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Title: Loveliness - A Story
Author: Phelps, Elizabeth Stuart, 1844-1911
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 "Loveliness - A Story" ***

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[Illustration: LOVELINESS]


LOVELINESS

A Story

by

ELIZABETH STUART PHELPS



  "Be my benediction said,
   With my hand upon thy head,
     Gentle fellow-creature!"
            E. B. BROWNING.



Boston and New York
Houghton, Mifflin and Company
The Riverside Press, Cambridge
1900

The Illustrations Are by Sarah S. Stilwell

Copyright, 1899, by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward
and Houghton, Mifflin and Co.
All Rights Reserved



_For the smoke of their torment ascendeth._



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

                                                       PAGE

    LOVELINESS                              _Frontispiece_

    THE MAID STOOD LOOKING IDLY ABOUT                   14

    "TILL LOVELINESS COMES HOME"                        20

    THROUGH THE BENDING SHRUBBERY                       40



LOVELINESS.


Loveliness sat on an eider-down cushion embroidered with cherry-colored
puppies on a pearl satin cover. The puppies had gold eyes. They were
drinking a saucer of green milk. Loveliness wore a new necktie, of
cherry, a shade or two brighter than the puppies, and a pearl-gray, or
one might call it a silver-gray jacket. He was sitting in the broad
window sill, with his head tipped a little, thoughtfully, towards the
left side, as the heads of nervous people are said to incline. He was
dreamily watching the street, looking for any one of a few friends of
his who might pass by, and for the letter-carrier, who was somewhat
late.

Loveliness had dark, brilliant eyes, remarkably alert, but reflective
when in repose. Part of their charm lay in the fact that one must watch
for their best expression; for Loveliness wore bangs. He had a small and
delicate nose, not guiltless of an aristocratic tip, with a suspicion of
a sniff at the inferior orders of society. In truth, Loveliness was an
aristocrat to the end of his tongue, which curled daintily against his
opalescent teeth. At this moment it lay between his teeth, and hung
forward as if he held a roseleaf in his lips; and this was the final
evidence of his birth and breeding.

For Loveliness was a little dog; a silver Yorkshire, blue of blood and
delicately reared,--a tiny creature, the essence of tenderness; set,
soul and body, to one only tune. To love and to be beloved,--that was
his life. He knew no other, nor up to this time could he conceive of any
other; for he was as devotedly beloved as he was passionately loving.
His brain was in his heart. In saying this one does not question the
quality of the brain, any more than one does in saying a similar thing
of a woman. Indeed, considered as an intellect, his was of the highest
order known to his race. Loveliness would have been interesting as a
psychological study, had he not been absorbing as an affectional
occupation. His family and friends often said, "How clever!" but not
until after they had said, "How dear he is!" The order of precedence in
this summary of character is the most enviable that can be experienced
by human beings. But the dog took it as a matter of course.

This little creature loved a number of people on a sliding scale of
intimacy, carefully guarded, as the intimacies of the high-born usually
are; but one he loved first, most, best of all, and profoundly. I have
called him Loveliness because it was the pet name, the "little name,"
given to him by this person. In point of fact, he answered to a variety
of appellations, more or less recognized by society; of these the most
lawful and the least agreeable to himself was Mop. It was a disputed
point whether this were an ancestral name, or whether he had received it
from the dog store, whence he had emerged at the beginning of
history,--the shaggiest, scrubbiest, raggedest, wildest little terrier
that ever boasted of a high descent.

People of a low type, those whose imagination was bounded by menial
similes, or persons of that too ready inclination to the humorous which
fails to consider the possible injustice or unkindness that it may
involve, had in Mop's infancy found a base pleasure in attaching to him
such epithets as window-washer, scrubbing-brush, feather-duster, and
footmuff. But these had not adhered. Loveliness had. It bade fair, at
the time of our story, to outlive every other name.

The little dog had both friends and acquaintances on the street where
the professor lived; and he watched for them from his cushion in the
window, hours at a time. There was the cabman, the academic-looking
cabman, who was the favorite of the faculty, and who hurrahed and
snapped his whip at the Yorkshire as he passed by; there was the newsboy
who brought the Sunday papers, and who whistled at Loveliness, and made
faces, and called him Mop.

To-day there was a dark-faced man, a stranger, standing across the
street, and regarding the professor's house with the unpleasant look of
the foreign and ill-natured. This man had eyebrows that met in a
straight, black line upon his forehead, and he wore a yellow jersey. The
dog threw back his supercilious little head and barked at the yellow
jersey severely. But at that moment he saw the carrier, who ran up the
steps laughing, and brought a gumdrop in a sealed envelope addressed to
Loveliness. There was a large mail that afternoon, including a pile of
pamphlets and circulars of the varied description that haunts
professors' houses. Kathleen, the parlor maid,--another particular
friend of the terrier's--took the mail up to the study, but dropped one
of the pamphlets on the stairs. The dog rebuked her carelessness (after
he had given his attention to the carrier's gumdrop) by picking the
pamphlet up and bringing it back to the window seat, where he opened
and dog-eared it with a literary manner for a while, until suddenly
he forgot it altogether, and dropped it on the floor, and sprang,
bounding. For the dearest person in the world had called him in a
whisper,--"Love-li-ness!" And the dearest face in the world appeared
above him and melted into laughing tenderness. "Loveliness! Where's my
_Love_-li-ness?"

