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Title: Honey-Sweet
Author: Turpin, Edna Henry Lee, 1867-1952
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 "Honey-Sweet" ***

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



HONEY-SWEET


       *       *       *       *       *


The MacMillan Company
New York   Boston   Chicago
San Francisco
MacMillan & Co., Limited
London   Bombay   Calcutta
Melbourne
The MacMillan Co. of Canada, Ltd.
Toronto


       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: Anne sat pale and wordless]



       *       *       *       *       *



HONEY-SWEET

by

EDNA TURPIN

Illustrated by Alice Beard



New York
The MacMillan Company
1914
All rights reserved
Copyright, 1911,
by the MacMillan Company.
Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1911. Reprinted June,
1913; August, 1914.
Norwood Press
J.S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



To
ANNE WOOLSTON ROLLER
and
MARY ADAMS MITCHELL



HONEY-SWEET

CHAPTER I


Anne and her uncle were standing side by side on the deck of the
steamship _Caronia_ due to sail in an hour. Both had their eyes fixed on
the dock below. Anne was looking at everything with eager interest. Her
uncle, with as intent a gaze, seemed watching for something that he did
not see. Presently he laid his hand on Anne's shoulder.

"I'm going to walk about, Nancy pet," he said. "There's your chair and
your rug. If you get tired, go to your stateroom--where your bag is, you
know."

"Yes, uncle." Anne threw him a kiss as he strode away.

She felt sure she could never tire of that busy, changing scene. It was
like a moving-picture show, where one group chased away another.
Swift-footed stewards and stewardesses moved busily to and fro. In twos
and threes and larger groups, people were saying good-bys, some
laughing, some tearful. Messenger boys were delivering letters and
parcels. Oncoming passengers were jostling one another. Porters with
armfuls of bags and bundles were getting in and out of the way. Trunks
and boxes were being lowered into the hold. Anne tried to find her own
small trunk. There it was. No! it was that--or was it the one below?
Dear me! How many just-alike brown canvas trunks were there in the
world? And how many people! These must be the people that on other days
thronged the up-town streets. Broadway, she thought, must look lonesome
to-day.

Every minute increased the crowd and the confusion.

There came a tall, raw-boned man with two heavy travelling bags,
following a stout woman dressed in rustling purple-red silk. She spoke
in a shrill voice: "Sure all my trunks are here? The little black one?
And the box? And you got the extra steamer rug? Ed-ward! And I
dis-tinct-ly told you--"

"The very best possible. Positively the most satisfactory arrangements
ever made for a party our size." This a brisk little man with a
smile-wrinkled face was saying to several women trotting behind him,
each wearing blue or black serge, each lugging a suit-case.

A porter was wheeling an invalid chair toward the gang-plank. By its
side walked a gentlewoman whom fanciful little Anne likened to a
partridge. In fact, with her bright eyes and quick movements, she was
not unlike a plump, brown-coated bird.

She fluttered toward the chair and said in a sweet, chirpy voice:
"Comfortable, Emily? Lean a little forward and let me put this pillow
under your shoulders. There, dear! That's better, I'm sure. Just a
little while longer. How nicely you are standing the journey!"

A man in rough clothes stopped to exchange parting words with a youth in
paint-splotched overalls.

--"Take it kind ye're here to see me off. I been a saying to mesilf four
year I'd get back to see the folks in the ould counthry. And here I am
at last wid me trunk in me hand--" holding out a bulging canvas bag.
"Maybe so I'll bring more luggage back. There's a tidy girl I used to
know--"

Beyond this man, Anne's roving eyes caught a glimpse of a familiar,
gray-clad figure. She waved her hand eagerly but it attracted no
greeting in return. Her uncle looked worried and nervous. Indeed, he
started like a hunted wild creature, when a boy spoke suddenly to him.
It was Roger, an office boy whom Anne had seen on the holiday occasions
when she had met her uncle down-town. Roger held out a yellow envelope.
Her uncle snatched it, and--just then there came between him and Anne a
group of hurrying passengers--a stout man in a light gray coat and a
pink shirt, a stout woman in a dark silk travelling coat, and two stout,
short-skirted girls with good-natured faces, round as full moons. The
younger girl was dragging a doll carriage carelessly with one hand. The
doll had fallen forward so that her frizzled yellow head bounced up and
down on her fluffy blue skirts.

"Oh! Poor dollie!" exclaimed Anne to herself. "I do wish uncle--" she
caught a fleeting glimpse of him beside the workman with the canvas
bag--"if just he hadn't hurried so. How could I forget Rosy Posy? I wish
that fat girl would let me hold her baby doll. She's just dragging it
along."

Presently the Stout family, as Anne called it to herself, came
sauntering along the deck near her. She started forward, wishing to beg
leave to set the fallen doll to rights, and then stopped short, too shy
to speak to the strange girl.

A lean, sour-faced man in black bumped against her. "What an awkward
child!" he said crossly.

Anne reddened and retreated to the railing. Feeling all at once very
small and lonely, she searched the dock for her uncle but he was nowhere
to be seen.

Then a bell rang. People hurried up the gang-plank. Last of all was a
workman in blue overalls, with a soft hat jammed over his eyes. Orders
were shouted. The gang-plank was drawn in. Then the _Caronia_ wakened
up, churned the brown water into foam, crept from the dock, picked her
way among the river vessels, and sped on her ocean voyage.



CHAPTER II


It was eight o'clock and a crisp, clear morning. A stewardess was
offering tea and toast to Mrs. Patterson, the frail little lady whom
Anne had observed in a wheel-chair the afternoon before. Seen closely,
her face had a pathetic prettiness. With the delicate color in her soft
cheeks, she looked like a fading tea rose. Yet one knew at a glance that
she and bird-like Miss Sarah Drayton were sisters. There was the same
oval face--this hollowed and that plump; the same soft brown hair--this
wavy and that sleek; the same wide-open hazel eyes--these soft and
sombre, those bright as beads.

"If you drink a few spoonfuls, dear, you may feel more like eating,"
Miss Drayton's cheery voice was saying. "And do taste the toast. If
it's as good as it looks, you'll devour the last morsel."

Mrs. Patterson sipped the tea and nibbled a piece of toast. "It lacks
only one thing--an appetite," she announced, smiling at her sister as
she pushed aside the tray. "Did you hear that? I thought I heard--is it
a child crying?"

The stewardess started. "Gracious! I forgot her! A little girl's just
across from you, ma'am--an orphant, I guess. She's travelling alone with
her uncle. And he charged me express when he came on board to look after
her. Of course I forgot. My hands are that full my head won't hold it.
It's 'Vaughan here' and it's 'Vaughan there,' regular as clockwork. Why
ain't he called on me again?"

She trotted out and tapped on the door of the stateroom opposite. There
was a brief silence. Vaughan was about to knock again when the door
opened slowly. There stood a slim little girl struggling for
self-control, but her fright and misery were too much for her, and in
spite of herself tears trickled down her cheeks.

"She's an ugly little lady," thought Vaughan to herself.

Vaughan was wrong. The child had a piquant face, full of charm, and her
head and chin had the poise of a princess. She had fair straight hair,
almond-shaped hazel eyes under pencilled brows, and a nose "tip-tilted
like a flower." Peggy Callahan, whose acquaintance you will make later,
said she guessed it was because Anne's nose was so cute and darling that
her eyebrows and her eyes and her mouth all pointed at it. But now the
little face was dismal and splotched with tears, the tawny hair was
tousled, and the white frock and white hair-ribbons were crumpled.

"Were you knocking at my door?" Anne asked in a voice made steady with
difficulty.

"Yes, miss. I thought you might be sick. We heard you crying."

"Oh!" The pale face reddened. "I didn't know any one could hear. The
walls of these rooms aren't very thick, are they?"

"No, miss." In spite of herself, Vaughan smiled at the quaint dignity of
the child. "Don't you want me to change your frock? Dear me! I ought not
to have forgot you last night! And breakfast? You haven't had breakfast,
have you?"

"No. Are you the--the--" Anne drew her brows together, in an earnest
search for a forgotten word.

"I'm the stewardess, miss."

"Oh, yes!--the stewardess. Uncle said you'd take care of me. Where is
he? I want Uncle Carey."

"Have you seen him this morning, miss?" asked Vaughan.

"No. Not since a long time ago. Yesterday just before the boat sailed.
When Roger was handing him a piece of yellow paper. I waited on deck for
him hours and hours. Where is he now?"

"In his stateroom, maybe--or the smoking-room--or on deck. Maybe he's
waiting this minute for you to go to breakfast. We'll have you ready in
a jiffy."

Anne's face brightened. "I can bathe myself--almost. You may scrub the
corners of my ears, if you please. And I can't quite part my hair
straight. Will you find Uncle Carey? and see if he is ready for me?"

"Oh, yes, miss. If you'll tell me his name."

"Uncle Carey? He's Mr. Mayo. Mr. Carey Mayo of New York."

"Yes, miss. I'll find him. Just you wait a minute. I forget your name,
miss."

"Anne. Anne Lewis."

The good-natured stewardess bustled about in a vain effort to find Mr.
Carey Mayo. He was not in his stateroom, nor in the saloon, nor in the
smoking-room, nor on deck. In her perplexity, she addressed the captain
whom she met at the dining-room door.

"Beg pardon, sir; I'm looking for a Mr. Mayo, sir, and I can't find him
anywheres."

"Well?" Captain Wards was gnawing the ends of his mustache.

"It's for his niece, sir, a little girl. She ain't seen him since
yesterday, sir. Been crying till she's 'most sick."

"My word!" exclaimed Captain Wards. "I had forgotten there was a child.
She's not the only one that wants him. I've had a wireless from New
York--the chief of police," the captain explained to a gentleman at his
elbow. "This Mayo is one of the bunch down in that Stuyvesant Trust
Company. They've been examining the books, but his tracks were so
cleverly covered that he was not even suspected at first. Yesterday they
found out. But their bird had flown. He's on our register all
right,--self and niece,--but we can't find him anywhere else."

They looked again and again in the tidy, empty little stateroom, as if
it must give some sign, some clew to the missing man. There were his
travelling bags strapped and piled where the porter had dumped them. The
steward who had shown Mr. Mayo his stateroom remembered that he had come
on board early, more than an hour before sailing time. Oh, yes, the man
had taken good notice of Mr. Mayo. Could tell just how he looked.
Slender youngish gentleman. Good clothes, light gray, well put on. Clean
shaven. Face not round, not long. Blue eyes--or gray--perhaps brown.
Darkish hair--it might be some gray. Nothing remarkable about his nose.
Nor his complexion--not fair--not dark. Anyway, the steward would know
him easy, and was sure he wasn't aboard.

A deck steward said he had looked for Mr. Mayo not long before the
vessel sailed. A boy had brought a telegram for him. But a first-cabin
lady had called the steward to move her chair.

The chap said he was Mr. Mayo's office boy and could find him if he
were on the _Caronia_.

No one had seen Mr. Mayo after the boy brought this telegram. Evidently,
some one had warned him that his guilt was discovered and he had hurried
away to avoid arrest. Where was he now? And what was to become of his
little niece?



CHAPTER III


During the search for her uncle, Anne awaited the stewardess's return
with growing impatience and hunger. In that keen salt air it was no
light matter to have gone dinnerless to bed and to be waiting at nine
o'clock for breakfast. At last she heard approaching steps. She flung
her door open, expecting to see her uncle or at least the stewardess.
Instead, she stood face to face with a strange boy, a jolly,
freckle-faced youngster of about thirteen.

"Good-morning," he said cheerily. Then he beat a tattoo on the opposite
door.

"Mother! Aunt Sarah! Aunt Sarah! Mother!" he called. "Must I wait and go
to breakfast with you? I am starving. Aren't you ready? Please!"

Anne was still standing embarrassed in her doorway when the opposite
door opened and facing her stood the bird-like lady whom she had seen
the afternoon before. Miss Drayton kissed her nephew good-morning,
straightened his necktie, and smoothed down a rebellious lock of curly
dark hair. She smiled at the sober little girl across the passage as she
announced to the impatient youngster that she was quite ready for
breakfast and would go with him as soon as he had bade his mamma
good-morning. As he disappeared in the stateroom, the stewardess came
back, looking worried.

"I--I--can't find your uncle, miss," she said.

Anne's eyes filled with tears. She swallowed a sob and steadied her
voice to say: "He--must have forgotten--'bout me. I--don't have
breakfast with him 'cept Sundays."

"The captain said I'd better show you the way to the dining-room, miss.
A waiter will look after you."

The shy child shrank back. "I saw the dining-room yesterday," she said.
"There--there are such long tables and so many strange people. I--I
don't think I want any breakfast. Couldn't you bring me a mug of milk
and one piece of bread?"

Miss Drayton came forward with a cordial smile. "Come to breakfast with
me, dear. My sister is not well enough to leave her stateroom this
morning, so there will be a vacant seat beside me. I am Miss Drayton and
this is my nephew, Patrick Patterson, who has such an appetite that it
will make you hungry just to see him eat. After breakfast we'll find
your uncle and scold him about forgetting you. Or perhaps he didn't
forget. He may have wanted you to have a morning nap to put roses in
those pale cheeks. Will you come with me?"

"If you would just take charge of her, ma'am," exclaimed the stewardess.

Anne's sober face had brightened while Miss Drayton was speaking.
Indeed, smiles came naturally in the presence of that cheery little
lady. With a murmured "Thank you," the child slipped her hand in Miss
Drayton's and together they entered the dining-room.

While breakfast was being served, Pat Patterson gave and obtained a good
deal of information. He told Anne that he was from Washington, the
finest city in the world. He learned that she called Virginia home,
though she lived now in New York. Pat was going to spend a year in
France with his mother and Aunt Sarah. Uncle Carey, with whom Anne was
travelling, had told her nothing of his plans except that he and she
were going "abroad" and were to "have a grand time" on "the Continent."
Pat's father was to come over later for a few weeks; he was down south
now, helping build the "big ditch"--the Panama Canal. "Where is your
father?" he asked Anne.

"Dead."

"Oh!" with awkward sympathy.

"Long time ago, when I was little."

"Do you remember him?"

"If I shut my eyes tight. It's like he was walking to meet me, out of
the big picture."

"And your mother--" Pat hesitated.

"I remember her real well. I was seven then. That was over a year ago.
Sometimes it seems such a little while since we were at home--and then
it seems a long, long, long time."

"You've been living with your uncle since?" asked Miss Drayton, gently.

"Yes. Uncle Carey. Where is he? I do want Uncle Carey so bad." The
child's voice trembled.

"Don't worry, dear. We'll find him," said Miss Drayton, as they left the
dining-room.

The captain, who had kept his eyes on the little party, anticipated Miss
Drayton's questioning. Drawing her aside, he explained the situation.
"The scoundrel is probably safe in Canada by this time," he ended.
"He'll take good care to lay low. This child's other relatives will have
to be hunted up and informed. I'll send a wireless to New York. The
stewardess will take care of the little girl."

"Oh, as to that," Miss Drayton answered, "it will be only a pleasure to
me. She's a dear, quaint little thing."

"That's good of you," said Captain Wards, heartily. "I was about to ask
you--you're so kind and have made friends with her, you see--to tell her
that her uncle isn't here."

"Oh!"--Miss Drayton shrank from that bearing of bad tidings. "How can
I?"

The captain looked uncomfortable. "It is a good deal to ask," he
admitted. "I suppose I--or the stewardess--"

"But no. Poor little one!" Miss Drayton took herself in hand as she
thought of the shy, lonely child. "She must be told. And, as you say,
I've made friends with her, so it may come less hard from me. Leave it
to me, then, captain." And she went slowly back to Anne whose face
clouded at seeing her new friend alone.

"I thought Uncle Carey would come back with you," she said.
"Please--where is he?"

"Anne, when was the last time that you saw Uncle Carey?" inquired Miss
Drayton.

"A little while before the steamer left New York," answered Anne. "He
said he was going to walk around. And he was down there on the--the
platform below."

"The dock? On shore, you mean, and not on the steamer?"

"Yes, on the dock; that's it. And Roger--Roger that stays in Uncle
Carey's office--gave him a letter--a yellow envelope. Then some people
got in the way. And I haven't seen him any more."

"Let's you and I sit down in this quiet corner, Anne," said Miss
Drayton, "and I'll tell you what I think. That yellow letter was a
telegram. It was about business, and it made your uncle go away in a
hurry. Such a great hurry that he didn't have time to see you and tell
you he was going."

"Didn't he come back? Isn't he on the steamer?" Anne asked anxiously.

Miss Drayton shook her head. "I think not, dear. They've looked
everywhere."

Tears were trickling down the child's pale cheeks. "And he left me--all
by myself?"

"No, dear; no, little one." Miss Drayton drew the little figure into her
lap. "He left you with good friends all around you. We'll take such care
of you--Captain Wards, that kind stewardess, and I. Isn't it nice that
you and I are next-door neighbors? Bless your dear heart! Of course it's
a disappointment. You miss your uncle. Snuggle right down in my arms and
have your cry out."

Anne winked back her tears. "It hurts--to cry," she said rather
unsteadily. "But you see it's--it's lonesome. I wish Rosy Posy was
here."

"Is Rosy Posy one of your little friends at home?" asked Miss Drayton,
wishing to divert Anne's thoughts.

"Yes, Miss Drayton. She's my best little friend. And so beautiful! Such
lovely long yellow curls. She sleeps with me every night. And I tell her
all my secrets. I've had her since I was a little girl."

"Oh! Rosy Posy's your doll, is she?" questioned Miss Drayton.

Anne nodded assent. "Uncle Carey gave her to me. I make some of her
clothes. Louise makes the frilly ones. We were getting her school
dresses ready. Uncle Carey said I really truly must go to school this
year. Then yesterday he came home in such a hurry. Louise thought he was
sick. He never comes home that time of day; and his face was pale and
his eyes shiny. He said he had to go away on business and was going to
take me with him. Louise packed in such a hurry. And I left my dear
Rosy Posy." The child's lip quivered. "Uncle kept saying, 'We ought to
be gone. We ought to be gone. Hurry up. Hurry up.' And we drove away
real fast. Then we got out and got in another carriage. It was so hot,
with all the curtains down! I was glad when we came on the boat. But I
do miss Rosy Posy so bad--and Uncle Carey."

Miss Drayton spoke quickly in her cheeriest tone. "Aren't you glad that
Louise is there to take good care of Rosy Posy? I expect she'll have a
beautiful lot of frilly frocks when you get home. Some time I must tell
you about my pet doll, Lady Ann, and her yellow silk frock."

"I'd like to hear it now," said Anne.

"And I'd like to tell you," smiled back Miss Drayton. "But I must leave
Pat to play ring toss with you while I go to see about my sister. She
isn't well and I want to persuade her to take a cup of broth."



CHAPTER IV


Miss Drayton explained her prolonged absence by relating to her sister
the story of their little fellow-voyager. Mrs. Patterson's languid air
gave way to attention and interest. It was pitiful to think that so near
them a deserted child had sobbed away the lonely hours of the long
night. A faint smile came as the lady listened to the tale of Rosy Posy,
Anne's "best little friend" with the "such lovely long yellow curls."
Then her eyes grew misty again.

"Poor all-alone little one!" she exclaimed. "With no friend, not even a
doll." Then at a sudden thought her eyes sparkled. "Sarah," she said,
"I'll make her a doll. And it shall be a darling. You remember the baby
dolls I used to make for church bazaars?"

"What beauties they were!" said her sister. "Like real babies, instead
of just-alike dolls that come wholesale out of shops. I remember one I
bought to send out West in a missionary box. You had given it the
dearest crooked little smile. I wanted to keep it and cuddle it myself.
But, Emily dear, it is too great an undertaking for you to make a doll
now. You'll overtax your strength. And, besides, you've no materials.
We'll buy a doll in Paris for this little girl."

"Paris! With all these lonesome days between!" objected Mrs. Patterson.
"Indeed, it will not hurt me, Sarah. Why, I feel better already. And
you'll help me. If you'll get out your work-basket, I'll rummage in this
trunk for what I need."

A muslin skirt was selected as material for the doll's body and her
underwear, and a dainty dressing-sacque was chosen to make her frock.
Mrs. Patterson pencilled an outline on the cloth, then rubbed out,
redrew, changed, and corrected the lines, with painstaking care. At
last she threw back her head and looked at her work through narrowed
eyelids.

"She is going to be a very satisfactory baby," she announced; "just
plump enough to cuddle comfortably."

"Surely you will stop now, dear, and finish another time," urged Miss
Drayton, after the pieces were cut out and sewed together with firm,
short, even stitches. "You may not feel it, but I am sure you are
tired--and how tired you will be when you _do_ feel it!"

"Indeed, no, Sarah," said Mrs. Patterson. "This rests me. I've not
thought about myself for an hour. Why did you mention the tiresome
subject? That skirt must have another tuck, please. And it needs lace at
the bottom. Just borrow some, dear, from any of my white things. Now I
must have some sawdust."

The stewardess came to their help, and persuaded a steward to open a
case of bottles and give her the sawdust in which they were packed.
Mrs. Patterson received it with an exclamation of delight and held out a
silver coin in return. But Vaughan put her hands behind her.

"Please'm," she said, "it ain't much. But I wanted to do something for
that poor little orphant."

Mrs. Patterson smiled her thanks, then she pushed and shook and crammed
the sawdust in place, taking a childlike eager interest in seeing the
limp form grow shapely and firm. This done, she consented to take
luncheon and a nap, after which Miss Drayton brought Anne to make her
acquaintance. When Mrs. Patterson sent them out "for a whiff of fresh
air," she thrust into her sister's hand a workbag with frilly white
things to tuck and ruffle. Then she drew out her box of colors. Under
her deft touches, now fast, now slow, the baby face grew life-like and
lovable.

"She's to be a comfort baby for a troubled little mother," said Mrs.
Patterson to herself. "She must be one of the happy-looking babies that
one always smiles at."

And she was. Her mouth curved upward in a smile that brought out a dear
little dimple in the left cheek, and her big blue eyes crinkled at the
corners with a smile climbing upward from the lips. There were two
shell-like little ears and some soft shadowy locks of hair, peeping out
from under a lace-edged cap with strings tied under the chin.

When she was fitted out in the garments that Miss Drayton had fashioned,
that lady exclaimed: "Why, Emily, Emily! You never painted a picture
that was more beautiful. That darling smile! And the dimple!"

There was some debate as to when the doll should be presented and it was
finally decided to give her as bed-time comfort. Promptly at eight
o'clock, Mrs. Patterson insisted on undressing Anne, while Miss Drayton
and Vaughan hovered outside the open door. Anne submitted rather
unwillingly and took a long time to brush her teeth. Then she knelt down
to say her prayers. After the

          "Now I lay me down to sleep"

there followed silence. Indeed, she remained so long on her knees that
Miss Drayton whispered to Mrs. Patterson a warning against standing and
Vaughan moved to get a chair. The whisper brought Anne to her feet.

"I oughtn't kept you waiting," she said; and then she explained
shamefacedly, "I wasn't saying my prayers for good. I was just saying
them over and over for lonesome. It's--it's such a big night in here all
by myself."

Mrs. Patterson gave her a good-night kiss and turned the covers back for
her to snuggle in bed. And there--wonder of wonders!--there lay in the
bed a whiterobed figure--a dear, beautiful, smiling baby doll. Anne
looked at it for one breathless minute and then clasped it close.

"You precious! you lovely!" she exclaimed. "Is--is she my own baby?"

"Yes, she's yours," Mrs. Patterson assured her. "She came to take the
place of Rosy Posy who had to stay at home. She hasn't 'long yellow
curls' like Rosy Posy, but you see she's young yet--only a baby in long
dresses. I think maybe her hair will grow."

Hugging the baby doll tight in one arm, Anne threw the other around Mrs.
Patterson's neck, and kissed her again and again.

"You are so good. You are so good," she said over and over.

"What are you going to call your new baby?" asked Miss Drayton.

"I'd like to name her for you," Anne said, looking at Mrs. Patterson.

Mrs. Patterson smiled. "My name is Emily," she said.

"Then that's her name. Mrs. Emily Patterson. Only--" there was a
thoughtful pause--"that does sound sorter 'dicalous for a baby in a long
dress."

"Call her Emily Patterson," suggested the doll's namesake.

But Anne shook her head. "That wouldn't sound 'spectful," she objected;
"and Patterson is your 'Mrs.' name." Then her face brightened. "Oh! Her
name can be Mrs. Emily Patterson, and I'll call her a pet name. I don't
like nicknames, but pet names are dear. She shall be what Aunt Charity
used to call me--'Honey-Sweet.' I can sing it like she did:--

          "'Honey, honey! Sweet, sweet, sweet!
          Honey, honey! Honey-Sweet!'"

As Anne crooned the words over and over, her voice sank drowsily. When
Miss Drayton went a few minutes later to turn out the light, Anne was
fast asleep, smiling in her dreams at Honey-Sweet who lay smiling on the
pillow beside her.



CHAPTER V


The shipboard day passed, uneventful and pleasant. Anne had made for
herself an explanation of her uncle's absence, which no one had heart to
correct.

"He's nawful busy, Uncle Carey is," she explained. "I reckon he stayed
there talking to Roger--he always has so many things to tell Roger to
do!--and the boat was gone before he knew it. So he just had to wait. I
'spect he'll come on one of those other boats. Wouldn't it be funny if
one of them would come splashing along right now and Uncle Carey would
wave his hand at me and say 'Hello, Nancy pet! Here I am.'"

Mrs. Patterson put a caressing hand on the child's head but did not
speak. Lying back in her steamer chair, she looked across the
gray-green water and thought and wondered. Presently Anne crumpled her
steamer rug on the deck and nestled down in it. She chirped to
Honey-Sweet and wiggled her finger at the smiling red mouth, playing she
was a mother-bird bringing a fat worm to her nestling. Hour after hour,
while Miss Drayton and Mrs. Patterson read or talked together, Anne
would sit beside them, sometimes chattering and 'making believe' with
Honey-Sweet, sometimes prattling to her grown-up friends about her old
home in Virginia or her life in New York.

Mrs. Patterson petted her and made dainty frocks for Honey-Sweet. Brisk,
practical Miss Drayton gave Anne spelling lessons and set her problems
in number work, protesting that she was too large a girl to spend all
her time playing and looking at fairy-tale books, blue, red, and green.
Why, she did not even read them except by bits and snatches, but made up
tales to fit the pictures, and told over and over the stories that were
read to her.

She was always ready to drop a book for a romp with Pat Patterson.
Bounding about the deck together, they looked like a greyhound and a St.
Bernard--she slim and alert, he with his rough hair tumbling over his
merry, freckled face. Often their games ended by her stalking away with
Honey-Sweet, in offended dignity. Pat was such a tease!

"Isn't that a pretty doll?" he said one day, with suspicious
earnestness. "I say, lend her to me awhile, Anne."

Anne objected.

"Oh, you Anne! You wouldn't be selfish, would you?" wheedled Pat.
"Didn't I lend you my bow and arrows yesterday? And I always give you
half my macaroons. Just hand her over for a minute. Let me see the color
of her eyes."

"You know they are blue--like the story-book princess,--'her eyes were
as bright and as blue as the sky above the summer sea,'" quoted Anne,
reluctantly letting him take her pet.

"Blue they are. D'ye know, Anne, I think she'd make a capital William
Tell's child. Don't believe she'd be afraid for me to shoot the apple
off her head. Let's see."

Before Anne could interfere, Pat had suspended Honey-Sweet to a hook out
of her reach. A ball of string was fixed on her head by means of a wad
of chewing-gum.

Then Pat stepped back, drew his bow, and made a great show of aiming his
arrow at the pretended apple.

"How brave she is! She does not wink an eyelid," he said solemnly. "To
think! to think! If me aim be not true, I'll ki-ill me child," he
exclaimed, shaking with mock fear and dismay.

"Oh, Pat, Pat, don't!" implored Anne, grasping his arm.

"Away, away!" said Pat, drawing back. "Me heart failed but for a
moment. William Tell is himself once more. Behold!" And he took aim
again.

"Stop him! stop him! Don't let him shoot Honey-Sweet!" cried Anne.

Miss Drayton looked up quickly from her book.

"Patrick Henry Patterson!" she said severely. "Shame on you! Stop
teasing that child. Give her the doll this instant--this instant, sir!"

Anne hugged her regained pet and walked away, carefully avoiding Pat's
mischievous eyes. A few minutes later, a bag of macaroons slipped over
her shoulder, and a merry voice announced: "William Tell gives this to
his br-rave, beloved child." And before Anne could speak, Pat was gone
to join some other boys in a game of ring toss.

With a forgiving smile at him, she sauntered on and stood gazing over
the railing at the motley crowd in the steerage. She was looking for
the Irish mother with three curly-haired children. She wanted to share
her macaroons with them. They always looked hungry, and it was really as
much fun to throw them bonbons as to feed the greedy little squirrels in
Central Park. The children were not in sight, however, and Anne
loitered, leaning on the rail. She felt rather than saw some one
watching her. Looking down, she met for a fleeting second the dark,
intent eyes of a steerage passenger, a man in a coarse shirt and blue
overalls. His face--as much of it as she could see under the broad soft
hat pulled over the eyes--was covered with a dark scrubby beard.

On a sudden impulse, Anne leaned forward and called in her clear little
voice: "Here, you man in blue overalls! catch!"

The man started violently, and the macaroons rolled on the deck. He
leaned forward and seemed intent on picking up the fragments, but his
hand shook so that it was slow work. "Thank you, little lady," he said
after awhile, in a gruff voice. "I hope you have good friends."

"Indeed, I have. Have you?"

