she felt Edwin Green
leaning over her, looking at her with his kind brown eyes and saying:
"Molly, this is _your_ orchard home."

She was awakened from her revery by Philippe, who seized her hand, apple
blossoms and all, and addressed her in the most impassioned tones:
"Cousin Molly! Molly, dearest Molly! I have longed for this moment as I
want to tell you how much I am gratified that you like _Roche Craie_.
The place means so much to my mother and father and to me that we are
happy when any one likes it, but for you of all persons to be pleased
with it, adds to its value in our eyes. We all of us want you to make
your home here. I know it would be more convenable for me to address
your mother first, but since I am half American you will pardon me if I
let that half speak to you, and later on the French half can arrange
with your charming mother."

Molly was greatly mystified. At first she had feared that Philippe was
going to make love to her when he had seized her hand with so much
ardor; but it turned out that he was merely offering _Roche Craie_ as a
home to her mother and herself in the name of the Marquis and Marquise
d'Ochtè. She was greatly relieved that he was not going to be
sentimental and answered him gratefully:

"You are very kind, Philippe, but mother and I have our home in
Kentucky, and while we are enjoying our stay in France, every moment of
it, we have every intention of returning to our own country in the
course of time. I cannot answer for mother, but I am almost sure she
will take the same stand I do."

"But should she not, would you abide by her decision, like a dutiful
daughter?" exclaimed Philippe eagerly. "My own mother has been very
happy in her adopted country and you are strangely like her in some
ways."

"Yes, but Cousin Sally had every reason for remaining in France. She had
her Jean----"

"Ah," interrupted Philippe, "would not you have your Philippe? Could I
not be as much to you as my father has been to my mother?"

At last Molly understood. Her cousin was proposing to her. Molly was by
nature so kind that her first feeling was one of pity for the young man
as she hated to hurt his feelings; but she was sure that he did not love
her in the least and that her refusal of him would astonish him but not
give him a single heartache.

"Philippe," she answered, looking him straight in the eye without sign
of coquetry or softness, "you know very well you could never be to me
what your father is to your mother; and one of the biggest reasons is
that I am not to you what your mother is to your father and never could
be. You are not in love with me nor am I in love with you. I have liked
you a whole lot and I believe you like me, but there must be more than
mere liking to make it right to marry. I don't see how you could have
lived always in the house with your mother and father, who are as much
sweethearts now as when they first married, and not understand something
about real love."

Philippe's feelings ran the gamut from astonishment and embarrassment to
humility. He was not by nature a conceited fellow, but so many mothers
and fathers of so many demoiselles had approached him with a view to an
alliance for those daughters, that it had never really entered his head
that, when the time came for him to make a decision in choice of a wife,
he would be refused. He did like Molly very much, liked and admired her,
found her agreeable and interesting, lovely to behold and such a lady,
and at the same time so perfectly acceptable to his beloved mother and
father. She was in fact so entirely suitable to become the future
Marquise d'Ochtè. Had his mother not made a wonderful success as a
marchioness? Were she and Molly not of the same blood and traditions?
True, he did not have for Molly the grand passion that novelists write
of; but a sincere liking might last longer than the so-called grand
passion.

Molly's words brought him upstanding. After all, he did not understand
anything about real love, not as much as this chit of an American girl.
He bowed his head for a moment in deep dejection, and then, shrugging
his shoulders, he smiled into her stern eyes a little wistfully.

"I thank you, Cousin Molly, for your salutary admonishment. You are
right; I do not know what real love means. I have an idea I could learn,
though, with as good a teacher as I am sure you would be. I value your
friendship and liking so much that I am going to ask you to forget that
I have made this stupid proposal and let us continue the good comrades
we have been."

"Oh, Philippe, I have already forgotten it! You must not think I was
severe, but I do like you so much I hated for you to demean yourself."

"There is one thing I should like to ask you, Cousin Molly: how do you
happen to know so much about true love?" And the young man, his
equanimity entirely restored, looked teasingly at his cousin. "Is it
entirely theoretical?"



CHAPTER XVII.

THE GHOST IN THE CHAPEL.


Philippe told his mother of the outcome of his proposal to Molly and
when he repeated her remark about her and her Jean, the good lady shed
tears of remorse that she had encouraged Philippe to want to marry a
girl that she well knew her son did not really and truly love. Molly's
answer made her realize even more than before the fine, true heart of
her little Kentucky cousin, and her regret was very great that Molly was
not to become the bride of her son.

"Ah, my boy, how stupid we have been! Here you and I have gone serenely
on all winter, confident that either one of these lovely girls, Judy or
Molly, was ready to drop like a ripe plum if you but touched the tree.
We never once thought of the damage we might do one of the girls.
Suppose you had engaged the affections of both of them, while you were
deciding which one you wanted the more? Thank goodness, there are no
hearts broken, not even yours. Tell me, dear: will you try for Judy
now?"

"As our American friends say: 'Not on your life,'" laughed Philippe.
"Molly has taught me a lesson. I am not in love with Miss Julia Kean
even as much as with my cousin, and with the example of happiness ever
before my eyes that you and my father present, I shall be very careful
and pick out for my wife one whom I truly love and who, I hope, truly
loves me. I can't quite see how I escaped falling deeply in love with
Cousin Molly. She is so sweet and so everything that I admire. Do you
know, _ma mère_, I have an idea that the Providence that looks after
children and fools has protected me from a calamity which falling in
love with Molly would have been? I have a feeling that my little cousin
is already in love with someone else, and that there never has been a
chance for me."

"Well, what a wise young man a refusal has made of you!" teased his
mother. "Two or three more experiences of the sort will make a real
savant of you. What makes you have this feeling, this pricking in your
thumbs?"

"Something about the way she spoke of love. Her eyes are certainly the
mirrors of her soul, and there was a look in them that made me feel she
knew what she was talking about."

"Well, we never can tell. I am glad my thoughtlessness and stupidity
have not done any damage," said the marchioness, looking fondly at her
handsome son and thinking in her heart that both girls must be either
blind or already very much in love not to be crazy about her Adonis.

That night, the soft white clouds that had been the despair of Judy and
Pierce all day as they had vainly tried to put them on canvas, came
together and managed to make a very large black cloud which finally
filled the whole heavens; and a fierce thunder storm ensued.

Molly and Judy lay awake talking. Judy had the hardihood to accuse Molly
of having turned down a chance to become the future Marquise d'Ochtè.

"How on earth do you know, Judy? I would never think of telling such a
thing even to you, my very best friend. It seems a very unfair advantage
to take of a man, to let people know he has been refused. But you are
the greatest guesser in the world."

"It didn't take much guessing to come to this conclusion. Who's a mole
now, you old bat? I have known for some time that the handsome Philippe
has had us both under consideration and it was a toss up which one would
be honored. I was betting on you but hoping I would draw the prize,"
laughed Judy.

"Oh, Judy!" exclaimed Molly, shocked a little and wondering if, after
all, Judy was just flirting with her brother Kent.

"Oh, I didn't want to accept him, but I just wanted to jar him a little!
I like him very much and am crazy about his mother and father, but his
complacency in regard to you and me has rather--rather--well, 'got my
goat.' I don't know how else to put it. It has never entered his
aristocratic French mind that we would think of refusing him. He isn't
exactly conceited, in fact, I don't think he is at all conceited; but
things have come his way too much all his life.

"But my, wouldn't it be great to be mistress of this wonderful place?
The chateau is simply perfect and the country around just screaming to
be painted. Pierce and I found so many motifs this morning that I know I
could live here a hundred years and not paint half of them. I am afraid
if Philippe had chosen 'Apple Blossom Time in Normandy' to make love to
me; and had first taken me on a high hill and shown me all of his
wonderful estates, that I should have been tempted to make a _marriage
de convenance_, in spite of my desire to jar your handsome cousin.
Pierce and I were on the opposite hill trying to paint some cloud
effects when Philippe broke off a spray of apple blossoms and gave it to
you. I couldn't help seeing what ensued; but I got in front of Pierce,
so he missed the tableau; and he was so taken up with the clouds that he
did not know he was missing anything."

Molly was thankful for the darkness that hid her hot face. But the storm
was becoming so severe that Judy dropped the subject and got up to look
out of the window for more cloud effects.

"Oh, Judy, I forgot to tell you that Philippe told me the ghost story
connected with the old chateau! Come on back to bed and I'll tell it to
you," said Molly.

Judy accordingly abandoned the study of the storm clouds and eagerly
drank in every word Molly had to tell her of the beautiful Elizabeth and
the terrible night of Saint Bartholomew.

"Oh, Molly, delicious thrills are running up and down my backbone? And
you say Philippe has never been to the chapel on a stormy night to test
the truth of the story? Lived here all his life and never had the
get-up-and-get to go find out? That is the keynote of his character. He
lacks imagination, and that is one big reason both of us have had for
not succumbing to his charms. There is no telling what havoc he might
have played with our hearts if he had had more imagination."

Then both girls lay still listening to the storm, each one thinking of
another good reason she had for not falling in love with poor Philippe,
even if he had been gifted with the imagination of a Byron.

