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Title: Witch Winnie - The Story of a King's Daughter
Author: Champney, Elizabeth W. (Elizabeth Williams), 1850-1922
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Witch Winnie - The Story of a King's Daughter" ***

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Transcriber's Note

- Illustration captions in {brackets} have been added by the transcriber
for reader convenience.

- The position of some illustrations has been changed to improve
readability.

- Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. These
minor errors include extra or missing commas, periods, and quotation
marks (" and ').

- Significant typographical errors have been corrected. A full list of
these corrections is available in the Transcriber's Corrections section
at the end of the book.

       *       *       *       *       *



  [Illustration: {Cover: Witch Winnie
     The Story of a King's Daughter
        Elizabeth W. Champney}]



             WITCH WINNIE.



  [Illustration: {Woman lowers basket
    from window to three men waiting
              below.}]



             WITCH WINNIE

    THE STORY OF A "KING'S DAUGHTER"

                  BY

         ELIZABETH W. CHAMPNEY

               NEW YORK

         DODD, MEAD & COMPANY

              PUBLISHERS



Copyright, 1889, by
WHITE AND ALLEN

Copyright, 1891, by
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY

THE BURR PRINTING HOUSE
New York



_DEDICATED TO_
MY LITTLE WITCH MARIE.

    Where she's been the sunshine lingers,
      She's my witch and she's my mouse;
    She has helpful, fairy fingers,
      Busy keeper of the house.

    She is tricksy and she's elfish;
      Sure no plague could e'er be worse;
    She is thoughtful and unselfish,
      She's my gentle angel-nurse.

    All their jokes the brownies lend her,
      She's a merry, mischief thing;
    But her heart is very tender--
      She's a Daughter of the King.

    Yes, there's something nice about her,
      And I'll love her till my death;
    No, I could not do without her--
      I'm her ma, Elizabeth.



CONTENTS.

  CHAPTER                                                      PAGE

        INTRODUCTION,                                             9

     I. BOARDING-SCHOOL SCRAPES,                                 11

    II. GUINEVERE'S GOWN,                                        30

   III. THE PRINCESS,                                            50

    IV. COURT LIFE,                                              63

     V. LITTLE PRINCE DEL PARADISO,                              79

    VI. MRS. HETTERMAN THROWS LIGHT ON THE MYSTERY,              90

   VII. WINNIE'S CONFESSION,                                    109

  VIII. THE ELDER BROTHER AND MRS. HALSEY'S STRANGE STORY,      123

    IX. THE KING'S DAUGHTERS AND THE VENETIAN FÊTE,             139

     X. THE LANDLORD OF RICKETT'S COURT,                        162

    XI. THE GUESTS OF THE ELDER BROTHER,                        189

   XII. WITH THE DYNAMITERS,                                    212

  XIII. THE KING'S DAUGHTERS IN THE COUNTRY,                    225

   XIV. OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY,                            246

    XV. THE ESTATES DEL PARADISO,                               302



INTRODUCTION.


It is but just to explain that, while all of the characters introduced
in this little story are purely imaginary, the founding of the Home of
the Elder Brother was suggested by the work of some real children,
younger than Madame's pupils, who gave a little fair, and, helped by
charitable people, instituted a lovely charity, the Messiah Home for
Little Children, at 4 Rutherford Place, New York City. This Home still
opens its doors to the children of working-women, and is helped by
different circles of King's Daughters, some of whom have adopted
children to clothe. It is a beautiful work, founded by children for
children, and it is hoped that others all over the land will join in it,
and that the work may broaden until no such dens as Rickett's Court will
remain in our fair city or country.

                                                           E. W. C.



WITCH WINNIE.



CHAPTER I.

BOARDING-SCHOOL SCRAPES.


  [Illustration: {Drawing of Winnie.}]

We never had any until Witch Winnie came to room in our corner.

We had the reputation of being the best behaved set at Madame's, a
little bit self-conscious too, and proud of our propriety. Perhaps this
was the reason that we were nicknamed the "Amen Corner," though the
girls pretended it was because the initials of our names, spelled
downward, like an acrostic--

    _A_delaide Armstrong,
    _M_illy Roseveldt,
    _E_mma Jane Anton,
    _N_ellie Smith--

formed the word _amen_. But certainly the name would not have clung to
us as it did if the other girls had not recognized its fitness in our
forming a sanctimonious little clique who echoed Madame's sentiments,
and were real Pharisees in minding the rules about study-hours, and
whispering, and having our lights out in time, and the other lesser
matters of the law which the girls in the "Hornets' Nest," Witch
Winnie's set, disregarded with impunity.

And verily we had our reward, for Madame trusted us, and gave us the
best set of rooms in the great stone corner tower, overlooking the park,
quite away from the espial of the corridor teacher. They had been
intended for an infirmary, but as no one was ever sick at Madame's, she
grew tired of keeping them unoccupied, and assigned them to us.

Sometimes the other girls annoyed us by making calls in study-hours, and
we virtuously displayed a placard on our door bearing the inscription,
"Particularly Engaged." It caught Witch Winnie's eye, as she strolled
along the hall, and she scribbled beneath it,

    "The girls of the Amen Corner
      Would have us all to know
    That they're _engaged_, each one engaged--
      Particularly so."[A]

[A] This incident is borrowed from an actual occurrence.

We hardly knew whether to be amused or vexed at this sally of Witch
Winnie's. We acknowledged that it was bright, but we deplored her
wildness, and had no idea how much we should love her in time to come.
After all, our reputation as model pupils had a very slender foundation.
It rested chiefly on Emma Jane's preternatural conscientiousness. The
night that the cadet band serenaded our school, some of the pupils,
presumably the girls in the "Hornets' Nest," threw out bouquets to the
performers. Rumor said that when Madame heard of this she was greatly
shocked.

"I don't see how she can punish them for it," said Adelaide; "there's
nothing in the rules about not giving flowers to young men. Still, it
was a dreadful thing to do, and Madame is ingenious enough to twist the
rules some way, so as to 'make the punishment fit the crime.' I am glad
the Amen Corner is guiltless."

Then we marched into chapel on tiptoe with excitement to see Madame
wreak vengeance on the wrong-doers. Witch Winnie sat behind me, and
turning, I saw that she looked pale, but resolute.

Madame rose in awful dignity, her wiry curls, which Milly said reminded
her of spiral bed-springs, bristled ominously.

"Young ladies," she exclaimed, in a sharp tone of command, "you may all
rise." We rose.

"If you turn to the printed rules of this institution," she continued,
"you will find under Section VII. the following paragraph--'Pupils are
not allowed to disfigure the lawn by _throwing from the windows_ any
bits of paper, hair, apple-parings, peanut shells, or waste material _of
any kind_. Scrap-baskets are provided for the reception of such matter,
and any pupil throwing _anything from her window upon the school
grounds_ will be regarded as having committed a misdemeanor.'"

An impressive silence followed, in which Witch Winnie gave a sigh of
relief, and whispered to Cynthia Vaughn, "We're all right; we didn't
disfigure her precious lawn. The bouquets never touched the ground. I
lowered them, with a string, in my scrap-basket (just where she says we
ought to have put them), and the drum-major took them out and
distributed them to the other boys."

"Young ladies," Madame continued, in tones of triumph, "those of you who
have not broken this rule within the past week may sit down."

We all sat down--all but Emma Jane Anton, who remained in conspicuous
discomfort. Adelaide pulled her by the basque, "Sit down!" she
whispered; "Madame doesn't mean you."

Emma Jane stood like a martyr while Madame regarded her through her
lorgnette with astonishment depicted on every feature.

"If you committed this infringement of the rules at any time other than
last evening you may sit down."

Emma Jane remained standing.

"Then," said Madame, drawing herself up frigidly, "Miss Anton, you may
explain: what was it you threw out?"

"Madame," replied Emma Jane, "the window was open--we were listening to
the music--and a bat flew in; and, Madame, he would not stay in the
waste-paper basket, and so, Madame, I threw him out."

Every one laughed; discipline was forgotten for the moment, until Madame
rapped smartly on the desk and called for order. She complimented Emma
Jane highly on her conscientiousness, but she looked provoked with her
all the same, while Witch Winnie, who was stuffing her handkerchief into
her mouth, nearly went into convulsions.

After the sketch which I have endeavored to give of Witch Winnie, and
the position which she occupied at Madame's, I trust that we, as
self-respecting pupils, will not be too severely blamed when I confess
that we received, with great disfavor, Madame's announcement that Winnie
was henceforth to room in the Amen Corner.

The bedrooms at Madame's boarding-school were clustered in little groups
around study-parlors, five girls forming a family. For a long time there
had been only four in our set. Emma Jane Anton, who preferred to room
alone, had the little single bedroom; Adelaide and Milly were chums;
while I, Nellie Smith, familiarly nicknamed Tib, had luxuriated so long
in the large corner chamber that I had almost forgotten that Madame
told me, at the outset, that I must hold myself in readiness to receive
a room-mate at any time.

Adelaide Armstrong was the daughter of a railroad magnate. She had been
brought up in the West, but, though she had traveled much, and had seen
a great deal of society, her education had not been entirely neglected.
She had studied a great deal in a desultory way, and contested the head
of the class with Emma Jane Anton, who was a "regular dig," and had
prepared for college in the Boston public schools.

It was really surprising how Adelaide had picked up so much. She had
studied Latin with a priest in New Mexico, and had profited by two years
at a lonely post on the confines of Canada, where her father had been
interested in the fur trade, to become proficient in French. Strikingly
handsome, a brunette with brilliant complexion and Andalusian eyes,
energetic and spirited, she was popular both with her instructors and
her classmates.

Milly Roseveldt was her exact contrast--a milky-complexioned little
blonde, shy and sweet; she was also a trifle dull. Adelaide translated
her Latin, and worked out her problems, and I wrote her compositions,
while Milly rewarded us with largesses of love and confectionery, for
she was the most generous as well as the most affectionate of girls. Her
father, a wealthy New York banker, placed large sums of money at her
disposal, and Milly deluged her friends with gifts of flowers and
bonbons. It seemed very natural to me that Adelaide and Milly should be
sworn friends; but my admittance into the sacred circle was a mystery to
me, and to a number of aspiring girls who asserted that I was nobody in
particular, and who envied me my place in my friends' affection. My
presence in the school itself was almost as great a wonder. My father
was a Long Island farmer. We opened our house to city boarders during
the summer, and one season Miss Sartoris, the teacher in Art at
Madame's, boarded with us. I had taken drawing lessons at the Academy,
and Miss Sartoris took me out sketching with her. I worked like a
beaver, and was never so happy in my life. I delighted Miss Sartoris,
who wakened mother's ambition by telling her that I was the most
talented pupil she had ever had. More than this: we three induced good,
easy-going, generous father to let me go back to the city with Miss
Sartoris as a pupil at Madame's. My wardrobe was meagre, but not
countrified, for I possessed a natural sense of color and a quick
faculty for imitation. I had seen plenty of city people at Scup Haven,
and my few dresses, I fancied, would pass muster anywhere. I was a fair
scholar, and took the lead in the studio. I was not brilliant and
stylish like Adelaide, or rich and pretty like Milly, but they liked me,
and I liked myself the better for the consciousness that there must be
something nice about me which attracted them. I believe now that it was
an absence of self-consciousness and selfishness on my part, and my
hearty admiration and devotion to them. Adelaide called me, playfully,
"the great American Appreciator."

It was just before the theatricals given by our literary society that an
incident occurred which showed me how much they really thought of me. We
three were arranging the stage; I was touching up the scenery, and Milly
holding the tacks for Adelaide, who was looping the drapery, when we
overheard the conversation of a group of girls on the other side of the
curtain.

Cynthia Vaughn was the first to speak.

"I think Adelaide Armstrong is perfectly splendid!"

"So do I," said another; and there was a chorus of confused voices
exclaiming, "So stylish!" "Perfectly elegant!" "The handsomest girl in
school!"

Adelaide left her work and placed her hand on the curtain, but Milly
threw her arms impulsively around her. "Let us hear what they will say,"
she whispered; "when they are through we can pull the cord, and all bow
thanks."

By this time other voices were chanting Milly's praises, and Adelaide
turned reluctantly away, remarking, "Well, if you enjoy that sort of
thing, you are welcome to it. I should not be surprised, by the way they
are loading it on, if they knew we were here."

They did not know it, for at that instant Cynthia Vaughn spoke up again,
"I don't see what they find to admire in that pokey Lib Smith."

"I should think Milly would be ashamed to be seen with her," said
another; "her dresses always remind me of a chicken with its head
through a hole in a salt-bag."

Adelaide sprang forward with flashing eyes to confront the speaker, but
this time it was I who held her back. "Let them say their say," I
whispered, hoarsely, while Milly cowered, trembling. "I believe her
mother makes her dresses at home," said Witch Winnie; "and, as she can't
have Tib to try them on, she fits them on her grandfather."

There was a hearty laugh at this sally, and another added: "I don't see
how Adelaide can endure her, she is so stingy. Have you noticed that the
girls place a fresh bouquet at her plate every morning? and I never
could find out that she ever gave either of them so much as a single
flower."

Adelaide nearly writhed herself from my grasp, but I held her tightly.
"Milly," she gasped, "are you a coward, to stand there and hear our
friend reviled so? Can't you stop them?"

The blood surged into Milly's pale cheeks, and she sprang before the
curtain. "Girls," she cried, "how can you talk so? Nellie Smith is our
dearest friend. She is not one bit stingy; she gives us more than we
have ever given her. Because she does not parade her presents on the
breakfast-table is no reason that she has not given me lots and lots of
things, and no girl can consider herself my friend who talks so about
our darling Tib."

Here Milly broke down in tears, and Witch Winnie exclaimed, "Good for
you, Milly Roseveldt; I didn't know you had so much spunk!" But at this
point we all fled to the Amen Corner, and bolted the door, refusing to
admit Witch Winnie, who impulsively shouted her apologies through the
keyhole.

"Oh, Milly!" I cried, "what made you tell a lie for me? I never gave you
a thing." And I might have added, "How could I, when my allowance for
spending-money is hardly sufficient to keep me in slate-pencils?"

But Milly stopped my mouth with kisses, and pointed to sundry original
works of art with which I had decorated her apartment, and declared,
besides, that helping her on that last horrid composition was a greater
gift than all the roses in Le Moult's greenhouse.

So we of the Amen Corner disliked Witch Winnie and loved each other, all
but Emma Jane Anton. We could not be said to exactly love her; we
tolerated her in our midst, in spite of her uncongenial nature, because
we took pride in her eminent respectability, and in the higher average
of reputation for creditable scholarship and exemplary behavior which
she gave to our corner. But love her! We might as well have tried to
love an iceberg.

Witch Winnie arrived on Adelaide's birthday, and was a most unwelcome
birthday present. Emma Jane Anton had obtained permission for us to
celebrate the occasion by sitting up an hour later that evening. Milly
had ordered a form of ice-cream and a birthday-cake from Mazetti's, and
we had invited in a half-dozen friends to share the treat. As a damper
on this beautiful fête, Madame had called us into her private study that
afternoon, and had told us that she had decided to assign Witch Winnie
as my room-mate. She did not scruple to tell us her reasons for doing
so. Winnie (according to Madame) was the head-centre of a wild set of
"ne'er-do-weels" who roomed in the top of the house, "a perfect hornets'
nest under the eaves," Madame said. Madame felt that if the queen hornet
was taken away, the rest would be more amenable to discipline, and that
Winnie, placed among such proper and well-behaved girls as we were,
would herself feel our beneficial influence.

"I think," said Madame, "that if you knew Winnie's history you would
understand her better. Her parents were both very talented and highly
imaginative people. Her father is a playwright of reputation, who
married a very lovely young actress who had sustained the leading part
in several of his plays. They were tenderly attached to each other. Mrs.
De Witt had great dramatic talent; she made it the study of her life to
realize his conceptions, and succeeded to his perfect satisfaction. She
said that she so lived in her part that frequently she forgot her own
personality, while Mr. De Witt was always cudgeling his brains to invent
new plots, situations, and characters for his wife. Mrs. De Witt died
when Winnie was but three years of age. The child has lived with
different relatives, and has been spoiled and neglected by turns, but
never quite understood. I have studied her carefully, and think I see in
her a combination of both parents. She has her father's highly organized
imaginative nature, but instead of constructing plots for plays, it
develops itself in plots for scrapes. She delights in dramatic
situations, and is a natural and unconscious actress. Her father hopes
that she may never adopt the stage as her profession, for it was that
life of mental and physical strain which killed Winnie's mother.
Something remarkable in organization or in action the girl will
certainly be, and as she takes her color, like a chameleon, from her
surroundings, or, rather, her cue from the other actors, I have great
hopes for your influence over her."

Madame's confidences made little impression upon our prejudice. We
listened in silence, and, returning to our rooms, held an indignation
meeting, in which Emma Jane led. Adelaide, who ought to have sympathized
with the neglected orphan, for she had lost her own mother when a little
girl, and who did find in this fact a bond of fellow-feeling later on,
now ignored all her claim for pity, and chose to feel that we were all
grossly insulted. Milly pitied me the enforced companionship, several of
us were in tears, and in the midst of it all Witch Winnie appeared. The
clatter of voices sank to sudden silence, and the new-comer, looking
from face to face, instantly understood the situation.

"If you feel half as badly as I do, girls," she said, with a merry
laugh, "I'm sorry for you; I wouldn't intrude on you in this way if I
could help it. Madame tells me you are to have a spread to-night, and
have invited your particular friends. It's too bad she wouldn't let me
put off moving till to-morrow morning. I'll tell you what I'll do--I'll
sit in the recitation-room and cram for examination until the party is
over. Of course you don't want me, a perfect stranger to your friends;
it isn't to be supposed you would."

Emma Jane Anton looked relieved. "We provided for a limited number," she
explained; "if we had known that we were to have the honor of your
company--"

But Adelaide interrupted her instantly. "Sit in that dismal
recitation-room while I am having my birthday party! Indeed you shall do
nothing of the sort!" while Milly came gallantly to the rescue, assuring
her that she had ordered more ice-cream than they could possibly
consume, and I did the best I could to make Winnie believe that she was
welcome.

The girls appeared _en masse_ as soon as the bell struck for the close
of evening study-hour--congratulations were offered to Adelaide, and
Winnie was introduced. All made extravagant efforts to be gay and
sociable, but there was a certain constraint, a forced quality, in it
all, which had for its reason something beyond the fact of an unwelcome
addition to the Corner: the refreshments had not arrived. Mazetti had
forgotten to send them. There stood the study-table neatly spread with a
table-cloth borrowed from the steward's department, and set with
saucers, spoons, and plates, all disappointingly empty.

Adelaide tried to carry off the situation as an immense joke. Milly
alternated between hope and despair, fancying each noise of wheels the
confectioner's cart. The guests showed their disappointment plainly,
some confessing that they had slighted the evening prunes and rice in
anticipation of this treat. And I heard Cynthia Vaughn whisper that it
was a very cheap way to give a party--to pretend that there had been a
mistake. At this juncture I suddenly noticed that Witch Winnie had
disappeared.

A few moments later a loud knocking, or kicking, for it was evidently
bestowed with feet instead of hands, was heard at the door. "Let me in,
girls!" cried Witch Winnie's voice--"let me in, quick! before Madame
catches me." We opened the door, and Witch Winnie burst in, and sat
laughing on the floor; from her dress, which had been gathered up in
her hands, and had served as a market-basket, rolled a quantity of paper
bags and parcels--lemons, bottles of olives, sugar, mixed pickles,
crackers, sardines, macaroons, nuts, raisins, candy, etc., etc.

"Help yourselves, girls," she chuckled. "We'll have the spread, after
all. I have been around the corner and bought out Mr. Beeny's little
grocery." Then broke in a chorus of voices--

"How did you ever get out of the house?"

"Was Cerberus asleep?" (Cerberus was our nickname for the janitor.)

"How very sweet of you!"

"But how extravagant!"

"O girls! these pickled limes are too lovely for anything."

Adelaide appeared with her ewer. "I'll make the lemonade," she said, and
began rolling the lemons with Milly's curling-stick, while Emma Jane
Anton manipulated the can-opener with energy and success. Each girl flew
to her room for her tooth-mug, and we drank Witch Winnie's health in
brimming bumpers of lemonade.

"How did you ever manage it?" Milly asked again.

"I climbed down the fire-escape." Witch Winnie giggled.

"But you had to drop twelve feet onto the sidewalk!"

"What of that? I've done it in the gymnasium from the trapeze many a
time."

"But you never came back that way?"

"Hardly. I rang the basement bell, and when Cerberus said he'd tell
Madame, I made him a present of three packages of cigarettes and some
Limburger cheese, and I am quite certain that he will never say a word."

Witch Winnie's generosity and good-fellowship had won the day. From that
moment we took her into our hearts.

The ice-cream which Milly had ordered arrived the next day, but we were
all too ill to touch it; we had feasted without restraint on our new
chum's bountiful but somewhat heterogeneous repast, and were paying the
penalty with rousing headaches, but in our fiercest pangs we were still
ready to declare that if there ever was a trump it was Witch Winnie.



CHAPTER II.

GUINEVERE'S GOWN.


Aristocratic Adelaide was now as deeply attached to "that little witch"
Winnie as she had been prejudiced against her, and Winnie, who had
hitherto spoken of her new friend as "that stuck-up Armstrong girl," was
now her devoted admirer.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of Adelaide.}]

Although this state of affairs was perfectly agreeable to the Amen
Corner, it was not equally so to the Hornets. They had endured Winnie's
removal as a piece of Madame's tyranny, had looked upon their Queen as a
martyr, and had taken it for granted that we would make things extremely
uncomfortable for her. They perceived, with astonishment, that we
welcomed her heartily, and when it dawned upon them by degrees that
Winnie was herself happy in the change, that she actually promenaded in
the corridor with an arm lovingly twined about the waist of that odious
Tib Smith, that the placard "Engaged" appeared as frequently on the
outer door of the Amen Corner, and that Winnie's lessons and behavior
improved so much that she was actually becoming a favorite with the
teachers instead of their special torment--the indignation of the
Hornets' Nest knew no bounds.

It showed itself in a practical joke originated by Cynthia, which might
have been very amusing had it not been spiced with malice. I have spoken
of our literary society and its projected entertainment. We were to have
a series of tableaux; among others, Guinevere kneeling before an altar.
Milly had been chosen to represent Guinevere on account of her beautiful
hair, and because she spent her Saturdays and Sundays at home, and could
have any costume arranged for herself. What was our disappointment, one
Monday morning, to receive a note from Milly saying that she would not
be able to take part in the entertainment, as her mother was going to
Washington for a fortnight, and had decided that, as Milly looked pale,
a little outing would do her good. This note was read to the literary
society amid groans from the members. "We can't give up that tableau."
"Adelaide, _you_ take the part." "Can't; my hair is as black as a crow's
wing. Tib's hair is lovely when it is down. It falls to her knees, and
it has the sheen of molten gold. Girls, you must see it," and Adelaide
proceeded to pull my braids apart; I protesting all the time that it was
absurd to have a freckled Guinevere who was as homely as a hedge fence.

"Granted," replied Witch Winnie, "but nobody is going to see your face,
child; you pose with your back to the audience, and as none of the girls
know what regal hair you have, it will be such fun to have them guess
who it is."

All of the other girls joined in persuading me, excepting one of the
Hornets, who lifted her voice in favor of Cynthia Vaughn.

"But, girls, what am I to do for a costume?"

"Why didn't Milly think to send hers along?" said Adelaide. "We might
write her."

"No, there's no time; she leaves this morning on the 'limited.'"

"If you would like, I'll take the part," Cynthia Vaughn suggested. "I've
all that canton flannel ermine, and the ruff made out of the old window
curtains, which I wore when I was Queen Elizabeth."

"That ruff would be a frightful anachronism," said Emma Jane Anton.

"And the ermine has served three times already. Thank you, we'll manage
somehow," Witch Winnie asserted, confidently.

We retired to the Amen Corner to talk it over. "If worse comes to
worst," said Witch Winnie, "I know I can make a magnificent train out of
the plush table-cloth in Madame's library."

"But how will you ever get it?"

"Emma Jane must ask her to lend it to us; she'll do anything for Emma
Jane."

"Emma Jane declines to act in this emergency," said Miss Anton, firmly.

"You wouldn't be so mean!"

"But I would; Adelaide, please read Milly's letter again; I didn't half
hear it."

"I must have dropped it in the Society hall; I will get it after dinner.
If she had thought that Tib might be chosen to take her place, she
would have done anything for the honor of the Amen Corner."

Here some one tapped at the door, and announced, "A letter for Miss
Armstrong."

"It's from Milly!" exclaimed Adelaide, "and it looks as if it had been
opened, and pasted up again."

"I thought Madame boasted that she never submitted her young ladies to
that sort of espionage," said Witch Winnie.

"Girls, girls!" Adelaide fairly shrieked; "just listen to this! Milly
writes--

     "'I forgot to say in my last that mamma's maid is putting the
     finishing touches to my costume, and Gibson will bring it around
     to-morrow. The dress (purple velvet) is one which mamma wore last
     summer when she was presented to the Queen. The lace which trims it
     was made to order from a pattern of her own selection in Brussels.
     You may keep the crown, for the gems in it are only Rhinestones.
     Aunt Fanny wore it at a costume ball, and they sparkle like the
     real thing. Be careful of the lace, for mamma prizes it highly.

                                        'Yours, Milly.

     'P. S.--I've coaxed papa to lend you a silver chatelaine, old
     French repoussé, linked with emeralds, which he keeps in his
     cabinet of curiosities. It shows finely against the velvet.'"

How we all exclaimed and chattered! "Now what will the Hornets' Nest say
to that?"

"Canton flannel ermine indeed!"

"I should like to see them bring on their old mosquito-netting ruff!"

"Real emeralds! A diadem flashing with diamonds!"

"Don't tell them a word about it until Tib dawns on them in all her
glory on Wednesday night."

It was hard to keep this resolution, but we did. The Hornets were
giggling and whispering among themselves as we marched in to dinner,
with all the importance given by the possession of a state secret. The
other girls relapsed into silence as we took our seats, and watched us
with strange, significant looks.

"I've been looking up the matter in Racinet's work on Costume," remarked
Cynthia Vaughn, "and I find you were right, Miss Anton; ruffs did not
come in until long after Arthur's reign."

"I would like to consult the book," Emma Jane replied, "unless you can
tell me whether chatelaines were worn at that period."

Here a small Hornet was seized with strangulation, and had to be
vigorously thumped upon the back by her friends.

"Oh, I think so," Cynthia replied, sweetly, disregarding her friend's
condition. "Wouldn't it be sweet to have Guinevere wear one? Miss Smith
is so artistic, I'm sure she could cut one out of gilt paper."

Adelaide scouted the idea. "Whatever we get up for that costume," she
said, "I am determined shall be _real_, no _imitation_ chatelaines, or
anything else."

Cynthia lifted her eyebrows. "Perhaps you will secure one of Queen
Victoria's court robes?" she remarked, icily.

It was on Adelaide's lips to reply that we might have a robe which had
figured at a court reception of the English Queen, but she felt Witch
Winnie's foot upon hers, and replied that in undertaking this tableau
the Amen Corner felt confident that they could carry it through
creditably, and we therefore begged to be excused from the dress
rehearsal that afternoon. We left the dining-room in a body, and the
Hornets laughed aloud before we closed the door. "'They laugh best who
laugh last,'" said Witch Winnie. "Won't those girls fairly expire when
they see Tib in her grand rôle!"

Tuesday was a long and weary day for us. We started at every knock,
expecting a summons to the janitor's room to receive a package, but none
came. We retired much disappointed; and we held a council of war before
breakfast. The Roseveldts' butler had evidently proved false to his
trust, and the costume was waiting for us at the family mansion on Fifth
Avenue.

"I will ask Madame at breakfast to excuse me from my morning lessons to
do an important errand," said Witch Winnie; "I will tell her the entire
story, and I know that, rather than disappoint us all, she will let us
go to the Roseveldts' for the things."

Madame proved to be in good-humor, and on reading Milly's letter readily
gave Winnie and me the desired permission, sending for a hansom to take
us to our destination. All of the Hornets at the lower end of the table
heard this conversation, and Adelaide thought that Cynthia Vaughn turned
green with envy. An hour later, as we came down the front stairs to take
our hansom, Cerberus popped his head from his office to tell us that a
package had just been received for Miss Adelaide Armstrong. "Come back,
girls!" Adelaide cried excitedly; "here is the costume. It can be
nothing else. My, what a big bundle!"

We carried it between us in triumph up the staircase. The Hornets were
clustered on the very top landing; their faces peered over the
balustrade, and as they caught sight of our procession a peal of
derisive laughter echoed through the hall as they scuttled away to their
nest under the eaves.

"Those Hornets have certainly gone crazy," Emma Jane remarked,
practically. She was carrying her corner of the package, and was as
interested as the rest of us in the arrival of the costume. We entered
our study-parlor in suppressed excitement, and impatiently cut the
knots, and tore open the wrappings, when, behold! another package,
scrupulously tied. This paper removed revealed another, then another,
and another, and the fact slowly dawned upon us that we had been
victimized. "Girls!" exclaimed Witch Winnie, sitting down on the floor
in despair, "it's a wicked sell of those Hornets: there is nothing
here."

Emma Jane Anton kept on methodically removing the wrappers and folding
them neatly. "Perhaps," suggested Adelaide, "they have merely arranged
this hoax to fool us, and the costume is still at the Roseveldts'."

"It's just like that Cynthia Vaughn to do such a thing; we'll go, all
the same," Witch Winnie replied, rising hopefully and tying on her veil.
At this juncture Emma Jane reached a pasteboard box marked "Violet
velvet court dress." Lifting the lid discovered a quantity of trash. An
empty sardine-box bore the label "Diamond Crown;" a dilapidated bustle
was marked "Brussels point lace;" a mixed-pickle bottle was filled with
apple-parings and labeled "Old repoussé châtelaine, reign of Arthur I.;
the _real_ article; must be returned."

A howl of mingled laughter and dismay rose from our corner. "Cynthia
Vaughn wrote that letter which purported to be from Milly. Well, it's a
real good practical joke, anyway," said Witch Winnie; "better than I
thought the Hornets could get up without my help. Let us show them that
we can take a joke, and good-naturedly acknowledge ourselves sold."

"And in the mean time what am I to do for a costume? You know the
tableaux come off to-night."

"That puts another face on the matter."

"I suppose Cynthia would be only too glad to take the part even now."

"After all we have said, and your name printed on the programme--never!"
This from Adelaide.

"I'll tell you what we will do," suggested Winnie; "the hansom is still
waiting at the door; Tib and I will drive to a costumer's and hire
something. I found the address of a place on the Bowery the other day
and fortunately saved it. Hold your heads up high; we will not
acknowledge ourselves defeated yet."

As Witch Winnie and I sped out of the quiet square and down the great
teeming thoroughfare, the Elevated trains jarring overhead and the
motley crowd surging about us, a misgiving of conscience swept over me.
What would Madame say? This was not what we had obtained permission to
do. This was very different from Fifth Avenue, and not at all a quarter
of the city in which young ladies should be wandering without chaperons.

We were quite desperate, however, and it seemed too late to turn back.
The hansom stopped before a Hebrew misfit clothing store where dress
suits were announced as on hire by the evening. Flaunting placards above
told that costumes for the theatrical profession and for fancy balls
were to be let in the fourth story. We climbed a dirty staircase, and
after knocking by mistake at an intelligence office for _Dienst
Mädchen_, a hair-dyeing and complexion-enameling rooms, a chiropodist's,
and a clairvoyant's, we found ourselves in a room piled from floor to
ceiling with costumes. A fat German, who looked as if he were some
second-hand piece of furniture, very much soiled as to his linen, and
the worse for wear as to his physical mechanism, admitted us and did the
honors of the establishment. I glanced around at the motley objects
which filled the wareroom; gaudy spangled dresses, with a sprinkle of
saw-dust (suggestive of the arena) clinging to the worn cotton velvet,
many-ruffled shockingly brief skirts of rose-colored gauze that had spun
like so many teetotums behind flaring foot-lights, tinfoil suits of
armor that had come in all mud-besplashed from parading the streets at
the last grand procession, the faded banners which flapped above them
so jauntily, drooping wearily now from the rafters, covered with dust
and festooned by the spiders. A row of dominoes dependent from a
neighboring clothes-line rustled with an air of mystery, and a heap of
masks upon the floor seemed to leer and wink from their eyeless windows.

"I am afraid," said Winnie, drawing nearer the door, "that you haven't
anything so nice as I want."

"I haf effery dings, effery dings," replied the ponderous costumer; "you
don't t'ink I keeps dose fine procade for the costume ball out here in
te tust, ain't it?"

"I wanted something for a school entertainment," Winnie explained.

"So, so; I haf effery dings, I tole you, for de school. Ya, from dose
Kindergarten to dot universities. Dings for little peebles and dings for
big peebles."

"I should like to know what kind of big people patronize your
establishment?"

"Sometimes dose ladies who make de church fair. I have some angel wing
for de Christmas mystery, de mask for de Muzzer Goose pantomine.
Sometimes dose fine ladies dey make some peesness mit me. When de
shentlemen step on dose trail or spill coffee on dot tablier, den I buys
dot dress, and my designer she make it all new again. I haf one ferry
nice designer; she haf many times arrange ze historical costume for dose
grand painting what make ze artists."

"Then I think I would like to talk with her," said Winnie.

"Ya, ya, dat vas right. Here, Mrs. Halsey, Mrs. Halsey! Perhaps you
petter go in de sewing-room, ain't it?"

He opened the door into a back room where a sweet pale-faced woman sat
sewing little bells on a jester's cap.

We were struck from the outset with Mrs. Halsey's refined appearance,
and we were not surprised when she showed, by her complete understanding
of what we required, that she had read Tennyson and had some idea of
historical periods in costume. She drew a purple velvet robe from a
great bundle. I exclaimed in disapproval as I noticed a horrid crimson
border.

"But this is coming off," said the little woman, using her scissors
briskly, "and instead, I will stitch some gold braid appliqué in a lily
design. See, how do you like this effect?" and her deft fingers flew,
coiling and twisting the gilt braid until a really regal combination was
produced.

"Then we will have it open at the side to show a white satin petticoat,
also laced with gold, and the sleeves can be puffed and slashed with
white satin. I arranged a costume like that for Mary Anderson."

"Is it possible that such a noted and successful actress gets her
costumes at a place like this?" asked Witch Winnie.

"Oh, no," replied Mrs. Halsey, with a sigh; "when I made Miss Anderson's
dresses I was designer for Madame Céleste's establishment. I should be
there now if it were not for Jim."

She was fitting the dress to me, and as this would take several minutes,
Winnie asked,

"Who is Jim?"

"Jim is my son; he is twelve years old, and the brightest little fellow,
for his age, you ever saw. He leads his classes at the public school,
has a record of 100 in mathematics, for all that he has such a poor
chance at preparing his lessons."

"How does that happen?" It was I who inquired this time.

"Jim is an ambitious boy; ambitious to help me as well as to keep a
place in his class, and a milkman pays him a dollar a week for driving
his cart over to Jersey City to meet the milk train and fill his cans
for him every morning."

"That is very nice."

"If it did not break so cruelly into the poor boy's hours for sleep. In
order to dress and snatch a bite before he goes down to the stable and
harnesses, he has to rise at 3 o'clock. This enables the milkman to
sleep until Jim arrives with the milk at 6 o'clock, in time to begin the
morning rounds. I make the boy take an hour's sleep after this, but it
is not enough."

"He ought to go to bed very early."

"Yes, but the lessons; when are they to be learned? He shouts them out
in his sleep. 'If I gain seven hundred dollars from a rise of 2-1/2 per
cent. in Pennsylvania Railroad stock, what was my original investment?'
He has his father's quickness for figures. Bless his heart! he never had
any money to invest in railroad stocks, and by heaven's help he never
will."

"I am not so sure about that," said Witch Winnie. "How did it happen
that you lost your position at Madame Céleste's on account of Jim?" She
had finished the fitting and was removing the pins from her mouth, but
Winnie drew on her gloves very slowly; we were both interested.

"Madame kept me for such late hours that I did not reach home until Jim
was asleep, and at last she proposed to raise my salary, but said that I
must sleep in the establishment, so as to be on hand to open early in
the morning. This was after Madame's very successful winter, when she
bought a house out of town, and did not find it convenient to come in
until late in the day. I told her that I would accept her offer if Jim
could be with me; but there was no room for him, and we thought it best
to stick together. I get through here at 6 o'clock, and can cook Jim's
dinner. But it's hard for the boy. If I could only afford to let him
have his entire time for his study--but his dollar a week half pays our
rent."

"Wouldn't it have been better for you both if you had remained at Madame
Céleste's, and had sent Jim to boarding-school? There are such nice
cadet schools up the Hudson."

A faint smile overspread the woman's face. "Madame always insisted that
her employees should dress well. I know exactly what it cost me. It
would have left just a dollar and a half a week for Jim. Do you know of
any boarding-school that would have taken him at those rates?"

Winnie sorrowfully confessed that she did not, and we reluctantly took
our leave, Mrs. Halsey promising to finish the costume immediately, and
to send it by Jim in ample time for the evening's performances.

Our escapade lay heavily upon my conscience in spite of our success in
obtaining the costume, but I felt still more troubled for poor Mrs.
Halsey and her overworked boy. "I wonder," I said to Winnie, "if Madame
could not make him useful here at the school, and let him work for his
board, tend furnace and run errands."

"You could not tell her about him without confessing our lark, and don't
you do that for the world!"

"No," I promised, against my will, "of course not, unless you consent;
the secret is half yours, but I really think it would be the best way."

Adelaide was greatly interested in our report. "I am to have my violin
dress for the concert made at Madame Céleste's," she said, "and I mean
to ask her about this Mrs. Halsey."

Jim came with the package while we were at supper, and Adelaide ran down
to the office to receive it. She told us that he was an undersized,
stoop-shouldered boy, with a cough which she fancied he had contracted
by driving in the early morning mists. He took off his hat like a little
gentleman, however, and his finger-nails and teeth were clean. Any clown
might wear good clothes, Adelaide insisted, but these little details
marked the gentleman. He had at first declined the dime which Adelaide
proffered, but accepted it on her insistence that it was only for
car-fare and it was raining. He put it away carefully in a little worn
purse which contained just one cent, at the same time remarking, "I
don't mind the rain, and I can get Ma the quinine the doctor says she
ought to be taking."

"That's the boy for me," Witch Winnie remarked; "he's got clear grit,
and tenderness for his mother besides."

And Guinevere's gown? It was a beauty. The golden lilies gave it a
sumptuous effect, and it fulfilled almost exactly the promises of the
forged letter; there was even a _rivière_ of fish-scale pearls and
glass beads down the side, which really resembled a châtelaine. The
Hornets were overcome with amazement--simply dazzled and dazed.
According to Adelaide--who always resorted to French to express her
superlatives, and, when that language proved inadequate, pieced it out
with translations of American slang or coinage of her own--they were
"_Completement bouleversées, stupefiées, mortifiées, et frappée plus
haute q'un--q'un--kite_!"



CHAPTER III.

THE PRINCESS.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of the dear old lady.}]


    That's the dear old lady,
      In a green tabby gown
    And a great lace cap,
      With long lace ruffles hanging down.

    There she sits
      In a cushioned high-backed seat,
    Covered over with crimson damask,
      With a footstool at her feet.

    You see what a handsome room it is,
      Full of old carving and gilding;
    The house is, one may be sure,
      Of the Elizabethan style of building.

                           --_Mary Howitt._

Our interest in Mrs. Halsey and her son slumbered for a time; not that
we forgot her, or gave up our determination to do something for Jim
whenever the opportunity offered. It was soon to come, but our time and
interest were filled with other things. Just now it was a mystery--and
what so dear to a girl's imagination?

It was brought up for discussion afresh, because Miss Prillwitz had said
to Emma Jane Anton that the diadem which I wore as Guinevere was not a
suitable one for a queen, but a rather nondescript arrangement half-way
between that of a marquis and an earl.

This assumption of authoritative knowledge in regard to coronets revived
an old rumor as to the noble birth of Miss Prillwitz.