Perhaps he did not hear her. At all events, he moved quickly away,
without raising his head. Then Pat came, calling Anne. He wanted her to
hear what a man was telling about the headlands that were beginning to
take form on the horizon. Their voyage was almost over. In a few hours,
they would reach Liverpool.

The dock was entered at last and with as little delay as possible Mrs.
Patterson's party drove to the Roxton Hotel. No one noticed that the
carriage was followed closely by a shabby cab. Unseen, its passenger--a
man in blue overalls with a soft hat pulled over his eyes--watched the
little party enter the hotel. Then he alighted, paid his fare,
shouldered his canvas travelling bag, and disappeared down a dingy
street.



CHAPTER VI


"What news for Anne?" wondered Miss Drayton as they drove to their
hotel. Captain Wards had sent a wireless message to the New York chief
of police, asking that Anne's relatives be informed of her whereabouts
and that tidings of them be sent to Miss Drayton at the Roxton Hotel in
Liverpool. Awaiting her, there were two cablegrams. Both were from the
New York chief of police. One was in these words: "No trace Mayo. Will
find and notify child's other relatives." The other cablegram read thus:
"No trace any relatives of child. Letter will follow."

Miss Drayton handed the cablegrams to her sister resting in an easy
chair before the sea-coal fire which chased away the gloom of the foggy
morning.

Mrs. Patterson read the messages thoughtfully. "It is her disappointment
that grieves me," she said, looking at Anne who was sitting in a corner
teaching Honey-Sweet a spelling lesson. "For myself, I should like to
keep her always. A dear little daughter! I've always wanted one."

"Ye-es," said Miss Drayton, doubtfully, "but--we know so little about
this child. Her uncle a felon! Who knows what bad blood is in her
veins?"

"That child?" Mrs. Patterson laughed, glancing toward Anne. "Why, she
carries her letters of credit in her face. Look at that earnest mouth,
those honest eyes. I'd trust them anywhere."

"Oh, well!" Miss Drayton put the subject aside. "Her people will turn up
and claim her. There are lots of them, it seems. She's always talking
about Aunt This and Uncle That and Cousin the Other. Why, Emily! You
ought to have had your tonic a quarter of an hour ago. And a nap."

That evening the subject of Anne's relatives was brought forward at the
dinner table by the child herself. Seeing her eyes rove shyly around the
room, Miss Drayton said, "You look as if you were watching for somebody
or something. What is it, Anne?"

"I was thinking," replied the child, "maybe--there are so many people in
this big room--maybe Uncle Carey is here and can't find me."

The truth--as much of it as was necessary for her to know--might as well
be told now and here. "Anne," said Miss Drayton, "we telegraphed back.
There is no news of your uncle. He--he missed the boat. We don't know
where to send a message to him. Try to be content to stay with us until
some of your home people claim you."

"I don't want to be selfish, Anne dear, but I'm not longing for any one
to claim you," said Mrs. Patterson, with a caressing smile. "I didn't
know how dreadfully I needed a little daughter till you came. I don't
want to give you up. How nice it will be some day to have a big daughter
to take care of me!"

Anne looked up with shining, affectionate eyes. "I'm most big now, you
know, Mrs. Patterson," she said. "I'm eight years old and going on nine.
I love to be your girl, but--" her lip quivered--"I do wish I knew where
Uncle Carey was."

"Suppose, Anne, you write to some of your relatives," suggested Miss
Drayton,--"any whose addresses you know. The Aunt Charity you speak of
so often--where does she live? Is she your mother's sister or your
father's?"

Anne's laughter shook the teardrops from her lashes. "Why, Miss
Drayton," she replied, "I thought you knew. Aunt Charity is black. She
was my nurse. She and Uncle Richard--he's her husband--lived with us
from the time I can remember."

"Oh!" said Miss Drayton. "But cousins? Those people you talk about and
call cousin--Marjorie and Patsy and Dorcas and Dick and Cornelius and
the others--they are real cousins, aren't they? Do you know how near?
First? or second? or third?"

Anne looked perplexed. "There are a lot of cousins. Yes, Miss Drayton,
they're real. I don't know what kin any of them are. I call them
'cousin' because mother did. They lived near home--five or six or ten
miles away. And they'd spend a day or week with us. And we'd go to see
them."

"Oh! Virginia cousins!" Mrs. Patterson laughed. "Some time you and I'll
go to see them and take Honey-Sweet, won't we?--Sarah, Sarah! Let's not
make any more investigations. Wait, like our old friend, Mr. Micawber,
for 'something to turn up.'"

The mails were watched with interest for the promised letter from the
New York police, but day after day passed without bringing it. The
American party lingered at the Liverpool hotel. Mrs. Patterson pleaded
each day that she needed to rest a little longer before making the
journey to Nantes. The doctor, called in to prescribe for her, looked
grave and suggested that she consult a certain famous physician in
Paris.

Miss Drayton was so disturbed about her sister's illness that she paid
little attention to Pat and Anne. The children, left to their own
devices, wandered about the streets in a way that would have been
thought shocking had any one thought about the matter.

Once when Anne was walking with Pat and again when she was driving with
Mrs. Patterson and Miss Drayton, she caught a glimpse of the steerage
passenger who had spoken to her on the dock, and felt that he was
watching her. And then he spoke to her. It was one morning when she had
gone out alone to buy some picture postcards. She stopped to look in a
shop window, and when she turned, there at her elbow stood the man in
blue overalls.

"Wait a minute," he said, in a strained, muffled voice, as she started
to walk on. "Do you want news of your uncle?"

"Of course I do," she answered in surprise.

"I can give you news. Walk this afternoon to the bridge beyond the shop
where you buy lollipops. Tell no one what I say. No one. If you do, some
great harm will come to your uncle. Will you come?--alone?"

"If I can."

"If you do not, you may never hear of your uncle again. Never."

"Who are you? Do you know Uncle Carey? Tell me--"

"Not now. Not here," he said hurriedly, glancing at the people coming
and going on the street. "This afternoon. Will you come?"

"Yes."

"Tell no one. Promise."

"I promise."

He hurried away, and Anne stood quite still, with a strange, bewildering
fear at her heart. Then she turned--picture postcards had lost all their
charm--and went back to the hotel.



CHAPTER VII


That afternoon Pat went sight-seeing with a new-made friend, Darrell
Connor, and his father. While Anne was hesitating to ask permission to
go out, fearing to be refused or questioned, the matter was settled in
the simplest possible way. Miss Drayton coaxed her sister to lie down on
the couch in the pleasant sitting-room.

"I will draw the curtains," she said; "perhaps if it be dark and quiet,
you will fall asleep. Anne, you may sit in your bedroom or take your
doll for a walk."

"Honey-Sweet and her little mother look as if they needed fresh air,"
said Mrs. Patterson, smiling faintly.

Excited and vaguely troubled, but walking straight with head erect, Anne
went to the bridge. Against the railing leaned a familiar figure in
blue overalls and slouch hat. No one else was near. The man turned.

"Nancy pet--" it was her uncle's name for her and it was her uncle's
voice that spoke. "Those people are good to you? They will take care of
you till--while you are alone?"

"Uncle Carey, Uncle Carey! It _is_ you!"

"Yes, it is I. Don't come nearer, dear. Stand by the railing with
your doll. Don't speak till those people pass. Now listen, little
Anne. I am hiding from men who want to put me in prison. I can't
tell you about it. Some day you will know. Oh, Lord! some day you must
know all. Think of Uncle Carey sometimes, dear, and keep on loving him.
Remember how we used to sit in the sleepy-hollow chair and tell fairy
tales. My Nancy pet! Poor little orphan baby! It is hard to leave you
alone--dependent--among strangers. Here! This little package is for you.
Lucky I forgot and left it in my pocket after I took it out of the
safety deposit box. Everything else is gone. What will you do with it?
No, no! you can't carry it in your hand. Here!" He tore a strip from his
handkerchief, knotted it around the little package, and tied it under
her doll's skirts. "Be careful of it, dear. They're not of great value,
but they were your mother's."

While he was speaking, Anne stood dazed. The world seemed upside down.
Could that rough-bearded man in shabby clothes be handsome, fastidious
Uncle Carey? Ah! there was the dear loving voice, there were the dear
loving eyes. She threw her arms around her uncle and he pressed her
close while she kissed him again and again.

"Uncle Carey," she cried, "I've wanted you so bad. But why do you look
so--so different? What makes all that hair on your face? It--it isn't
pretty and it scratches my cheek." She rubbed the reddened skin with her
forefinger.

"You must not tell any one that you have seen me. Not any one. Do you
understand?" her uncle spoke hurriedly. "If people find out that I am
here, they will hunt me up and put me in prison."

"Not Mrs. Patterson, uncle, nor Pat, nor Miss Drayton. They are too
good. Mayn't I tell them?"

"No, no!"

"Uncle! they wouldn't hurt you. And it's such hard work to keep a
secret."

"Ah, poor child! And it may be a long, long time," considered Mr. Mayo.
Then he asked suddenly, "Where are you going from here? Do you know
these ladies' plans?"

"To spend the winter in France. The name of the place is like mine.
Nan--Nan--No! not Nancy."

"Nantes?"

"Yes, uncle. Nantes. That's it."

"When you get to Nantes, then, you may tell your friends about seeing
me."

Through the fog a policeman loomed in view, coming leisurely down the
quiet street.

"I must go," Mr. Mayo said hurriedly. "Good-by, Nancy pet."

Anne caught his hand in both of hers. "Oh, uncle!" she cried. "Don't go.
I want you. I want to go with you."

"Dear little one! What a fool I was! oh, what a fool! Good-by!"

He kissed her and was gone. Anne stood motionless, silent, looking after
him as he hurried down a by-street.

"Did 'ee beg off you, my little leddy?" asked the friendly policeman, as
he came up. "'As that dirty fellow frighted you?"

"Oh, no. He didn't beg. I am not frightened," Anne answered quickly.
"I'm going home now."

"If so be folks worrit you on the streets, a'lays holler for a cop,"
said the guardian of the peace. "We'll take care of you. That's what
we're here for. And I've chillen of me own and a'lays look out
partic'lar for the little ones."

"Thank you, thank you! Good-by."

Anne's disturbed looks would have excited comment, had her friends not
been occupied with troubles of their own. The doctor in his visit that
afternoon had urged Miss Drayton to go to Paris as soon as possible and
put Mrs. Patterson under charge of the physician whom he had before
recommended.

"If any one can help her, he is the man," said Dr. Foster.

"'If!' Is it so serious?" faltered Miss Drayton.

The doctor hesitated. Then he said: "We must hope for the best. Your
sister may get on nicely."

"Is her throat worse?" asked Miss Drayton.

"I--er-r--I prefer to have you consult Dr. La Farge," replied the
doctor.

It was resolved, then, to go to Paris at once. While Miss Drayton was
packing, the American mail came in, and brought a letter from New York
police headquarters. The officer, whose interest in the case had led him
to push his inquiries as far as possible, wrote at length. In the
investigation of the Stuyvesant Trust Company, accused of violating the
Anti-Trust Law, certain business papers had been secured which proved
that Mr. Carey Mayo had taken trust funds, speculated in cotton futures,
lost heavily during a panic, and covered his misuse of the company's
funds by falsifying his accounts. Evidently it had been a mere
speculation not a deliberate theft. Mr. Mayo had been refunding larger
or smaller sums month by month for a year. Had it not been for this
investigation of the company's affairs, he might and probably would have
replaced the whole amount and his guilt would never have been known.
When the investigation began, he made hasty plans to escape to Europe
with his niece. Being informed that he was about to be arrested, he
left the child on the steamer, as we know, and escaped--to Canada, the
police thought.

A number of his acquaintances in the city had been interviewed. They had
known Mr. Mayo for years, but only in the way of business and knew
nothing of his family; one or two had heard him mention a sister and a
niece.

The servants in his Cathedral Parkway apartment had been found and
questioned. The cook had been with Mr. Mayo two years. He was "an
easy-going gentleman, good pay, and no interferer." The year before, she
said, he had gone to Virginia, summoned by a telegram announcing his
sister's death, and had brought back his orphan niece, Anne Lewis. The
cook had never seen nor heard of any other member of his family.

The police officer suggested that the child should be put in an
institution for the care of destitute children. He gave information as
to the steps necessary in such a case and professed his willingness to
give any further help desired.

Miss Drayton and Mrs. Patterson read and reread the letter.

"Well?" asked Miss Drayton.

"We'll not send her to an asylum, you know," said Mrs. Patterson,
decidedly. "Unless her own people claim her, we will keep her. Anne
shall be my little daughter."

So it was settled, and the family party went on to Paris. The great
physician made a careful examination of Mrs. Patterson. He, too, was
unwilling to express an opinion about her condition. He would prefer, he
said, to have madame under treatment awhile at his private hospital, a
quiet place in the suburbs.

It was promptly decided to accept Dr. La Farge's suggestion. Mrs.
Patterson's health being the object of their journey, there was no
reason why they should winter in Nantes if in Paris she could secure
more helpful treatment. It was resolved, therefore, to send Pat and Anne
to boarding-schools while Mrs. Patterson and Miss Drayton put themselves
under the doctor's orders.

"Oh! Aren't we going to Nantes?" asked Anne, when Miss Drayton informed
her of the changed plans.

"No, Anne. I've just told you, we are all going to stay in or near
Paris."

"Not going there at all? ever?" the child persisted.

"I don't know; probably not." Miss Drayton was worried and this made her
tone crisp and impatient.

"O--oh!" wailed Anne, her self-control giving way before the sudden
disappointment. "I want to go. I want to go to Nantes."

Miss Drayton was amazed. What ailed the child? Why this passionate
desire to go to Nantes, a city of which, as she owned, she had never
even heard until she was told that it was their destination?

"Anne, Anne! For pity's sake!" said Miss Drayton. "Why are you so
anxious to go to Nantes?"

But Anne only rocked back and forth, sobbing, "I want to go to Nantes! I
want to go to Nantes!"

She had been counting the days till, according to her uncle's
permission, she might tell her friends about seeing him. She felt sure
they would explain the puzzling change in his appearance, and tell when
she would see him again. Now, after all, they were not going to Nantes,
and she must keep her secret alone, forever and forever. It was too
dreadful!



CHAPTER VIII


Pat was sent to a boarding-school near Paris, and it was decided that
Anne should attend St. Cecilia's School, a select institution where
American girls continued their studies in English and had lessons in
French and music. Mrs. Patterson herself went to enter Anne as a pupil.

St. Cecilia's School faced a little park on a quiet street. It was a
red-brick building, with balconies set in recesses between white
stuccoed pillars. Everything about the place was formal and dignified.
The lower floor was occupied by parlors, offices, class-rooms, and
dining-rooms. Through wide-open doors at the end of the hall, Mrs.
Patterson and Anne had a pleasant view of the long piazza at the back of
the house. It opened on a grass-plot edged with flowerbeds. The neat
gravel paths ended in short flights of steps, under rose-covered
archways, that led down a terrace to the playground.

While they waited in a handsome, formal parlor for Mademoiselle Duroc,
Mrs. Patterson chatted pleasantly to Anne about the swings and arbors
and pear-trees on the playground. But Anne sat silent, with a lump in
her throat, and clutched her friend's hand tighter and tighter, while
she watched for the principal's entrance as she would have watched for
an ogre in whose den she had been trapped. At last--it was really in a
very few minutes--Mademoiselle Duroc entered the room. While she talked
with Mrs. Patterson, Anne regarded her with awe.

Like her surroundings, Mademoiselle was formal and handsome. She was of
middle height, but she carried herself with such stately grace that she
impressed Anne as being very tall. Her glossy hair, of which no one
ever saw a strand out of place, was arranged in elaborate waves and
coils supported by a tall shell comb. She wore a very long, very stiff
black silk gown trimmed with beads and lace, and she had a purple silk
shawl around her shoulders. When she moved, her skirts rustled in a
stately fashion and sent forth a stately odor of sandalwood.

"I shall have to do whatever she tells me," Anne knew at once. "If she
tells me to walk in the fire, I shall have to go."

That was the impression Mademoiselle Duroc always made on people. She
was a born general, and if she had been a man and had lived a century
earlier, she would have been one of the great Napoleon's marshals and
led a freezing, starving little band to impossible victories;--so Miss
Morris said. Miss Morris, a stout, middle-aged, New England lady, was
Mademoiselle's assistant. She had a kind heart, but the girls thought
her cross because she was always making a worried effort to secure the
order and attention which came of themselves as soon as Mademoiselle
entered the study-hall. When Miss Morris scolded--which was often, as
Anne was to learn--her face grew very red and her voice very rough, and
she flapped her arms in a peculiar way. Anne did not like to be scolded
but she liked to watch Miss Morris when she was angry; it was strange
and interesting to see a person look so much like a turkey-cock.

Anne usually watched people very closely with her bright, soft, hazel
eyes. Now, however, she was too frightened and miserable to raise her
eyes above Mademoiselle's satin slippers, even to look at Miss Morris
who came in to take charge of the new pupil.

"This is my borrowed daughter, for the winter at least," Mrs. Patterson
explained, with her arm around the shy, excited child. "You will find
her studious and you will find her obedient. I shall expect you to give
her back to me next summer a very learned young lady."

Anne clung to Mrs. Patterson's hand like a drowning man to a raft.
"Don't leave me," she whispered imploringly. "Please take me back with
you. Oh, please!"

"Dearie, I wish I could," her friend answered with a caress. "But I
can't. My little girl must stay here now--and study--and be good."

Anne watched the carriage start off, feeling that it must, must, must
turn and come back to get her. But it rolled out of sight under the
archway of trees. Then Miss Morris took her by the hand and led her into
a small office. She read a long list of things that Anne must do and a
still longer list of things that she must not do. She called on Anne to
read in two or three little books, and questioned her about arithmetic
and history and geography.

Finally she escorted the new pupil to the dormitory. It was a large,
spotless apartment which Anne was to share with five other American
girls, some older, some younger, than herself. Each girl had her own
little white bed, her own little white dressing-table and washstand, her
own little white box with chintz-cushioned top, in which to keep her
private belongings. Miss Morris called Louise, one of the maids, to
unpack Anne's trunk. As the articles were put in her box and drawers and
on her shelves and hooks in the dormitory closet, Miss Morris said: "Now
remember where your shoes are, and keep them there."

"Do not forget to put your aprons always in that corner of the third
shelf."

"The left-hand drawer of the dressing-table is for your handkerchiefs,
and the right-hand drawer is for your hair-ribbons."

Anne sat by, with Honey-Sweet clasped in her arms, and meekly answered,
"Yes, Miss Morris," or "No, Miss Morris," as the occasion demanded.

It was luncheon-time when the unpacking was finished and in the
dining-room Anne met her five room-mates. Fat, freckle-faced, stupid
Amelia Harvey and clever, idle Madge Allison were cousins in charge of
Madge's older sister who was studying art. Annette and Bébé Girard were
pretty, dark-eyed chatterboxes whose father was consul at Havre. Fair,
chubby, even-tempered Elsie Hart was the daughter of a clergyman who was
travelling in the Holy Land.

Anne, who had never in her life had to do a certain thing at a certain
time, did not find it easy to adjust her habits to the routine of school
life. Her morning toilette was especially troublesome. She tumbled out
of bed a little behind time at Louise's summons and during each
operation of the dressing period she fell a little farther behind. In
vain Louise reproved and hurried her.

One Wednesday morning, Anne was especially provoking. Not that she meant
to be. It just happened so. She dawdled over her bath, and when Louise
tried to hurry her, she stopped quite still to argue the matter.

"You want me to be clean, don't you?" she asked.

"But yes! Not to the scrub-off of the skin," protested Louise.

Anne continued to rub her ears. "It's a--a 'sponsibility to wash my own
corners. And Mrs. Patterson says it's a disgrace to be dingy," she
explained.

Then she sat down on the floor and proceeded to put on her
stockings,--that is, she meant to put them on, but she became so
absorbed in trying to spell her name backwards that she forgot about the
stockings. Louise caught her by the shoulder.

"You will dress instant, Mees Anne," she threatened, "or I report you to
Mademoiselle."

Anne had heard that threat too often to be disturbed by it. She went to
get a fresh apron, then, seeing that Honey-Sweet's frock was soiled, she
selected a fresh frock for her doll whom she reproved severely for being
so untidy and so slow about dressing. Louise, who was wrestling with
Annette's curls, turned and saw Anne devoting herself to her doll's
toilette when she ought to have been finishing her own. The much-tried
maid snatched away Honey-Sweet and shook her heartily.

"Don't, don't, Louise!" cried Anne. "Don't you hurt Honey-Sweet. I'll
dress. I'll hurry. I'll be quick."

Louise looked keenly at Anne's flushed, earnest face. Then she gave poor
Honey-Sweet a smart little smack. "The wicked _bébé_!" she exclaimed.
"She does not permit that you make the toilette. If you are not dressed
in six minutes exact, I give the spank once more to the bad _bébé_!"

Anne's fingers hurried as she had not known they could hurry and in
exactly four minutes she presented herself for Louise to tie her
hair-ribbons, while she cuddled and pitied her rescued baby.

"Oh, ho! Mees Anne," said Louise, her eyes sparkling with satisfaction
at having found a way to enforce promptness. "Each morning that is
tardy, I give the spank to the wicked _bébé_ that makes you to delay."

To save Honey-Sweet from punishment, Anne sprang up the next morning at
Louise's first call and dressed at once. To her surprise, she found that
it was really pleasanter than dawdling over her toilette, and Louise
good-naturedly gave her permission to take Honey-Sweet for a
before-breakfast stroll to the arbor in the playground.

From the first, Anne got on well in her classes. She did not like to
study lessons in books--she was always getting tangled up in long
sentences or stumbling over big words--but where she once, in spite of
the printed page, understood a subject, she made it her own. The scenes
and events described in her history, geography, and reading lessons were
vivid to her mind's eye and she pictured them vividly to others. Her
classmates soon found that they could learn a lesson in half the time
and with half the effort by studying it with Anne.

"I speak to study the hist'ry with Anne to-day," Amelia would say.

"Anne, if you'll go over the g'og'aphy lesson with me, I'll work your
'zamples for you," Madge would promise.

The girls found, too, that Anne could tell the most delightful stories.
And she was always inventing charming new ways to play. Instead of
keeping her paper dolls limp and loose, like the other girls, she pasted
them on stiff cardboard, pulled them about with threads, and had a
moving-picture show to illustrate a story that she made up. The
admission price was five pins, those not too badly bent being accepted.



CHAPTER IX


Through all these days and weeks, Anne and Honey-Sweet were bearing
about the secret which her uncle had intrusted to her. Sometimes it
perplexed her and weighed heavy on her mind. Sometimes she forgot all
about it for days together. Then with a start there would come, like a
black figure stalking between her and the sunlight, the thought of her
uncle's strange appearance, of the danger which he said was hanging over
him if she told that she had seen him--told anywhere except at Nantes.

One night she dreamed that she told the secret. And the words were
hardly off her lips before she saw her uncle pursued by a crowd, ragged,
loud-voiced, wild-eyed people, like those she and Annette had seen that
day when, falling behind their schoolmates out walking, they had taken
a hurried short-cut and had run frightened along a dingy street. Anne
dreamed that she saw her uncle running--running--running--almost
spent--mouth open--panting breath. A moment more and the outstretched
hands would catch him. They were not hands, they were sharp, cruel claws
about to seize him. She wakened herself with a scream.

"No, no, no!" she sobbed, "I will never, never, never tell!"

The little package was still hidden where Mr. Mayo had put it. Once or
twice when she was alone Anne had opened it, but she always felt as if
some one was looking at her and about to question her, and she put it
hastily away. There were three rings,--one a plain heavy band of yellow
gold, one set with a blazing red stone, one with a cluster of sparkling
white gems. There was a bead purse with a gold piece and a few silver
coins in it. And there was a gold locket containing the portrait of a
high-bred old gentleman with soft, dark hair falling in curls about his
shoulders.

One gray morning early in November, Anne was wakened by an uncomfortable
lump against her side. Sleepily she put her hand down to find out what
it was. Her fingers closed on something hard, and opening them she saw
rings, locket, and purse. The string around the packet had worn in two,
the packet had come open and spilled its contents. Anne started up in
bed, wide awake now, and glanced fearfully around. Honey-Sweet, snuggled
down under the pillow, lay peacefully unaware that she had lost the
treasure intrusted to her. All the girls were asleep. But at any moment
one of them might wake. And it was almost time for Louise to come,
bringing water and towels. Anne sprang out of bed, and with hurrying,
trembling fingers tied the trinkets in the corner of a handkerchief and
thrust them in the bottom of her box.

Her thoughts wandered many times during the long routine of the long
day--recitations, practice, exercise, study periods. Suppose Louise
should open the box to put away clothes or to set its contents in order,
find the packet, and report her to Mademoiselle. The rules required that
all jewelry be given in charge to one of the teachers. How would
she--how could she--explain having these things? In the afternoon
play-time, Anne ran to the dormitory, took out her workbox, and began
with hurried, awkward stitches to sew a handkerchief into a bag to
contain the jewels. How the thread snarled and knotted! How slowly the
work progressed!

And then all at once, "Anne!" said a surprised voice.

Anne gave a great start and tried to hide her work.

"Anne, it is forbidden to come to the dormitory at this hour." It was
Mademoiselle Duroc that spoke. "Report for a demerit this evening. But
what is it that you do there?"

Anne was silent.

"Anne Lewis! Answer!"

"I was just making a little bag," she murmured.

"For what purpose?" asked the awful voice.

Anne faltered. "To--to put some things in."

"What things?"

Anne clasped her hands imploringly. "I cannot tell you, Mamzelle. I
cannot. I cannot."

"You cannot tell?" repeated Mademoiselle Duroc. "I like not the
mysteries. But I like the less to see you excite yourself into
hysterics. Go downstairs and do not permit yourself to be found here
again at this hour."

Anne dropped the unfinished bag into her box and went slowly downstairs.
Mademoiselle Duroc followed her into the hall, stood there an undecided
moment, then returned to the dormitory and paused beside Anne's box. She
raised the lid, then dropped it, shaking her head.

"It is the most likely some child's nonsense about a string of buttons
or such a matter. It suits not with the sense of dignity for me to
search her box like a dishonest servant maid's," she said and returned
to her room.

That night Anne tossed restlessly about until the other girls were
asleep, then rose with sudden resolve to finish the bag by the moonlight
which poured through the muslin curtains. She laid the trinkets on the
pillow beside Honey-Sweet and stitched away on the bag. A little more, a
very little more, and her work would be done. She would tie the bag
around Honey-Sweet's waist and then surely the troublesome jewels would
be safe. Suddenly there came a piercing scream from the bed beside hers.
Mademoiselle Duroc's door across the hall flew open, admitting a broad
stream of light.

"What is the matter?" demanded Mademoiselle. "Who screamed?"

For a moment no one spoke. Mademoiselle turned on the electric lights
and her sharp black eyes searched the room. Bébé and Annette, wakened by
the turmoil, sat up in bed, blinking at the light. Madge rolled over and
grunted. Elsie continued to snore serenely. But Amelia and Anne were
wide awake. Amelia was sitting bolt upright, staring about her. Anne had
not moved; she held the needle in her right hand, the unfinished bag in
her left; beside her on the pillow gleamed the jewels. Mademoiselle's
eyes took in every detail.

"I demand to know who screamed," she repeated.

Amelia spoke sheepishly. "I was so sound asleep," she said. "And then I
waked up. I can't help being 'fraid of ghosts and burglars and things.
I saw--it's Anne--but I didn't know. I just saw something between me and
the window, and the hand went up and down--up and down. It frightened
me. I screamed."

"It is the misfortune to be a so fearful coward," commented
Mademoiselle, dryly. "And you, Anne Lewis, you also are due to explain."

Anne sat pale and wordless.

"You will have the goodness to give me those things from your pillow
which belong not there," said Mademoiselle, taking possession of them.
"Now you will please to put on your slippers and your dressing-gown, and
we will have the interview in my room. This dormitory needs no more
disturbance. I commend you to sleep, young ladies. I suggest, Amelia,
that you cultivate repose and courage."

Anne entered Mademoiselle Duroc's room with one thought in her
bewildered brain. "I must not tell. I must not tell," she said over and
over to herself. She stood with downcast eyes before Mademoiselle Duroc
who examined the trinkets one after another.

"These rings are, I judge, of considerable value," she said. "This is an
exquisite little ruby. The locket is quaintly enamelled. The miniature
is of masterful workmanship; whose portrait is it?" she asked, raising
her eyes to Anne's frightened face.

Anne shook her head. Her voice failed her. And she did not know that the
stately old gentleman was her mother's grandfather.

"And you so disregard the rules as to have jewels in your open box--and
money of this value," continued Mademoiselle, emptying the coins out of
the bead purse and putting her finger on the gold piece.

"Is that money?" asked Anne, in amazement.

Mademoiselle looked up. "Do you mean to tell me that you were unaware
that this is a twenty-dollar coin?" she asked.

"I never thought," answered Anne. "Of course I ought to have known. It
was stupid. But I had never seen gold money before."

"Where did you get it?" demanded Mademoiselle. "And the other things?"

It was the question that Anne dreaded.

"I cannot tell you, Mamzelle," she answered, in a low voice.

"Anne! I demand to know whose things these are," said Mademoiselle, in
her most awful voice.

"Mine, mine," cried Anne. "But I cannot tell you about them, Mamzelle.
Indeed I cannot--not if you kill me. I promised. I promised."

In vain did Mademoiselle Duroc question. At last she dismissed Anne who
crept back to bed, and, holding Honey-Sweet tight, sobbed herself to
sleep.



