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Title: Reels and Spindles - A Story of Mill Life
Author: Raymond, Evelyn, 1843-1910
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 "Reels and Spindles - A Story of Mill Life" ***

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_A Story of Mill Life_





[Illustration: Logo]



_All rights reserved._




It was love for others which made Amy Kaye make use of the first
opportunity which offered, even though it was an humble one and she was
handicapped by ignorance. But having once decided what course was right
for her, she followed it with a singleness of purpose and a thoroughness
of effort which brought a prompt success. The help she was to others was
no small part of this success. For in an age of shams and low ideals the
influence of even one sincere girl is far-reaching; and when to that
sincerity she adds the sympathy which makes another's interests as vital
to her as her own, this influence becomes incalculable for good.

It is the author's hope that the story of "Reels and Spindles" may aid
some young readers to comprehend and make their own this beauty of
simplicity and this charm of sympathy which are the outcome of

E. R.

BALTIMORE, April 3, 1900.


CHAPTER                                           PAGE

      I. A BYWAY OF THE ARDSLEY                     11

     II. THE MILL IN THE GLEN                       23

    III. FAIRACRES                                  33

     IV. HALLAM                                     47

      V. A KINSMAN OF THE HOUSE                     60

     VI. SETTLEMENTS                                70

    VII. THE "SPITE HOUSE" OF BAREACRE              82

   VIII. NEEDS AND HELPERS                          93


      X. HOME-MAKING                               117


    XII. BAD NEWS FROM BURNSIDE                    142

   XIII. AMY PAYS A BUSINESS CALL                  154

    XIV. PEPITA FINDS A NEW HOME                   167

     XV. FACING HARD FACTS                         181

    XVI. AMY BEGINS TO SPIN                        192




     XX. IN THE OLD HOME                           248

    XXI. A PECULIAR INVITATION                     264

   XXII. TWO WANDERERS RETURN                      279


   XXIV. FAIRACRES IS CLOSED                       304

    XXV. MYSTERIES AND MASTERIES                   315

   XXVI. A PICNIC IN THE GLEN                      324


 XXVIII. ONE WONDERFUL AUTUMN DAY                  345

   XXIX. CONCLUSION                                363


"She pulled a book from her pocket and began to
read"                                           _Frontispiece_ 12

"'Take care! You'll drop sperm on the rug, tipping
that candlestick so!'"                                         68

"'Then I'm glad, glad that you are to have Pepita'"           173

"She so gently manipulated the swollen ankle and bound
it with the lotions"                                          262

"He began to gather up the coins"                             334




The white burro had a will of her own. So, distinctly, had her mistress.
As had often happened, these two wills conflicted.

For the pair had come to a point where three ways met. Pepita wanted to
ascend the hill, by a path she knew, to stable and supper. Amy wished to
follow a descending road, which she did not know, into the depths of the
forest. Neither inclined toward the safe middle course, straight onward
through the village, now picturesque in the coloring of a late September

"No, Pepita. You must obey me. If I'm not firm this time, you'll act
worse the next. To the right, amiable beastie!"

Both firmness and sarcasm were wasted. The burro rigidly planted her
forefeet in the dust and sorrowfully dropped her head.

Amy tugged at the bridle.

"Pepita! To--the--right! Go on. In your native Californian--_Vamos!_"

The "Californian" budged not, but posed, an image of dejection. The
happiness of life had departed; the tale of her woe seemed pictured in
every hair of her thickly coated body; she was a broken-hearted donkey.

Amy Kaye was neither broken-hearted nor broken-spirited, and she was
wholly comfortable. Her saddle was soft and fitted well. The air was
delightful. She pulled a book from her pocket and began to read. In five
minutes she was so absorbed that she had forgotten Pepita's little

After a while the "Californian" moved her head just enough to gain a
corner-wise glimpse of a calm and unresponsive face beneath a scarlet
Tam; and evidently realizing that she had become a mere support to the
maid who owned her, uttered her protest.

"Bra-a-ay! Ah-umph! Ah-umph--umph--mph--ph--h!"

Amy read on.

Pepita changed her tactics. She began to double herself together in a
fashion disconcerting to most riders; whereupon Amy simply drew her own
limbs up out of harm's way and waited for the burro's anatomy to settle
itself in a heap on the ground.

"All right, honey."

Then she resumed her book, and the beast her meditations. Thus they
remained until the rumble of an approaching wagon caused the now
submissive animal to rise and move aside out of the road.

Again Amy tested the bridle, and found that she might now ride whither
she pleased.

"Is it so, beloved? Well, then, that's right; and when you do right
because I make you, it is one lump of sugar. Open your mouth. Here. But,
Pepita, when you do right without compulsion, there are always two
lumps. Into the forest--go!"

Pepita went. Suddenly, swiftly, and so recklessly that Amy nearly slid
over her head.

"Very well! What suits you suits me. I'm as good a sticker-on as you are
a shaker-off. Besides, a word in your ear. It would be quite the proper,
story-book sort of thing for you to try and break my neck, as a
punishment, since I'm almost running away."

Though she had always lived within a few miles of the spot the girl had
never before visited it. That she did so now, without knowledge of
anybody at home, gave her a sense of daring, almost of danger, as new as
it was fascinating. True, she had not been forbidden, simply because
nobody had thought of her wandering so far afield; yet the habit of her
life had been such as to make anything out of the common seem strange,
even wrong.

"However, since I'm here, I'll see what there is to see and tell them
all about it afterward--that is, if they will care to hear," she ended
her remark to the burro with a sigh, and for a bit forgot her
surroundings. Then she rallied, and with the spirit of an explorer,
peered curiously into all the delightful nooks and corners which
presented; not observing that the road grew steadily more steep and
rough, nor that Pepita's feet slipped and stumbled, warningly, among the
loose stones, which were so hidden by fallen leaves that Amy could not
see them. Along the sides, seasoning at convenient intervals, were rows
of felled timber, gay with a summer's growth of woodbine and clematis,
now ripened to scarlet and silvery white.