No one could tell who first circulated the report that Miss Prillwitz
was a princess. It developed little by little, I fancy, but when it
began to be whispered we received it without a shadow of doubt. Miss
Prillwitz was a prim little woman, who always came to Madame's
receptions dressed in the same brocade dress, once gaudy with a great
bouquet pattern, but now faded into faint pink and primrose on a
background of silvery-green, with the same carefully cleaned gloves and
fine old fan of the period of Marie Antoinette. She wore her perfectly
white hair à la Pompadour, and further increased her diminutive height
by French heels, but in spite of these artificial contrivances she was a
tiny woman, though she had dignity enough for a very tall one. Adelaide
said she had "the unmistakable air of a _grande dame_," and that she
would have suspected her in any disguise. Milly had once spied, half
tucked in her belt and dependent from a slender chain, a miniature, set
in brilliants, of a handsome young man in uniform, a row of decorations
on his breast, crosses and stars hanging from strips of bright ribbon.
This was a great discovery, and Milly was sure that the original was no
less a personage than Peter the Great. She had thought out a thrilling
romance of true love crossed by jealousy and heartbreak, which the rest
of the girls accepted as more than probable, until Emma Jane Anton
suggested that as Peter the Great died in 1725, it would really make the
princess much older than she appeared, to fancy that he was the hero of
her girlhood. Emma Jane Anton always had a disagreeable faculty of
remembering dates. The other girls were unanimous in the opinion that
she knew entirely too much, and each one looked and longed for an
opportunity of publicly detecting her in a mistake and correcting
her--an opportunity which never came. Milly never made herself offensive
by being certain of anything, and was loved and petted accordingly. The
myth of a royal lover was a congenial one, and gained credence, though
none of us dared to give him a name or date, at least not in the
presence of Emma Jane Anton. No one had the temerity to question
Adelaide's infallibility in detecting a great lady at first sight. It
did not ever occur to Emma Jane Anton to ask how many princesses she had
met, and what was the "unmistakable air" of distinction and nobility
which announced them like a herald's proclamation. Perhaps this was
because Adelaide herself possessed this grand air by nature, and was far
more regal in appearance and feeling than many a Guelph or Stuart. Witch
Winnie, perhaps because she was the mad-cap of the boarding-school, and
was always getting into scrapes herself, snuffed a political plot, and
suggested that the princess had been exiled on account of deep-laid
machinations against one of the reigning families, a supposition which
would account for her living in exile and disguise, and even in
comparative poverty. This explanation, as being the most ingenious, and
affording fascinating scope for the imagination, was the most popular
one, and was more or less elaborated according to the individual fancy
of the young lady. Emma Jane Anton was obliged to admit that she might
be a princess, and that there was no harm in calling her so amongst
ourselves. Madame had let fall some very singular expressions when she
announced the fact that we were to have her for our teacher in Botany.
Emma Jane had heard her, and it was she who had reported the news to the
others.

"Girls," she said, "did you ever hear anything so absurd! We are going
to recite our Botany to the princess."

"You don't mean it!"

"Honest! She lives in that funny old house across the square, that
Winnie always pretends to think is haunted. We are to parade over there
three days in the week. Madame says it's a great opportunity, for she is
really quite eminent; writes for scientific journals, has traveled in
all sorts of foreign countries, and _has moved in court circles_."

"I told you so!" exclaimed Adelaide, triumphantly. "I always said she
was a true-blue princess."

"I don't know that you have quite proved it yet," replied Emma Jane
Anton, coolly, "but Madame did say that we would have an opportunity of
learning much more from her than mere botany--etiquette, I presume--for
she went on to hint that she had been brought up in a different school
of manners from that of our own day and country, that we would find her
peculiar in some ways, and that she trusted to our native courtesy to
humor her little foibles, and a hundred more things of the same sort,
winding up with that stock expression which she always uses when she has
talked a subject to shreds and tatters--'A word to the wise is
sufficient.'"

"I wish I had heard her," said Witch Winnie; "I don't consider this
subject talked to tatters, by any means. I propose that this Botany
class constitute itself a committee of investigation to clear up the
mystery in regard to the history of the princess. We are supposed to be
devoted to the study of nature, but I consider _human_ nature a deal the
more interesting. It will almost pay for having to mind one's _p_'s and
_q_'s. I wonder what she would say if she caught me sliding down her
palace balusters! We'll all have to practice curtseying--one step to the
side, then two back. Oh! I'm ever so sorry I knocked over that stand.
Was the vase a keepsake or anything? I'll buy you another. No, I can't,
for I've spent all my allowance for this month. Well, you may have that
_bonbonnière_ of mine you liked so much." The vase was a treasure, but
no one could be vexed with Witch Winnie, and I forgave her, of course,
and would none of the _bonbonnière_.

Our first glimpse at the house in which the princess lived was as
appetizing to our imaginations as the little lady herself. It had been
built as a church-school, and straggled around the church, shaping
itself to the exterior angles of that edifice, and in so doing gained a
number of queerly shaped rooms, some long and narrow, and others with
irregular corners, but all bright with southern sunshine. The princess
rented only the upper floor and the front room in the basement. The rest
of the house had been let to other parties, but was now vacant. How
strange and lonely it must seem, we thought, to go up and down those
long staircases, and peep into the uninhabited rooms! Rather eerie at
night. "I wouldn't live that way for the world," shivered Milly. "I
should be afraid of robbers."

"Burglars don't usually choose an unoccupied house for their
operations," Emma Jane remarked, sententiously.

Later, when we were better acquainted with the princess, Milly asked her
if she was never timid. She acknowledged that she was, but assured us
that rats _were one great comfort_.

"What do you mean?" Milly asked.

"Whenevaire," said the princess (in the quaint broken English which we
always found so fascinating, English which had only the foreignness of
pronunciation and idiom, and which Adelaide insisted was rarely so
maltreated as to be really _broken_, but was only a little
dislocated)--"whenevaire I hear one cautious sawing noise which shall be
as if ze burglaire to file ze lock, I say to myself, 'Ah, ha! Monsieur
Rat have invited to himself some companie in ze pantry of ze butler.'
When zere come one _tappage_ on ze _escalier_, as zo some one make haste
to depart ze house, I turn myself upon my bed and make to myself
explanation--Rats! When ze footsteps mysterious steal so softly down ze
hall, and make pause justly at my door, then I reach for ze great cane
of my fazzer, which I keep at all times by ze canopy of my bed, and I
pound on ze floor--boom, boom, Monsieur Rat _scélérat_, and it is thus I
make my reassurance."

The princess received us in what had been the basement dining-room,
which she called her laboratory. The entire south side was one broad
window of small diamond-shaped panes. Forming a sill to this window was
a row of low, wide cases for the reception of herbaria, and the room had
a peculiar herby smell, a mixture of sweet-fern and faint aromatic
herbs.

The cushions which converted the tops of these cases into seats were
stuffed with dried beech-leaves.

The princess quoted Latin to us for her preference for the fine springy
upholstery which beech-leaves give. _Silva domus, cubilia frondes._
("The wood a house, the foliage a couch.")

The other furniture in the room was a long table placed in front of the
book-case divan, a table covered with piles of MS. books, a press for
specimens, two microscopes, and a great blue china bowl containing
pussy-willows in water--our specimens for the day's study. High
book-cases, whose contents could only be guessed at, for the glass doors
were lined with curiously shirred green silk, were ranged against the
wall opposite, and at one end of the room stood a monumental German
stove in white porcelain; at the other was Miss Prillwitz's chair, a
high-backed Gothic affair, which had once served as an episcopal
_sedilium_, but had been removed on the occasion of a new furnishing of
the church.

It formed a stately background for the little figure. I often found
myself making sketches of her on the sheets of soft paper between which
we pressed our flowers, instead of listening to the lecture. I liked to
imagine how she would look in a great ruff, not of Cynthia Vaughn's
mosquito net, but of real _point de Venise_.

And yet her talks were very interesting; she was a true lover of nature,
and made us love her. She regretted that she could not take us into the
deep woods, but she opened our eyes to the wealth of country
suggestiveness which we could find in the city. She introduced us
personally to the scanty two dozen or so of trees in the little park,
and from the intimate acquaintance formed with each of these, our
appetites were whetted for vast wildernesses of forest primeval.

She opened to us the beauty which there lies in the simple branching of
the trees in their winter nudity, the tracery of the limbs and twigs cut
clearly against a yellow sunset, or picked out with snow; how the elms
gave graceful wine-glass and Greek-vase outlines; the snakily mottled
sycamore undulated its great arms like a boa-constrictor reaching out
for prey; the birch, "the lady of the woods," displayed her white satin
dress; the gnarled hemlocks wrestled upward, each sharp angle a defiance
to the winter storms with which they had striven in heroic combat, the
bent knees clutching the rocks, while the aged arms writhed and tossed
in the grasp of the fiends of the air. She showed us the beautiful
parabolic curve of the willows, a bouquet of rockets; the military
bearing of a row of Lombardy poplars standing, in their perfect
alignment, like tall grenadiers drawn up in a hollow square. Before the
first tender blurring of the leaf-buds we knew our trees, and loved them
for their almost human qualities.

Miss Sartoris had taught me, the preceding summer, to look for the
decorative beauty to be found in common roadside weeds, and we had made
sketches together of dock, elecampane, tansy, thistles, and milkweed. I
had one rich, rare day with her in a swamp, when I ruined a pair of
stockings, and made the discovery that a skunk-cabbage was as beautiful
in its curves as a calla. I brought these sketches to the princess, and
she congratulated me on the possession of my country home with its
gold-mines of beauty all around.

"You are one heiress, my dear," she said, "to ze vast wealths which you
have only to learn how you s'all enjoy. Only t'ink of ze sousands of
poor city people who haf never had ze felicity to see a swamp!"

I grew to appreciate the country, and to feel that I was richer than I
had thought.

Milly found a branch of study which was not above the measure of her
intellect. She soon mastered the long names, and learned to think, and
teachers in other departments noted an improvement. There was need for
this, for the Hornets long kept up a tradition that at one of the
history examinations Milly had been asked, "What is the Salic Law?" and
had replied, confidently--"That no woman or _descendant of a woman_, can
ever reign in France."



CHAPTER IV.

COURT LIFE.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of Mrs. Grogan.}]


Mrs. Grogan, the baby-farmer of Rickett's Court, could hardly have been
described as a court lady, and yet she was a very typical specimen of
the women of this locality. But before introducing the reader to the
society of Rickett's Court, I must first explain how it was that we came
to make its acquaintance.

As the time approached for the concert of which I have spoken, Adelaide
was reminded of her determination to have a "violin dress" made by
Madame Céleste. Adelaide played the violin, as we thought, divinely;
she was at least the best performer at Madame's. "The violin is the
violet," I said, quoting from "Charles Auchester." "You must have a
violet-colored gown."

"A very delicate shade of china crêpe will do," Adelaide replied, "made
up with a darker tint, and the sleeves must be puffed like that dress
the princess wore to the tableaux."

"Adelaide, dear," murmured Milly, "you ought to wear angel sleeves to
show your lovely arms."

"And have them flop about like a ship's pennant in a lively breeze,
during that bit of rapid bowing? That would be too grotesque."

"Puff them to the elbow," I suggested, "and then have a fall of soft
lace that will float back and give the turn of your wrist as you whip
the strings."

"See here, Adelaide," remarked Witch Winnie, "if you want something
really fine, get that Mrs. Halsey to design it for you."

"You don't suppose that I would hire a dress for the concert at a
costumer's?"

"I didn't say that; you could have it made wherever you pleased, but get
Mrs. Halsey's ideas on the subject; they are really remarkable."

Adelaide considered the subject and acted upon it, but, greatly to my
relief, she refused to do so without explaining the entire affair to
Madame.

"I'll not stand in the way of your having a nice gown," said Witch
Winnie. "Come, Tib, let's confess."

I was overjoyed, and Madame, though duly shocked, was not severe. She
even allowed Witch Winnie to take Adelaide to see Mrs. Halsey,
stipulating only that she should be chaperoned by one of the teachers.
Adelaide chose Miss Sartoris, at my suggestion, both because we liked
her, and from my feeling that her artistic instinct might be of service.

The girls were disappointed to find that Mrs. Halsey was no longer at
the costumer's. He had "pounced" her, he said, because she was "too much
of a lady for de peesness." Fortunately he could give the girls her
address--No. 1, sixth floor, Rickett's Court.

It was a very disagreeable part of town. Miss Sartoris looked doubtful
as they approached it, and was on the point of getting into the carriage
again as they alighted, but Witch Winnie had already darted through a
long dark hall which led to the court in the centre of the block, and
there was nothing for it but to follow.

Evil smells nearly choked them as they ran the gauntlet of that hall,
and they were no better off on emerging upon the sloppy court. The space
overhead, between the buildings, was laced with an intricate network of
clothes-lines filled with garments. Adelaide said she realized now where
all upper New York had its laundry work done, for this was evidently not
the wash of the court people. From their appearance it was only fair to
conjecture that they were so busy doing other people's washing that they
never had time for their own. The dirty water seemed to be thrown from
the windows into the court, where it stood in puddles or feebly trickled
into the sewer, from which emanated nauseous and deadly gases. Sickly
children were dabbling in these puddles.

"It makes me think of Hood's 'Lost Heir,'" said Miss Sartoris--

                                          "The court,
    Where he was better off than all the other young boys,
    With two bricks, an old shoe, nine oyster shells, and a dead kitten by
        way of toys."

They mounted a ricketty staircase grimed with dirt. Smells of new
degrees and varieties of loathsomeness assaulted them at every landing.
The Italian rag-pickers in the basement were sorting their filthy wares,
while a little girl was concocting for them the garlic stew over a
charcoal brazier. The mingled fumes came thick from the open door. Mrs.
Grogan on the first floor had paused in her washing to take a pull at a
villainous pipe. She came to the door still smoking, and carrying in her
arms an almost skeleton baby, who sucked at a dirty rag containing a
crust dipped in gin. Winnie obtained one glimpse of the interior of Mrs.
Grogan's domicile, and drew back quite pale. "Adelaide," she said, "the
room literally _swarmed_ with babies; that woman cannot have so many all
of the same age." Inquiry of Mrs. Halsey enlightened them. Mrs. Grogan
was a "baby-farmer," and boarded these children, making a good income
thereby, as their mothers were servants in good families. On the next
floor a family of eight were working in a hall-bedroom, at rolling
cigars. The large rooms were occupied by some Chinese. Mrs. Halsey
thought that they used them as an opium den. Past more doors, up three
more pairs of stairs, and they paused at No. 1. They knocked several
times, but they could not make themselves heard above the buzz and whirr
of a sewing-machine. Finally Winnie opened the door, and there sat Mrs.
Halsey bent over the machine, while the floor was piled with dainty
underclothing neatly tucked.

She sprang up, evidently pleased to see Winnie again, and motioned her
callers to the only seats which the room afforded--a chair, a trunk, and
a stool.

Winnie apologized for the interruption, and explained her errand. "But
perhaps you are too busy to design this dress," Adelaide said; "I see
you have plenty of work."

"It will not take long to make a little sketch," Mrs. Halsey replied,
"and it will be a real pleasure for me to do it." As her fingers moved
rapidly over the paper the girls took an inventory of the room. A
cracked cooking-stove, and a cupboard behind it formed of a dry-goods
box, but all the utensils were scrupulously clean. A closet, another
dry-goods case on end, with a chintz curtain in front, concealed, as
Winnie's prying eyes ascertained, a roll of bedding, which was
evidently spread on the floor at night. Mrs. Halsey knelt before a worn
table, and this, with the sewing-machine, completed the furnishing of
the apartment. No, in the window there was a row of fruit-cans
containing some geraniums. Miss Sartoris discovered them, and Mrs.
Halsey apologized for their condition. "They were just in bud," she
said, "but we were without coal for several days, and they were nipped
by frost."

Poor woman! she looked as if _she_ had been nipped by the frost too
during that bitter experience. She coughed, and Adelaide remarked, "You
ought to drink cream, Mrs. Halsey; they say it is better for a cough
than cod-liver oil."

"I have plenty of milk," the little woman replied. "The milkman for whom
my Jim works lets him have the milk that he finds left over in the cans
when he washes them out after his rounds. Sometimes there's as much as a
pint, and almost always enough for our oatmeal."

Mrs. Halsey spoke cheerily and proudly--as of a luxury which she owed
her boy. The design was completed, and Adelaide was delighted.

"Would you like to have me make the costume in tissue-paper?" Mrs.
Halsey asked; "the sleeve, at least, and this drapery; then any
seamstress can make it."

"How much will it be?" Adelaide asked, doubtfully--wondering if her
five-dollar bill would cover the charge.

"Do you think seventy-five cents too much? It would take me an
afternoon."

"But you could certainly earn more than that by your sewing."

Mrs. Halsey smiled rather bitterly. "Would you really like to know the
rates at which I work?" she asked.

Adelaide expressed her interest. "These pretty Mother Hubbard
night-gowns sell well, I am sure, but I know you can't get very much for
making them, for I bought a pair at a bargain counter for a dollar."

"It is the bargain counter which makes the low pay. I get a dollar and
thirty cents _a dozen_ for making them," said Mrs. Halsey, calmly.

"A dozen!" cried Winnie; "and how many can you make in a day?"

"Eight."

"Then you make--"

"Eighty-five cents a day; but I cannot average that."

"Can't you do better with something else?"

"I have made flannel skirts--tucked--at a dollar a dozen, but I can only
make eight of those in a day, so that is less. I have received a dollar
and twenty cents a dozen for making chemises, which sell at seven
dollars a dozen; and seventy-five cents a dozen for babies' slips, three
tucks and a hem; forty cents a dozen for corset covers. I have a friend
who works a machine in a ruffling factory; she makes a hundred and fifty
yards of hemmed and tucked ruffling a day, for which she receives
twenty-five cents. So, you see, I am better off than some."[A]

[A] See "Campbell's Prisoners of Poverty" for still more harrowing
statistics.

"And can you live on five dollars a week?"

"Six dollars, Madame; Jim earns one dollar and the milk."

"You pay for rent--"

"Six dollars a month; yes, it _is_ hard to earn that."

"You must be thankful that you have only Jim to provide for."

"The Sandys, on the floor below, have six children; five of them earn
wages. I think they earn more than their cost."

"But," said Miss Sartoris, "I thought child labor was prohibited by
law."

"Not out of school hours, or at home. Then the parents often swear a
child is over fourteen, but small of its age, and get it into a factory.
You wouldn't blame them, Madame, if you knew all the circumstances I do.
I keep Jim at his books, but the study, with the night work, I'm afraid
is killing him. They tempt him at the saloon, too, to take what they
call a 'bracer' as he goes out to drive the milk cart at 3 in the
morning, but I get up and have tea ready for him, so that he does not
yield."

"We must go now," said Miss Sartoris, kindly. "You will send Jim with
the paper pattern to-night?" Adelaide slipped a dollar into Mrs.
Halsey's hand, and would take no change. And the three went down the
stairs thoughtful and sad.

"What can we do for her?" Winnie asked.

"I am sure I don't know," replied Miss Sartoris; "she certainly seems
capable of securing better wages."

"I will speak to Madame Céleste about her," said Adelaide; and she was
as good as her word. Winnie accompanied Adelaide when she took the
pattern to the fashionable dress-maker. The modiste listened in rapt
attention to Adelaide's explanation of the gown wanted. She examined the
design with interest. "It is perfectly made," she said. "Who constructed
this for you? It is the work of an expert. Ah, Miss, if I only had now
in my establishment a designer who was with me last year! She had such a
mind for _costumes de fantaisie_! For Greek costumes to be worn at the
harp, and for Directoire dresses, I miss her cruelly, but Mademoiselle's
design is so explicit that we will have no trouble."

"Was your designer a Mrs. Halsey?" Winnie asked.

"The same, Miss. Do you know her? Can you give me her address? I must
try to get her back."

"I think you may be able to obtain her. She made this pattern for me;
but you will have to bid high, for she has her boy with her now."

"Ah yes! the boy; that was the trouble between us. Seamstresses have no
business to be mothers. Mrs. Halsey ought to give up the child entirely
to some asylum for adoption; he will always be a handicap to her; but
she does not see this, and clings to him as though she thought him her
only chance for fortune. There is a mystery in Mrs. Halsey's life. Her
husband has deserted her, and she lives in the vain hope that he will
come back some day and explain everything. She patronized me once, long
ago, when she was in better circumstances. She will not talk about her
husband, and I fancy that he is one of those defaulting cashiers who
have run away to Canada. I am willing to take her back on the old terms,
but she must give up her boy. I have an order for a set of costumes for
one of our queens of the opera. Mrs. Halsey is just the one to take it
in hand. Where did you say she could be found?"

"I think you had better communicate with her through me," Adelaide
replied; "I am not at liberty to give her address."

"And it is very possible," Winnie spoke up, eagerly, for she had seen a
gleam in Madame Céleste's eyes, "that her friends will provide for the
boy. In that case she will be more independent, and perhaps will not be
willing to return at the old salary. What shall we say is the most that
you will offer."

"Five dollars a week and her board; that is very good pay, Miss; fifty
cents more than I paid her when she was with me."

The girls could hardly wait to reach the Amen Corner to talk the matter
over. Milly was all sympathy. "I will write to papa," she said, "and get
him to send Jim to a boarding-school. I'll send for several circulars,
and find out how much it costs."

As an answer from Mr. Roseveldt might be expected the next day, we
decided to wait for it. Adelaide regretted that her father was in Omaha,
as she was sure that he would have aided in the scheme.

Mr. Roseveldt's answer was most discouraging. He regarded Milly's plan
as mere sentimental nonsense, and would take no interest in it.

"You might save something out of your allowance, Milly," suggested the
audacious Winnie.

"I give away three-fourths of it now," Milly replied, in an injured
tone. "What with the flowers I have on the organ every day for Miss
Hope, and the favors for the german, which I always furnish, and the
bonbons I give you girls, and all my other extras--"

"But, Milly dear," I exclaimed, "we would all ever so much rather you
spent the candy money for Jim than on us."

"But I want _some_ candy for myself, and I am not going to be so mean as
to munch it, and not pass any to the other girls."

It would have been a real deprivation to Milly to do without her beloved
candy. She gloated over luscious pasty "lumps of delight" in the way of
marshmallows and chocolate creams, candied fruits and marrons glacées,
and her silver bonbonnière was always filled with the most expensive
candied violets and rose-leaves. Worse than this, there were certain
little cordial drops, which were a peculiar weakness of Milly's; none of
us knew with what an awful danger she was playing, or that Milly
inherited a taste for alcoholic beverages through several generations.
But Milly was not selfish.

"Very well, girls," she said, with a sigh, "if you will go without, I
will, and we will form a total abstinence candy society. I know just how
much that means for Jim, for I paid Maillard eight dollars last month."

"You are a good girl," spoke up Emma Jane, "and if you hold to that
resolution, Milly Roseveldt, I will deal you out a cake of maple sugar
every day, from a box I've just received from some Vermont cousins. I
was wondering what I should do with it, for I don't care for sweets."

Milly's face brightened; all unconsciously she was doing as great a
kindness to herself as to Jim, and the pure maple sugar was a good
substitute for the unwholesome concoctions of the confectioner; it
satisfied her craving for sweets, and did not poison her appetite.

The rest of us added our small contributions, but the aggregate only
amounted to three dollars a week, and we were unable to learn of any
boarding-school to which Jim could be sent at those rates.

Winnie had communicated Madame Céleste's offer to Mrs. Halsey. "It would
be just the thing if I were alone," she replied, "but what would Jim do
without me?"

"Perhaps you can board him somewhere," Winnie suggested; and she told of
the sum which we girls had promised.

"If I knew of any respectable place where he would have good influences,
I would accept your kindness, as a loan, for a little while," Mrs.
Halsey replied, "for my first earnings must go for clothes. I have
friends in Connecticut; perhaps they will take Jim."

But Mrs. Halsey found that her friends had moved West. She thanked us
for our interest, but said that there seemed nothing better to do than
to continue as they were.

"I can't bear to tell Madame Céleste that she declines her offer," said
Adelaide. "_We_ must find a place for that boy."

"I don't see how," replied Winnie; but she saw, that afternoon; it came
to her all by a sudden inspiration during our botany lesson.



CHAPTER V.

LITTLE PRINCE DEL PARADISO.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of the little Prince del Paradiso.}]


That day the botany class found their teacher in a flutter of
excitement. There was a fresh, pink glow in the faded cheeks, and an
unusual sparkle in the kindly eyes. She seated herself in the episcopal
chair, lifted her lorgnette, and began to arrange the specimens for the
day's lesson, but her hand trembled so that she could scarcely adjust
the microscope, and the papers on which her notes were written sifted
through her fingers and were strewn in confusion on the floor.

"Are you ill, Miss Prillwitz?" Adelaide asked, in alarm.

"No, Miss Armstrong," replied the princess, "it is not a painful in my
system, and it is not a sorry; it is a pleasant. I shall expect to
myself a company, and this is to me so seldom that I find myself
_égaré_--what you call it?--scatter? sprinkled?--as to my
understanding."

We all looked our interest, and Winnie ventured to ask--"One of your
relations, Miss Prillwitz?"

"Yes," replied the little lady; "he is of my own family, though to see
him I have never ze pleasure. It ees ze little Prince del Paradiso."

We girls pinched each other under the table, while Milly murmured, "A
prince! How perfectly lovely!"

"Yes," replied Miss Prillwitz; "ze birthright to ziss little poy is one
great, high, nobilitie, _la plus haute noblesse_, but he know nossing of
it, nossing whateffer. He haf ze misfortune to be exported from his home
when one leetle child; he haf been elevated by poor peoples to think
himself also a poor. He know nossing of ze estates what belong his
family, and better he not know until he make surely his title, and he
make to himself some education which shall make him suit to his
position."

"How did you know about this little stolen prince?" Emma Jane asked.

"I receive message from his older bruzzer to take him to my house
_provisionellement_, till his rights and his--his--what you call--his
sameness?"

"You mean his identity?"

"Yes, yes, his die entity can be justly prove."

"It seems to me," said Witch Winnie, impulsively, "that he can't be a
very kind elder brother to be so indifferent."

"My dear child, you make my admiration with what celeritude you do
arrive always at exactly ze wrong conclusion. Ze prince haf made great
effort to recover his little bruzzer, but he must guard himself from ze
false claimants, ze impostors."

"Then the little boy who is coming to you," said Emma Jane, "may not be
the real prince, after all?"

"That is a possible," Miss Prillwitz admitted, "but it is not a
probable. Somesing assure me zat he s'all prove his nobility."

"How very interesting," said Milly. "Was he stolen away from home by
gypsies?"

"No, my child, he was not steal. He wandered himself away from his
fazzer's house and was lost."

"How old is he now?"

"Twelve year."

Witch Winnie started; that was just Jim Halsey's age, and what a
difference in the destiny awaiting the two boys! One the son of a king,
the other of a criminal.

"Will you to see ze little chamber of ze petit prince?" asked Miss
Prillwitz.

We were all overjoyed by the suggestion, and the eager little woman led
us to a room just under the roof, with a dormer-window looking out upon
the roof of the church.

Milly ran directly to this window, and drawing aside the curtains looked
out, but started back again half frightened, for a carved gargoyle under
the eaves was very near and leered at her with a malicious, demoniacal
expression. He was a grotesque creature with bat wings, lolling tongue,
and long claws, but harmless enough, for the doves perched on his head
and preened their iridescent plumage in the sunshine. The church roof
just here was a wilderness of flying buttresses and pinnacles; the
chimes were still far overhead, and rang out, as we entered the
chambers, my favorite hymn--"Sun of my soul, thou Saviour dear."

I have not yet described the room itself. We all exclaimed at its quaint
beauty as we entered.

It was papered with an old-fashioned vine pattern, the green foliage
twined about a slender trellis, and this gave the room, which was really
quite small, the effect of an arbor with space beyond. There was a patch
of dark green carpet with a mossy pattern before the bed, which was very
simple and dressed in white. In the window recess was a dry-goods box,
upholstered in a fern-patterned chintz of a restful green tint, and
serving, with its cushions, both as a divan and as a chest for clothing.
There was a little corner wash-stand with a toilet set decorated with
water-lilies and green lily-pads, and there was a little sliding curtain
of green China silk with a shadow-pattern at the window, while through
the uncurtained upper space one saw, beyond the church roof, the trees
of the park.

"O Miss Prillwitz!" I exclaimed, "it is just Aurora Leigh's room over
again. You modeled it on Mrs. Browning's description, did you not?--

    "'I had a little chamber in the house,
    As green as any privet-hedge a bird
    Might choose to build in ...
    ... the walls
    Were green, the carpet was pure green;
                the straight
    Small bed was curtained greenly,
                and the folds
    Hung green about the window,
              which let in
    A dash of dawn dew from its greenery,
                the honeysuckle.'"

"I haf nefer ze pleasure to know zat room," said Miss Prillwitz, her
eyes kindling.

"How perfectly sweet!" exclaimed Adelaide. "It is like 'a lodge in some
vast wilderness.' I didn't know that there was a place in New York so
like the country."

"Will the prince study botany with us?" Milly asked, as we descended the
stairs.

"I fear he is not ready for ze botany. His education haf been neglect.
But you s'all see him oftenly. I must beg you not to tell him zat he is
a prince; zis must not divulge to him until ze proper time."

"And then," added Emma Jane, "it would be cruel to excite hopes which
may be doomed to disappointment."

The princess smiled. "I do not fear zat," she said. "And now, young
ladies, I must make you my excuse, and beg Miss Armstrong she s'all hear
ze class ze remains of ze hour; I must go to ze market for prepare ze
young prince his supper."

She hurried away, and we attempted to turn our minds to our lesson.
Adelaide had just exclaimed that in botany the term _hop_ signified
small, and _dog_ large, but she broke off the statement with the
exclamation, "And do you see, girls, what this proves?"

"That dog-roses are large roses," replied Emma Jane.

"That the Chinese laundry man around the corner, Hop Sin, is a little
sinner," said Winnie.

"No, no, I don't mean that, but she said that the Prince del Paradiso
was related to her; then, of course, she must belong to the Paradiso
family as well, and what we have so long suspected is really true. She
is a genuine princess, and probably the daughter of a king."

"I am not so sure of that," replied Emma Jane.

"Do you suspect Miss Prillwitz of being an impostor?" Adelaide asked,
coldly.

"Certainly not," replied Emma Jane; "but in many European countries
every son of a prince is called a prince, instead of the eldest son
only, as in England, and all the sons of all the younger sons are
princes, and so on to the last descendant; and I presume it is so with
the daughters as well; so that the title must often exist where there
are no estates."

"But Miss Prillwitz said that the Prince del Paradiso was heir to
immense estates," Milly insisted.

"But that proves nothing in her own case," Adelaide admitted. "Some day,
perhaps she will tell us more about herself, since she has begun to open
her heart to us."

At that moment the door-bell rang, and as the princess kept no servant,
Winnie went to the door. She was gone a long time, and came back looking
grave and distraught--giving an evasive answer when we asked her who had
called. I wondered at this because, as I sat nearest the door, I had
overheard a part of the conversation, and knew that it referred to the
little boy who was expected. "He cannot come," a voice had said; "he has
a situation where he can learn a trade." This was of so much interest
to us all that I wondered why Winnie did not immediately report it.

As soon as we returned to the school she obtained an interview with
Madame, and permission to see Mrs. Halsey in reference to the Céleste
situation; Madame stipulating that she must not ask this favor for a
long time, as she did not like to have her pupils frequent the tenement
district. I offered to go with Winnie, and was surprised that she
declined my company. She returned glowing with suppressed excitement.

"Mrs. Halsey has accepted Madame Céleste's offer," she exclaimed; "she
leaves the court to-morrow, let us hope for good and all. O girls, it is
a horrible place! I saw worse sights than when I was there before."

"And Jim?" we asked.

"Jim is provided for. We are to pay three dollars a week for him for the
present, until Mrs. Halsey gets on her feet."

"Did she find a good place for him?"

"An excellent place; but you must not ask me another question, and if
any mysterious circumstances should come to your observation within a
few days, you are not to say a thing, or even look surprised. Promise,
every one of you."

"A mystery! how delightful!" exclaimed Milly. "It's almost as good as
the little prince. You can rely on us; we will help you, Winnie,
whatever it is, for we know it's all right if it's your doing."

Emma Jane was not present, and I remarked that, while the rest of us
would believe in Winnie without understanding her, and even in spite of
the most suspicious circumstances, I was not sure that we could trust
Emma Jane so far.

"Emma Jane will see nothing to suspect, and Milly, I know, will stand by
me. It's only you two that I am afraid of--Adelaide, because she has
seen Jim; and Tib, from her natural smartness in smelling out a secret."

"Whatever it is, Winnie, we believe you could never do anything very
bad," said Adelaide.

"But I have," Winnie replied; "something just reckless. I'm in for the
worst scrape of my life, and just as I was trying so hard to be good. I
shall never be anything but a malefactor, and maybe get expelled, and
throw the dear Amen Corner into disgrace. I'd better have staid queen
of the Hornets, for I shall be nothing but Witch Winnie to the end of
the chapter."



CHAPTER VI.

MRS. HETTERMAN THROWS LIGHT ON THE MYSTERY.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of Mrs. Hetterman.}]


Mrs. Hetterman came into our life in consequence of a train of troubles
which arose in the boarding-school from the frequent change of the cook.
Madame had been served for several years by a faithful colored man, who
had suddenly taken it into his head to go off as steward on a
gentleman's yacht. She had supplied his place by a Biddy, who was found
intoxicated on the kitchen floor. A woman followed who turned out to be
a thief, and we were now enduring an incompetent creature who made sour
bread and spoiled nearly every dish which passed through her hands. Half
of the girls were suffering with dyspepsia, and all were grumbling. The
Amen Corner was especially out of sorts. Milly, who was always
fastidious, had eaten nothing but maple-sugar for breakfast, and had a
sick headache; Emma Jane was snappish; Witch Winnie had stolen a box of
crackers from the pantry, which she had passed around. Adelaide and I
had regaled ourselves upon them, but Emma Jane had declined on high
moral grounds, and was virtuously miserable. It was in this unchristian
frame of mind, or rather of stomach, that we took our next botany
lesson. We found the princess beaming with pleasure. "My tear young
ladies," she exclaimed, "you must felicitate me. It is all so much
better as I had hoped. Ze leetle prince has not been so badly elevated
after all. He haf been taught to be kind and unselfish; zat is already
ze foundation of a gentleman."

Miss Prillwitz had occasion to leave the room a few minutes later.
Adelaide sniffed the air, and remarked, "Girls, don't you smell
something very nice?"

"It's here on the stand in the corner," said Witch Winnie, lifting a
napkin which covered a tray, and exclaiming, "Fish balls! Only see! the
most beautiful brown fish balls!"

"It's the remnants of their breakfast; she has forgotten to take it
away," said Adelaide. "They make me feel positively faint with longing;
I don't believe she would mind if we took just one."

We ate of the dainties, even Emma Jane yielding to temptation; they were
delicious, and, having begun, we could not stop until they were all
devoured. Then we looked at one another in shame and dismay. "Who will
confess?" asked Adelaide.

"You ought to; you put us up to it," said Emma Jane Anton.

"Let's write a round-robin," I suggested, "and all sign it."

"I'll stand it," said Winnie. "I led you into temptation."

A step was heard in the hall. Winnie stepped forward and began to speak
rapidly; the rest of us looked down shamefacedly.

"Miss Prillwitz, please forgive us; we were so hungry we could not stand
it. If you knew what a dreadful breakfast we had this morning, I'm sure
you would not blame us--"

But she was interrupted by a cry of dismay--"Oh! have you eaten them
all? I bought them for Aunty."

Looking up, we saw a manly little boy with an expression of distress on
his frank features.

Adelaide uttered a sharp exclamation. I thought she said, "It's him!"
and yet Adelaide seldom forgot her grammar. Winnie drew a deep breath,
and caught Adelaide by the arm. The boy looked up from the empty platter
to the girls' faces, and his expression changed. "Oh! it's you," he
said. "Well, no matter, only I meant 'em for a present for _her_--Miss
Prillwitz, you know. She's no end good to me. Mrs. Hetterman, down at
Rickett's Court, makes 'em for regular customers every Friday morning.
They are prime, and mother gave me a quarter for pocket-money this
month, so I got ten cents' worth for Aunty; she lets me call her so. I
thought she'd like 'em, and it would patronize Mrs. Hetterman, and show
her I hadn't forgotten old friends, if I had moved up in the world."

"Here's ten cents to get some more from Mrs. Hetterman," said Adelaide,
"and maybe we can get her a wholesale order to furnish our
boarding-school. I'll speak to Madame about it this very day."

"And if Madame doesn't order them, we girls will club together and have
a spread of our own," said Winnie.

Miss Prillwitz came in at this juncture, and explanations followed.

"If Madame is in such trouble in regards of a cook," said Miss
Prillwitz, "I vill write her of Mrs. Hetterman, and perhaps it will be
to them both a providence. Can she make ozzer sings as ze croquettes of
codfish?"

"Oh yes, indeed," the little prince spoke up, eagerly; "soup, and
turnovers, and _such_ bread! She gave me a little loaf every baking
while mother had the pneumonia. Mr. Dooley, the butcher, gave me a
marrow bone every Monday, and I always took it to Mrs. Hetterman to make
into soup. It made mother sick to boil it in our little room, and Mrs.
Hetterman would make a kettle of stock, and showed me how to keep it in
a crock outside the window, so mother could have some every day; it was
what kept mother's strength up through it all. We had such good
neighbors at the court! but Mrs. Hetterman was best of all. She has five
children of her own, too. Bill is a messenger boy, and Jennie works in a
feather factory. Mary is a cripple, but she is just lovely, and tidies
the house, and takes care of the two little ones. Mr. Hetterman was a
plasterer and got good wages, but he fell from a scaffolding and broke
his leg, and he's at the hospital."

"And does Mrs. Hetterman support the family on ze croquettes of
codfish?" asked Miss Prillwitz.

"She scrubs offices, but she could get a place as cook in a family if it
wasn't for the children." He looked longingly at Miss Prillwitz as he
spoke, but she did not seem to notice the glance.

"Here, mon garçon, run down to ze court, and tell Mrs. Hetterman to take
a basket of her cookery to ze boarding-school. I t'ink she will engage
to herself some beesness."

The lesson proceeded, but Adelaide and Winnie both blundered; they were
evidently thinking of something else.

A change came over Witch Winnie; she lost her old reckless gayety and
became subdued and thoughtful. The Hornets said she was studying for
honors, but I knew this was not the case, for her lessons were not as
well prepared as formerly. She would sit for long periods lost in
reverie. Winnie had charge of the money collected for Jim's board. She
reported, after one week, that his mother did not need as much; two
dollars would supply the margin between what was required and the sum
she was able to pay. None of us, with the exception of Adelaide, knew
where Winnie had domiciled Jim, but we were content to leave the matter
in her hands. A week later Mrs. Halsey only needed one dollar. Mrs.
Hetterman was engaged as cook for the boarding-school, and we all
rejoiced in the change. I went down to the kitchen to see her, one
afternoon, and found her a buxom Englishwoman who dropped her _h_'s, but
was always neat and civil. She was delighted when she found that I knew
the names of her children. "It was a little boy who used to live in your
court who told me about them," I said, "and who introduced us to your
good fish balls."

"Oh yes, Miss, I mind; it was little Jim 'Alsey; 'e's the prince of fine
fellers, 'e is."

Jim Halsey the prince! My head fairly reeled, and yet this explained
many things which had seemed mysterious. Winnie's agency in the matter
was still not entirely clear to me. I did not connect her remorseful
remarks about another scrape, with Jim, and I believed that by some
remarkable coincidence he was really Miss Prillwitz's little prince
incognito. I wondered whether Mrs. Hetterman knew anything of his real
history, but she preferred to talk at present about her own family. She
was very happy in the prospect of introducing her oldest daughter,
Jennie, into the house as a waitress. "It will be so much better for
Jennie," she said, "than the feather factory. The hair there is not good
for 'er lungs."