CHAPTER X


The next morning Anne was summoned to the office; there she was coaxed
and threatened by Miss Morris and questioned keenly by Mademoiselle
Duroc. All to no purpose. She said in breathless whispers that she
didn't mean to be disobedient, she didn't want to refuse to answer, but
she could not, could not tell anything about the jewels. She confessed
that Miss Drayton and Mrs. Patterson did not know that she had them.

"She must answer." Miss Morris's voice was rougher than it had ever been
in Mademoiselle Duroc's presence. "Permit me to whip her, Mademoiselle,
and make her tell."

Mademoiselle shook her head slowly. Her voice was like spun silk as she
replied: "If she does not answer when I speak, it is not my thought that
she would answer to the rod. Anne!" She fixed her clear, commanding
eyes again on the little culprit.

"Oh, Mamzelle, don't ask me," sobbed Anne. "I would tell you if I could.
I will do anything else you want me. But I cannot--cannot--cannot tell."

Mademoiselle Duroc rose, looked over Anne's head as if she were not
there, and spoke to Miss Morris. "For the present, certainly, it is
useless to persist," she said. "Unless Anne Lewis makes the explanation
of this matter, for a month she may not go on the playground, she may
not take any recreation except a walk alone in the yard, she may have
double tasks in the three studies in which her grade marks are lowest. I
should send the full account of the matter to Madame Patterson and
request that this child be removed from St. Cecilia's School, were it
not that Miss Drayton writes her sister is very ill. Therefore I will
wait until the visit which Miss Drayton proposes to make to the city
before the holidays and then I will place this matter before her. Anne
is now excused from the room. I do not desire to see longer that which I
have not before seen--a pupil who does not obey me."

Neither Mademoiselle Duroc nor Miss Morris mentioned the subject and we
may be sure that Anne did not, but somehow the girls got hold of enough
to gossip over and misrepresent the matter. It was whispered that Anne
had a great heap of jewels and money and was being punished because she
would not tell from whom she had stolen them. Perhaps she was to be sent
to prison. Her classmates stared at her with curious, unfriendly eyes
and even when she was allowed again to go on the playground, they kept
away from her. Poor little Anne was very lonely.

Several days after the jewels were discovered, Miss Morris was
exceedingly cross. It was impossible to please her, even with perfect
recitations, and those Anne had, for she was studying more diligently
than she had ever done--even the hated arithmetic--partly to occupy the
long, lonely hours and partly to make up for her unwilling disobedience.
By degrees Miss Morris became less stern. Anne ought to be punished and
that severely, she thought; no pupil had ever before dared disobey
Mademoiselle. But Miss Morris hated to see a child so lonely and
miserable. She grew gentler and gentler with Anne, crosser and crosser
with the other girls. It was certainly no affair of theirs to punish a
classmate for--they knew not what.

She saw and approved that sweet-tempered little Elsie Hart smiled and
nodded to Anne at every quiet chance. Elsie would have liked to go on
being friends, but that, she knew, would make the other girls angry and
she prudently preferred to be on bad terms with one rather than with
four. But she always offered her Saturday bonbons to Anne as to the
other girls; she couldn't enjoy them herself if she were so mean and
stingy as not to do that, she declared stoutly.

One afternoon--Anne was looking especially dejected as she took her
lonely walk in the west yard--Miss Morris thrust into Elsie's hands a
bag of candies and whispered hurriedly: "When you go to divide--yonder
is Anne under the grape arbor and I do believe she's crying."

Elsie trotted straight to Anne with her smiles and bonbons. Anne was so
cheered that she came in, sat down at the study-table, and took up her
history with whole-hearted interest.

Amelia, on the other side of the table, looked up and frowned. "That's
an awful hard hist'ry lesson," she said.

Anne was disinclined to speak to Amelia--Amelia had been so
hateful!--but finally she said rather curtly: "I don't think it's hard."

Amelia twirled a box that she held in her hand. "I do. I can't remember
those old Mexican names, or who went where and which whipped when."

That made Anne laugh. "Of course you can," she said. "Just play you're
there, marching 'long with the 'Merican soldiers. There's General
Taylor, sitting stiff and straight on a white horse. Up rides a little
Mexican on a pony. 'Look at our gre't big army and see how few men
you've got,' he says. 'S'render, General Taylor, s'render, before we
beat you into a cocked hat.' General Taylor looks at him--no, he
doesn't, he looks 'way 'cross the hills,--mountains, I mean--and says,
'General Taylor never s'renders.' And the Mexican whips his pony and
gallops away. Then General Taylor he draws up his little army of five
thousand br-rave Americans right here--" Anne put her finger on an
ink-spot.

"Let me get my book, Anne, and you go over all the lesson, won't you?"
pleaded Amelia. "I used to know my lessons when you did that. And Miss
Morris says if I don't do better she is going to drop me out of class
and give me review work in recreation hour. Please, Anne."

"I don't care if I do," responded Anne. She was lonely enough to feel
that she would even enjoy studying a history lesson with stupid Amelia.

"I'll leave my box here." Amelia started off, but came back a moment
later. "I forgot I left my purse in my box," she said. She opened the
purse and counted the money. "I had another two-franc piece," she said,
with a sharp look at Anne. Anne glanced from the dominoes that she was
drawing up in line of battle on the table.

"Did you?" she asked unconcernedly.

Her indifference provoked Amelia. "Yes, I did," she asserted. "I had two
two-franc pieces in my purse. One of them's gone. Did you take it, Anne
Lewis?"

"Take it?" Anne repeated. Was Amelia really suspecting--accusing her of
taking the money? That was impossible!

"Yes, take it," cried Amelia, flushed and angry. "You stole those jewels
and money from no one knows who. Now you've stolen my money. You've got
to give it back."

Every drop of blood seemed to ebb from Anne's face, leaving it as pale
as ashes, while her narrowed eyes blazed like live coals.

"If you say that I--that word--again, Amelia Harvey," she said slowly,
"I will strike you."

"Why, Anne Lewis!" exclaimed the shocked voice of Miss Morris who was
sitting at her desk, correcting exercises. "What a wicked speech!"

Anne was unrepentant. "She shall not say--that," she said. "She is
wicked to tell such a falsehood."

"I want my money," persisted Amelia.

"How much money did you have in your purse, Amelia?" asked Miss Morris.
"Think now. Be sure."

"I had two two-franc pieces," insisted Amelia, "and one is gone."

"You had two yeth'day," lisped Elsie Hart, who had just come in. "And
you bought a boxth of chocolath."

Amelia reddened. "I--I'd forgot," she muttered.

"Forgot! Amelia! You spent your money and then accused your schoolmate
of taking it!" Miss Morris exclaimed indignantly. "You are a careless,
careless, bad, bad girl. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You must
beg Anne to forgive you."

"I'll not forgive her, not if she asks me a thousand years," stormed
Anne.

"Anne, Anne," reproved Miss Morris. "What a bitter, revengeful spirit!
It makes me unhappy to hear you speak so."

"I don't care. I'm unhappy. I want everybody else to be unhappy," said
Anne, as she left the room, sobbing as if her heart would break.



CHAPTER XI


The long days dragged by and brought at last the Christmas holidays.
Mrs. Patterson was stronger. She was able to join the shopping
excursion, waiting in the carriage while Miss Drayton came in to get
Anne.

Miss Drayton exclaimed at sight of the pale little face.

"What is the matter with her, Mademoiselle Duroc?" she inquired
anxiously. "She has not been ill? Has she been studying too hard?"

"She studies," answered Mademoiselle; "but she thrived till the month
ago. There is a matter which I must beg leave to discuss with you and
madame your sister."

The little hand which lay in Miss Drayton's twitched and clung tight.
Miss Drayton smiled protectingly at the child, who looked like a
quivering rabbit cowering before hunting dogs. "If it be a matter of
broken rules--or anything unpleasant--let us pass it by, Mademoiselle
Duroc. If you please! This is Christmas, you know."

"The matter is too serious to ignore," protested Mademoiselle.

"If it must be," Miss Drayton yielded reluctantly. "But we must not
spoil our Christmas. And, really, my sister is still too unwell to be
annoyed. After Christmas, if it must be."

"After Christmas, then," Mademoiselle submitted.

Anne threw herself into Mrs. Patterson's arms in an ecstasy of delight.
"I'm so glad that it hurts," she exclaimed. "I'd forgot what good times
there are in the world."

"Let me hold Honey-Sweet. She's too heavy for you," urged Pat.

"No, I thank you," laughed Anne. "She doesn't want to be a William
Tell's child or a Daniel in the lions' den. I was so glad you sent me
word to bring Honey-Sweet, Mrs. Patterson," she continued joyously. "I
wanted to bring her, and it's so much nicer when she's invited."

"I want you to lend her to me a little while," Mrs. Patterson answered.
"I'll not make her a William Tell's child or a Daniel in the lions' den.
I--let me whisper it so she'll not hear--I want to get her a Christmas
present and it is one I can't select in her absence."

They made the round of the shops, gay with Christmas decorations and
thronged with merry shoppers. Anne was full of eager excitement. Mrs.
Patterson gave her a little purse full of shining silver pieces, which
she was to spend as she pleased.

Anne clapped her hands with delight. "I'll buy a present for Elsie," she
said, "and perhaps I'll get something for Miss Morris and Louise."

"I would buy a gift for each of my classmates, if I were you," Mrs.
Patterson suggested. "It is pleasant to remember every one."

"O--oh!" Anne's face clouded. "But if they haven't been nice--"

"Those are the very ones to remember at Christmas time," interrupted
Mrs. Patterson. "Peace and good will! If there is any one who has been
especially un-nice to you, this is such a good time to be specially nice
to that person."

"But I'm not going to forgive Amelia," Anne asserted quietly but
positively.

"Well, well, dearie! we'll not talk about anything disagreeable to-day,"
said Mrs. Patterson. "But do you know, I think it would be fun to give
Amelia the nicest present of all?"

"Mademoiselle Duroc was pretty bad, too," said Anne.

"Then what about a nice present for Mademoiselle?" inquired Mrs.
Patterson. "But just as you like, dear. This is do-as-you-please day
for you and Pat. Now Honey-Sweet and I are going to do a little shopping
alone and then we'll rest and wait for you in the ladies' room."

"I like to do what you say," said Anne, thoughtfully. "Maybe I won't
hate so bad to give them presents if I make a play of it. I'll try."

She counted out her silver pieces and decided on the price of the gifts
that she would choose for each of her teachers and classmates. Then she
shut her eyes and when she opened them she 'made pretend' she was
Mademoiselle Duroc, moving slow and stately like a parade or a
procession, and she chose a stiff little jet-and-gold hair ornament.
Next Anne was Miss Morris. For a minute she puffed out her cheeks and
flapped her arms, imitating the turkey-cock mood. Then she thrust out
her chin, drew down her brows, and hurried along, with her fingers
clenched as if she held a handful of exercises. That was the busy,
hard-working, kind-hearted Miss Morris for whom she selected a
silver-mounted ink-stand. There was an enamelled belt pin for
finery-loving Annette, a gay set of paper dolls for little Bébé, a new
story book for book-loving Madge, a silver stamp-box for Elsie, and for
Amelia a pretty blue silk workbag fitted with needles, thimble, and
scissors. There was a box of bonbons for Louise and for the cross cook a
gay fan which displayed the red, white, and blue of the American
flag,--"for I shouldn't be so cross if I were not so uncomfortable in my
hot, hot kitchen," Anne said, waddling along with arms akimbo, "and I'm
sure I can keep cooler with such a be-yu-tiful fan."

"Now I've bought my duty presents, I'll buy my love ones," announced
Anne, gayly. "I'm going to buy Elsie another present--a big box of
'chocolate creamth'--she does adore them. These three wise monkeys are
for Pat. There isn't anything good enough for dear Mrs. Patterson, but
I'll get her a lovely big bottle of cologne. Don't you peep, Miss
Drayton, while I choose your present," Anne charged, as she tripped
about the shop, selecting at last a pretty silver hat pin.

Miss Drayton laughingly asserted that Anne, chattering away in her
assumed characters, was as good as a play and exclaimed that she had no
idea it was so late and they must go at once to Mrs. Patterson who would
be worn out waiting for them. So Pat was dragged from the display of
sporting goods, and they hurried to the ladies' room where Mrs.
Patterson was resting in an easy chair. She was pale but smiling.

"I'm like you, Anne," she said; "I had forgotten what good times there
are in the world. Before we go to luncheon, I want to know if
Honey-Sweet's mother approves of her. I told you that her hair would
grow, you know. See!" She untied the strings and took off Honey-Sweet's
cap. Instead of a bald head with a few painted ringlets, there were wavy
golden locks of real hair. It is no use to try to express Anne's
delight. She couldn't do it herself. She laughed and cried and hugged
first Honey-Sweet, then Mrs. Patterson, then both together.

A soft wet snow was falling, and amid its whiteness and the glittering
lights and the merry bustle of the holiday crowds, the carriage turned
homeward. After such a happy day, nothing could ever be so bad again, it
seemed to Anne, as she kissed her friends good-by and ran
light-heartedly up the steps.

The gift-giving and gift-receiving and merry-making of the Christmas
holidays brought Anne back into the circle of her schoolmates. But her
troubles were not over. One afternoon early in the new year, Mrs.
Patterson and Miss Drayton came for the promised interview with
Mademoiselle Duroc. She showed them the purse and jewels discovered in
Anne's possession, and told them the whole story. Mrs. Patterson and
Miss Drayton were amazed. They had never before seen any of the
articles. Miss Drayton had packed Anne's trunk on the steamer and had
unpacked and repacked it at the Liverpool hotel and she was sure that
the things were not in the child's baggage. Two of the rings were of
considerable value. The locket was handsome and looked like an heirloom.

"The child does not know whose portrait it contains,--that she
confesses," said Mademoiselle Duroc. "And there is the money--the gold
piece."

Perplexed as she was, Mrs. Patterson's faith was unshaken in the child
who had always seemed so straightforward and honorable. Miss Drayton
wanted to believe in Anne, but she remembered the uncle whose story they
had not told Mademoiselle; after all, they knew little of the child;
nothing of her family, except that her uncle had used his employer's
money and had fled from justice. Was the taint of dishonesty in her
blood? For all her candid appearance, Anne had been keeping a secret.
But perhaps there was some explanation which she would make to her
friends, though she had withheld it from Mademoiselle Duroc.

Anne was summoned and came tripping into the room. Her face clouded when
she saw the jewels in Mademoiselle Duroc's hand and the grave,
questioning faces of her friends.

"Don't ask me about those, please, dear Mrs. Patterson," she entreated.
"I can't tell you anything now. I'll tell you all about it then."

"Then? when?" asked Miss Drayton.

"Wh-when we get to Nantes--if ever we do go there," sobbed Anne.

"What nonsense is this, Anne?" inquired Miss Drayton. "Of course you
must explain the matter. Did you have these things on shipboard?"

"No, Miss Drayton."

"Where did you get them?"

The child did not answer.

"Whose are these things, Anne?" asked Miss Drayton, more sternly.

"Mine, mine, mine!" cried Anne. "Indeed, I'll tell you all about them
when we get to Nantes."

"Anne! What do you mean? Nantes! What has Nantes to do with it? You are
making my sister ill. See how pale she is!--Emily, dear Emily, don't
look so troubled. If only I had taken the matter up with you alone,
Mademoiselle Duroc!"

"I wish I could tell. I do wish I could," moaned Anne.

Entreaty and command were in vain.

"We shall have to let the matter rest for the present," said Miss
Drayton, at last. "It has overtaxed my sister's strength."

"Never mind me," protested Mrs. Patterson. "I am troubled only for the
child's sake. Oh, there must be some reasonable, right explanation of it
all!"

"I hope so," said Miss Drayton, hopelessly.

Mademoiselle Duroc had taken no part in the conversation with Anne. Now
she spoke: "Permit me to suggest that I prefer not to retain charge of a
pupil that has the secrets and mysteries. Will madame be so good--"

"No, no, Mademoiselle Duroc!" interrupted Miss Drayton. "You will--you
must--do us the favor to keep the child for the present, until my sister
is stronger--until we are able to make other arrangements."

There was a pause. Then Mademoiselle said inquiringly, "These jewels,
you will take charge of them?"

"No, oh, no!" said Miss Drayton, hastily. "Something may turn up--there
may be some claimant--but she insists they are hers.--Oh, dear! oh,
dear!--We will come back, Mademoiselle, when my sister is better and we
will discuss the matter again."

But week after week passed without bringing the promised visit. Instead,
Anne received kind but brief and worried notes from Miss Drayton,
enclosing the weekly pocket money. Now and then, there was a picture
post-card from Mrs. Patterson, with a loving message to Anne or two or
three lines to Honey-Sweet. The invalid was not improving. In fact, she
was growing worse. So the days wore on till February.

One crisp frosty morning found Mrs. Patterson lying on a couch beside
her window. In the foreground was a park-like expanse with trees showing
their graceful branching in exquisite tracery against the clear blue
sky. Beyond lay Paris, its red and gray roofs showing among the bare
trees, with domes, spires, and gilded crosses cresting the irregular
line.

"The view here is beautiful, is it not?" said Miss Drayton.

Mrs. Patterson did not move her eyes from the horizon line. "I was
thinking of home," she said. "How beautiful it is there these February
mornings! Our noble rows of elms and oaks and maples! Up the avenue, the
domes of the Capitol and the Library are shining against the gray or
gold or rosy sky. And there is the monument pointing heavenward. Oh, the
broad streets, the merry, busy throngs of our own people! I should like
to see it all again. Sarah, let us go home. I want--to be there--my last
days."

Miss Drayton's eyes filled with tears, but she kept her voice steady:
"It shall be as you wish, sister. We will go home," she said.

Leaving Pat and Anne at school, they made the home-going voyage, and
Mrs. Patterson spent her last weeks in her beloved homeland.



CHAPTER XII


After her sister's death, Miss Drayton went with a cousin for a quiet
summer in the Adirondacks. Before leaving, she had meant to talk to her
brother-in-law about Anne, to tell him of her sister's wish to keep the
child, and to say that she herself would take charge of the little
orphan. But she was so tired! Life seemed very empty and yet she shrank
from any new responsibility. So day after day passed, and she went away
without saying a word about Anne. After all, it would be time enough,
she thought, when the children were brought back to America.

In his great new loneliness, Mr. Patterson's heart turned more than ever
to his son; and he put aside business engagements and went, by the
swiftest boat and the fastest train, to join Pat in Paris and bring him
home.

Father and son met with a formal but hearty handshake.

"Howdy, dad."

"Hello, son. How's your health?"

The French man-servant, looking on at this greeting, shrugged his
shoulders. "My son and I would have given the kiss and the embrace," he
commented to himself. "But they--how very American!"

'Very American' they both were. Mr. Patterson was a slim, alert business
man, with a firm chin cleft in the middle, mouth hidden by a tawny,
drooping mustache, deep-set gray eyes under a broad brow from which the
brown hair was rapidly receding at the temples. Pat had his father's
cleft chin, straight nose, and square forehead; but his mouth curved
like his mother's and like hers were the hazel eyes and curly dark hair.
He was a sturdy, well-set-up young American, who played good football
and excellent baseball and studied fairly well--not that he had any deep
interest in books, for he meant to be a business man like his father,
but his mother wished him to get good reports and a certain
class-standing was necessary to keep from being debarred sports.

Mr. Patterson was glad that Pat liked his school, glad that he did not
like it so well as to regret going home. "After all, there is nothing
like an American school for an American boy," he said.

"And baseball the way we play it at home is the thing," declared Pat.

They made plans for their voyage the next week, and then Mr. Patterson
rose to go, saying he'd be in again, but couldn't tell just when, as
he'd be pretty busy, examining some new motor machinery.

"Have you been to see little sister, father?" inquired Pat.

Mr. Patterson looked at his son without replying. How he had hoped
there would be a little sister--that his home would ring with the music
of young, happy voices! How sad and silent it was now! He pulled himself
together as Pat impatiently repeated the question.

"Father, have you been to see little sister?--Anne Lewis, you know.
Mother said she was to be my little sister--and I must be good to her.
She's a number one little chap. Can throw a ball straight and can reel
off dandy tales that she makes up herself. Don't you think she's
cute-looking?"

"I haven't seen her, son," answered Mr. Patterson. "Fact is, I had
really forgotten that child. I must see about her."

Anne, shy and silent always with strangers, entered the drawing-room
slowly. She put her hand timidly into Mr. Patterson's, then sat down,
very prim and uncomfortable, with her legs dangling from the edge of the
chair and answered his questions in a shy undertone and the fewest
possible words. Mr. Patterson was hardly less embarrassed than she.

After he asked about her health and her studies, and how she liked
school, and if she would be glad to go back to America, and told her
that he had seen Pat and Pat had asked about her, there seemed really
nothing else to say. It was a relief when Mademoiselle Duroc entered the
room and asked if Anne might be excused to practise a marching song.

"I beg ten thousand pardons for the interruption," she said. "But
monsieur understands, I am quite sure. The finals of school approach so
rapidly and we would not have the pupils fail to do credit to the kind
patrons."

"Of course, of course. That's all right," answered Mr. Patterson. "I
wished to talk to you, anyway--about this child--" as Anne accepted the
excuse and gladly departed. "Can you give me a few minutes now? Thank
you.--I cannot say. I suppose the child has improved. I had not seen
her before. She was alone on shipboard and my wife took charge of
her.--Oh, no! there was no formal adoption. I shall take her back to
America, of course. Her people may turn up or--or--I haven't decided
what I'll do about her. I haven't really thought about it. Tell me what
you can about the child, please."

Mademoiselle Duroc answered with careful details. Anne was clever,
fairly studious, well-mannered, amiable, rather quick-tempered. The
session marks had not been made out but they would show her standing
good in most of her studies. Deportment excellent. "Her mark in that
would be almost perfect were it not for the one affair. I refer to the
jewel episode. One has informed monsieur of that?"

Mr. Patterson confessed his ignorance and Mademoiselle Duroc related the
incident which we already know. No light had ever been thrown on the
matter.

"Do you suppose she stole the things?" asked Mr. Patterson, bluntly.

Mademoiselle shrugged her shoulders and thrust the question from her
with a sweeping gesture of both hands. "There has been nothing to
prove--nothing to disprove. Absolutely. I look at that slim, small child
sometimes and raise my hands to heaven in amaze."

Mr. Patterson rose. "Thank you. I have taken a great deal of your time.
You understand it was important for me to know about this child. My wife
wished to adopt her. If she had lived--but without her I should hesitate
under any circumstances; under these, I cannot undertake the
responsibility. I will put the little girl in an orphanage in her native
state. That is the best place for a child that needs oversight
and--er--probably severe discipline. I have engaged passage for the
twelfth. I will send a cab for the child. You will have her ready?
Thank you. If you will mail me your bill to Hotel Amitié, it shall have
prompt attention."

"Thank you, monsieur. If I am not to see you again, you will now take
charge of the small packet, the jewels?"

"No, no, indeed." Mr. Patterson drew back.

"But madame directed me to keep them for the child if there arose no
claimants," said Mademoiselle.

"Then turn them over to the child. You got them from her," said Mr.
Patterson. "I have nothing to do with them. Good-morning."

Awaiting the sailing-date set by Mr. Patterson, Anne lingered some days
after the other pupils. One morning Louise came in to pack her trunk and
to say that Mademoiselle Duroc wished to see her in the small study.

"I sent for you to bid you farewell and to return to you these jewels,"
Mademoiselle said. "It is grief to me that you have been so secret
about the matter and made the distress for your friends."

Anne's eyes filled with tears. It hurt her to remember that she had
refused to answer Mrs. Patterson's questions. How pale and troubled the
dear face had looked! And now she could never, never explain. Could she
ever tell Miss Drayton or Pat? Probably not. What a dreadful thought! "I
am so sorry, Mamzelle," she faltered. "Indeed, it is not my fault. I had
to promise. I was not to tell any one till we went to Nantes. I kept
hoping we would go. Now we never shall. And I do want to tell them."

Here was a clew and Mademoiselle's quick wit followed it. "Is it that
you mean, Anne," she asked, "that some one--a person whose wish had the
right to be regarded--told you that you might explain the matter to your
guardian when you went to Nantes?"

"Yes, Mamzelle, that was it," Anne responded eagerly. "He said I might
tell then."

"He," mused Mademoiselle. "Who, Anne?"

Anne did not answer.

"Where were you when he told you this?"

Anne hesitated, debating with herself whether her uncle would wish her
to tell. Mademoiselle changed the question.

"When he had you to promise that, were you expecting to go to Nantes?"

"Yes, Mamzelle." Anne was sure she might answer this. "And then seeing
Dr. La Farge changed all the plans, you know."

Mademoiselle nodded her head. Yes, she knew. "I begin to understand some
of the affair, Anne," she said, thinking intently and putting her
thoughts into slow English. "I think you have been making the mistake.
This person he wished you to let a certain time lapse before the telling
by you. For some reason. One week or two weeks or three. It was known
to him that you expected to go to Nantes? Ah! so he did tell you to
promise to await that time? So it was!"

"I haven't told you anything I ought not to, have I, Mamzelle?" inquired
Anne, anxiously. "He said if I told--before we reached Nantes, you
know--it would bring him dreadful harm."

"Indeed, no," laughed Mademoiselle Duroc. "You have told me nothing but
that you are the so faithful, so stupid promise-keeper. Take my word for
it, Anne," she continued gravely, "the time has long passed to which the
'he' wished to defer the telling about the jewels. It is due your
friends and you that you make the matter clear. As soon as possible. I
regret that we did not understand. I have much of interest for the
secret. But I see that it is not for me."

Louise tapped at the door and said that Miss Anne's trunk was ready and
the cab was waiting.

Mademoiselle gave Anne a stately salute and put the little package in
her hand. "Ask Mr. Patterson to take charge of this packet for you," she
said. "Good-by, my child. _Bon voyage!_"

Anne followed Louise who straightened her ribbons and tied on her hat.

"Louise," she said, in her halting French, "I've not been very much
trouble to you, have I?"

"Not more than the usual. Young ladies are born to be the
trouble-makers," responded Louise.

"Because I didn't want to. And I should like some one to be sorry I am
going," said Anne. "Here is the silver piece Mr. Patterson gave me. You
take it, Louise. Would you mind--won't you kiss me good-by, Louise, and
can you miss me one little bit?"

"A thousand thanks, little one!" exclaimed Louise. "How droll you are!
I will give you many kisses with all the good will. Yes, and I do grieve
to see you go, you alone little one!"

The return voyage was rough and stormy. Mr. Patterson was half-sick and
wholly miserable all the way. He lay pale and silent in his steamer
chair, trying to rouse himself now and then to talk with Pat about
subjects of schoolboy interest. But it was an effort and Pat felt it so;
after a few restless minutes, he was apt to say:--

"Excuse me, father, I've thought of something I want to tell Anne."

"Please tell me when it's ten o'clock, father; Anne and I are to play
ring-toss."

"Anne has been telling a ripping story. I'll go and hear some more of
it, if you don't mind."

Mr. Patterson did mind. He was, though he did not confess it to himself,
jealous of Anne for whom his son was always so ready and eager to leave
him. He justified to himself his dislike of the child by recalling the
jewel episode.

Anne had not given him even the half-way explanation that Mademoiselle
Duroc had obtained. She was going to tell Miss Drayton--how she longed
to see that good friend and pour forth the story! But Mr. Patterson
asked no questions and it never occurred to her to offer him any
information. She had given him her precious packet and asked him to take
charge of it, according to Mademoiselle's suggestion. He had accepted
the charge reluctantly, as a matter of necessity. As soon as they passed
the custom-house in New York, he sealed the articles in an envelope
which he handed to Anne, saying curtly: "You had these before; take them
again."

Mr. Patterson, Pat, and Anne took the first south-bound train, and a few
hours later found them in Washington. Passing from the noble Union
Station, they took an Avenue car and whirled past Peace Monument,
between the shabby buildings on the right and the Botanical Gardens on
the left. Mr. Patterson sat in frowning silence. A sorry home-coming
this. How eager he had been in former days to reach the old home in
Georgetown, which now was closed and silent. Ah! he must try not to
think about that. He pulled himself together and rang the bell.

"We are going to stop at the Raleigh," he said, in answer to Pat's
surprised look. "Our house is shut up, you know. I'll have you children
sent to your rooms. I must get off some telegrams and attend to some
business. We'll get out of this hot hole to-morrow."

Pat pleaded and was allowed to take Anne for a sight-seeing ride. What a
gay time they had! Everything delighted Anne--the stately Capitol, the
gold-domed Library of Congress, the noble-columned Treasury Building,
the sky-pointing Washington Monument, the broad streets over-arched
with stately trees, the grassy squares and flower-bordered circles
dotted with statues.

"Oh, isn't it beautiful? Isn't it beautiful?" Anne exclaimed over and
over. "I told them America was the best. I told them so. I do wish
Mademoiselle Duroc could see it and Louise and cook Cochon."

Mr. Patterson was waiting for his son in the hotel lobby. "Here, Pat,
come here," he said. "Orton, this is my boy.--Pat, here's a streak of
luck for us. I've just run across this friend of mine who's instructor
at George Washington University. He's taking a party of boys to a camp
in the Virginia mountains--fine boating and swimming, all the fun you
want. Starting to-night. Says he can manage to take another boy. How
would you like to go with him instead of to your Aunt Sarah?"

"Fine!" said Pat, eagerly. "I've always wanted to go camping. Good
fishing, too?"

"Great. You trot along with Mr. Orton, and let him help you get the
things you need. He kindly says he will."