A little girl had come into the room, a girl of between five and six
years, but so small that one would scarcely have guessed her to be
four,--a beautiful child, but transparent of coloring, and bearing in
her delicate face the pathetic patience which only sick children, of all
human creatures, ever show. She was exquisitely formed, but one little
foot halted and stepped weakly on the thick carpet. Her organs of speech
were perfect in mechanism, but often she did not speak quite aloud.
Sometimes, on her weaker days, she carried a small crutch. They called
her Adah.

She came in without her crutch that afternoon; she was feeling quite
strong and happy. The little dog sprang to her heart, and she crooned
over him, sitting beside him on the window seat and whispering in her
plaintive voice: "Love-li-ness! I can't live wivout you anover _min_ute,
Loveliness! I can't _live_ wivout you!"

She put her head down on the pearl-gray satin pillow with the cherry
puppies, and the dog put his face beside hers. He was kept as sweet and
clean as his little mistress, and he had no playfellow except herself,
and never went away from home unless at the end of a gray satin ribbon
leash. At all events, the two _would_ occupy the same pillow, and all
idle effort to struggle with this fact had ceased in the household.
Loveliness sighed one of the long sighs of perfect content recognized by
all owners and lovers of dogs as one of the happiest sounds in this sad
world, and laid his cheek to hers quietly. He asked nothing more of
life. He had forgotten the world and all that was therein. He looked no
longer for the cabman, the newsboy, or the carrier, and the man with the
eyebrows had gone away. The universe did not exist; he and she were
together. Heaven had happened. The dog glanced through half-closed,
blissful eyes at the yellow hair--"eighteen carats fine"--that fell
against his silver bangs. His short ecstatic breath mingled with the
gentle breathing of the child. She talked to him in broken rhapsodies. She
called him quaint, pet names of her own,--"Dearness" and "Daintiness,"
"Mopsiness" and "Preciousness," and "Dearest-in-the-World," and who knew
what besides? Only the angels who are admitted to the souls of children
and the hearts of little dogs could have understood that interview.

No member of the professor's household ever interfered with the
attachment between the child and the dog, which was set apart as one of
the higher facts in the family life. Indeed, it had its own page of
sacred history, which read on this wise:--

When Adah was a walking baby, two and a half years before the time of
which we tell, the terrier was in the first proud flush of enthusiasm
which an intelligent dog feels in the mastery of little feats and
tricks. Of these he had a varied and interesting repertoire. His
vocabulary, too, was large. At the date of our story it had reached one
hundred and thirty words. It was juvenile and more limited at the time
when the sacred page was written, but still beyond the average canine
proficiency. Loveliness had always shown a genius for the English
language. He could not speak it, but he tried harder than any other dog
I ever knew to do so; and he grew to understand with ease an incredibly
large part of the usual conversation of the family. It could never be
proved that he followed--or did not follow--the professor of psychology
in a discussion on the Critique of Pure Reason; but his mental grasp of
ordinary topics was alert and logical. He sneezed when he was cold and
wanted a window shut, and barked twice when his delicate china water-cup
was empty. When the fire department rang by, or a stove in the house was
left on draught too long, and he wished to call attention to the
circumstance, he barked four times. Besides the commonplace
accomplishments of turning somersaults, being a dead dog, sitting up to
beg for things, and shaking hands, Loveliness had some attainments
peculiar to himself.

One of these was in itself scientifically interesting. This luxurious,
daintily fed little creature, who had never known an hour's want nor any
deprivation that he could remember, led by the blind instinct of
starving, savage ancestors skulking in forests where the claw and tooth
of every living thing were against every other, conscientiously sought
to bury, against future exigencies, any kind of food for which he had no
appetite. The remnants of his dog biscuit, his saucer of weak tea, an
unpalatable dinner, alike received the treatment given to the bare bone
of his forefathers when it was driven into the ground.

Anything served the purpose of the earth,--the rough, wild earth of
whose real nature the house pet knew so little. A newspaper, a glove, a
handkerchief, a sheet of the professor's manuscript, a hearth brush, or
a rug would answer. Drag these laboriously, and push them perseveringly
to their places! Cover the saucer or the plate from sight with a solemn
persistence that the starving, howling ancestor would have respected!
Thus Loveliness recognized the laws of heredity. But the corners of rugs
were, and remained, the favorite burying sod.

On that black day when the baby girl had used her white apron by way of
blowers before the reluctant nursery fire, the little dog was alone in
the room with her. It had so happened.

Suddenly, through the busy house resounded four shrill, staccato barks.
In the vocabulary of Loveliness this meant, "Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!"
Borne with them came the terrible cries of the child. When the mother
and the nursemaid got to the spot, the baby was ablaze from her white
apron to her yellow hair. She was writhing on the floor. The terrier,
his own silver locks scorching, and his paws in the flame, was trying to
cover his young mistress with the big Persian rug, in itself a load for
a collie. He had so far succeeded that the progress of the flames had
been checked.

For years the professor speculated on the problems raised by this
tremendous incident. Whether the Yorkshire regarded the fire as a
superfluity, like a dinner one does not want,--but that was far-fetched.
Whether he knew that wool puts out fire,--but that was incredible.
Whether this, that, or the other, no man could say, or ever has. Perhaps
the intellect of the dog, roused to its utmost by the demand upon his
heart, blindly leaped to its most difficult exertion. It was always hard
to cover things with rugs. In this extremity one must do the hardest. Or
did sheer love teach him to choose, in a moment that might have made a
fool or a lunatic of a man, the only one or two of several processes
which could by any means reach the emergency?