I did not understand, at first, what Mrs. Hetterman meant by the _hair_,
but when she explained that it was "the hatmosphere," her meaning dawned
upon me.

"It will make it a bit lonelier for Mary and the little ones," she
admitted, "but I go down every night, after the work's over, to tidy
them up and to see that hall's right. The court is not a fit place for
the children. If I could find decent lodgings for them, such as Mrs.
'Alsey 'as got for her Jim! I think I could pay as much, if the place
was only found; I'm 'oping something will turn hup, Miss."

"I hope so," I replied; and I asked Winnie that afternoon if she thought
the person who was boarding Jim Halsey would take the Hettermans, but
she utterly discouraged the idea.

We saw a good deal of the little prince. Miss Prillwitz called him
Giacomo, and was deeply attached to him. He did her credit too, for he
was docile and bright. His mother was right in saying that he inherited
his father's facility for mathematics, but with this faculty he
possessed also a love for mechanics and for machinery of every sort.

"He will make one good engineer some day," said Miss Prillwitz, in
speaking of him to us.

"That is a strange career for a prince," said Adelaide.

"My tear, it may be many year before he ees call to his princedom, and
in ze meanstime he muss make his way. Zen, too, ze sons of ze royal
houses make such study, and it is one good thing for ze country whose
prince interest himself in ze science."

"I wonder how he would like to study surveying by and by," Adelaide
said. "I know that father could employ him in the West."

"Zat is one excellent idea," said Miss Prillwitz. "We will see, when ze
time s'all arrive."

We were all fond of the little prince. After all, Miss Prillwitz had
decided to let him attend the botany lessons on Saturdays. "If he s'all
be one surveyor in ze West," she said, "he s'all have opportunity to
discover ze new species of flower; he must learn all ze natural
science."

The prince attended the public school during the week, and held his
place at the head of his class with ease. It was not hard to do so, now
that he could sleep all night. Emma Jane, who had had her spasms of
doubt in regard to him, and had even gone so far at first as to say that
Miss Prillwitz was a crank, and she had no faith in the boy's nobility,
had been won over by the boy himself, and remarked one afternoon that
the internal evidence was convincing; Giacomo was not like common
children; he was evidently cast in a finer mold; he would do honor to
any position; birth would tell, after all. It was all that dear Milly
could do not to betray the secret to the little prince. He was very fond
of Milly, but deferential and unpresuming, as became his apparent
position. "Some day our places may be reversed. You may live in a
beautiful home and have hosts of friends," Milly said to him. "Will you
remember me then, Giacomo?"

"How can that ever be?" the boy asked. "You will grow up and be a fine
rich lady; I will be a poor young man whom you will have quite
forgotten."

"Not necessarily poor," Milly hastened to reply. "If you go West you
may, by working hard, become rich and famous. Will you forget your old
friends then?"

And Jim promised that he would never, never forget. Then a shade came
across his face. "Maybe I will, after all," he said, "for I have
forgotten Mary Hetterman for more than a week. I did not think I could
be so mean."

Adelaide and I had a conference in regard to the prince. It seemed that
she had recognized him as Jim Halsey from the first. "I have been
wondering," she said, "whether it was not a case like that of Little
Lord Fauntleroy, and whether Mrs. Halsey could not be proved to be the
wife of a prince, but I see that cannot be the explanation of the
matter; and I have concluded that Jim is her adopted child. She must
have taken him, when she was in better circumstances, from the people
who brought him to this country when he was a very little fellow, and so
he has no recollection of any other home."

"She always spoke of him as her very own," I said, "and seemed fonder of
him than a foster-mother could be. It will be very hard for her to part
with him, if his real relatives claim him."

"Not if he goes to high rank and great estates," said Adelaide. "She
probably had no idea of his noble birth when she adopted him; and it
just proves that bread cast upon the waters returns, for he will
probably care for her right royally, when he comes into his own, and she
will find that adopting that boy was the best investment she ever made
in her life."

Winnie came in while we were talking.

"Why didn't you tell us, Winnie," I asked, "that Jim Halsey was the
little prince?"

"It did not seem necessary," Winnie replied, looking unnecessarily
alarmed, as it seemed to me.

"You pay his board directly to Miss Prillwitz, I suppose?" Adelaide
said.

"No, I give it to his mother, and she sends it by mail."

"Well, I don't see any harm in letting Miss Prillwitz know that we know
his mother, and are helping in his support."

"I do, and I wish you would not tell her this," Winnie entreated.

"Just as you please," Adelaide replied, "but I hate mysteries."

"So do I," said Winnie, with a deep sigh.

"What is the matter with you, any way, Winnie?" Adelaide asked.

"That is my business," Winnie replied, shortly, and left the room,
banging the door behind her.

"Winnie isn't half as jolly as she used to be," said Milly, in an
injured tone. "I always depend on her to save me when I'm not prepared
for recitation. When Professor Todd was coming down the line in the
Virgil class and was only two girls away from me, I made the most
beseeching faces at Winnie, who sits opposite, and usually she is so
quick to take the hint, and come to the rescue by asking Professor Todd
a lot of questions about the sites of the ancient cities, and where he
thinks the Hesperides were situated. She gets him to talking on his pet
hobbies, and he proses on like an old dear, until the bell rings for
change of class. But this time she just stared at me in the most
wall-eyed manner, while I signaled her in a perfect agony as he got
nearer and nearer. I tried to think of some question of my own to ask
him, and suddenly one popped into my head which I thought was very
bright. He had just been talking about Æneas' shipwreck, and he referred
to St. Paul's, with a description of the ancient vessels, and how he met
the same Mediterranean storms, and I plucked up courage and said,
'Professor Todd, why is it that we hear so much about Virginia, and in
all the pictures of the shipwreck we see her standing on the deck of the
ship, and Paul rushing out into the surf to rescue her? Now I have read
the chapter in Acts which describes St. Paul's shipwreck, very
carefully, and in that, and in all the history of Paul, there is not one
word about Virginia.'

"You should have heard the girls shout; I think they were just as mean
as they could be. That odious Cynthia Vaughn nearly fell off the bench,
and Professor Todd looked at me in such a despairing way, as though he
gave me up from that time forth. I just burst into tears, and Winnie
came over and took me out of the room. She acknowledged that it was all
her fault, and that she ought to have come to my rescue sooner."

Poor Milly! we could only comfort her with our assurances that we loved
her all the more for her troubles.

Summer was approaching, and we were making our plans for vacation.
Milly's mother had invited Adelaide to spend the season with them at
their cottage at Narragansett Pier; and Winnie's father had consented to
her spending June and July with me on our Long Island farm. Winnie
cheered up somewhat at the prospect. "It's the warm weather which makes
me feel muggy," she said; "I shall feel better when we get out of the
city too. The noise and racket distract me, and seeing so many miserable
people makes me miserable and sick at heart."

"I don't feel so at all," I replied. "It makes me happy to see how much
good even we can do. Mrs. Halsey would not have obtained her situation
with Madame Céleste but for us, or have been able to place Jim with
Miss Prillwitz."

Winnie winced. "Don't talk about them; I am sick and tired of hearing
about the little prince. Do you know, I don't believe he is a prince at
all!"

"What! Do you imagine that this story of Miss Prillwitz's is only a
fabrication?"

"Perhaps so, or at least a hallucination on her part; and even if it is
all true Jim may not be the boy. I wonder what proof she has of his
identity, or whether she has written yet to his relatives. I mean to ask
her--this very day."

But Winnie did nothing of the kind, for we were surprised on arriving at
Miss Prillwitz's to find three new children sitting in the broad
window-seats. One was a thin girl with crutches, whom I at once guessed
must be Mary Hetterman; two chubby, freckle-faced little ones sat in the
sunshine looking over a picture-book together, while Miss Prillwitz
beamed upon them.

"My tears," she said, "you see I haf some more companie. Giacomo haf
brought these small people to spend ze day."

Jim came in a little later, and introduced his friends. He was flushed
and excited, and it presently appeared that the visit was a part of a
deep-laid scheme of his own.

"I wanted you to know the Hettermans," he said, "because they are such
nice children, and Rickett's Court is no place for them, for the family
next door have the fever, and Mr. Grogan has the tremens, and scares
them most to death. Mrs. Hetterman gets twenty dollars a month as cook
now, and she says she can pay a dollar a week apiece for each of the
children if she can board them where it is healthful and decent; and you
young ladies were so kind as to help my mother at first, and now, as she
don't need it any longer, maybe you would help the Hettermans, and then
maybe Aunty would take them in. Mary is very handy, for all she's a
cripple, and the babies' noise is just nothing but a pleasure, and--"
here the tears stood in his eyes, and he looked at Miss Prillwitz, who
was frozen stiff with astonishment, with piteous appealing--"and I would
eat just as little as I could."

The good woman's voice trembled, "Take ze children to play in ze park,"
she said; "ze young ladies and I, we talk it some over."

Mary Hetterman tied the children's hoods on with cheerful alacrity. She
evidently had high hopes, while Jim threw his arms around Miss
Prillwitz--"Aunty," he said, "they deserve that you should be kind to
them more than I do."

"What reason is zere that I should take them in more as all ze uzzer
children in ze court?"

"Just as much reason as for you to take me," replied the boy, running
away.

"Bless his heart!" said Miss Prillwitz, as he closed the door; "he knows
not ze reason zat draw me to him, ze cherubim. But I did not know you to
help his muzzer until now."

Adelaide explained matters, and the case of the Hettermans was
discussed, Miss Prillwitz agreeing to take them in if we would assist in
their support. "I shall leaf zem in my apartement for ze summer," she
said, "for it is necessaire to me zat I go ze shore of ze sea, and I
s'all take Giacomo with me, for I cannot bear to separate myself of him.
Zis is so near to your school zat Mrs. Hetterman can sleep her nights
here. But I have not decided to myself where I shall repose myself for
ze summer."

I spoke up quickly, referring her to Miss Sartoris for the beauties of
our part of Long Island and for mother's low price for board. Miss
Prillwitz was evidently pleasantly impressed. She thought she would like
to study the seaweed of that part of the coast, and when she heard of
the lighthouse, against which the birds of passage dashed themselves,
and how the keeper had kept their skins, waiting for some one to come
that way and teach him to stuff them, she was quite decided in our
favor.

I noticed that Winnie grew suddenly silent. As we left the house she
pinched me softly. "You didn't mean any harm, Tib," she said, "but if
they go, it will take every bit of pleasure out of my summer."



CHAPTER VII.

Winnie's confession.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of Wilhelm Kalbfleisch.}]


Wilhelm Kalbfleisch, the butcher's boy, was one of the most
uninteresting specimens of humanity that I have ever seen. That any of
us would ever give him even a passing glance seemed quite beyond the
range of probability, and yet Wilhelm's stolid, good-natured face
haunted Winnie's dreams like a very Nemesis, and came to acquire a new
and singular interest even in my own mind.

We passed a little Catholic church on our way to the boarding-school.

"We are early," said Winnie. "Let's go in."

It was Lent, and the altar was shrouded in black, and only a few candles
burning dimly. We stood beside a carved confessional. A muffled murmur
came from the interior, and the red curtains pulsated as though in time
to sobs.

"Let us go out," whispered Milly; "I am stifling."

She looked so white that I was really afraid she was going to faint. "I
feel better," she gasped, when we reached the open air.

"It was frightfully close," Winnie said, "and the air was heavy with
incense."

"It was not that," said Milly, "it was the thought of it all; that there
was a poor woman in that confessional telling all her sins to a priest.
I never could do it in the world."

"It would be a comfort to me," said Winnie, fiercely. "I only wish there
was some one with authority, to whom I could confess my sins, that I
might get rid of the responsibility of them."

"There is," I said, before I thought; "'He hath borne our griefs and
carried our sorrows.'"

Winnie gave me a quick look. "You don't usually preach, Tib," she said,
and burst into a merry round of stories and jokes, which convulsed the
other girls, but did not in the least deceive me. I could see that she
was troubled, and was trying to carry it off by riding her high horse.
"Girls," she said, "I want you to come around to the butcher's with me.
They have such funny little beasts in the window. I mean to get one, and
the butcher's boy, Wilhelm, is such a princely creature--just my _beau
idéal_--I want you to see him."

The funny little beasts proved to be forms of head-cheese in fancy
shapes. Strange roosters and ducks, with plumage of gayly colored sugar
icing, and animals of uncouth forms and colors. Winnie bought a small
pig with a blue nose and green tail, all the while bombarding the
butcher's boy, who was a particularly stupid specimen, with keen
questions and witty sallies. He was so very obtuse that he did not even
see that she was making sport of him.

As we hurried home to make up for our little escapade, Winnie amused us
all by asking us how we thought Wilhelm would grace a princely station.
"Just imagine, for an instant, that he was the lost Prince Paradiso!
What a figure he would cut in chain armor, or in a court costume of
velvet and jewels! Did you notice the elegance of his manners and the
brilliancy of his wit?"

"Winnie, Winnie, have you gone wild?" Adelaide asked. "Why do you make
such sport of the poor fellow? He is well enough where he is, I am
sure."

"Is he not?" Winnie replied, a little more soberly; "I was only thinking
what a mercy it is that people are so well fitted for their stations in
life by nature. Now, think of Jim as a butcher, growing up to chop
sausage-meat and skewer roasts!"

"Jim never could be a butcher," Adelaide replied; "even if Miss
Prillwitz's dreams do not come true, the education she is giving him
will do no harm. He will carve a future for himself."

We went into the house, and the subject was dropped. The next morning a
message came from Miss Prillwitz that one of the Hetterman children was
sick. It was the fever, contracted in their old home, and we were told
that our botany lessons must be interrupted for the present. We heard
through Mrs. Hetterman that the child was not very sick. It was one of
the chubby little ones that had looked so well. She was quarantined now
in Jim's room, the green one up under the roof, and had a trained nurse
to care for her. Mrs. Hetterman did not see the child, but talked with
her daughter Mary in the basement every evening She thought it was a
great mercy that they had completed their moving before the child was
taken sick. This did not seem to me to be exactly generous to Miss
Prillwitz, but I could not blame the mother for the feeling, for under
the careful treatment the child speedily weathered the storm, and came
out looking only a little paler for the confinement. We were expecting a
summons to return to our lessons, when Mrs. Hetterman told us that Jim
was sick. We were not greatly alarmed, for the little girl's illness had
been so slight that we fancied we would see our favorite about in a
fortnight.

Milly sent in baskets of white grapes and flowers, and Adelaide carried
over a beautiful set of photographs of Italian architecture. "It may
amuse him to look them over," she said, "and it is just possible that
his ancestral palace figures among them."

Adelaide hoped to go to Europe as soon as she graduated. "If Jim is
established in his rights by that time, I shall visit him," she said,
"so, you see, I am only mercenary in my attentions to him now."

Winnie looked up indignantly, "Then you deserve to be disappointed."

Adelaide laughed merrily. "I thought you knew me well enough, Winnie, to
tell when I am in fun. I like Jim so much, personally, that I would do
as much for him if he had no great expectations; but I do not see that
there is any harm in thinking of the kindnesses which he may be able to
do me."

"If you don't count too surely on them. Miss Prillwitz has had time to
notify his relatives, and they do not seem to take any interest in him."

It is the unexpected that always happens. That very evening Mrs.
Hetterman brought us this note from Miss Prillwitz. She wrote better
than she spoke, for on paper there was no opportunity for the foreign
accent to betray itself:

     "MY DEAR YOUNG LADIES:

     "The elder brother have arrived, and I fear you will have no more
     opportunity to see little Giacomo, for I think he will take him
     away very shortly to his father's house.

     "You must not be too sorry, but think what a so great thing this
     is for poor little Giacomo, to be called so soon to his beautiful
     estate; no more poorness or trouble, in the palace of the King.
     Giacomo desire me to thank you for all you kindness to him. He hope
     some time you will all come to him at his beautiful country of
     everlasting springtime, and the elder brother invite you also. Mrs.
     Halsey is here. She is much troubled. She forget that Giacomo was
     not her very own, and the pain of parting from him is great. She
     can not rightly think of the good fortune it is to him. She wish to
     go with him, but that is not possible for now. Giacomo hope you
     will comfort her. He hope, too, we will continue our care to the
     children Hetterman. Come not to-night, dear young ladies, to bid
     him farewells; I fear you to cry, and so to trouble his happiness.

     "Your at all times loving teacher,

                                    "CÉLESTINE PRILLWITZ."

"The idea of our crying, like so many babies!" said Emma Jane Anton;
"why, it's the best thing that possibly could happen to him, and I, for
one, shall congratulate him heartily."

"I suppose so," Milly assented, doubtfully, "but I shall miss him
awfully, he is such a nice little fellow."

"So much the better," said Adelaide; "how glad the prince must be to
find that his little brother is really presentable. As Winnie was
saying, 'Fancy his feelings if he had found him a coarse, common
creature like Wilhelm, the butcher's boy!' And now, Winnie, what do you
say to my being too sure about visiting him some day? Here is the
invitation from the prince himself. I wonder just where in Italy they
live!"

So the girls chatted all together, but Winnie was strangely silent.

"I ought to see Miss Prillwitz at once," she exclaimed, suddenly.

"It's too late, now," replied Emma Jane; "there! the retiring-bell is
ringing, and if you look across the square you can see that Miss
Prillwitz's lights are all out; besides, she particularly requested us
not to come until morning."

"Then I must run over before breakfast," said Winnie, "for it is very
important."

She set a little alarm-clock for an hour earlier than our usual
waking-time; but she was unable to sleep, and her restlessness kept me
awake also. She tossed from side to side, and moaned to herself, and at
last I heard her say, "Oh! what wouldn't I give if some one would only
show me the best way out of it."

"Winnie," I said, softly, "I am not asleep. What is the matter? Are you
in trouble?"

"Yes, Tib."

"Do you need money?"

"No."

"Are you in love?"

"The idea! A thousand times no."

"Are you going to be expelled?"

"Not unless I tell on myself; perhaps not even then. But oh, Tib, I told
you I was in for a scrape. I thought I could stick it through, but it's
worse than I thought. I can't keep the secret; I've got to tell."

"I would, and then you'll feel better."

"No, I will not, for telling will not do any good. I'm not sure but it
will do harm."

"You poor child, what can it be?"

"Just this--Jim is _not_ the prince."

"I don't see how you know that, or, if you do, what business it is of
yours."

"Because I deceived Miss Prillwitz, and got Jim in there by making her
think he was the boy she had heard about, while the real boy is
somewhere else. I've _got_ to tell her before his friends take him away,
and before that other boy disappears from view entirely."

"That is really dreadful, but if you know where the true prince is, it
can't be quite irreparable. What ever made you do such a thing? and how
did you manage to do it?"

"Why, you see, I hadn't any faith in this story of a lost prince at all.
I thought that Miss Prillwitz was just a little bit of a crank, who had
been imposed on by designing people and I was sure, when I saw the woman
at the door who came to tell Miss Prillwitz that her boy had a situation
and could not come, that she had been in league with the person who had
told Miss Prillwitz about the lost prince, but had backed out of the
plot because she was afraid. Miss Prillwitz had evidently not suspected
that she knew anything of the boy's supposed expectations, for she had
merely promised to take him to board, teach, and clothe, for whatever
the mother could give her, the woman having said that she was going into
a family as German nursery governess, and agreeing to send a trifle
toward her boy's support whenever she received her salary. It was just
the time that Mrs. Halsey was looking for a place for Jim. It was so
easy to have him come at the time agreed upon and take the place of the
other boy. I was afraid, at first, that Miss Prillwitz would be
surprised by the regularity of our payments and the amount we sent, but
she didn't seem to suspect anything, and she is so fond of him, and he
deserves it all--and everything worked so well up to the coming of the
prince."

"But, Winnie, why didn't you tell her the whole story at first? I think
she would have taken him, all the same, and then you would not have got
things into this awful muddle."

"Indeed she would not have taken him, a mere pauper out of the slums,
unless she had thought that he was something more. She is a born
aristocrat, and she never could have taken Jim to her heart so if she
had not believed that he was of her own class--of her family, even. Why,
even Adelaide would never have seen half the fine qualities in him which
she thinks she has discovered if she had not thought him a noble; and it
has thrown a fine halo of romance over him for Milly; and even Emma
Jane, who was hard to convince at first, is firmly persuaded that he is
made of a little finer clay than the rest of us. And you, Tib, confess
that you are disappointed yourself."

"I am bitterly disappointed," I admitted; "but that is nothing to the
extent that Miss Prillwitz will feel it. I wouldn't be in your shoes,
Winnie, for anything."

"I know it; I know it. I have been wicked, but I had no idea that the
family would ever look him up. I hardly believed the story that there
had been any prince lost. And, Tib, if there had not been, where would
have been the harm in what I did?"

"It would have been wrong, all the same, Winnie, even if it had seemed
to turn out well. Deception is always wrong, and I did not think it of
you. But there, don't sob so, or you will make yourself sick, and you
need all your wits and strength to carry you through the ordeal of
setting things straight to-morrow. I'll stand by you. I'll go with you
if it will be any help."

"No, you shall not; Miss Prillwitz might think you were implicated in
the affair. The fault was all mine, and I will not have any one else
share the blame; only be on hand at the door, Tib, with an ambulance to
carry away the remnants, for I shall be all broken into smithereens by
the interview."

I tried to soothe the excited girl, and fancied that she had fallen
asleep, when she suddenly began to laugh hysterically.

"I haven't told you who the real prince is," she said. "Aren't you
curious to know?"

"Have I ever met him?"

"Yes, indeed; it's Wilhelm the butcher's boy."

"Impossible!"

"Isn't it too absurd for anything? That was the situation which his
mother, or foster-mother, preferred to Miss Prillwitz's care. What will
Adelaide say now about blue blood telling even in low circumstances?
There is _blood_ enough about Wilhelm if that is all that is desired.
And won't that foreign prince be just raving when he is introduced to
his long-lost brother! But poor Miss Prillwitz!--that's the worst of
all. No doubt she has been writing with pride and delight the most
glowing letters in reference to Jim's fitness for his high position. How
chagrined and mortified the dear old lady will be! Tell me now, Tib,
that things were not better as I managed them."

"It does seem as if there must be a mistake somewhere. Still, the truth
is the truth, and I believe in telling it, even if the Heavens fall.
This matter is all in the hands of Providence, Winnie, and I believe you
got into trouble simply by thinking that you knew better than
Providence, and that the world could not move on without you."

"I must say you are rather hard on me, Tib, but perhaps you are right.
Do you suppose that if I hand the tangle I have made right to God, he
will take it from my hands and straighten it out for me? I should think
He would have nothing more to do with it, or with me."

"That is not the way our mothers behave when we get our work into a
snarl."

This last remark comforted her. She laid her head upon my shoulder and
prayed:

"Dear Heavenly Father, I have done wrong, and everything has gone wrong.
Help me henceforth to do right, and wilt Thou make everything turn out
right. For thy dear Son's sake, I ask it. Amen."

Then trustfully she fell asleep, her conscience relieved of a great
weight, and with faith in a power beyond her own.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE ELDER BROTHER AND MRS. HALSEY'S STRANGE STORY.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of child sleeping in bed.}]


Notwithstanding Winnie's protestations to the contrary, I insisted on
going with her the next morning when she went to make her confession.

The little alarm-clock made its usual racket, but Winnie slept
peacefully, and I was dressed before I could make up my mind to waken
her. But I knew how disappointed she would be if she could not make her
call on Miss Prillwitz before breakfast, and I wakened her with a kiss,
and made her a cup of coffee over the gas while she was dressing. Then
we put on our ulsters and hoods, and slipped out of the house just as
the rising-bell was ringing.

We knew that Miss Prillwitz was habitually an early riser, or we would
not have planned to call at such an hour, but we were surprised to find
a cab standing before her door.

"I wonder whether the prince and Jim are just about to leave," Winnie
exclaimed. "I did not know that any of the ocean steamers sailed so
early in the morning. What if they have gone and we are too late!"

Something was the matter with the door-bell, and just as we were about
to knock, the door opened and a stout gentleman came down the steps, and
drove away in the carriage. Jim was not with him, and Miss Prillwitz
stood inside the door.

Winnie caught her arm and asked, "Was that the prince, the elder
brother?"

"No, tear," said Miss Prillwitz, gravely. "Why haf you come, when I
write you you must not?"

"Oh Miss Prillwitz, it was because I have something so particular, so
important, to tell you. Do not tell me that Jim has gone, and that it is
too late!"

"No, tear, Giacomo haf not gone already. I think ze elder brother take
him very soon, and we keep our little Giacomo not one leetle longer. Go
in ze park by ze bench and I vill come and talk zare wiz you."

We wondered at her unwillingness to let us in, but obeyed her
directions, and presently she came out to us with a shawl thrown about
her and a knitted boa outside her cap. Even then she did not sit near
us, but on a bench at a little distance, having first noted carefully
that the wind blew from our direction toward her. All this might have
seemed strange to us had we not been so thoroughly absorbed in what
Winnie was about to say. The poor child blundered into her story at
once, and told it in such broken fashion that Miss Prillwitz never could
have understood it but for my explanations. When we had finished, the
tears stood in Miss Prillwitz's eyes.

"My tear child," she said, kindly, drawing nearer to us, "how you haf
suffer! Yes, you have done a sin, but you are sorry, and God he forgive
ze sorrowful."

"But do you forgive me, Miss Prillwitz?" Winnie cried, passionately.
"Can you ever love me again?"

"Yes, my tear, I forgive you freely, and I love you more as ever."

"And the elder brother and Jim? Have Jim's expectations been raised?
Will he be greatly disappointed, and will the prince be very angry?"

"My tear, in all zis it is not as you have t'inked. See, you haf not
understand my way of talk. I t'ink Giacomo will, all ze same, pretty
soon go to his Fazzer's house. Ze elder brother is may be gone wiz him
by now. You have not, then, understand zat dis elder brother is ze Lord
Christ? zat ze beautiful country is Heaven? Our little Giacomo lie very
sick. Ze doctor, whom justly you did meet, he gif no hope. His poor
muzzer sit by him so sad, so sad, it tear my heart. She cannot see he go
to ze palace to be one Prince del Paradiso."

We sat bolt upright, dazed and stunned by this astounding information.

"Do you mean to say," Winnie said, slowly, grasping her head as though
laboring to concentrate her ideas, "that Jim is dying, and that he is no
more a prince than any of us? I mean that the other boy is not a real
prince, and that no child ever strayed away from its father's house, or
elder brother has been seeking for a lost one? Oh Miss Prillwitz, how
could you make up such a story?"

"My tear, my tear, it is all true, and I t'ought you to understand my
leetle vay of talk. Giacomo is a prince in disguise; you, my tears, are
daughters of ze great King. Zat uzzer boy, ze butcher, he also inherit
ze same heavenly palace. All ze children what come in zis world haf
wander avay from zat home, and ze elder brother he go up and down
looking for ze lost. He gif me commission; he gif effery Christians
commission to find zose lost prince--to teach him and fit him for his
high position. I did not have intention to deceive you, my tear. It was
my little vay of talk."

"Oh! oh!" exclaimed Winnie, "I feel as if my brain were turning a
somersault, but I cannot realize it. Then I did not really deceive you,
after all, Miss Prillwitz, though I was just as wicked in intending to
do so. And Jim--do not say there is no hope!"

"No, my tear. I know all ze time zis was not ze boy I expect. But I say
to myself, 'How he come I know not, but he is also ze child of ze
King.' Ze elder brother want him to be care for also. May be ze elder
brother send him, and I take him very gladly. And surely, I never find
one child to prove his title to be one Prince of Paradise better as
Giacomo. So gentle, so loving, so generous and soughtful. I not wonder
at all ze elder brother want him. I sank him, I sank you, too, Winnie, I
have privilege to know one such lovely character."

Miss Prillwitz looked at her watch. "I can no longer," she said quickly,
and hurried back to her home. We crossed the park thoughtfully and
entered the school. There was just time to tell the girls the news
before chapel. The knowledge that dear Jim was lying at death's door
overwhelmed every other consideration, and yet we talked over Miss
Prillwitz's little allegory also.

"We were stupid not to see through it at first," said Adelaide. "She is
just the woman to create an ideal world for herself and to live in it. I
have no grudge against her because we misunderstood her meaning, and yet
there certainly is something very fine in Jim's nature."

"Now I think it all over," said Emma Jane, "she has said nothing which
was not true."

"I understand her letter better now," I said. "We have all been parts of
a beautiful parable, and we have been as thickheaded as the disciples
were when Jesus said, 'O fools, and slow of heart to believe.'"

Milly was silently weeping. "All the beauty of the idea doesn't change
the fact that Jim is dying," she said.

"I have never loved any one so since I lost my mother and my baby
brother," said Adelaide. "I can't remember how he looked--it was ten
years ago, and I have no photographs, only this cameo pin, which father
bought because it reminded him of mother. Not the face either, only the
turn of the neck. He said she had a beautiful neck--and as he came home
from his business at night he always saw her sitting in her little
sewing-chair by the window looking every now and then over her shoulder
for him with her neck turned so, and her profile clear cut against the
dark of the room like the two colors of agate in this cameo."

It is not natural for girls to talk freely on what stirs them most
deeply, and little more was said on the subject that morning, but we
each thought a great deal, and if our hearts could have been laid bare
to each other, we would have been startled by the similarity of the
trains of thought which this event had roused. All through the morning's
lessons our imaginations wandered to the house across the park, and we
wondered whether all was indeed over, and dear, cheery, helpful Jim had
gone. We did not remember that we had declared we would gladly let him
go to an earthly princedom, and yet this was far better for him. Our
imaginations saw only the white upturned face upon the pillow, the
grief-stricken mother, and Miss Prillwitz flitting about drawing the
sheet straight, and placing white lilacs in his hands.

Adelaide confessed to me, long after, that all of her worldly thoughts
in reference to visiting Jim some day came back to her in a strange,
sermonizing way. She said that in her secret heart she had rather
dreaded the visit because she knew so little of the etiquette of foreign
courts, and was afraid she might make some mistake. She had even studied
several books on the subject, and knew the sort of costume it was
necessary to wear in a royal presentation, just the length of the
train, the degree of décolletée, and the veil, and the feathers. The
thought came over her with great vividness that she had never studied
the etiquette of Heaven or attempted to provide herself with garments
fit for the presence of the King. Mrs. Hetterman had a habit of singing
quaint old hymns. There was one which we often heard echoing up from the
basement--

    "At His right hand our eyes behold
    The queen arrayed in purest gold;
    The world admires her heavenly dress,
    Her robe of joy and righteousness."

This scrap was borne in upon Adelaide's mind now. "A robe of joy and
righteousness," she thought to herself; "I wonder how it is made! it
surely must be becoming."

Then she thought again of her mingled motives, of how glad she had been
that she had befriended Jim because she could claim him as an
acquaintance as a prince, in that foreign country, and how she had
wished that she might entertain more traveling members of the nobility
in his country in order to have more acquaintances at court. "If the
poor are Christ's brothers and sisters," she said to herself, "I have
abundant opportunity to make many friendships which may be carried over
into that unknown country;" and a new purpose awoke in her heart, which
had for its spring not the most unselfish motives, but a strong one, and
destined to achieve good work, and to give place in time to higher aims.

Afternoon came, and no message had arrived from Jim. "Girls," said
Adelaide, as we sat in the Amen Corner, "if Jim dies, I propose that we
carry this sort of work on of fitting poor children for something
higher, and broaden it, as a memorial to him. I don't exactly see my way
yet, but we can do a good deal if we band together and try."

"Oh! don't talk about Jim's dying," said Milly, "we'll do it, anyway."

"I can't see why we don't hear from Miss Prillwitz," said Winnie,
impatiently. "It is recreation hour; let us go out into the park, and
perhaps she will see us and send us some word."

We walked around and around the paths which were in view from Miss
Prillwitz's windows. Presently we saw Mary Hetterman coming toward us
with a note in her hand.

"I know just what that note says," exclaimed Milly, sinking upon a
bench. "The little prince has gone to his estates."

"Hush!" exclaimed Adelaide. "See! is it a ghost?" We looked as she
pointed, and saw at Jim's window a perfect representation of Adelaide's
cameo. A white face against the dark interior. It vanished as she spoke,
leaving us all with a strange, eerie sensation, a feeling that this was
certainly an omen of Jim's death. But our premonitions, like so many
others, did not come true. The note was not for us. Mary Hetterman
passed us with a smile and a nod, and a moment later Miss Prillwitz
herself came out to us.

We knew by her face that she brought good news, but none of us spoke
until she answered our unuttered question.

"No, tears, Jim haf not gone. Ze prince haf been here, but I sink he not
take him zis time already. The doctor sink we keep him one leetle time
longer. I cannot stay. It is time I go give him his medicine, and let
loose ze nurse, for I care for him ze nights. Good-bye, my tears. Ah! I
am so happy zat ze little prince go not yet to his estates; so happy,
and yet so sleepy also." And we noticed for the first time the great
dark rings which want of sleep and anxiety had drawn around Miss
Prillwitz's eyes.

"Good-bye, princess," I cried; "surely no one deserves that title more
than you, for you have proved yourself a royal daughter of the King. We
have called you so a long time among ourselves--our Princess del
Paradiso."

She smiled, waved her hand, and vanished into the queer house which she
had made a palace.

It was some time before Adelaide could recover from the shock of the
apparition at the window, though we assured her that it was probably
only the trained nurse; and we afterward ascertained that it was in
reality Mrs. Halsey, who had come to the window for a moment to greet
the glad new day, and who was now as joyful as she had been despairing.
So much tension of feeling, so great extremes of joy and sorrow, had
affected her deeply, and she wept out her gratitude on Miss Prillwitz's
sympathizing heart. "You have been very good to him," Mrs. Halsey said,
with emotion. "Some time, when the past all comes back to me, as I am
sure it will some day, I may be able to return your kindness."

Mrs. Halsey had made several mysterious allusions to the past, and Miss
Prillwitz, who had a kindly way of gaining the confidence of everyone,
said sweetly, "Tell me about your early life, my tear."

"It is a strange story," Mrs. Halsey replied. "I had a happy childhood
and girlhood, and a happy married life up to the time that my dear
parents died, and even after that, for my husband was the best of men,
and I had a sweet little daughter. Their faces come back to me, waking
and sleeping, though I have lost them, I sometimes fear, forever."

"Did they die?" Miss Prillwitz asked.

"No, dear, I think not; but now comes the strange part of my story: I
remember a journey vaguely, and a steamer disaster, a night of horror
with fire and water, and then all is a frightful blank; a curtain of
blackness seems to have fallen on all my past life. I am told that I was
rescued from the burning of a Sound steamer, with my baby-boy in my
arms, and given shelter by some kindly farmer folk. I had received an
injury--a blow on the head--and had brain-fever, from which I recovered
in body, but with a disordered mind, my memory shattered; I could
remember faces, but not names. I could not tell the name of the town in
which I had lived, or my own name. I remained with the kind people who
first received me for several months, but I did not wish to be a burden
to them, and I hoped that I might find my home. I knew that it had been
in a city, and I felt sure that if I ever saw any of my old
surroundings, or old friends I would recognize them at once. It was
thought, too, that New York physicians might help me, so I came to New
York, and my case was advertised in the papers. But months had passed
since the accident, and my friends either did not see the advertisement,
or did not recognize me in the story given. The doctors at the hospital
pronounced me incurable, and I was discharged. I wandered up and down
the streets, but although I felt sure that I had been in New York
before, I could not find my home. I read the names on the signs, hoping
to recognize my own name, but I never came across it. Meantime I took
the name of Halsey; it was necessary for me to live, and I knew that I
could sew, and that I had a faculty for designing; and seeing Madame
Céleste's advertisement for a designer, I applied at once for the
situation. It seemed to me at first that I had seen Madame Céleste
before, but she was repellent in manner, and I did not dare question
her, and gradually that impression faded. I hired a woman to take care
of Jim, and though he was not well cared for, he lived, and we got on
until he was large enough to play upon the streets. Then I took him home
to the little room in Rickett's Court, and finding that I could not be
with him as much as he needed, I gave up my place at Madame Céleste's
and worked at first for the costumer, where the young ladies found me,
and afterward tried to keep soul and body together by taking sewing
home. It was the life of a galley-slave, but I did not care so long as I
could keep my boy at school, and with me out of school hours. But I
could not do that, for to earn the money which was absolutely necessary
for our support Jim had to work too, and driving the milkman's cart in
the early morning was the best we could find for him out of school
hours. He was so proud and happy to do it, and to help earn for us both;
but, as you know, it cut into his hours for sleep, and left him no time
to study. Oh! I was nearly in despair, when God sent you as angels to my
help and Jim's."

"And have you never been able to guess what your old name was?" Miss
Prillwitz asked.

"Never; sometimes it seems to me that I remember it in my dreams, but
when I awake it is gone; still, I cannot help feeling that I shall find
my own again. Sometimes there comes a great inward illumination, and the
curtain seems to be lifting. I cannot think they have forgotten me--my
husband tender and true, and my little girl with the great questioning
eyes."

Miss Prillwitz did not share Mrs. Halsey's confidence, but her sympathy
was enlisted, and she caressed and comforted Mrs. Halsey. "It shall be
as you hope, my tear; if not just now and here, zen surely by and by,
and zat is not very long. And meantime you have found some friends, ze
young ladies and me, and ze Elder Brother have found you, and we are all
one family, so you can be no longer lonely and wizout relation, even in
zis world."



CHAPTER IX.

THE KING'S DAUGHTERS AND THE VENETIAN FÊTE.

    "O ladies, dear ladies, the next sunny day,
    Please trundle your hoops just out of Broadway,
    From its whirl and its bustle, its fashion and pride,
    And the temples of trade which tower on each side,
    To the alleys and lanes where Misfortune and Guilt
    Their children have gathered, their city have built.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Then say, if you dare,
    Spoiled children of fashion, you've nothing to wear!"

[Illustration: {Drawing of Milly Roseveldt.}]


Milly Roseveldt made an important entry in her diary a few days after
this. She was very exact about keeping her diary, recording for the most
part, however, very trivial matters, but the day that she wrote "We have
organized a 'King's Daughters Ten'" was a day with a white stone in it,
and deserved to be remembered.

Jim had passed the crisis of the fever, and recovered rapidly. Neither
of the other Hettermans was taken ill. The house was thoroughly cleansed
and disinfected, and after a few weeks we took up our interrupted botany
lessons. But Jim's illness had made more than a transient impression,
and Adelaide's suggestion that we should broaden and deepen our work was
talked over amongst us.

"There is a society," said Emma Jane, "which I have heard of somewhere,
which is called 'The King's Daughters.' I think they have much the same
idea that Miss Prillwitz has expressed. It is formed of separate links
of ten members, bound together by the common purpose of doing good. Now,
I think, we might form such a link, with Miss Prillwitz for our
president. There are five of us, but we need five more. Whom shall we
ask?"

"Girls," said Winnie, "I'm afraid you won't agree, but there is real
good stuff in those Hornets."

"The Hornets! Oh, never!"

"What an idea!"

"Why, they hate us!"

"No, they simply think that we despise them."

"Well, so we do. I am sure, the way that Cynthia Vaughn behaves is
simply despicable."

"Perhaps so," Winnie admitted, "but the other three girls are not so
bad. Little Breeze"--that was our nickname for Tina Gale--"is a real
good-natured girl, and a perfect genius for getting up things. When I
roomed in the Nest she was devoted to me; so they all were, for that
matter. I could make them do whatever I pleased, and Rosaria Ricos, the
Cuban heiress, is just as generous as she can be. 'Trude Middleton is a
great Sunday-school worker when she is at home, and Puss Seligman's
mother has a longer calling-list than Milly's, I do believe. Don't you
remember what a lot of tickets she sold for the theatricals? If we are
going to get up a charitable society we must use some brains to make it
succeed, and those girls are a power. You know very well that it is the
Hornets' Nest and the Amen Corner which support the literary society,
and when we unite on any ticket-selling or other enterprise it is sure
to succeed."

"Yes," replied Emma Jane Anton, "that is because we appeal to entirely
different sets of girls--between us we carry the entire school."

"I will take all in," said Adelaide, "except Cynthia. She has been too
hateful to Tib and Milly for anything!"