"There's Anne, father," said Pat, looking toward the little figure
hovering shyly on the outskirts of the group. "Is Anne going, too?"

"This is just a boy's camp, Pat," laughed Mr. Orton. "There isn't any
room for girls in our rough-and-tumble gang."

Mr. Patterson summoned a maid to take Anne to her room. "I'm going to
take Anne to Richmond to-morrow," he explained curtly. "I'll try to run
up and see you, Pat, before I get back to work. Time's getting pretty
scarce, though. Run along and get your rig. Draw on me, Orton, for what
you need. Fit him out O.K."



CHAPTER XIII


Leaving Anne at a Richmond hotel, Mr. Patterson drove to an orphanage on
the outskirts of the city. He had wired the superintendent that he was
coming and had brought letters and papers from the Washington office of
the Associated Charities. He told Miss Farlow, the superintendent, the
story of the child, without mentioning the jewel affair.

"Let them find her out for themselves," he reflected. "I'll not start
her off with a handicap."

As he went out of the bare, spotless sitting-room into the bare,
spotless hall, the children of the 'Home' filed past, two by two, for
their afternoon walk. There were twenty-six sober-faced girls in blue
cotton frocks and broad-brimmed straw hats.

"They take exercise regularly, sir," said the superintendent. "We're
careful with them in all ways. They're well-fed, kept neat, taught good
manners, and have all pains taken with their education and training. We
do our best for them and try to get them good homes."

"I am sure of that." Good heavens!--how he would hate his child to be
one of the twenty-six! Poor little Anne! Mr. Patterson caught himself up
impatiently. He was no more responsible for her than for any, or all, of
the others. If his wife had lived--but he--a widower, whose job kept him
thousands of miles away from home most of the time,--it was unreasonable
to expect him to keep an orphan girl whom his family had picked up. Ugh!
How he'd hate to trot along in that blue-frocked line! "I'm a dawdling
idiot," he said irritatedly to himself. "What am I worrying about? I've
done the sensible thing, the only possible thing. Her own people
deserted her. I've secured her a decent home and honest training. Whew!
It's later than I thought. I'll have to rush to make that four-ten
train."

An hour later, having given hurried explanations to Anne and started her
off in a cab, he was on a north-bound train.

And Anne?

The bewildered child gathered only one fact from his speech. She was not
going to Miss Drayton, as she had expected--dear Miss Drayton, to whom
she longed to pour forth her secret. Instead, she was going to
strangers--people, Mr. Patterson said, who took care of little girls
that had no fathers and mothers.

She hugged Honey-Sweet tight in her arms and walked up the steps of the
square brown house.

If you have never seen the 'Home for Girls,' you will wish me to
describe Anne's new abode. Let me see. I have said that the house was
square and brown, haven't I? with many green-shuttered windows. The
grounds were large and well-kept--almost too spick and span, for one
expects twenty-six children to leave behind them such marks of good
times as paper dolls and picture-books, croquet-mallets and tennis balls
on trampled turf.

The brick walk led straight between rows of neatly-clipped box to the
front door. In the grass plot on the right, there was a circle of
scarlet geraniums and on the left there was a circle of scarlet
verbenas. On one side of the porch, there was a neatly-trimmed rose-bush
with straggling yellow blossoms, and on the other side there was a white
rose-bush.

The front door was open. Anne saw a long, narrow hall with whitewashed
walls and a bare, clean floor. A curtain which screened the back of the
hall fluttered in the breeze, and disclosed a long rack holding
twenty-six pairs of overshoes, and above them, each on its own hook,
twenty-six straw hats. Anne counted them while she waited and her heart
sank--why, she could not have told. She knew that no matter how long she
might live, she would never, never, never want a broad-brimmed straw hat
with a blue ribbon round it. A subdued clatter of knives and forks came
from a room at the back. Anne reflected that this place seemed more like
a boarding-school than a home. How odd it was to have a sign over the
door saying that it was a 'Home'! And 'for Girls.' How did the people
choose that their children were to be just girls?

While she was thinking these things, the cabman put her trunk down on
the porch, rang the bell, and stamped down the steps. No use waiting
here for a fee. A door at the back of the hall opened, and there came
forward a girl with a scrubbed-looking face and a blue-and-white gingham
apron over a blue cotton frock. She fixed her round china-blue eyes on
Anne, and waited for her to speak.

Anne opened her mouth and then shut it again. She did not know what to
say. The blue-aproned girl caught sight of the trunk.

"Oh, you're a new one!" she exclaimed.

She was so positive that Anne did not like to disagree with her. "I--I
reckon I'm newer than I'm old," she said politely.

The girl grinned. "You come to stay, ain't you? That your trunk?"

"Yes," stammered Anne. "Mr. Patterson says--there's a lady here--"

"You want to see Miss Farlow. She's the superintendent," explained the
girl, still grinning. "Just you wait in the office till she comes from
supper--" and she opened a door on the right. "My! didn't that cabman
leave a lot of mud on the steps?--and tracks on the porch? Mollie'll
have to scrub it again. She'll be so mad!"

The next day there was a new pair of overshoes on the rack, and instead
of twenty-six, there were twenty-seven broad-brimmed, blue-ribboned
hats.

After all, Anne was not unhappy in her new surroundings. She missed
cheery Miss Drayton and mischievous Pat, of course, but they seemed so
far away from the sober life of the institution that she accepted
without wonder the fact that she heard nothing from either of them. The
past year was like a dream. Anne felt sometimes as if she had been at
the 'Home' forever and forever. She soon solved, to her own satisfaction
and Honey-Sweet's, the meaning of the name 'Home for Girls.' "It's one
of the words that means it isn't the thing it says," she explained.
"Like butterfly. That isn't a fly and it doesn't make butter. And 'Home
for Girls' means that it isn't a home at all, but a schooly,
outside-sort-of place."

The girls lacked mothering, it is true, but they were governed kindly
though strictly. The simple fare was wholesome and the daily round of
work, study, and exercise brought the children to it with healthy
appetites. It being vacation time, the schoolroom was closed. But each
girl had household tasks, which she was required to perform with
accuracy, neatness, and despatch.

"The world is full of dawdlers and half-doers," said Miss Farlow,
wisely. "Their ranks are crowded. But there is always good work and good
pay for those who have the habit of doing work well--be it baking
puddings or writing Greek grammars. I want my girls to form the habit of
well-doing."

Anne always listened with respect to Miss Farlow. She was one of the
grown-ups that it seemed must always have been grown up. You would have
amazed Anne if you had told her that Miss Farlow was still young and,
with her fresh color, good features, and soft, abundant hair, really
ought to be pretty. But there were anxious lines around the eyes and
mouth, and the hair was always drawn straight back so as to show at its
worst the high, knobby forehead. Poor, patient, earnest, hard-working
Miss Farlow! She was brought face to face with much of the world's need
and longed to remove it all and was able to relieve so little. She had
at her disposal funds to support twenty homeless girls. Because she
could not bear to turn away one needing help, she was always saving and
scrimping so as to take care of more. One cannot wonder that she found
life serious and solemn. Yet if only she had known how to laugh and
forget her work sometimes, she might have done more good as well as been
happier herself.

From the first, Anne was a puzzle to the sober-minded lady. A few days
after Anne entered the home, she was sent into the office to be
reproved. Slim and erect in her short blue frock, she stood before the
superintendent. Miss Farlow looked at the slip of paper from the pupil
teacher: "Anne Lewis; disorderly; laughed aloud in the Sunday study
class."

"Why did you laugh during the Bible lesson, Anne Lewis?" asked Miss
Farlow. She always called each girl by her full name. "You knew that it
was naughty, did you not?"

"I did not mean to be naughty," said Anne, penitently. "I just laughed
at myself."

"Laughed at yourself?" Miss Farlow was puzzled.

"I was thinking," Anne explained. "My eyes were half-shut and--it was
the way the light was shining--I could see us all from our chins down in
the shiny desk. Then I thought, suppose all the mirrors in the world
were broken so we could never see our faces! We'd never know whether we
were ourselves or one of the other girls--we're so exactly alike, you
know. And I thought how funny it would be not to know whether you were
yourself or some one else, and maybe comb some one else's hair when you
meant to get the tangles out of your own--and I laughed out loud."

Miss Farlow did not smile. "What a queer, foolish thing that was for you
to think!" she said. "I will not punish you this time, since you did not
mean to be naughty. But if you do such a thing again, I must take away
your Saturday afternoon holiday."

That would be a severe punishment, for the girls dearly loved the
freedom of the long Saturday afternoons. From early dinner until
teatime, they amused themselves as they pleased, indoors or on the
'Home' grounds, under the general oversight of a pupil-teacher.



CHAPTER XIV


One Saturday afternoon in July, while the other girls were playing and
chattering on a shady porch, Anne slipped with Honey-Sweet through a
hole in the hedge and sauntered toward an old brown-stone house set in
spacious grounds near the 'Home.' Anne had long been wanting to explore
the place. She had never seen any one there--the house was closed for
the summer--and in her stories it figured as an enchanted castle. As she
walked ankle-deep in the unclipped grass under the catalpa and
elm-trees, she looked around with eager interest.

She liked everything about the place, even the clump of great rough dock
which had grown up around the back door. A frog hopped under the broad
leaves as she passed. She almost expected to see it come forth changed
to a fairy. Of course she didn't believe in fairies now, but this looked
like a place where they would stay if there were any.

At last she wandered toward a great clump of boxwood near a side gate.
It made such a mass of greenery that Anne pulled aside a branch to see
if it were green inside too. She gave a gasp of delight. The tall,
close-growing stems were thickly leaved on the outside and bare within;
in the centre there was a hollow space, like a little room. There must
be fairies, after all, to make such a beautiful place as this.

Anne pulled aside a branch and crept in. One might have passed a yard
away and never suspected that she was there. After a while, she put
Honey-Sweet down and set to work as a tidy housekeeper should. With a
broom of twigs, she swept up the dead leaves. Then she went out and
pulled handfuls of grass to make a carpet, which she patterned over
with blue stars of periwinkle. For chairs she brought two or three flat
stones. How time flew! While she was looking for green moss to cover
these stones, she was startled to see the sun setting, a red ball on the
horizon. She hurried back to the 'Home.' As she slipped through the
hedge, Emma, the pupil-teacher in charge, hurried across the yard.

"Where on earth have you been, Anne?" she asked crossly. "The
supper-bell rang long ago. I've looked for you everywhere. Where've you
been, I say?"

"Over there," Anne answered, nodding vaguely toward the lawn.

"Out of bounds!" exclaimed Emma. "You knew better, Anne. That you did.
You come straight to Miss Farlow. She was dreadful worried when I told
her I couldn't find you."

Miss Farlow, too, reproved Anne sharply. She was to have a
bread-and-water supper, and then go straight to bed. And she must never
again go out of bounds alone--never. That was strictly forbidden.

Anne ate her bread and drank her water with a downcast air. She was not
thinking about the scolding and her punishment. She was troubled because
Miss Farlow had forbidden her to go off the 'Home' grounds again. Must
she give up her dear secret playhouse? She and Honey-Sweet had had such
a good time! And they were planning to spend all their Saturday
afternoons there. Finally she asked Emma what would be done if she
disobeyed Miss Farlow and went outside bounds again.

Emma knew and answered promptly and cheerfully. She would be whipped,
and that severely.

Anne turned this over in her mind. She was very much afraid of the rod
which had seldom been used to correct her--but a whipping did not last
long, after all, and it would be far worse to give up her beautiful new
playhouse. If Miss Farlow wished to whip her for going there, why, Miss
Farlow would have to do it. Grown-up people had to have their way. But
she wondered if Miss Farlow would not just as lief whip her before she
went as after she came back. It would be a pity to spoil the beautiful
afternoon with expectation of punishment.

After prayers next Saturday morning, Anne lingered near Miss Farlow's
desk.

"Do you wish to speak to me, Anne Lewis?" asked that lady, frowning over
a handful of bills.

"If you please--wouldn't you as soon--won't you please whip me before I
go out of bounds?" she requested.

"What's that you're saying, Anne Lewis? What do you mean?" asked Miss
Farlow.

Anne explained.

"Pity sake!" the bewildered lady exclaimed. She looked at Anne over her
spectacles, then took them off and stared as if trying to find out what
kind of a queer little creature this was. "Do you mean," she inquired
solemnly, "that you'd rather be a bad girl and go out of bounds and be
whipped--rather than be good and stay in bounds?"

"If you please, Miss Farlow." Anne stood her ground bravely though her
knees were shaking.

"Anne Lewis, if whipping will not make you obey, we must--must try
something else," Miss Farlow said severely. She considered awhile, then
she asked: "Why are you so anxious to go out of bounds?"

Anne went a step nearer. "It isn't far," she said. "Just across the
hedge. It's a secret. A beautiful place. I take Honey-Sweet--she's my
doll--and we play stories. It's just my private property." Anne used the
words she heard often from the larger girls.

"You mean that you play it is," Miss Farlow corrected gravely. "You
don't get in mischief--or go where it's unsafe?"

"Indeed I don't, Miss Farlow," said Anne, earnestly. "I just sit there
and play with Honey-Sweet."

"It's safe and near, and the Marshalls are away--they wouldn't care,"
considered Miss Farlow. "I'll allow you to go there this one afternoon.
Tell Emma I say you may play beyond the hedge."

Anne skipped away with a radiant face. On hearing her message, Emma
scowled and said: "I think you oughtn't to have any holiday at all for
making so much trouble last Saturday. I could have crocheted dozens of
rows on my mat while I was looking for you. I tell you what, missy, if
you're naughty and disobedient, you'll be sent away from here."

"Sent where, Miss Emma?" asked Anne.

"Oh, away. Back where you came from," answered Emma.

Anne ran away, happier than ever. Being sent away, then, was the
"something else" that Miss Farlow said they must try if she were naughty
and disobedient. "Back where she came from!" That meant to Miss Drayton
and Pat. Anne resolved that she would be very naughty so they would send
her away as soon as possible. That evening she began to carry out her
plan and let a cup fall while she was washing dishes. Jane, who was
helping her, looked frightened, but Anne only smiled. That was one step
toward Miss Drayton. During the days that followed, Anne was a very
naughty girl. She came late to breakfast, with rough hair and dangling
ribbons; she tore her aprons; she rumpled her frocks; her usually tidy
bed was in valleys and mountains; her tasks were neglected or ill done.
She was reproved; she was punished. But she accepted each reproof and
punishment calmly.

"Next time," she thought, "they will think I am bad enough to send me
away--back to dear Miss Drayton."

The punishment she disliked most was that on Saturday afternoon, instead
of being allowed to go out, she was sent to her room in disgrace. She
was sitting doleful by a window, neglecting the task assigned her, when
Milly came in. Milly was one of the larger girls who went out as a
seamstress.

"You kept in, ain't you?" she said, sitting down and beginning to make
buttonholes.

Anne nodded.

"What's come over you?" Milly asked. "You don't act like the same girl
you used to be. Why, you're downright bad."

Anne smiled knowingly. "That I am," she agreed.

"How come?" Milly inquired.

Anne hesitated, then she poured out the whole story. 'She wanted so much
to go back to Miss Drayton. And didn't Milly think she was 'most bad
enough now?'

Milly threw back her head and laughed till she cried.

"Oh, you Anne! you Anne!" she exclaimed. At last she got breath enough
to explain that Emma had only said that because she was provoked. It was
not true. Anne would not be sent away. Indeed, there was nowhere to send
her. Miss Farlow took charge of her and would keep her because there was
no one else to care for her. She would stay there till she was large
enough to go out and work for herself, as Milly did.

Anne was much disappointed. She had set her heart on going back to Miss
Drayton. Still it was disagreeable to be naughty and in disgrace all the
time. Louise used to say, too, that no one loved naughty girls, and Anne
loved to be loved. She didn't care to be large if she had to make
dresses like Milly, when she went away from the 'Home.' She did hate to
sew! She cried a little while, then she washed her face, brushed her
hair, learned the hymn set her as an afternoon task, and went downstairs
to tea, a meek, well-behaved girl again.



CHAPTER XV


The weeks went by, one as like another as the blue-clad children. A
September Saturday afternoon found Anne, with Honey-Sweet clasped in her
arms, in a secluded corner near the boundary hedge. She had told
Honey-Sweet all the happenings of the week--that she was head in
reading, that she would have cut Lucy down in spelling-class if the girl
next above her had not spelt 'scissors' on her fingers--that Miss 'Liza
had not found a wrinkle in her bed-clothes all the week. She cuddled and
kissed Honey-Sweet to her heart's content, crooning over and over her
old lullaby:--

          "Honey, honey! Sweet, sweet, sweet!
          Honey, honey! Honey-Sweet!"

Then she wandered into her world of 'make believe.' Once upon a time,
there was a fair, forlorn princess on a milk-white steed. She was lost
in a forest. It was, though the princess did not know it, an enchanted
forest. And there was a cruel giant who had seized twenty-seven fair,
forlorn princesses whom he had made his serving-maids. They could be
freed only by a magic ring worn by a gallant knight who did not know
about their danger. Anne stopped in the middle of her story, keeping
mouse-still so as not to frighten a robin beside the hedge.

She gave a start when a voice near her piped out, "Tell on, little girl,
tell on; I like that story."

Anne looked around. No one was in sight.

"If you don't tell on, I'll cry. Then mother will punish you," said the
shrill little voice.

Anne stood up and looked all about. At last she discovered the speaker.
He was a small boy who had climbed a low-branching apple-tree on the
other side of the hedge. A smaller boy was walking beside a
white-capped, white-aproned nurse at a little distance. Anne had made
believe that the brown-stone house was the castle of the wandering
knight who was to return and rescue the enchanted princesses. It had
been closed all the summer and Anne was surprised and grieved to see now
that it was open and occupied by everyday people.

As his command was not obeyed, the small boy made good his threat and
wailed aloud. The white-capped nurse came running to him.

"What is the matter, Master Dunlop? Have you hurt yourself on that
naughty tree? I'll beat it for you. Don't you cry."

Dunlop paused in his wailing to say: "It's that girl over there. She
stopped telling a story. And I told her to keep on. And she didn't."

"Oh, Master Dunlop! A-talking to them charity chillen!" exclaimed the
nurse. "You're in mischief soon as my back's turned. Come away, Master
Dunlop, come along with me and Master Arthur. You'll catch--no telling
what."

"I've had fever," announced Dunlop, proudly. "And I'm not to be fretted.
Mamma told you so. I won't go, Martha. I'll cry if you try to make me. I
want to hear that story.--Tell it, girl," he commanded.

"We don't answer people that speak to us like that, do we, Honey-Sweet?"
said Anne, turning away. "We'll go under the elm-tree in the far
corner.--And the fair, forlorn princess got off her milk-white steed to
pick some berries--and whizz! gallop! off he went and left her. So the
princess walked on alone through the forest--" as Anne spoke she was
walking away from the hedge.

Dunlop began to scream again.

Martha spoke hastily. "If you'll hush, I'll ask her to tell you the
story. If you scream, Master Dunlop, your mother'll call you in and
she'll make you take a spoonful of that bitter stuff."

"You call that girl, then," he commanded.

Martha raised her voice. "Little girl, oh, little girl!--I don't know
your name. Please come back."

Anne paused, but did not turn her head.

"This little boy has been ill," Martha continued. "He's just getting
over fever. And he's notiony. Won't you please tell that story to him?"

Anne walked slowly back. "I do not mind telling him the story," she
answered with grave dignity. "I'm always telling stories to the girls.
But he must ask me proper. I don't 'low for to be spoken to that way."

"Martha said 'please' to you," mumbled Dunlop, digging his toe in the
turf.

"You want me to tell the story," said Anne.

There was a brief silence.

"I'll cry," he threatened.

"I don't have to keep you from crying," said Anne, with spirit. "Come
on, Honey-Sweet."

"Please, you little girl," said Dunlop, hastily.

"And the princess walked on and on," continued Anne, as if the story had
not been interrupted. "The low briers tore her dress, the tall briers
scratched her hands and pulled her hair. It was getting da-a-rk so she
could hardly see the path. Then all at once she saw a bright light ahead
of her. It got brighter and brighter and it came from a little cabin in
the woods."

And in the happy land of 'make believe' Anne roamed until the tea-bell
called her back to the real world.

Where, meanwhile, were Anne's old friends, Miss Drayton and Pat? Let me
hasten to assure you that Pat was not so unmindful of his little adopted
sister as he seemed. He hated to write letters and never wrote any
except the briefest of duty letters to his father and his Aunt Sarah. He
took it for granted that the separation from Anne was only for a time.
She could not come to a boys' camp and she would have to attend a girls'
school. Later, she would be with them--father, Aunt Sarah, and himself.
Of course she would, always. Mother had said she was his adopted sister.
And she was a jolly dear little thing.

Miss Drayton knew better. She was disturbed at learning from one of Mr.
Patterson's brief, matter-of-course letters that Anne had been sent to
an orphanage. If she had known the plan beforehand, she would have had
Anne sent to her. But as the step was taken, she accepted it and Anne
slipped out of her life.

Pat had a jolly summer. Camp Riverview was on New River, where, a clear
mountain stream, it begins its journey to the ocean. The boys' tent was
pitched on a level, grassy glade with rolling hills, cleared or wooded,
behind it. Across the river rose rocky bluffs where dwarfed oaks
struggled for a foothold. There were seven boys in the camp and the
wholesome young man who had them in charge was like a big brother. There
were two or three hours of daily study in which the boys were coached
for their autumn examinations. The remainder of the day was free for
sport--boating, fishing, swimming, tramps, and rides. One good time trod
on the heels of another.

The boys took walking tours through the picturesque country, following
the narrow, roundabout mountain roads, or scrambling up steep paths, or
making trails of their own. They visited Mountain Lake, set like a
clear, shining jewel on the mountain-top. They climbed Bald Knob and
gazed down on lovely valleys and outstretched mountains, range rising
beyond range. Time fails to describe the varied pleasures and interests
of the holiday, the close of which sent Pat, brown and sturdy, to
Woodlawn Academy. There he remained until the passing days and weeks and
months brought again vacation time. In June his father would return from
Panama, and after a few weeks at home Pat was to go with his Aunt Sarah
to the Adirondacks.



CHAPTER XVI


But we must go back to Anne, whom we left telling fairy tales to an
audience across the hedge. A rainy afternoon a few days later, a trim
nurse-maid brought a note to Miss Farlow. It was from Mrs. Marshall who
lived in the brown-stone house next door, asking that a little girl
whose name she did not know, a child with a big rag doll called
Honey-Sweet, might come to spend the afternoon with her children. Her
little boy, just recovering from typhoid fever, was peevish at being
kept indoors. He begged to see the girl who had entertained him a few
days before by telling fairy tales. A visit from her would be a kindness
to a sick child and an anxious mother.

"It is Anne Lewis that is wanted," said Miss Farlow. "I don't know
about letting her go. Visiting interferes with the daily tasks. I think
it better not to--"

"Please'm," entreated the bearer of the note, hastening to ward off a
refusal, "do, please'm, let the little girl come. He's that fractious he
has us all wore out. And he do say if the little girl don't come he'll
scream till night."

"Why doesn't his mother punish him?" asked Miss Farlow.

"Punish him! Punish Dunlop!" exclaimed Martha, in amazement.

"Oh, well! the child's ill. I suppose I must let her go," Miss Farlow
consented reluctantly. Anne was sent up-stairs to scrub her already
shining face, to brush her already orderly locks, to take off her
gingham apron and put on a fresh dimity frock. She returned to the
office, twisting her hat-ribbon nervously.

"If you please, Miss Farlow," she said appealingly, "Honey-Sweet--my
baby doll, you know--was in the note, too. Mayn't I take her with me?"

Miss Farlow nodded consent and Anne tripped away with Honey-Sweet in her
arms. What a contrast 'Roseland' was to the 'Home' next door! Anne
followed Martha across a great hall with panelled walls and
glass-knobbed mahogany doors and tiger-skin rugs on a well-waxed floor.
Martha led the way up broad, soft-carpeted stairs and turned into a room
at the right. What a charming nursery! It was a large room with three
big windows, which had a cheerful air even on this gray, bleak day. It
had soft, bright-colored rugs and chintz-cushioned wicker chairs. There
was a dado of Mother Goose illustrations on the pink walls. And there
were tables and shelves full of picture-books and toys of all kinds.

Dunlop stood in the middle of the room, frowning, with hands thrust in
his pockets. He had just kicked over a row of wooden soldiers with which
his small brother was playing and the little fellow was crying over
their downfall.

"Martha! thanks be that you've come!" exclaimed the maid in charge.

"Here she is! here she is!" cried Dunlop. "I thought you weren't coming,
girl. You were so slow.--I was just getting ready to begin to scream,"
he warned Martha.

"How do you do, Dunlop?" said Anne, putting out her hand.

"Say 'howdy' and ask your visitor to take off her hat," Martha
suggested.

"You come on and tell me a story," said Dunlop, seizing Anne's hand.

She resisted his effort to drag her to a chair. "I said 'how do you do'
to you. And you haven't said 'how do you do' to me," she reminded her
host. "I want to do and be did polite."

"Aw! come on," persisted Dunlop.

Anne stood silent.

The memory of his former encounter with her stubborn dignity came back
to Dunlop. He said, rather sullenly, "How do you do? and take off your
hat. But I don't know your name."

"My name is Anne Lewis," said his guest. "And this is Honey-Sweet. I
know your name. Martha told me. You are Dunlop Marshall. Your little
brother's name is Arthur. What a soft, curly, white little dog!"

"'At's my Fluffles," explained Arthur.

"Do you know any more stories, Anne Lewis?" inquired Dunlop. "Martha
said she 'spected you didn't."

"Yes, I do."

"How many?"

"O--oh! I don't know. Many as I want to make up. I'm playing a story now
while I wash dishes--this is my dining-room week. I pretend that a funny
little dwarf climbed the beanstalk with Jack--and when the giant tumbled
down he stayed up there in the giant's castle. Do you want to hear that
story?"

"You bet! Tell on," said Dunlop--and then added, as an afterthought,
"please."

"'Please!' Ain't that wonderful?" commented Martha. "Why, you make him
have manners!"

An hour or two later, Mrs. Marshall came into the nursery to see the
little girl whom her son had insisted on having as his guest. Martha was
serving refreshments--animal crackers and cambric tea.

"Anne has to go at five o'clock," Dunlop explained. "It's nearly that
now. So we're having a party."

"Anne--what is the rest of your name, little one?" asked Mrs. Marshall.

"I know. Let me tell," exclaimed Dunlop. "She's named Anne Lewis and she
lived in a big white house on a hill by the river at--at--you tell
where, Anne."

"'Lewis Hall,'" said Anne.

"You are a Lewis of 'Lewis Hall!'" exclaimed Mrs. Marshall. "Is it
possible? Was your father--could he have been--Will Watkins Lewis? He
was such a dear friend of my Bland cousins. I remember seeing him at
'Belle Vue' when I was a girl. I never saw him after he married and
settled down at his old home. Let's see. Your mother was a Mayo, wasn't
she?"

"I am named for her. Anne Mayo Lewis."

"To think you are Will Watkins Lewis's child! He is dead?--and your
mother?"

"I can't hardly remember him. But I can shut my eyes and see mother. I
was a big girl--seven when she died."

"You poor little thing! And where have you been since?"

"In New York with Uncle Carey. He's mother's brother. Then I was in
Paris at school. Mr. Patterson brought me back to Virginia. I've been
here ever since."

"Dear, dear! Will Watkins Lewis's child!" repeated Mrs. Marshall. "Where
are all your kins-people and friends?"

"I don't know 'bout kinfolks. But I have lots and lots of friends," said
Anne, brightening. "All the girls--and the cook--and the 'spress
man--and there used to be Miss Drayton and Pat. And there's always
Honey-Sweet," continued Anne, giving her doll a hug. "Oh, I must hurry!
It's beginning to strike five--and Miss Farlow said five o'clock
pre-cise-ly. Good-by. And thank you."



CHAPTER XVII


That Saturday afternoon was the first of many that Anne spent at the
brown-stone house next door. The 'Roseland' family became so fond of her
that Mr. and Mrs. Marshall talked about adopting her. 'It was too
important a matter to decide offhand,' Mr. Marshall said; 'too great a
responsibility to undertake lightly. They would wait awhile. Of course
the child would like to come.'

Mrs. Marshall was sure that she would be overjoyed. She asked one
afternoon, "How would you like to stay with us all the time, my dear?"

Anne was not prepared to say. "It's lovely to visit you and I always
want to stay longer," she responded. She considered the question on her
way to the 'Home,' and arrived at a positive conclusion.

"I don't believe I'd like it, Honey-Sweet," she said,--"not at all. I
like them every one and it's a lovely visiting-place. I'm glad I'm going
to spend to-morrow night there. But Dunlop--he's much nicer to be
company than home-folks with."

The next day was Christmas Eve. When Anne entered the 'Roseland'
nursery, snow was beginning to fall, fluttering down in big wet flakes.

Dunlop, his stocking in his hand, was prancing about the room. He wished
it would be dark and time to hang up his stocking--and he did wish it
was to-morrow morning and time to get his presents. He wanted a nail
driven in front of the fireplace; he was afraid Santa Claus wouldn't
think to look at the end of the mantel-piece. His own stocking was too
small. He had told Santa to bring him a football and an express wagon
and lots of other things. He was going to borrow a big fat stocking from
the big fat cook. Off he ran.

Little Arthur was sitting beside a low table on which lay two
picture-books, one less badly torn than the other, and one of his
favorite toys, a woolly white dog, now three-legged through some nursery
mishap. Arthur regarded them thoughtfully. He had a pencil clenched in
his chubby fist and on the table before him was a piece of paper.