"Oh, what a clap of thunder!" Judy clutched Molly and held her close. "I
have always been more afraid of thunder than lightning. Molly, I wonder
if Elizabeth's footprints wouldn't be visible on such a night? Let's go
see. I can't sleep for thinking of her. We can easily get there without
being seen or heard."

Wrapped in their kimonos and armed with Judy's electric searchlight and
a big pitcher of water, as Philippe had said the floor must be wet to
bring out the footprints, the girls made their way to the haunted
chapel. They groped along narrow passages connecting the new chateau
with the old. There was an entrance to the chapel through the old
chateau made since the fatal night of Saint Bartholomew, but the girls
were not aware of it. They opened a narrow door on the court and ran
through the pouring rain to the great door of the chapel. It was not
locked but very heavy and it took their combined strength to push it
open. The few moments that it took to accomplish this were enough for
them to become wet to the skin.

How dark and grewsome the chapel was! The storm was raging. Looking up
through the cracks in the little steeple, they could see flash after
flash of continuous white lightning. They might have spared themselves
the trouble of bringing the pitcher of water as the floor was already
very wet from the leaks in the steeple. Molly clutched Judy, trying to
keep from screaming, as something brushed her cheek.

"Something touched me! There it is again!" But the searchlight proved it
to be nothing more than a great thick rope hanging from the steeple.

"Could it be the one the Jesuit came down?" gasped Judy.

"Hardly," whispered Molly. "Ropes don't last four hundred years. It must
be the bell rope."

"Of course," exclaimed Judy, reassured. "What a stupid I am! But come
on, we must examine the floor. Let's see: she started at the altar where
she had concealed the boy, and then ran towards the door. The footprints
should be along here where we are standing. Not enough wetness here."
Judy turned over the pitcher and Molly had to jump to keep her feet out
of the water. The girls stooped and began examining every inch of the
flagging.

"Judy, Judy, look!" cried Molly. "This is a footprint. It stays dry
while all the floor is wet. Look, the little toes and then a space for
the high arch and then the slender little heel! Here is another and
another."

Tense with excitement the girls stood up and faced each other. There was
an extra loud crash of thunder and a vivid flash of lightning. There
emerged from behind the altar a tall figure in a priest's black cowl,
carrying a lantern.

If there had been any peasants in the field passing the old steeple on
this night of terrible storm, they would have been able to bear witness
to the truth of the ghost story of the beautiful Elizabeth. There was
certainly a shriek of "God help me! God help me!" but it came from the
over-wrought Judy. Molly reasoned quickly that ghosts of Jesuits would
not carry kerosene lanterns; and, besides, that ghosts do not as a rule
appear to two persons at the same time.

The man put down his lantern on the altar and threw back his hood,
disclosing the features of Philippe. His lantern had little effect on
the blackness of the chapel and Molly had turned off their searchlight
at sight of the apparition. Philippe peered into the darkness and spoke
with a slight agitation:

"Is some one in the chapel? I thought I heard a scream, but the thunder
was so loud I am not sure."

Judy sat down in the puddle made by the overturned pitcher and gave a
dry sob, while Molly turned on the searchlight and called out:

"Nobody but two penitents, Brother Philippe."

"Well, you gave me quite a turn! I thought you were at least the poor
murdered Elizabeth," and Philippe strode forward and assisted the
trembling Judy to her feet. "I couldn't sleep and I thought I would come
and test the truth of the old tale about the footprints. I felt somehow
that I had lacked in imagination never to have done it before. Certainly
you girls have no lack of it."

"I wish I did lack a little of the abundance I possess," shuddered Judy.
"I was as certain a moment ago that you were the murderous Jesuit as I
am now that you are Philippe d'Ochtè. But tell me: how did you get
behind the altar without our seeing you; and where did you get that
cloak? It is about the most picturesque thing I ever saw."

"There is an entrance to the old chateau from behind the altar; and as
for my cloak it is an ordinary _gens d'arme_ cape. It does look rather
monkish. If you admire it, I will present it to you. It will make good
studio property."

The young people had to examine the footprints more carefully, and of
course Philippe discovered that they were really raised places in the
rock, and for that reason showed when the floor was wet.

He conducted the girls back to the main building through the narrow
corridor that had entrance to the chapel through a small door behind the
altar.

"If you only had known of this way, you would have been spared a
wetting. Both of you are drenched. There is a fire in the library. If
you will come there you can dry off. I am so afraid you will catch
cold," said Philippe. "I think you girls are a spunky pair. I have never
known a French girl who would have dared to go on the adventure you have
to-night."

"Well, I fancy we would not have dared to go had we really believed in
ghosts. As for drying ourselves by the library fire I think we had much
better go off to bed. We might rouse the household. Cousin Sally is not
to know of our escapade, as you say she has a dread of this old story
getting started up again," said Molly.

The two bade their young host good-night and crept quietly to their
room.

"My, don't dry clothes and warm covers feel good!" exclaimed Judy,
snuggling down in the lavender-scented linen sheets. "Molly, I was never
more frightened in my life than when that figure appeared behind the
altar! My not really believing in ghosts did not help me one bit. Did
you ever see anything in the way of a mere man quite so excruciatingly
handsome as Philippe when he threw back his cowl and stood bareheaded
peering into the darkness?"

"Oh, Judy, what a girl you are! How could you take note of all that when
you were in a little heap on the floor sobbing out your soul?"

"I peeped through my fingers. People don't sob with their eyes. What a
picture he would make!" and Judy began to draw in the air. "Golden hair
and beard, with the black peaked hood half off and that expression of
looking into the future that he had when he spoke to ask who was there!
'The Young Prophet,' must be the title. He seems to have a latent
imagination, after all. I believe I have done him an injustice. An awful
pity one of us can't marry him! Somehow we ought to keep him in the
family. I bet you I know why your Cousin Sally hates to have the ghost
talked about! I just know she has made a trip to the chapel in a spirit
of adventure and got good and scared."

But Molly was breathing so quietly that Judy realized she was talking to
the air, making no more impression than her imaginary brush had made
when she painted the wonderful picture of "The Young Prophet."



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE PRESCRIPTION.


Paris was as pleasant to return to as it had been to leave. The change
and rest in the country had put new life in all of the marchioness's
guests, and they were ready to go back to their duties with renewed
interest and vigor.

They found on their arrival, however, interruptions to their work more
potent than plain spring fever:--Professor Edwin Green and Kent Brown
had reached Paris the day before, intending to surprise their friends,
and had been themselves both surprised and disappointed to find the
apartment in Rue Brea closed. Miss Josephine Williams had come to the
fore with information and kindly offers of tea and _brioche_. Professor
Green was thrown into the depths of despair when he learned that the
absent ones were visiting the d'Ochtès in Normandy, and Kent could not
conceal his misery when Jo let out that Pierce Kinsella was one of the
party.

That young woman, with a feminine instinct that belied her masculine
attire, understood the two men, and divining that they were both in love
and jealous, one of Philippe and the other of Pierce, exercised the
greatest tact and succeeded in sending them off to their hotel in a much
better frame of mind. She did a great deal of quiet talking about how
boyish Pierce Kinsella was, and what a pet to the whole community, being
years younger than any of the girls. As for Philippe she touched lightly
on his evident admiration for Elise O'Brien before her marriage and
hinted that he seemed equally pleased with Frances Andrews now that
Elise was off the carpet.

As the young men walked toward their student hotel on the Boulevarde
Mont Parnesse, they agreed that Jo Bill was a pretty nice sort. They had
been so impressed by the quality of her tea and _brioche_ and her kindly
tact in telling them exactly what they wanted to hear about their lady
loves and their feared rivals, that they had forgotten to notice her
trousers and her tousled red hair and spoke only of her honest mouth and
good teeth, friendly eyes and shapely feet.

Professor Green had been threatened with a nervous breakdown and
President Walker had at the eleventh hour been able to procure a
substitute. The wise President understood very well that there was a
cure to his nervous breakdown, but that it had to be taken on the other
side of the Atlantic; so she was delighted to hasten his departure.
Edwin had telegraphed Kent of his intended sailing, and that young man
had joyously made preparations to join him in New York. He had the great
pleasure of paying a visit of condolence to his Aunt Sarah Clay, who had
at last lost her suit against the Oil Trust. He also had the pleasure of
depositing in the safety vault a goodly number of bonds for his beloved
mother, enough to insure a comfortable income to her and the certainty
that her financial worries were over forever.

"This is what I call an anticlimax," said Edwin to Kent the next morning
as they lounged on the Pont Carrousel. "We got ourselves ready for the
excitement of surprising the ladies yesterday and nothing came off, and
now this hanging around waiting has taken all the life out of me. Miss
Williams insisted we could not miss them if we guarded the Pont
Carrousel, and of course this would be the natural way for them to come
from the Gare du Nord; but things don't seem to be happening in the
natural way here, lately."