"Oh, don't mind me," murmured Milly; "I dare say she could not help
laughing when I made that mistake about Paul and Virginia."

"I don't believe she will join us," I said, doubtfully; "but I am sure I
would a great deal rather have her for a friend than an enemy."

"She will be so surprised and flattered that she will be as sweet as
jam," said Winnie, confidently. "You have no idea what a lofty
reputation you girls have. I used to reverence and envy you until it
amounted to positive hatred. That is what made me behave so badly. I
knew we couldn't approach you in good behavior, and I determined to take
the lead in something. That's just the way with Cynthia. She imagines
that you would not touch her with a ten-foot pole, and she wants you to
think that she doesn't care, but she does."

Milly promptly furnished the wherewithal for a spread, and the Hornets
were invited. Adelaide said that they acted as if a sense of
gratification were struggling with a sneaking consciousness of
unworthiness, and it was all that she could do not to display the scorn
which she was afraid she felt. But Milly was as sweetly gracious as only
Milly knew how to be, and Winnie put them all at their ease with her
rollicking good-fellowship. I was sure that Cynthia at first suspected
some trick, but even she succumbed at last to our praise of her
banjo-playing, which was really admirable. They melted completely with
the ice-cream--little ducks with strawberry heads and pistache wings;
and when Winnie told them the entire story of the little prince they
were greatly interested.

"Now," said Winnie, "I have been talking with Jim, and he says that the
tenement house in which he lived swarms with children who ought not to
pass the summer there, who will die if they do; and what I want to
propose is, that we club together and have some sort of entertainment,
to send them to the country, or do something else for them."

The proposition met with favor, as did the plan for the King's Daughters
society, which was organized at once, and officered as follows, the
"spoils" being divided equally between the Amen Corner and the Hornets:

President--Miss Prillwitz.

Vice-Presidents--Adelaide Armstrong and Gertrude Middleton.

Secretary--Cynthia Vaughn.

Treasurer--Emma Jane Anton.

Executive Committee--The foregoing officers and the rest of the society.

"Little Breeze" then made a practical suggestion: "You know," said she,
"that the literary society is always allowed to give an entertainment
the week before the graduating exercises, to put the treasury in funds,
or, rather, to pay old debts. We have no debts this year, and I am sure
that the society will let us have the occasion. Whatever we ten favor is
sure to be carried in the literary society."

"That is what I said," remarked Winnie.

"So if Miss Anton will get Madame's permission for the change, I have no
doubt we can make at least three hundred dollars."

"Nonsense! we will make twice that," said Puss Hastings.

"But what shall we have?"

"I know the sweetest thing," said Little Breeze. "A Venetian Fête! It is
really a fair, but the booths are all made to represent gondolas. They
are painted black, and have their prows turned toward the centre of the
room. We can have it in the gymnasium. The gondolas are canopied in
different colors and hung with bright lanterns. We must all be dressed
in Venetian costume, and have music and some pretty dances. It will be
lovely!"

The fair was planned out: each girl had a gondola assigned her, with
permission to work other girls in, and enthusiasm had reached a high
pitch, when the retiring-bell clanged and the Hornets took their
departure, the utmost good feeling prevailing between what had been
until this evening rival factions of the school.

After our next botany lesson we lingered to inform Miss Prillwitz of
what we had done, and to ask her to accept the Presidency of our ten.
She listened with much interest.

"My tears," she said, "I sink perhaps you s'all do much good. I have
justly been sinking, sinking; but ze need is great. I know not how we
s'all come at ze money which we do need."

Then Miss Prillwitz explained that she had visited Rickett's Court, and
had found so many little children in those vile surroundings; some of
them, whose mothers were servants in families, and received good wages,
were "boarding" with Mrs. Grogan, the baby-farmer. She had met one such
mother in the court--a waitress on Fifth Avenue, who had three children
with Mrs. Grogan.

"I pay her fifteen dollars a month," she said; "it is cheaper than I can
board them elsewhere, and all that I can pay; but it makes my heart sick
to see them sleeping and playing beside sewers and sinks, and to have
them exposed to language of infinitely worse foulness. I know that if
they do not die in childhood, of which there is every likelihood, they
will grow up bad; and I don't know which I would choose for them. I
wouldn't mind slaving for them, if there was any hope, if I could see
them in decent surroundings, with some prospect of their turning out
well in the end; but now, when I ask myself what all my toil amounts to,
it seems to me that the best thing which could happen to us all would be
to die."

The waitress knew of other servants who could have no home of their own
for their children, but who could pay something for their support, and
whose maternal love and feeling of independence kept them from giving
their children up to institutions; who had entrusted their little ones
to bad people, who hired them to beggars, beat and half starved them.
And now the summer was approaching, and it was dreadful to think of
those closely packed tenement houses under the stifling heat.

Miss Prillwitz said that it had seemed to her positively wrong for her
to go away to the seashore for the summer while so many must remain and
suffer.

"I don't see that," said Adelaide, "unless by staying you can make their
condition better."

"Perhaps I can so," replied Miss Prillwitz, "if ze King's Daughters will
help me." And then she developed a plan of Jim's. He had noticed the
vacant floors in her house, which had remained unlet all the winter. "If
you could rent them for the summer, Miss Prillwitz," he had suggested,
"we wouldn't need much furniture, but could just invite a lot of the
children in and let them camp down. The rooms are so clean, and there is
such lovely fresh air and no smells, and such beautiful bath-tubs, and
the park for the little ones to play in, and Mary Hetterman could watch
them."

"You forget," Miss Prillwitz had replied, "zat zose children are use
probably to eat somet'ings."

No, Jim had not forgotten that, but Mrs. Hetterman would be out of a
place for the summer vacation, and would cook for them, and the
children's mothers would pay something, and he would do the marketing.
After the public school closed the older children could earn something,
he thought. He was all on fire with the idea, and his enthusiasm had
communicated itself to our princess. "I haf even vent to see my
landlord," she confessed; "he is von very rich man. I sought maybe he
let me use ze rooms for ze summer, since he cannot else rent them. But
no, he did not so make his wealths. We can have them von hundred dollar
ze months; six months, five hundred. We cannot else. Now do you sink you
make five hundred dollar from your fair?"

"Oh, I think so; indeed, I am sure of it!" Adelaide exclaimed; "dear
little Jim, what an angel he is! We will go right to work and see what
we can do."

Of course the fair was a success, as fairs go. I have since thought that
a fair is a poor way for Christian people to give money to any
charitable purpose. So much goes astray from the goal, so much is
swallowed up in the expenses, that if people would only put their hands
in their pockets and give at the outset what they do give in the
aggregate, more would be realized, and much time, vexation, and labor
saved. But people do not yet recognize this, and we knew no better than
to follow in the old way. I had charge of the Art gondola, with Miss
Sartoris and all the Studio girls to help me. We decided that, as it was
a Venetian fête, we would make a specialty of Italian art. Miss Sartoris
suggested etchings, and one of the leading art dealers allowed us to
make our choice from his entire collection, giving them to us at
wholesale, as he would to any other retail dealer, we to sell them at
the regular retail price, thereby taking no unfair advantage over our
purchasers, and yet making a handsome profit on each etching sold, while
we ran no risk, as all unsold stock was to be returned.

We were surprised to find how many Venetian subjects had been
etched. There were half a dozen different views of St. Mark's
Cathedral--exteriors and interiors; San Giorgios and La Salutes; there
were Rainy Nights in Venice, and Sunny Days in Venice, canals and
bridges, shipping and palaces, piazzas and archways and cloisters.

Then we obtained a quantity of photographs of the Italian master-pieces,
chiefly from the works of Titian and the Venetian school, though we
included also the Madonnas of Raphael. Miss Sartoris found an Italian
curiosity-shop, which was a perfect treasure-trove, for here we secured,
on commission, a quantity of Venetian glass beads, the beautiful
blossomed variety, with tiny smelling-bottles of the same material,
together with sleeve-buttons of Florentine mosaic, ornaments of pink
Neapolitan coral, and broken pieces of antique Roman marbles, all of
which we sold at immense profit. We had not thought of having any
statuary, until Jim came to us, one afternoon, saying that Miss
Prillwitz had told him that we intended to have an Italian fête, and as
several of the families whom he wished benefited were Italians, who
lived in Rickett's Court, he thought they might help us.

"What do they do?" I asked.

"The older Stavini boys peddle plaster-of-paris images, and some of them
are very pretty. Pietro will bring you a basket of them, I am sure, and
take back all you don't sell."

The plaster casts proved to be artistic and new. There was a set of five
singing cherubs which we had seen on sale in the stores at twenty-five
dollars a set, which Pietro offered us at fifty cents each, and others
in like proportion. We sold his entire basketful at advanced prices, and
received several orders for duplicates.

Winnie had charge of the refreshment department, and had a troop of the
"preparatories" dressed as contadinas, who were to serve Neapolitan ices
in colored glasses. Jim enabled her to introduce a very taking novelty
by telling her of Vincenzo Amati, a cook in an Italian restaurant, who
had three motherless little girls who were candidates for the summer
home. Vincenzo agreed to come and cook for us while the fair lasted,
Mrs. Hetterman kindly giving him place in the kitchen, so that we were
able to add to our other attractions that of a real Italian supper,
served on little tables in an adjoining recitation-room. Vincenzo
brought us several dozen Chianti wine flasks, the empty bottles at the
restaurant having been one of his perquisites. They were of graceful
shapes, with slender necks, and wound in wicker, which Miss Sartoris
gilded and further ornamented with a bow of bright satin ribbon. These
flasks, empty, decorated each of the little tables, and one was given to
each guest as a souvenir.

The menu consisted of--

    Riso con piselli, } (Soup).
    Minestra Zuppa,   }
    Olives.
    Bistecca (Beefsteak).
    Macaroni al burro (with butter).
    Macaroni a pomidoro (with potatoes).
    Testa de vitello (Calf's head).
    Carciofi (Artichokes).
    Cavolifiori (Cauliflower).
    Salami di Bologna (Bologna Sausage).
    Crostata di frutti (Fruit tarts).
    Formaggio (Cheese).

Adelaide was musical director, and led the singing class in "Dolce
Napoli" and other Italian songs. The girls were dressed in costume, and
there was one fisher chorus, which made a very effective tableau with a
background of colored sails and nets. Vincenzo allowed his little
girls to appear with a neighbor's hand-organ, and when they passed their
tambourines they gathered a goodly harvest of pennies.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of the Venetian Fête.}]

Little Breeze arranged the tableaux and the dances, Mrs. Halsey sending
in designs for the costumes; and Cynthia Vaughn ran a side show of
stereopticon views, Professor Todd kindly working the lantern.

Milly had the flower gondola, or booth of cut flowers, supplied from her
father's conservatory, and Miss Prillwitz contributed to this department
a quantity of little albums and herbaria containing pressed flowers and
seaweed from different Italian cities. Our dear princess was present,
beaming with happiness, and the "ten" introduced her proudly to their
parents and friends. Mr. Roseveldt seemed much interested, in an amused
way, in what we were trying to do. "Go ahead, my dear," he said to
Milly, "and if you don't come to me to shoulder a lot of bad debts
before the summer is over, I shall be greatly surprised, and have a far
higher respect for what little girls can do than I now possess."

"'Little girls,' indeed!" Milly repeated, with scorn. "There are younger
gentlemen, sir, who consider us young ladies, if you do not. But we
will compel your respect, and we will not ask you for one penny either."

This was rather hard, for we had secretly hoped, all along, that Milly's
father would help us, and now she had made it a point of pride not to
ask him. He behaved very well, however, for although he bantered us
cruelly on our Utopian enterprise, he bought a button-hole bouquet of
his own violets from Milly, paying a five-dollar bill for it and
neglecting to ask for change, and then took Miss Prillwitz, Madame, Emma
Jane Anton, Miss Sartoris, and Miss Hope successively out to supper. He
purchased, too, an alabaster model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which
Madame had contributed on condition that it should be sold for not less
than twenty dollars, and which we had feared would not be disposed of,
as we had voted that there should be no raffling. Madame was greatly
interested in the fair; it drew attention to her school, and she smiled
on everyone--a self-constituted reception committee. She was even
gracious to the cadet band which had serenaded the school in the fall
term. The cadets to a man invited Milly out to dinner. She went with
each of them in succession, and as the viands were sold _à la carte_,
she bravely ordered the more expensive dishes over and over again,
enduring a martyrdom of dyspepsia for a week in consequence.

Of course Jim was present, and his mother. Adelaide was attentive to
both; there seemed to be a mutual attraction that kept them together,
and whenever Adelaide left Mrs. Halsey, and taking up her baton (Milly's
curling-stick), led her orchestra, Mrs. Halsey's eyes followed her with
a strange wistfulness. Winnie, with her usual heedlessness, had
neglected to introduce Adelaide to Mrs. Halsey when she called on her in
the court, and she now turned to Jim and asked her name. It happened
that Jim thought that she referred to the pianist instead of to
Adelaide, and he replied that the young lady in question was Miss Hope,
the music-teacher. Mrs. Halsey gave a little sigh of disappointment, and
continued her spell-bound gaze. I was about to correct the mistake which
I was sure Jim had made, when it was announced that Mrs. Le Moyne, the
celebrated interpreter of Robert Browning, would kindly recite a poem of
Mrs. Browning's. Mrs. Halsey and Jim moved nearer the rostrum, and my
opportunity for explanation was lost. If I had known the effect that
the name of Adelaide Armstrong would have had upon Mrs. Halsey, chains
could not have kept me in my gondola--so many invisible gates of
opportunity are closed and opened to us all along life's pathway!

The poem recited was, most appropriately, "The Cry of the Children."
Tears welled into the eyes of many a mother as the practiced art of the
speaker rendered most feelingly the pathetic words:

    "But these others--children small,
      Spilt like blots about the city
    Quay and street and palace wall--
      Take them up into your pity!

    Patient children--think what pain
      Makes a young child patient yonder;
    Wronged too commonly to strain
      After right, or wish or wonder;

    Sickly children, that whine low
      To themselves and not their mothers,
    From mere habit, never so--
      Hoping help or care from others;

    Healthy children, with those blue
      English eyes, fresh from their Maker,
    Fierce and ravenous, staring through
      At the brown loaves of the baker.

    Can we smooth down the bright hair,
      O my sisters, calm, unthrilled in
    Our hearts' pulses? Can we bear
      The sweet looks of our own children?

    O my sisters! Children small,
      Blue-eyed, wailing through the city--
    Our own babes cry in them all;
      Let us take them into pity!"

That poem was worth a great deal to our cause. Those of the mothers of
our Ten who were present were won to us at once.

Mrs. Middleton, our vice-president's mother, and the wife of a
clergyman, entered into our scheme with enthusiasm, and felt sure that
her husband's church would assist us.

Mrs. Seligman and Mrs. Roseveldt put their heads together and planned to
interest their society friends. One of hers, Mrs. Roseveldt was sure,
would contribute the coal, and another the flour, while Mrs. Seligman
would provide the blankets, and a friend of her acquaintance would
certainly assume the butcher's bill. Madame Céleste, the dress-maker,
who was present, was about to refurnish her parlors, and would
contribute curtains. Madame Céleste bought a quantity of my photographs
of old Italian portraits, and I have no doubt that they were very
serviceable to her in the way of suggestions for æsthetic costumes.

We knew before the evening closed that the fair must have realized more
than we had hoped, and Emma Jane, the Treasurer of the new society,
announced at our next meeting that the fair had cleared six hundred
dollars. Vociferous applause followed, and we immediately adjourned to
Miss Prillwitz's to report the unexpectedly happy result.

Our princess had talked over the scheme with such of our mothers as were
present at the fair; and she now advised that we create them a board of
managers of the proposed Home, to carry it on for us, as we were all
minors, and lacked the necessary experience, we to labor for it harder
than ever. This was immediately done, and after this, affairs marched
with great rapidity. The Home of the Elder Brother was licensed and
fitted up for its little guests within a week. The vacant floors in Miss
Prillwitz's house were rented--not for the summer only, as we had at
first planned, but, to our great surprise, for a year. An "unknown
friend," who had admired our efforts, sent in a subscription of nine
hundred dollars, thereby more than doubling the amount obtained by the
fair, and guaranteeing that amount annually as long as the Home was
continued.

Mr. Roseveldt had been better than his word, and the Home was placed on
an assured basis for a year. What it would be after that we could not
tell. It was only permitted to see one step ahead, but that step we
could take with thankful assurance.

Madame sent over a quantity of furniture, as she intended to refit the
students' rooms during the summer vacation. Donations of every kind
poured in, and twenty-five little iron bedsteads were dressed in white,
and set in the sunny rooms which were to be used as dormitories. Madame
Céleste had said that she would not require Mrs. Halsey during the three
summer months, and the little woman offered her services for that
interim as nursery care-taker.

Another surprise came when Emma Jane Anton announced that she had
written home and obtained permission to remain as matron. She had a
talent for housekeeping, and she gave her services freely. "I am not
rich," she said. "I can't give money, but I can give myself. I am not
used to children; I don't believe they will like me, for I don't care
for them overmuch; but Mrs. Halsey will mother them, and I can keep the
house sweet and clean; I can market economically, and keep accounts
exactly, and I mean that the princess shall not give up her visit to
Tib. She must go to the country for a part of the summer at least."

"And when she comes back," I said, "you must take your turn, Emma Jane;
we will be so glad to have you!"

"Oh, immensely! I am a genial, sweet creature, I know, an addition to
society; but I thank you, all the same, and if I feel run down, I will
come and get a sniff of sea air."

The King's Daughters' Ten held their last meeting before the breaking up
of the school. The money gained was entrusted to Emma Jane's care for
the summer, and each of the members bound herself to carry the scheme
with her wherever she went, to interest others, to gather and forward
funds, and to work for the Home in every possible way.

Then we paid our last visit, for that term, to Miss Prillwitz, and our
first to our little guests, and returning, packed our trunks, attended
the graduating exercises of the senior class (the Amen Corner and the
Hornets were all juniors and sophomores, with the exception of Emma
Jane, who graduated), hugged and wept over each other, and elected
Winnie corresponding secretary for the summer, and promised to write to
her every month, reporting work done for the Home, and separated with
mingled hilarity and depression of spirits.

Mr. Roseveldt called at the Home with Milly and Adelaide before they
left town. It was a little plan of the girls to interest him in Jim, and
it succeeded admirably. After a number of other questions, Mr. Roseveldt
asked Jim if he could drive.

"I managed the milkman's nag," the boy replied, "and he was an awfully
hardmouthed, ugly brute."

"Then I fancy you will have no trouble with Milly's pony, which is as
gentle as a kitten," Mr. Roseveldt replied. "I want a boy in buttons
just to sit in the rumble while the girls drive about the country." And
so Jim was engaged to go to Narragansett Pier, and would have a happy
summer with Milly and Adelaide.



CHAPTER X.

THE LANDLORD OF RICKETT'S COURT.

    "And yet it was never in my soul
      To play so ill a part:
    But evil is wrought by want of thought
      As well as by want of heart."

                            --_Thos. Hood._

  [Illustration: {Drawing of Solomon Meyer.}]


Solomon Meyer, who collected the rents at Rickett's Court, was looked
upon by the tenants as the landlord, though he distinctly disclaimed
that honor, explaining that he was only the agent, empowered merely to
receive money, never to disburse. According to Mr. Meyer the landlord
was a heartless miser, whom he had entreated to make repairs and to
lower rents, but who always turned a deaf ear to such appeals. If he,
Solomon Meyer, only owned Rickett's Court, there would be no end to the
reforms which his tender heart would cause him to institute; as it was,
there was no hope for anything of the kind; his orders were explicit--if
tenants could not pay, they must leave.

Many of the tenants believed that Mr. Meyer was really the owner of
their building, and that the landlord whom he represented as responsible
for all their discomfort was purely imaginary, but in this they wronged
the agent. Solomon Meyer had no scruples against telling a lie whenever
it would serve his purpose, but here the truth did very well. Rickett's
Court had a landlord who, although he was not the inhuman wretch which
Solomon represented him, still cared nothing for his tenants, and, while
the agent had never suggested any reforms or repairs, might well have
guessed that they were needed. Adelaide Armstrong would have been
shocked beyond expression if she had known that the true landlord of
Rickett's Court was no other than her own father. Mr. Armstrong would
have been no less shocked if he had known of the abuses for which he was
really responsible. He had never seen his own property. It had been
represented to him as a profitable investment, and had proved so. He was
only in New York for brief intervals each year, and he left the entire
management of Rickett's Court to Solomon Meyer, well pleased with the
returns which he rendered, and not suspecting that they were less than
the sums wrung from the tenants.

He had mentally set aside Rickett's Court as Adelaide's property, and he
used its proceeds to defray her expenses. There was a neat little
surplus left over each quarter-day, which he placed in the savings bank
to her credit, and with which he intended to endow her on her marriage.
But of all this Adelaide of course knew nothing. Mr. Armstrong's more
important business ventures were in western railroad speculations. These
absorbed his attention, and needed the closest application of his
faculties. He was glad of this. The East had grown distasteful to him
since the loss of his wife and infant son. He felt that he might have
been a different man if his wife, whom he tenderly loved, had lived;
and Adelaide had never ceased to mourn her mother, whom she could not
remember. "What shall I ever do," she frequently asked, "when I finish
school? If I only had a mother to be my companion and counselor! but I
shall be so lonely, and so unfit to take care of myself!"

The circumstances which I relate in this chapter because they belong
here in sequence of time, did not come to my knowledge until long after
their occurrence.

Mr. Armstrong came on from the West the evening of our fair. He was
weary and much occupied by matters of business, and he did not attend
it, much to our regret. He lent a kindly ear to Adelaide's description
of it, for he was fond and proud of his beautiful daughter, and he liked
to see her a leader in everything.

He manifested apparently little interest, however, in what she had to
tell him of Rickett's Court. "There, there, Puss!" he said, lightly,
"you must not get fanatical, and rant. I hardly think things are as bad
down there as you make them out."

"But, papa," Adelaide interrupted, "I went there myself. I saw it with
my own eyes. It is horrible to think that human beings should be
obliged to live in such filth and misery. I think the landlord of
Rickett's Court ought to be prosecuted. I wish I knew that old Rickett!
I would give him a piece of my mind."

"I've no doubt of it; but spare me, Puss, since my name is not Rickett."

He must have felt a sharp twinge of conscience as he spoke, while his
daughter's words could not have failed to make an impression on the
false Rickett. He had read in the cars a little book entitled "Uncle
Tom's Tenement," by Alice Wellington Rollins, and Helen Campbell's
"Prisoners of Poverty." He wondered if their pictures of tenement life
were indeed true. A few days later he listened to some remarks of Mr.
Felix Adler's on tenement reform. He knew what Mr. Charles Pratt was
doing in Brooklyn, and his better man told him that now was his
opportunity. Why should he not put the plumbing in his tenement in
decent repair; it might not cost much more, after all, than to bribe the
inspector to report it as all right--a proceeding which Solomon Meyer
advised. He could at least drain the sink in the court, and do away with
the unchristian smells which now drove the chance visitor from the
vicinity. And if he should have the rooms cleaned and whitewashed, he
might even pose before the public as a humanitarian landlord, and so
gain the cooperation of some of the philanthropists of the day for some
other schemes which he had in mind.

He visited the court with a plumber, and found it in worse condition
than he had imagined. There was a leak from the sewer in the back
basement. All of the rooms were foul with vermin, and rats scuttled back
into the walls through great holes. Many of the tenants had left, for
various reasons. The opening of the Home of the Elder Brother was in
great part responsible for the emptying of Rickett's Court, for the
better class of its tenants had embraced this great opportunity to place
their children in good surroundings. So many children had been
transferred from Mrs. Grogan's care to the Home by their mothers that
Mrs. Grogan, finding her occupation gone, betook herself to petty
larceny and was arrested.

The Italian rag-pickers had taken to the road, with a monkey and an
organ as tramps for the summer, leaving their filth behind them.

Mr. Armstrong looked into their vacated den, and found it impossible to
imagine what it could have been when occupied.

The windows had been stoned by the street boys until hardly a pane
remained, and the staircase had rotted so that he thrust his foot
through it. The house would need plastering and glazing as well as
replumbing. It began to look like a great undertaking. However, he bade
the plumber make and send him his estimates, and hurried out of the
court, not taking a full breath until he was fairly on Broadway. Then he
sent a mason and a carpenter to look at the building. "I must make some
repairs," he said to himself, "or I shall get no tenants whatever."

He had noticed another defect: there was but one staircase. He must add
a fire-escape, for the place was a death-trap. He had a feeling of
responsibility in regard to endangering the lives of human beings by
fire, and he was trying to invent a scheme for heating and lighting
railroad cars in such a manner as to do away with the danger of fire in
case of accident. So far, the full completion of the invention escaped
him, but he worked at it by night and day, not so much because it would
be an immense boon to the age, but because he was sure that, if
introduced only on his own railroad, it would boom the line above a
rival route, and if patented, would make his fortune. Solomon Meyer, in
enumerating the tenants of the court, had mentioned a Mr. Trimble, a
poor inventor, who occupied the back attic, whom it would be well to
turn out, as he had paid no rent for some time, though he had promised
well, saying that he had just invented a scheme for the safe heating of
cars, from which he hoped to realize a large sum. Mr. Armstrong
thoughtlessly displayed before his agent the interest which he felt.
"Bring the man to me," he exclaimed; "if he has really worked out the
problem, it is just what I want."

The agent at once paid a visit to the poor inventor and possessed
himself of his plans and model, promising to do his best for him.

Mr. Armstrong saw at a glance that the inventor had compassed just what
had baffled him so long.

"What will he take for this invention?" he asked, eagerly.

"Not one cent less as five t'ousand dollar," replied Mr. Meyer.

"That is a good round sum," remarked Mr. Armstrong, "but the right to it
is worth more than that to me. Arrange the papers for me, get the
gentleman to sign them, give him this check for a thousand dollars, and
I will send him another, soon, for four thousand."

Mr. Meyer saw his opportunity here. He returned to Mr. Trimble, assured
him that his contrivance had been anticipated and already patented by
another man: he was too late. The poor man's disappointment was intense;
his head and hands trembled.

"I thank you for trying for me," he said; "there is nothing for me now
but the river. I have occupied this room in the hope of paying my rent
when I realized from that invention, but I have no longer any
expectations, and I had better go and drown myself."

Then for the first time Mr. Meyer realized that there was another person
in the room. Jim had come down to the court to see his old friends, and
had dropped in to inquire after Mr. Trimble's son, a merry little fellow
who had been a playmate of his in the old days. Jim had retreated into a
corner when the agent called, but he now sprang forward and threw his
arms around the poor inventor's neck.

"No, no!" he cried; "Mr. Meyer will beg Mr. Rickett to let you stay
until the first of the month, and something may turn up by that time."

Some sense of shame prompted Solomon Meyer to yield to this request,
though in his secret heart he knew that his own plans could be more
safely carried out if his victim did drown himself; and the sooner the
better. Then he hurried away to collect rents of the new tenants, with
the money which Mr. Armstrong had sent Stephen Trimble burning like a
coal in his pocket.

The contract for the new invention was returned to Mr. Armstrong at the
same time with the estimates of the different mechanics for the
improvements of Rickett's Court. It would cost three thousand dollars to
put the tenement in decent repair, and this did not include the
fire-escape. Mr. Armstrong whistled as he added up the items. It was
really not convenient for him to place his hand on so much ready cash;
certainly not without using the money which he had placed in the savings
bank to Adelaide's credit. Mr. Meyer stood cringing before him, and Mr.
Armstrong explained the situation.

The agent promptly disapproved of the improvements. They would be a
great waste of money. No one would rent the tenements after they were
repaired, for it would be necessary to charge a higher rent, and tenants
able to pay it, or desiring bathrooms and sanitary plumbing, would not
occupy such a quarter of the city.

"But suppose I do not charge any more rent, but simply try to educate my
old tenants to better habits of life?"

Mr. Meyer explained that Mr. Armstrong could throw away his money in
that way if he wished, but that the class of tenants who patronized
Rickett's Court could not be educated. They preferred filth to
cleanliness, and, however respectable their quarters were made, would
soon convert them into sinks again.

Mr. Armstrong reminded his agent that his best tenants had left him,
that the house was practically deserted, and that something must be done
to attract new occupants.

Mr. Meyer assured him that applications had already been received for
the rooms in their present state. A ship-load of emigrants had just
arrived: Polish Jews and exiled Russians, who had been imprisoned as
Nihilists, and who had suffered such barbarities that Rickett's Court,
horrible as it was, seemed positively comfortable to them.

Mr. Armstrong hesitated. He did not like to give up his scheme of
renovation; still, there were the papers waiting for his signature for
the transfer of the invention, and this he had decided he must have; it
was sure to bring in a great deal of money, and another year he could
much better afford to make these improvements. He decided, reluctantly,
that he would put them off for the present.

"I will have a fire-escape put up," he said to his agent, "and we will
do the rest as soon as possible."

Solomon Meyer shrugged his shoulders. "There is no danger of fire," he
said, "and I was about to propose that you take out a fire insurance
policy on that building; that cost about the same, and much more
sensible."

Mr. Armstrong thought a moment. "If the danger of fire is sufficient to
warrant me in insuring, it is also great enough to make furnishing the
fire-escape an imperative duty. I insist on your seeing that one is
adjusted immediately. You may also take out an insurance policy for
twenty thousand. See if Mr. Trimble can wait for the rest of his money
until the first of the month. (The agent's face fell.) You have given
him my check for one thousand; he ought to be willing to wait a few days
for the rest. If he is not satisfied, tell him to come down and see me,
and we'll come to some agreement."

This was exactly what Solomon Meyer did not wish. "I will try my best to
make him sign the papers on those terms," he said, and carried them away
to his own den, where he forged the name of Stephen Trimble to both
contract and check. He found no difficulty in cashing the check, for Mr.
Armstrong's name was well known, though Stephen Trimble's was not.

And in the mean time the poor inventor sat in his garret trying to
think. His wife was in the hospital, and his little son busied himself
with washing the supper dishes. It was not a heavy task, for their
supper had consisted only of some cold griddle-cakes which, the
flap-jack man had given them. When the boy had finished his work he
crept close to his father and laid his head on his knee.

"Why don't you light the lamp?" Mr. Trimble asked, rousing himself.

"There isn't any oil, daddy."

"No matter. I can think better in the dark, and you had better go to
bed."

"I am going out pretty soon to help the flap-jack man wheel his cart."

"Very well, Lovey, if he is a good man; I don't want you to do anything
wrong."

"He's good to me, daddy."

"I'm glad of that; you need a friend, and you may need one more." He
kissed his little boy as he went out--an unwonted action on the father's
part--and waited until he was sure that the child had left the building,
then rose, with a desperate look upon his face, and stepped out on the
landing. The house was very full now; people had been coming for two
days past with great bales of foul clothing, offensive with odors of the
steerage, and had packed into the already dirty rooms. It was an
unusually warm night for spring, and the house was unbearably close. The
tenants had resorted to the roof, and were sitting under the stars,
trying in vain to find fresh air, and screaming and scolding at one
another in a strange, harsh language.

Stephen Trimble was about to descend the staircase, when two men of
unpleasant aspect stopped him.

"You are the machinist who lives on the top floor?"

"Yes."

"Have you time for a little job?"

"Plenty of time. Thank God!" he added, mentally, "who has sent me help
in time."

"Then come down-stairs with us: we are your neighbors, and are just
under you.

"What do you want me to do?"

"We'll show you."

The men admitted him to their room, and carefully locked the door behind
them. One of them struck a light, and in so doing dropped a match upon
the floor. The other sprang upon it quickly, ground it out with his
heel, and cursed him for his carelessness. Stephen Trimble looked about
him, and saw that one end of the room was piled with boxes and tin cans,
one of which was open, showing a compound slightly resembling maple
sugar. A table stood before the low window, and on it was apparatus or
machinery of some sort. The first man placed his candle on the table,
and drew up a packing-box for Mr. Trimble to sit upon. There was no
other furniture in the room.

"You do not live here?" said the inventor.

"No," replied the first man, who constituted himself the spokesman for
both; "it isn't a sweet place to live in. We hire it as a workshop. You
see, we are perfecting a sort of torpedo. You've heard of the submarine
torpedoes that did such good service in blowing up the Turkish ships in
the Russo-Turkish war?"

"Oh yes," replied Stephen Trimble, much interested. "I thought that
stuff looked like dynamite! So you are inventing a new torpedo, which
you mean to sell the Government? That's a good idea. They are thinking
of increasing the navy, and it's always better to deal with the
Government than with private individuals."

The silent man nudged his partner and remarked, "Yes, we're agoin' to
deal with the Government. That's a good way to put it."

The other man made an impatient gesture, and proceeded to explain a
small machine to Mr. Trimble. "You don't exactly understand my friend,"
he said, "but no matter. This kind of a torpedo isn't of the submarine
kind; we pack the explosives here, matches here, friction paper just
beside them; but just here we are stuck, and we need you or some other
mechanic to show us how the thing can be set off by electricity, the
operator to touch a button at a distance."

Mr. Trimble bent himself to an examination of the contrivance. He asked
several questions, and as his scrutiny continued, his expression of
satisfaction changed to one of mistrust and alarm. Suddenly he sprang
from his seat and pushed the model from him. "That is an
infernal-machine!" he exclaimed.

"That's about the long and the short of it," said the man, calmly.

"Then I will have nothing to do with it," and he turned toward the door.

"Hold on, my friend, ain't you a trifle in a hurry? All we want you to
do is to fix that attachment for us, and if you won't do it some other
man will, but we're willing to pay you a hundred dollars for the job.
That's a goodish sum to pay, if the job is a little queer, but I take it
you're used to doing queer things by the big checks that pass through
your hands."

"What do you mean?" Stephen Trimble asked, with some indignation.

"Oh! you needn't pretend innocence and poverty. A man doesn't scatter
round thousand-dollar checks who's as poor as you pretend to be, or as
good, either."

"Tell me what you mean."

"Now don't tell us you know nothing of a check for a thousand dollars
which we happened to see in the pocket-book of the agent of this
building when he dropped in here to collect the rent."

"I never saw a check for a thousand dollars in my life."

"If you don't believe me, ask that sharp little boy of yours. It was he
who first let me know there was a scientific man in the building. He saw
me unpacking my machine. I happened to leave the door open just a
minute. I never saw such a sharp little fellow. In he comes and says,
'My father makes machines too. He's going to make us awful rich some
day.'

"After that he got in the way of knocking at the door and asking to see
my machinery. I thought it would be a good idea to let him, for he is
too little to suspect anything, and I could stuff him with the idea that
I was making a new kind of telegraph, for I was pretty sure that he
would tell it around, and that people would believe it and think there
couldn't be anything shady in what I was doing if I let anybody and
everybody have the freedom of the room.

"Well, the day I'm speaking of, your little chap was sitting there
turning the crank of that machine just as cheerful as if it wouldn't
have blown him to kingdom come if the attachment had only been on, when
in come another little feller who had been looking for him. 'See here,'
says my partner, 'there's getting to be too many children here; we don't
keep a Sunday-school, we don't.' They were just going to leave, when the
agent he come in with the rent contract for us to sign. Well, the boys
lingered round, full of curiosity, as boys are, and we signed the paper
and handed over the cash. Mr. Meyer in stuffing it away in his
pocket-book brought to light that thousand-dollar check I was telling
you about. He fumbled to hide it, but it dropped on the floor, and a
little gust of wind carried it over to where the boys were. The oldest
boy--Jim, I think your son called him--picked it up, and took a good
look at it. 'Hullo!' says he, 'here's your father's name, Lovey. "Pay to
the order of Stephen Trimble one thousand dollars"!' The agent he just
made one dive for that check, with his fist lifted as though he were
going to strike the boy, who dropped the check, and both the little
shavers scooted, and none too soon either, for Meyer looked mad enough
to kill the youngster, though he tried to laugh it off, and turned the
check over and showed me that it was his fast enough, for it was
endorsed on the back, 'Pay to the order of Solomon Meyer.'"

Stephen Trimble put his hand to his head in a dazed way. "You are
fooling me," he said.

"Not we, but somebody is, if you don't know anything about it. Well, if
you are not the bloated bondholder we took you for, perhaps you'll
consider our little offer?"

"No, gentlemen, not to-night at least; give me time to think it over.
One bad man may have wronged me, but I've no call to go against the
law."

"Oh yes, take plenty of time"--and they opened the door. Some one was
knocking at Stephen Trimble's own room. It was the flap-jack man, and
he had a white, scared face.

"What is the matter?" asked the inventor.

"Lovey's been--"

"Run over?" gasped the poor father.

"No; arrested."

Stephen Trimble gave one exclamation of horror--then asked, "What's he
done?"

"Nothing but wheeling my cart; they'd have caught me, too, but I cut and
run. This is a pretty country where one is arrested for trying to earn
an honest living!"

This was the last straw. Stephen Trimble had said that he had no reason
to resist the law, but he could not hold to that now. He staggered
feebly down-stairs, knocked at the door of the dynamiters, and said.
"I've come back sooner than I thought I would. Give me five dollars in
advance, and I'll undertake that business of yours to-morrow, and maybe
I'll get up a little infernal-machine for my own use at the same time,
but just now I must find my boy."

The man handed him some greasy bills. "You look sick," he said. "You had
better go down to the free-lunch counter at the saloon, and have a good
square meal."

Stephen Trimble went and ate and drank to excess. He did not look for
his little son, and he did not return to the dynamiters' the next
morning, for he was drunk--and drunk for three days thereafter. Then he
sobered down and applied himself to the task which they had set him--a
task intended to bring ruin to the class which had wronged him. He knew
the aims, now, of the men for whom he was working, and he believed that
he sympathized with them. They told him how they had borne imprisonment
and torture for no wrong in Russia, and had come to this country
expecting to find it the land of justice and kindness, but had met only
the same tyranny of the rich over the poor--the rich, who cared for
nothing but their own pleasures, and ground the poor under their chariot
wheels.

As he worked he thought of his own private wrongs, and determined that
as soon as his task was done he would seek out the man who had defrauded
him. He was sure now that the check which the men had seen had something
to do with his invention, but he believed that the true criminal was
some one behind Solomon Meyer, the man to whom the agent said he had
given his invention--the landlord of Rickett's Court. It was like a man
who would compel human beings to live in such a state as this to commit
such a fraud. He would hunt him down presently, and in the name of his
tenants, as well as in his own cause, wreak such revenge that the ears
of those who heard should tingle.

The landlord of Rickett's Court, all unconscious of the volcano upon
which he was treading, attended the closing exercises of Madame's
school, and listened with pride to his daughter's prize essay on "The
Dangerous Classes."

There was a quotation from Ruskin at the close which pricked his heart a
little, and made him regret that it was not convenient to carry out his
good intentions just at present. How charming she looked in the white
India silk, and how well she read that final quotation!

"If you can fix some conception of a true human state of life to be
striven for--life for all men as for yourselves--if you can determine
some honest and simple order of existence following those trodden ways
of wisdom, which are pleasantness, and seeking those quiet and withdrawn
paths, which are peace; then, and so sanctifying wealth into
'commonwealth,' all your art, your literature, your daily labors, your
domestic affection, and citizen's duty, will join and increase into one
magnificent harmony. You will know, then, how to build well enough; you
will build with stone well, but with flesh better--temples not made with
hands, but riveted of hearts, and that kind of marble, crimson-veined,
is indeed eternal."

Mr. Armstrong entirely ruined a new pair of kid gloves in applauding his
daughter.

He consigned her to Mrs. Roseveldt for the summer, and in reply to that
lady's urgent request that he would visit them, explained that
Narragansett Pier was fraught with so many memories that he had never
been able to revisit it. "I own a cottage a little distance from the
town," he said. "It was there that both my children were born. We were
in the habit of occupying it every summer, but since my wife's death I
have neither been able to bring myself to go there, or to rent it, and
it has remained closed."

"O papa, will you not let me have it for the summer?" Adelaide asked.

"Certainly, Puss, if you want to fit it up for a studio or that sort of
thing; but it is in a lonely wood, and you must have suitable company
with you if you think of staying there. If you manage to change the
place and infuse new life in it, I may bring myself to look in upon you
there. At all events, I will join you at the Roseveldts' as soon as I
can; just now important business detains me."