At all events, the dog saved the child. And she became henceforth the
saint and idol of the family, and he its totem and its hero. The two
stood together in one niche above the household altar. It was impossible
to separate them. But after that terrible hour little Adah was as she
was: frail, uncertain of step, scarred on the pearl of her neck and the
rose of her cheek; not with full command of her voice; more nervously
deficient than organically defective,--but a perfect being marred. Her
father said, "She goeth lame and lovely."

On the afternoon when our story began, the child and the Yorkshire sat
cuddled together in the broad window seat for a long time. Blessedness
sat with them. Adah talked in low love tones, using a language as
incomprehensible to other people as the tongue in which the dog replied
to her. They carried on long conversations, broken only by caresses, and
by barks of bliss or jets of laughter. The child tired herself with
laughing and loving, and the dog watched her; he did not sleep; he
silently lapped the fingers of her little hand that lay like a cameo
upon the silken cushion.

Some one came in and said in a low voice: "She is tired out. She must
have her supper and be put to bed."

Afterwards it was remembered that she clung to Loveliness and cried a
little, foolishly; fretting that she did not want her supper, and
demanding that the dog should go up to bed with her and be put at once
into his basket by her side. This was gently refused.

"You shall see him in the morning," they told her. Kathleen put the
little dog down forcibly from the arms of the child, who wailed at the
separation. She called back over the balusters: "_Love_-li-ness!
Good-by, Loveliness! When we're grown up, we'll _al_ways be togever,
Loveliness!"

The dog barked rebelliously for a few minutes; then sighed, and accepted
the situation. He ran back and picked up the pamphlet which Kathleen had
dropped, and carried it upstairs to the professor's study, where he laid
it on the lowest shelf of the revolving bookcase. The professor glanced
at the dog-eared pages and smiled. The pamphlet was one of the
innumerable throng issued by some philanthropic society devoted to
improving the condition of animals.

When Kathleen came downstairs she found the dog standing at the front
door, patiently asking that it might be opened for him. She went down
the steps; for it was the rule of the house never to allow the most
helpless member of the family at liberty unguarded. The evening was
soft, and the maid stood looking idly about. A man in a yellow jersey,
and with straight, black eyebrows, was on the other side of the street;
but he did not look over. The suburban town was still and pleasant;
advancing spring was in the air; no one was passing; only a negro boy
lolled on the old-fashioned fence, and shouted: "Hi! Yi! Yi! Look a' dem
crows carryin' off a b'iled pertater 'n' a piecer squushed pie!"

[Illustration: THE MAID STOOD LOOKING IDLY ABOUT]

Kathleen, for very vacuity of mind, turned to look. Neither potatoes nor
squash pie were to be seen careering through the skies; nor, in fact,
were there any crows.

"I'll have yez arrested for sarse and slander!" cried Kathleen
vigorously.

But the negro boy had disappeared. So had the man in the yellow jersey.

"Where's me dog?" muttered Kathleen. It was dipping dusk; it was
deepening to dark. She called. Loveliness was an obedient little fellow
always; but he did not reply. The maid called again; she examined the
front yard and the premises,--slowly, for she was afraid to go in and
tell. With the imbecility of the timid and the erring, she took too much
time in a fruitless and unintelligent search before she went, trembling,
into the house. Kathleen felt that this was the greatest emergency that
had occurred since the baby was burned. She went straight to the
master's door.

"God have mercy on me, but I've lost the little dog, sir!"

The professor wheeled around in his study chair.

"There was a nigger and a squashed crow--but indeed I never left the
little dog, as you bid me, sir--I never left him for the space of me
breath between me lips--and when I draws it in the little dog warn't
nowhere.... Oh, whatever'll _she_ say? Whatever'll _she_ do? Mother of
God, forgive me soul! Who'll tell _her_?"

Who indeed?

The professor of psychology turned as pale as the paper on which he was
about to write his next famous and inexplicable lecture. He pushed by
Kathleen and sprang for his hat.

But the child's mother had already run out, bareheaded, into the street,
calling the dog as she ran. Nora, the cook, left the dinner to burn, and
followed. Kathleen softly shut the nursery door, "So _she_ won't hear,"
and, sobbing, crept downstairs. The family gathered as if under the
black wing of an unspeakable tragedy. They scoured the premises and the
street, while the professor rang in the police call. But Loveliness was
not to be found.

The carrier came by, on his way home after his day's work was over.

"Great Scott!" he cried. "I'd rather have lost a month's pay. Does _she_
know?"

The newsboy trotted up, and stopped whistling.

"Hully gee!" he said. "What'll the little _gell_ dew?"

The popular cabman came by; he was driving the president, who let down
the window and asked what had happened. The driver uttered a mild and
academic oath.

"Me 'n' my horse, we're at your disposal as soon as me and the president
have got to faculty meeting."

But the president of the University of St. George put his long legs out
of the carriage, and bowed the professor into it.

"The cab is at your service now," he said anxiously, "and so am I. They
can get along without us for a while, to-night. Anything that I can do
to help you, Professor Premice, in this--real calamity--How does the
child bear it?"

"Poor little kid!" muttered the cabman. "And to think how I used to snap
my whip at 'em in the window!"

"An' how I used to bring him candy, contrary to the postal laws!" sighed
the carrier. The cab driver and the postman spoke as if the dog and the
child were both already dead.