Kent looked narrowly at his friend. He did look tired and depressed, but
the voyage had done him good. He was better than he had been at
Wellington when Dr. McLean had given him a thorough going over and,
after a consultation with his wise partner (Mrs. McLean), had prescribed
an immediate sea trip as the only cure for his malady.

"Oh, buck up, old man, the worst is yet to come!" Kent gave him an
affectionate push just as a taxicab came lumbering on the far end of the
bridge and he saw a blue scarf floating in the breezes, a blue scarf
that could belong to no one but his dear sister Molly. "What did I tell
you? There they are now. Now get ready for the anticlimax that you so
scorn. I bet it will out-climax the climax!"

Judy was the first to see the young men. "Stop, stop!" she called to the
chauffeur.

"Extra charge if I stop, Mademoiselle," warned the man, slowing down his
car.

"Oh, these Frenchies!" wailed the excited girl. "They part mother and
son for three sous; and--and----" but she did not finish about whom else
they would part.

Edwin and Kent crowded in on the front seat with the greedy chauffeur,
and the happy crowd was quickly taken to the Rue Brea.

As Professor Green gazed over his shoulder into the sweet eyes of Molly
Brown, he knew that the sea trip was just exactly what he needed to
restore his failing health and that his old friend Dr. McLean was a wise
physician.

Molly, on the back seat with her mother and Judy, felt very happy. Had
she not cause to feel so? Was not her beloved brother on the seat in
front of her after being parted from them for months and months? Was not
her mother's face a picture of maternal joy to be once again near her
boy? Did not her dear friend Julia Kean frankly show her delight at
Kent's proximity? And last, and Molly tried to make herself think it the
least reason, was not her friend Professor Green rattling along in the
taxi with them with an expression in his kind eyes as they gazed into
hers that made her drop her own, fearing that hers might have the same
telltale look to him that his had to her?

Kent overpaid the chauffeur in spite of Judy's protestations and then
Professor Green came back and gave him an extra _pourboire_.

"Let us squander our hard-earned wealth if we want to, Miss Judy,"
begged Kent. "When I saw that man's round, red face looming up in front
of Molly and mother and you, it seemed to me that he looked like a
veritable cupid; and I should like to give him a good big tip just for
bringing us all together again."

"All right, but Fate ought to be tipped instead of that red-faced,
avaricious old Frenchy," laughed Judy.

What a talk they did have when they got themselves settled comfortably
in the studio, which the kindly Jo Williams and Polly Perkins had aired
and freshened up for their arrival!

Kent had to tell all the Kentucky news first, as Mrs. Brown and Molly
were eager to hear every detail concerning the loved ones at home. The
report was a good one: John and Paul were doing well in their chosen
professions; Sue was happy as a lark with her Cyrus, who was having the
"muddy lane" macadamized; a recent letter from Ernest said that he would
take his holiday in August, provided his mother and Molly would have
returned to Kentucky by that time; Aunt Clay was in a pleasant,
chastened mood, seeming rather reconciled to losing her suit; Aunt Mary,
the dear old cook, was lonesome and forlorn with "Ole Miss and Molly
Baby done gone so fer away. Looks lak I ain't got the heart to put a
livin' thing inter a pie sence they done gone an' lef' me. I cyarn't eat
fer a thinkin' what kind er messes they is puttin' in they own innerds;
an I cyarn't sleep fer thinkin' of the deep waters a rollin' betwixt
us." Mrs. Brown and Molly had to wipe their eyes at Kent's description
of the dear old darkey.

"Speaking of innerds," laughed Kent, "where are we to have luncheon?
This constant change of climate is giving me a powerful good appetite.
My only regret in regard to our crossing was that we did not come on a
German line. The French line is good enough except that they have only
four meals a day, while I am told the German has six."

"Oh, you greedy!" said Molly, giving him a little extra hug for luck.
"How would you like to have a spread in the studio? Judy and I will
gladly show you what we can do. I'll go forage right now."

"The very thing!" exclaimed Judy. "You attend to the meat and dessert,
and I'll hold up the salad end. Now, Mrs. Brown, you must rest and not
do one thing but entertain the gentlemen, while Molly and I hustle
around."

"I think the gentlemen had much better go with you and Molly and help
forage. I will lie down and take a real rest while all of you are gone,"
said Mrs. Brown with a whimsical smile.

As they went out, Kent said to Judy: "What a brick Mumsy is, anyhow!"
Edwin Green said nothing, but he thought: "Mrs. Brown's tact and
kindness are never failing."

He was eager to see Molly alone, but when they were alone he found he
had not the courage to say to her the words that were in his heart. They
talked of Wellington and their mutual friends. He had news to tell of
Richard Blount and Melissa Hathaway which gave Molly great delight.

"The mountain would not go to Mohammed, so Mohammed is going to the
mountain. There is an excellent opening for Richard in a Kentucky
mountain town, Pineville, as a railroad lawyer, and he has accepted.
Melissa has been appointed supervisor of the schools for the district,
and Miss Allfriend assures Melissa she can do more good to her beloved
mountains in this way than by merely teaching, so she has accepted. Miss
Allfriend is very happy at this outcome. She has seen her own youth go
in the uphill work and is so glad to know that Melissa is to have a life
of her own. Melissa and Richard are to be married in June."

"How splendid!" exclaimed Molly, clasping her hands and thinking what a
silly girl she had been to fancy that Professor Green might care for the
beautiful mountain girl otherwise than as a friend. "I know they will be
very happy, and I believe Melissa will not let matrimony interfere with
what she considers her life work."

"Dicky Blount declares he will never be jealous of such small things as
mountains. That is rather complimentary to me, as he did me the honor to
be jealous of me," laughed the professor.

"Why, how ridiculous!" and Molly plunged into the poultry shop, where
the blazing fire accounted to her companion for her heightened color.
The proprietor had an extra pullet on the spit roasting for a chance
customer. He pronounced it "_charmante et tendre_," and the hungry crowd
declared he was right.

The luncheon was perfect. Everyone was happy and so much talk was the
order of the day that Jo Williams poked her head in to see what the row
was about, and they made her stay to dessert; and then Polly Perkins
came to see where Jo was, and they invited him to stay to coffee.

"You have had a very successful winter, have you not?" said Edwin Green
to Mrs. Brown, while Molly and Judy cleared the table and Kent went over
to Polly's studio to see the portrait of Mrs. Pace.

"Yes, indeed, most delightful. I have been much disappointed in not
having Kent with us, and now that he has come, I must soon leave him
here and go back to all the others. They need me, especially old Aunt
Mary. I could never forgive myself if anything should happen to the old
woman while I am away. She is getting very feeble. I fancy Kent will do
well enough without me. He makes friends so easily and then dear Judy is
to be here for another year at least."

As Judy leaned over her to arrange the bowl of flowers on the table,
Mrs. Brown smiled on her as though she were already her daughter.



CHAPTER XIX.

FONTAINEBLEAU AND WHAT CAME OF IT.


Molly's promise to wait to see the Forest of Fontainebleau with him had
kept up Edwin Green's spirits through the long winter, and now he
eagerly planned the excursion to that historic spot. They were to take
the early morning train; spend the forenoon seeing the palace; have
lunch at a restaurant that Edwin remembered of old; then walk or ride
through the Forest as the ladies should decide; and spend the night at
Barbizon.

Everything was coming up to his dreams. Even the day was perfect. He was
allowed to sit by Molly on the train and later on to be by her side
while the guide showed them through the palace and over the beautiful
grounds. Mrs. Brown and Judy and Kent were inseparable.

"The poor old boy has been sick and my opinion is he needs a little
Molly-coddling; so let's give him all the chance in the world,"
whispered Kent to Judy; and Judy fell in with the suggestion and hooked
her arm in Mrs. Brown's with a "Whither thou goest, I will go" look.

They had luncheon at a restaurant, The Sign of the Swan, kept by an old
English couple, who made a specialty of roast beef and English mustard.

"None of the ready mixed French stuff that is so mild you can eat it by
itself, but the good English brand that will really burn," said the
buxom madame, as she smilingly served great slabs of rare beef with
generous helpings of freshly mixed mustard.

"It burns all right, all right," exclaimed Kent between gulps of water.
"It would be invaluable for outside application, but I advise all of you
to go easy on how you place it in the interior. The English have stopped
wearing visible armor but my opinion is they have swallowed it to
protect their insides from the onslaught of their own mustard."

"I think it is delicious," said Molly.

"So do I," echoed Edwin. "I never tasted better."

Kent gave the professor a quizzical glance and then flicked his eyelid
at Judy. The young man was very far gone, he thought, if he could
swallow that mustard and make out he enjoyed it, since he, Kent,
happened to know that Edwin Green abhorred all highly seasoned food. But
forsooth, if Molly liked mustard he would like mustard, too.

Molly and Judy had expressed their desire to walk through the Forest to
Barbizon but Mrs. Brown was to take the diligence, as it was rather too
long a walk for her to attempt. Judy suddenly decided that she was tired
and would ride with Mrs. Brown, and Kent declared that he needed
assistance to carry the quantity of roast beef he had consumed at The
Sign of the Swan, and was delighted to be spared the walk of several
miles.