The business, as we know, was the securing and putting in service of the
new invention for heating and lighting cars. It was necessary for him to
go to Washington to arrange for the patent, and it was on this trip that
a clue most unexpectedly fell into his hands which seemed to lead to a
startling discovery--a discovery which was more to him than any fortune
which the invention could bring.

It all came about through a scrap of paper which fell in his way as he
was looking about his hotel bedroom for a piece of wrapping-paper with
which to cover the model of the machine which he was about to carry to
the Patent Office. He could find nothing for this purpose but an old
newspaper which lined a bureau drawer. In this he wrapped his machine,
and took his seat in the street-car, the package resting on his knees.
His fellow-passengers were uninteresting, and he fixed his gaze upon
his package. A heading to one of the shorter articles in the old
newspaper attracted his attention.

"Remarkable Case of Loss of Identity; the Doctors Puzzled."

He read on aimlessly.

"The physicians of ---- Hospital have an interesting case. One of their
patients, a lady, was injured at the burning of the _Henrietta_ in the
Sound in October last. This accident has resulted in a partial loss of
memory, and total confusion as to her identity. The unfortunate lady is
unable to give her own name or that of her friends. A remarkable
circumstance in the case is the fact that, through all the horror and
suffering of the accident, which has resulted in a partial loss of her
reason, the poor lady kept her infant boy safely clasped in her arms,
and the child, entirely uninjured, was rescued with her. Any person who
believes that he recognizes a lost friend in this case is requested to
communicate with Dr. H. C. Carver, of the ---- Hospital."

Mr. Armstrong read this item over and over again. He had believed that
his wife and child were lost in the burning of this steamer. Was it
possible that they still lived? and what had ten years of separation
done for them?

The horse-car passed the Patent Office, but he did not see it. He sat
staring at the newspaper until the car brought him to the end of the
route and the conductor touched him on the shoulder. "Pardon me, sir; I
forgot you wished to stop at the Patent Office."

Mr. Armstrong woke from his reverie.

"No," he exclaimed, "at the railway station. I want to catch the next
train for New York--none until 4 o'clock? Then I _will_ go to the Patent
Office; but, first, tell me where I can send a telegram."

  [Illustration: {Drawing of girls near rowboat.}]



CHAPTER XI.

THE GUESTS OF THE ELDER BROTHER.

    "And man may work with the great God; yea, ours
    This privilege; all others, how beyond!

           *       *       *       *       *

    Effectually the planet to subdue,
    And break old savagehood in claw and tusk;
    To draw our fellows up as with a cord
    Of love unto their high-appointed place,
    Till from our state barbaric and abhorred
    We do arise unto a royal race,
    To be the blest companions of the Lord."

                                 --HENRY G. SUTTON.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of girl writing.}]


A few days before school closed saw the Home filled for the summer.

The gathering in was achieved principally by Jim, Mrs. Hetterman, and
Vincenzo Amati.

Vincenzo was an Italian of the better sort. He had lived in America long
enough to acquire some of our ways of life. He earned a fairly good
salary as cook, and he had kept his little family in comparative comfort
in the best apartment which Rickett's Court had to offer, until the
death of his pretty wife Giovanina. Since then the three little girls
had done their best, but there was a woeful change. They became
slatternly in appearance, and the two rooms grew dirty and cheerless.
Worse than this, the girls affiliated with a lower class of their own
nationality, the children of the rag-pickers in the basement, already
referred to, who lived upon the chances of garbage barrels and beggary,
and who spent much of their time in picking over and assorting the old
bones, rags, paper, and other refuse dumped each night upon the floor of
their sleeping and living room, as the result of their father's daily
toil. These children were sickly and miserable, tainted morally as well
as physically; and their parents, who were contented with their
disgusting lives, were laying up money, in fact, for a return to Italy.
But Vincenzo was not contented that his children should live in such
fashion or have contaminating associates. He was one of the first
applicants to place his children in the Home, paying cheerfully the
highest sum asked for board, it having been early decided that the rates
for each child should be proportioned to the wages of the parent.

Then several children previously "farmed out" to Mrs. Grogan, whose
mothers were servants in good families, were received on similar terms.

A German woman, a Mrs. Rumple, brought her two children, saying that she
was going West, but, as she knew not what fortune awaited her there,
wished to place her children in the Home until she could send for them.
She paid their board in advance for the summer, taking the money in coin
from her petticoat pocket.

"Why do you leave New York?" asked Emma Jane Anton.

"It ish not de guntry. De guntry ish a very goot guntry. It ish de
beeples," said Mrs. Rumple.

"What is the matter with the people?" asked Emma Jane.

"I comes de seas over a pride, mit my man Heinrich Rumple; dat is ten
years aco alreaty. Heinrich is one very goot man; he trinks only one mug
of lager every days; he comes every Saturday home mit his moneys, and
oh, mine fraulein, how he luf me! Pretty soon py und py de peer ish not
coot, and he takes one leetle glass of schnapps instead. Den de leetle
babies come, one, tree, four, six, and it cost all de time more to live,
and he pring all de time less moneys mit de Saturdays. But he trinks all
de time more schnapps--one, two, tree, four glass de every days, and I
know not how much de Sundays, and I tink he not luf me now so much as
sometimes. Den de sickness comes, de shills and de fevers, and we all de
time shake, shake, and first one little children die, and den anudder,
all but Carl and de little Gracie; and mine man not haf any moneys to py
medicines, put he haf blenty to py schnapps, and he all de time trink
more as is goot for him, and one night he comes home and he knows not
vat he does, and he sthrikes de leetle Gracie, and she is long time very
sick. Mine soul! I tinks she vill die, and Heinrich Rumple--dot ish my
man--he puts his name mit de bledge, and says he vill not any times
trink any more, und de Gracie gets vell, und ve are all wery happy, but
he all de same trinks again shust so pad as ever. Py und py pretty soon
I says, 'Heinrich Rumple, I cannot sthand dis nonsense any more ain't
it. I cannot haf dose childer all their bones broke any more; I put dem
in one 'sylum avay from you, and I goes in dot Western land seek my
fortune.'"

"And so you left your husband?" asked Miss Anton.

"Ya. I left mine man," replied the woman.

"And don't you suppose he will ever reform, and send you money to come
back to him?"

"No, I s'pose so. He said to me dat day: 'Barbara, it is de beeples. I
haf too many friends, and I trinks mit dem all de time, too often; I
tinks if I am in de West, where I know nobodys, I would be a petter
husband to you alretty.' And so he goed away mit me."

"Do you mean to say that you and your husband are leaving New York for
the West together?"

"Ya. I left him, and he say, 'Barbara, you has right; I leaf myself,
too.' But I cannot trust him alretty mit de chillern. I leaf dem one six
month, to try what come of it all."

"I hope your husband has indeed left his worst self behind him," said
Emma Jane; and on suitable security being provided, the Rumple children
were admitted.

In almost all cases it was not the desperately and hopelessly pauperized
and vicious--who were provided for by reformatories and the city
charities--whom they helped, but the class just above them, who were
slipping over the brink, and would surely have fallen and contributed to
swell the dangerous classes, if not reached by this timely assistance.

"Prevention is better than cure," and it was the hope of the "King's
Daughters" to rescue the innocent children of decent and struggling
parents before they should need reformation.

Rosaria Ricos, the Cuban heiress, endowed a bed to be used for some
child whose parents could do nothing whatever toward its support. She
wished to have more free beds, but Miss Prillwitz showed her how much
better it was for the parents to do something, however little it might
be, for their children, and not be pauperized by having every feeling of
independence and ability to care for their own taken from them.
Exceptional circumstances might arise, when a mother out of employment,
could wisely be helped over a great exigency, but she advised that Miss
Ricos's "Emergency Bed" be given for short periods only. It was first
occupied by Lovell Trimble, familiarly, but most inappropriately,
nicknamed by the other children, Lovey Dimple. He was a homely,
unprepossessing boy, with a pug nose and a disproportionately large
head. His father was the unsuccessful inventor of Rickett's Court, with
whom we are already acquainted. He spent all his former earnings in
securing patents for various great inventions which were to make all
their fortunes. His mother had been a shop-girl in a large dry-goods
store, and had supported the family until long-continued standing had
sent her to the hospital. Lovey had tried to take her place in
supporting his father by wheeling "the machine" of a hot-flap-jack
seller, while the flap-jack man devoted his attention to frying the
cakes, flipping them on to a plate, and serving them up with a dab of
butter and a lake of molasses. They did their best business winter
nights after the theatres were out--sheltered from the snow by an awning
or a convenient door-way, and they knew which places of amusement were
out first, and would race at ambulance speed from Harrigan and Hart's
to the Bowery, to secure the custom of each. Lovey liked the business,
for, besides the pay, after the day's trade was over the flap-jack man
let him eat whatever was left, for the batter would not keep, and he had
always a few cakes to carry home to his father of the full brain and
empty stomach.

But one night a member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Children, who had had his eye on the flap-jack man as employing too
young a child for labor involving so much privation, descended upon the
cart with a policeman; and the flap-jack man having discreetly
absconded, they arrested Lovey in default of his employer. Miss
Prillwitz appeared in court at Jim's request, for in some way Jim had
heard of his friend's apprehension, and having ascertained that Mr.
Trimble had gone upon a spree, she rashly, but not unnaturally, decided
that nothing was to be expected from such a father, and next paid a
visit to Mrs. Trimble, at the hospital. Learning there that there was a
prospect of her cure, she offered Lovey the hospitality of the Emergency
Bed until his mother should be able to work once more. This case
established relations between the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Children and the new Home; and a little girl--who had been forced to
sell lead-pencils on the street at night by a drunken mother, though her
father was a brakeman, who could well afford to support her--was
committed to the Home through the agency of the Society; and the father,
on being notified, approved the action, and paid her board regularly.

One desirable result of the Home was its effect on Emma Jane's
character. From being, as she had truly said of herself, an unlovely and
unloving girl who disliked children, her nature sweetened by contact
with them; and taking them one by one into her heart, it broadened and
softened, till an expression which was almost madonna-like trembled in a
face which had been grim and repellent. Lovey Dimple was the first to
scale the fortress of Emma Jane's affections. He inherited his father's
aptitude for mechanics. Among the old books and papers contributed to
the Home were, strangely enough, some bound volumes of the _Scientific
American_ and a few stray Patent Office reports, and over these he
pored until his head seemed full of revolving cog-wheels and pulleys,
and pistons, and his heart beat like a stationary engine. He was certain
that he would be an inventor some day, like Ericsson or Edison; indeed,
he was an inventor already, for had he not constructed unnumbered
mill-wheels and windmills, weathercocks and whirligigs, besides taking
to pieces the clock (which he could not get together again), and
adapting his mother's sewing-machine to fret-saw purposes? He had
studied every machine which he had seen in the stores, from the
corn-sheller to the great patent mower, and believed that he understood
the action of each. "Patent" was a word that stirred his soul, though he
had but a dim conception of its meaning. It was something, his father
had said, that the Government would give him if he invented a really
useful, labor-saving machine, one which would "supply a felt want."

Lovey knew what a felt hat was, but it was several days before he really
knew what his father meant by a felt want. As soon as he had grasped the
idea he began in earnest. "Mother Halsey," he asked, "what part of your
work bothers you most?"

Mrs. Halsey looked hot and flustered. Half an hour before this she had
put her room and the nursery in order, had dressed the twenty-five
children; from combing their hair and scrubbing the little ones, and
introducing them into each separate garment, to merely tying
apron-strings and buttoning the "behind buttons" of the older ones, and
giving them a final dress review before starting them to the public
school.

In view of this state of affairs, it is not to be wondered at that Mrs.
Halsey said that dressing the children gave her more bother than
anything else. Lovey, with a pencil and paper, sat down to invent a
machine which should do this for her. He reflected that such a machine
would be hailed with delight in nearly every family, and if he could
manage to sell them at a dollar apiece his fortune was assured. He took
as his models the washing-machine, a cross-cut saw, and a corn-sheller,
and in a few moments had made his drawing of a combination of the three
machines. The motive power, he decided, should be furnished by the
father of the family, who could turn the crank; and on days when this
was not convenient the smoke from the cooking-stove could be utilized,
the stove pipe being turned so that the smoke should strike the paddles
of the main wheel, and the continuous stream passing across the edge of
the wheel and up the chimney, he felt certain, would turn it. Just back
of the machine, and above it, there was to be a great hopper into which
the naked children could climb by means of a ladder, and where the
clothing could be tossed promiscuously, the machine sorting it and
robing each child properly. The cross-cut saw near the mouth would
shingle each child's hair, and save the trouble of curling, while the
children, completely dressed, would be poured through this spout into
their mother's arms.

  [Illustration: {Hand drawing of the invention.}]

Lovey exhibited this drawing to Mrs. Halsey and to Miss Anton, and
begged them to show it to President Harrison and obtain a patent for him
as soon as possible; but, somehow, though the invention was received
with applause and approbation by the entire family, nothing was ever
done about it.

The droll conceit attracted Emma Jane to the boy. "Perhaps some day he
may become an inventor of something more practical," she said, and ever
after watched him with increasing interest.

Lovey had had great trouble with his arithmetic, and he had decided that
a grand labor-saving machine would be one which would save a boy the
trouble of studying. He thought that it would be a good idea to bore a
hole in a boy's head when he was asleep, introduce the end of a funnel
into the opening, and then with a coffee-mill grind up the usual
text-books and stuff his brains. He made a drawing of this machine also,
and Merry Twinkle and he came very near trying it practically, but they
never could quite agree as to who should be the operator and who should
be operated upon. Lovey had another brilliant inspiration. He noticed
that his rubber ball, which had a hole in it, had a remarkable power of
suction, and that if he held the orifice to his cheek and squeezed the
ball, when he let go it would pucker his cheek in a way to remind one
distantly of a kiss. He imagined that if the ball were drawn out into a
tube, and that tube continued indefinitely the action would still be the
same. Here was a discovery. How many separated friends and lovers would
be glad to patronize a kissaphone, an instrument by which kisses could
be sent and actually felt. He imagined the establishment of offices on
both sides of the Atlantic, and the laying of a submarine tube.

  [Illustration: {Hand drawing of the book-grinding machine.}]

A young physician, a friend of Mrs. Roseveldt's, was visiting the Home
just as Lovey completed this triumph. "Another invention of Lovey
Dimple's," Emma Jane explained, as the child handed her the drawing. Dr.
Curtiss came oftener than the sanitary condition of the Home really
demanded, and he was well acquainted with Lovey's genius in this
direction.

"Yes, sir," promptly replied Lovey, "and I have met a felt want now,
sure," and then he explained the kissaphone.

"Try it on me, Lovey, and let me see how it feels," asked the doctor.

Lovey did so, and Dr. Curtiss made a wry face. "It strikes me that is a
very poor substitute for the genuine article," he said, "but perhaps I
am not qualified to judge.

"Now if you could have a nice looking lady operator, and could attach
your tubing to the back of her head, and have her transmit the kiss as
the mouthpiece of the machine, I should think your invention might be
very popular."

Lovey received this suggestion with entire good faith. "Miss Anton," he
said, beseechingly, "won't you act as mouthpiece and let me send a kiss
to Dr. Curtiss?" And he could never quite decide why Emma Jane, who was
usually so kind, declined in great confusion to render him this trifling
service.

There was another little boy in the Home who made remarkable
drawings--the one already referred to as Merry Twinkle. All of his
family, even the female portion, were sea-faring people; his grandfather
had been a sailor, and was now an inmate of the Sailors' Snug Harbor.
His mother sometimes took Merry to visit him when she was back from a
voyage, for she was stewardess on an ocean steamer. His father had been
engineer on the same boat, but had been killed by a boiler explosion,
and Merry had been _boarded_ hitherto with Mrs. Grogan.

One evening, after a visit to his grandfather, Merry handed Emma Jane a
series of wonderful marines.

"Grandfather sang me a very old song to-day," he said. "It went this
way:

    Two gallant ships from England sailed;
      Blow high, blow low, so sailed we:
    One was the _Princess Charlotte_, the other _Prince of Wales_,
      Cruising down on the coast of Barbaree.

"This is a picture of the _Princess Charlotte_," handing Emma Jane his
drawing.

"It is night, and the captain is pacing the lonely deck; he has set his
lantern on a small stand, and has put his hands in his pockets to keep
them warm. The second verse goes this way:

    'Up aloft! up aloft!' our gallant captain cried;
      Blow high, blow low, so sailed we.
    'Look ahead, look astern, look aweather, look alee,'
      Cruising down on the coast of Barbaree.

    'Oh, I've seen on ahead, and I've seen on astern,'
      Blow high, blow low, so sailed we;
    'And I see a ragged wind and a lofty ship at sea,'
      Cruising down on the coast of Barbaree.

    'Ahoy! ship ahoy!' our gallant captain cried,
      Blow high, blow low, so sailed we;
    'Are you a man-of-war, or a privateer?' says he;
      Cruising down on the coast of Barbaree.

    'Oh! I am no man-of-war or privateer,' says he,
      Blow high, blow low, so sailed we;
    'But I am a jolly pirate seeking for my fee,'
      Cruising down on the coast of Barbaree.

"This is the picture of the pirate ship and the fight. Captain Kidd has
cut off the head of one of the men who boarded his ship. One of his men
is firing a cannon, the rest of his crew may be seen between-decks.

    'Twas broadside to broadside, so quickly then came we;
      Blow high, blow low, so sailed we;
    Until the _Princess Charlotte_ shot her masts into the sea,
      Cruising down on the coast of Barbaree.

    Then 'Quarter! oh, quarter!' the pirate captain cried;
      Blow high, blow low, so sailed we;
    But the quarters that we gave them were down beneath the sea,
      Cruising down on the coast of Barbaree.

"Grandfather called it the story of Captain Kidd, because he thought he
must have been the pirate whose ship the _Princess Charlotte_ sunk.
Captain Kidd was taken to London and hanged in chains, and I've made a
picture of that too."

Emma Jane hardly approved of the sanguinary spirit displayed by these
drawings, but she could not expect that the boy's antecedents and
surroundings would produce an angel. She endeavored to draw his
attention to gentler subjects for his pencil, recited tender and loving
ballads, and changed the current of the boy's thought and aspiration,
realizing that here was material which, in the fostering atmosphere of
Rickett's Court, might easily develop into an anarchist--a menace to the
state.

The Sandy girls were the last to be received from the court. The father
had been a truckman, but a heavy box had fallen upon him, and he had
lived in pain and misery for a year and had then died. Mrs. Sandy, by
making men's clothing, managed to keep the wolf from the door--no, only
snarling _at_ the door with fierce, hungry eyes. All of her six children
helped her. The oldest girl did the ironing and finishing; the next
child, a boy, carried the great bundles back and forth in the intervals
of his profession as a bootblack; the second girl did all of their poor
housework; the twins sewed on buttons and pulled out basting threads,
and the youngest boy sold newspapers, while Mrs. Sandy herself ran the
sewing-machine ten or twelve hours in the day.

When Mrs. Hetterman asked her why she did not give up this desperate
battle with the point of the needle, and leave her vile surroundings to
take service in some good family, she replied that she had often thought
of this, but she must keep a home, however poor, for the children. "The
two boys could live at the Newsboys' Lodging-House, for they earn enough
to support themselves, but what would I do with my four girls?"

When Mrs. Hetterman assured her that there was a Home where they could
all be cared for in cleanliness, health, and comfort, and have time for
study and schooling and industrial education, which would fit them to
earn their own living in future, and all for a sum quite within the
means of any domestic, she brought her cramped hand down with a heavy
blow upon the sewing-machine.

"I don't mind if I break every bone in yer body, ye Satan's grindstone!"
she said to the machine; "it's the last time that Mary Sandy'll grind
soul and body thin at ye, praise be to a delivering Providence!"

Mrs. Hastings, one of the managers of the Home, had had great trouble
with incompetent and ungrateful servants, and she gladly took the
faithful Scotch woman into her family.

These, then, were the guests of the Elder Brother, for that first
summer, from Rickett's Court:

    1 Jim Halsey, American.
    3 Hettermans, English.
    3 Amatis, Italian.
    4 Babies from Mrs. Grogan's, Irish.
    2 Carl and Gracie Rumple, German.
    1 Lovey Dimple, American.
    1 Merry Twinkle, American.
    4 Sandy Girls, Scotch.

In all, nineteen children transplanted from the filth and vice, hunger
and ignorance, of the court, and six more from other localities as bad,
to sweet, wholesome surroundings. It was thought best that those
children of school age should attend a public school to avoid
"institutionizing" them; and for this end they wore no uniform, and
mingled freely with other well-behaved children in the park under Mrs.
Halsey's motherly supervision. Their birthdays were celebrated with a
little party, with cake and candles, and everything was done to
cultivate a home-like feeling. They drew their books like other children
from the children's new free circulating library, and were taught to
guard them carefully. They had a sewing society--in reality a
sewing-class--where boys and girls were alike taught to mend and darn,
to sew on buttons, and to make button-holes--all but the Sandy children,
who, it was judged, had served a long enough apprenticeship in this
department, and were sent to Mrs. Hetterman to learn how to cook.

Miss Prillwitz was anxious that the boys should have industrial
training, and brought the matter before the board of managers, who
entirely agreed with her, and voted that a subscription sent them by Mr.
Armstrong be used to secure a suitable teacher.

It was just at this time that a letter was received from Adelaide
announcing that she had fitted up the cottage which her father had
placed at her disposal, and would like to have Mrs. Halsey occupy it
with the youngest children for the heated term. Miss Prillwitz was
delighted. Jim was already at the Pier with the Roseveldts, and it would
be pleasant for his mother to be near him, and a fine thing for the
little girls and the babies. This would leave the nursery vacant, and it
could be fitted up as a workshop for the boys. She had a chat with Mrs.
Halsey the day before she left, and asked her if she knew of anyone who
could teach the boys carpentry.

"Mr. Trimble, Lovey's father, is a perfect jack-of-all-trades," replied
Mrs. Halsey.

Miss Prillwitz was doubtful. "Mr. Trimble is a drunkard," she said.

"Not irreclaimable, I am sure," said Mrs. Halsey. "He was a sober man
when I knew him. Despair alone could have driven him to drink. I wish
you would send and ask him to call and see you."

So a letter was sent, and none too soon, for affairs were now at their
worst with Stephen Trimble.



CHAPTER XII.

WITH THE DYNAMITERS.

    "While we range with Science, glorying in the time,
    City children soak and blacken soul and sense in city slime;
    Where among the glooming alleys Progress halts on palsied feet,
    Crime and hunger cast out maidens by the thousand on the street;
    Where the master scrimps his haggard seamstress of her daily bread,
    And a single sordid attic holds the living and the dead."

                                                              --_Anon._

  [Illustration: {Drawing of the anarchist of Rickett's Court.}]


The anarchist of Rickett's Court, under whose influence the inventor had
fallen, was a thoroughly bad man, and the writer has no sympathy to
waste upon him or his methods, but with his deluded and desperate victim
we should all sympathize.

Stephen Trimble had brooded over his troubles and wrongs until he was
half crazed, and the men for whom he worked added fuel to the flame.

"Why should you be so precious careful of the rich?" his employer said.
"What have the rich ever done for you? They've murdered your wife, as I
make out, insisting on her standing all day long, when she was not able
to do so, and might have done her work just as well sitting. They've
sent your innocent little boy to jail along with common pickpockets.
They've robbed you of your money--"

"Stop!" cried Stephen Trimble; "you've said that over and over, until I
believe it, though I don't know why I should take your word any quicker
than that of anyone else. You've made much of your kindness in telling
me, though I don't see what good it does me, unless you are willing to
go into court and testify for me as to what you've seen."

The men shook their heads. "No going into court for us! We want to keep
as far away from the law as possible."

"Then I don't see but you are as much against me as the rest. I've
worked with you long enough to know what your aims are; your machine is
now in working order, ready to blow up the finest house, the largest
audience, in New York, church or armory, bank-vault or prison; and if
all you say is true, you may blow away, for all I care, and blow
yourselves up with the rest, and me too. If the world is the Sodom and
Gomorrah it seems to me, we have Bible warrant for its destruction. My
work for you is done; give me my money, and we are through with each
other."

"See here, Trimble," said the anarchist, "we have already paid you
fifteen dollars, and you ought not to be too close with us."

"You promised me a hundred; do you mean to say--"

"Don't be so touchy; what I mean to say is this: We cannot help you by
testifying in court, as you suggested; it wouldn't do you any good if we
did; but find out the man who has wronged you, and we will help you to
your revenge. In a few days our society will begin its operations. We
are out of funds now, but there will be a new deal soon. We begin with
the banking-house of Roseveldt, Gold & Co., and as soon as the
fireworks are over we will be rich enough, and you shall have a fair
share."

Stephen Trimble sprang to his feet. "I thought you were anarchists! do
you acknowledge that you are common burglars?"

"No, my friend, we acknowledge nothing of the kind. Be good enough to
attend to your own business."

"It is time that I did," replied the inventor; "I have neglected it long
enough."

Stephen Trimble walked out of the building. He had three things to
do--to discover the landlord of Rickett's Court; to see his wife for the
last time; and to free his little son, whom he believed to be still in
prison.

There was quite a commotion in the court; some men were putting up a
fire-escape. "What ever put it into Solomon Meyer's head to do that?" he
asked.

"'Tain't Solomon Meyer," a workman replied; "it's the landlord himself.
He ordered it done some time ago, and was mad as a hornet because Meyer
hadn't attended to it."

"See here, my friend," said Stephen Trimble, "if you know who the
landlord of this tenement is, you will do me a favor by directing me to
him."

"Armstrong's the man--Alexander Armstrong, President of the ---- R. R.
Co.; his office is over the banking-house of Roseveldt & Gold, No. ----
Broadway. He rooms there too, when he's in town--back of his office."

Stephen Trimble stood very still for a moment. The information which he
thought would be so difficult to obtain had come to his door. The
vengeance which he had fancied might take long days and nights of
plotting, hung now over the man who had wronged him. He need do
absolutely nothing, and Alexander Armstrong was doomed. He must
inevitably be killed in the explosion and conflagration which was
planned to cover the robbery of the bank beneath him.

They had changed places, and the landlord of Rickett's Court was his
victim. One-third of his task was accomplished. He walked now in the
direction of the hospital, and asked to see his wife. He hardly expected
to be admitted, but he would at least make the attempt. To his surprise
he was shown into a cheerful parlor, and Mrs. Trimble was sent for. She
came down, looking pale, but happy.

"O Stephen," she cried, "it has been so long since I have seen you! but
never mind, I am almost well now, and we shall soon be together again.
The doctor tells me I may leave next week. They have been so very kind
to me here, it has been like Heaven. The rich are thoughtful and
generous to provide such places for the poor. I am so grateful; and I
have rested so that I shall be able to take hold with new courage."

He listened in a stupefied way, and seeing that he was not inclined to
speak, she ran on, "And isn't it beautiful about Lovey?"

This stung him to speech. "Beautiful? To be arrested and sent to
prison?"

"Why, no, dear. Haven't you heard? A sweet, kind woman--Miss
Prillwitz--called, and told me that he is being cared for at a little
Home, for nothing, Stephen; and they will keep him there until we are on
our feet again. If that isn't brotherly love, I don't know what is. It
makes me believe that there is such a thing as Christianity, after all."

Still Stephen Trimble was silent. She was happy, and he would not dispel
her illusion, at least not now. Evidently there were _some_ good people
in New York, and she had experienced their kindness. He had expected to
find her suffering from neglect and cruelty. He would not have been
surprised if she had died. He could hardly believe that a _charity
patient_ had received such attention. That their little son had been
also tenderly cared for passed his belief, but he would see for himself,
and he took the address of the Home. He bade his wife good-bye gently.
"I shall come back to you very soon, Stephen," she said, "and things
will go better then." He could not tell her of his deep despair. He
tried to smile, but only succeeded in giving her a pitiful, longing
look. He walked on toward the Home of the Elder Brother, sure that its
name was a lie, and that he would find Lovey abused. But he was met at
the door by Mrs. Halsey, whom he had known at Rickett's Court, who
called his little son to come down and see his papa, and who told him of
the plan of which she had just been speaking to Miss Prillwitz. And a
moment later Lovey, well dressed, clean, fat, and jolly, tumbled into
his arms with a cry of rapture.

"Do you want to come home, Lovey?" he asked.

"No, daddy, I want you to come here. Please, Mrs. Halsey, mayn't he
come?"

"We would like to have him very much to teach our boys the use of tools
for a few hours every day. It is just what I have been telling your
father."

"A week ago," said Stephen Trimble, "your offer would have been heaven
to me; now I am afraid it is too late."

"Don't say so," urged Mrs. Halsey; and she called Miss Prillwitz to talk
the matter over with him. Miss Prillwitz's first argument was to ask him
to luncheon. He ate the nourishing food--the first good meal that had
passed his lips for many days--and he said, as he bade them farewell, "I
will come to you if I can, and teach your boys mechanics; if I don't
come it will be because something has happened to me, and if anything
happens to me I want to ask you to lend a helping hand to my wife--and
may God bless you." A new impulse stirred within his heart, gratitude,
which he had not felt toward any human being for years. He was softened,
and tears stood in his eyes. He could almost forgive the landlord of
Rickett's Court now.

An impulse to see the man, though not with any hope of gaining anything
from the interview, came over him. It was still early, and he walked
down Broadway to the building designated, and looked into the bank. How
wealthy and strong it looked, with the clerks busily at work calling off
fabulous sums to one another, and handling the piles of bills and coin!
The safe-doors stood open, and he could see the great bolts and bars,
and complicated combinations; and he smiled scornfully as he thought how
easily the little machine upon which he had been working would open them
all.

A policeman saw him staring in at the window, and asked him his
business.

"I want to find Mr. Armstrong, the R. R. president."

"Then you must go up-stairs. There is the door."

He walked up and saw another room, with gentlemen sitting in easy
attitudes in comfortable chairs. He asked a clerk for Mr. Armstrong, and
was told that he was in Washington, on business.

"Business connected with a patent?"

"Yes; I believe so. What did you want of him?"

"Nothing. Say only that Stephen Trimble called."

"What! is this Stephen Trimble?" exclaimed a hearty voice behind him;
and, turning, the inventor saw an earnest but kindly looking man, who
had just entered carrying a hand-bag.

"That is Mr. Armstrong," said the clerk, and Stephen Trimble stared
fascinated.

"Step into my private office," said the financier, "I am glad you have
come. It is always better to transact business at first hand, and I was
sorry you could not come when Mr. Meyer asked you to do so."

"I do not know what you mean, sir."

"Did not Solomon Meyer tell you that I wanted you to call, with
reference to the four thousand dollars still unpaid on our patent
transaction?"

"Solomon Meyer told me that I was too late, and that you did not care
for my invention."

Mr. Armstrong sprang from his chair. "And he never gave you my check for
a thousand dollars?"

"Never; though I heard that he had it;" and Stephen Trimble related what
the anarchist had told him.

Mr. Armstrong unlocked a safe, and took from it the contract in regard
to the patent. "Is not this your signature?" he asked.

"No, sir: I never saw the paper."

"Then Solomon Meyer is a swindler."

"Very likely, sir."

"Go home; say nothing, and I will have him arrested. Stop--a little
money may not come amiss to you just now. Here is fifty dollars on our
account. I will see you again to-morrow, but I have an important
appointment now."

"I don't know how to thank you, sir, or what to say," said Stephen
Trimble, utterly confounded.

"There are no thanks due; on the contrary, I owe you a small matter of
five thousand dollars--perhaps more--for it seems you have not signed
this paper, and perhaps may not be willing to sell your invention for so
small a sum."

As he spoke, the confidential clerk tapped at the door and remarked,
"Dr. Carver, sir, of ---- Hospital, says you telegraphed to him from
Washington to meet you here."

Instantly Stephen Trimble saw that Mr. Armstrong had forgotten his
existence; his entire expression changed from kindly benevolence to
intense eagerness and anxiety.

"What has he got to worry about, I wonder!" thought the inventor, as he
gave place to the physician, and descended the stairs. Force of habit
led his steps toward Rickett's Court, but he walked like a different
man, and the workman who had seen his cringing, crouching manner as he
slouched out of the court that morning, did not recognize the man who
entered with buoyant, determined step. The change had begun when he left
the door of the Home of the Elder Brother. There his faith in his kind
had been restored. Had the good fortune of the afternoon befallen him
before that experience he could not have believed it, or the stupendous
change would have driven him insane. But it had come upon him,
mercifully, by degrees, and he was rapturously happy, and clearer in
mind than he had been for months. It was as if a great and crushing
weight had been lifted from heart and brain. Suddenly, as he crossed the
threshold, he remembered the infernal-machine. The anarchists would
probably use it that night, and Alexander Armstrong, his benefactor, was
doomed. He wondered how he could ever have been so mad as to aid them.
There was only one thing to be done: he must undo his work, render the
contrivance harmless, and save his friend. He knocked at the door; there
was no answer; the men were probably out. He tried to open it, but it
was locked. He could easily have picked the lock, but people were coming
and going. The new fire-escape suggested itself to his mind, and he
decided to go to his room and, as it was already dark, descend by it to
the workroom. This resolution was quickly accomplished. He lighted a
candle and was just reaching toward the machine, when the door opened
and the anarchists entered.

"What are you doing? I thought you had finished your work," said his
former employer.

"No, I have not finished," replied Stephen Trimble, nervously taking up
a tool and beginning to remove a screw.

"You are tampering with the machine; put it down!" and the man seized it
angrily.

"Let go!" shouted Stephen Trimble, "you touch it at your peril; the
button is under your hand!"

The warning came too late--there was a blinding flash, then a crash as
though the heavens had fallen; then blackness and silence.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE KING'S DAUGHTERS IN THE COUNTRY.

    "Her father sent her in his land to dwell,
      Giving to her a work that must be done;
    And since the king loves all his people well,
      Therefore she, too, cares for them, every one.
    And when she stoops to lift from want and sin,
    The brighter shines her royalty therein.
    She walks erect through dangers manifold,
      While many sink and fail on either hand;
    She dreads not summer's heat nor winter's cold,
      For both are subject to the king's command.
    She need not be afraid of anything,
    Because she is the daughter of a king."

                                            _Anon._

  [Illustration: {Drawing of woman sitting on fence.}]


While all these sad things were happening Winnie and I were enjoying a
happy summer at my beloved home in the blessed country.

It is not to be imagined that Winnie dropped all her wild ways and
became a saint at once. She had been sobered by her sad experience in
plotting and scheming for the little prince; but since her full
forgiveness her elastic spirits rose to the surface, and her cheerful
disposition asserted itself in many playful pranks and merry, tricksy
ways.

We did not forget our promise to work for the Elder Brother, but for a
time we did nothing but rest fully and completely.

She was delighted with the country. The fresh air and free, wholesome
life acted upon her like wine. She climbed walls and trees, leaped
brooks, whistled, shouted, rode on the hay-carts, helped in the kitchen
and in the garden, drove Dobbin about the country roads, went berrying,
and was a prime favorite with all the boys, though I regret to say that
at first, perhaps on this very account, the country girls were a little
jealous and envious of her. But not a whit cared Winnie for this. She
tramped over the fields and through marshes, with her botanist's can
swung across her shoulder by a shawl-strap, searching for specimens. She
boated and bathed, taking like a duck to the water, and learning to swim
more quickly than any other person I had ever known. She loved to work
in our old-fashioned garden, pulled weeds diligently, and seemed to
love to feel the fresh earth with her fingers. Our flowers were all such
as had grown there in my grandmother's time. It seemed to me that she
must have modeled it on Mary Howitt's garden, for we had the very
flowers which she describes in her poems.

    "And there, before the little bench,
      O'ershadowed by the bower,
    Grow southernwood and lemon thyme,
      Sweet-pea and gillyflower;

    "And pinks and clove carnations,
      Rich-scented, side by side;
    And at each end a holly-hock,
      With an edge of London-pride.

    "I had marigolds and columbines,
      And pinks all pinks exceeding;
    I'd a noble root of love-in-a-mist,
      And plenty of love-lies-bleeding."

There was a bed of herbs, too, which my mother cherished--sweet-marjoram
and summer savory, sage, rue, and rosemary.

Winnie took a great interest in all of these plants. The country girls
thought it odd that she should care for the wild plants which were so
common in our vicinity, not knowing Winnie's enthusiasm for botany, and
her desire to make a large collection to show the princess. An unusually
ignorant girl met her on one of her botanizing expeditions, and Winnie
asked her if maiden-hair grew in our region. "Of course it does!" the
girl replied, indignantly; "you didn't s'pose we all wore wigs, did
you?"

It was some time before Winnie could control herself and explain that
the maiden-hair of which she was in search was a kind of fern.

"Do you want it for a charm?" the girl asked.

"No," replied Winnie; "what will it do?"

"If you put it in your shoe and say the right kind of a charm, you will
understand the language of the birds."

"Then I shall certainly try it," said Winnie, "for that would be great
fun."

Another day mother brought the same girl into the garden, where Winnie
was at work, to give her some vegetables.

"Did you try the charm?" the girl asked.

"Yes, indeed," Winnie replied.

"And did it work?"

"Oh, famously! There is a wood-pecker in the old tree just outside of my
window, and he wakes me by his drumming every morning. This morning I
understood for the first time just what he has been saying. It was 'Wake
up, wake up! little rascal, little rascal, little rascal!'"

The girl stared at Winnie in open-mouthed astonishment. "You must be a
witch," she said.

"That's what they call me--Witch Winnie."

They were standing beside mother's bed of herbs, and the frightened girl
pulled up a stalk of rue and held it at arm's length, as though it were
a protection. "Don't come nigh me! don't work any of your tricks on me!"
she said.

Winnie explained that she was only in sport, but the girl was only half
reassured, and still clung to the spray of rue.

Miss Prillwitz afterward explained that rue, like vervain, was supposed
to "hinder witches of their will," probably from the fact that it was
once used in the Church of Rome, bound in fagots, as a holy-water
sprinkler, and is spoken of in old writings as the "Herb of Grace."

In this way Witch Winnie's name was revived again, and was applied to
her by her new friends, even though they did not believe in her uncanny
powers.

The princess came to us later in the season for a visit of a month, and
we came to know her intimately and love her dearly. She brought five of
the boys from the Home with her, for mother was pleased with the
enterprise, and father had said that he guessed it wouldn't break him to
give those city children a taste of what the country was like, and if we
women folk could stand them he supposed he could.

Winnie took the boys in charge and led them off with her on her long
tramps and to row in the safe, flat-bottomed boat. They had great sport,
crabbing, bathing, swimming, and fishing, and their vacation did them a
world of good. These were the boys for whom the princess had planned the
industrial classes, but Mr. Trimble lay at the hospital injured, it was
thought, unto death by the explosion at Rickett's Court, and that plan
was postponed for the present.

The boys attracted much attention in the Sabbath-school and wherever
they appeared. Many questions were asked, and Miss Prillwitz was
requested to explain the plan of the Home, in public and in private at
the sewing society, and at the Fourth of July picnic.

We were not all ignorant country bumpkins at Scup Harbor, and we were
not all poor. There were plenty of farmers, who dressed coarsely and
fared plainly, who had bank accounts that would have bought out many a
New Yorker of fashion. They were not selfish either. I have heard
somewhere of a stingy deacon who, on hearing of a case of heart-rending
distress, prayed for it in this wise:

"O Lord, 'giving doth not impoverish Thee, neither doth withholding
enrich Thee,' but giving doth impoverish us, and withholding doth enrich
us; therefore do Thou attend to this case, good Lord; do _Thou_ attend
to this case."

Now this story may not be exaggerated, but I can only say that he did
not live in our section of the country. Our deacons were soft-hearted,
though horny-handed men, and though they had the poor of their own
church and vicinity to look out for, and performed that office well,
they decided that Scup Harbor was rich enough to extend a helping hand
to New York, since New York was either too poor or too hard-hearted to
care for its own.

Accordingly a collection was taken up in church that made Miss
Prillwitz's heart sing for joy; and the Ladies' Benevolent Sewing
Society voted to have a box of clothing ready for the Home by cold
weather.