The group broke slowly and sadly at last. The mother and the maids crept
tearfully into the house. The professor, the carrier, the newsboy, and
the president threw themselves into the matter as if they had been
hunting for a lost child. The president deferred his engagement at the
faculty meeting for two hours,--which gave about time for a faculty
meeting to get under way. The professor and the cab driver and the
police ransacked the town till nearly dawn. It began to rain, and the
night grew chilly. The carrier went home, looking like a man in the
shade of a public calamity. The newsboy ran around in the storm,
shadowing all the negro boys he met, and whistling for Loveliness in
dark places where low-bred curs answered him, and yellow mongrels
snarled at his soaked heels. But the professor had the worst of it; for
when he came in, drenched and tired, in the early morning, a little
figure in a lace-trimmed nightgown stood at the head of the stairs,
waiting for him.

The professor gave one glance at the child's face, and instinctively
covered his own. He could not bear to look at her.

"Papa," said Adah, limping down the stairs, "where is Loveliness? I
can't find him! Oh, I _can_not find him! And nobody will tell me where
he's gone to. Papa? I arxpect _you_ to tell me 'e trufe. WHERE is my
Loveliness?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Her mother could not comfort or control her. She clung to her father's
heart the remainder of the night; moaning at intervals, then unnaturally
and piteously still. The rain dashed on the windows, for the storm
increased; the child shrank and shivered.

"He's _never_ been out in 'e rain, Papa! He will be wet--and frightened.
Papa, who will give him his little baxet, and cover him up warm? Papa!
Papa! who will be _kind_ to Loveliness?"

In the broad daylight Adah fell into a short sleep. She woke with a
start and a cry, and asked for the dog. "He'll come home to breakfust,"
she said, with quivering lip. "Tell Nora to have some sugar on his mush
when he comes home."

But Loveliness did not come home to breakfast. The child refused to eat
her own. She hurried down and crept to the broad window seat, to watch
the street. When she saw the empty gray satin cushion, she flung herself
face down with a heart-rending cry.

"Papa! Papa! Papa! I never had a 'fliction before. Oh, Papa, my heart
will break itself apart. Papa, can't you know enough to comfort you
little girl? I can't _live_ wivout my Loveliness. Oh, Papa! Papa!"

       *       *       *       *       *

This was in the decline of March. The winds went down, and the rains
came on. The snow slid from the streets of the university town, and
withdrew into dingy patches about the roots of trees and fences, and in
the shady sides of cold back yards. The mud yawned ankle-deep, and
dried, and was not, and was dust beneath the foot. Crocuses blazed in
the gardens of the faculty,--royal purple, gold, and wax-white lamps
set in the young and vivid grass. The sun let down his mask and looked
abroad, and it was April. The newsboy, the carrier and the cab-driver
laughed for very joy of living. But when they passed the professor's
house they did not laugh. It came on to be the heart and glory of the
spring, and the warm days melted into May. But the little dog had not
been found.

The professor had exhausted hope and ingenuity in the dreary quest. The
State, one might say without exaggeration, had been dragged for that
tiny dumb thing,--seven pounds' weight of life and tenderness. Money had
been poured like love upon the vain endeavor. Rewards of reckless
proportion appealed from public places and from public columns to the
blank eyes that could not or did not read. The great detective force,
whose name is familiar from sea to sea, had supplemented the useless
search of the local police and of the city press. And all had equally
failed. The "dog banditti" had done their work too well.

Loveliness had sunk out of sight like forgotten suffering in a scene of
joy.

In the window seat, propped with white pillows, "lame and lovely," Adah
sat. The empty embroidered gray cushion lay beside her. Sometimes she
patted the red puppies softly with one thin little hand; she allowed no
one else to touch the cushion.

"Till Loveliness comes home," she said. In the window, silent, pale, and
seeing everything, she watched. But Loveliness did not come home.

[Illustration: "TILL LOVELINESS COMES HOME"]

The pitiful thing was that the child herself was so changed. She had
wasted to a little wraith. For some time she had not walked without her
crutch. Now she scarcely walked at all. At the first she had sobbed a
good deal, in downright childish fashion; then she wept silently; but
now she did not cry any more,--she did but watch. Her sight had grown
unnaturally keen, like that of pilots; she gazed out of great eyes,
bright, and dry, and solemn. Already she had taken on the look of
children whose span of time is to be short. She weakened visibly.

At first, her father took her out with him in the cab, so she should
feel that she was conducting the search herself. But she had grown too
feeble for this exertion. Sometimes, on such drives, she saw cruel
sights,--animals suffering at the black tempers of men or the
diabolic jests of boys; and she was hurried home, shivering and sobbing.
When night came she would ask for the Yorkshire's bed to be put beside
her own, and with trembling fingers would draw up the crimson blankets
over the crimson mattress, as if the dog had been between them. Then she
would ask the question that haunted her most:--

"Mamma, who will put Loveliness into a little baxet to sleep, and cover
him up? Papa, Papa, will they be _kind_ to Loveliness?"

Stormy nights and days were always the hardest.

"Will Loveliness be out and get wet? Will he shiver like 'e black dog I
saw to-day? Will he have warm milk for his supper? Is there anybody to
rub him dry and cuddle my Loveliness?"

To divert the child from her grief proved impossible. They took her
somewhere, in the old, idle effort to change the place and help the
pain; but she mourned so, "because he might come home, and nobody see
him but me," that they brought her back.