"I tell you, I almost sang my 'Swan Song' when I got that first mouthful
of mustard, and it would have been to the tune of 'It's a hot time in
the old town to-night.' If you and the professor are going to walk,
Molly, you had better start now and not wait for the diligence to be
off."

So Molly and Edwin did start on the walk that the young man had been
looking forward to for so many months. The Forest of Fontainebleau is a
wonderful spot and a fitting place for a young man to use as the setting
for his day dreams. Here he was actually doing the thing he had been
dreaming of, only it was more delightful than he had let himself think
it could be. Molly was all loveliness and sweetness. He blessed the
miles that made it necessary for Mrs. Brown to ride; he blessed the
unusual fatigue that had overtaken Judy; and above all, he blessed the
slabs of rare roast beef that had put Kent out of the running. So blind
was he to everything but Molly, the color of her eyes and hair, the
curve of her cheek and sweetness of her mouth, that he had not seen that
Kent and Judy had deliberately given up the walk for his sake. Julia
Kean did not know what "tired" meant, and as for Kent, he was a young
man of unlimited capacity.

They soon left the broad avenue and struck into one of the by-paths
going in the direction of Barbizon. Edwin had a map of the Forest on
which every path was indicated, and with the help of the many
finger-posts, they were able to locate themselves from time to time.

"Is it as beautiful as you thought it would be, Miss Molly?"

"Oh, more beautiful! I never have seen such trees. It is so wonderful,
too, to think that there are no snakes. They say they have not seen a
snake in these parts for over fifty years. When I am in the woods, I am
always a little bit uneasy about snakes."

"Since there are no snakes, we might sit down on this moss-covered rock
and rest."

There was more to Edwin's dream than simply walking through the woods
with Molly; and he felt that no more suitable place could be found than
this sylvan spot where she could be seated like a queen on a throne
while he poured out assurances of his life-long allegiance, if she would
but admit him as a subject.

"Oh, Miss Molly! Molly, my darling, I am dumb with love of you. I want
to tell you how much I love you; how long I have loved you. Can you love
me just a little?"

And Molly raised her frank blue eyes to his appealing brown ones and
answered: "No, I can't love you just a little, but I have to love you a
whole lot."

His day dream was indeed coming true: alone with Molly Brown in the
great, deep, silent forest, his love spoken at last and Molly actually
confessing that she cared for him. That eminent instructor of English at
Wellington College found when the time came to express himself that all
his knowledge of words was as naught, and the only English he had at his
command was: "I love you, do you love me?" and "I have loved you since
the day in your Freshman year when you got locked in the corridor. How
long have you loved me, if you do really love me?"

They finally resumed their walk, but now they went hand in hand. How
much there was to talk about, how many things to explain!

"And will you be willing to spend the summers in your orchard home with
me? I have always called it 'Molly's Orchard Home' in my mind."

"I can think of no place in the world where I'd rather spend the
summers. Would I not be near all of my people? I am so glad you asked my
advice about the bungalow! Now the doors open the way I want them to;
and the cellar has an outside entrance; and the guest chamber has those
extra inches on it, besides the nice big closet; and the attic steps are
big enough to get a trunk up. Did you really and truly think it was
going to be my home when you were planning it?"

"I could only hope and hope and plan and dream. For almost six years I
have known that it was you or nobody for me. Ever since you came to
Wellington, a slip of a girl, it has been all I could do to keep from
claiming you. You were too young. I knew it would not be fair to try to
tie you to an old dry-as-dust like me until you had seen the world a
little. But oh, how hard it has been not to speak out all that was in my
heart! And when I thought I had lost you, first to Jimmy Lufton, then to
your cousin, Philippe d'Ochtè, life was very bitter, and I looked
forward to years of misery and longing."

"'Way down in my heart of hearts," confessed Molly, "I knew that you
cared, and the knowledge of it kept me from thinking seriously of any
other man. It was awfully conceited of me to feel that way when you have
never given me any real reason for it. At least, you had never written
or spoken your love; but the language that is neither written nor spoken
is understood by the heart, and my heart told me you loved me when my
intelligence would have me understand that you did not."

"Bless your sweet heart for understanding me and speaking a good word
for me! I wish my heart could have done as much for me. I could not see
how you could care for me, and still I hoped and prayed. And now what is
to prevent our being married right now and spending our honeymoon
abroad?"

"Well, it seems to me that a young man who could possess his soul in
patience for six years to find out his fate, might wait a while longer
now that he knows his answer," teased Molly.

"But all my patience is gone, used up, worn out! I want you all the time
to make up for this terrible nightmare of a winter that I have passed
through. What is to prevent our getting married, if you really and truly
care for me? Oh, Molly, be good to me! I could not stand it if the ocean
separated us again!"

And Molly was good to this extent; she said: "Let's see what mother says
about it."

When the pair of happy lovers reached Barbizon, they broke the news of
their engagement to their friends, who had the tact to pretend to be
astonished. Mrs. Brown was in a measure relieved that Molly returned the
affections of the young professor. She liked him very much and fully
approved of him as a son-in-law. She felt sure that he would take the
best possible care of her darling daughter. There had been times when
she had felt a little afraid that her advice to Edwin Green not to speak
to Molly of his love until the girl had matured somewhat, was perhaps a
mistake. But now, convinced that all was well, Mrs. Brown, as impulsive
as ever, agreed that there was no reason to delay their marriage.

The next few days were filled with unmixed charm and delight. Barbizon
was intensely interesting, having been the home of Jean François Millet.
Here he lived, painted and died, the great peasant painter. The fields
around the village were the scenes for the Gleaners, the Angelus, the
Man with the Hoe.

The Forest, which touched the outskirts of the village, had furnished
motifs for Diaz, Rousseau and Daubigny, and Judy was in a state of the
greatest enthusiasm and excitement trying to spy out the exact spots
where those masters of landscape had painted their pictures. Kent was
delighted to follow in her footsteps and, as he expressed it, "sit at
the feet of learning." He had seen but few good pictures, but he had an
unerring taste in the matter of art and was able to understand Judy's
ravings.

Molly and Edwin seemed to be floating above the earth. They touched
ground occasionally to eat the very good food that the madame at _Maison
Chevillon_ served them or to pass the time of day with the other members
of the party.

"Look at those two infatuated lovers, Mother," said Kent. "They look as
though they had left this mundane sphere for good and all. I believe
they talk in blank verse with occasional lapses into rhyme.

    "'What kind er slippers do the angels wear?
      Chillun, chillun, chillun, won't yer foller me?
    Don' wear none fer they tred on air,
      Hally, Hally, Hally, Hallyloodja!'"

"Nonsense, Kent, don't tease them," implored Mrs. Brown.

But strange to say, Molly did not mind the teasing she was forced to
take from her brother, although Judy called him "Mr. Brown" in the most
formal manner whenever he yielded to the temptation to tease her beloved
Molly.

"I don't mind your calling me 'Mr. Brown' now that none of my brothers
are here to answer to your endearments," laughed Kent. "I rather like
it, in fact. It adds a kind of dignity to me."

They could not play around the Forest of Fontainebleau forever, much as
they would have liked to. They went back to Paris a very contented,
happy party: Mrs. Brown happy that her judgment had been correct in
regard to her daughter's affairs; Kent and Judy happy to be in each
other's society and knowing they were to have much of their chosen work
ahead of them; Kent feeling almost certain that when his work was
accomplished the reward awaited him, that Judy cared for him and if he
could make good, would marry him; Professor Green and Molly in a seventh
heaven of bliss.

Cousin Sally was immediately taken into their confidence. The news of
the engagement was broken to her by Molly herself.

"Oh, what a sly-boots you were!" exclaimed the marchioness. "Philippe
was right about your knowing too much about how persons ought to love
not to be in love yourself. Well, my dear, I know you will be happy, and
as for that Green--I hardly know how to say how happy he should be. He
is not one-half so good looking as my boy, but never mind, child, I know
just how clever and good and intelligent he is. He is much more suitable
for you. He has the imagination that Philippe lacks. Tut--tut, I know
perfectly well where my dear son falls short. There is no poetry in his
make up. His father and I have often wondered at it. He looks so
poetical and is all prose."

The marchioness took arrangements for the wedding into her own hands.
Getting married in Paris if you happen to be foreigners, is no easy
matter. There is enough red tape connected with it to reach all the way
across the Atlantic; but Sally Bolling d'Ochtè was quite equal to cope
with it. It took several weeks and much signing and countersigning.
Birth certificates had to be obtained from Kentucky as well as baptismal
certificates for Molly. The law did not seem to be so strict concerning
the man.

"It does not seem fair," declared Kent. "These Frenchies will let a
_man_ get married without any proof of his being born; but a woman,
forsooth, must first prove she is born and that she has been christened
before she is allowed to enter into the holy state of matrimony."

All the papers were finally obtained, however, and Molly and her
professor were married very quietly at the Protestant Episcopal Church,
with no one present but the near friends and relatives. It all went as
merry as a marriage bell should, but does not always go. No one wept but
Polly Perkins; but Jo declared he always was a "slobber baby."