The grown people were not the only ones interested; there were girls
among us of gentle manners and hearts, and who were far better educated
than Milly Roseveldt. Some of these heard of Miss Prillwitz's eminence
as a scientist, and helped me to organize a class for her in Natural
History, and the remainder of the summer took on an aspect of mental
improvement as well as of physical recreation. Miss Prillwitz mapped out
a course of work and reading for each of us to carry on after her return
to the city, and the circle arranged to meet at the homes of the
members, and read essays and discuss different scientific subjects.

Winnie was surprised at the amount of intelligence and information
displayed, and soon acquired a sincere respect for country girls. It was
at one of our meetings after the princess had returned to New York that
she noticed that Ethel Stanley, the daughter of a wealthy dairy farmer,
wore a little silver cross with a purple ribbon knot.

"Has it come here, too?" she asked; "are you a King's Daughter?"

"Oh yes," replied Ethel; "I belong to the Helpful Ten, and there is a
Cheer-Up Ten at the Corners. What do you call your link?"

"The Seek-and-to-Save Ten," Winnie replied; and she explained the
mission of our Circle, and how we hoped to help the Elder Brother in his
search for the little lost princes. Ethel was delighted. "I think we
might help you," she said; "we are Methodists, but we don't mind working
for you if you will let us. I suppose you are all Episcopalians in New
York?"

"Oh dear, no!" exclaimed Winnie, "we are everything; Tib is a
Congregationalist, and Emma Jane is a Unitarian, Adelaide is
Presbyterian; 'Trude Middleton is a Dutch Reformer; Rosario Ricos is
Catholic; Puss Seligman is a Jewess; Little Breeze comes from
Philadelphia Quaker stock, though she is so gay you wouldn't think it;
Cynthia Vaughn is a Baptist; Milly Roseveldt is the only Episcopalian;
and I'm a--heathen."

"No you are not," I protested; "you are a follower of the Elder Brother,
Winnie, and that means you are a Christian." She gave my hand a little
squeeze, and Ethel exclaimed, "I should think your society would go to
pieces; I don't see how you can work together with such different
views."

"That depends," said Winnie, thoughtfully, "whether in the future we all
pull in different directions, and tear our charity to pieces between us,
or whether each of us uses all her force to bring in people from our
different church organizations to help in the work, and make it widely
and purely undenominational. I mean to write a little parable on that
subject some day, for I feel full of it."

"Do!" we all exclaimed; "write it for the next meeting at Ethel's."

"I don't know; it would hardly be a scientific essay, you know."

"I am not sure about that," replied Ethel; "I think it might be called a
scientific method of carrying on charitable enterprises. Please write
it, and I will invite our Ten, and the Cheer-up Ten from the Corners,
and the Loyal Legion, and the Missionary Society, and all the girls I
know generally."

The plan was carried into effect, and at the next meeting Winnie read us
this fable, which she called

A FISH STORY.[A]

[A] NOTE.--This allegory was first published in _Good Company_, of 1880.

"Once upon a time the fishes and salt-water animals down in the bay
decided to organize a Home for Sea-urchins.

"The circumstances of the remarkable agitation which suddenly spread
among the peaceful denizens of the deep became known to me by my
inadvertently getting a spray of sea-fern in one of my bathing-sandals.
I suddenly discovered that I could understand the voices of the little
creatures that I had so often watched from Tib's father's dory, or
sported among when I took my sea-bath. I lay in the dory one afternoon,
looking down into the clear depth of the water, watching the tricks and
manners of a sea-anemone, and thinking how similar her behavior was to
that of a reigning belle at a popular watering-place, when it dawned
upon me that she _was_ the belle of the cove, surrounded by a circle of
obsequious masculine admirers, prominent among whom were the
hermit-crab, the octopus, the jelly-fish, the lobster, the conger-eel,
the king-iyo, and the stickleback--"

"Now, Winnie," I objected, "you never saw an octopus or a king-iyo in
our cove, and you can't make me believe it!"

"My dear Tib," Winnie replied, "didn't I tell you this was a fish story?
Pray do not interrupt again. The animals that I have mentioned were all
aspirants to the hand of the Sea-Anemone, and the first remarks which I
overheard and comprehended were her confidences to her friend the
Gold-Fish, in which she intimated that she considered the Jelly-Fish the
most amiable, the Lobster the richest, the King-iyo (a titled foreigner
from Japan) the most _distingué_, and the Conger-Eel the most polite;
but, after all, the Hermit-Crab was really the best, and she liked him
more than any of the others, with the exception of the Octopus, who was
so fascinatingly wicked.

"The next time that I looked into the cove was during a meeting of the
managers of the Sea-Urchins' Home.

"The Sea-Anemone had just been unanimously elected to the presidency on
account of her popularity.

"The Cuttle-Fish had been created secretary in recognition of his
remarkable facility in throwing ink, while all official documents were
stamped by the Seal.

"The Electric-Eel was made visiting physician; and the Shark, surgeon
and lecturer on vivisection.

"The Hermit-Crab, who had been detailed to make observations on the
_modus_ in which such societies were carried on among human beings, made
the following report:

"MISS PRESIDENT AND FELLOW-FISHES:

"Your committee have made a careful investigation of the subject
assigned them, and agree that while man's faculties have not been
cultivated to so high an extent as those pertaining to fishes, he is
still a moral and intellectual animal. We believe that if he were put in
possession of the advantages accorded to our race, and were submerged in
salt-water for several centuries, his brain would undoubtedly become so
pickled as to reduce it in size and intensify its quality. Favorable
conditions of brain-pickling are all that is necessary, in our opinion,
to develop some of the most advanced specimens of this _genus_ into a
low form of _mollusk_.

"The opinions of the Hermit-Crab were considered a marvel of liberality
and generous thinking. He proceeded to explain the society-forming
instinct of the human race as a professor of our own species might
lecture on the concretions of deep-sea corals, and continued swimmingly,
as fishes usually do, until a white-whiskered Sea-Lion begged leave to
make a motion, in the language of a motto of conduct which he had often
heard shouted to seamen by their commanders: 'When you are in the navy,
do as the knaves do.' 'Let us,' he added, 'act upon this principle of
conformity, by doing amongst men as the many do, and immediately
organize a fair to meet the salaries of our officers and pay the debt on
the society building.'

"'But none of us need salaries,' objected the Lobster, 'and we have no
debt.'

"'As to declining a salary because I do not need it,' replied the
Sea-Lion, 'I can only say that I find no such example set by the race
whose customs we are following; and without a debt, or at least a
deficit in the accounts of our treasurer, the respectability of our
society may well be questioned.'

"A committee of Codfish aristocrats was at once authorized to secure a
debt of magnificent proportions, at whatever cost, and the salary of
each member of the society was set according to his own estimates.
Frequent meetings of the managers were appointed for the purpose of
drawing the salaries, and as the care of the Sea-Urchins could with the
utmost ingenuity be made to take up but a small portion of the time,
each of the managers seized upon these meetings as opportunities to air
their own particular opinions. The Lobster, who was something of an
autocrat, and had determined from the outset to run the concern, took
the entire business management into his own claws, greatly incensing the
ladies on the debt committee by intimating that they knew nothing of
business, and that his office-boy, the Craw-Fish, could have devised a
debt of far nobler proportions. The King-iyo, or three-tailed fish of
Japan, trusted that the philosophy of the Orient was to have its full
recognition in the principles of the society, and that the Sea-Urchins
would be instructed in Buddhism. The Octopus, who had been one of the
most desperate characters in the bay, carried his change of heart so far
as to assert that no one could be considered as religious, or even
respectable, who had not been extremely wicked, and urged that only the
most depraved and hopeless young Sea-Urchins be admitted into the Home.
While the Octopus raved over essential wickedness, and the King-iyo of
philosophy, the Jelly-Fish dabbled in humanitarianism, and asserted that
brains were not to be tolerated, thought was to be considered a crime,
and a heart the only organ necessary for the spiritual body. All books
on theology and philosophy should be sold for old paper, and the
proceeds invested in charlotte russe for tramps and criminals. Every
measure in the least savoring of logic or common sense must be vetoed.

"The Stickleback, who luxuriated in controversy, and in making himself
generally disagreeable, summed up the remarks of those preceding him as
the merest vaporing of idiocy, and denounced every system of belief held
by his fellow-managers, before hearing it, with the same impartiality.
Antagonism, he asserted, was the only rational attitude for any fish
under all circumstances. The Conger-Eel, managing to gain possession of
the floor, endeavored to pour oil on the troubled waters. He was sure
that if the heterogeneous, and even antipathetic, ideas held by the
different managers were only presented in writing, they would, properly
mingled, blend as sweetly as lemon juice and loaf sugar in a cooling
summer libation. The Cuttle-Fish, was unanimously elected chairman of a
committee for eliciting and reconciling the opinions of the managers in
a printed constitution. He opened the ball with a statement of his own
views, which he passed to each member in turn, asking them to add their
several criticisms and corrections. When the paper had gone the rounds
it was read in open session by the Hermit-Crab, who summed up everything
that had gone before, in a paper entitled 'A Historical Review of the
Documents, beginning with the King-iyo's criticism of Mr.
Snapping-Turtle's attack on Mr. Shrimp's vindication of Mr. Jelly-Fish's
Apology of Mr. Conger-Eel's Deprecatory Answer to Mr. Lobster's satire
on Mr. Stickleback's Challenge to Mr. Octopus's Dogmatic Denunciation of
Mr. Shark's strictures on Miss Sea-Anemone's conciliatory explanation of
Mr. Cuttle-Fish's exposition of the views of the society.'

"Of course this paper satisfied no one, and the meeting plunged at once
into a whirlpool of ruinous discussion.

"The Stickleback bristled his spines and glared angrily about him,
shrieking, 'Antagonism! Nihilism!'

"'Fanaticism, Sensationalism!' yelled the Octopus.

"'Dogmatism! Absolutism!' replied the Lobster, hurling clams about him
in the belief that they were works on combative theology.

"'Asceticism! Monasticism!' groaned the Hermit-Crab, retreating into a
pipe bowl and blocking the entrance with a pearl-oyster.

"'Humanitarianism!' warbled the Jelly-Fish, as he choked three
sea-melons and a quart of sea-mushrooms into the mouth of a sick
Grampus.

"'Paganism! Barbarianism!' retorted the King-iyo, punching the
Jelly-Fish.

"'Optimism! Universalism!' sweetly chanted the Conger-Eel, but as he
spoke the entire convention broke up and floated away, leaving the
little Sea-Urchins crying for their supper, and only a debt of colossal
proportions to mark the site of the proposed Home."

"And how do you propose to avoid the fate of the Fish Society?" Ethel
asked, after the storm of applause which followed Winnie's paper had
subsided.

"By recognizing, from the first, that we unite only for this special
purpose, and that we all have very varied and contradictory opinions,
which we will make no attempt to reconcile or ventilate. I think we can
make our very differences an element of strength, if it is acknowledged
from the outset that we are to be different. As Corresponding Secretary
of our Ten I have received the most encouraging reports from the girls.
They are all working hard for the Home, and all working in different
ways, and each seems to think that the Home belongs to her
individually--as it really does--and that her organization is
responsible for its success. I am sure that when we next meet, the girls
will accept Mrs. Middleton's proposition to have the Home of the Elder
Brother entered as one of the Dutch Reformed charities, and I hope that
each of the other girls will take measures to have it recognized as one
of the charities of her particular church organization. I have a letter
from Little Breeze, saying that the Friends' Meeting in Philadelphia, of
which her mother is a member, propose to own a bed in the Home; and Puss
Seligman writes that the Hebrew Charitable Association, of which her
brother is Vice-President, have voted to hold themselves responsible
for every child of their race whom we entertain. Cynthia Vaughn reports
that the Church of ----burgh, Pennsylvania, will keep us in coal on
condition that a delegation of the children go to the Baptist
Sunday-school. Miss Prillwitz has already divided the Home into
detachments, sending the children, as far as possible, to the churches
which their mothers prefer, and there is a strong division of Baptists."

"I think," said Ethel, "that our Methodist Church would like to have a
share in the work. I am sure that father will be glad to supply you with
milk and butter as his own private subscription."

The President of the Loyal Legion then spoke up, and proposed that their
organization furnish barrels and make the rounds of the farms in
procession, soliciting apples and potatoes, which they would freight to
the Home, on condition that a Loyal Legion Temperance Society be
organized among the children of the Elder Brother, to be considered as a
branch of the Scup Harbor Legion.

The Cheer-up Ten from the Corners held a brief meeting in the orchard,
and returned to report that they had decided to adopt one of our
children to clothe. They desired that the child of the poorest parents
be assigned them, and promised that if the proper measurements were
sent, they would keep it respectably dressed in garments of their own
make.

I suggested little Georgie, a child rescued from Mrs. Grogan, whose
mother could only furnish fifty cents a week from her scanty earnings
for his support; and our convention broke up for that day, after
partaking of strawberries and cream, singing a good old hymn, slightly
altered for the occasion by Winnie.

    "Here we raise our Ebenezer,
      Hither by God's grace we come;
    And we hope, by His good pleasure,
      Long we may remain a Home."

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.--The Messiah Home, 4 Rutherford Place, New York, a charity founded
for children by children, whose beautiful work suggested to the author
this simple story, has been greatly helped by circles of the King's
Daughters, several of whom have adopted children to clothe after the
manner of the Cheer-up Ten. The writer commends this work to any other
circles of the King's Daughters eager to do the work of the Elder
Brother.



CHAPTER XIV.

OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY.

    "When smale foules maken melodie,
    That sleepen alle night with open eye,
    Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages."

       _Chaucer, Prologue to "Canterbury Tales."_

  [Illustration: {Drawing of landscape.}]


It must not be imagined that our entire summer was given over to works
of charity and mercy. There were times when we quite forgot the Home of
the Elder Brother in merry romping and girlish enjoyment; and one of the
pleasantest experiences of that season was an excursion in two
tin-peddler's carts, or rather, in two carts belonging to one
tin-peddler; a pilgrimage which was undertaken solely and simply as a
lark, and most successfully realized its aims.

Toward the end of June, while Miss Prillwitz was still with us, father
fell into a state of body or mind which he called "the malary." It was
the fashion for everyone in our region to dub every disease with which
they might be afflicted, from indigestion to inherited insanity,
malaria; and the prescription given by our wise old physician for this
disease of many manifestations was always the same.

"I don't know exactly what has caused this trouble," he would say, "but
I know what will cure it. You need a change. If you've been living high,
diet. If you've been starving yourself, have Thanksgiving dinner every
day. Take a change of air and a change of scene, a change of occupation,
and, above all, a change of habits, and somewhere we'll hit the nail on
the head that has done the mischief."

The prescription pleased my father. He decided that he needed a change
from the coast to the interior, and from exercise to a sedentary life.
"Instead of tramping around this farm," he said, "I would like to be
driving over the western Massachusetts hills. I am as sick of this
eternal pound, pound of the surf on the shore as of the sea-fog in my
throat."

"Take the horses, father," said mother, cheerfully, "and drive through
Connecticut up to your brother Asahel's farm in Hawley. I can run this
household well enough without you."

"It would be a rather lonesome drive," father demurred, though his eyes
shone with longing.

"Zen why not to take us wiz you, Mr. Smiss?" asked Miss Prillwitz. "We
would each stand her share of ze expenses, and such a tour of
_diligence_ would be most delightful."

Upon this the matter was thoroughly canvassed, and it was finally
decided that mother should remain at home with the five little boys,
whom Ethel Stanley and the Helpful Ten had agreed to amuse during our
absence; and that Miss Prillwitz, Miss Sartoris, Winnie, Mr. Stillman,
and I should accompany father. Mr. Stillman was a summer-boarder from
New York, who came to us every season to fish and hunt. Hearing that
Miss Prillwitz was fond of ornithology, and that the lighthouse-keeper
sent her dead birds, he tried to please her by shooting others and
bringing them to her, but she soon made him understand that she
preferred studying them alive and at liberty.

"Zese poor leetle tears zat haf cast zemself on ze lighthouse," she
explained, "zey have not been kill for me, zey could not else, but I
wish I could hinder zem of it."

"It is not much fun to shoot birds, after all," Mr. Stillman admitted,
"only the exultation in hitting a difficult mark. I hate to pick them up
afterward."

"If it is only ze chase and ze difficulty which make you admiration,"
said Miss Prillwitz, "why do you not buy to yourself a camera of
detective for ze instantaneousness, whereby you can photograph ze bird
on his wing? Zey tell me it shall be much more difficult to do zat zan
to shoot him dead."

And so Mr. Stillman had sent to New York for an amateur photographer's
outfit, and had fitted up a dark-room in the old smoke-house, where he
developed his negatives. He was a man to whom almost everything he tried
was easy, and he tried his hand at many things. He had traveled much,
and assured us that wherever he went he tried to learn some new
accomplishment. In China he had learned the art of making fireworks,
and earlier in the season the smoke-house had served as a chemical
laboratory for the manufacture of rockets. Before Miss Prillwitz had
suggested amateur photography, Mr. Stillman had amused us by setting off
fireworks on the beach at night, but the new craze seemed destined to
supersede every other; pyrotechnics were neglected, and the shot-gun and
rifle rusted from lack of use.

A tin-peddler lived not far from us--an enterprising man, the proprietor
of two carts, one of which his wife was accustomed to conduct, following
him in caravan style on his summer journeyings; but this season the man
was sick, his wife busied in his care, and the great carts, piled with
wares, stood waiting in the sheds.

"I've a notion," said father, "to buy Eben Ware's stock and hire one of
his carts. I can hitch my span of horses to it, and I will make enough
selling tinware, as we go, to pay the expenses of the whole trip."

This plan did not strike me pleasantly at first, but before I had time
to object Mr. Stillman joined in enthusiastically.

"A capital idea, Mr. Smith, but you know our board is to be paid
regularly to Mrs. Smith during our absence. Miss Sartoris, Miss
Prillwitz, and I all insist upon that. I will take the peddler's horses
and his second cart, which I will load up with my photographic outfit,
the ladies' baggage, camp supplies, etc., and I will fill in any spare
space with fireworks, which I will offer for sale along the route, all
profits to be devoted to the charity in which the ladies are interested.
The Fourth of July is so near that I fancy the rockets will meet with a
ready sale."

All joined in the plan with zest. Our wardrobe was reduced to a minimum.
It was discovered that the two carts were arranged to turn into
ambulances for camping at night, and would furnish comfortable
accommodation for the feminine portion of the party, while a small tent
was provided for father and Mr. Stillman. In reality we camped but one
night, preferring to stop at wayside inns, but it was pleasant to know
that we could do so whenever we wished. A roll of army blankets and
comfortables, a few kitchen utensils, and some canned goods were stored
away in Mr. Stillman's cart, with Miss Prillwitz's botanizing
equipments, Miss Sartoris's sketching materials, his own belongings, and
all the fireworks which he could manufacture in time; and still there
was room in the capacious interior. The rifle was added at Winnie's
urgent request, as a defense against wild beasts, though we all joined
in ridiculing her fears that bears might be found in the Massachusetts
woods, little thinking that we should have a thrilling adventure with a
grizzly bear. At the last moment Mr. Stillman added another camera and
more chemicals.

"This means," he replied, in answer to our questions, "that I have
rented a tintype outfit of a photographer over at the Corners, and
propose to add to our resources by taking tintypes as we go."

Mr. Stillman's ready invention, so fertile in expedients, received
hearty applause, and the gypsy caravan set out in high feather. We took
the steamboat with the carts to New Haven, and from that point struck
into the interior by turnpikes and country roads, father leading the way
with his jingling coach, Miss Prillwitz and Winnie perched high beside
him, and Miss Sartoris, Mr. Stillman, and I, who called ourselves the
Art Contingent, bringing up the rear. How beautiful the roads were,
shaded by willows or arched by elms! Often fascinating lanes led off
from the highway toward comfortable farm-houses, or grass-grown,
deserted roads mounted through shady gorges to the lonely hills,
tempting us from the beaten track. But the highway was beautiful enough.
Sometimes it followed the curves of some vagrant stream, or wound around
gently undulating hills. Miss Sartoris pointed out the fact that it was
most frequently a succession of curves, while French highways are laid
out as straight as the surveyor can make them, and do not compose as
well in landscape paintings. The Connecticut roads we found easy to
travel, well kept, and for the most part level or of easy grade. It was
not until we reached western Massachusetts that we walked up the hills
to lighten the load, or that the driver pressed his foot hard on the
brake as the cart coasted down the steep inclines like a toboggan.

Winnie was delighted with a bit of gorge road which played at hide and
seek with a wayward brook. "It seems to me," she said, "that the wood is
a matter-of-fact business man, and the brook is his sweet but willful
little wife. See how he tries to adapt himself to her whims and pranks,
keeping as close to her as he can, while the side which she does not
touch is stern with rock and shadow! And she, coquettish little thing,
wanders away from him into the deepest part of the ravine, where he
cannot follow, and hides herself in a tangle of fern and wild-flowers,
till, just as the lonely old road, quite in despair at having lost her,
crosses the ravine on a bridge of logs, apparently for the sole purpose
of seeking her, the merry little brook flies under the mossy bridge and
is close beside him on the side which he thought farthest from her."

"That is a very good parable," said father. "You've struck the nail
pretty fairly. That's the way it has always been with my wife and me. My
daughter, too, is one of the brook kind, but you needn't conclude that
the old road doesn't enjoy all the company of blackberry vines and
laurel and ferns that the brook attracts to itself, and which never
would have come near the road but for the brook. I mean you and Miss
Sartoris and the rest."

"And sometimes," Winnie added, "the road has its grains of corn or wheat
dropped from a passing cart, you know, to give to the sparrows, and the
brook likes that ever so much."

Father always called the boys from the Home "the sparrows," and he was
pleased by this allusion to his generosity.

We found ourselves following the circus at one stage of our journey, and
we pitched our tent and made camp not far from the fair-grounds. We
chose for our camp a site which had once been occupied by a house that
had been burned to the ground. The only out-building which had escaped
the conflagration was a root-house, or cellar, excavated, cave-like, in
the side of a hill. It struck Mr. Stillman as a particularly good
"dark-room," and we at once pre-empted it. Miss Sartoris painted a
sign-board for the photographic studio, and Winnie and I arranged a
bower with a flowery background for Mr. Stillman's sitters. We had a
rich harvest that day, Winnie acting as cashier, and Miss Sartoris, as
assistant, posing the groups. Mr. Stillman was quite exhausted when
evening fell. He said he had never done such a day's work in his life,
and his tintype material was nearly used up. We were patronized not only
by the country people who came to see the show, sheepish lovers who
wished to have their portraits taken together, and parties of merry
young people, but also by the showmen themselves. The living skeleton
and the fat lady, the strong man supporting a great weight by his teeth,
the lion tamer with his pets, and the snake charmer, were all among Mr.
Stillman's patrons. When it was understood that he had an instantaneous
camera with him, the equestrienne desired him to take a photograph of
her while performing her famous feat of riding five horses at once, and
the acrobats challenged him to catch their rapid evolutions. He
surprised them by his remarkable success in obtaining a perfect
negative. It was our most successful day, from a financial point of
view, for we realized over twenty dollars.

Father had a rather annoying experience which made him desire to avoid
the circus in the future. Among the articles which the tin-peddler had
given him was a soldering furnace and irons, for mending old tinware.
Father made his first attempt to use these tools on this afternoon. The
door-keeper of one of the tents brought him his japanned tin strong-box
to mend, and father attacked the task laboriously, succeeding in making
it firm by a rather too plentiful application of solder. He was so
interested in his task that he did not notice that an organ-grinder,
one of the followers of the circus, had pressed quite near and was
regarding the coins, which the door-keeper had temporarily turned into
his handkerchief, with hungry eyes. Suddenly the monkey, which had been
tied to the organ, became loose, and springing straight to the little
furnace, seized and brandished the heated soldering-iron. A great
excitement ensued, for no one dared to take the formidable weapon from
the mischievous creature. The owner of the monkey seemed at his wits'
end. He raged, stamped, tore his hair, commanded and entreated the
monkey to bring back the iron, all to no avail. The monkey, having
burned himself, finally dropped it, but, frightened by the pain or by
his master's threats, continued his flight into the woods, followed by
the organ-grinder. When the excitement occasioned by this event had
subsided, a still greater one ensued on the discovery that the
door-keeper's handkerchief and money had disappeared. The man angrily
charged father with its theft, but Mr. Stillman came running from his
dark-room with a negative which he had just developed. He had been
standing at the door, with his detective camera in his hand, and, quite
unintentionally, had done real detective work, for, intending only to
catch the monkey with the soldering-iron, he had focused upon it at the
very first, and the unerring eye of the camera had seen and recorded
what every one else had been too preoccupied to discover--the
organ-grinder snatching the gate-keeper's money. The negative was a
sufficient witness, and the organ-grinder was at once sought for, but
the earth seemed to have swallowed him. The monkey was found nursing his
burned paw in a tree, but his master and the money were not to be found.
There was such a train of beggars and questionable characters in the
wake of the circus that it was decided not to pursue our moneyed
advantage by following with them; and the next day we stood back from
the road to let the heavy, shambling elephants and long train of gaudily
decorated wagons pass by. Mr. Stillman had his detective camera out, and
took some interesting views of the procession. Father had taken a
dislike to the soldering outfit, and congratulated himself that the
monkey had lost the iron, but the last in the procession, a gypsy
fortune-teller, handed it to him, saying that it was a lodestone, which
would bring evil fortune to the person who possessed it, and advising
him to give it to his worst enemy. "I am a witch," Winnie laughed, "and
can reverse all omens--so we need not fear." Turning from the highway,
we now struck across the country, through chestnut woods, where Miss
Prillwitz taught us to recognize the song of the thrush, the sweetest of
New England songsters, and cousin of the mocking-bird. Mr. Stillman was
vexed that he could not obtain a single photograph of a thrush, but she
is a shy bird, and keeps hidden in leafy thickets, and though we heard
her song frequently, we never saw her. Mr. Stillman became very skillful
in photographing other birds, even fixing the agile little fly-catchers
in their eccentric movements, the watchful bobolink atilt on a
mullein-stalk, the swallows skimming the river's surface, and the
sagacious crows, who, having proved that a very natural scarecrow was
harmless, were less suspicious of him. The withered limbs on certain old
apple-trees were favorite perches for the birds, for there was no
foliage here to impede their flight, and outlined against the sky they
were capital targets for the camera. Mr. Stillman secured a gentlemanly
king-bird in such a position, his white breast and black back and tail
feathers reminding Winnie of a dandy in full evening dress.

Miss Prillwitz remarked on the brilliant plumage of the New England
birds, and said that it was a mistake to imagine that those of the South
were more beautiful. She pointed out the black and gold orioles, the
lovely bluebird, the scarlet tanagers, as brilliant as flamingoes, the
beautiful rose-breasted grosbeaks, with a rich crimson heart upon their
breasts, and the red-winged blackbirds, with their scarlet epaulets,
reminding one of brisk artillerymen. It was the last of June--the most
perfect of all the months--and as we rode we repeated all of the poets'
praises of the month that we could remember. We agreed that Lowell had
sung the season best:

    "The bobolink has come, and, like the soul
    Of the sweet season vocal in a bird,
    Gurgles in ecstasy we know not what,
    Save June! Dear June! Now God be praised for June."

But Margaret Deland pleased us nearly as well in her homage to the queen
month:

    "The dark laburnum's chains of gold
      She twists about her throat;
    Perched on her shoulder, blithe and bold,
      The brown thrush sounds his note!

    "And blue of the far dappled sky,
      That shows at warm, still noon,
    Shines in her softly smiling eye--
      Oh who's so sweet as June?"

Father was not a very successful tin-peddler. The thrifty New England
housewives were not pleased because he was unwilling to exchange his
wares for rags, after the manner of other itinerant venders. He was
uncertain as to the prices which he ought to charge; asking so little
for his brooms that one patron purchased all his stock, at a decided
loss to himself, as he afterwards learned, and demanding so much for
nutmeg graters that a sagacious purchaser showed him the door with
scorn. The soldering outfit, too, caused him much woe. It seemed that
the original peddler was a clever tinker; and all sorts of broken
articles, from clocks to umbrellas, were brought out for father to mend.
At first father good humoredly tried his best, but having burned holes
in his clothing, as well as blistered his hands, and succeeding in no
instance in satisfying his patrons, he was tempted to throw the little
furnace away, but his sense of economy would not allow him to do this,
and he stowed it away vindictively in the depths of his cart.

Shortly after this we spent two very interesting days in visiting Mt.
Holyoke and Smith colleges. They gave both to Winnie and me a desire for
a higher education than that which we were receiving at Madame's. Miss
Sartoris wandered slowly through the Art Building of Smith, looking
longingly at its superb equipment. The college is charmingly situated in
the old town of Northampton. We were told that the students had just
acted a Greek play, the "Electra" of Sophocles, very successfully, and
we looked at one another in envy as we thought how impossible it would
have been to present such a drama at Madame's.

We passed the Holyoke range on July 1. This barrier marks as distinct a
climatic change as Cape Cod in the Atlantic currents, for, just as,
south of the Cape, and apparently threatened by her bent arm, the Gulf
Stream sweeps to the north the tropic sea-weeds, and north of it, and
gathered close in its embrace, the Arctic mosses cling to the cold
heart of New England; so, south of the Holyoke range the air may be
tepid and lifeless, while beyond it invigorating breezes from the
Northland are dancing cheerily.

We had eaten the last native Connecticut strawberries, but they were
just in their glory north of the barrier, and though the almanac said
July, it was June weather still.

Mount Tom and Mount Holyoke stand as sentinels at the entrance of a
lovely region, through whose elm-covered villages we drove at leisurely
pace, resting over a Sabbath at old Hadley, one of the most charming
places, with its principal street a double cloister of elms and maples,
and where a Sabbath peace and stillness brooded even on week-days. Mr.
Stillman found, for the next few days, a ready sale for his fireworks,
exhausting his stock and adding twenty-five dollars to the treasury.
About twelve miles north of Mount Holyoke rises Mount Toby, a noble
mountain, which assumes, from certain directions, the shape of a
crouching camel. The resemblance is even more marked than that of the
Rock of Gibraltar to a lion. It dominates the country round about, and
from its summit nearly a score of nestling towns and villages are
visible. Among these Mr. Stillman sold his rockets, and proposed that we
should spend Fourth of July night on its summit, and there watch the
little fire-fountains on the plain below. It was an attractive plan, but
Mr. Stillman had not counted the weather into his reckoning. It had been
a sultry day. As we stopped at a farm-house on our way from Sunderland
to Mount Toby, the good woman told us to look out for rain. "The grass
has been waiting two days to be cut," she said, "but it looks kinder
lowry, and the men-folks daresn't begin haying."

There were two superb cumulus clouds in the west, shaped like elm-trees,
or wine-glasses touching rims, and there was a blue rain-cloud in the
southeast, with fringes trailing the landscape, and blurring it from our
view.

"The rain may not reach Mount Toby at all," father said; "showers travel
about among those hills in a curious fashion. I have seen it raining
hard on one side of Sugar-Loaf, while the other was dry and dusty. There
is a deserted railway station at the foot of Toby, where we can spend
the night. There were picnic grounds laid out on the mountain at one
time, but the enterprise failed, and trains no longer stop there."

A view of the station, which we reached early in the afternoon,
confirmed father's recommendation of it. The roof was weather tight, and
it was a roomy, comfortable building, a good refuge should a shower
overtake us. We picnicked beside a beautiful cascade, and leaving the
horses picketed beside the carts, proceeded to climb the mountain on
foot. It was glorious with masses of white and pink laurel, which I had
never before seen in its perfection, and Miss Prillwitz introduced me to
many other plants and flowers new to me. The Amherst basket-fern, shaped
like a Corinthian capital, grew in perfection, the Columbine blew her
flame-colored trumpets, and the harebell rang her inaudible chimes from
mossy clefts in the gray rocks. Miss Prillwitz said she had last picked
harebells in Austria.

"You know," said Miss Sartoris, "that Mary Howitt calls the harebell

          'The very flower to take
          Into the heart, and make
    The cherished memory of all pleasant places;
          Name but the light harebell,
          And straight is pictured well
    Where'er of fallen state lie lonely traces.
          Old slopes of pasture ground,
          Old fosse and moat and mound,
    Where the mailed warrior and crusader came;
          Old walls of crumbling stone
          With ivy overgrown,
    Rise at the mention of the harebell's name.'"

Miss Prillwitz pointed out more obscure plants, and gave us interesting
bits of information in regard to them. Some had strangely human
characteristics. The cassia, a shrinking sensitive-plant with yellow
blossoms, was one of these, while the poison-ivy in its unctuous growth
had an evil and malignant appearance which seemed to hint at its
inimical nature. She told us how to tell the poisonous sumac from the
harmless variety, the poisonous kind being the only one that has pendant
fruit. She gave us also a little chat about parasitic plants, suggested
by a _gerardia_, a little thief which draws its nutriment from the roots
of huckleberry.

"I did not know that plants had so little conscience," said Winnie. "It
reminds me of a guest a Southern gentleman had, who remained twelve
years, and after the death of the host married his widow."

"Plants seem also to be cruel," said Miss Prillwitz. "Zere is ze
_apocynum_, a carnivorous plant which eat ze insect. You should read of
him by Darwin. He set a trap for ze fly wiz some honey, and when Mr. Fly
tickle ze plant, quick he is caught, and Mr. Apocynum he eat him, and
digest him at his leisures."

"Miss Prillwitz, you should write a book for young people, and call it
'Near Nature's Heart,'" I suggested.

"I would so like," replied Miss Prillwitz, "but if I waste my time to
write, how should I earn my lifes? I have know many author, and very few
do make their wealths by--by their authority."

Miss Prillwitz brought out the last word triumphantly, quite sure that
she had achieved a success in our difficult language. I turned aside to
Mr. Stillman, that she might not see my smile. "How interesting she
makes our climb," I said, "and all these wayside weeds! 'She illustrates
the landscape.'"

"In my humble opinion it is Miss Sartoris who 'illustrates the
landscape,'" he replied. "See what a picture she makes reaching after
those sweet-briar blossoms! I wish I had not left my detective at the
station."

Miss Sartoris was indeed very pretty. It seemed to me that she grew
younger and more bewitching with every day of our trip. Each changing
pose as she leisurely picked the wild roses was full of grace, but I
could hardly understand why Mr. Stillman should greatly regret not
securing this particular view, when she had figured in at least half of
the photographs which he had taken.

We reached the top of the mountain just at sunset. The west glowed with
a yellow-green color. The strange clouds, which had been as white as
curds in the afternoon, were now dark blue, lighted by flashes of heat
lightning. They moved forward like the pillar which led the Israelites,
great billowy masses piled one on the other and toppling at the summit,
while they melted at the base into a mist of rain. Behind them was the
background of the sunset, like a plate of hammered gold dashed with that
sinister green. There were threatening rumblings in the east also, and
Amherst and its college buildings were blotted out by the rain clouds,
which resembled the petals of a fringed gentian, and seemed to be
traveling rapidly in our direction.

Father took a rapid view of the horizon. "There will be no fireworks
display for us to-night," he said. "There are two showers which will
meet in an hour's time, and Toby will be just about in the centre of the
fracas. We had better hurry down the mountain if we want to escape a
wetting."

Miss Sartoris gave a longing look at the beautiful panorama of nestling
villages, forest and winding river (a view unsurpassed in
Massachusetts), and now glorified by the magnificent cloud effects. "Can
we not rest for half an hour?" she asked.

"I think not," father replied, and we reluctantly retraced our steps.
When half-way down the mountain the wind, which preceded the march of
the cloud battalion, caught up with us. The chestnuts crouched low and
moaned, the poplars shivered and shook their white palms, and the
hemlocks writhed and tossed their gaunt arms as though in agony. Then
there was a hush, when they seemed to stand still from very fear, and a
minute later the storm burst upon us. We were but a short distance from
the station when this occurred, and the foliage which roofed the road
was so dense that we were not very wet when we reached our shelter.
There was an invigorating scent of ozone in the air, and a certain
exhilaration in being out in a storm, and in hearing the crash of
falling limbs far back in the woods. We noticed the gentleness of the
rain, which, though apparently fierce, did not break a single fragile
wild-flower. Each leaf, sponged free from dust, brightened as though
freshly varnished, and each blade of grass threaded its necklace of
crystal beads. The cascade, swollen and turbid, roared angrily at our
side, and a shallower rivulet made the path slippery as we hurried on;
but a few moments of laughing scramble brought us panting into the dry
station, safely housed for the night from the storm.

Father and Mr. Stillman arranged shelter for the horses by spreading the
tent between the two carts, and we ate our supper at what had formerly
been a refreshment counter. Then the ticket-office was assigned to the
gentlemen as their dormitory, and hammocks were hung for the rest of us
in the ladies' waiting-room. We told ghost stories for a time by the
light of a spirit-lamp and a few candles, but retired early, as we were
thoroughly tired from our long walk, and were soon asleep, lulled by the
monotone of the falling rain. We were not destined, however, to enjoy a
night of undisturbed repose, for the principal adventure of our journey
occurred that night.

I do not know how long we had slept when we were all suddenly awakened
by a startling scream.

"What is it? Oh, what is it?" gasped Winnie.

"Is it a catamount?" asked Miss Sartoris.

I thought of the railroad track, which ran close beside us, and
suggested that it might be the shriek of a passing engine, when suddenly
it came again on the side of the station opposite to the track. Father
sprang up, exclaiming, "Something is the matter with the horses!"

The rain was still pouring, and a dim light from the swinging lantern
illumined the room. As father spoke, one of the windows, which had been
left open for ventilation, was suddenly filled by an uncouth form,
which, with much scrambling and snorting, was proceeding to force an
entrance.

"It is a bear!" shrieked Winnie; and so it was. Mr. Stillman rushed
forward with his rifle. There was a loud report, and a heavy fall on the
outside.

"Horses can scent bears at a distance," said father, as he took down the
lantern; "but who would have thought there were any such creatures in
these woods?"

"Perhaps it has broken away from the circus," suggested Mr. Stillman,
reloading his rifle; for there was an ominous growling outside. Human
voices were presently heard whose intonations were almost as harsh as
those of the brute. Father unbarred the door, and we saw two men bending
over the wounded bear, which he now saw was muzzled, and the property of
the men, who had evidently heard of the old station, and had thought to
take refuge in it from the storm.

"Here's a pretty state of things!" father exclaimed, with a whistle.
"You have shot a performing bear, Stillman, and these showmen will
probably make us pay dearly for the mistake."

We had all been terribly frightened; but we recovered instantly on this
announcement, and hurriedly dressing, we peered out at the men as they
stood about the wounded animal and discussed the situation. One of the
showmen was a foreigner, who swore and grumbled in some strange
language, which Miss Prillwitz afterward told us was Russian. The other
was unmistakably a Jew, and he took a Jewish advantage of the accident.

"You haf ruined our pizness--dot bear he wort one, two hundert dollar!"

"Nonsense!" replied father, as confidently as if he were accustomed to
trade in that species of live-stock; "he's dear at fifty. Besides, he
isn't dead, nor anything like it. Hold him with this halter, you two,
and I'll examine him. There! I told you so; it's only a flesh wound in
the right foreleg. There are no bones broken. He will be ready for
travel in a week. All you've got to do is to stay here for a few
days--and where could you be better off? We leave in the morning, and no
one will dispute your possession of this house. I will leave you enough
provisions to keep you until you are ready for the road again."

The men talked it over in Russian, and seemed far from satisfied, though
Mr. Stillman offered to give them twenty dollars as an equivalent for
what they would have gained during the next week, and father added his
remaining stock of small tinware, which, he explained, they could easily
sell from door to door at the farm-houses and villages in the vicinity.
He was tired of his occupation as a tin-peddler, and glad to get rid of
the obnoxious soldering furnace, as well as the patty-pans and
muffin-rings. A settlement was finally effected when, in addition to
this, Mr. Stillman agreed to their demand for fifty dollars cash
indemnity.

There was no more sleep for us that night, and it was with rueful
countenances that we discussed the adventure among ourselves.