The president of the university, who was a dogless and childless man,
presented the bereaved household with a mongrel white puppy, purchased
under the amiable impression that it was of a rare, Parisian breed. The
distinguished man cherished the ignorant hope of bestowing consolation.
But the invalid child, with the sensitiveness of invalid children,
refused to look at the puppy, who was returned to his donor, and
constituted himself henceforth the tyrant and terror of that scholastic
household.

As the weather grew warmer, little Adah failed and sank. It came on to
be the bloom of the year, and she no longer left the house.

The carrier and the cab driver lifted their hats in silence now, when
they passed the window where the little girl sat, and the newsboy looked
up with a sober face, like that of a man. The faculty and the neighbors
did not ask, "How is the child?" but always, "Have you heard from the
dog?" The doctor began to call daily. He did not shake his head,--no
doctor does outside of an old-fashioned story,--and he smiled cheerfully
enough inside the house; but when he came out of it, to his carriage, he
did not smile. So the spring mellowed, and it was the first of June.

One night, the poor professor sat trying to put into shape an impossible
thesis on an incomprehensible subject (it was called The Identity of
Identity and Non-Identity), for Commencement delivery in his department.
Pulling aside some books of reference that he needed, he dragged to view
a pamphlet from the lowest shelf of the revolving bookcase. Then he saw
the marks of the Yorkshire's teeth and claws on the pamphlet corners,
and, sadly smiling, he opened and read.

The Commencement thesis on The Identity of Identity and Non-Identity was
not corrected that night. The professor of psychology sat moulded into
his study chair, rigid, with iron lips and clenched hands, and read the
pamphlet through, every word, from beginning to end. For the first time
in his life, this eminent man, wise in the wisdom of the world of mind,
and half educated in the practical affairs of the world of matter,
studied for himself the authenticated records of the torments imposed
upon dumb animals in the name of science.

As an instructed man, of course this subject was not wholly unfamiliar
to him, but it was wholly foreign. Hitherto he had given it polite and
indifferent attention, and had gone his ways. Now he read like a man
himself bound, without anæsthesia, beneath the knife. Now he read for
the child's sake, with the child's mind, with the child's nerves, and
with those of the little helpless thing for whom her life was wasting.
He tore from his shelves every volume, every pamphlet that he owned upon
the direful subject which that June night opened to his consciousness;
and he read until the birds sang.

With brain on fire, he crept, in the brightness of coming day, to his
wife's side.

"Tired out, dear?" she asked gently. Then he saw that she too had not
slept.

"Adah has such dreams," she explained; "cruel things,--all the same
kind."

"About the dog?"

"Always about the dog. I have been sitting up with her. She is--not as
strong as--not quite"--

The professor set his teeth when he heard the mother's moan. When she
had sunk into broken rest he stole back to his study, and locked out of
sight the pamphlet which Loveliness had chewed. So, with the profound
and scientific treatises on the subject, arguing and illustrating this
way and that (some of these had cuts and photogravures which would haunt
the imagination for years), he crowded the whole out of reach. His own
brain was reeling with horrors which it would have driven the woman or
the child mad to read. Scenes too ghastly for a strong mind to dwell
upon, incidents too fearful for a weak one to conceive, flitted before
the sleepless father.

Now the professor began to do strange and secretive things. Unknown to
his wife, unsuspected by his fading child, he began to cause the
laboratories of the city and its environs to be searched. In the
process, curious trades developed themselves to his astonished
ignorance: the tricks of boys who supply the material of anguish; the
trade of the janitor who sells it to the demonstrator; the trade of the
brute who allures his superior, the dog, to the lairs of medical
students. Dark arts started to the foreground, like imps around
Mephistopheles concealed. From such repellent education the professor
came home and took his little girl into his arms, and did not speak, but
laid his cheek to hers, and heard the piteous, familiar question, "Papa,
did you promise me they'd be kind to Loveliness?" It was always a
whispered question now; for Adah had entirely lost command of her voice,
partly from weakness, partly from the old injury to the vocal organs;
and this seemed, somehow, to make it the harder to answer her.

So there fell a day when the child in the window, propped by more than
the usual pillows, sat watching longer than usual, or more sadly, or
more eagerly,--who can say what it was? Or did she look so much more
translucent, more pathetic, than on another day? She leaned her cheek on
one little wasted hand. Her great eyes commanded the street. She had her
pilot's look. Now and then, if a little dog passed, and if he were gray,
she started and leaned forward, then sank back faintly. The sight of her
would have touched a savage; and one beheld it.

A man in a yellow jersey passed by upon the other side of the street,
and glanced over. His straight, black brows contracted, and he looked at
the child steadily. As he walked on, it might have been noticed that his
brutal head hung to his breast. But he passed, and that cultivated
street was clean of him. The carrier met him around the corner, and
glanced at him with coldness.

"What's de matter of de kid yonder, in de winder?" asked the foreigner.

"Dyin'," said the carrier shortly.

"Looks she had--what you call him?--gallopin' consum'tion," observed the
man with the eyebrows.

"Gallopin' heartbreak," replied the carrier, pushing by. "There's a
devil layin' round loose outside of hell that stole her dog,--and she a
little sickly thing to start with, ---- him! There's fifty men in this
town would lynch him inside of ten minutes, if they got a clue to him,
---- him to ----!"

That afternoon, when the professor left the house, the newsboy ran up
eagerly. "There's a little nigger wants yez, perfesser, downstreet. He's
in wid the dog robbers, that nigger is. Jes' you arsk him when he see
Mop las' time. Take him by the scruff the neck, an' wallop like hell
till he tells. Be spry, now, perfesser!"