"What are you doing, Artie dear?" asked Anne.

He looked up at her with big round blue eyes. He was a quiet,
good-tempered little fellow, now perplexed with serious thoughts.

"I'm going to hang up all two my socks," he announced.

"Why, Arthur-boy! that sounds selfish--not like you," exclaimed Anne.
"You don't want more than your share of Santa Claus's pretty things, do
you? Don't you want him to save some toys and books and candies for
other little boys?"

Arthur followed his own course of thought, without regard to Anne's
questions. "One sock is for me," he said. "I hope Santa'll 'member and
give me what I asked him."

"What did you ask him to bring you, honey?" inquired Anne.

Arthur looked at her gravely. "I'se forgot. Was so many fings. And one
sock is for Santa C'aus. I'm going to fill it all full of fings. A
apple. And popcorn balls--Marfa made 'em. And my dear woolly dog's for
Santa. Will he care if it's foot's bwoke?"

"But, Arthur darling," suggested Anne, "I wouldn't give the woolly dog
away. You love it best of all your toys."

"Yes, I do," agreed Arthur. "Old Santa'll love him, too. And I'll give
him my wed wose. Mamma wored it to her party las' night. Smell it, Anne;
ain't it sweet? And see here,"--he opened his chubby fist. "Fahver give
me five cents. I'm goin' to give it to Santa C'aus. And tell him to buy
him anyfing he wants wif it."

Anne hugged him heartily. "You dear, cute, generous, precious darling!"
she exclaimed.

Arthur drew away with sober dignity. Anne's caresses interfered with his
serious occupation. "I was w'iting Santa a letter," he explained. "But I
can't w'ite weal good. I'm fwead he can't wead it. Wouldn't you w'ite my
letter, Anne?" he asked, gazing doubtfully at his scribbling.

"That I will. I'll write just what you tell me," said Anne. "Give me the
pencil. And you may hold Honey-Sweet while I'm writing."

This was the letter:--

"Dear Santa Claus,--I thank you for the presents you gave me
last Christmas. I thank you for the presents you are going to give me
this Christmas. Santa Claus, the things in this sock are for you. I give
you a red rose. And a woolly dog. He can stand up if you prop him with
his tail. And five cents to buy you anything you want. I asked Martha
to put out the fire so you won't get burnt coming down the chimney.
Santa Claus, I wish you and Mrs. Santa Claus a merry Christmas. And
good-by.

     "Your loving friend,

          "Arthur Marshall."

Arthur breathed a sigh of relief when the letter was sealed and the sock
containing it and the chosen gifts was hung by the mantel-piece. He lay
down on a goatskin rug and looked into the flickering fire, prattling
about what Santa Claus would say when he found the gifts. Presently he
dropped asleep.

Twilight fell. From the gray skies the snow came down steadily. The
small, hard flakes tinkled against the window-panes. A northeast wind
shook the elm-tree branches, rattled the windows, and moaned around the
house. Anne sat staring out into the gathering night. How bleak it was!
how lonely-looking! She shivered and hugged Honey-Sweet close.

"I'm terrible late," said Martha, bustling in and hurrying to draw the
curtains and light the gas. "We had to finish putting up the greens. And
Master Dunlop did bother so. Nothing would do but he must 'help.'
'Help,' I say! He's one of them chillen that no matter where you turn
he's in the way. You shall have tea now, Miss Anne. I know you're
starving. And my blessed baby's fast asleep on the floor! Why, Miss
Anne! You been crying! What's the matter, dear? Did that Dunlop--"

"Nobody. Nothing," said Anne, turning her reddened eyes from the light.
"Perhaps my eyes are sore. Maybe the snow hurts them."

"Oh, ho! You just ought 'a' been with me," said Dunlop, strutting in. "I
hanged a wreath in the parlor window. I did it all to myself. Martha she
just held it straight and mother tied the string. Martha said I
bothered. Martha don't know. Mother says I'm her little man.--Come
along, you old Santa Claus! Hurry! Or I'll come up that chimney and take
all your toys and your reindeers, too," he shouted up the chimney.

"Don't, 'Lop," remonstrated Arthur who was sleepily rubbing his eyes and
opening his mouth, bird-like, for spoonfuls of bread and milk. "Don't
talk that way. It's ugly. And Santa C'aus'll get mad and not come. Or
he'll bring you switches."

"Mother won't let him," blustered Dunlop. "Mother says she told him to
bring me a heap of things--a gun and a 'spress wagon and a engine that
runs on a track and lots more things.--Say, Anne, is there really truly
a sure-'nough Santa Claus? George Bryant says there isn't not. Tell me,
Anne. Does Santa Claus really come down the chimney?"

"You stay awake and see," advised Anne.

"I'm going to. I'm not going to shut--my--eyes--all--night--long," he
said emphatically.

"Marfa, don't put on any more coal," begged Arthur. "I so fwead Santa
C'aus'll get burnted."

The Christmas saint accepted Arthur's offering in the loving spirit in
which it was made and there was a letter of thanks in the sock around
which were heaped more pretty things than he had remembered he wanted.
Dunlop examined his many gifts with shrieks of delight. His one regret
was that he didn't see Santa Claus--if there was a Santa Claus. He knew
he didn't go to sleep last night--but he didn't remember anything till
Martha was kindling the fire this morning.

By Anne's breakfast plate were several dainty packages,--a copy of
_Little Lord Fauntleroy_, a box of dominoes, an embroidered
handkerchief, a box of chocolate creams. And Martha gave Honey-Sweet
pink-flowered muslin for a new dress.

Breakfast passed in wild confusion. Martha was imploring Dunlop not to
eat any more candy or raisins or oranges or figs or nuts. "You'll be
sick," she said. "And goodness knows, Master Dunlop, you're hard enough
to live with best of times when you're well. Do--don't blow your horn,
Master Dunlop--or beat your drum--or toot your engine--your poor mamma
has such a headache."

Mrs. Marshall protested, however, that the dear child must be allowed to
enjoy his Christmas. "He is so high-strung," she said, "not like
ordinary children. He can't be controlled like them. I can't bear to
cross him and break his spirit."



CHAPTER XVIII


Before the early dinner at the 'Home,' Miss Farlow assembled the girls
and gave them a Christmas talk. Christmas, she reminded them, is the
time for generous thoughts, for kindly memories, for opening our eyes to
the needs of others and opening our hands to aid those needs. There is
no one so poor, so lonely, that he cannot find some one more needy that
he may help.

"Kind friends have remembered you this holiday season," she said. "Each
of you has received gifts. Now I hope you want to pass the kindness on.
There is a negro orphanage in town, and I happen to know that its funds
are so limited that after providing needfuls, food, fuel, and clothing,
there is nothing left this year for Christmas cheer. Aren't you willing
to share your good things with those poor children? Won't each of you
bring some of your old toys to the sitting-room at four o'clock and help
fill a Christmas box to send the little orphans?"

The children responded eagerly, Anne among the first. They hurried to
their rooms and rummaged busily through their boxes and drawers,
collecting old dolls, ragged picture-books, and broken toys.

Anne opened her drawer and then shut it quickly and sat down dolefully
on the bed-side, swinging her feet.

"What are you going to give, Anne?" asked one of the other girls.

"Dunno," was the brief answer.

A mighty struggle was going on in her heart. She had no old picture-books,
games, nor toys. She had nothing to give--unless--except--there were the
gifts she had received at 'Roseland' this morning--the shining dominoes,
the dainty handkerchief, the ribbon-tied candy box, the book with
fascinating pictures and pages that looked so interesting. It was so
long since she had had any pretty, useless things that it put a lump in
her throat merely to think of giving them up. But she had promised and
she must give something to those poor little black orphans. Which of her
treasures should it be? When she tried to decide on any one, that one
seemed the dearest and most desirable of all. At last in despair she
gathered all her gifts--dominoes, handkerchief, book, candy--in her
apron, ran with them to the sitting-room and dumped them on the table
before Miss Farlow, with "Here! for the old orphans."

Miss Farlow opened her mouth but before words could come Anne was gone.
She crouched down with Honey-Sweet between her bed and the wall and
sobbed as if her heart would break.

"I wouldn't mind so much," she explained to Honey-Sweet, "I wouldn't
mind so much if I could have taken out one teeny piece of chocolate
with the darling little silver tongs. I haven't had a box of candy for
months and months. And, oh! Honey-Sweet, I read just three chapters in
that beautiful book, and now I'll never, never know what became of that
dear little boy."

At teatime Anne, red-eyed and unsmiling, met Miss Farlow on the stairs.

"Ah! Anne Lewis," said the lady, looking over her spectacles. "You are a
generous child. I only asked and expected some old toys. It was generous
of you to bring your pretty new gifts. But I hardly feel that you ought
to give away the Christmas presents your friends selected for you to
enjoy. I think you'd better take them back." Anne's face shone like the
sun coming from behind a cloud. "Instead, you can give--oh! some old
thing--give that rag doll to put in the box for the little orphans." The
sun went under a dark cloud.

"Oh!" Anne faltered. Then she hurried on: "Can't no old orphans have
Honey-Sweet. You keep the dominoes and the book and the handkerchief and
the candy. And they may have my gold beads, too. But not Honey-Sweet.
I'd rather have her than Christmas. There--there's a lonesome spot she
just fits in."

"You'd rather give away your pretty new things than that old rag doll?"
Miss Farlow was amazed.

"A million times!" cried Anne, hugging her baby fondly.

"What a queer child you are, Anne Lewis!" said Miss Farlow. "Well, well!
keep your doll, of course, if you wish."

Anne gave her an impulsive kiss. "Thank you, Miss Farlow! You are so
good," she said.

The holidays over, the routine of daily life was resumed. The days and
weeks and months passed, busy with work and study. Anne welcomed the
mild spring days which came at last and allowed out-of-door games.
During the autumn, the boxwood playhouse had been a place of delight to
her and Dunlop and Arthur. Now, after a spring cleaning patterned after
Mrs. Marshall's, she and Honey-Sweet again took up quarters there.

One Saturday afternoon, however, Dunlop came strutting out in an Indian
suit which his mamma had just bought him and announced that he was "heap
big chief" and was going to have the boxwood for his wigwam.

Anne objected. She had found the treehouse and it was hers; the others
were to play there all they pleased; but she would go straight home
unless the boxwood was to remain, as it had always been, her "private
property," as she proudly said.

For answer, Dunlop fitted an arrow on his bow and rushed in, yelling,
"You squaw! This is my papa's place. You get out of my wigwam. Get out,
I say."

Without a word, Anne gathered up Honey-Sweet and marched off, with her
chin in the air. For a whole long week she did not come to 'Roseland.'
Worst of all, on Saturday she played all afternoon with the other girls
on the 'Home' grounds, without once looking over the hedge.

Arthur threw himself into Martha's arms. "I want my Anne," he sobbed, "I
want her to come back. 'Lop's a bad, bad boy to make my Anne go 'way."

Shortly before teatime, Anne left the other girls and without seeming to
see any one beyond the hedge, sat down just out of earshot and began to
tell Honey-Sweet a story. This was more than could be borne. Arthur
wailed aloud.

Suddenly Dunlop broke his way through the hedge, stopped just in front
of Anne, and screamed: "It's your old house. You come on."

Anne looked at him but did not move.

He stamped his foot. "Please!" he shouted fiercely.

"Good and all? Private property?" asked Anne.

Dunlop nodded.

Anne rose. "We better go through the gap," she said in an offhand way.
"Miss Emma'll try to have me whipped if we break down the hedge."

Dunlop trotted by her side in silence. As they crossed the hedge, he
slipped his grimy hand in hers. "Mamma says we are going to the country
next week," he announced; "and I told her you'd have to go, too."

Indeed, Dunlop flatly refused to go away without Anne. He would not
yield to coaxing and he scorned threats. His wishes finally prevailed
and it was decided that Anne should go with them to spend the week-end
and return to town with Mr. Marshall.

The little party left 'Roseland' one warm afternoon in June, and sunset
found them all dusty and tired. Dunlop, sitting by his mother, absorbed
her attention. Martha was on the seat behind, with Arthur on her lap.
Anne, beside her, was looking out of the window with a puzzled air. The
willow-bordered river, the meadows and rolling hills, had a familiar
appearance; this fresh, woodsy, evening fragrance was an odor she had
known before; surely she had heard the names of the stations called by
the porter.

"Lewiston!" he shouted at last.

Anne started. It was her own home station. As in a dream, she saw in the
twilight the familiar red road shambling over the hills, the dingy
little station with men and boys loafing on the platform, the houses
scattered here and there among trees and gardens. It all came back to
her. This was the route she and her mother had often travelled. A little
way off was the water-tank set in a clump of willows by the roadside.
'Lewis Hall' was on the hill just beyond. In the deepening twilight,
she could not see the square house among the trees.

A great longing for home possessed her. She slipped past Martha dozing
with Arthur asleep in her lap; hardly knowing what she did, she ran to
the rear of the car. The train was about to stop at the tank. Anne put
her hand on the door-knob. It resisted. A lump came in her throat. Again
she tried the knob. This time it yielded to her pressure. She stepped on
the platform and closed the door behind her. As the train jerked and
stood still, she almost fell but she quickly recovered herself and
scrambled down the steps.

She stood in a well-remembered thicket of willows. A few steps away was
a footpath--how it all came back to her!--winding among the willows.
Clasping Honey-Sweet close, Anne walked a little way down the path. Then
she turned and looked back. The train was puffing and panting, lights
were gleaming from its windows. There sat Mrs. Marshall, coaxing
Dunlop, and there was Arthur cuddled in Martha's lap.

As Anne looked, the train moved slowly away, gathering speed as it went.
Its lights gleamed and faded in the darkness. It was gone. She gazed
after it, with a queer tightness about her throat. Then she walked
steadily down the footpath, across the meadow, through a gate, and along
the hillside. On top of that tree-clad hill was her old home. From one
well-remembered room, flickered lights that seemed to beckon and summon
the homesick child.



CHAPTER XIX


Meanwhile, Anne was the innocent cause of trouble between Pat and his
father. Mr. Patterson came back in the early summer to spend a few weeks
with his son at the old home in Georgetown before midsummer heat drove
them to mountains or seashore.

The mansion was a roomy, old-fashioned house which his grandfather
Patterson had built when Georgetown was a fashionable suburb of the
capital. As Washington grew, fashion favored other sections, and the
stately homes of Georgetown were stranded among small shops and dingy
tenements. Some old residents, the Pattersons among the number, clung to
their homes.

Mr. Patterson had been little at home since his wife's death. Every
nook and corner of the house, her pictures on the walls, her books on
the shelves, her easy-chair beside the window, called her to mind. How
lonely and sad he was! His son was little comfort to him in his
loneliness. Except on their ocean voyage, Pat and his father had not
been together for three years and they had grown apart. Pat was no
longer just a merry little chap, ready for a romp with his father. He
was a tall, overgrown lad, absorbed in the sports and work of his
school-world, at a loss what to say to the silent, reserved business man
who made such an effort to talk to him.

One day, as they sat together at a rather silent dinner, a sudden
thought made Pat drop his salad fork and look up at his father. "When is
Anne coming, father?" he asked. "Where's her school? and when is it
out?"

"Anne? Anne who?" asked Mr. Patterson, blankly--for the moment
forgetful of the child who had been a brief episode in his busy life.

"Why, Anne Lewis, of course--our little Anne," said Pat.

"Oh, that child," answered Mr. Patterson, carelessly. "She is in an
orphan asylum in Virginia. I put her there the week we landed."

Pat started to his feet. "In an orphan asylum?" he gasped. He knew
asylums only through the experiences of Oliver Twist, and if his father
had said "in jail," the words would not have excited more horror.

"Of course," replied his father, viewing his emotion with surprise.
"That was where she belonged. We couldn't find any of her own people.
Why, son! You didn't expect me to keep her, did you?"

"Mother intended that. She said Anne was my--little--sister." The boy
found it difficult to speak.

"Your mother! If she had lived--but without her--be reasonable, Pat.
How could you and I--we rolling stones--take charge of a little girl?
And now--"

"There is Aunt Sarah," interrupted Pat, refusing to be convinced. "Or
school. I thought you had her in boarding-school like me. Where is she?"

Mr. Patterson was just going to tell Pat about Anne and her whereabouts.
But now he was provoked that his son put the question, not as a request,
but as a demand. He spoke sternly. "You forget yourself, Patrick. It is
not your place to take me to task for pursuing the course that I thought
proper in this matter. We will drop the subject, if you please."

"But, father, Anne--"

"Patrick!" Mr. Patterson interrupted. "Either sit down and finish your
dinner quietly or go to your room."

Pat turned on his heel and went up-stairs, but not to his chamber.
Instead, he made his way to a little attic room with a dormer window.
There was a couch which his mother had covered with chintz patterned in
morning-glories, his birth-month flowers. The book-shelves and the chest
for toys were covered with the same design, applied by her dear hands.
How many a rainy Sunday afternoon his mother and he had spent in this
den, reading and talking together! In the months since his mother's
death, he had never missed her as he did now--in these first days at
home. There was no one to take away the loneliness. Aunt Sarah was with
Cousin Hugh. And now Anne was away--not just for a time but for always.
There was no one left but his father, who seemed like a stranger and
whom--he said it over and over to himself--he did not love.

The boy threw himself face downward on his couch and sobbed as he had
not done since the first days after his mother's death. Where was Anne?
Was she with people who were good to her? If only he had written to her
long ago! Father would have sent the letter, or given the address. He
had begun a letter telling about a big baseball game but he had blotted
it; it was in his portfolio still, unfinished. Poor little Anne! The
tears came afresh. He could see his mother stroking Anne's fair hair, as
she had done one day when he was teasing about Honey-Sweet.

"My son," the gentle voice had said, "you must be good to our little
girl. Remember, she has no one in the world but us."

Dear little Anne! What a jolly playmate she was,--brave, good-tempered,
affectionate! and what a generous little soul! How she always insisted
on dividing her fruit and candies with him when he devoured his share
first.

An hour passed. Mr. Patterson came up-stairs, went from his room into
Pat's, and then walked down the hall.

"Pat!" he called. "Patrick!" The voice sounded stern but really its
undertone was anxiety.

Pat did not speak. He scrambled to his feet and descended the stairs.
With set mouth and downcast eyes, he stood before his father.

"Did I not tell you to go to your room, Pat?"

"Yes, father." Pat paused in the doorway. "I want to know where Anne
is," he said.

"Patrick!" Mr. Patterson spoke sternly now. "You forget yourself
strangely to address me in this way. I refuse to answer."

He turned on his heel and left his son. And he left a breach between
them which the days and weeks widened instead of closing. Pat, feeling
that it would be useless to question his father any more, did not
mention Anne's name again. He picked up his old comrades and went
walking, swimming, and canoeing, keeping as much away from his father as
possible. Mr. Patterson busied himself with office affairs, looking
forward with relief to the end of the so-longed-for vacation. In a few
days, Miss Drayton would join them to take Pat with her to the
Adirondacks.

At this very time, Miss Drayton, too, was bearing about a disturbed
heart. She was fond of Anne and had always regretted her being sent to
an orphanage, but the feeling was not strong enough to make her reclaim
the child. Anne's uncle was a criminal, after all, and she herself had a
strange secret. How could she have acquired those jewels but by theft?
Miss Drayton shrank from the responsibility of such a child. Perhaps the
strict oversight of an asylum was best for her.

This course of thought was abruptly changed by the receipt of a letter
forwarded from Washington to the Maryland village where Miss Drayton was
visiting. It was a many-postmarked much-travelled letter, that had
journeyed far and long before it reached her. Mailed in Liverpool, it
was sent to Nantes, in care of the American consul. It had been held,
under the supposition that the lady to whom it was addressed might come
to the city and ask for mail sent there for safe keeping. Finally, the
unclaimed letter was sent to the American embassy at Paris. There it
tarried awhile. Then it fell into the hands of a secretary who knew Miss
Drayton, and he sent the letter to the Washington post-office,
requesting that her street and number be supplied.

This was done, and the ten-months-old letter reached Miss Drayton one
July afternoon. She glanced curiously from the unfamiliar handwriting to
the signature. Carey G. Mayo. Anne's uncle!

With changing countenance, she read the letter hastily.

Then she reread it once and again.

                "Liverpool, England,

                "20 September, 1910.

   "Miss Sarah Drayton,

"Dear Madam,--I write to you on the eve of leaving the city, to
commend my niece to your care. You have been so good to the child that I
venture to hope you will care for her till I can relieve you of the
burden. She has no near relative and I am in no position to hunt up the
cousins who might take charge of her.

"I told Anne not to tell you about seeing me till you reached Nantes,
for by that time, if ever, I shall be beyond the reach of officers of
the law. Please keep her mother's rings that I gave to her, unless it
becomes necessary to dispose of them to provide for her. If I live, I
will replace her money that I squandered.

"Will you leave your address for me with the consul in Nantes? For God's
sake, madam, do not betray me to the hands of the law. I am a guilty
man, but I am putting myself in your power for the sake of this
innocent child. Be very good to her, I implore you. Deal with her as you
would be dealt with in your hour of need.

     "Respectfully yours,

          "Carey G. Mayo."

This was the secret then, this the mystery. How she had misjudged poor
little Anne! She would hasten to take the child from the asylum and
would do all possible to make up for the lonely, neglected past. She
wrote at once to the consul at Nantes, asking him to forward to her
Washington address any letters which came for her. Then she hastened her
departure to Washington.

"I came before the time I set," she said to her brother-in-law as soon
as they were alone together, "because I wish to talk to you about Anne
Lewis." Mr. Patterson's brow clouded. "She is in an orphan asylum in
Virginia, is she not? We must get her out. At once. Read this letter."

Mr. Patterson held the letter unopened in his hand. "The subject is an
unpleasant one," he said. "I've been wanting to tell you about a
conversation I had with Pat. It showed me in a startling way how the boy
is developing. I don't know what to do with him. In my young days, boys
were different. We submitted to our fathers. A year or two of school and
camp life has changed my little Pat into a sullen, self-willed,
unmanageable youngster." He repeated the conversation between Pat and
himself about Anne.

"And you did not tell him where Anne is?" asked Miss Drayton.

"Certainly not," replied Mr. Patterson. "His manner was disrespectful.
If he had asked properly, I should have answered him. Of course I had no
objection to telling him."

"Ah," murmured Miss Drayton. "I hope he didn't think you meant to keep
him ignorant of Anne's whereabouts."

"Of course not," said Mr. Patterson, indignantly.

"Children get queer little notions in their queer little heads
sometimes," said Miss Drayton. "I confess, brother, I think you've done
wrong. And I've done wrong. We could have given this orphan child a home
and care--and we did not."

Her brother-in-law replied that orphan asylums were established to
relieve such cases.

Miss Drayton did not argue the question. She said softly: "We failed in
the trust that Emily left us--our duty to her little adopted daughter."

Mr. Patterson was silent. He opened and read Mr. Mayo's letter. Then he
folded it carefully and handed it back. "I will go to-morrow and get
this child from the asylum," he said.

"Suppose you let me go--with Pat," suggested Miss Drayton. "And,
brother, talk to him. Explain matters."

But he shook his head. "There is nothing for me to explain. You and I
misunderstood things. I am sorry we did not know all this at first. Then
we would have acted differently. But it is not for Pat to judge my
course. I refuse to defend myself to a young cub."



CHAPTER XX


"What are you smiling at, Pat?" Miss Drayton asked her nephew sitting
beside her in the parlor car. They had passed through the tunnel and
crossed the beautiful Potomac Park and the shining river. Washington
Monument, like a finger pointing skyward, was fading in the distance.

"What amuses you, Pat?" repeated his aunt.

"Can't help grinning like a possum," answered Pat, with a chuckle.
"Every mile is taking us nearer Anne. How she'll jump and squeal
'oo-ee'--when she sees us! And--look here, Aunt Sarah--" he glanced
cautiously around to be sure that he was not observed, then opened his
travelling-bag and displayed a doll's dress--blue silk with frills and
lace ruffles. "I bought it in an F Street shop yesterday--for
Honey-Sweet, you know," he explained. "Gee! It'll tickle Anne for me to
give that doll a present. She'll--" he whistled a bar of ragtime.

Miss Drayton laughed heartily. The gift set aside so completely the
lapse of time that she could fancy she saw Anne running to meet them,
her tawny hair flying in the wind and Honey-Sweet clasped in her arms.

According to its habit, the Southern train was behind time. Instead of
early afternoon, it was twilight when Miss Drayton and Pat reached their
station. Dusk was deepening into drizzling night when their cab set them
down at the gate of the 'Home.' They were ushered through the prim hall
into the superintendent's office. Miss Farlow rose from her desk.

"You are in charge of this institution?" asked Miss Drayton.

"I am Miss Farlow, the superintendent."

"I am Miss Drayton from Washington City. This is my nephew, Patrick
Patterson. We are friends of Anne Lewis."

"You have news of her?" asked Miss Farlow, starting eagerly forward.

"News? We have come to see her--to take her home with us--to give her a
home," explained Miss Drayton.

Miss Farlow sank back on her chair, and buried her face in her hands.
The quiet, reserved woman was weeping bitterly. "If we only had her, if
we only had her!" she moaned. "Poor little motherless, fatherless one!
Oh, it was my fault. I failed in my duty. I tried to do right by her.
God knows I did."

"What is the matter? What do you mean?" Miss Drayton was frightened. Was
the child dead? injured? She dared not ask. "Anne--where is she?" she
faltered at last.

"I don't know." Miss Farlow was recovering her self-control and
struggling to speak steadily. "She started on a holiday trip with some
friends. On the way she disappeared. Absolutely disappeared. No one
knows where nor when. The nurse saw her last at Westcot, a few stations
from Lynchburg. The train was in the city before she was missed."

"We will find her. We must," cried Miss Drayton.

Miss Farlow was hopeless. "Not a stone has been left unturned. That was
two weeks ago. The trainmen were all questioned. Telegrams were sent to
every station. Mr. Marshall has spared neither trouble nor expense. No
one saw her get off. There is no trace of her. None. If the earth had
opened and swallowed her, she could not have disappeared more
completely. When you came in--strangers--and mentioned her name--my one
thought and hope was that you had found her." Miss Farlow sobbed. "I
think of her day and night. A little lost child! homeless! friendless!
all alone!"

"Don't, don't!" Pat put up his hand as if to ward off a blow. He
hurried from the room and crouched down in a corner of the cab,
staring out into the wet night. Somewhere in the darkness--in the
rain--homeless--friendless--all alone--was little Anne.

Surely there was some clew that they might follow to reach the child.
Miss Drayton and Pat went to 'Roseland' to hear the story from Mrs.
Marshall's own lips. She could give them no help. She and her husband
had done all that was possible. They would have done this for the
child's own sake. They were doubly bound to do it for the sake of their
sons who were heart-broken about Anne. Arthur was always begging them to
let Anne come back to see him. Dunlop understood that she was lost and
refused to be comforted.

Miss Drayton and Pat went into the nursery and found the children at
supper.

"I know, it's late, ma'am," said Martha, helplessly; "but Master Dunlop
he wouldn't let me have it afore. Do eat now, Master Dunlop. Here's this
nice strawberry jam."

Dunlop took up the spoon, then paused to ask, "Do you reckon Anne has
any strawberry jam for her supper?"

Pat shook his head.

Dunlop's lip quivered. "Then I don't want any. Take it away, Martha,"
and he pushed aside the spoon.

"Do with Anne wath here," lisped Arthur. "I got her thweater yolled up
smooth to keep for her. Whyn't she come?"

No one could tell him.

Miss Farlow wished Miss Drayton, according to Mr. Mayo's request, to
take charge of the child's jewels. But Miss Drayton refused.

"You keep them, please," she urged. "If--when Anne comes back, it will
be to you. She does not know where we are. Oh, I cannot bear the sight
of those miserable jewels," she exclaimed. "The mere thought of them
reminds me how I misjudged our poor child."

There was nothing she could do in Richmond and she hurried back to
Washington to consult her brother-in-law. How unlike the merry journey
of the day before was the silent, miserable trip!

"Don't take it so hard, dear boy," Miss Drayton said, clasping Pat's
hand which lay limp in hers a minute and was then withdrawn. "We may
find her yet,--well and happy."

She spoke in a half-hearted way and Pat shook his head hopelessly.
"She's been gone two weeks," he said, "and no sign of her. I think about
her--like that woman said--homeless--friendless--all alone--a little
lost child--in the wet and dark, like last night." There was a moment's
silence. Then Pat spoke again: "Aunt Sarah, I shall never feel the same
to father. It is his fault. He ought not to have put her there. He
ought to have told me where she was. If he had told me when I asked
him--that was three weeks ago, you know."

Miss Drayton reasoned, coaxed, entreated. "Think of your mother, Pat,"
she said gently. "How you would grieve her!"

"I do think of her," returned Pat. "She would never have acted so. And
she would never have let father send Anne away."

Miss Drayton sighed. Was it not sad and pitiful enough to have that poor
little orphan lost? Must her dead sister's husband be estranged from his
only son?

Pat stood silent while Miss Drayton told his father the story of their
journey. Mr. Patterson listened--surprised at first, then vexed. Now and
then, he interrupted with brief, pointed questions. The answers left him
anxious, distressed. Presently he took off his eyeglasses and put his
hand up as if to shade his eyes from the light. When the tale was
finished, there was a brief silence. A gentle breeze rustled the
elm-tree at the window. A carriage clattered past. A newsboy shouting
"Papers!" ran down the quiet street.

Mr. Patterson dropped his hand. His lashes were wet with tears. "Lord!"
he said in a broken voice. "Can I ever forgive myself?"