Molly naturally was married in blue, her own blue. The dressmaker almost
cried when she was told that it was a wedding dress she was making,
because it was not to be of white.

"Ah, the blonde bride is so wonderful and so rare! I could create for
Mademoiselle a dress that would be the talk of Paris. With that hair and
such fairness of complexion--well, never mind, I will still make her as
beautiful as the dawn." And so she did.

After the ceremony, a wedding breakfast followed at the home of the good
Cousin Sally, who felt like weeping but refrained for fear of casting a
cloud on Molly's day; but it was noticed that she was especially
attentive and kind to poor emotional Polly, showing that she appreciated
his feelings and longed to show hers.

Molly and Edwin went on their wedding trip to--But is it kind to follow
them? Let them have their solitude _à deux_. They are well able to take
care of each other without our assistance.

They joined Mrs. Brown in a month and went back to Kentucky with her,
leaving Judy and Kent to continue their art studies in Paris.

Judy was terribly afraid that she would have to go back under Mrs.
Pace's wing when the Browns left her, but the all-capable Marchioness
d'Ochtè got her a room at the American Girls' Club where she could be as
free as she wished with the appearance of being well chaperoned. As for
Kent he struck up quite a friendship with Pierce Kinsella, whom he had
once so feared as a rival, and the two young men decided to share a
studio, lessening the expense for both and heightening their pleasure.



CHAPTER XX.

MORE LETTERS.


     From Mrs. Edwin Green to Miss Nance Oldham.

     My dearest Nance:

     Oh, Nance, I'm so happy! I wonder if any two people were ever so
     happy as Edwin and I. Am I not glib with my "Edwin"? I found it
     rather hard at first to keep from calling him Professor Green, but
     it seemed to mean so much to him that I have at last broken myself
     of the habit.

     I longed for you on the day of the wedding. It did not seem right
     for me to take such a step without my darling Nance to help me. I
     was married in a traveling suit. I really believe I could not have
     been married in a white dress and veil unless you had been there to
     put on my veil.

     We are having a wonderful trip, and (please don't laugh at me), but
     do you know it is a real privilege to travel with a man like Edwin?
     He knows so many things without being the least bit teachy. Mother
     says you are never conscious of the pedagogue in Edwin. That is
     really so, which I think is remarkable, considering the many
     persons he has to teach.

     First we went to Scotland. Nothing in France thrilled me as did the
     lakes of Scotland. How thankful I am that, as a child, I did not
     have access to very many books, only the classics, and I had to
     read the Waverley Novels or nothing. Scotland meant a great deal
     more to me because of my having read Scott. Edwin says he finds
     about one out of ten of the young persons of the day know their
     Dickens and their Scott.

     Edinburgh is so interesting that already Edwin and I are planning
     to revisit it in his next Sabbatical year. That is a long way off
     but we are so happy those seven years will pass quickly, I know. I
     almost fell over the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle trying to see the
     exact spot where Robert Louis Stevenson's hero, St. Ives, went down
     on the rope to the rocks below. As I craned my neck, Edwin
     whispered hoarsely in my ear: "Past yin o'cloak, and a dark, haary
     moarnin."

     Edwin says I take fiction much more seriously than I do history. He
     does, too, unless the history happens to be Mary Queen of Scots or
     something that by rights should have been fiction. Greyfriars
     Bobby, for instance, is a true tale but affects us both as though
     it were fiction. We gave a whole afternoon to that dear little
     doggy, following in his footsteps as nearly as we could through the
     streets of Edinburgh, and out into the country by the road he took
     to the farm, and then back to Greyfriars Churchyard where the old
     shepherd, his master, was buried.

     Of course we did the Burns country thoroughly. Edwin seemed as at
     home there as I am in the beech woods at Chatsworth. Burns has
     never been one of my poets, but he is now. I have adopted him for
     life since I realize what he means to Edwin.

     We are in London now and could spend a year here and not see all we
     want to see. We play a splendid game which maybe you will think is
     silly, but you don't know how much fun it is. We pretend for a
     whole day to be some characters in fiction, Dickens, Thackeray,
     Barrie, anyone we happen to think of, and then we do the things
     those persons might have done. For instance, when we were slumming,
     I was the Marchioness and Edwin was Dick Swiveller. That was
     perhaps the best day of all. When we went down to the Thames
     embankment, Edwin suddenly turned into Rogue Riderhood and I was
     Lizzie Hexam.

     Edwin did not think much of me as Becky Sharp when we went to the
     Opera nor did I think his Rawdon Crawley very convincing. His Peter
     Pan was splendid the afternoon we spent in Kensington Gardens, and
     he thought my Wendy was so perfect he tried to make me give him a
     "thimble" right there before all the nurse maids.

     We are going home in a few days now. We are to meet Mother at
     Liverpool and sail from there. I do wish Mother could have done the
     things we have done. She would have enjoyed it so much. She laughed
     until she cried when I proposed her going with us. She said she
     loved Edwin too much and felt that he loved her too much to put his
     affection to such a test.

     One of the very best things about being Mrs. Edwin Green is that
     Mother so highly approves of Edwin.

     In a few weeks now we will be settled in our little Orchard Home. I
     hate to leave London but I long for the little home. I am a born
     homemaker and I am eager to get to housekeeping in the bungalow.

     Edwin expects to be very busy working on a text-book on American
     Literature that he feels there is a need of. He does not have to go
     back to Wellington until January and that will give us time for
     lots of things in Kentucky.

     When we get to Wellington, you are the first person we want to have
     visit us, and I want to engage you right now.

     What you tell me of Andy McLean's success at Harvard does not
     astonish me. I was sure he would do well. I shall not be astonished
     either when you tell me some other news about Andy. Come on now,
     Nance, and 'fess up.

     Good-bye.--Edwin sends his kindest regards to you and says he, too,
     is counting on that visit from you in January.

     Yours always,

     MOLLY.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Mrs. Sarah Carmichael Clay to Mrs. Mildred Carmichael Brown.

     Dear Milly:

     For a woman who is noted through the whole County as being the
     least practical person in the world, the most gullible and
     credulous, you certainly seem to come out at the big end of the
     horn.

     You have managed to marry off your daughters very young, though in
     my opinion they are none of them beauties. Your sons seem to be
     able to support themselves. You have contrived to sell your
     birthright to an oil trust and to lift the mortgage on Chatsworth.
     Your servants stay with you until they die on your hands; and your
     friends vie with each other in rendering service to you.

     I can't understand it. You must be deeper than shows on the
     surface. Anyhow, I take off my hat to you as being much more of a
     personage than I ever gave you credit for.

     I am going to give Molly, for a wedding present, the portrait of
     our grandmother by Jouett. It is a valuable painting, so I am told,
     but I have had it in the attic for years as I could not bear the
     sight of it. You will remember it was the image of that impertinent
     Sally Bolling, who seemed to have the faculty of making me appear
     ridiculous. I never could abide her and hardly wanted to have her
     picture in my drawing room. I always lost sight of the fact that it
     was really our grandmother. I am afraid Molly is going to look like
     it, too.

     It is high time you were coming home. Now that you have managed to
     marry Molly off, I should think you would have some feeling for me.
     My health is very poor, and certainly your duty is to look after me
     some and not give all of your time to your children. What with the
     lawsuit that I have been forced into and the constant changing of
     house-servants, I am in a very nervous condition.

     Affectionately your sister,

     SARAH CARMICHAEL CLAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

     From Professor Edwin Green to Dr. McLean at Wellington.

     My dear Doctor:

     I have come to the conclusion that you can take a place by the side
     of Dr. Weir Mitchell as one of the greatest nerve specialists of
     this age or any age. I am taking your prescription in large doses:
     deep full breaths of happiness and great brimming bowls of it. I am
     feeling fine and my wife says I am getting fat.

     We have had a splendid trip. I have been over the same ground
     before, but it all seems new and wonderful to me. My wife's
     knowledge of your beloved Scotland put me to shame. She declares
     she got it all from Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson and
     never studied a history of the country in her life.

     My wife joins me in love to you and Mrs. McLean. She says that one
     of her chief pleasures is looking forward to having Mrs. McLean for
     a neighbor the rest of her life.

     We will be back in Wellington after Christmas. We are now going to
     my wife's native state, Kentucky, where I expect to finish the
     text-book on American Literature that I have been pretending to
     work on for some time. My wife's presence will serve as inspiration
     to me and I hope to get ahead with it now.

     Very sincerely,

     EDWIN GREEN.

     P. S.--My wife, using a wife's prerogative, has read this over my
     shoulder and declares that I may be a teacher of English, but as a
     writer of it I am a failure. She says she can count about a dozen
     "wives" in this little letter, which is very bad writing. But can
     you blame me? E. G.

       *       *       *       *       *

     From Caroline Jackson to Mrs. Brown.