The professor hurried down the street, fully prepared to obey these
directions, and found the negro boy, as he had been told.

"Come along furder," said the boy, looking around uneasily. He spoke a
few words in a hoarse whisper.

The blood leaped to the professor's wan cheeks, and back again.

"I'll show ye for a V," suggested the boy cunningly. "But I won't take
no noter hand. Make it cash, an' I'll show yer. Ye ain't no time to be
foolin'," added the gamin. "It's sot for termorrer 'leven o'clock. He's
down for the biggest show of the term, _he_ is. The students is all
gwineter go, an' the doctors along of 'em."

       *       *       *       *       *

His own university! His own university! The professor repeated the three
words, as he dashed into the city with the academic cabman's fastest
horse. For weeks his detectives had watched every laboratory within
fifty miles. But--his own college! With the density which sometimes
submerges a superior intellect, it had never occurred to him that he
might find his own dog in the medical school of his own institution.
Stupidly he sat gazing at the back of the gamin who slunk beside the
aversion of the driver on the box. The professor seemed to himself to be
driving through the terms of a false syllogism.

The cabman drew up in a filthy and savage neighborhood, in whose grim
purlieus the St. George professors did not take their walks abroad. The
negro boy tumbled off the box.

The professor sat, trembling like a woman. The boy went into the
tenement, whistling. When he came out he did not whistle. His evil
little face had fallen. His arms were empty.

"The critter's dum gone," he said.

"_Gone?_"

"He's dum goneter de college. Dey'se tuk him, sah. Dum dog to go so
yairly."

The countenance of the professor blazed with the mingling fires of
horror and of hope. The excited driver lashed the St. George horse to
foam; in six minutes the cab drew up at the medical school. The
passenger ran up the walk like a boy, and dashed into the building. He
had never entered it before. He was obliged to inquire his way, like a
rustic on a first trip to town. After some delay and difficulty he found
the janitor, and, with the assurance of position, stated his case.

But the janitor smiled.

"I will go now--at once--and remove the dog," announced the professor.
"In which direction is it? My little girl--There is no time to lose.
Which door did you say?"

But now the janitor did not smile. "Excuse me, sir," he said frigidly,
"I have no orders to admit strangers." He backed up against a closed
door, and stood there stolidly. The professor, burning with human rage,
leaned over and shook the door. It was locked.

"Man of darkness!" cried the professor. "You who perpetrate"--Then he
collected himself. "Pardon me," he said, with his natural dignity; "I
forget that you obey the orders of your chiefs, and that you do not
recognize me. I am not accustomed to be refused admittance to the
departments of my own university. I am Professor Premice, of the Chair
of Mental Philosophy,--Professor Theophrastus Premice." He felt for his
cards, but he had used the last one in his wallet.

"You might be, and you mightn't," replied the janitor grimly. "I never
heard tell of you that I know of. My orders are not to admit, and I do
not admit."

"You are unlawfully detaining and torturing my dog!" gasped the
professor. "I demand my property at once!"

"We have such a lot of these cases," answered the janitor wearily. "We
hain't got your dog. We don't take gentlemen's dogs, nor ladies' pets.
And we always etherize. We operate very tenderly. You hain't produced
any evidence or authority, and I can't let you in without."

"Be so good," urged the professor, restraining himself by a violent
effort, "as to bear my name to some of the faculty. Say that I am
without, and wish to see one of my colleagues on an urgent matter."

"None of 'em's in just now but the assistant demonstrator," retorted the
janitor, without budging. "_He_'s experimenting on a--well, he's engaged
in a very pretty operation just now, and cannot be disturbed. No, sir.
You had better not touch the door. I tell you, I do not admit nor
permit. Stand back, sir!"

The professor stood back. He might have entered the lecture room by
other doors, but he did not know it; and they were not visible from the
spot where he stood. He had happened on the laboratory door, and that
refused him. He staggered out to his cab, and sank down weakly.

"Drive me to my lawyer!" he cried. "Do not lose a moment--if you love
her!"

       *       *       *       *       *

It was eleven o'clock of the following morning; a dreamy June day,
afloat with color, scent, and warmth, as gentle as the depths of
tenderness in the human heart, and as vigorous as its noblest
aspirations.

The students of the famous medical school of the University of St.
George were crowding up the flagged walk and the old granite steps of
the college; the lecture room was filling; the students chatted and
joked profusely, as medical students do, on occasions least productive
of amusement to the non-professional observer. There chanced to be some
sprays of lily of the valley in a tumbler set upon the window sill of
the adjoining physiological laboratory, and the flower seemed to stare
at something which it saw within the room. Now and then, through the
door connecting with the lecture room, a faint sound penetrated the
laughter and conversation of the students,--a sound to hear and never to
forget while remembrance rang through the brain, but not to tell of.

The room filled; the demonstrator appeared suddenly, in his fresh, white
blouse; the students began to grow quiet. Some one had already locked
the door leading from the laboratory to the hallway. The lily in the
window looked, and seemed, in the low June wind, to turn its face away.