Pat started forward with tears in his eyes. "Father!" he cried.
"Dear--old--dad! We'll find her yet."

Mr. Patterson seized the outstretched hand and held it close. "God grant
it," he said. "My son, my son!"



CHAPTER XXI


Meanwhile, where was Anne? Was she as forlorn and miserable in reality
as her friends fancied? Let us see.

After she slipped unobserved from the railway coach, she followed the
familiar footpath in its leisurely windings across meadow and up-hill.
It led her to a tumble-down fence, surrounding a spacious, deep-turfed
lawn, with native forest trees--oak, elm, and chestnut--growing where
nature had set them. On the crest of the hill, rose a square,
old-fashioned house, dear and familiar. Home, home at last!

Anne pushed through the gate, hanging ajar on one hinge, and hurried
across the lawn. Even in the twilight, she could see that the microfila
roses by the front porch were still blooming--they had been in bloom
when she went away--and the Cherokee rose on the summer-house was
starred with cream-white blossoms. From the windows of the old
sitting-room, a light was shining and Anne hastened toward the latticed
side-porch which opened into the room. As she approached the steps, a
lank, clay-colored dog came snarling toward her. Two or three puppies
ran out, barking furiously. Anne stopped, too frightened to cry out.

The sitting-room door opened and a thick-set man in shirt-sleeves came
out on the porch. He peered into the darkness.

"Who's that?" he asked. Anne, fearfully expecting to be devoured by the
yelping curs, could not answer. "Who's out there, say?" repeated the
man. Anne took two or three steps toward the protection of the light and
the open door. The man answered a question from within. "Don't know.
It's a child," he said, catching sight of Anne, and going to meet her.
"Them pups won't bite. Get away, Red Coat. She'll nip you if she gits a
chance. Come right on in, honey. Whyn't you holler at the gate?"

Anne followed the strange man through the door that he opened hospitably
wide. It was and was not the dear room that she remembered. There were
the four big windows, the panelled walls, the bookcase with
diamond-paned doors, built in a recess beside the chimney. But where was
the gilt-framed mirror that hung over the mantel-piece? And the silver
candlesticks with crystal pendants? And the old brass fender and
andirons? And the shiny mahogany table with brass-tipped claw feet? And
the little spindle-legged tables with their burdens of books, vases, and
pictures? And the tinkly little old piano? And the carved mahogany
davenport? And the sewing-table, ebony inlaid with mother-of-pearl, that
stood always by the south window? And the quaint old engravings and
colored prints? All these were gone. Instead of the threadbare Brussels
carpet patterned with huge bouquets of flowers, there was a striped rag
carpet. There were a few rush-bottomed chairs, a box draped with red
calico on which stood a water-bucket and a wash-pan, a cook-stove before
the fireplace, and in the middle of the room a table covered with a red
cloth, on which was set forth a supper of coffee, corn-cakes, fried
bacon, and cold cabbage and potatoes. A fat, freckle-faced girl, a
little larger than Anne, and two boys of about twelve and fourteen were
seated at the supper-table. Beside the stove stood a stout, fair woman
in a soiled gingham apron. Their four pairs of wide-open, light-blue
eyes stared at Anne.

"Where you pick up that child, Peter Collins?" demanded the woman,
neglecting her frying cakes.

"She jes' come to the door," responded Mr. Collins.

"My sakes!" exclaimed his wife. "Whose child is you? Whar you come from,
here after dark, this way?"

"Where's Aunt Charity?" asked Anne.

"Aunt Charity? Don't no Aunt Charity live here. This is Mr. Collins's
house,--Peter Collins. Is you lost?--Peter, you Peter Collins! I want
know who on earth this child is you done brung here. You always doing
some outlandish thing! Who is she?"

"How the thunder I know?" muttered her husband, pulling at his beard.

Anne stood bewildered. This was home and yet it was not home. Her lips
quivered, she clasped Honey-Sweet tighter, and turned toward the door to
go--where? Everything turned black around her, the floor seemed to give
way under her feet, and in another moment she and Honey-Sweet were in a
forlorn little heap on the floor and she was sobbing as if her heart
would break.

"I want home! I want somebody!" she wailed piteously.

Mrs. Collins sat down on the floor and drew the weeping child into her
arms.

"Thar, thar, honey! don't you cry! don't you cry!" she said soothingly.
"Po' little thing! Le' me take off your hat! Why, yo' little hands is
jest as cold! Lizzie, set the kettle on front of the stove. Jake, you
put some wood in the fire. Now, honey, you set right in this
rocking-chair by the stove and le' me wrap a shawl round you. I'll have
you some cambric tea and fry you some hot cakes in a jiffy. A good
supper'll het you up. I'd take shame to myself, Peter Collins, if I was
you"--she scowled at her husband as she bustled about--"a gre't big man
like you skeerin' a po' little thing like that! What diff'rence do it
make who she is or whar she come from? Anybody with two eyes in his head
can see she's jest a po' little lost thing. You gre't gawk, you!"

"What is I done, I'd like to know?" inquired Mr. Collins, helplessly.

Anne had not realized that she was hungry until Mrs. Collins set before
her a plateful of hot crisp cakes. The good woman spread them with
butter and opened a jar of 'company' sweetmeats,--crisp watermelon rind,
cut in leaf, star, and fish shapes. While serving supper, Mrs. Collins
chattered on in a soft, friendly voice.

"I see how 'twas. You knowed this place before we come here. We been
here two year come next Christmas. Done bought the place. Fust time any
of our folks is ever owned land. Always been renters and share-hands,
movin' to new places soon as we wore out ol' ones. I tell my ol' man
it's goin' to come mighty hard on him now that he's got a place of his
own that's got to be tooken care of."

By this time, the color had come back to Anne's face and she was smiling
and stroking the sleek black-and-white cat that had jumped in her lap.

"What is the little girl's name, mammy?" asked Lizzie. Having finished
her supper, she was standing at her mother's side, staring with wide
eyes at Anne and shyly rolling a corner of her apron in her fingers.

"Sh-sh-sh," whispered Mrs. Collins. "'Tain't perlite to ask questions.
You make her cry again.--But, Peter, I'm worried to think maybe her
folks is missed her and lookin' for her. You have to take the lantern
presen'ly and go and tell 'em she's here."

"Whar is I gwine? And who I gwi' tell?" asked Mr. Collins.

"Peter Collins, you is the most unreasonable man I ever see in my life!
You sho ain't goin' to worry the po' little thing and make her cry
again, askin' all kinds of questions. You jest got to hunt up her folks.
They'll be worried to death, missing a child like this, and at night,
too."

But Anne was now ready to explain cheerfully. "I haven't any folks--not
any real folks of my own now," she said. "Mother is dead and father is
dead. Uncle Carey got lost, I reckon. I used to live here. Mr.
Patterson took me to a--a orphan 'sylum, Mrs. Marshall calls it. The
name over the door is 'Home for Girls.' This evening I was on the train
with Mrs. Marshall and I knew the place when we came to the water-tank.
And I wanted to be here. So we came, Honey-Sweet and I. I thought the
dog was going to bite me."

"You hear that, Peter Collins?" exclaimed Mrs. Collins. "Now wasn't that
smart of her? She knowed the place and got off the train by herself and
come right up to the house. And Red Coat might 'a' bit the po' child
traipsin' 'long in the dark. You got to shut that dog up nights," she
said, as if every evening was to bring a little lost Anne wandering into
danger. "To think of puttin' a po' little motherless, fatherless thing
in a 'sylum," she continued. "Many homes as thar is in this world!--Le'
me fry you another plateful of nice brown cakes, honey, and get you some
damson preserves--maybe you like them better'n sweetmeats. Or would you
choose raspberry jam?" She had thrown open the diamond-paned doors of
the bookcase, now used as a pantry, and was looking over the rows of
jars.

"I couldn't eat another mouthful of anything; indeed, I couldn't,"
insisted Anne.

"I wish you would," sighed Mrs. Collins. "It gives me a feelin' to see
yo' po' thin little face--no wider'n a knitting needle."

Anne laughed. "I ate ever so many cakes. They were so good--as good as
Aunt Charity's. Please--where is Aunt Charity?"

"Aunt Charity who?" asked Mrs. Collins.

"Our old Aunt Charity and Uncle Richard that used to live here."

"Oh! You mean them old darkies. They moved away the year we come here.
They--"

"Mammy, I want to know her name," insisted Lizzie, in an undertone.
"And I want to see her doll in my own hands."

"My name is Anne Lewis," Anne informed her. "My doll is named Mrs. Emily
Patterson but I call her Honey-Sweet."

"That's a mighty pretty dress," said Lizzie, admiringly.

"I made it, all but the buttonholes," Anne answered proudly. "Martha did
those."

"Do her shoes really, truly come off?" asked Lizzie.

"Yes, they do. And her stockings, too. Look here."

The two girls played happily together with Honey-Sweet until Mrs.
Collins declared that Anne was tired and tucked her away with Lizzie in
a trundle-bed.

"I dunno when I've set up so late," the good woman said to her husband,
as she wound up the clock. "It's near nine o'clock. But one thing I tell
you, Peter Collins, afore I get a mite of sleep--Nobody's going to send
that po' child back to the 'sylum she's runned away from. Tain't no use
for you to say a word."

"Is I said a word?" asked Mr. Collins.

"That po' thing ain't goin' to be drug back to no 'sylum," pursued his
wife. "She shall stay here long as she's a mind to--till her folks come
for her--or till she gets grown--or something. And she shall have all
she wants to eat, sho as my name's Lizabeth Collins. I've heard tell of
them 'sylums. They say the chillen don't have nothin' to eat or wear but
what folks give 'em. Think of them with their po' little empty stomachs
settin' waitin' for somebody to think to send 'em dinner! I'm goin' to
make a jar full of gingercakes fust thing in the mornin' and put it on
the pantry shelf where that child can he'p herself.--Anne, uh!
Anne!--She's 'sleep. I jest wondering if she'd rather have gingercakes
or tea-cakes dusted with sugar and cinnamon. Peter Collins! I tell you,
you got to work and pervide for yo' chillen. I couldn't rest in my
grave if I thought one of them'd ever have to go to a 'sylum. I see you
last week give a knife to that Hawley boy.--What if he was name for
you?--I don't keer if it didn't cost but ten cent. You'll land in the
po' house and yo' chillen in 'sylums if you throw away yo' money on
tother folks' chillens.--Peter, fust thing in the morning you catch me a
chicken to fry for that po' child's breakfast. And remind me--to git
out--a jar of honey," she concluded drowsily.



CHAPTER XXII


The next morning, after Anne insisted that she could not possibly eat
any more corn-cakes or biscuits or toast or fried apples or chicken or
ham or potato-cakes or molasses or honey, Mrs. Collins picked her up and
put her in a rocking-chair by the south window.

"Now, you set thar and rest," she commanded, "till Lizzie does up her
work and has time to play with you. You Lizzie! Hurry and wash them
dishes and sweep this floor and dust my room and then take the little
old lady's breakfast to her. It's in the stove, keeping warm."

"Let me help Lizzie," begged Anne. "I know how to sweep and dust and
wash dishes. We had to do those things--turn about, you know--at the
'Home.'"

"You set right still," repeated Mrs. Collins, "and let some meat grow on
yo' po' little bones. I know how they treat you at them 'sylums, making
you work day in, day out. Oh, it's a dog's life!"

"But, Mrs. Collins, they were good to me, and kind as could be. I didn't
have to work so hard. I just did the things that Lizzie does."

"Uh! Lizzie!" was the response, "that's diff'rent. She's at home. She
works when I tell her--if she chooses," Mrs. Collins concluded with a
chuckle, for Lizzie had dropped her broom and was sitting in the middle
of the floor pulling Honey-Sweet's shoes and stockings off and on.

Anne went outdoors presently to look around the dear old place. 'Lewis
Hall,' a roomy frame-house built before the Revolution, was on a hill
which sloped gently toward the corn-fields and meadows that bordered the
lazy river beyond which rose the bluffs of Buckingham. Back of the
house, a level space was laid out in a formal garden. The boxwood,
brought from England when that was the mother country, met across the
turf walks. Long-neglected flowers--damask and cabbage roses, zinnias,
cock's-comb, hollyhocks--grew half-wild, making masses of glowing color.
Along the walks, where there had paced, a hundred years before, stately
Lewis ladies in brocade and stately Lewis gentlemen in velvet coats, now
tripped an orphan girl, a stranger in her father's home. But she was a
very happy little maid as she roamed about the spacious old garden on
that sunshiny summer day, gathering hollyhocks and zinnias for ladies to
occupy her playhouse in the gnarled roots of an old oak-tree.

When Lizzie came out to play, she and Anne wandered away to the fields.
There was a dear little baby brook--how well Anne remembered it!--that
started from a spring on the hillside, trickled among the under-brush,
loitered through the meadow, and emptied into a larger stream that fed
the river.

"Let's take off our shoes and stockings," said Anne, tripping joyfully
along, "and wade to the creek. You've been there? Part of the way is
sandy. Your feet crunch down in the nice cool sand. Part of the way
there are rocks--flat, mossy ones. They're so pretty--and slippery! It's
fun not knowing when you are going to fall down."

"There's bamboo-vines," objected Lizzie. "Mother'll whip me if I tear my
dress."

"Oh, we'll stoop down and crawl under the vines." Anne was ready of
resource. "And we'll dry our dresses in the sun before we go home. Oh,
Lizzie! Look at all the little fishes! Let's catch them! Do don't let
them get by. Aren't they slippery! Tell you what let's play. Let's be
Jamestown settlers and catch fish to keep us from starving. We'll have
our settlement here by the brook--the river James, we'll play it is."

"How do you play that? I never heard tell of Jamestown settlers," said
Lizzie.

"A big girl like you never heard about Jamestown settlers!" exclaimed
Anne; then, fearing her surprise at such ignorance would hurt Lizzie's
feelings, she tried to smooth it over. "It really isn't s'prising that
you never heard 'bout them, Lizzie. Mother always said this was such a
quiet place that you never heard any news here. I'll tell you all 'bout
them while we build our huts."

While Anne told the story of John Smith and played she was the brave
captain directing his band, they dragged brushwood together and erected
cabins. Stones were piled to make fireplaces on which to cook the fish
they were going to catch and the corn they were going to buy from the
Indians.

"You be the Indians, Lizzie," suggested Anne. "Paint your face with
pokeberries and stick feathers in your hair. They're heap nicer to look
at, but I want to be the Englishmen and talk like Captain John Smith.
All you have to say is 'ugh! ugh!'"

The morning slipped by so quickly that they could hardly believe their
ears when they heard the farm bell ringing for noon. After dinner, Jake
and Peter went by the settlement, on their way to the tobacco-field, to
help build Powhatan's rock chimney. The boys made bows and arrows and
became so interested in playing Indian that Mr. Collins came for them.
He scolded them roundly and said that no boy who didn't work in the
tobacco-field would get any supper at his house that night.

"I'm the play Captain Smith," laughed Anne, looking up at the
rough-speaking, soft-hearted man; "but you talk like the real captain.
'I give this for a law,' he said, 'that he who will not work shall not
eat.'"

Mrs. Collins said that night that the girls must not play Jamestown
settlers any more. They might get ill or hurt or snake-bit; and who
ever heard of such a game for little girls? they ought to stay in the
house and keep their faces white and their frocks clean and play dolls.
Anne and Lizzie, however, teased next day until she relented and even
waddled down the hill to see their settlement.

"I told them chillen they shouldn't put thar foots in that ma'sh on the
branch, gettin' wet and draggled and catchin' colds and chills," she
explained to her husband. "But they begged so hard I told 'em to go on
and have a good time. Maybe it won't hurt 'em. They're good-mindin'
gals. And I never did believe in encouragin' chillen to disobey you by
tellin' 'em they shouldn't do things you see thar heads set on doin'.
Don't be so hard on the boys, Peter, for stoppin' awhile to play. If the
Lord hadn't 'a' meant for chillen to have play-time, He'd 'a' made 'em
workin' age to begin with."

The Jamestown colony, like the great undertaking after which it was
patterned, had many ups and downs,--flourishing when Jake and Peter
could steal off to be Indians and new settlers, and then being neglected
and almost deserted. Anne and Lizzie found the most beautiful place to
play keeping house. On the hillside, there were two great rocks, full of
the most delightful nooks and crevices. One of these rocks was Anne's
home, the other was Lizzie's. In the moss-carpeted rooms, lived daisy
ladies, with brown-eyed Susans for maids. They made visits and gave
dinner parties, having bark tables set with acorn-cups and bits of
broken glass and china. They had leaf boats to go a-pleasuring on the
spring brook where they had wonderful adventures.

Rainy days put an end to outdoor delights, but they only gave more time
for indoor games with their neglected dolls.

After breakfast one rainy morning, Lizzie asked her mother for some
scraps--she didn't want any except pretty ones--to make dresses for
Honey-Sweet and Nancy Jane. Mrs. Collins replied that she had no idea of
wasting her good bed-quilt and carpet-rag pieces on such foolishness as
doll dresses. But when ten minutes later the girls went back to repeat
their request, they found Mrs. Collins rummaging a bureau drawer. Thence
she produced two generous pieces of pretty dimity,--Honey-Sweet's was
buff with little rose sprigs and Nancy Jane's had daisies on a pale-blue
ground.

While Lizzie was busy making doll dresses, Anne got a book with pictures
in it and gave forth a story with a readiness that amazed Mrs. Collins.

"Ain't you a good reader!" she exclaimed. "You read so fast I can't
understand half you say."

"I'm not reading all that," honesty compelled Anne to confess, as she
beamed with pleasure at Mrs. Collins's praise. "I read when the words
are short, and when they're long and the print's solid, I make it up out
of my head to fit the pictures."

"Ah! you come of high-learnt folks," said Mrs. Collins, admiringly.
"Now, my Jake and Peter, they can't read nothing but what's in the book
and that a heap of trouble to 'em. And Lizzie here, she's wore out two
first readers and don't hardly know her letters yet."

Lizzie soon tired of sewing and she and Anne pattered off through the
halls to the bareness and strangeness of which Anne could not get used.
Where, she wondered, were the people in tarnished gilt frames--slim
smiling ladies and stately gentlemen with stocks and wigs--that used to
be there? The two girls played lady and come-to-see in the bare
up-stairs rooms awhile. Then Anne said, "Lizzie, I'm going up the little
ladder into the attic and walk around the chimneys."

"Don't! It's dark up there," shuddered Lizzie.

"Dark as midnight," agreed Anne; "heavy dark. You can feel it. It's the
only place I used to be afraid of. I have to make myself go there."

"Why?" asked Lizzie.

"I--don't just know--but I do. You wait here." She came back a little
later, dusty, cobwebby, flushed. "I knew there wasn't anything there--in
the dark more'n the light," she said. "I know it, and still I just have
to make myself not be scared. Whew! It's hot up there. Lizzie, let's go
in the parlor. I've not been in there yet."

"No," objected Lizzie. "The little old lady's in there--or in the room
back of it. Them's her rooms."

"The little old lady? who is she?" inquired Anne.

"She's the one I take breakfast and dinner and supper to. She comes here
in the summer and she sits in there and rocks and reads."

"Doesn't she ever go out?" Anne wanted to know.

"Oh, yes! she walks in the yard or garden every day. You just ain't
happened to see her. We've played away from the house so much."

"What kind of looking lady is she?" asked Anne.

"Oh, she's just a lady. Ma says she's mighty hotty. What's hotty, Anne?"
inquired Lizzie.

Haughty was a new word to Anne. But she hated to say "I don't know," and
besides words made to her pictures--queer ones sometimes--of their
meaning. "It means she warms up quick," she asserted. "Tell me about
her, Lizzie. How does she look?"

"She ain't so very tall and she's slim as a bean-pole," said Lizzie.
"Her hair's gray and her skin is white and wrinkly. And she wears long
black dresses. That's all I know."

"I want to see her. Let's sit at the head of the steps and watch for her
to come out," suggested Anne.

They sat there what seemed a long time but as the little old lady did
not appear, they finally ran off to play with Honey-Sweet and Nancy
Jane.

While they were thus engaged, Mr. Collins came from the mill. He shook
his dripping hat, and hung up the stiff yellow rain-coat that he called
a 'slicker.'

"I come by the station, wife," he announced. "And what you think? Thar's
a gre't big sign up, 'Lost child.'"

"Sho! Whose child's lost?" inquired Mrs. Collins.

"It's Anne," was the reply. "The printed paper give her name and age and
all. And it tells anybody that's found her or got news of her to let
them 'sylum folks know."

"As if anybody with a heart in their body would do that!" commented Mrs.
Collins. "I bound you let folks know she was here. If you jest had sense
enough to keep yo' mouth shet, Peter Collins! That long tongue of yours
goin' to be the ruin of you yet."

"I ain't unparted my lips," asserted her husband.

"Now ain't that jest like a man?" Mrs. Collins demanded of the clock.
"'Stead of trying to throw folks off the track, saying something like
'What on earth's a lost child doing here?' or 'Nobody'd 'spect a lost
child to come to my house!'"

"I wish you'd been thar, Lizbeth," said her admiring husband. "You'd
fixed it up. Well, anyhow, I ain't said a word, so don't nobody know
nothin' from me. All she's got to do is to lay low till this hub-bub's
over."

In that out-of-the-way place there seemed little danger of Anne's being
discovered. Mrs. Collins, however, made elaborate plans for her
concealment.

"Anne," she said, "would you mind me callin' you my niece Polly?"

Anne looked at her in questioning surprise.

"If so be people from the 'sylum was to look for you, you wouldn't want
to go back thar, would you?"

"Oh, no! I'd much rather stay here," answered Anne.

"Bless your heart! and so you shall," exclaimed Mrs. Collins. "I'll trim
your hair and part it on the side and call you my niece Polly. And can't
nobody find out who you are and drag you back to that 'sylum. You shall
stay here forever."

"Goody, goody!" cried Anne. Then she said thoughtfully, "I do wish I had
some of my things from there. It doesn't matter so much about my
clothes. Lizzie's are most small enough and I s'pose I'll grow to fit
them. But I do wish Honey-Sweet had her dresses, 'spressly her spotted
silk and her blue muslin. And there are some other things. Uncle Carey
said they were my mother's and I don't want Miss Farlow to keep them
always."

"When you are grown up, you can go and get them," suggested Mrs.
Collins.

"Oh, so I will," said Anne. "And please, may Lizzie go with me?"



CHAPTER XXIII


A day or two later, Anne wandered alone into the old-fashioned garden.
She had just recalled--bit by bit things from the past came back to
her--a damask rose at the end of the south walk that was her mother's
special favorite. It was bare now of its rosy-pink blossoms and Anne
gathered some red and yellow zinnias to play lady with. The red-gowned
ladies had their home under the Cherokee rose-bush and yellow-frocked
dames were given a place under the clematis-vine; then they exchanged
visits and gave beautiful parties.

Presently a slim, black-robed lady sauntered down the box-edged turf
walk and stopped near Anne.

"What are you doing, little girl?" she asked.

Anne looked up at the lady. "How do you do, cousin?" she said,
scrambling to her feet and putting up her mouth to be kissed. It was one
of the cousins, she knew, and it was the most natural thing in the world
to see her come down the box-edged walk to the rose-arbor; but whether
it was Cousin Lucy or Cousin Dorcas or Cousin Polly, Anne was not sure.

It was Cousin Dorcas and she stared at the child for a moment, too
amazed to speak.

"It cannot be little Nancy!" she exclaimed at last. "Child, who are
you?"

"Why, of course, I'm little Nancy," Anne laughed.

"What are you doing here? Where did you come from?"

"I am playing flower dolls." Anne answered the questions gravely in
order. "I got off the train because I wanted to come home. I thought
Aunt Charity and Uncle Richard were here."

Miss Dorcas Read sat down on a rustic seat and questioned her small
cousin until she drew forth the story of the child's wanderings.

"I am glad I have found you," the lady said when Anne's story was
finished. "You ought to be with your own people, of course, and I am
your near kinswoman. Your great-grandmother and my grandmother were
sisters. It is little that I have, but that little I shall gladly share
with you. I must take you with me when I go home next week."

"Where is your home?" asked Anne.

"In Washington City. I am one of the little army of government clerks,"
Miss Dorcas explained. "I come back every summer to spend my vacation
here. I walk in the dear old garden and read the dear old books and live
again in the dear old days. You do not understand now, child; but some
day, if you live long enough, you will understand."

Lizzie wailed aloud when she learned that Anne was to leave 'Lewis
Hall,' and in her heart Anne preferred her old home to her old cousin.

"You shouldn't never have gone to a 'sylum," said Mrs. Collins, wiping
her eyes with her apron. "But when one of your blood-kin lays claim to
you, that's diff'rent and I ain't got no call to interfere. I got sense
enough to know my folks ain't like yo' folks. Yours is the real old-time
quality folks and you ought to be brung up with your own kind. Now, we
is a bottom rail that's done come to the top. My chillen's got to be
schooled and give book-learnin'. Some day they'll forget they was ever
anything but top rails, and look down on their old daddy and mammy."

"I ain't, mammy; I ain't never gwi' look down on you," declared Lizzie.

"That's all right, honey," answered Mrs. Collins. "I want you to be
hotty and look down on folks. I never could l'arn to do it. I was always
too sociable-disposed."

"No one can ever look on you except with respect, dear Mrs. Collins,"
Miss Dorcas insisted. "Certainly, Anne and I shall always regard you as
one of her best friends. She will want to come to see you next vacation,
if you will let her."

"Let her! and thank you, ma'am," exclaimed Mrs. Collins. "Now I'm going
to unload them pantry shelves. You shall have sweetmeats and jam and
preserves and pickle for yo' snacks, Anne, and I want you to think of
Lizbeth Collins when you eat 'em."

Before Anne and Cousin Dorcas went to Washington, it was resolved that
they should visit Aunt Charity and Uncle Richard, who lived on a
plantation eight miles from 'Lewis Hall.' Mrs. Collins doubted the
wisdom of the plan, fearing lest some of the 'sylum folks on the lookout
for Anne would be met on the public road. Miss Dorcas, too, was a little
uneasy. It was finally decided that Anne should wear one of Lizzie's
frocks and her sunbonnet and that if they met any one on the road, Miss
Dorcas was to say in a loud voice, "Lizzie!" and Anne was to answer,
"Yes, ma'am."

Mr. Collins brought out an old buggy with an old horse called Firefly
and helped Miss Dorcas in, explaining carefully, "This ain't no kicker
and it ain't no jumper. It's jest plain horse with good horse-sense. If
you don't cross yo' lines, you can drive him anywhere."

"I don't know much about driving," confessed Miss Dorcas. "That is, I've
been driving a great deal but I've never held the lines.--Whoa! get up,
sir!" She gave a gurgly cluck, and flapped the lines up and down on
Firefly's back, with her elbows high in air. Firefly started meekly off
on a jog trot. Mr. Collins looked after them.

"Dumb brutes is got heap more sense than humans," he exclaimed. "They
understands women. Now, Miss Dorcas she's whoain' and geein' and hawin'
that horse at the same time, but somehow he knows what she wants him to
do and he's gwine to do it."

Firefly followed the winding of the river-road mile after mile, along
meadows, fields, and wooded hills, fair in the hazy sunlight. How many
times Anne had travelled this road on visits to the numerous cousins!

Firefly turned at last from the highway to a plantation road and stopped
at a log cabin. It was a neat, whitewashed little house, with rows of
zinnias and marigolds on each side of a walk leading from the road. Over
the door, hung a madeira vine covered with little spikes of fragrant
white blossoms. Charity, in a blue-and-white checked cotton gown, with a
bandanna around her head, was working in her garden beside the house.

"Don't speak to her, Cousin Dorcas," whispered Anne. "Let me s'prise
her." She jumped lightly out of the buggy and ran to Aunt Charity.
"Boo!" she said.

Charity dropped her hoe with a scream. "Lawd 'a' mercy!" she exclaimed,
backing toward the cabin. "My child's ghost in de broad daylight!"

Anne laughed till tears ran down her cheeks. "There!" she said, pinching
Charity's fat arm. "Does that feel like a ghost, Aunt Charity?"

Charity seized Anne in her arms and jumped up and down, exclaiming, "My
child in de flesh and blood! my child in de flesh and blood!" At last
she recovered herself enough to "mind her manners" and help Miss Dorcas
out of the buggy.

"You all ain' gwine away a step till you eat a snack," she insisted. "I
got a chicken in dyar I done kilt to take to church to-morrow. Ain't I
glad it's ready for my baby child! And I'll mix some hoecakes and bake
some sweet taters and gi' you a pitcher o' cool sweet milk. My precious
baby, you set right dyar in de do'. I can't take my eyes off you any
more'n if dee was glued to you."

A table was set under the great oak and Charity, beaming with joy,
waited on her guests. "Richard ain't gwi' forgive hisself for goin' to
mill to-day," she said. "Dunno huccome he went, anyway. He could 'a' put
it off till Monday. But if you gwi' be at de old place till Chewsday, me
an' him will sho hobble up to see you."

As the afternoon shadows began to lengthen, Miss Dorcas and Anne started
on their homeward journey. Miss Dorcas clucked and jerked the lines, and
Firefly ambled homeward, now jog-trotting along the road, now pausing to
nibble grass on the wayside.