     Dear Miss Milly:

     I takes my pen in hand tow enform you that most of us is enjawen
     pore health and hopes it finds you the same. This letter is writ
     for Aunt Mary Morton although the paper and awnvelop is mine, the
     same what Miss Molly sent me for Christmus come two yers next time.
     Aunt Mary wisht me tow say that she is rejicing that her Molly Baby
     done catch sech a fine man as her teacher pears tow be and she is
     praying that she will be spared tow greet them both on this side of
     the ribber.

     We have done cleaned up Chatswuth tel you kin see yore face in mos
     any place you is enclined tow look. Lewis has white washed evything
     tel it minds me of icecreamcandyandpopcorn. Lewis has also done put
     in and tended the garden same as ifn you wus here. The bungleboo in
     the awchard is all finished and vines and flowrs growin on it same
     as ef it done been there fer yers.

     Aunt Mary's grand darter Kizzie lows she is goin tow cook fer Miss
     Molly. All I kin say is Gawd hep litle Miss Molly, cause that there
     Kizzie is sho slow tow move and proudified (this las from me and
     not Aunt Mary).

     Miss Sarah Clay is done had twelve cooks sence Christmus and I
     cyarnt count as high as the house girls run up tow. Miss Sarah is
     lookin right peaked and not near so buxo as formally. All of us
     ladies and gentlemen of African scent is rejicing that you will
     soon go down into the deep waters and return again once more to
     Kaintucky. No more at present. Plese excuse blots and a bad pen.
     Lewis wushes me tow add that he done furnished the stamp fer this
     here pistle.

     Aunt Mary lows she aint long fer this here world but I knows she is
     still got the strenth tow make other colord folks work.

     With umblest respecks,

     CAROLINE JACKSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

     From Miss Julia Kean to Mrs. Edwin Green.

     Molly Darling:

     All day I sing: "What's this dark world to me? Molly's not here."
     When the wedding breakfast was over and you and your Edwin were
     really gone, we all of us collapsed like busted balloons. Polly
     Perkins was cheerful beside the rest of us. He says he always cries
     at weddings. I believe he is thinking of Josephine Williams and
     weeps because he knows she never will marry him. I don't blame Jo,
     but I do feel sorry for Polly.

     Your Mother and I are plunged into getting the Bents' studio in
     order for them. We are determined that they shall find it as
     shining as they left it. What a place it has been for us and how we
     have enjoyed it!

     The d'Ochtès will soon go back to Normandy. They have asked Kent
     and me to visit them during the summer. Won't that be grand?

     I have seen Frances Andrews several times. I never did see any one
     improve as she has. I think it is your influence but I know you
     will say it is the angle at which I am looking at her. I believe
     Philippe d'Ochtè is really becoming very much interested in her. I
     wonder what Cousin Sally will think. I fancy she will think poor
     Frances a far cry from her choice for her son, namely: our own
     Molly. I still think it is a pity we can't keep La Roche Craie in
     the family, but I see no way to do it.

     Pierce Kinsella is painting like mad on a portrait of your mother.
     He says he has been crazy to paint her from the moment he laid eyes
     on her on the steamer. She says she rather likes posing because it
     means she can sit still and think. We have been in such a whirl
     that it might be some comfort to sit still, but I fancy I'd get
     enough of it in a half hour sitting.

     Pierce demands only one thing of Mrs. Brown and that is that she
     thinks about you. He declares her expression is different.

     Speaking of parents, my own are leaving Turkey to-day. Why I should
     keep it to the end of my letter, I don't know. I am wild with
     delight. It seems years since I saw them and I can hardly wait. I
     wish they could have got here for the wedding. Bobby always whoops
     things up so.

     Give my best love to that most fortunate man alive; and tell him
     that matrimony does not mean eternal monopilization. Write to me
     soon at the American Girls' Club. They say it is fine and homelike
     there, but it will surely be some comedown after Rue Brea.

     Your ever devoted,

     JUDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Jimmy Lufton to Molly.

     Press Club, New York.

     My dear Mrs. Green:

     Ah me! I have swallowed the bitter pill and now I am gasping for
     breath. I mean I have actually called you _Mrs. Green_. I did not
     know I was man enough to do it. One never can tell what he can do
     until put to the test. Anyhow, I want to congratulate both you and
     the Professor with all my heart. If I have to call you Mrs.
     Anything I believe I'd rather it would be Mrs. Green. Did you ever
     hear this saying?

         "Change the name and not the letter,
          Change for worse and not for better.
          Change the name and colour, too,
          Change for good and never rue."

     I am sure you will "never rue" and will be as happy as you deserve,
     which is saying a great deal. With kindest regards to your husband
     (I feel myself to be a giant among men now, actually to have spoken
     of the Prof. as your husband!) and hoping I shall be allowed the
     pleasure of seeing you when you pass through New York on the way to
     your home in Kentucky,

     I am very sincerely your friend,

     JIMMY LUFTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

     From Miss Josephine Williams to Mrs. Edwin Green.

     Rue Brea, Paris.

     My dear Molly Brown Green:

     The Bents are good friends of mine, but I must say I'll be sorry to
     see them back in their studio, for it will mean the departure of
     your wonderful mother. I truly think she has done real social
     settlement work in this quarter of Paris. Her influence is felt
     wherever she goes. For instance, I cite myself as an example. I
     wear trousers still, but only when I am actually at work, and I
     find skirts not so bad after all. As for Polly Perkins, he has
     actually acquired backbone enough to propose to me. I am sure your
     mother was at the bottom of it.

     The winter bids fair to be a hard one for American artists in
     Paris, so I have decided that it would be wise to economize in
     rent. Therefore, I have consented to share a studio with Polly.
     Your mother is at the bottom of this move, too. Of course we have
     got to live, and two can live together more cheaply than they can
     separately. Economy of rent and fuel and light is to be considered,
     to say nothing of the fact that it is an impossibility to make one
     cup of tea or coffee. I always have a lot left in the pot and Polly
     might just as well have it as not. All these reasons to explain why
     I have said "Yes"!

     Mrs. Pace bought her own portrait and has been the means of another
     order for poor Polly. She has also arranged to have him give some
     talks at her _pension_ on the new movement in Art. Polly is quite
     spunked up and has actually had his hair cut.

     The portrait of Mrs. Pace is on the whole rather interesting. I
     have to confess that the Cubist way of looking at her was the only
     way to do her justice. I think Polly was rather remarkable to see
     the possibilities in her.

     We miss you more than I can tell you. Rue Brea seemed very lonesome
     at first and it took us several days to get back in our ruts.

     I see a lot of your splendid young brother. I think he has been a
     good influence for Polly, too. He seemed to take Polly seriously
     and that always does a fellow good.

     Pierce Kinsella is doing a wonderful portrait of your mother. It
     will be a sure Salon success and I bet anything will get a Mention.
     It has some of the qualities of Whistler's Mother. I think Pierce
     is one of the coming giants.

     As you know by experience how difficult it is for foreigners to be
     married in Paris, I need not tell you of the trouble we are having
     to get all of my certificates from California. Polly and I can't
     begin our economies for several weeks yet. I should not be
     astonished if by that time my hair will be long enough to tuck up.
     Another one of your mother's touches--I'm letting it grow. Regards
     to the man, most blessed on earth.

     Your friend,

     JO BILL.



CHAPTER XXI.

MOLLY BROWN'S ORCHARD HOME.


"Ter think er my Molly Baby back here in Kaintucky, a wedded wife with a
live husband er her own! Who'd a thought it? It seems jes' a spell sence
she were so teency she had to clim' on a soap box to reach up ter de
dough tray ter pinch off a lil piece er yeas' dough ter make her play
rolls wif, so she an' that there Kent could have a party in de ole apple
tree they called ther carstle. An' now de carstle done blowed down an'
in a twinklin' of de eye, most fo' dis ole nigger could tun 'round, here
is a sho nuf house whar de carstle stood an' my lil baby chile is
mistress here wif a dough tray an' bis'it board er her own, an' now,"
and here Aunt Mary paused to give one of her inimitable chuckles, "she
don' have ter stretch up none ter reach de table but has to ben' over
right smart in de tother d'rection."

"Don't you think our bungalow is lovely?" asked Molly, who looked very
pretty in her cap and apron as she bent over her own biscuit board
cutting out tiny biscuit, the kind that Edwin liked best, ready to bake
for breakfast.

"Yes, chile, it is a fittin' home for the likes of you; but fer the
land's sake, don' call it no sich a name as that there! It makes me
think er hants. It soun's too like bugger-boo ter me. Jes' call it house
or home, but not dat scarey name what you and yo' teacher roll out so
keerless like."

"All right, Aunt Mary, if you don't like bungalow, 'my teacher' and I
will stop calling it that."

Molly popped the biscuit into the oven, put the sliced bacon on the
griddle, tested her coffee to see if it had percolated sufficiently, got
the butter and cream out of the refrigerator, cracked ice to put in the
cantaloupe, and made a pitcher of ice water before it was time to turn
the bacon.

"Sakes alive, chile, how you kin tun aroun'! That there Ca'line would a
bin a hour doin' what you done 'complished in a few minutes."

Just then Professor Green came into the kitchen, hunting Molly, whom he
could not let out of his sight for very long.