"To think," lamented Winnie, "that, just as we were congratulating
ourselves on gaining so much money for the Home, we should be obliged to
pay it all out, and more besides, to these wretched men, and all for
nothing too!"

"Yes," replied Mr. Stillman, "that is the provoking part. If I had only
killed the creature we might have bear-steak for breakfast (though it
would have been pretty expensive meat), and I could have had his hide
mounted as a rug, and have exhibited it to my friends with truthful
braggadocio as one of my hunting trophies."

I sympathized with Winnie in regard to the depleted condition of our
treasury; but Miss Prillwitz remarked, enigmatically, that the adventure
might not prove to be such a losing one as we imagined. We begged her
to explain; but she bade us wait until we were at least ten miles from
our encampment.

We relinquished the station to the showmen after a very early breakfast,
and drove away with lightened carts and subdued spirits.

The rain had ceased, but was likely to begin again at any moment, for
the sky was thickly overcast, and father suggested that, as this was a
famous trout region, we might do well to spend the morning in fishing.
This plan pleased all but Miss Prillwitz, who whispered to father that
she had particular reasons for reaching a telegraph station as soon as
possible, and we accordingly directed our course at a rattling pace
toward the shire town of Greenfield. On the way Miss Prillwitz confided
to us her suspicions; and in order that the reader may understand them,
I must anticipate the events which are to be related in the next
chapter, and explain that, after the explosion at Rickett's Court,
Solomon Meyer and one of the anarchists had disappeared from New York,
and Mr. Armstrong had offered a reward for their apprehension.

The anarchist was known to be a Russian, and though Miss Prillwitz had
never seen Solomon Meyer, she felt sure, from Lovey Trimble's
description of him, that he had decided to avoid the ordinary routes of
travel, and to journey toward Canada on foot, disguised as an itinerant
showman. She had more proofs of his identity than these suspicions. The
men had conversed very freely with each other in Russian, never dreaming
that there was any one present who could understand the language. The
Russian had complained bitterly that this accident would delay their
journey to Canada, and the Jew had replied that it might be as well to
lie hidden until the search was over.

Arrived at Greenfield, Miss Prillwitz telegraphed to Mr. Armstrong, and
in two hours received the following reply: "Have the local authorities
arrest the parties and detain them until I can reach Greenfield."

Accordingly Mr. Stillman and father, with a sheriff and a constable,
drove back toward Mount Toby in a sort of picnic wagon. Father advised
us to await him at Deerfield, one of the most interesting villages in
the Connecticut Valley--both from its intrinsic beauty and its historic
associations. We engaged lodgings at the small hotel, where we found
but one other traveler, a dejected book-agent. It was nearly
dinner-time, and the landlord looked rather alarmed by the unexpected
arrival of so many hungry-looking guests, but he soon set before us a
capital dinner of broiled chicken, and after a little rest we took a
stroll through the beautiful old town. We were informed that the
Memorial Hall, a museum of antique furniture, books, costumes, and other
curiosities, was well worth visiting; and so, indeed, we found it. One
object which greatly interested me was an old spinnet, with a quaint
collection of music, both sacred and secular. Here was a great bass-viol
which formerly groaned out an accompaniment to the male voices of the
choir as they took their part in such strange, metrical arrangements as

    "Come, my beloved, haste away,
    Cut short the hours of thy delay;
    Fly like a youthful hart or roe,
    Over the hills where spices grow."

The Library, too, a collection of "the (literary) remains" of many
celebrated doctors of divinity, was a fascinating room, and one in which
we would have enjoyed prowling for a long time. Hawthorne has given
such an admirable description, in his "Old Manse," of just such a
library, that I cannot forbear quoting it here.

"The old books would (for the most part) have been worth nothing at an
auction. They possessed an interest quite apart from their literary
value; many of them had been transmitted down through a series of
consecrated hands from the days of the mighty Puritan divines. A few of
the books were Latin folios written by Catholic authors; others
demolished papistry as with a sledgehammer, in plain English. A
dissertation on the book of Job, which only Job himself could have had
the patience to read, filled at least a score of small, thick-set
quartos, at the rate of two or three volumes to a chapter. Then there
was a vast folio 'Body of Divinity.' Volumes of this form dated back two
hundred years and more, and were generally bound in black leather,
exhibiting precisely such an appearance as we should attribute to books
of enchantment. Others equally antique were of a size proper to be
carried in the large waistcoat pockets of old times: diminutive, but as
black as their bulkier brethren. These little old volumes impressed me
as if they had been intended for very large ones, but had been,
unfortunately, blighted at an early stage of their growth. Then there
were old newspapers, and still older almanacs, which reproduced the
epochs when they had issued from the press with a distinctness that was
altogether unaccountable. It was as if I had found bits of magic
looking-glass among the books, with the images of a vanished century in
them."

We lingered long in the Library, and in the Indian Room, where stands an
old door gashed by the tomahawks of the Indians who, with a company of
French, in 1704, surprised Deerfield, massacred a great part of the
inhabitants, and carried a hundred and twelve as prisoners to Canada.
Yellow and crumbling letters, uncertainly spelled and quaintly phrased,
hung around the room, telling how perilous such a driving-tour as we had
just taken would have been in those pioneer days. One, dated 1756 and
written to Captain John Burt in the Crown Point Army, read as follows:


      "Dear Husband.

     "It is a Crasie time in this place. There is but little Traviling
     by the Massachusetts Fort which makes it more difficult to send
     letters. Capt. Chapin and Chidester and his Son were killed and
     scalpt by the Enemy near the new foort at Hoosack."

Sarah Williams, of Roxbury, in 1714 announces to her friends at
Deerfield the expected return of many of their friends who had been
carried off in different raids--"We have had news that Unkel is Coming
with one hundred and fifty Captives."

The number dwindled, and many who were carried away on that dreary march
through the winter snow never returned, but among the relics preserved
in the archives of Memorial Hall is a pathetic little red shoe which
walked all the way from Hatfield to Canada and back, on the foot of
little Sally Colman. It is hardly more than a tiny sole, with a rag of
the scarlet upper clinging to it, but it tells the story of the cruel
march, and the heroic efforts of the noble men who effected the rescue
of their friends, better than many a page of print.

We were so much interested in Memorial Hall that it was long past
supper-time before we thought of leaving. The book-agent advised us to
visit the old burying-ground, and, after supper, offered to show us the
way. We found it grass-grown and neglected; in some portions, a thicket
of climbing vines and tangling briers. Indeed, the entire God's acre was
so given over to nature that the birds built undismayed, while the
squirrel frisked impudently on the headstones, and the woodchuck
burrowed beside the tombs. It had not been used for many years; a newer
cemetery raised its white monuments on the hillside, while here lichens
nearly filled the carving, and the stones leaned at tipsy angles,
proving that grief for any buried here had been long assuaged, that the
very mourners had passed away, and it was doubtful whether a single aged
man still lingered in the town of whom it could be said that

    "These mossy marbles rest
    On the lips which he has pressed
            In their bloom.
    And the names he loved to hear
    Have been carved for many a year
            On the tomb."

As Miss Sartoris remarked, the place did not suggest sadness, but gentle
retrospection, while curiosity provoked the fancy to fill out the
histories so provokingly suggested in the inscriptions. Here was buried
Mrs. Williams, whom her epitaph declares to be "the virtuous and
desirable consort of Mr. John Williams," and Mr. Mehuman Hinsdale, who
was "twice captivated by the barbarous savages."

The book-agent read us another epitaph, copied in Vernon, Vt., which
suggested a three-volume novel in the history which it gave of early
Indian times. Our imaginations sank exhausted as we attempted to follow
the heroine through all her matrimonial complications, I give it as it
was dictated to me:

  MRS. JEMIMA TUTE,
  SUCCESSIVELY RELICT OF MESSRS. WILLIAM PHIPS,
  CALEB HOWE, AND AMOS TUTE.
  THE TWO FIRST WERE KILLED BY THE INDIANS,
  PHIPS, JULY 5, 1743; HOWE, JUNE 27, 1755.
  WHEN HOWE WAS KILLED, SHE AND HER CHILDREN,
  THEN SEVEN IN NUMBER, WERE CARRIED INTO CAPTIVITY.
  THE OLDEST DAUGHTER WENT TO FRANCE, AND WAS
  MARRIED TO A FRENCH GENTLEMAN. THE YOUNGEST WAS
  TORN FROM HER BREAST, AND PERISHED WITH HUNGER.
  BY THE AID OF SOME BENEVOLENT GENTLEMEN, AND HER
  OWN PERSONAL HEROISM, SHE RECOVERED THE REST.
  SHE DIED MARCH 7, 1805, HAVING PASSED THROUGH
  MORE VICISSITUDES AND ENDURED MORE HARDSHIPS THAN
  ANY OF HER CONTEMPORARIES.

    "'No more can savage foe annoy,
     Nor aught her widespread fame destroy.'"


It was dark when we wandered back to the hotel, past the old manse built
for the Reverend John Williams by his parishioners after his return from
captivity. We were told that some one residing in the house of late had
occasion to move a tall piece of furniture in one of the chambers, and
discovered a door. Opening this, a secret staircase was found leading
from the cellar to the attic. No one living had known of its existence,
and many were the wild guesses made as to its object.

When we returned to the hotel we found that father and Mr. Stillman had
not yet arrived. Miss Sartoris seemed very anxious, and feared that
there might have been trouble in arresting the tramps. Winnie cheered us
by suggesting the trout fishing, which Mr. Stillman had reluctantly
abandoned when we left Mt. Toby. It would be a good night for fishing,
the landlord said; perhaps they had remained for it, since the distance
to Toby was too long to be comfortably made three times in one day.
After breakfast the next morning, as our travelers were still absent,
Miss Sartoris and I unpacked our sketch-boxes and began to make a study
of the street from the north end, just at the point where the French
and Indians, "swarming over the palisades on the drifted snow, surprised
and sacked the sleeping town."

Miss Prillwitz and Winnie, with their botanists' cans, followed a little
brook that ran at the back of the hotel, and came back laden with blue
German forget-me-nots. Father and Mr. Stillman arrived just before
dinner, Mr. Stillman carrying in one hand a string of beautiful speckled
trout, and in the other something which looked like a buffalo-robe. He
looked very triumphant and happy, while father followed, carrying in a
rather sheepish manner--what but the old soldering furnace! We greeted
them with so much laughter and so many questions that it was some time
before they could give an account of their adventures.

Arrived at the Mount Toby railroad station, they had found it deserted.
The men having evidently decided that it was not safe to await the
recovery of the bear, had accordingly killed it, and secreted it in a
cave at the foot of the mountain. The sheriff knew of this cave, and in
examining it in search of the men, found the carcass of the bear.

"And so," exclaimed Mr. Stillman, exhibiting the skin, "I secured my
rug, after all, but we concluded that the meat looked rather tough, and
we would not take it. I shall express this skin straight to a
taxidermist that I know, and have it handsomely mounted."

"But the men!" I asked; "you don't mean to tell me that they escaped?"

"No," replied father; "but if you can't keep quiet I shall not be able
to tell you how they were caught. It was this very ill-luck-bringing
soldering outfit that did it. When we found that they had left, I
suspected that they had taken the morning train for Canada at the
Montague station, for no trains stopped at Toby; and in case they had
done that, there was hardly a chance of our reaching the station and
ascertaining the fact in time to telegraph and effect their arrest
before they could leave the country. We had driven from Greenfield
pretty rapidly, and our horses were tired; then we took a wrong turning,
and got off into Leverett, or some other unhappy wilderness; but after a
while we found a farmer who provided us with fresh beasts, and we
reached the Montague station toward evening. It was shut up, and the
station-master had gone home, but after another half-hour we found him.
Yes, our men had bought tickets for Montreal that morning. Then you
should have seen our hurry to telegraph; but the station-master advised
us to keep cool, and wait a little. 'They bought their tickets,' he
said, 'but they didn't go there.' So that was a feint, I thought, to
throw us off the track. But no; on their way from Toby they had decided
that they would have a cup of coffee, and they had sat down behind a
barn to make it on my soldering furnace, and as they were doubtless as
tired of carrying the old thing as I was, they left it there. The wind
blew the coals into the hay, and in a few minutes the barn was on fire.
Someone had seen them leave the yard, and before the train came along
for which they were waiting, they were arrested as incendiaries, and
taken to the Greenfield jail. As this was precisely where the sheriff
wished to take them, there was nothing for him to do but to return and
notify the authorities that the men would be wanted soon on more serious
charges. And as the station-master informed us that there was some good
trout-fishing nearby, we decided to spend the night in Montague. So we
let the sheriff and constable drive back to Greenfield without us, and
telegraphed Mr. Armstrong that his birds were caught."

"If they only turn out to be his birds!" said Winnie.

"I haf no doubtfuls of zat," said Miss Prillwitz.

"But why did you bring back that wretched little furnace and iron?" I
asked.

"Why, the curious part of it is that the farmer who drove us over this
morning had found them in the ruins of his barn, and he brought them
along, thinking that we might like them to help in identifying the
rascals. I couldn't refuse his kindness, but I certainly shall not carry
them away from this place. I don't believe in such nonsense, but the
gypsy's prediction has come true so far, and they brought bad fortune to
the gentlemen to whom I presented them."

Mr. Armstrong, who had been telegraphed for, arrived with a police
officer that night; and Miss Prillwitz, father, and Mr. Stillman were
absent all the next morning making depositions to aid in the
identification of the prisoners.

It was finally decided to remove them to New York to await trial on Mr.
Armstrong's charges. We set out that afternoon for Ashfield, our route
leading us over beautiful hills, and affording us views of rare
loveliness. Ashfield is a village loved by literary men as Deerfield is
by artists. Deerfield nestles in a valley, while Ashfield lies on the
breezy hill-top; George William Curtis is the centre of the coterie of
rare minds who make Ashfield their summer home. Mr. Curtis gives a
lecture here once a year for the benefit of the Sanderson Academy. At
this time every manner of vehicle brings the country-people over the
winding roads, which converge in Ashfield like the spokes of a wheel in
their hub. We were not fortunate enough to light on this red-letter day,
and we accordingly rested over night at the long low inn, and started
early the next morning for uncle's home in Hawley. The distance was
short, as the crow flies, but it seemed to be all up-hill. The last mile
was through one of those gorges so common in this region, where the
fissure between the hills is so narrow that the sun only looks in for
two or three hours. Slowly climbing the long, green-vaulted stairway,
the dusky tapestry was at length looped back for us, and the road,
emerging from the wooded ravine, gleamed yellow-white between the
grassy mounds. Crowning one of these knolls stood a long, white
farm-house, spreading out wing after wing in hospitable effort to
shelter the entire hill-top. Beside the road stood a post with a
letter-box affixed, for the reception of the mail left by the daily
stage. We passed a huddle of old barns and out-buildings, among which I
recognized a carpenter's shop, a carriage-shed, a sugar-house in
convenient proximity to a grove of maples, a dairy through which ran the
brook, keeping cool and solid the eighty pounds of butter which my
cousins made each week, a cider-mill, and behind it an orchard of russet
apple-trees, and a long row of bee-hives fronting the flower-garden.

Uncle expected us, and it was delightful to see the meeting between the
two brothers, who had not seen each other in twelve years. There were
plenty of airy bedrooms, hung with pure white dimity, and after our
gypsy life it seemed very pleasant to find once more the comforts of a
home. We spent several days at the Maples, attending service in the dear
old-fashioned church with its high, square pews.

Aunt Prue had all of our travel-soiled clothing neatly washed, and
refilled the emptied hampers and lunch-baskets with abundant supplies
from the products of the farm and her own good cookery.

Uncle was a large, easy man, who dearly loved to tell a story to match
his own ample proportions, only the twinkle in his eye redeeming him
from the charge of deception. Aunt Prue's rigid conscience revolted at
uncle's romances. "Asahel Smith!" she would exclaim, "how can you lie
like that; and you a church-member?"

"Now, Prudence," Uncle Asahel would reply, "the catechism says a lie is
a story told with intention to deceive, and when I told these girls that
I drove the oxen home with the last load of hay so fast that I got it
into the barn before a drop of water fell, while it was raining so hard
behind me that Watch, who was following the wagon, actually _swam_ all
the way up from the medder--when I told 'em that, I cal'late I didn't
deceive 'em; I was only cultivating their imaginations."

Aunt Prue groaned in spirit, and began to sing, in a high, cracked
voice.

    "False are the men of high degree,
    The baser sort are vanity;
    Weighed in the balance, both appear
    Light as a puff of empty air."

While at The Maples we made an excursion to Cummington, formerly
Bryant's home. We sat in the library, shut in by a thick grove, where he
composed his translations of the Odyssey and Iliad, and we played with a
little pet dog of which he had been very fond. Not far from the estate
is a fine library, Bryant's gift to the little town. "Bryant's River" is
a brawling little stream which flows through a very picturesque region.
We amused ourselves by fancying that we recognized spots described in
several of his poems.

There was a grand old oak upon the place which might have inspired his
lines--

                        "This mighty oak--
    By whose immovable stem I stand, and seem
    Almost annihilated--not a prince
    In all that proud Old World beyond the deep
    E'er wore his crown as loftily as he
    Wears the green coronal of leaves with which
    Thy hand has graced him."

The scenery about Cummington and Hawley tempted us to a frequent use of
our sketching-materials. Mr. Stillman, too, found several birds new to
him, and took some beautiful landscape photographs. Miss Sartoris gave
him new ideas about choosing views where mountain and cloud, trees and
reflections, composed well, and his photographs became much more
artistic. He began to talk about the importance of placing his darkest
dark here, and his highest light there, of balancing a steeple in this
part of his picture by a human interest in the foreground, of massing
his shadows, of angular composition, of tone and harmony, and the rest
of the cant of the studio. Nor was it all cant; Miss Sartoris had taught
him to see more in nature than he had ever seen before, and while his
ambition had hitherto been to secure sharp photographs of instantaneous
effects--mere feats of mechanical skill--his aim was now to produce
pictures satisfying to highly cultivated tastes. He acknowledged that
all this was due to Miss Sartoris, who had opened a new world to him,
though it seemed to me that he really owed quite as much to Miss
Prillwitz, but for whose influence he would never have taken up
photography. I was a little jealous for our princess, and felt that,
though Miss Sartoris was young and fair, and Miss Prillwitz old and
wrinkled, this was no reason why honor should not be rendered where
honor was due.

There was a pond with a bit of swamp land on uncle's farm, which he
considered the blot on the place, but which Miss Sartoris declared was a
real treasure-trove for a picture. One end was covered with lily-pads,
and great waxy pond-lilies were opening their alabaster lamps here and
there on the surface, while the yellow cow-lilies dotted the other end
with their butter-pats. Cat-tails and rushes grew in the shallower
portions, and here was to be found the rare moccasin-flower, a pink and
white orchid of exquisite shape. Miss Sartoris painted a beautiful
picture here. She said it reminded her of the pond which Ruskin
describes with an artist's insight and enthusiasm.

"A great painter sees beneath and behind the brown surface what will
take him a day's work to follow; and he follows it, cost what it will.
He sees it is not the dull, dirty, blank thing which he supposes it to
be; it has a heart as well as ourselves, and in the bottom of that there
are the boughs of the tall trees and their quivering leaves, and all the
hazy passages of sunshine, the blades of the shaking grass, with all
manner of hues of variable, pleasant light out of the sky; and the
bottom seen in the clear little bits at the edge, and the stones of it,
and all the sky. For the ugly gutter that stagnates over the drain-bars
in the heart of the foul city is not altogether base. It is at your will
that you see in that despised stream either the refuse of the street or
the image of the sky; so it is with many other things which we unkindly
despise."

We all regretted when our short visit at The Maples came to an end, but
Miss Prillwitz felt that she must be hastening back to the Home, and we
had already transgressed the bounds which we had set to our outing. We
decided to vary our journey by returning through Berkshire. We drove,
the first day, to Pittsfield, a flourishing little city, and now for the
first time we felt ourselves out of place in the peddler's carts.
Nowhere else had we attracted any special attention. It was a common
thing for tin-peddlers to take their feminine relatives with them on
their jaunts, and as we dressed very plainly, and conducted ourselves
with gravity, no one gave us a second look.

At Pittsfield, however, we came in contact once more with "society," and
the loungers on the hotel veranda gave us a broadside of astonished
looks as we alighted. "It is very disagreeable to be stared at in this
way," Winnie remarked to Miss Prillwitz as we entered.

"My tear," replied the good lady, "it takes four eyes to make a
stare."[A]

[A] A remark once made by Professor Maria Mitchell to a student of
Vassar College who had made a similar complaint.

Winnie colored deeply, for she knew that if she had been less
self-conscious she would not have felt the curious and impertinent gaze.
We left Pittsfield so early the next morning that none of the hotel
loungers were on the piazza to comment on our appearance.

We drove, that day, over the lovely Lenox hills, once covered by stony
pastures, dotted here and there by lonely farm-houses, but now a
succession of beautiful parks and aristocratic villas and mansions. Mr.
Stillman had his camera out, and photographed a number of the handsome
residences as we passed, and one of the gay little village-carts driven
by a young woman dressed in the height of fashion, and presided over by
a footman in livery.

"That does not seem to me a sensible way of going into the country,"
said Winnie. "I don't believe she has half the fun that we have in this
old caravan."

"Perhaps not," I replied, "but I presume that Adelaide and Milly are
driving about in much the same style; and we know that better-hearted
girls never lived."

We picnicked near "Stockbridge Bowl," a lovely lake, blue as Geneva and
encircled by beautiful hills. As father brought out the lunch-hamper I
noticed a queer expression on his face. "What do you suppose I have
found stowed away in the back part of the cart?" he asked.

"Not the soldering furnace?" we all replied, in unison.

He smiled grimly, and, instead of replying, placed it before us. "That
Deerfield landlord must have packed it up without your knowledge," said
Miss Sartoris. "Its reappearance is becoming really amusing; let us make
one grand final effort to get rid of it by sinking it in the middle of
the lake."

"Will you do it?"

"Certainly."

Miss Sartoris took the furnace and ran down to the lake, whence she
presently returned empty-handed.

"Did you drown the creature?"

"Not exactly, but I gave an ancient fisherman whom I found there a
quarter to commit the crime for me. I told him that it was something
which we were tired of, and never wished to see again, and he promised
me, in rather a mixed manner, that 'human hand should never find hide
nor hair of it, nor human eye set foot on it again.'"

A general laugh followed this announcement. How should we know that the
man's suspicions were excited by Miss Sartoris's anxiety to get rid of
the object, and that instead of sinking it in the middle of "the Bowl"
he wrapped it carefully in brown paper, and labeling it "To be kept till
called for," hid it under the bank! "Somebody will come for that
object," he said to himself; "shouldn't wonder if it was wanted at court
as circumstantial evidence of somethin' or 'nother."

Another event occurred while we were resting at "the Bowl." Miss
Sartoris remarked that a view which she had obtained as she returned
from the lake was the most enchanting that she had seen on the trip.
"How I wish that I had time to sketch it!" she said.

"I will photograph it for you," Mr. Stillman exclaimed, with alacrity,
"if you will kindly show me just where you would like to have the view
taken."

They walked back together, a turn in the road hiding them from our view.
We waited for them a long time, and at length father became impatient
and drove on, leaving me to hold Mr. Stillman's horses. When they came
back there was an expression on their faces which told everything. I
should have known it even if Mr. Stillman had been able to keep the
words back, but he was too happy to be silent. "You were lamenting, this
morning," he said to me as he took the reins, "that we had only two more
days to journey together."

"That is all," I replied, "unless Miss Sartoris and you have decided to
make a longer trip."

"Yes," he replied, "you have guessed it exactly: Miss Sartoris has just
consented to journey on through life with me."

I was surprised, and yet, when I came to think of it, I saw that I ought
to have suspected it from the time they first met; and, all things
considered, they were admirably suited to each other. So I could only
rejoice in their happiness, though I wondered, a little selfishly, what
Madame's would be without Miss Sartoris, and whether I should ever have
a teacher whom I should love as well.

When we caught up with the other cart father asked whether he got a
successful negative.

"No," replied Mr. Stillman, "I didn't get a very decided negative, and I
confess I didn't want one."

There was a look of blank astonishment on all their faces, and then a
peal of laughter as his meaning dawned upon them. After the storm of
congratulations and exclamations had ceased, Miss Sartoris suddenly
exclaimed, "You left your detective camera!"

"That is so," Mr. Stillman replied, "Shall we drive back after it?"

"Not unless you want to catch that shower," father remarked, pointing to
a threatening cloud.

"I'll get you ladies under shelter first, and then I really think I must
look it up," said Mr. Stillman. But before we reached Stockbridge we met
a coaching-party conducted by a nattily dressed young man of slender
build, who managed his spirited four-in-hand with considerable skill,
and who reined them in as we approached, exclaiming, "Stillman! by all
that's odd!" Mr. Stillman introduced the gentleman as a Mr. Van Silver,
an old friend from the city, and mutual explanations followed. He was
now on his way to Lenox, and agreed to stop at the spot which Mr.
Stillman indicated, and if he could find the camera express it to Mr.
Stillman at Scup Harbor.

Very little more of interest to the reader occurred until we reached
home. We followed the Housatonic for the greater part of our way, and
when we had nearly reached its mouth, drove across to New Haven, from
which port, having completed our round-trip, we took the steamer for
home. Father found a letter from Mr. Armstrong in relation to the
thieves taken in Montague, who were proved to be the criminals of
Rickett's Court, whose retribution shall be related in the next chapter.
The little boys left in mother's care had conducted themselves in as
exemplary a manner as could be expected, there having been no cases of
really bad conduct, and only two slight accidents.

Miss Prillwitz took them under her wing and left with them for the Home,
all looking happier, browner, and rounder for their stay in the country.
Winnie regretted that our scheme for filling the treasury of the Home
had not been a success, since the aggregate of money made by peddling
tinware and rockets, and by taking tintypes, did not meet the expenses
of the trip. Mr. Stillman, however, insisted on presenting the
institution with a handsome check, "as an inadequate thank-offering," so
he said, for the great blessing which had come to him in our journeying
"over the hills and far away."

Miss Sartoris left almost immediately for her own home, and Mr. Stillman
followed her soon after. Two express packages came to him before he left
us. One was the bearskin, handsomely mounted, the other was preceded by
a note from his friend Mr. Van Silver, which said that he had overtaken
a venerable fisherman walking off with his camera, and that it required
considerable persuasion of a "sterling quality" to rescue it from him.
Mr. Stillman opened the package with grateful anticipation, and
found--the soldering furnace!



CHAPTER XV.

THE ESTATES DEL PARADISO.

    "I have been here before,
        But when, or how, I cannot tell;
    I know the grass beyond the door,
        The sweet, keen smell,
    The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

    You have been mine before,
        How long ago I may not know;
    But just when, at that swallow's soar,
        Your neck turned so,
    Some veil did fall--I knew it all of yore."

                                     --_Rossetti._

  [Illustration: {Drawing of woman.}]


We must now return to Mr. Armstrong, whom we left in chapter XII. in
conference with Dr. Carver over the Doctor's advertisement of the case
of lost identity inserted in the daily papers ten years before.

The physician listened gravely to Mr. Armstrong's account of the loss of
his wife and infant son, the wild hopes which were now awakened, and to
his request for the address of the lady referred to, and gave him a
pitying glance as he replied:

"So many bereaved persons have come to me fancying that they recognized
a loved one in that notice, only to be cruelly disappointed; and Mrs.
Halsey has in the past been subjected to so many trying interviews of
this description, that I hesitate to encourage your visiting her, unless
you have positive proof of what you hope. A photograph would give this
proof."

"And, unfortunately, I have none of Mrs. Armstrong."

"But I had one taken of Mrs. Halsey, which I have kept in the hope that
it might be identified some day;" and the Doctor drew from his
pocket-book a thumbed and discolored photograph, which he placed in Mr.
Armstrong's hand.

The effect was unmistakable. The strong man rose to his feet, staggered,
and fainted, for he had recognized his wife. The physician quickly
restored him to consciousness, and after waiting until the effect of the
shock had partially passed away, he said:

"I see that there is no danger of any mistake, and that I may direct
you where to find Mrs. Halsey--I beg pardon, Mrs. Armstrong. Her
address, when I last saw her, was No. 1 Rickett's Court."

"Rickett's Court!" exclaimed Mr. Armstrong, in horror.

"Yes, sir; it is not the best quarter of the city, but many of the
respectable poor live there; and you must remember, sir, that your wife
must necessarily have had a hard struggle to support herself and your
little son, alone and friendless, in this great city."

Mr. Armstrong groaned aloud. Rickett's Court had not seemed so bad to
him for other men's children and wives, but that _his_ child, _his_
wife, should live in such vile surroundings was horrible. He sprang to
his feet, seized his hat, and with a hasty "I will see you again,
Doctor," hurried in the same direction which Stephen Trimble had taken
not a half-hour before. It was only a short distance, but it seemed
miles to him. Just as he came in sight of the building every window in
its front was illuminated with a sudden flash, and a heavy detonation
shook the earth. Then smoke poured from the broken panes, and the air
was filled with flying splinters and débris, while shrieks from
within, and shouts of "Fire! fire!" from without, added to the
confusion.

  [Illustration: {Drawing of city street and buildings.}]

The smoke cleared in a moment, and people were seen at the windows
dropping down the fire-escape. Only a few minutes later a fire-engine
came tearing around the corner, and the hoarse voice of a fireman was
heard dominating the tumult and giving orders, but before this Alexander
Armstrong, possessed of but one idea--that his wife and child were
somewhere within--had rushed into the burning building. One glance
showed him that this was hopeless. The staircase had been torn out by
the explosion, and the flames were roaring up the space which it had
occupied, as through a chimney. He was dragged back to the court by the
fireman, who exclaimed, "Man alive! can't you see that the staircase has
gone, and that they are coming down the fire-escape? There wouldn't have
been the ghost of a chance for them but for that. Bless the man who had
it put there!"

The words gave him a little heart, and he stood at the foot, helping the
women and catching the children handed to him, hoping in vain to
recognize his wife. They stopped coming. "Are all out?" he shouted.
"There's some one in the fourth story," said a woman, and before the
fireman could lay his hand on the fire-escape Mr. Armstrong was half-way
up. The façade still stood, but the entire interior of the building was
in flames, and blinding smoke and scorching sparks poured from the
windows. At the fourth story a man had staggered to the window and lay
with his arm outside, holding on to the sill. Mr. Armstrong uttered a
cry when he saw that it was a man, but, none the less, he lifted him
tenderly out, and into the arms of the fireman following close behind
them. Then drawing his coat over his mouth and nostrils, he entered the
room. Another man lay at a little distance, or a body that had been a
man, terribly torn and shattered by the explosion. It was the anarchist
who had been the principal in the plot; the other had escaped. Mr.
Armstrong descended, looking into every apartment as he came down to be
sure no living thing was left inside that furnace.

"You are a hero, sir! will you give me your name? I represent ----." It
was the omnipresent reporter on hand for an item. Mr. Armstrong turned
from him, without reply, to the man whom he had rescued, Stephen
Trimble, who lay with a foot torn from the ankle, and a broken arm. A
hospital surgeon knelt at his side bandaging deftly. A policeman had
sent the call when Mr. Armstrong started up the fire-escape, and the
ambulance, a more conclusive "Evidence of Christianity" than that dear
old Dr. Hopkins or any other theologian ever wrote; nobler exponent of
civilization than the fire department even, since that is the rich man's
provision for saving his own property, while the ambulance is the rich
man's provision for saving the poor man's life--the ambulance, with
surgeon on the back seat coolly feeling for his instruments, and
bare-headed driver clanging the gong, and lashing his already galloping
horses, had torn like mad down Broadway. And as it came, aristocratic
carriages hurrying with ladies just a little late for a grand dinner,
and an expectant bridegroom on his way to Grace Church, halted and
waited for it to pass; express and telegraph agents, and rushing men of
business, gave it the right of way as it bounded on its errand of mercy.

Alexander Armstrong spoke for a moment with the surgeon, long enough to
learn that Stephen Trimble's injuries were probably not mortal, and to
urge every attention possible. Then he caught sight of Solomon Meyer
bowing and cringing at a little distance, and he sprang upon him like a
panther on his prey. Solomon, greatly surprised, could only imagine that
the loss of the property had driven him insane, and gasped, "Ze
insurance bolicy is all right," whereat the ex-landlord gave his agent
such a shaking that his teeth rattled in his head, only pausing to
inquire if he knew anything of a tenant by the name of Mrs. Halsey.
Solomon Meyer assured him that Mrs. Halsey had long since quitted the
building, but this only partially reassured him, for he placed very
little reliance on the man's word. His wife, almost found, was lost to
him again. He could not believe that she perished in the burning
building; still, there was this horrible possibility.

There was no one to tell him that she had just gone to Narragansett Pier
at his daughter's bidding, and was occupying the very cottage where so
many of her happier years were passed; and he threw himself more
unreservedly into his business projects, not, however, forgetting the
poor inventor at the hospital, whom he visited frequently, and cared for
as tenderly as though he had been his brother. After the excitement of
the fire was over, he remembered that the law had an account to settle
with Solomon Meyer, but he was not then to be found. His guilty
conscience had taken the alarm, and the subtle magnetism which draws bad
people together had caused him to form a partnership with the anarchist
who had escaped the explosion, and but for Miss Prillwitz's timely
recognition they would have fled to Canada. Mr. Armstrong found them, as
we know, in the Greenfield jail, and had no difficulty in identifying
them, and in having them brought to justice.

As the time approached for the trial of Solomon Meyer and the Russian
anarchist, Mr. Armstrong was troubled with the fear that Stephen Trimble
might not be able to testify in court. He visited him frequently at the
hospital, and whenever he approached the subject of his dealings with
the anarchists he became excited and confused.

His little son, Lovey Dimple, was seated beside him during one of Mr.
Armstrong's calls. He was allowed to visit his father, and waited upon
him day by day, sometimes telling him of the pleasant times he had had
at the seashore, and at others watching him quietly. His presence
seemed to do his father good; and on this visit Mr. Armstrong was able
to obtain much more information from Stephen Trimble than upon any
previous occasion.

"You are quite sure," Mr. Armstrong asked, "that you never saw this
check, which someone has cashed at the bank, and which is indorsed with
your name?"

"Never, never!" replied the wounded man.

"I see it, though," Lovey Dimple spoke up, promptly. "Jim had come down
to the court to see me, and I wanted to show him the machine in the
Rooshans' room, and we follered him in there. Mr. Meyer dropped a piece
of paper which looked like that, and Jim picked it up. He could tell you
what was written on it."

"I must have Jim as a link in our chain of testimony," Mr. Armstrong
replied. "Is he at the Home of the Elder Brother?"

"No, sir; Jim used to be there, but he had the luck to be adopted. He
went away just for to be a tiger for some swells, and they liked him so
much they permoted him. He's Jim Roservelt now."

So this was the lad of whom Adelaide had spoken to him. Mr. Armstrong
wrote to his friend Mr. Roseveldt, requesting that Jim should be sent to
the city. His testimony at the trial was so clear and concise, and his
entire appearance so manly, that Mr. Armstrong was greatly drawn to him.

"If my own boy had lived," he said to Mr. Roseveldt, who had come to the
city with Jim, "he would have been about the age of this little fellow.
I am about to make a western trip of six or seven weeks, and would like
to take him with me. Should the liking which I have taken to him grow
upon acquaintance, I beg of you to relinquish him to me; I need him, for
I am a stricken man, and you are a fortunate one, or I would not ask
it."

Mr. Roseveldt replied that, though he was fond of Jim, he would
willingly give him up to Mr. Armstrong for adoption after his return
from the West, provided the boy's mother would consent to the transfer.
Singularly enough, the name of that mother was not mentioned, and Mr.
Armstrong took Jim with him to Colorado, little dreaming that the boy
was his own son.

He had said that he needed Jim; and he needed him in more ways than he
knew. He had grown world-soiled, as well as world-weary, and the
companionship of a soul white and young was destined to exert upon him a
purifying as well as rejuvenating influence. Before the grand mountain
scenery Jim's fresh enthusiasm stimulated Mr. Armstrong's sated
admiration, and the child's naive ideas of right and wrong were a rebuke
to the man's sophistries. They journeyed together through the wild and
beautiful cañons of the Rocky Mountains, and the boy was deeply
impressed by the stupendous cliffs rising on each side--walls that were
sometimes two thousand feet in height, and so close together that the
narrow river, which had cut its way down from the surface, sometimes
filled the entire space at the bottom of the gorge. But even here the
ingenuity of man had surmounted the barriers of nature, and the
observation-car on which they rode dashed along upon a shelf cut in the
solid rock, with a sheer wall on one hand, and a dizzy precipice on the
other. Such a cañon was the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas; in one portion
an iron bridge hangs suspended from strong supports fixed in the solid
walls, and the train glides along it, swaying as in a hammock, over the
brawling river.

The climax of their tour was reached in the Black Cañon. The scenes here
are awful, even in broad daylight, for the sombre crags tower to the
height of several thousand feet. Our travelers passed through the chasm
at night. Far overhead the stars were shining in the little rift of sky,
which was all that they could see between the walls; and in the
mysterious half-lights of the illumined portions, and the utter
blackness of the shadows, the grotesque shapes of the crags took on
strange forms and awful suggestions. At times it seemed as if the train
was about to dash itself against a wall of solid masonry, which opened,
as though thrown back by genii, as they approached. At one point,
catching the moonlight, a silvery cascade swept over the rocks like a
bow of crystal; and at another, a mighty monument of rosy stone, the
Curricanti Needle, towered far above the cliffs, like the sky-piercing
spire of some grand cathedral.

"The people who live here must be very good," Jim gasped, as they
emerged from the valley of enchantment, "one is so much nearer to God
out here!"

"Nobody lives in the cañon now," Mr. Armstrong replied; "Indians lived
here not very long ago. They used to hold their councils on that shelf
of rock where the pines grow, the last accessible spot on the Curricanti
pinnacle, but the settlers in the neighborhood did not have your idea
about their being such very good men, and as the cañon was the best
pathway through the mountains for the railroad, they were driven out."

"I am sorry for the Indians," Jim said, simply. "If I had owned that
cañon I wouldn't have liked to have given it up, would you?"

Mr. Armstrong evaded the question. "You will not have so much pity for
them when you know them better," he replied. "They are a low lot, and if
they do not know enough to improve the advantages which they possess, it
is only fair that they should be appropriated by those who will make a
better use of them."

Jim did not quite understand what Mr. Armstrong meant by appropriating
the Indians' advantages, but he was to learn more in relation to that
word before the journey was over. Returning to Denver, Mr. Armstrong
took the boy with him on a tour through some of the pueblos of New
Mexico. The word "pueblo" signifies town, and the Pueblo Indians are
those who build houses instead of tents and wigwams, and live from
generation to generation in towns and cities, instead of wandering about
the plains and mountains like the other tribes. There are twenty-six of
these communities in New Mexico, and some of the cities were old when
the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.

When New Mexico was ceded to the United States by Mexico, the right of
the Pueblo Indians to their towns and to certain tracts of land
surrounding them was confirmed by treaty, so that these Indians are
better off in many ways than any others. Mr. Armstrong had a special
reason for visiting the Pueblos. He had purchased several large herds of
cattle, and wished to rent land of the Indians for pasturage. A man by
the name of Sanchez, who traded among the Pueblos, could speak the
language, and had gained the confidence of the Indians, happened to be
on the train, and recognizing Mr. Armstrong as a wealthy capitalist, who
had large interests in cattle, as well as in railroads, at once guessed
pretty nearly the nature of his errand in the Indian country.