CHAPTER XXIV


All too soon for Anne, came the day that was to take her to the city.
Generous Mrs. Collins insisted on slipping into Miss Dorcas's trunk a
liberal supply of Lizzie's clothes, and she gave Anne one of Lizzie's
best frocks to travel in and a muslin hat that flopped over her face.
Disguised in these, she was to be smuggled away on a night train to
prevent her being discovered and taken back to the asylum. They were the
more concerned about the matter because Mr. Collins heard at the
blacksmith shop new inquiries about the lost child. Miss Dorcas charged
Charity and Richard, who trudged the long eight miles to visit their
"precious baby child," not to mention having seen Anne. Richard brought
on his shoulder a great bag full of things "for Marse Will Watkins's
child"--apples, popcorn, potatoes. For days Mrs. Collins had been baking
cakes and pies and selecting sweetmeats, preserves, and pickles from her
store. The supplies were so liberal that after a barrel was packed and
repacked and re-repacked there were almost as many things left out as
were put in. Mrs. Collins wanted to put them in another barrel, but Miss
Dorcas said that the supply already packed would more than fill her tiny
pantry.

Mrs. Collins consoled herself as best she could. "Christmas is coming,"
she said; "it's slow but it's on the way. And when it do get here, I'll
send you a barrel packed to show you what a barrel can hold."

The morning after Anne's regretful farewell to her old home and her new
friends, found her eagerly examining her cousin's small apartment in
Georgetown. The house was a red-brick mansion built for the residence of
an early Secretary of the Navy, and now made over into cheap flats. The
stately, old-fashioned place was surrounded by small shops and cheap,
dingy houses. "It makes me think," Miss Dorcas said with a sigh, "how
Jefferson would look to-day in a Democratic party meeting or Hamilton
among modern Republican politicians."

Anne didn't know who Hamilton was but she thought Jefferson, whose
picture hung in the sitting-room, looked as if he might have lived here.
It was a place still full of charm. In the rear of the mansion was an
old-fashioned flower garden with box-bordered gravel walks dividing the
formal beds and leading here to a stone seat, there to a broken
fountain. In the centre of the garden, was a sun-dial which a century
before told the shining hours; now, its days went in shadow under the
crowding trees,--a coffee-tree from Arabia, a mulberry from Spain, and
other relics of the wanderings of the long-ago secretary. Anne felt
like a bird in a nest as she sat on the roomy, white-columned porch
overlooking the garden, catching glimpses through a leafy screen of the
broad Potomac and the wooded hills of Virginia.

"Ah! when the leaves fall it is beautiful, beautiful," said her cousin;
but Anne was sure that it could never be more beautiful than now, in the
green-gold glory of a late summer afternoon.

After a few idle days, Anne was enrolled in the city free school. Miss
Dorcas mourned over the fact that she was unable to send her small
cousin to a select private school, and urged her to study hard, behave
well, and, above all, never to have anything to do with 'the common
herd' of other children. Anne obeyed the last command very unwillingly.
It would be dreadful to be "contaminated,"--which she supposed to mean
infected with a bad kind of measles,--as Cousin Dorcas said she would be
if she played with her grade-mates; but it was hard to sit primly alone
instead of joining the recess games.

At first some of the children tried to make friends with her but, being
met coolly, they left her to lonely dignity.

"It's goot," wonderingly explained Albert Naumann, a sturdy, blond
little German, when she refused a bite of the crimson-cheeked winesap
apple that he offered.

"Why not?" asked merry-faced Peggy Callahan, when Anne declined her dare
to a foot-race. "You're not sick, are you?"

"No, indeed!" answered Anne.

"Oh! you look sorter like I feel when I've a pain in my stomach," said
Peggy, running off in reply to a playmate's call.

Anne looked after her longingly. Peggy was a bright, merry, friendly
child with whom she would have liked to play, but for being sure Cousin
Dorcas would object. Peggy was certainly one of the 'common herd'--her
clothes ragged or patched and her person rather dingy.

Anne was lonely.

"It's worse than being all by myself," she reflected soberly, "to see
the other children's good times and be out of them all."

She consoled herself as best she could with Honey-Sweet, disagreeing
stoutly with Miss Dorcas who thought that she was too large a girl to
play with dolls.

"Honey-Sweet isn't just a doll--not like those in shops," Anne
explained. "Dear Mrs. Patterson made her. And she's been everywhere with
me. And, Cousin Dorcas, she really is useful. I study all my lessons
with her. That's how I learn them so good--making believe I'm teaching
them to Honey-Sweet. And she helps me keep still. You know you do like
me to be quiet, Cousin Dorcas."

"Yes. I don't want to seem severe, but I cannot bear a noise. I am so
worn out when I come from the office. It seems each day my head aches
worse than it did the day before." Miss Dorcas sighed. "And if it isn't
a downright ache when I come home, it begins to pound as soon as I look
at this book--" she eyed the account-book open before her--"I hoped you
could have some new shoes this month. Those are downright shabby. But
there isn't any money for them. I don't see how I am going to pay the
gas bill unless we stop eating. It costs so much to live!"

"Perhaps Miss Santa Claus will give us something," suggested Anne.

"Perhaps so," answered Miss Dorcas, absently, poising her pencil above a
column of figures in her account-book.

'Miss Santa Claus' was the name that Anne had given to a gentlewoman in
the apartment below. Anne had a smiling acquaintance with her and was
deeply interested in glimpses of her visitors. Miss Santa Claus's real
name was Margery Hartman. Her fair hair was growing silvery, but her
cheeks were pink and soft with lingering girlhood and the spirit of
eternal youth looked from her clear blue eyes. She was the district
agent of the Associated Charities, and worked untiringly with kind heart
and clear head to aid and uplift the poor around her.

One September afternoon, Anne, running up-stairs, bumped against the
Charities lady.

"Oh! I beg your pardon, Miss Santa Claus," she exclaimed.

The lady laughed. "That's a new name for me," she said.

Anne reddened. "It just slipped out. I don't know your other-folks'
name. And I call you Miss Santa Claus to myself because you are always
giving people things. I don't mean to listen," she explained, "but I
can't help hearing them ask you for coal and shoes and grocery orders."

"You are my little neighbor on the floor above, aren't you?" asked the
lady.

Anne assented.

"It's a nice name you've given me--very much nicer than my own real
name which happens to be Margery Hartman. I know your name. I heard
Albert Naumann call you Anne Lewis."

"You gave Albert shoes to wear to school," said Anne.

"Yes. That is my business--to give things to people who need them. Kind
people provide money for me to help the poor. Isn't that good of them?"

"It's very good," said Anne, earnestly. "Do you give them--shoes, I
mean--to all the children that need them?"

"Not all." Miss Hartman smiled and then she sighed. "I wish I could."



CHAPTER XXV


The new acquaintance soon ripened into friendship. Miss Hartman grew
very fond of the quaint, affectionate child and Anne said Miss Hartman
was "nice as a book." She would tell story after story about the
children she met in her Charity work and then she would sit at the piano
and sing old songs in a sweet, clear voice of the quality that reaches
the heart.

Sometimes Anne went to the Charity office and sat mouse-like watching
the people who came and went. One Saturday afternoon, Peggy Callahan
hurried into the room, untidy as usual, her eyes shining with
excitement.

"Are you the head lady of the Charity?" she asked the lady at the desk.

Miss Margery answered that she was.

"If you please, ma'am, we don't want to be put away," Peggy announced.

"Who wants to put you away? Tell me about it," said Miss Margery.

"The folks over there." The girl nodded her head vaguely. "They say as
how mommer can't take care of us--popper he's got to go to the work'ouse
again. He wa'n't so very drunk this time but the judge sent him
there--mean old thing! And they say mommer can't take care of us and
we'll have to be put away in 'sylums. And we don't want to go. She says
if the Charity folks will help with the rent, we can get on. Don't none
of us eat much and we can do with terrible little," Peggy concluded
breathlessly.

"What is your name? where do you live? I shall have to see your mother
and talk to her," said Miss Margery.

"My name's Peggy Callahan and we live out that way," waving her hand
northward. "There ain't no number to the house. You go down this street
till it turns to a road and you come to a gate marked 'No Thoroughfare'
and you go straight through it and follow the path and you come to a
little brown house with red roses on the porch. That's our house. Oh!
there's two with roses! One is a colored lady's. Ours is the one with
the so many children."

"I know your mother. And I remember the place," said Miss Margery,
writing a few lines in her notebook. "I am going out that way this
afternoon and we will see what can be done."

"Thank you, lady," said Peggy, and bounded away.

"I'd better send you home, Anne," said Miss Margery, with a little sigh,
"and let you go with me some other time. This place is a long way off,
much farther than I had expected to go this afternoon."

"Please, Miss Margery, let me go," pleaded Anne. "I never get tired. And
I do want to go through the 'No Thoroughfare' gate, and see the little
brown house with the red roses and the children."

Miss Margery hesitated, then consented, and she and Anne trudged through
the dingy suburb of shabby, scattered houses.

"P'rhaps I oughtn't to have come," said Anne, rather doubtfully. "It's
cobblestones. They skin shoes. Cousin Dorcas says she doesn't know where
money's coming from to buy another pair. I asked her if we couldn't get
you to give me some shoes, like you do Albert and those other children,
and it made her cry. She said that would be a disgrace. Why, Miss
Margery?"

"Miss Dorcas does not like to have people give her things," said Miss
Margery.

"But Mrs. Collins gave me a dress and a hat and ever so many things. And
I need shoes. I need them bad as Albert did. If I don't get some pretty
soon, I can't go to school. Why mustn't you give them to me?"

Miss Margery did not undertake to explain. "Don't worry about shoes
to-day," she said. "Be careful where you walk and don't stump your toes.
Those shoes look pretty well still. Miss Dorcas crosses bridges
sometimes before she comes to them. Why, there's Albert Naumann.
Good-afternoon, Albert. Have you any pennies for the saving bank
to-day?"

"No, madam, lady," answered Albert. "I have no time for to earn the
pennies to-day. I have for to pick up the coal for mine Mutter. It makes
the hands to be dirty"--looking at his blackened fingers--"but it saves
the to buy coal."

"That is good, Albert," said Miss Margery, heartily, "better than
earning pennies for yourself. Can you show me where the Callahans live?
Anne tells me Peggy is your classmate."

"Yes, madam, lady," answered Albert, "it's the second house on the path
back of those trees."

"There's the house," exclaimed Anne, a few minutes later. "I know
that's it. It's little and it's brown and look at the roses--and the
children! It's like the old woman that lived in a shoe."

Indeed, the little brown house was overflowing with children. Peggy,
with a baby in her arms, sat in a broken rocking-chair on the porch. Two
little girls were making mud-pies near by. A tow-headed boy, watched
from an up-stairs window by two admiring small boys, was walking around
the edge of the porch roof, balancing himself with outstretched arms. A
neat negro woman, emptying an ash-can in the adjoining yard, caught
sight of him and shrieked, "Uh, John Edward! is that you on the porch
roof? or is it Elmore? Whichever you be, if you don't go right in, I'll
tell yo' ma. You Bud and tother twin, you stop leanin' out of that
window. Peg, uh Peg! thar's a boy on the porch roof and two leanin' out
the window. They all goin' to fall and break their necks."

The boy on the roof stuck out his tongue, and said, "Uh, you tell-tale!"
then walked on around the porch and climbed in the window.

"I done it," he shouted to his twin brother. "You dared me to and I done
it. Now I double-dare you to climb the chimbley."

Peggy came out to reprove the reckless climber, and then, seeing the
approaching visitors, came forward to greet them. She invited Miss
Margery and Anne into the front room where her mother sat at a
sewing-machine that was running like a race-horse. Mrs. Callahan shook
hands and then took a garment from her work-basket and began to make
buttonholes.

"My machine makes such a racket," she explained, "I always keep finger
jobs for company work. There's so many fact'ries nowadays that
Keep-at-it is the only sewin'-woman that makes a livin'. You'd be
s'prised to see how much Peggy helps me. She can rattle off most as
many miles as me on that old machine in a day."

"Peggy tells me you are in trouble, Mrs. Callahan," said Miss Margery,
coming directly to the cause of her visit.

"Well, not exactly. Nobody ain't dead or sick," Mrs. Callahan answered
cheerfully. "I told Peggy to tell you we could do with a little help.
Pa--that's my old man--he's the best man that ever lived, ma'am. He'd
never do nothin' wrong. It's just the whiskey that gets in him. He's
kind and good-tempered and hard-workin'--long as he can let liquor
alone. It's made him lose his place."

"Our books show that you had help from the Charity office last winter,"
Miss Margery reminded her.

"Yes'm," responded Mrs. Callahan, "that was after his Christmas spree.
The man might 'a' overlooked that. But he got mighty mad. Some bad boys,
they see pa couldn't take care of the dray and they stole some things
offn it. Pa he couldn't get a job right away and I couldn't keep up my
reg'lar sewin'--the baby just being come--and so pa was up before the
judge for non-support. And the judge made him sign the pledge for a
year. Pa tried to keep it, ma'am, but his old gang wouldn't let him.
They watched for him goin' to work and they watched for him comin' from
work. He'd dodge 'em and go and come diff'rent ways. But they'd lay for
him here and there, with schooners of beer in their hands. Next thing,
he was drunk. The cops didn't catch him that time. But the pledge bein'
broke, look like he give up heart. He kept on with the drink, and lost
his job. Then the policeman nabbed him."

Mrs. Callahan did not tell that the drunken man had struck her and that
the children--seeing her fall to the floor as if dead--ran out
screaming, and that the frightened neighbors called a doctor and a
policeman. She made the tale as favorable to 'pa' as she could. She
went on to say that, having broken the pledge, he was sent to the
workhouse for sixty days and she was left without money, with seven
children to care for.

"They want me to put the children away to the 'sylums, but we want to
stay together, ma'am. We can get on elegant with a little help with the
rent and a teenchy bit grocery order now and then. Mine is helpful
children, ma'am, and t'ain't as if they were all little. Peggy's near
'leven though she's small for her age. And even them twins, ma'am, they
pick up sticks for kindlin' and help in ways untold."

"What have you to eat in the house?" asked Miss Margery.

"There's some potatoes, ma'am. They're mighty filling when they're
cold."

Miss Margery knit her brows and considered. There were many calls on the
limited fund at her command. "The money from the workhouse for your
husband's labor will pay the rent," she calculated. "I will give you a
small grocery order twice a week. You can manage with that?"

"Oh, yessum, splendid, and thank you kindly, ma'am," said Mrs. Callahan.
"Don't put down meat--just a little piece onct a week so's not to forget
the taste. And a leetle mite coffee. Put in mostly fillin' things--rice
and beans and dried apples. You got to cram seven hearty children.
Thank'e, thank'e, ma'am. Peggy, give the little lady some roses, the
purtiest ones where the frost hasn't nipped 'em."

While Miss Margery talked with Mrs. Callahan, Anne was getting
acquainted with the children. She chattered gleefully about them on her
homeward way. "Peggy says a lady her mother sews for gave them a lot of
clothes. Peggy has a pink velvet waist and a red skirt, and her mother
has a lace waist and a blue skirt with rows and rows of blue satin on
it. They're very int'resting children, Miss Margery, but do you think
they always tell just the very exact truth?" asked Anne.

"I'm afraid they do not. I'm afraid their mother doesn't set them a very
good example," answered Miss Margery who knew the Callahans of old.

"Peggy says it isn't harm to tell a fib that don't hurt anybody," said
Anne.

"I hope you told her it was."

"Yes, Miss Margery. I told her we thought it was low-down to tell
stories. And Peggy just laughed and said they wouldn't act so stiff as
to tell the truth all the time.--Miss Margery, when are you going there
again? I do want to go with you. The baby has a new tooth coming. You
can feel it. I want to see it when it comes through. May I go with you
another Saturday?"

"Perhaps."



CHAPTER XXVI


Two weeks passed. Peggy or John Edward or Elmore came duly on Wednesdays
and Saturdays for the grocery orders and reported that the family was
getting on "elegant" or "splendid." One Friday afternoon, a neighbor of
the little brown house flounced into the office.

"It's my dooty to come to you, lady," said Mrs. Flannagan, "and I does
my dooty when it's hard on other folks. You wouldn't give me a bit of
groceries last week, but they tell me you rain down grocery orders on
Mrs. Callahan, and she spendin' money like she was President Bill Taft
or Johnny Rockefeller."

"What do you mean, Mrs. Flannagan? Please explain," said the
long-suffering Charity lady.

"I mean this," said Mrs. Flannagan. "With my own two eyes I seen 'em
yestiddy afternoon--Mrs. Callahan and them four biggest children walkin'
down the street like a rainbow in silk and satin and lace, goin' past my
house 'thout lookin' at me any more'n I was one of them cobblestones.
'Good-day,' I says, and Mrs. Callahan says, says she, 'Good-day. It's
Mrs. Flannagan, ain't it?'--like she hain't been in and out of my house
these two years! 'Whar's the kittle-bilin' of you goin' to-day?' I
asked, and she tosses her head and says, says she, 'Oh, it don't agree
with the children's health to stay at home so clost. I'm takin' 'em on a
'scursion down the river to see the shows.' And they ain't come back
till dark, for I sat at my front window to see. There's where your
Charity money goes, ma'am."

Miss Margery sighed as her informer flaunted away. She must look into
the matter before giving any more grocery orders, and if Mrs. Callahan
was really wasting money, as Mrs. Flannagan declared, the Charities' aid
must be withdrawn.

The next morning, Peggy entered the office, her usually smiling face
very sober. Before Miss Margery had time to mention excursions and
grocery orders, Peggy made a request.

"If you please'm, lady," she said, "mommer says won't you give us a help
with the rent? It's due to-day and we're three dollars short."

"Didn't officer McFlaerty bring the money from your father on Monday?"

"Yessum, lady," confessed Peggy.

"Your mother told me she would put that aside for the rent--every cent
of it--and that it would leave her lacking only one dollar of the rent
money. Now you say she is three dollars short. Peggy, I am afraid your
family has been wasting money." The Charity lady spoke severely, mindful
of Mrs. Flannagan's tale. Peggy did not answer. She looked embarrassed,
and twisted her toe under a loose strip of matting. Miss Margery
continued, after a pause, "Mrs. Flannagan told me that you went on an
excursion Thursday."

Peggy brightened and dimpled. "Yessum, lady. We told her we was a-goin'.
It made her so mad. I wisht you could 'a' seen her flirt in and slam her
door." Peggy's merry laugh pealed forth. "And we told her we was a-goin'
to the shows, too."

"Peggy! do you think I ought to help you with the rent when you are
wasting money on excursions and shows?" Miss Margery frowned on Peggy's
mirth.

"Oh! why, ma'am!" Peggy seemed amazed that it was necessary to explain.
"We didn't go to no shows or no 'scursions. We weren't thinkin' 'bout
goin'. That was a lie. It was just to make Mrs. Flannagan mad. She put
on so many airs 'bout goin' street-car-ridin' last Sunday."

"You really didn't go?" Miss Margery asked. "But Mrs. Flannagan says
you passed her house--five of you--dressed for the excursion."

"Yessum, lady," Peggy agreed, dimpling. "I wisht you could 'a' seen us.
It cert'ny is nice livin' when you can wear fussy-fixy velvet and silk
clothes and lacey waists. John Edward and Elmore, bein' boys, couldn't
get no good of them, so we give John Edward the little lace-flounced
umberill to carry and Elmore a painted open-and-shut fan.--Them's the
things the lady give us where mommer sews for," she explained, in answer
to Miss Margery's bewildered look. "We went to see her like she asked
us. 'Twas too far for the baby and Bud and Lois to walk, so we left them
with Mrs. Mooney--she's the nice colored lady next door. We wisht they
could 'a' gone. Mrs. Peckinbaugh gave us sandwiches and lemonade and
little icin' cakes and street-car tickets to ride home on. I never did
have such a good time. Oh," Peggy laughed merrily, "and when we came
back by Mrs. Flannagan's, I said out loud 'twas most too cool on the
boat up the river and John Edward he asked if the monkeys wa'n't cute!"

"Peggy, Peggy, my child!" said Miss Margery. "Don't you know it's sinful
to tell lies?"

"Yessum--lies that hurt folks. Them's little white lies. They don't do
no harm."

"There aren't any white lies, Peggy. They are all black. It is wrong, it
is sinful, to tell a falsehood. Remember that, my child," Miss Margery
urged. "Always speak the truth."

"Yessum, lady." Peggy's brow was unclouded and her clear blue eyes
looked straight into the clear blue eyes of the Charity lady. "Can I
tell mommer you'll come? or can't you give me the money? She's awful
worried."

"I do not understand," said Miss Margery. "I know she had that money for
the rent."

"Did she, ma'am?" Peggy looked surprised, then suggested, "I 'spect she
lost it. She keeps the rent money in a china mug on the mantel-piece,
and this might 'a' been paper money and blowed in the fire and got burnt
up."

Miss Margery looked unconvinced. "Tell your mother I'll come there this
afternoon," she said. Peggy, with an engaging smile, tripped away.

Anne was delighted to learn that another visit was to be paid to the
Callahans. She ran home to get Honey-Sweet.

"I told them about her and they want to see her," she said. "I think
she's taller than the baby. Oh! I hope that cunning baby has another
tooth."

Miss Margery paused a moment at the door of the Callahans' neighbor, the
'nice colored lady.' "Do you happen to know," she inquired, "where Mrs.
Callahan was last Thursday afternoon?"

"She was visitin', lady," was the ready answer. "She took the biggest
children to see a lady she sews for that's give them a lot of things. I
had them three youngest children under my feet all afternoon. Not but
that I was glad to mind them for her to go visitin', for she's a
splendid lady and they're real lovely children. She's to home now. The
sewin'-machine's been rattlin' since daylight."

"I cert'ny am glad to see you at last, lady," said Mrs. Callahan, with
rather an offended air, when Peggy and John Edward and Elmore and Susie
ushered in the visitors. "I been lookin' for you to bring me that
rent-money. I told the agent's young man he should have it early this
afternoon."

"I did not promise to let you have any money, Mrs. Callahan." Miss
Margery's tone was crisp and firm. "On Monday you had all your
rent-money except one dollar. You said you expected to get that this
week for sewing."

"I ain't got no sewin' money," said Mrs. Callahan. "The lady she
couldn't make the change and she told me to come back Monday. That's why
I had to send and ask you to lend me the loan of three dollars."

"But it was one dollar you needed for the rent, Mrs. Callahan," said
Miss Margery, resolved to get to the bottom of the matter.

"Well, I did have two dollars but I had to spend it," said Mrs.
Callahan. "I was thinkin' I could get it somehow. And I knew you could
let me have it. Ain't that what the Charity's for?"

That was what many of the 'poor things' thought, Miss Margery knew to
her regret,--that the Charity was merely a reservoir for the wasteful
and the thriftless to draw from at will. Could it ever be, she wondered,
what it ought to be,--a crutch to be cast aside with regained health, a
hand of brotherhood to lift the fallen and teach them to stand alone, to
steady the weak and make them strong? How hard it was to give help, and
at the same time to teach the poor to be self-helpful! Miss Margery
sighed, but she knew it was useless to argue the matter, so she only
answered reprovingly, "I fear you have wasted money, Mrs. Callahan. A
neighbor told me you had been off with the children on an excursion."

When Mrs. Callahan dimpled and chuckled as she did now, she looked like
Peggy's older sister. "Peg told me Mrs. Flannagan went to you with that
tale. I cert'ny did fool her. Why, Miss Margery, I ain't been on no more
'scursions than this old machine settin' here. When I took Mrs.
Peckinbaugh's sewin' home, I carried the children with me, like she told
me, for her to see how I'd fixed the clothes she give me. She give us a
reception like the president's,--sandwiches and lemonade and iced cakes
and street-car fare back home. I laugh every time I think how I fooled
Mrs. Flannagan. I told her that bundle of sewin' was our lunch and
wraps. And she fool enough to believe me!" Mrs. Callahan laughed till
tears stood in her eyes.

"Mrs. Callahan, aren't you ashamed to tell falsehoods--and before your
little children, too? How can you expect them to believe you? And how
can you expect them to tell the truth when you set them such an
example?"

"Why, I wouldn't tell a lie to harm anybody for the world," said Mrs.
Callahan. "But there wouldn't be no fun in livin' if you didn't tell
white lies."

Miss Margery saw that it was useless to protest. "I think I ought not to
give you any money, Mrs. Callahan," she said, rising to go. "You had it
in your hand and you spent it. If we give in such cases as this, we will
not have funds to meet real need."

"If you must know," said Mrs. Callahan, "I lent them two dollars to the
colored lady next door. Her rent was due on Wednesday and she'll get the
money for her wash to-night. I told Peggy not to tell you, for you'd
told me so partic'lar not to spend a cent of that money--but if you must
know, you must. She was needin' it worse than me."

"Is this the truth?" asked Miss Margery.

"It's the gospel truth, ma'am," declared Mrs. Callahan. "You ask Mrs.
Mooney, ma'am."

As the two women promised faithfully to repay it on Monday, Miss Margery
lent the lacking rent-money and then rose to go.

Meanwhile, Anne and Honey-Sweet were the centre of an admiring group.
Anne allowed the little Callahans one by one to touch Honey-Sweet and
the older ones were even permitted to hold her for a minute.

As Honey-Sweet made the rounds of the group, she was followed admiringly
by the beadlike, black eyes of Lois, the second from the baby. She put
out her chubby hand and solemnly touched the doll's dress with her
fingertip, saying over and over, "Pretty sweet Honey! pretty sweet
Honey!" When Miss Margery said they must go, Lois caught Anne's frock in
her little fat hands and lisped, "Don't go away, sweet Honey. Stay here
two, five minutes."

Miss Margery smiled and patted the tangled curls. "It is getting late,
dearie, and we must hurry home," she said.

But Lois followed them down the path, crying, "Wait, lady, wait." She
smiled up into Anne's face. "I dess want kiss sweet Honey one time," she
said. "I ain't done kiss her yet." Then she pressed her lips on the
lace-ruffled flounces and toddled back to the house.



CHAPTER XXVII


Several weeks passed during which Miss Margery saw nothing of the
Callahans. Mr. Callahan came back from the workhouse and, with fear of
another term before his eyes, he managed to keep away from his old
comrades and to provide for his family. Anne saw Peggy at school and,
with Cousin Dorcas's permission, talked to her sometimes in recess and
kept informed as to how many teeth the baby had and the new words Bud
could say. All the children had bad colds, Peggy said one day, "terrible
bad, and the doctor he says mommer must keep the windows open and she
lets 'em stay up while he's there to pleasure him and shuts 'em soon as
he goes away."

The next day and for several days thereafter, Peggy was absent from
school. Anne looked eagerly forward to Saturday when she was to put on
her old shoes--she had new ones now--and go with Miss Margery to inquire
about the little Callahans.

Friday afternoon, however, brought Peggy to the door, asking for Anne.
It was an anxious-faced Peggy. "I ain't been to school 'cause Lois is
sick," she explained. "She been sick all week and she gets no better all
the time. And she keeps on frettin' to see that doll of yours. She been
talkin' 'bout it ever since you was there. And she say if she can just
see that doll--she don't ask to touch it--she'll take her medicine.
That's why she's so bad off. She won't take her medicine. And mommer
sent word to know, won't you please come over and bring your doll for
her to see."

"What is the matter with Lois?" asked Miss Dorcas.

"Doctor says she's threatened with the pneumony and she's terrible bad
off," said Peggy.

As Miss Margery was not at home, Miss Dorcas herself went with Anne and
Honey-Sweet to see the sick child. They walked down the dingy street,
took short cuts across vacant lots, passed through the 'No Thoroughfare'
gate, and followed the straggling path that led to the little brown
house.

Their knock at the door was followed by a scrambling and scampering
within, and a hoarse wail from Lois. Then a window was raised, a little
face peeped out, and a relieved voice said: "'Tain't the doctor-man.
It's Honey-Sweet's girl and a lady."

Peggy opened the door. "Come right in," she said. Then she explained:
"We was tryin' to get Lois back in bed. The doctor says she must stay in
bed and she hates it, so she will get up and have a pillow-pallet on the
floor."

There the child was lying, tossing restlessly about, while Mrs.
Callahan's machine rattled away as usual.

Lois gave a cry of delight when Anne came in with Honey-Sweet. "Pretty
sweet Honey!" she exclaimed. "Le' me kiss her one time."

"You wait," said Mrs. Callahan. "That dolly ain't coming nigh you till
you take your dost of medicine. Then I'll ask the lady to let her lay on
the pillow."

Lois looked inquiringly at Anne.

"Take your medicine like a good girl," said Honey-Sweet's little mother,
"and I'll let you hold my baby doll in your own hands."

Lois opened her mouth to receive the bitter draught and then stretched
out her arms for Honey-Sweet. She touched shoes and dress and hair with
light, admiring fingers.

"Pretty sweet Honey," she murmured.

Mrs. Callahan breathed a sigh of relief. "That's the first dost of
medicine we've got her to take to-day," she said. "We've all been tryin'
to worrit it down her. We've give her everything in the house she
fancied. Pa he paid her a bottle of beer to take a spoonful last night.
Bless you, no'm"--even in her distress she laughed at Miss Dorcas's
shocked look--"she didn't drink a drop of it. She likes to see it
sizzle, and she had him pull off the cap and let it foam and drizzle on
the floor."

"I would whip her," said Miss Dorcas, drawing her mouth down at the
corners.

"No'm, you wouldn't," said Mrs. Callahan, "not if you was her mother and
she sick. But it do worrit me awful. These two days I been pourin' out a
spoonful of her medicine every two hours--time she ought to take it--and
a-throwin' it away. It's a dreadful waste. But I got to do something to
make the doctor think she's took it. It makes him so mad when she
don't."

Miss Dorcas exclaimed in dismay. "Aren't you afraid the child will die
if she doesn't take the medicine?"