"Well, Aunt Mary, I am so glad to see you," and he shook hands with the
old woman. "My wife tells me that you are to spend the day with us, also
that your granddaughter, Kizzie, is coming to cook for us. Just look at
my wife, Aunt Mary, isn't she the most beautiful wife in all the world?"

He proceeded to embrace Molly, dish towel, coffee pot and all. Molly put
the coffee pot down by the ice water, dropped the dish towel into the
wood box and allowed herself to be kissed, laughing gayly at the old
darkey's expression of amusement.

"Oh, yes, wife, wife, wife! That's all one er these here green husbands
kin say. But I see right here ef I _is_ comp'ny done come to spen' de
day, I'd bes' put on a ap'on and git ter wuck. De bac'n is ready ter
burn up and I 'low that there pan er baby bis'it is done to a turn. De
coffee pot done het up de ice water and de ice water done took the 'roma
from de coffee. Here I was a passin' compliments on Miss Molly 'bout her
swif'ness, and she actin' jes lak Ca'line! De kitchen ain't no place fer
spoons, 'less they is i'on spoons to stir up de batter wif. Go 'long an'
sit down in yo' cheers. I'll bring in the victuals."

Aunt Mary was very strict with the other servants and would have
reprimanded any of them severely for venturing a remark "while de white
folks was eatin'," but she followed Molly and Edwin to the screened
porch where the table was laid, and while they ate the very good
breakfast which, thanks to her, had not burned up, the old woman
entertained them with her keen observations.

"I knowed you'd be pleased wif de Jonases gourd I done planted hin' de
kitchen on that arbor what Mr. Kent called by some outlandish name lak
perg'low. I say I planted de gourd, which ain't ter say the wholesome
truf. Yer see, gourds mus' be planted by a foolish 'ooman or a lazy,
no-'count man ef you want 'em to grow fas'. I sho did want that there
vine to kiver de arbor befo' you and yo' teacher got here, so I got
Ca'line, who is 'thout doubt the foolishest virgin I ever seed, to plant
on one side and that low down, lazy Buck Jasper to tend to tother, and
you kin see fer yo'self they's meetin' overhead."

"The vine has certainly grown very rapidly," laughed the professor. "I
have never heard before what were the requisites for a flourishing
gourd."

"Well, I ain't a-sayin' that part of its comin' on so well ain't due to
the haid work that old Mary Morton put on it. I bossed them free niggers
till they done disremembered they was 'mancipated."

"What would you say, Aunt Mary, if Kent should bring a wife back to
Chatsworth?" asked Molly.

"Well, if it is that there Judy gal, I'd say, 'Glory be!' She's sho jes'
lak our own folks, if she do say her ma and pa ain't never owned they
own home, but always been renters. That don' sound zactly lak quality,
but since the war, that ain't sich a sho sign as it uster be. You see
plenty er po' white trash now a-ownin' fine homes and de quality rentin'
nothin' mo' than cabins."

"Well, Judy is the gal I mean, Aunt Mary, and I fancy they will come to
live with Mother at Chatsworth."

"Don' it beat all how Miss Milly's daughters is marryin' out and her
sons a-marryin' in? I done heard Miss Milly say hunderds er times that
she'd 'low her daughters to marry in but her sons must marry out, as
daughters-in-law is heaps mo' ticklish to git 'long wif than
sons-in-law. Here her three daughters is a marryin' an' going to all
kin's er outlan'ish places leavin' they ma an' they home; an' now the
boys is thinkin' bout takin' unto theyselves wives, an' one an' all say
they can't sleep nowheres but at Chatsworth, an' they mus' bring they
wives back home to keep comp'ny wif yo' ma! Mr. Paul's cou'tin' 'round,
but he manages to git stuck on too many gals at oncet and makes it hard
to settle hisself. I done noticed, howsomever, 'bout that kinder
whimsified lover, when he do settle down, he makes the bes' husband er
all. Men folks is gotter have they fling, and they bes' have it 'fo'
matrimony than durin' it.

"Dr. John was right hard hit wif that Miss Hunt what was a-visiting yo'
Aunt Clay 'til he seed her wif her hair all stringy an' out er curl that
time you all went on the night picnic and the creek riz so and mos'
drownded the passel of you. He ain't never paid no 'tention to her
since; but they do tell me that pretty, rosy-cheeked young lady he drove
out here las' week from Lou'ville is liable to be Mrs. Dr. John. What's
mo,' Ca'line tells me she is a trained nurse. She certainly do look lak
a lady and I tuck notice she eat lak a lady, ef she does hire herself
out in service. Pears lak to me that the mo' things the niggers thinks
theyselves too good to do, the mo' things the white folks decide they
ain't too good ter do fer theyselves."

"Why, Aunt Mary, of course Miss Graves is a lady. She belongs to one of
the very best families and is very well educated and certainly charming
and sweet. John will be lucky, indeed, if he can persuade her to have
him."

"Well, honey chile, ef you say so, 'tis so. 'Cose in days gone by a nuss
was a nuss, cep' some was good and some was bad, but now it seems some
is ladies an' some ain't."

"Here comes Mother," exclaimed Edwin, springing from his seat to go meet
his mother-in-law, who was opening the neat little green gate that
connected the Chatsworth gardens with the old orchard where he had built
his nest.

"What lazy children, just having breakfast! I feel as though I had eaten
mine ages ago, and yours looks so good, I believe I'll have some
more,--just a cup of coffee and a biscuit. Aunt Mary, you have made a
better cook of your Molly Baby than you have of Caroline. I never have
such biscuit as these except when you come to spend the day."

Aunt Mary had become so feeble that she was not able to do steady work.
She lived in a comfortable cabin at the foot of the hill, making
frequent excursions to the "great house" to see that "the niggers was
'memberin' they places and that that there Ca'line wan't sleepin' out er
season."

"Well, Miss Milly, it's jes' this way: some folks is good slow cooks an'
some is good quick cooks. Now Ca'line shines when slow patience is the
needcessity. She is great on a biled dinner, where the 'gredients have
to jes' simper along. You have her make a Brunswick stew an' you'll
think she is the bes' cook in the county. Her yeas' bread is good 'cause
that takes time and Ca'line is twins to whatsoever takes time; but ef
you have a steak to brile or quick bis'it to cook, you jes sen' fer this
ole woman, an' ef she can't crawl up the hill she kin ketch holt er
President's tail an' he kin pull her up."

Aunt Mary then busied herself clearing off the table, as her way of
spending the day was to help her hostess in many ways.

What a peaceful picture the orchard home presents on this late summer
morning! The little brown bungalow looks as though it had always been
there. The trees are laden with apples. The fall cheeses are beginning
to ripen, and the wine saps are so heavy that Edwin has proudly propped
up the bending boughs. The quickly growing vines have done their best
for the newly-wedded pair, and the slower ivy has begun to send out
shoots that need daily training with matting tacks until they accustom
themselves to sticking to the stone foundations. Molly's porch boxes are
filled with nasturtiums and petunias, and on each side of the steps are
beds of scarlet sage.

Her sister Sue drove over to the orchard as soon as the news came of
Molly's approaching wedding, and superintended the planting of many
flowers to beautify the little home; and even stern old Aunt Clay unbent
to the extent of lending her gardener to do the work. She had also
donated a clump of Adam's and Eve's needles and threads that proved very
decorative, but quite as unapproachable as Aunt Clay herself.

"It is a splendid apple year," remarked Mrs. Brown, her eyes wandering
over the bountifully laden trees. "Do you know, Edwin, I believe you
will realize enough off your wine saps and pippins to pay for all your
furniture!"

"It is all paid for, thank goodness!" laughed the young man. "But the
apple money is to be put in the bank in Molly's account."

"You remember when I went to college, Mother, you said I must win the
three golden apples. Don't you think apple money in the bank is a golden
apple?"

"Yes, my child, perhaps it is; but happiness is a bigger and more golden
apple than money in the bank, and I believe you have gained happiness."

"Indeed I have," said Molly blushing. "And now I am going to make a pie
for my own husband; out of my own apples; off my own tree; in my own
kitchen; with my own hands; and before I go, I am going to hug the old
man who bought the orchard so I could go on with my college education."

This time Edwin did not "bow his head and wait 'til the storm passed
over him" as he had, according to Molly, in years gone by; but he drew
her down on the arm of his chair, and the making of the famous pie had
to be postponed.

The pie was finally made, though, and an extra one to send over to
Mother. Aunt Mary declared it was the "bestest I ever set gum in. I
uster have a sweet tooth, but now I ain't got nothin' but a sweet gum;
but my Molly Baby kin make sich good crus' th' ain't no need to chaw
none."

The old woman had been rather scornful of the method of making pastry
that Molly had learned from the domestic science teacher at Wellington,
but when the pie turned out such a success she was converted.

"Yo' teacher is sho' done drawd a prize cook. The two things what men
folks think the mos' of is the gal's outsides an' they own insides. The
gal's outsides is goin' to change an' fade; but ef she's got sense 'nuf
ter keep on a caterin' ter his insides, the man ain't a gwine ter notice
the change. Ain't that the truf?" she asked Edwin as he came into the
kitchen hunting his Molly.