He introduced himself, and, learning that Mr. Armstrong intended to
visit the pueblo of Taos, to witness the celebration of the Festival of
San Geronimo, offered his services as interpreter and courier. These Mr.
Armstrong was very glad to accept, for he had heard of the man, and knew
that he had considerable influence among the Indians. There was
something repellent, however, in his insinuating, cringing manner which
made one feel that here was a man who was not to be trusted. The party
was increased by an army officer and a Catholic priest, who were also
going to Taos to witness the festival. The pueblo lies at a distance of
twenty miles from the railroad station, but an Indian was found waiting
for Mr. Sanchez with a rough wagon, and that gentleman invited the
others to ride with him. They crossed the Rio Grande River and drove
along beside it in a northeasterly direction, through a not very
interesting country. The coloring was all yellowish brown--the sandy
earth, the crisp parched grass, the distant hills, even the water when
taken from the turbid river, were all of a like monotonous tint. Now and
then they met or passed an Indian, wrapped in a striped blanket and
mounted on a small shaggy pony. Toward evening they came in sight of
the pueblo. The first view was very picturesque. The houses of adobe, or
sun-dried brick, were built in ranges one above the other, like a great
stairway, the roof of the lower house serving as the dooryard for the
one above. Ladders were placed against the walls, and up and down these,
nearly naked Indian children scrambled like young monkeys. They parted
their long elf-locks with their hands, and stared at the strangers with
wild, black eyes. Mr. Sanchez conducted them to an unoccupied house,
which he said would be at their service during the festival for quite a
good sum. There was no hotel, and this seemed the best thing to be done.
It had evidently been suddenly cleared for the unexpected guests, and
some of the utensils and furniture remained. The priest pointed out with
pleasure a gaudy print of the Virgin. There were strings of red peppers
drying on the outer wall, and a great olha, or decorated water-pot,
within, but there was no bedding or food. The gentlemen, however, had
each brought with them army blankets, and Mr. Sanchez offered to act as
their commissary and skirmish for provisions. He presently returned,
followed by a woman carrying a bowl of stewed beef and onions, and a
boy driving a donkey, whose panniers were filled with melons. This, with
some coffee, which the officer made over a spirit-lamp, and some
crackers contributed by Mr. Armstrong, constituted their supper, which
hunger made palatable.

After this refreshment they mounted to their roof and watched the
preparations for the festivities of the next day. Mr. Sanchez pointed
out the entrance to the _estufa_, or underground council-chamber, into
which the young men of the tribe were disappearing for the celebration
of mysterious pagan rites.

"I thought the Pueblos were Roman Catholics," Mr. Armstrong remarked.

The Catholic priest shook his head sadly. "Our converts have always
remained half pagan," he said; "the early missionaries were content to
engraft as much Christianity as they could on the old customs, thinking
that the better faith would gradually supplant the old, but the old
rites and ceremonies have remained. Still we must hesitate to say that
the Fathers did wrong, since it was the only way to win the savages to
the holy faith."

The priest strolled away to visit the church and to find a Mexican
brother who was to celebrate Mass on the next day. The church was a
ruinous building which stood apart from the others. The army officer
told of the siege which it sustained during the Mexican War, and pointed
to the indentations made in its walls by cannon-balls.

The situation was such a strange one that Jim slept but little. All
night long he could hear the dull beat of the tom-toms in the _estufa_,
and as soon as the first streak of dawn illumined the sky the pueblo was
awake and all excitement. Indians from neighboring towns poured in, some
on foot, and others mounted on ponies or donkeys.

In the plaza stood a great pole resembling a flag-staff, but instead of
a banner there dangled from the top a live sheep and a basket of bread
and grain, with a garland of fruits and vegetables. The church bell was
clanging for Mass, and Jim followed the others. An old Mexican priest
was the celebrant, and a few young Indians in red cotton petticoats and
coarse lace overskirts waited upon him awkwardly as altar-boys. When the
Host was elevated, an Indian at the door beat the tom-tom, and four
musket-shots were fired. The priest then marched down the centre of the
church, followed by the altar-boys, one of whom bore a hideous painting,
which Mr. Sanchez assured them was painted in Spain by the great
Murillo, and might be had, through him, for a trifling sum. The
congregation joined in the procession and followed to the race-track,
where games, races, and dances were participated in by fifty young men
of Taos against fifty from other pueblos. The sports were witnessed by
fully two thousand spectators, who swarmed along the terraces, and
formed a packed mass of men, women, children, horses, and donkeys around
the race-track. There was a group of visitors standing near our
travelers, who regarded the races with intense interest. It consisted of
an old man dressed in white linen blouse and trousers, with a red
handkerchief knotted about his gray locks, an obese and not over cleanly
old lady in full Indian toggery, and a young girl in a pink calico
dress, with a black shawl over her head and shoulders. They watched one
of the runners with the most intense excitement, and when he came off
victor in several of the contests, their enthusiasm knew no bounds.
"That old man is the Governor of the pueblo of ----," said Mr. Sanchez.
"It is his son who has just stepped out to lead the corn-dance. The
daughter, little Rosaria, is pretty, is she not?" He approached her as
he spoke, with easy assurance, and taking her by the chin, made some
remarks in the Pueblo language intended to be complimentary; but the
girl twisted herself from his grasp with hot indignation; and Sanchez
returned, grumbling that since she had been to the Ramona School at
Santa Fé she was too much of a lady to speak to anyone. Jim was standing
beside her; and sure, from her manner, that she understood English, he
asked her to explain the corn-dance to him. She did so, very kindly, and
the hunt-dance which followed, when the painted clowns brought out
grotesque clay images, and after adoring them fired at them, and
shattered them in fragments, the crowd scrambling for the pieces. The
young man who had been pointed out as the Governor's son secured a
piece, and brought it to the girl in triumph. "That is the ear of a
wolf," she said. "It means that he will have success in the south; we,
who have been taught better, do not believe these old charms any more."

The last thing on the programme was the climbing of the pole for the
sheep, which was finally won by a young brave of Taos.

There was racing on ponies afterward by young Indians and Mexicans, but
this was informal, and not included in the rites of the day. The young
girl looked at the races enviously. "My brother ought to win there," she
said, "for we had the swiftest ponies of any of the Pueblos, and ought
to have them, for our pasture lands are the best, but we have sold
nearly all our live-stock, and the pastures are no longer of any use to
us."

Mr. Armstrong overheard this remark, and asked Rosaria if her people
would be willing to rent their lands. She conferred with her father in
the Pueblo language, and Mr. Sanchez immediately joined in the
conversation, talking volubly to the old man, and translating to Mr.
Armstrong. "He says you are welcome to return to his pueblo with him,"
explained Mr. Sanchez, "and he will call a council of his townspeople to
deliberate on your proposition."

There was more conversation, and it was decided to accept the Governor's
invitation. Mr. Armstrong engaging Mr. Sanchez to go with them and help
him in the transaction. This seemed to him the only thing which he could
do, since he did not understand the language, and the Governor seemed to
place confidence in the trader. The party set out the next morning for
San ----, Mr. Armstrong and Jim in Mr. Sanchez's wagon, and the Governor
and his children following on diminutive donkeys. Several days elapsed
before the bargain could be made. The Indians were very suspicious of
being entrapped into some fraud, and it needed all of Mr. Sanchez's
eloquence to persuade them that the arrangement would be to their
advantage. Mr. Armstrong had told Mr. Sanchez that he was willing to pay
fifteen hundred dollars for the rental of the land for three years, and
that he (Sanchez) might deduct his fee for services from this sum. "Then
if I can persuade them to let you have the land for twelve hundred,"
asked Mr. Sanchez, "I may claim three hundred for my assistance in the
matter?"

"That is a pretty round fee," replied Mr. Armstrong, "but it does not
matter to me who has the money. The land is worth fifteen hundred
dollars to me, and if you can persuade the Indians to take less, so much
the better for you."

Jim was much interested in the negotiations. He sat beside Mr. Armstrong
in the council-chamber, trying to make out from the expressive gestures
what it was that the Indians were saying, and sometimes it seemed to him
that Mr. Sanchez did not translate correctly. At such times he went out
to where Rosaria stood by the open door listening, with other children.
She translated for him the treaty as Mr. Sanchez read it, and he was
astonished to find that it offered the Indians only three hundred
dollars as rent for their land, the wily Sanchez having reserved twelve
hundred as his own share.

"But Mr. Armstrong is willing to pay your people fifteen hundred," Jim
protested to Rosaria, and the girl slipped into the council-chamber just
as the Governor was about to sign the paper, and snatched it from his
hand.

"Is it true," she asked of Mr. Armstrong, "that you are willing to pay
more for our land? Mr. Sanchez offers us but three hundred dollars!"

Mr. Armstrong, surprised at the man's effrontery, acknowledged that he
was ready to pay more, while Sanchez, furious at seeing his opportunity
slipping from him, poured upon Rosaria all manner of abuse, and
threatened Mr. Armstrong that unless he held to his bargain to allow him
whatever margin he could make he would spoil the trade for him.

"Here's a pretty affair!" said Mr. Armstrong to Jim. "You had better
have kept quiet and let the old swindler feather his nest. Now I fear
that I shall not be able to make any bargain with the Indians."

"But it was not right, was it," asked Jim, "that the Indians should have
so little and Mr. Sanchez so much?"

"The proportion does seem unfair," Mr. Armstrong admitted to Jim; but he
added, to Sanchez, "I hold to my part of the bargain. I will give you
whatever margin you can make between their demands and fifteen hundred
dollars."

Sanchez attempted to regain his lost advantage, but all this time
Rosaria had been talking excitedly, explaining to one after another of
the Indians, now pointing to the figures in the treaty, now scornfully
at Sanchez, arguing, entreating, scolding, and when the trader began
his defense of her charges, laughing him to scorn. The Governor put an
end to the altercation by tearing the treaty in pieces and ordering two
stout Indians to lead Sanchez from the room. He then bade Rosaria tell
Mr. Armstrong that fifteen hundred dollars was the very least that they
were willing to take for their land.

Mr. Armstrong bowed, and replied that he would think over the matter. He
expected to have an opportunity to discuss it with his agent, but when
he left the council-chamber he saw his wagon on the road to Santa Fé, at
a long distance from the pueblo, and was handed the label from a peach
can, on the back of which was scribbled:

     "That boy of yours is too smart to live; the plaguey Indians have
     given me an hour to leave their reservation. Manage your own
     concerns without the help of--

                                     Sanchez."

The bargain was accordingly struck without the aid of a middle-man, and
Mr. Armstrong was conceded the right to pasture his cattle for three
years in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars, to be paid in
advance at the beginning of each season. Mr. Armstrong was much amused.
"It has turned out all right," he said to Jim, "but you must acknowledge
that it was really none of your business, and I would advise you, in
future, not to meddle in matters which do not concern you."

"I will try," Jim replied, much abashed. "I ought to have told you
instead of Rosaria, and you would have fixed it all right," he added,
cheerfully. "I ought to have known that you wouldn't have let the
Indians be cheated."

Mr. Armstrong felt the reproach in the undeserved confidence. Here was a
companion who was a sort of embodied conscience. It was not always
profitable to have a conscience in business, and yet there was something
satisfactory and refreshing in the way in which this affair had
terminated. "They say 'honesty is the best policy,'" he said to himself;
"I wonder if this little fellow would not be a Mascot to bring me good
luck. I have a notion to make him my partner in some of my risky
ventures; Providence seems to smile upon him and his principles; perhaps
if I make my good-fortune his as well, it will smile upon me." What he
said to Jim was this: "You seem fond of a wild western life, Jim, and
of the Indians. Our business among the Pueblos is ended. We are going
back to Colorado. I have a notion to show you what the Colorado Indians
are like. They are Utes, and they do not live in houses, like the
Pueblos, but rove about in a perfectly savage manner; they are not
peaceful and industrious, like the Pueblos, but lazy and ugly. I do not
think that they are susceptible of civilization. I would as soon think
of educating a coyote as a Ute.

"Now the Utes possess some of the best mining lands in Colorado, but
will never develop them; so it seems to me better that they should be
removed to the desert lands, which are worthless for purposes of
civilization, and let the whites have their opportunity. I have my eye
on a gulch which I discovered while hunting in the San Juan Mountains
four years ago, and which I mean to pre-empt just as soon as we get the
Utes to give up their present reservation and pack off to Utah. We shall
go back that way, and I will show you the spot."

Jim opened his eyes very wide. He did not quite comprehend what Mr.
Armstrong had said. Surely he could not mean to defraud the Indians in
any way! He would doubtless pay them the worth of their mine, and if
they liked the ready money better than the trouble of mining the silver
for themselves it would be all fair.

At Antonito Mr. Armstrong left the railroad, provided himself with a
span of horses, a wagon, camping outfit, and a brace of greyhounds, and
struck out through the Ute reservation for the mountains. He told some
gentleman whom he met at Antonito that he proposed to enjoy a little
coursing for antelope; but there was a set of surveyors' instruments in
the wagon, which proved that he intended to locate the mine which he had
come across during his previous visit. His acquaintance attempted to
discourage his making the trip alone, saying that the Utes had been
restless of late, owing to a failure in receiving their supplies from
Government, and it was hardly safe to approach their reservation.

"You need not be afraid of the Utes," another gentleman replied. "I knew
their old chief, Ouray, and was entertained once in his house--a neater
farm-house than many a white settler can show, and I was hospitably
waited upon by his wife, Chipeta, who gave me peaches from their own
orchard, and saleratus biscuit, and when I saw the familiar yellow
streaks in them, and tasted the old chief's whisky, I had to confess
that the Indian was capable of civilization."

Mr. Armstrong laughed, but the first speaker bade him be careful, for
all the Utes were not like Ouray, who had so well earned his title of
the White Man's Friend.

"Now," exclaimed Mr. Armstrong, after he had driven out of sight of the
last human habitation--"now at last we can breathe! What do you think of
it, Jim?"

"I didn't know the world was so big," the boy replied; "these must be
the Estates del Paradiso which Miss Prillwitz talks about. Why, there's
room for all New York to spread itself out, and every child to have a
yard to play in. It seems a little bit lonely," he added, after a pause.
"I should think you would have liked to have had some of those gentlemen
go with you."

"Why, you see, Jim," Mr. Armstrong replied, "I am going to hunt up that
silver mine, and I had a little rather not share the secret with any one
but you. Besides, I like the loneliness. I grow very tired of people
sometimes, Jim, and it seems good to get away from them. Don't you ever
feel so?"

"Mother did," Jim said. "She likes helping at the Home very much, but
she got a little tired just before the young ladies sent for her to go
to the seashore, and she came across one verse in the Bible which
sounded so beautiful. It was, 'Come ye yourselves apart into a desert
place and rest awhile, for there were many coming and going, and they
had no leisure so much as to eat.'"

"I didn't know they had such hurrying times down in Galilee," Mr.
Armstrong replied, lightly. He was in good spirits, and they drove a
long distance that day, camping at night by a small stream, in which he
caught some fine trout. As Jim curled up close to him under the army
blanket, Mr. Armstrong felt a slight tremor run through the boy's frame.

"What is the matter?" he asked. "Are you afraid? We are still miles away
from the Indians."

"It isn't the Indians," Jim replied, "but it's all so still! I don't
hear horse-cars, nor the Elevated, nor people passing, nor nothing. Down
at the Pier it was something like this, but there was always the sea;
and at the pueblo there were the dogs; while here it seems as if
something had stopped."

"'All the roaring looms of time,'" Mr. Armstrong replied, quoting from
Tennyson, "have stopped for a little while for us, my boy, and that's
the beauty of it. But the old machines will have us in their grip again
very soon."

The next day Mr. Armstrong enjoyed a rabbit hunt. Jim, though he took
part in the sport, could hardly be said to enjoy it. "It seems such a
pity to kill the pretty things!" he said. But this did not keep him from
making a hearty meal of broiled rabbit, or from hoping that they might
find antelope before the trip was over. The loneliness which he had felt
the night before came on again toward evening, and Jim was not sorry, on
their third day out, to see that they were approaching a new frame
house.

"An old half-breed guide used to have a tepee here," said Mr. Armstrong;
"I shall engage his services for our trip. He is a good cook, a good
hunter, faithful to his employers, and he knows every rock and clump of
sage-brush in all the region. His only fault is that he will get drunk.
He was with me when I found the silver ore, and I need him to guide me
to the spot again."

As they came nearer, Mr. Armstrong seemed greatly surprised to see a
large field of waving corn in front of the house, while some cows were
being driven toward an out-building by a young Indian in checked shirt
and brown overalls.

"What can have come over old Charley!" exclaimed Mr. Armstrong. "When I
was here before, nothing would induce him to degrade himself by farm
labor. Some boomer must have established himself here. It's illegal, for
the land still belongs to the Indians."

They drove up to the front door, and were met by the same young man whom
they had seen driving the cows, but the overalls were replaced by a
faded pair of army trousers, and a paper collar had been hastily added
to the checked shirt. He bade them enter, in good English, and the
interior of the house was clean and inviting. The walls were papered
with newspapers, a bright patchwork quilt was spread upon the bed, and a
pleasant-faced girl was frying ham and eggs over the stove; while there
was a shelf of books over the table. An Indian woman emerged from a
shadowy corner and expressed a welcome by pantomime.

"Is not this Charley's wife?" Mr. Armstrong asked, and the woman smiled
and nodded her recognition.

"Where is your husband?" was the next question. "Charley no good," was
the wife's frank reply; "gone hunting with white men."

This was a disappointment that Mr. Armstrong had not anticipated; he was
not sure that he could find his way to the silver mine without Charley's
help, but it was worth trying. The odor of the frying ham was
appetizing, and the invitation to supper was promptly accepted.

"Are you Charley's son?" Mr. Armstrong asked of the young man, who
presently brought in a foaming pail of milk, and assisted his mother and
sister in waiting on their guests.

"Yes, sir," was the prompt reply, "and my name is Charley too--Charles
Sumner."

Mr. Armstrong stared in astonishment. "Where did you learn to speak
English so well?" he asked.

"At the Indian Industrial School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania."

"Then you are one of Captain Pratt's boys?"

"Yes, sir," and a smile lightened the somewhat stolid features. Mr.
Armstrong did not believe in Eastern schools for Indians, and he asked,
rather sarcastically, "And what did you learn when you were in the
East--Latin and Theology?"

The boy shook his head. "I learned to work on the farm," he said, "and
to read and write, and do a little arithmetic; and I learned some
carpentry--enough to build this house, and make that table, and the
cupboard and things."

"Very creditable, I am sure," Mr. Armstrong replied, half incredulously,
"but how did you come into the fortune necessary to set you up in this
flourishing style?"

"I helped build the new depot at S----, and they paid me off with the
lumber that was left, and I built the house out of that. Then I had some
money which I had put in the savings-bank from my earnings every
vacation in the East, and I bought the cows with that; and then I made a
churn, and we've been making butter the way I saw them do it in
Pennsylvania, and I sell it for a good price at the Springs."

"Well, you have more stuff in you than I ever thought it possible for an
Indian to have," Mr. Armstrong replied, fairly won, in spite of
himself, to admiration. "I always supposed that those Carlisle students,
as soon as they returned to old surroundings, went back to savagery."

"It is pretty hard for us," the boy replied. "Last year I planted about
three times as much corn as you see here. I had taken a contract to
supply the quartermaster at Fort ----, and I thought I should make a
good deal of money; but just as it was green, all of our relations came
to see us. There were ten families. They camped there by the creek, and
they stayed until they had eaten every roasting ear. They said they had
come to celebrate my home-coming, and father made them welcome, and gave
a dance, and killed one of our cows for them. They would have killed
them all, but I drove them off into the mountains, and hid them. That is
the reason I have planted so little corn here this season. I have
another field over in a little valley in the mountains which I hope they
will not find, and I drive the cattle up the cañon every morning, for
they may be here any day."

"You poor fellow!" said Mr. Armstrong. "I have heard the proverb, 'Save
us from our friends!' but I never understood the full force of it
before."

After the hearty meal the little house was put at the service of the
travelers, the family camping outside, and, much to Mr. Armstrong's
contentment, they passed a comfortable and restful night. The next
morning Mr. Armstrong asked Charles Sumner if he was familiar with the
mountains, and could guide him to a certain valley, which he indicated
as having a chimney-like formation at one end.

"Why, certainly," the young man replied; "don't you remember I was with
father when he took you hunting four years ago? He killed an eagle that
had her nest on a ledge high up on the chimney, and I climbed up for the
young ones."

"Ah yes, I remember now, but you were such a little fellow then that I
could not realize the change."

"I grew more at Carlisle," said the young man, significantly, "than at
any other time of my life. We all grew at Carlisle."

"Then you will take us to the chimney," Mr. Armstrong asked, "and cook
for us while we are out? What will you charge?"

"I don't think I ought to ask you anything, sir, for there is good
pasturage thereabout, and I can drive my cows along, and herd them there
until after the visit of our relatives. My sister is going to B---- with
all the green-corn that the ponies can carry, so when they come they
will find mother, and very little else. The valley in which my other
corn is planted is in that direction, and perhaps you will let me bring
some of it in your wagon when we come back?"

Charles Sumner rode cheerily beside them on a diminutive pony, driving
his cows and the pack pony, and chatting freely of many things.
Sometimes Jim sprang from his seat to make him change places and rest
awhile. The pony had a fascination for Jim, and he speedily learned from
Charles Sumner how to manage it, and to "round up" the herd of cows and
calves. The young Indian taught him, also, how to make arrows, and to
shoot with them, to picket the horses, and to use the lasso, to make
camp coffee, and to set up and take down the tepee, or tent of buffalo
hide, which the pack-pony dragged between long poles.

"You would like to be a cow-boy, wouldn't you, Jim?" Mr. Armstrong
asked, but Charles Sumner shook his head. "Cow-boys are no good," he
said, emphatically; "they shoot Indians as if they were wild beasts.
Better stay in the East, where the white people are good. I wish I
could, but the Government insists that as soon as we are educated we
must go back to our reservations. I wish it would let us stay and earn
our living in the East, where it is so much easier to stay civilized."

Jim, on the other hand, was delighted with everything he saw. "If all
the boys in Rickett's Court could only come out here!" he exclaimed,
"and ride, and herd cows, and hunt, and camp out, and all the Indian
boys could only go East, and go to school, and work at trades--how nice
it would be!"

Mr. Armstrong admitted that the change might be good for both, but while
speaking they came in sight of the chimney-shaped pinnacle, and he
hastily unpacked his theodolite and other instruments, and began to take
angles, and to jot down memoranda.

"This is the first time that I have ever seen a surveyor on the Ute
reservation," said Charles Sumner, "and I think that our troubles will
be ended sometime by that little machine. Just as soon as the
Government divides up our land and gives each Indian his own share,
then each good Indian will cultivate his own farm, and will have some
heart to work. How can he now, when the land belongs as much to every
lazy Indian in the tribe as to himself? O sir, is it possible that the
Government has sent you to begin this division?"

Mr. Armstrong confessed that his observations were made only for his own
amusement. He was surprised to find that the young man had such advanced
views on the "land in severalty" question, and he asked whether any of
the other Indians of the tribe shared his opinions.

"There are a good many who have staked out farms and are cultivating
them, just as I have," he replied, "but we know that we have no right to
the land, and may be turned out any day, whenever bad white men persuade
our chiefs to give up this reservation and move away to the bad lands in
the West."

Mr. Armstrong winced a little under the earnest, questioning look with
which Jim regarded him. To turn his train of thought he said, "There is
the old eagle's nest on the ledge still, Charles Sumner. Can you climb
up there to-day as nimbly as you did four years ago?"

For answer, the young man threw himself from his pony and began to
ascend the cliff. It was very steep, but he chose his way cautiously,
seizing each point of vantage in the way of a crevice or projection. He
had almost reached the nest when he paused, looked away to the
southward, and began rapidly to descend. "There is a band of Utes coming
over the divide," he said; "I think it would be as well for us to go a
little further up the valley." He hurriedly collected his herd, and
drove them before him through a pass into a long, shady gorge. Mr.
Armstrong followed with the team. "This is the place!" he exclaimed,
excitedly, as they entered the ravine. "It was in this little cañon that
I found the silver. A vein cropped right out to the surface, and I
filled my pockets with the ore. I set up a buffalo skull to mark the
spot. There it is--at the foot of that pine. It must have rolled down,
for I placed it higher. Hold the reins, Jim, while I scramble up the
bank and see if I see any signs of the vein." With the agility of a
younger man, Mr. Armstrong climbed the steep bank, and came down with
his hands filled with crumbled ore. "It is there, fast enough," he
said, triumphantly; "if it were not on the Indian reservation I would be
the owner of that mine now. They cannot hold the lands long, and when
they are opened to settlement this cañon shall be ours, Jim. You say you
would like to live a western life. If your mother, of whom you seem so
fond, is of the same opinion, you shall pre-empt a claim here, and I
will take one just beside you, and between us we will own the mine. You
don't understand it, my boy; but I have taken a fancy to you, and I mean
to make your fortune."

"And will this ravine be my very own?" Jim asked--"mother's and mine?"

"Yes, my boy; and I am curious to see what you will make of it, and what
you will make of yourself while you are waiting to come into your
possessions. I mean to put you in the way of getting a good practical
education, which shall be of use to you out here."

"And can I learn surveying?"

"Yes; and mining engineering and assaying and mechanics, and all that."

"That is what Lovey Dimple would like to learn too. Can he come with me?
He'd invent a machine right off to dig the silver just as easy."

"We will see, Jim. I would like to give him a good turn for his father's
sake; but don't take too many into our company, or we shall have to
water the stock too freely."

They had nearly reached the head of the gorge, and they found that
Charles Sumner had paused, and had corraled his cows in a little natural
amphitheatre, where they were resting contentedly.

"I must watch them pretty sharply," the Indian explained, "for the corn
I told you about is in the next valley, and if they should get into
that, they would be as bad as our relations. Just walk to the top of the
hill, Mr. Armstrong, and see what a nice field of it I have over there."
Mr. Armstrong returned bringing an armful of fine roasting ears, but
Charles Sumner thought it best not to build a fire until the party of
Utes had passed, and they sat down to a cold supper of canned baked
beans. After supper Jim had a long talk with Charles Sumner, and
ascertained that the young man had fixed his heart upon making this
particular section his home farm as soon as the reservation should be
divided in severalty among the Indians, which he hoped would happen
before many years.

"Then," said Jim, "you think that the white people will never have a
chance to come in here and take up land?"

"Do you think they ought to be allowed to do so, when the land is ours?"
Charles Sumner asked.

"No, I don't," Jim replied, promptly. "I think it is really yours, and
you ought to keep it; and I'll just tell you a secret about this cañon.
It is worth a great deal more than you know. There is a silver mine in
it, and I'll show you where, and you had just better go back East and
study the best way to mine silver, and then when you get your claim you
will know how to work it. I wish you would take me in as your partner,
for Mr. Armstrong is going to have me taught all about mining. He
thought he might pre-empt this mine for me, but, of course, when he sees
that it really belongs to you, he will not want to, unless, perhaps, you
would like to sell out your right in it."

Jim had spoken so rapidly that he did not notice that Mr. Armstrong had
approached, and was listening with an astonished expression to what he
was saying.

"Jim, are you crazy?" Mr. Armstrong exclaimed, as soon as he could
recover himself. "Don't you see that you are throwing away your chances?"

"Oh no," Jim replied, with a smile, "I hadn't any chance at all. You
didn't know, but it all belongs to Charles Sumner."

Their conversation was interrupted by a whoop in the valley below. The
band of Utes had discovered the traces of their last camp, and had
followed their trail into the cañon.

"Drive over into the next ravine!" said Charles Sumner; "they will camp
here when they find my cows. Wait for me just below the corn-field, and
I will join you as soon as I can. They will not hurt you if they find
you, but they will beg and steal everything."

Mr. Armstrong hurriedly followed Charles Sumner's advice, and was joined
about midnight by the young Indian, who drove before him three cows, all
he had been able to rescue from a herd of twelve.

The young man wiped his brow with a despairing gesture. "They were
ugly," he said. "Some Durango cow-boys have been pasturing their cattle
on the reservation, and they insisted that my cows were a part of the
herd, and that the owners were somewhere near. If they had found you,
they might have treated you roughly. I think we had better get away
while they are feasting."

It occurred to Mr. Armstrong that it looked very much as if Charles
Sumner had saved their lives at the sacrifice of his property, and a
feeling of gratitude and liking sprang up in his heart for the young
man.

"I don't know what I shall do," the Indian continued, dejectedly. "It
doesn't seem to be any use to try to be civilized in this country."

"No, my poor fellow!" replied Mr. Armstrong, "it really does not. In
your place, I think I should go back to the blanket and be a savage with
the rest. I will tell you what to do: come East again with your mother
and sister. I will let you try farming on a piece of land which I have
taken a fancy to in Massachusetts, where you will not have these
discouragements. When the land question is settled, you and Jim shall
come back here and form a partnership. If it is divided in severalty to
the Utes, then I will establish your right to the cañon, and you shall
take Jim in as your partner; and if it is opened to the whites for
settlement, he will take up the land and give you a share in it."

This proposition was accepted by Charles Sumner and his sister, the
mother preferring to remain with her husband. After establishing the
young Indians in Massachusetts, Mr. Armstrong brought Jim with him to
Narragansett Pier.

A short space must now be given to Milly and Adelaide, who, though
mingling in a very different class of society, had an experience that
summer not unlike our own. Mrs. Roseveldt gave a lawn-party at the
beginning of the season to organize a tennis club. Tennis was the rage
that season. Many of the cottages had tennis courts, and the different
players wished to plan for a grand tournament at the end of the season.
A pretty uniform was designed of white flannel, the skirt embroidered
with a deep Greek fret in gold thread, and laid in accordion pleats. A
little jacket lined with gold-colored silk, and embroidered in the same
pattern, was to be worn over the shirt waist, and a gold-colored sash
ending in a tassel, with a white Tam o'Shanter, completed the costume.
Milly had planned that Mrs. Halsey should have the making of these
costumes while at the Pier.

A fund was contributed with which to purchase a trophy for the prize
player. It rose quickly to a hundred and fifty dollars, and a meeting
was held to decide what the trophy should be. Most of the members
thought that a gold pin in the shape of a racket, with a pearl ball,
manufactured by Tiffany, would be the correct thing, and this idea would
certainly have been adopted if Milly had not turned the current by a
neat little speech.

"I am sure," she said, "that we do not want to vulgarize our club by
making it professional, and a prize of any great money value would
certainly do this. So I move that the prize be a simple wreath of laurel
tied with a white ribbon, on which the date of the tournament and name
of the club be printed." The members all agreed that this would be in
better form, but asked what was to be done with the money already
contributed. Then Milly rose to the occasion, and flung out the banner
of the Home.

"It seems as if we had no right to be romping in this delicious fresh
air while poor children are gasping in the vile smells of the city."

The Fresh-Air Fund and the Working Girls' Vacation Society were both
popular charities, and were proposed by different members as proper
recipients of our funds. Milly was ready to agree to this, but one young
man, supposed until that day to be a mere gilded youth, without an idea
above his neckties, suggested that it was always pleasanter to be the
distributer of one's own benefits, and moved that the club get up a
little Fresh-Air Fund of its own. "We might rent a cottage down here and
send for a dozen or so young beggars, and take turns in caring for
them."

A general laugh followed this remark. "What would you do, personally,
Mr. Van Silver?" asked one of the girls.

"I would put my coach and four-in-hand at the service of the
enterprise," he said, "and make myself expressman and 'bus driver. I'd
take the children out to drive every day, for one thing."

Everyone insisted that they would like to see him do it, but he
persisted until they were convinced of his sincerity. Mr. Van Silver's
patronage had given an aristocratic stamp to the enterprise, and some
one now proposed that they rent a cottage for the children for the
season.

Milly then explained that Adelaide had already fitted up her cottage for
the purpose, and was expecting an invoice of children by the next day.
Adelaide invited the party to visit the cottage that afternoon, and the
entire club climbed to the top and interior of Mr. Van Silver's coach;
Mr. Stacy Fitz-Simmons, the whilom drum-major of the Cadet band, blowing
the coach horn for all he was worth.

They found a park overgrown into a forest, in the depth of which stood a
pleasant cottage, with broad verandas, which once commanded a beautiful
view of the glistening bay, with Newport in the distance.

"I intend to have some of these trees cut away, so as to leave a vista
through to the water," Adelaide explained.

They entered the house, and found it renovated from the mold and decay
with which ten years had encumbered it, sweet and fresh with new paint,
and papering of pretty design. Light and graceful ratan furniture and
chintz hangings added to the beauty of the room, simple straw mattings
covered the floor. It was as lovely a home as heart could wish.

"I have done all I can afford," Adelaide said, simply, "and if the club
would like to use this cottage for their city children it is at their
service, but first Milly wants to entertain the younger children of the
Home of the Elder Brother here for a couple of weeks."

"And we will each of us take his or her turn for a week," said Mr. Van
Silver; and so the "Paradiso Seaside Home" was provided for.

Mrs. Halsey came with the children. From the moment that she left the
station she seemed to be in a dream.

"It all looks so familiar!" she exclaimed; "I am sure I have been here
before! There is something caressing in the feeling of the damp air, as
though it kissed my cheek like an old friend. And the scent of the
salt-water! I remember it so well; and shall we hear the surf? Oh, when
was it, where was it, that I knew it all?"

When they drove into the grounds she shook her head. "No, it was not
this place," she said, with a wistful look in her eyes; "there were no
trees." But at the first glimpse of the house a trembling seized her,
and she could hardly mount the steps. Within doors a puzzled expression
came into her face.

"It is familiar, yet unfamiliar," she said. "I cannot be sure. If I
could only see some face that I had known before, then I could tell."

"Perhaps the face will come," Adelaide said; and it came.

A few weeks later Mr. Armstrong returned with Jim from the western trip,
and came down to the Pier to make the visit which his daughter so
greatly desired. Adelaide had driven to the station for them in Milly's
pony carriage, Jim mounted to his old place on the rumble, Mr. Armstrong
settled himself for the drive, and Adelaide took the reins.

"I am going to take you around by the cottage, papa," she said. "I want
to show you what I have done there, and how happy the Home children
are."

Mr. Armstrong drew himself up, as though wincing from some sudden pain.
"I did not intend to go there again, daughter," he said; "I shall miss a
face at the window."

"I know, papa--the cameo; but she would have been glad to see the
cottage used as it is."

They turned into the drive, and Mr. Armstrong nerved himself for the
sight of his old home. Suddenly he cried out, and caught his daughter's
arm. "Is it only memory, or have I lost my senses? The face is there!"

Adelaide laughed reassuringly. "I don't wonder that it gave you a turn,
papa; it did me, too, when I saw the same sight in Miss Prillwitz's
window last winter, but it is only dear Mrs. Halsey looking out for us."

"Then thank God!" exclaimed Mr. Armstrong, leaping from the vehicle and
hurrying forward. "Do you not remember me? my own!--my wife!"

His wife remembered: the veil which had blinded her for years fell at
the sight of her husband's face.

Happily the shock had not been as sudden as it seemed; during the time
which she had spent in the cottage the conviction had grown upon her
that this had been her home. She had asked Adelaide its history, and
learning that it had been built for her mother, who had been drowned in
the great steamboat disaster, a hope had sprung up in her heart, which
she dared not express to any one, that she had found her own again.
Adelaide had said that she expected her father, and Mrs. Halsey waited
only to see his face to be assured of the truth.

Adelaide's delight at finding that Mrs. Halsey was her lost mother, and
Jim her brother, was genuine and intense. "I knew, all the time, that
Jim was somebody's child," she exclaimed, incoherently. "It is all too
good to be true! too good to be true!"

"Jim deserves a better father than he has found," said Mr. Armstrong,
"and by God's grace he shall have a better.

"It is too bad to break up this nice little arrangement of a summer home
for the poor children," he added, "and I will allow the cottage to be
used for this purpose just so long as the tennis club desire to maintain
it; but I must have my wife. Please remember that we have been parted
from each other a very long time. I am going West next week, and I must
take her with me; and it will not do Adelaide any harm to have a glimpse
of the great West before we send her to school in the fall. Jim has had
as much of the West as he can stand at present, and we will leave him in
the best school that we can find."

"But what shall we do for a housekeeper for the cottage?" Adelaide
asked, in dismay.

"Mrs. Trimble has just left the hospital, fully recovered, but I have no
doubt she would prefer to run your little enterprise rather than to
return to the store; and as I have deprived you of your housekeeper I
don't mind paying Mrs. Trimble to supply her place for the remainder of
the summer. It will do Mr. Trimble good, too, to complete his
convalescence here, and perhaps in the winter they will accept the
janitorship of your tenement."

"My tenement!" Adelaide replied, in surprise.

"Yes, I intend to give you the management of this property, which I have
always considered your own. You have a matter of twenty thousand dollars
insurance money, which, with the ten thousand which I have deposited to
your name in the savings bank, you may use in erecting a model tenement
on the site of the old Rickett's Court building. I think I shall have
some more money for you to put into the enterprise if the patent works
well. I shall give Mr. Trimble a share in the profits of that invention
over and above the five thousand dollars already paid him, but I think
that he would like one of your suites of rooms in return for acting as
janitor and agent of the building, and it will not interfere with his
teaching mechanics to the boys at the Home."

"If you please, papa," said Adelaide, "I like the plan of engaging Mr.
Trimble as janitor, but I would rather be my own agent and collect the
rents myself; then I can see just what improvements are needed, and be
sure that my tenants are all comfortable."

For the remainder of their stay in the East the Armstrongs busied
themselves with architects' plans and specifications. Adelaide enjoyed
planning the bathrooms and conveniences of different kinds. "And the
paving-stones must be taken up in the court," she said, "and a nice
grass-plot laid out in their place, and we will have pretty iron
balconies before every window, and a fire-escape."

"Yes, daughter," replied her father, "I will make you a present of that,
outside the other matters--the very best kind of fire-escape to be found
in the city; and, while we are about it, I will send one to the Home of
the Elder Brother."

Adelaide's interest in her tenement did not wean her away from the Home,
and I have since observed that it is always those who, seemingly, are
already doing as much as they can in the way of charity who are always
ready to lend a helping hand to other enterprises, and that it is the
earnest workers of little means, as well as the wealthy philanthropists,
who

                      "To the ages
    Fair bequests, and costly, make."

The Armstrongs went West, and Adelaide created an interest for the Home
in her new surroundings, while Milly kept up the enthusiasm of the
tennis club at the Pier. That club flourished in a manner unheard of,
heretofore, in a place where everyone was so busy doing nothing that
even the exertion of tennis had been voted a bore. It was not tennis,
however, that kept them together, or gave the members their bright,
jolly looks, but the Paradiso Cottage.

    "For we may find a zest
      In any true employ
    Which, like a whetstone in the breast,
      Shall give an edge to joy."

But while we all worked in our different ways, it was our corresponding
secretary who was the clasp to the necklace, or rather, the central
battery which sent currents of life pulsating through the connecting
wires. The scapegrace who plotted and schemed mischief, she who had
erstwhile reveled in the name of "the malicious, seditious,
insubordinate, disreputable, skeptical Queen of the Hornets," had become
a wise and enterprising central manager of a helpful charity.

The summer vacation is over, and we have all met again for another
winter at Madame's; Amen Corner and Hornets all filled with a fine
enthusiasm for our work, and a deep, true affection for one another.

The Home rests, we are told, on very slender foundations. There is no
financier as a backer, no estate, no great endowment, nothing to ensure
its existence from year to year but the hearts and hands of ten young
girls. Nothing else? They forget that we have behind us and with us the
Elder Brother, with all the estates del Paradiso.

    "By each saving word unspoken,
    By Thy will, yet poorly done,
          Hear us, hear us,
    Thou Almighty! help us on."


THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Corrections

Following is a list of significant typographical errors that have been
corrected.

- Page 45, "Celeste's" changed to "Céleste's" (position at Madame
Céleste's).

- Page 48, "insistance" changed to "insistence" (on her insistence).

- Page 155, "ochestra" changed to "orchestra" (led her orchestra).

- Page 189, "Vicenzo" changed to "Vincenzo" (and Vincenzo Amati).

- Page 206, "pictture" changed to "picture" (I've made a picture).

- Page 213, "any one" changed to "anyone" (of anyone else).

- Page 228, "Winnnie" changed to "Winnie" (replied Winnie).

- Page 277, "formerely" changed to "formerly" (which formerly groaned).

- Page 282, "salvages" changed to "savages" (barbarous savages).

- Page 314, "Amstrong" changed to "Armstrong" (Mr. Armstrong evaded).

- Page 326, "Sante" changed to "Santa" (road to Santa Fé).

- Page 334, "pantomine" changed to "pantomime" (welcome by pantomime).

- Page 352, "f r" changed to "for" (station for them).





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