"Yessum, I am. But what can I do?" said Mrs. Callahan. "I try to get her
to take it every time she ought to have a dost. And what's the use of
worritin' the doctor if she won't? It makes him so mad."

Lois, meanwhile, was having a happy time with Honey-Sweet. Anne showed
how her shoes came off and on and untied her cap to display her curls.
"Here's how she goes to sleep at night," she said. "I put her to bed by
me and I sing to her:--

          'Honey, honey! Sweet, sweet, sweet!
          Honey, honey! Honey-Sweet!'"

As she crooned the lullaby, Lois lisped it after her.

It grew late and Miss Dorcas rose to go.

"If you'll take your medicine to-night, like a little lady," said Anne,
"we will come back to see you to-morrow--Honey-Sweet and I. Mayn't we,
Cousin Dorcas?--Oh, oh! if you cry, we can't come! Will you promise to
take your medicine?"

"I take it now if pretty Honey stay," said Lois.

"No, no! it isn't time now. But if you take it at the right time, we'll
come back, and Honey-Sweet may lie on the pillow beside you."

The next afternoon, Anne brought Honey-Sweet, dressed in a blue muslin
frock and a new hat that Miss Margery had made of lace and rosebuds and
blue ribbon.

Lois's face beamed when she saw this finery. "Can I kiss her dwess?" she
asked, gulping down the bitter draught. "Bad medicine gone now. Oh, the
pretty flowers!" and she counted on her fingers the rosebuds on
Honey-Sweet's hat: "One, two, free, five, seben, leben, hundred beauty
flowers."

Mrs. Callahan was, as she said, 'flustered.' Her thread snarled and
snapped as she sewed on buttons. "Doctor was here after you left
yestiddy," she said. "You'd 'a' thought he'd been at that window peekin'
in. He didn't believe me at all when I told him Lois was takin' her
medicine reg'lar. He says she's gettin' worse every day since Choosday,
and if she don't take her medicine reg'lar, he can't do her no good. She
took it two--three times after you left with me a-tellin' her 'bout that
beauteous doll that was comin' to-morrow. But she's little and to-morrow
looked slow in comin', so after 'while when I'd hold out the spoon,
she'd just shake her head and say, 'No, no, no! Mammy tellin' story!
Sweet Honey ain't comin'.'"

"It is as I told you it would be, Mrs. Callahan," said Miss Margery.
"Your child doesn't trust you. You have told her falsehoods and now she
doesn't believe you."

"Ain't it smart of her to take that much notice and she so little!" said
Mrs. Callahan, admiringly. "Well, glory be, she's got one more dost down
her."

When it was time for Anne to go, Lois wailed aloud. "I don't want sweet
Honey to go! I don't want sweet Honey to go!"

"If you'll take your medicine, she'll come back to see you," promised
Anne.

"Don't want her to come back--want her to stay," sobbed Lois.

Anne tried to soothe her with promises that she would bring Honey-Sweet
back soon, dressed in a pink hat and a pink-flowered muslin. But Lois
would not be consoled and Anne left her at last in tears.

Monday morning before school time, Peggy and John Edward and Elmore came
to Miss Dorcas's door and asked for Anne. Would she please lend them
Honey-Sweet that day? They'd be ever and ever so careful.

"Lend Honey-Sweet!" exclaimed Anne.

They hated to ask it but Lois would not take her medicine. She had
pushed aside and spilled dose after dose. "She says she won't take that
nasty old bitter old stuff. And her cheeks are so red and she breathes
so rattly. Mommer's scairt. And the doctor man'll be so mad. Mommer
asked her if she'd take her medicine for Honey-Sweet and she said
'Yes.' So mommer say for us to run and beg you do please lend us your
baby-doll to-day."

"If Lois is so sick,--oh, I suppose I must," said Anne; "but--Peggy,
will you be careful of her every minute of the time and bring her back
this afternoon--sure and certain?"

Peggy promised, and Peggy did. "Lois took her medicine fine," she said,
smiling and dimpling. "Mommer give her a dost a hour before time so's I
could bring your baby-doll and get home before dark. Here she is. See! I
ain't even mussed her curls."

The next day, Lois was worse again. Her mother confessed that they had
"worrited half the night with her and not got a dost down her," but
Honey-Sweet brought her to terms.

When Miss Margery rose to go, Anne hesitated a minute, then said, "Mrs.
Callahan, if I let Honey-Sweet stay here to-night with Lois, can you
take good, good care of her?"

Mrs. Callahan's face beamed. "That I can, and that I will. I been
wantin' to ask you to let her stay and hatin' to do it, seein' how much
you set store by her. I'll take care of her good as if she was my own
baby."

The next afternoon, Anne found Honey-Sweet sitting in state on the
mantel-piece beside the medicine bottle.

"She comes down with it and she goes back with it," said Mrs. Callahan.
"The doctor was here this noon and he says she's better and if she takes
her medicine reg'lar and keeps on the mend till Sadday he thinks she'll
be all right. I hope she'll take it. She does every time for that doll."
And the worried mother looked anxiously at Anne.

"I reckon I'll have to spare Honey-Sweet till Saturday," said Anne, with
an effort. She missed her pet and the Callahan family was so big and so
careless! "Please, Mrs. Callahan, be careful with her every minute. I
love her so very dearly."

"Bless your heart, I wouldn't have harm come to her for the world. There
she sits like a queen on her throne, and ain't took down but by my own
hands with the medicine bottle. I've told the kids I'll skin 'em alive
if they put finger on her."

Saturday morning brought Peggy to see Anne,--a sad Peggy with downcast
eyes and red nose and croaking voice.

"You've a bad cold, Peggy, haven't you?" said Miss Dorcas.

Peggy nodded. "Yessum, lady. Terrible bad. Maybe so I'll have the
pneumony, like Lois, and maybe so I'll die."

"Oh, I hope not!" exclaimed Anne who had hastened out when she heard
Peggy. She hoped Honey-Sweet was in that bundle--though she knew it was
too small.

"Mommer sent me," said the saddened Peggy with the downcast eyes, "to
ask you ladies, please'm, not to come home to-day."

"Is Lois worse?" was Miss Dorcas's anxious question.

"No'm. The doctor says she's lots better, but"--Peggy hesitated--"he
says she mustn't have no company and I think he says she mustn't have no
company till Monday. And here's something for you." She thrust into
Anne's hand a newspaper package which being opened revealed a gauze fan
spangled with silver, soiled and frayed, but the pride of Peggy's heart.
"And you won't come till Monday, ma'am?" she urged.

Miss Dorcas agreed, but Miss Margery, when she heard the tale, shook her
head.

"That's one of Peggy's tales that I'm going to look into," she said. "I
have to see a girl in that neighborhood and I'll go there this
afternoon."

"And you'll let me go with you? Please," pleaded Anne. "I'm so homesick
for Honey-Sweet. She's never been away from me before. You can hand her
out the window and let me visit her, if I can't see Lois."

It was a raw December day and none of the Callahan children were
playing, as usual, in front of the little brown house. The
sewing-machine was rattling away at such furious speed that Miss
Margery's knock at the door was unheard. The Charity lady hesitated a
moment. "If Lois can stand that rattle-ty-banging, she can stand sight
and sound of us. Let's go in," she said and she opened the door.

Anne's eyes went straight to the mantel-piece. Honey-Sweet was not
there. Anne looked down at the pallet, where Lois lay asleep. No
Honey-Sweet there. The child's questioning, appealing eyes turned to
Lois's mother.

Mrs. Callahan dropped her face in her apron. "I wouldn't 'a' had it
happen for the world!" she sobbed. "Not for all the world."

"What is the matter, Mrs. Callahan?" inquired Miss Margery.

"Where's Honey-Sweet?" asked Anne.

"I wouldn't 'a' had that doll ruint for nothin'," wailed Mrs. Callahan.

"Honey-Sweet? ruined?" stammered Anne.

"What has happened to Anne's doll, Mrs. Callahan? Will you please
explain at once?" Miss Margery was at her sternest.

"Peggy done it--and she's cried herself 'most sick. 'Twas yestiddy. I'd
gone to take home some sewin'. Peg she's been possessed to show that
doll to the Flannagan children. Bein' as I was gone and Lois 'sleep, she
slipped out. And while they were all mirationin' over the doll's shoes
and stockin's, that low-down Flannagan dog grabbed the doll and made off
with it. And they couldn't get it away from him--he tore it to pieces,
worritin' it like 'twas a cat. He ought to be skinned alive, I say. It's
low-down to keep such a dog."

"If Peggy had obeyed--" began Miss Margery.

"Yessum," interrupted Mrs. Callahan. "And nobody's got any business to
keep such a dog! We wouldn't 'a' had it happen for the world, ma'am. I
sent you that word 'bout Lois," she went on, addressing Anne, "so's you
wouldn't come. We didn't want you to know 'bout it till Monday. Pa he
draws his pay to-night and John Edward, too. John Edward he's errant boy
for a grocer down on M Street. They're going to take all their money and
buy you the finest doll in Washington, rent or no rent, victuals or no
victuals."

"No, no, no," protested Anne.

"Don't you look so white and pitiful," sobbed Mrs. Callahan. "I wouldn't
'a' had it happen for the world. You shall have the finest doll--"

"I don't want a doll," Anne spoke with difficulty. "Tell them not to,
Miss Margery. It wouldn't be Honey-Sweet. Please, oh, please, let's go
home, Miss Margery."

Poor little Anne! Miss Margery had her downstairs to tea that evening,
and gave her milk toast and pink iced cakes and candy in a Santa Claus
box that was to have waited till Christmas. Then she sang Anne's
favorite songs. But the shadow did not lift. Anne kissed her friend
good-night and crept away to bed before nine o'clock. An hour later,
Miss Dorcas and Miss Margery tiptoed into her room. There she lay, her
face swollen with weeping and her breath coming in sobbing gasps. She
stirred and crumpled a pillow in her arms, and crooned in her sleep the
old lullaby:--

          "'Honey, honey! Sweet, sweet, sweet!
          Honey, honey! Honey-Sweet!'"



CHAPTER XXVIII


All this time--so little is our big world--Miss Drayton was hardly a
stone's throw from Anne. She was keeping house for her brother-in-law
who was busy with office work in Washington. Pat was at home, having
entered classes to prepare for George Washington University. It was
strange that Anne and her old friends went to and fro, back and forth,
so near together and yet did not meet. They must have missed one another
sometimes by only a minute or two in a shop or on a street-car or at a
street corner. But week after week passed without bringing them
together.

One morning, as Mr. Patterson was glancing over his newspaper at
breakfast, he uttered an exclamation of surprise. "This is something
you'll want to hear," he said to Miss Drayton--and then he read aloud
an article with these headlines:--

          Truth Stranger than Fiction

        "Felon Gives himself up

     "Returns to take his Punishment."

Mr. Carey Mayo of New York City, who had used funds of the Stuyvesant
Trust Company and had disappeared two years before just as he was about
to be arrested, had surrendered himself to the officers of the law. His
trial was set for an early day. As he had given himself up of his own
free will, it was thought that his sentence would be light.

Fuller explanation came in a letter to Miss Drayton, forwarded by the
consul at Nantes. Mr. Mayo thanked her for her care and goodness to
Anne--the words smote her heart. He had spent these two years at work in
South Africa and had laid aside every possible penny of his earnings in
order to keep his niece from being a burden on strangers. This money he
was putting in a certain New York banking-house for Miss Drayton in
trust for Anne. He requested her to use it to educate Anne and to buy
back the child's old home. It would be better, when Anne was old enough
to understand the matter, to tell her the truth about him. He asked Miss
Drayton to say that his regret, his repentance, were as great as his
sin. He had come to realize that the disgrace was in the deed he had
done and not in its punishment. So, having righted affairs for Anne as
well as he could, he was going to surrender himself to the officers of
the law. He was tired of being followed everywhere by fear of discovery,
tired of being an outcast from his own land and people. The worst hurt
was to think that Anne must some day know that he was in a felon's cell.

Only one course lay open to Miss Drayton, and how painful that was! She
must inform Anne's uncle that she had not taken care of Anne, as he
thought, and that the child had been sent to an orphan asylum, from
which she had wandered away, no one knew where. If only he need not be
told! But he must.

Miss Drayton and Mr. Patterson resolved to go to see Mr. Mayo. But the
proposed journey was never made. A day or two before they were to start,
the newspapers announced that Mr. Carey Mayo had died in the prison to
which he had been committed to await trial. He had heart disease, and
strain and excitement had brought on a fatal attack.

What was to be done about the property left to Miss Drayton in trust for
Anne? Mr. Patterson advised his sister-in-law to let the matter rest for
the present. Anne might be found. Mrs. Marshall wrote that they had a
clew which they were following. A little girl, answering in general the
description of Anne, had been seen near Westcot with a gypsy band. They
would continue the search and never give up hope.

Christmas was now at hand and Miss Drayton, always ready for deeds of
charity, resolved to send holiday gifts and dinners to several poor
families.

Telephoning to the district agent of the Associated Charities, she
obtained the names of some 'deserving poor,' and a crisp, clear December
morning found her driving from one home to another, talking with mothers
and receiving children's messages to Santa Claus. On the ragged edge of
the city, her coachman halted before a little brown house from the porch
of which hung a leafless rose-bush. Miss Drayton consulted the card in
her hand: "John Edward Callahan, wife, and seven children." Two or three
smiling children, not yet of school age, were peeping out of the window
and a woman left her sewing-machine to open the door.

Miss Drayton explained the purpose of her visit. "I understand you have
several children," she said.

"Only seven, lady," said Mrs. Callahan. "Peggy and John Edward and
Elmore and Susie and Lois and Bud and the baby."

"Ah! Only seven! And their ages?"

"Peggy she's near on 'leven and the baby's a year old this last gone
November and the others are scattered 'long between," explained Mrs.
Callahan.

"And what--" Miss Drayton smiled back at Lois and Bud and the
baby--"must I tell Santa Claus to bring you for Christmas, if I happen
to see him?"

"A doll, lady, please," answered Mrs. Callahan, eagerly, "a gre't big
doll--big as that baby--pretty as a picture--open-and-shut eyes--real
hair and curly. Lady, they'd rather have a real elegant doll than
anything in the world."

"Oh, but not the boys," protested Miss Drayton.

"Yessum--boys and girls and pa and me--all of us," insisted Mrs.
Callahan. "Lump us so as to make it splendiferous. Oh, bless you,
'tain't for us. It's for the little girl that lent us the loan of her
doll to get Lois to take her medicine. And the doll got ruint. Miss
Margery--that's the Charity lady--she's awful cross sometimes--said we
shouldn't buy a doll with the wages. But she couldn't fault a present. I
never see a child love a doll like she did that Honey-Sweet."

"Honey-Sweet!" exclaimed Miss Drayton.

"Yessum, lady. Wasn't that a funny name for a doll? It was the purtiest
rag baby I ever see."

"A rag baby, named Honey-Sweet!" repeated Miss Drayton. "Was the little
girl--what was her name?"

"Anne. Anne Hartman. She's niece to Miss Hartman, the head lady of the
Charity."

"Oh!" Could this be her little Anne? Or was there another child named
Anne with another rag doll named Honey-Sweet? Anne Hartman? And her
Anne had no aunt Miss Hartman. It was queer, very queer, and puzzling.
"What kind of looking child is Anne Hartman?" Miss Drayton asked.

"She's a little girl," answered Mrs. Callahan. "Tall as my Peggy, but
slimmer. Not pretty.--Well, I dunno. She's beautiful, times when she's
happy-looking. She's got a perky little nose and long, twinkly eyes.
Molasses-candy-colored hair. And her mouth--Peggy says it's like one of
our red rosebuds when they begin to open."

Ah! Whatever name and kinswoman she had now, that was Anne.

"Where does she live?" inquired Miss Drayton, eagerly.

"At the corner of Fairview Avenue, in the big old house that's turned
into flats. Was the doll too much to ask, lady?" asked Mrs. Callahan, as
Miss Drayton rose to go.

"No, oh, no, indeed! You shall have the doll, and things for all the
children besides," said Miss Drayton. "Good-morning, Mrs. Callahan.
George, drive down Fairview Avenue. Drive fast. I'll tell you where to
stop."

There was no one named Anne Hartman in that building, the janitor
informed her. A little girl named Anne? Perhaps she meant Anne Lewis,
that lived here with her cousin, Miss Dorcas Read. The top apartment.
She was not at home now, he knew. She came from school about two
o'clock. No, her cousin was not at home either. She was a government
clerk and never came in before five.

Miss Drayton would wait. She wished to see the little girl the very
minute that she came in. The janitor invited the lady into his dingy
office but she shook her head. She would wait, if he pleased, in the
pleasant old garden, of which she caught a glimpse through the open
door.

Up and down, down and up, the gravelled walks she paced, restless and
impatient. Suppose there was some mistake. Suppose this Anne Lewis was
not her little Anne. Surely it was time for the child to come from
school. Only one o'clock? Her watch must be wrong. No, it had not
stopped. And the old dial, catching the sunlight through leafless trees,
told the same hour. Drawing her furs about her, Miss Drayton sat down on
a stone bench.

From below, came the street noises,--jangle of cars, rumble of wagons,
clatter and clamor of passers-by. In the old garden, withered leaves
drifted down on the still air or rustled underfoot, bare branches
wavered against the clear blue sky, and purple shadows flickered on the
leaf-strewn walk. How quiet it was! how peaceful! By degrees, the quiet
and the peace crept into Miss Drayton's heart. She was content to wait.
In this good world of ours, everything is sure to come out right in the
end.

And then, in the mellow sunlight, down the box-bordered walk, past the
sun-dial, toward the stone bench, came a little figure.

"Mr. Brown said that a lady--oh! oh! it's you!"

"Dear little Anne! dear little Anne!" She was clasped in the arms--dear,
cuddly arms!--of her friend.

What laughter, tears, and chatter there were!

"But we must go home," said Miss Drayton, presently. "Pat will be there
now. We'll come back to see your cousin."

As they entered the hall, they heard from above the click-click of
dumb-bells. Miss Drayton put her finger on Anne's lips, and they tiptoed
into the cozy sitting-room.

Then Miss Drayton called in an offhand way: "Pat, oh, Pat! There's a
child in the sitting-room that wants to see you."

"Who is he?"

His aunt did not seem to hear. Anyway, she did not answer. Pat,
whistling ragtime, sauntered into the sitting-room.

Anne flew into his arms.

"Why, what--" and then he realized that it was Anne. Anne! He gave her a
bear's hug and danced about the room, holding her high in his arms. Miss
Drayton laughed till tears came.

"Where did you come from? How did you get here? Did Aunt Sarah find you?
Does dad know you've come? When--"

"There, there, Pat! Not more than three questions at a time, please,"
interrupted his aunt. "And you're not leaving Anne breath to answer
one."

How much there was to ask and to tell! Anne gave an account of her
wanderings. Pat told how they had searched for her, how grieved the
asylum people and the Marshall family were at not being able to find
her. "Why, there's that little chap Dunlop. He asked if you had any jam
for your supper--and I told him 'No'--and he wouldn't touch it--said he
didn't want it, if Anne didn't have any."

"Dunlop! Dunlop did that!"

"He and his small brother weep a little weep every time your name is
mentioned."

"Oh, Pat! Why, I never thought they'd care so much," said Anne. "I miss
them. But I was afraid to write to them. I didn't want to go back there.
Can they make me go back, if I write and tell them where I am?"

"No, indeed," answered Miss Drayton.

"Bet your life they can't," said Pat. "You're coming to live with us.
Isn't she, Aunt Sarah?"

"I'm so glad! I'm so glad!" Anne was radiant. "I love Cousin Dorcas,"
she hastened to explain. "She's just as kind to me as can be and she's
awful good. But--she's one of the good people you don't want to live
with. She has nerves, you know, and so many troubles. And her arms
aren't cuddly. Not like yours, Miss Drayton. I think she likes me--a
cousin-like, you know,--but I'm sure she'll be glad not to have me live
with her. She hasn't much money and I cost so much. Shoes are the worst.
I wear them out so fast."

"You can wear out all you want to now,--shoes and everything. And give
Cousin Dorcas some, too," said Pat.

While they were chattering away, a measured step was heard in the hall.
"There's father," said Pat. "Oh, dad, we've found Anne," he called.
"Here she is."

Mr. Patterson hurried into the room. Anne rose timidly to shake hands,
and was caught in a hearty embrace. "Welcome, little one! Welcome home,"
said Mr. Patterson.

"Hooray! hooray for the star-spangled banner!" Pat shouted so loud that
the cook and both the maid-servants came running to see what was the
matter. Whereupon Mr. Patterson told them that they were to have the
Christmas turkey that day and the best dinner they could prepare on
such short notice, to celebrate Miss Anne's coming home.

"We want your cousin to join us," said Miss Drayton. "Has she a
telephone?"

"We use Miss Margery's," replied Anne. "Please, do you mind--would you
ask Miss Margery, too?"

"Of course, dear. We shall be happy to have her. Before dinner let's
write some little letters--really we ought--to let your other friends
know that we've found you."

"Bully Mrs. Collins," said Pat.

"And poor Miss Farlow," added Miss Drayton.

"Don't forget our friend 'Lop," suggested Mr. Patterson.

"And--it's far away and long ago--" said Anne, "but I want Mademoiselle
Duroc to know and to tell the girls, if any of the old ones are there,
that you know about the jewels and it's all right."



CHAPTER XXIX


"Time you youngsters were doing your Christmas shopping," said Mr.
Patterson the next morning, laying a generous banknote by Pat's plate
and two crisp notes by Anne's. "She has to have a double portion," he
explained, "because she's a girl--and little--and has to make up lost
time."

"Yep, dad," said Pat, nodding agreement to each of these reasons and
adding another, "and she has such gangs of people to send things to.
You'll have to go to the ten-cent shop, Nancy Anne, or borrow from my
bank. Wherever you've been, you've picked up friends, like--like a
little woolly lambie gathers burs."

They all laughed at Pat's speech; they were in the joyous frame of mind
when laughter comes easily.

"I want to join you in Christmas remembrances to the people who have
been so good to you," said Miss Drayton.

"I'll send Jake Collins a ball and Peter a pocket-knife," said Pat, "or
would Jake rather have a knife, too?"

"Mrs. Collins shall have a silk dress," said Miss Drayton.

"Oo-ee! That will be glorious," exclaimed Anne. "Let it be the rustly
kind. And red. She loves red."

"Mr. Collins shall have an umbrella with a gorgeous silver handle," said
Mr. Patterson. "That will be silk. Must it be rustly and red, too?"

Anne laughed. "Lizzie would just love a pink parasol," she said. "And I
know what Aunt Charity would like--a pair of big, gold-rimmed
spectacles. I heard her say she'd rather have them than anything else in
the world."

"Is her eyesight very bad?" asked Miss Drayton.

"Why--I don't know. I reckon not." Anne looked puzzled. "Oh! she just
wants them for dress-up. She has a pair of steel-rimmed ones now. She
pulls them down on her nose so she can see over them, you know."

Mr. Patterson threw back his head and laughed till he was red in the
face. "She shall have them," he said, as soon as he could speak. "She
shall have the very biggest pair of gold-rimmed spectacles with plain
glass lens that Claflin's shop affords. May I live to see her wear them!
And we'll send her a good warm shawl besides and Uncle Richard shall
have--shall have a blue overcoat with brass buttons."

"Goody, goody, goody!" cried Anne, clapping her hands. "Oh, please, I
just must kiss you."

"Good pay--and in advance," said Mr. Patterson. "But I charge two
kisses," which he proceeded to take.

"What would Miss Farlow like?" inquired Miss Drayton.

"I know," said Anne. "Gloves. You just ought to see her shoe-polishing
her rusty finger-tips. And she looks like she likes herself so much
better when she has a new pair."

"She shall have a boxful," Miss Drayton declared; "and the girls--would
they be allowed to wear red hair-ribbons and embroidered collars?"

"Oh, please, Miss Drayton--Aunt Sarah, I mean," said Anne, "don't let's
send them a single useful thing. Just a box full of games and
story-books and a box of candy for each one, with a ribbon round it and
little silver tongs inside."

"Good! That's the thing," agreed Mr. Patterson, consulting his watch and
jumping up from the table. "Here! can't you all join me in the Boston
House to-day at twelve-thirty to select a gift for 'Lop? I want the
noisiest mechanical toy there is."

"Poor Mrs. Marshall!" laughed Miss Drayton.

We may not follow the merry party on that shopping trip. But let me
assure you that boxes were sent to all the Virginia friends and that
there were generous gifts for Cousin Dorcas and Miss Margery. They were
certainly well selected, for each person said that his or her gift was
just exactly what was most desired.

The maid who opened the door that afternoon to the weary, happy,
home-coming party of Christmas shoppers said, "Please, Miss Drayton,
there's a lady and two little boys in the back parlor to see Miss Anne.
They've been waiting an hour. The biggest boy's dreadful impatient and
he stamped and screamed awful because I couldn't go and bring her home."

"Why, it must be 'Lop," exclaimed Anne.

Dunlop it was, with his mother and Arthur.

"He would come," said Mrs. Marshall. "He clamored to start as soon as we
read the letter this morning. I feared he'd worry himself sick. He's so
nervous and high-strung," she explained to Miss Drayton.

"Papa promised me a little automobile if I'd stay at home," said Dunlop,
hanging to Anne's hand. "I told him I'd rather see Anne."

"Oh!" Anne kissed him.

"'Spect I'll get the automobile anyway," reflected Dunlop. "And, Anne, I
know now 'bout Santa Claus," with a cautious glance at Arthur who was
cuddled in her arms.

Mrs. Marshall produced a packet which Miss Farlow had asked her to
deliver,--Anne's gold beads and coral pins, and the rings, locket, and
purse given by her uncle. Miss Drayton looked thoughtfully at the
jewels.

"These were your mother's, you know, Anne," she said. "You must keep and
prize them always, dear. And I have a story to tell you some day, little
Anne--some far-off, 'most-grown-up day."

The next morning was Christmas. When Anne awakened, she found around her
wrist a red ribbon on which was a card bearing these words:

         "Follow, follow where I wind,
         Christmas tokens you will find."

After many wanderings about the chairs and tables, the ribbon led to the
top shelf of the closet, where there was a box of games, "With love from
brother Pat." Then it conducted Anne back to the bed and when she
stooped to unwind it from the bed-post she touched a soft, furry thing
and gave a squeal, thinking it was a live creature; she gave another
squeal of delight when she found that it was a muff and a little fur
coat from Mr. Patterson. From the bed, the ribbon guided Anne to the
window-seat, and there "from Aunt Sarah" was a book-shelf with _Little
Lord Fauntleroy_ first in a row of beautiful books. Anne clapped her
hands and danced and ran to hug and kiss Miss Drayton who was standing
in the doorway, enjoying the gift-hunt. The red ribbon led to other
nooks and corners where there were various other presents, including a
silver toilet-set from Mrs. Marshall, a box of candy from Dunlop, a cup
and saucer from Arthur, and a pair of pink and red slippers knit by
Mollie, the cook at the Home.

Downstairs, Anne found a box which had been left at the door by Peggy
and John Edward and Elmore and Susie. It contained a gorgeous big doll
and a slip of paper on which was written: "For Miss Anne, with all our
loves from her respectful friends, Mr. and Mrs. Callahan, Peggy, John
Edward, Elmore, Susie, Lois, Bud, and Baby."

Anne was very grateful but very sure that she did not want a doll and
that she would like Susie and Lois to have it. So Christmas afternoon,
she and Pat, accompanied by Miss Drayton and Mr. Patterson, went to
re-present the doll. The sewing-machine was silent for once, and the
Callahan family was seated around a table spread with turkey, cranberry
sauce, ham, pickles, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, cabbage,
cake, mince pie, ice-cream, apples, and oranges.

"They say some folks put things on the table one by one, but we likes to
have them where we can see them all one time," remarked Mrs. Callahan
who was feeding the baby with turkey and pickle.

"We'se eated two dinners a'ready," said Lois.

"Mommer told all the ladies that asked us as how we wanted a Christmas
dinner and we got three," explained Peggy.

"And et 'em, too," Mrs. Callahan declared. "The Charity lady told me
just to ask for one--stingy old thing! I knowed my children's stomachs
and I got 'em filled up good. Run around the table again now, you John
Edward and Elmore, so's to jostle your victuals down and make room for
the cake and ice-cream."

Miss Drayton presently heard a great smacking of lips from the corner
where the twins sat. They had put their ice-cream together on one plate
and were feeding each other. Elmore put a generous spoonful in John
Edward's mouth.

"Smack your lips--loud--so I can taste it," he said. "Now it's your turn
to give me a spoonful."

"M-m-m! ain't it good?" exclaimed John Edward. "I smacked my lips
loudest--didn't I, Peggy?"

But Peggy, talking aside with Anne, did not heed him.

"It was very, very, very good of you all to send me the doll," said
Anne; "but truly, I'd rather you'd keep it for Susie and Lois. I'm
getting too big to play dolls, anyway."

Skipping homeward with her hands snuggled in her new muff, Anne confided
to Miss Drayton, "I don't hate it near so bad about Honey-Sweet now. I
love her just the same most dearly. And, just think! it was her being
lost that made you find me. Peggy says they had a be-yu-tiful funeral
for her. Mrs. Callahan covered the coffin with white paper and they
shovelled in the dirt and put on the grave some real roses that John
Edward found in an ash barrel. Wasn't that nice? Oh! this is such a nice
world!"



       *       *       *       *       *



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Rauschenbusch--Christianity and the Social Crisis. By Walter
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Scott--Increasing Human Efficiency in Business. By Walter Dill
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Wright--Aunt Jimmy's Will. By Mabel Osgood Wright.

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