"You know best, Aunt Mary. Certainly this pie would hide a multitude of
wrinkles and even gray hair. But now, Aunt Mary, can't you persuade my
wife to leave the kitchen long enough to come take a little walk with
me?"

"Go long with him, chile. I reckon I can keep the bungleboo from flyin'
off while you an' yo' teacher takes a little ex'cise."

So Molly took off her cap and apron and, donning a shade hat, stepped
joyfully out in the sunshine with her husband. They followed the little
brook at the foot of the orchard, and climbing the fence, found
themselves once more in the beechwoods. Both of them remembered the walk
they had taken there together more than two years before, and with one
accord they directed their footsteps to the great tree, the father of
the forest, where they had sat on that memorable walk.

    "'Of all the beautiful pictures
      That hang on Memory's wall,
    Is one of a dim, old forest
      That seemeth the best of all.'

"Do you remember, Dearest, how you quoted that poem to me when we walked
here before?" asked Edwin, drawing Molly to him.

"Yes, I remember quite well," said Molly. "I also remember what you
said, but I am afraid it will make you conceited if I tell you. It is a
long time to remember something that is not poetry."

"Please tell me. If I ever said anything that was worth remembering that
long, you should encourage me by telling it to me."

"You said: 'A beautiful picture comes to my inward eye, and that is an
old Molly with white hair sitting where you are now, still in the
romantic era, still in the beechwoods; and God willing, I'll be beside
you.' I have thought of those words very often, and when I wasn't
certain that you really cared for me, I would say to myself that you
must have cared then." And Molly blushed.

"Cared for you! I can't see how I ever kept from telling you that day.
It is best as it is. You were too young, but sometimes even now when I
know you are mine, I tremble to think that I might have lost you by
waiting."

"There was never any real danger of that. If you had not cared, I was
determined to be an old maid." And Molly gave a sigh of happiness as she
nestled close to her "teacher."

The quiet and peace of the "Orchard Home" seemed too perfect to be
disturbed even by the uneasy mutterings of distant war clouds. But as
time passed and the chill forebodings and grim shadows of war reached
the most secluded and sacred spots in the world, so they came, too, as
we shall see, into the home and into the life of "Molly Brown of
Kentucky."

THE END



       *       *       *       *       *



Other books by A.L. Burt Company

A. L. BURT COMPANY, Publishers,
114-120 EAST 23rd STREET NEW YORK



_SAVE THE WRAPPER!_


If you have enjoyed reading about the adventures of the new friends you
have made in this book and would like to read more clean, wholesome
stories of their entertaining experiences, turn to the book jacket--on
the inside of it, a comprehensive list of Burt's fine series of
carefully selected books for young people has been placed for your
convenience.



THE Ann Sterling Series

By HARRIET PYNE GROVE

Stories of Ranch and College Life

For Girls 12 to 16 Years


    ANN STERLING

    The strange gift of Old Never-Run, an Indian whom
    she has befriended, brings exciting events into Ann's
    life.


    THE COURAGE OF ANN

    Ann makes many new, worthwhile friends during her
    first year at Forest Hill College.


    ANN AND THE JOLLY SIX

    At the close of their Freshman year Ann and the Jolly
    Six enjoy a house party at the Sterling's mountain
    ranch.


    ANN CROSSES A SECRET TRAIL

    The Sterling family, with a group of friends, spend a
    thrilling vacation under the southern Pines of Florida.


    ANN'S SEARCH REWARDED

    In solving the disappearance of her father, Ann finds
    exciting adventures, Indians and bandits in the West.


    ANN'S AMBITIONS

    The end of her Senior year at Forest Hill brings a
    whirl of new events into the career of "Ann of the
    Singing Fingers."


    ANN'S STERLING HEART

    Ann returns home, after completing a busy year of
    musical study abroad.



Books for Girls

By GRACE MAY NORTH

Author of THE VIRGINIA DAVIS SERIES


    MEG OF MYSTERY MOUNTAIN

    This story tells of the summer vacation some young
    people spent in the mountains and how they cleared
    up the mystery of the lost cabin at Crazy Creek Mine.


    RILLA OF THE LIGHTHOUSE

    "Rilla" had lived all her life with only her grandfather
    and "Uncle Barney" as companions, but finally, at
    High Cliff Seminary, her great test came and the
    lovable girl from Windy Island Lighthouse met it
    brilliantly.


    NAN OF THE GYPSIES

    In this tale of a wandering gypsy band, Nan, who has
    spent her childhood with the gypsies, is adopted by
    a woman of wealth, and by her love and loyalty to
    her, she proves her fine character and true worth.


    SISTERS

    The personal characteristics and incidents in the lives
    of two girls--one thoughtless and proud, the other
    devoted and self-sacrificing--are vividly described in
    this story, told as it is with sympathy and understanding
    for both.



The Camp Fire Girls Series

By HILDEGARD G. FREY

A Series of Outdoor Stories for Girls 12 to 16 Years.


    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS IN THE MAINE WOODS;
    or, The Winnebagos go Camping.

    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS AT SCHOOL; or, The
    Wohelo Weavers.

    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS AT ONOWAY HOUSE; or,
    The Magic Garden.

    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS GO MOTORING; or, Along
    the Road That Leads the Way.

    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS' LARKS AND PRANKS; or,
    The House of the Open Door.

    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS ON ELLEN'S ISLE; or, The
    Trail of the Seven Cedars.

    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS ON THE OPEN ROAD;
    or, Glorify Work.

    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS DO THEIR BIT; or, Over
    the Top with the Winnebagos.

    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS SOLVE A MYSTERY; or,
    The Christmas Adventure at Carver House.

    THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS AT CAMP KEEWAYDIN;
    or, Down Paddles.



The Girl Scouts Series

BY EDITH LAVELL

A new copyright series of Girl Scouts stories by an author of wide
experience in Scouts' craft, as Director of Girl Scouts of Philadelphia.


    THE GIRL SCOUTS AT MISS ALLENS SCHOOL

    THE GIRL SCOUTS AT CAMP

    THE GIRL SCOUTS' GOOD TURN

    THE GIRL SCOUTS' CANOE TRIP

    THE GIRL SCOUTS' RIVALS

    THE GIRL SCOUTS ON THE RANCH

    THE GIRL SCOUTS' VACATION ADVENTURES

    THE GIRL SCOUTS' MOTOR TRIP

    THE GIRL SCOUTS' CAPTAIN

    THE GIRL SCOUTS' DIRECTOR



The Greycliff Girls Series

By HARRIET PYNE GROVE

Stories of Adventure, Fun, Study and Personalities of girls attending
Greycliff School.

For Girls 10 to 15 Years


    CATHALINA AT GREYCLIFF

    THE GIRLS OF GREYCLIFF

    GREYCLIFF WINGS

    GREYCLIFF GIRLS IN CAMP

    GREYCLIFF HEROINES

    GREYCLIFF GIRLS IN GEORGIA

    GREYCLIFF GIRLS' RANCHING

    GREYCLIFF GIRLS' GREAT ADVENTURE



Marjorie Dean High School Series

BY PAULINE LESTER

Author of the Famous Marjorie Dean College Series

These are clean, wholesome stories that will be of great interest to all
girls of high school age.


    MARJORIE DEAN, HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN

    MARJORIE DEAN, HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE

    MARJORIE DEAN, HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR

    MARJORIE DEAN, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR



THE MERRY LYNN SERIES

By HARRIET PYNE GROVE

The charm of school and camp life, outdoor sports and European travel
is found in these winning tales of Merilyn and her friends at boarding
school and college. These realistic stories of the everyday life, the
fun, frolic and special adventures of the Beechwood girls will be
enjoyed by all girls of high school age.


    MERILYN ENTERS BEECHWOLD

    MERILYN AT CAMP MEENAHGA

    MERILYN TESTS LOYALTY

    MERILYN'S NEW ADVENTURE

    MERILYN FORRESTER, CO-ED.

    THE "MERRY LYNN" MINE



The Virginia Davis Series

By GRACE MAY NORTH

Clean, Wholesome Stories of Ranch Life.

For Girls 12 to 16 Years.


    VIRGINIA OF V. M. RANCH

    VIRGINIA AT VINE HAVEN

    VIRGINIA'S ADVENTURE CLUB

    VIRGINIA'S RANCH NEIGHBORS

    VIRGINIA'S ROMANCE



Princess Polly Series

By AMY BROOKS

Author of "Dorothy Dainty" series, Etc.

Stories of Sweet-Tempered, Sunny, Lovable Little "Princess Polly."

For girls 12 to 16 years.


    PRINCESS POLLY

    PRINCESS POLLY'S PLAYMATES

    PRINCESS POLLY AT SCHOOL

    PRINCESS POLLY BY THE SEA

    PRINCESS POLLY'S GAY WINTER

    PRINCESS POLLY AT PLAY

    PRINCESS POLLY AT CLIFFMORE





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