"Gentlemen," began the operator, "we have before us to-day a
demonstration of unusual beauty and interest. It is our intention to
study"--here he minutely described the nature of the operation. "There
will be also some collateral demonstrations of more than ordinary value.
The material has been carefully selected. It is young and healthy,"
observed the surgeon. "We have not put the subject under the usual
anæsthesia,"--he motioned to his assistant, who at this point went into
the laboratory,--"because of the importance of some preliminary
experiments which were instituted yesterday, and to the perfection of
which consciousness is conditional. Gentlemen, you see before you"--

The assistant entered through the laboratory door at this moment,
bearing something which he held straight out before him. The students,
on tiered and curving benches, looked down from their amphitheatre,
lightly, as they had been trained to look.

"It is needless to say," proceeded the lecturer, "that the subject will
be mercifully disposed of as soon as the demonstration is completed. And
we shall operate with the greatest tenderness, as we always do.
Gentlemen, I am reminded of a story"--

The demonstrator indulged in a little persiflage at this point, raising
a laugh among the class; he smiled himself; he gestured with the
scalpel, which he had selected while he was talking; he made three or
four sinister cuts with it in the air, preparatory cuts,--an awful
rehearsal. He held the instrument suspended, thoughtfully.

"The first incision"--he began. "Follow me closely, now. You
see--Gentlemen? Gentlemen! Really, I cannot proceed in such a
disturbance--What _is_ that noise?" With the suspended scalpel in his
hand, the demonstrator turned impatiently.

"It's a row in the corridor," said one of the students. "We hope you
won't delay for that, doctor. It's nothing of any consequence. Please go
ahead."

But the locked door of the laboratory shook violently, and rattled in
unseen hands. Voices clashed from the outside. The disturbance
increased.

"Open! Open the door!" Heavy blows fell upon the panels.

"In the name of humanity, in the name of mercy, open this door!"

"It must be some of those fanatics," said the operator, laying down his
instrument. "Where is the janitor? Call him to put a stop to this."

He took up the instrument with an impetuous motion; then laid it
irritably down again. The attention of his audience was now concentrated
upon the laboratory door, for the confusion had redoubled. At the same
time feet were heard approaching the students' entrance to the lecture
room. One of the young men took it upon himself to lock that door also,
which was not the custom of the place; but he found no key, and two or
three of his classmates joined him in standing against the door, which
they barricaded. Their blood was up,--they knew not why; the fighting
animal in them leaped at the mysterious intrusion. There was every
prospect of a scene unprecedented in the history of the lecture room.

The expected did not happen. It appeared that some unsuccessful effort
was made to force this door, but it was not prolonged; then the
footsteps retreated down the stairs, and the demand at the laboratory
entrance set in again,--this time in a new voice:--

"It is an officer of the court! There is a search-warrant for stolen
property! Open in the name of the Law! _Open this door in the name of
the Commonwealth!_"

Now the door sank open, was burst open, or was unlocked,--in the
excitement, no one knew which or how,--and the professor and the lawyer,
the officer and the search-warrant, fell in.

The professor pushed ahead, and strode to the operating table.

There lay the tiny creature, so daintily reared, so passionately
beloved; he who had been sheltered in the heart of luxury, like the
little daughter of the house herself; he who used never to know a pang
that love or luxury could prevent or cure; he who had been the soul of
tenderness, and had known only the soul of tenderness. There, stretched,
bound, gagged, gasping, doomed to a doom which the readers of this page
would forbid this pen to describe, lay the silver Yorkshire, kissing his
vivisector's hand.

In the past few months Loveliness had known to the uttermost the
matchless misery of the lost dog (for he had been sold and restolen more
than once); he had known the miseries of cold, of hunger, of neglect, of
homelessness, and other torments of which it is as well not to think;
the sufferings which ignorance imposes upon animals. He was about to
endure the worst torture of them all,--that reserved by wisdom and power
for the dumb, the undefended, and the small.

The officer seized the scalpel which the demonstrator had laid aside,
and slashed through the straps that bound the victim down. When the gag
was removed, and the little creature, shorn, sunken, changed, almost
unrecognizable, looked up into his master's face, those cruel walls rang
to such a cry of more than human anguish and ecstasy as they had never
heard before, and never may again.

The operator turned away; he stood in his butcher's blouse and stared
through out of the laboratory window, over the head of the lily, which
regarded him fixedly. The students grew rapidly quiet. When the
professor took Loveliness into his arms, and the Yorkshire, still crying
like a human child that had been lost and saved, put up his weak paws
around his master's neck and tried to kiss the tears that fell,
unashamed, down the cheeks of that eminent man, the lecture room burst
into a storm of applause; then fell suddenly still again, as if it felt
embarrassed both by its expression and by its silence, and knew not what
to do.

"Has the knife touched him--anywhere?" asked the professor, choking.

"No, thank God!" replied the demonstrator, turning around timidly; "and
I assure you--our regrets--such a mistake"--

"That will do, doctor," said the professor. "Gentlemen, let me pass, if
you please. I have no time to lose. There is one waiting for this little
creature who"--

He did not finish his sentence, but went out from among them. As he
passed with the shorn and quivering dog in his arms, the students rose
to their feet.

       *       *       *       *       *

He stopped the cab a hundred feet away, went across a neighbor's lot,
and got into the house by the back door, with the Yorkshire hidden under
his coat. The doctor's buggy stood at the curbstone in front. The little
girl was so weak that morning--what might not have happened?

The father felt, with a sudden sickness of heart, that time had hardly
converged more closely with fate in the operating room than it was
narrowing in his own home. The cook shrieked when she saw him come into
the kitchen with the half-hidden burden in his arms; and Kathleen ran
in, panting.

"Call the doctor," he commanded hoarsely, "and ask him what we shall
do."

All the stories that he had ever read about joy that killed blazed
through his brain. He dared neither advance nor retreat, but stood in
the middle of the kitchen, stupidly. Then he saw that the quick wit of
Kathleen had got ahead of him; for she was on her knees arranging the
crimson blankets in the empty basket. Between the three, they gently
laid the emaciated and disfigured dog into his own bed. Nora cried into
the milk she was warming for the little thing. And the doctor came in
while Loveliness feebly drank.

"Wait a minute," he said, turning on his heel. He went back to the room
where the child lay among the white pillows, with her hand upon the
empty gray satin cushion. Absently she stroked one of the red puppies
whose gold eyes gazed forever at the saucer of green milk. She lay with
her lashes on her cheeks. It was the first day that she had not watched
the street. Her mother, sitting back at the door, was fanning her.

"Adah!" said the doctor cheerily. "We've got something good to tell you.
Your father has found--there, there, my child!--yes, your father has
found him. He looks a little queer and homesick--guess he's missed you
some--and you mustn't mind how he looks, for--you see, Adah, we think he
has lived with a--with a barber, and got shaved for nothing!" added the
doctor stoutly.

The doctor had told his share of professional fibs in his day, like the
most of his race; but I hope he was forgiven all the others for this
one's merciful and beautiful sake.

"Come, professor!" he called, courageously enough. But his own heart
beat as hard as the father's and the mother's, when the professor slowly
mounted the stairs with the basket bed and the exhausted dog within it.

"LOVE-_li-ness_!" cried the child. It was the first loud word that she
had spoken for months.

Then they lifted the dog and put him in her arms; and they turned away
their faces, for the sight of that reunion was all the nerve could bear.

       *       *       *       *       *

So it was as it has been, and ever will be, since the beginning to the
end of time. Joy, the Angel of Delight and Danger, the most precious and
the most perilous of messengers to the heart that loves, came to our two
little friends, and might have destroyed, but saved instead.

The child was strong before the dog was; but both convalesced rapidly
and sweetly enough. In a week Adah threw away her little crutch. Her
lost voice returned, to stay. The pearl and the rose of her soft,
invalid skin browned with the summer sun. Peals of laughter and ecstatic
barks resounded through the happy house. Little feet and little paws
trotted together across the dew-touched lawn. Wonderful neck ribbons,--a
new color every day,--tied by eager, small fingers upon the silver-gray
throat of the Yorkshire, flashed through the bending shrubbery in
pursuit of a little glancing white figure in lawn dresses, with shade
hat hanging down her back. The satin cushion with the embroidered
puppies was carried out among the blushing weigelia bushes; and the
twain lived and loved and played, from day-start to twilight, in the
live, midsummer air.

[Illustration: THROUGH THE BENDING SHRUBBERY]

Sometimes she was overheard conversing with the terrier,--long,
confidential talks, with which no third person intermeddled.

"Dearness! Daintiness! Loveliness! Did you have a little baxet with
blankets while you were away? Preciousness! Did they cut you meat and
warm you soup for you, and comfort you? Did they ever let you out to
shi-shiver in 'e wet and cold? Tell me, Dearest-in-'e-World! Tell me,
Love-li-ness! Tell me all about it. Tell me about 'e barber who shaved
you hair so close,--was he _kind_ to you?"

When Commencement was over, and the town quiet and a little dull,
something of a festive nature was thought good for Adah; and the doctor,
who came only as a matter of occasional ceremony now, to see his patient
running away from him, proposed a party; for he was not an imaginative
man, and could only suggest the conventional.

"Something to take her mind off the dog for a little," he said. "We must
avoid anything resembling a fixed idea."

"Love is always a fixed idea," replied the professor of psychology,
smiling. "But you may try, doctor."

"I will arx Loveliness," said the child quietly. She ran away with the
Yorkshire, and they sat among the reddening weigelia bushes for some
time, conversing in low tones. Then they trotted back, laughing and
barking.

"Yes, Papa, we'll have a party. But it must be a _Love_liness party,
Mamma. And we've decided who to arx, and all about it. If you would like
to know, I'll whisper you, for it's a secret to Loveliness and me, until
we think it over."

Merrily she whispered in her mother's bending ear a list of chosen
guests. It ran on this wise:--

The family.

The carrier.

Kathleen and Nora.

The newsboy.

The cabman.

The doctor.

Some of the neighbors' little dogs and girls.

Not boys, because they say "Sister boy!" and "Sickum!"

The president's white puppy.

The president.

Nobody else.

Not the barber.

"Here's 'e invitation," she added with dignity, "and we'll have a
picture of him printed on his puppy cushion at 'e top, Papa."

She put into her father's hand a slip of paper, on which she had
laboriously and irregularly printed in pencil the following legend:--

  +-----------------------------+
  |  ON SATTERDAY, AFTER NUNE.  |
  |       IF NOT STORMY.        |
  |        AT 2 O CLUK.         |
  |         LOVELINESS          |
  |         _At Home._          |
  +-----------------------------+



  ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED
  BY H. O. HOUGHTON AND CO.

  The Riverside Press

  CAMBRIDGE, MASS., U. S. A.



                           _FICTION AND BIOGRAPHY_

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Transcriber's note:

The list of the author's other titles (which originally appeared before
the title page) has been moved to the end.

Page 19, comma added ("The newsboy, the carrier").

Both "cab driver" and "cab-driver" were used in this text.]





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