Amy was an artist's daughter. At every turn her trained eye saw
wonderful "bits" of pictures, and she exclaimed to Pepita:--

"If father were only here! See that great rock with its gray-green
lichens and its trailing crimson tendrils! Just that on a tiny canvas,
say six by eight or, even, eight by twelve, how it would brighten
mother's room!"

The "Californian" kicked the leaves impatiently. She had no eye for
"bits" of anything less material than sugar, and she had long since
finished her one lump; she was tired of travelling in the wrong
direction, with her head much lower than her heels, and she suddenly

It was quite time. Another step forward would have sent them tobogganing
into a brawling stream. With a shiver of fear Amy realized this.

"O-oh! Oh! You knew best, after all! You wouldn't come till I made you;
and now--how shall we get out! Hark! What's that?"

The burro had already pricked up her ears. There was a shout from

Amy managed to slide off and fling herself flat against the slope. When
she tried to climb back to a less dangerous spot the twigs she clutched
broke in her hands and the rocks cut her flesh. The adventure which had
been fascinating was fast becoming frightful.

"Hil-loa! Hil-l-loa!"

Clinging desperately to the undergrowth, she managed to move her head
and look down. Far below in the ravine somebody was waving a white

"Hilloa, up there!"

She was too terrified to speak; yet, after the salute had reached her
several times, she dared to loose one hand and wave a returning signal.

"You--just--hold on! I'll come--and get--you!"

As "holding on" was all that either Amy or Pepita could do just then,
they obeyed, perforce; although, presently, the burro had scrambled to a
narrow ledge, whence she could see the whole descent and from which, if
left to herself, she would doubtless have found a way into the valley.

They clung and waited for so long that the girl grew confused; then
tried to rally her own courage by addressing the "Californian."

"It's so--so absurd--I mean, awful! If that man doesn't come soon, I
shall surely fall. My fingers ache so, and I'm slipping.
I--am--slipping! Ah!"

Fortunately, her rescuer was near. He had worked his way upward on all
fours, his bare feet clinging securely where shoe-soles would have been
useless. He approached without noise, save of breaking twigs, until he
was close beside them, when Pepita concluded it was time to bid him

"Br-r-r-ray! A-humph! A-humph--umph--mph--ph--h!"

The climber halted suddenly.


Also startled, Amy lost her hold and shot downward straight into the
arms of the stranger, who seized her, croaking in her ear:--

"Hilloa! What you up to? Can't you wait a minute?"

Then, with a strong grasp of her clothing, he wriggled himself sidewise
along the bank to a spot where the rock gave place to earth and shrubs.

"Now catch your breath and let her go!"

The girl might have screamed, but she had no time. Instantly, she was
again sliding downward, with an ever-increasing momentum, toward
apparent destruction, yet landing finally upon a safe and mossy place;
past which, for a brief space, the otherwhere rough stream flowed
placidly. She caught the hum of happy insects and the moist sweet odor
of growing ferns, then heard another rush and tumble. But she was as yet
too dazed to look up or realize fresh peril, before Pepita and the other
stood beside her.

"Sho! That beats--huckleberries!"

Amy struggled to her feet. She had never heard a voice like that, which
began a sentence with mighty volume and ended it in a whisper. She
stared at the owner curiously, and with a fresh fear. "He looks as queer
as his voice," she thought.

She was right. His physique was as grotesque as his attire; which
consisted of a white oilskin blouse, gayly bordered with the national
colors, trousers of the most aggressive blue, and a helmet-shaped hat,
adorned by a miniature battle-axe, while a tiny broom was strapped upon
his shoulders.

"Huh! pretty, ain't I? The boys gave 'em to me."


"Yes. You needn't be scared. I shan't hurt you. I'm a Rep-Dem-Prob."

"Ah, indeed?"

"Yes. I march with the whole kerboodle. I tell you, it's fun."

It was "Presidential year," and Amy began to understand, not only that
the lad before her was a "natural," but, presumably, that he had been
made the victim of village wit. She had heard of the "marching bands,"
and inferred that the strange dress of her rescuer was made up by
fragments from rival political uniforms.

"Yes. I'm out every night. Hurrah for Clevey-Harris!"

"You must get very tired."

"No. It's fun. I drag the gun carriage. That's on account o' my
strength. Look a' there for an arm!" And he thrust out his illy
proportioned limb with a pitiable pride.

"I see. But now that you've helped me down the bank, will you as kindly
show me the way home?"

"Never slid that way before, did you? Only thing, though. I'll show you
all right if you'll let me ride your donkey. Funny, ain't she? Make her

"I think she's very pretty; and you may ride her, certainly, if she will
let you."

A puzzled and angry expression came over the youth's face as he looked
toward the burro, who had already begun to make hay for herself out of
the lush grasses bordering the Ardsley.

"Make her talk, I say."

"She'll do that only to please herself. She's rather self-willed, and

"Who do _you_ march with?"

"March? _March!_ I?"


"Why, nobody. Of course not. Why should you think it?"

The lad scrutinized her dress and gazed abstractedly upon the white
"Californian." Just then, a "parade" was the dominant idea in the poor
fellow's limited intelligence. Amy's simple white flannel frock, with
its scarlet sash, and the scarlet cap upon her dark curls, suggested
only another "uniform." The girls with whose appearance he was familiar
were not so attired.

Neither did they ride upon white donkeys. Yet a donkey of venerable and
unhappy appearance did nightly help to swell the ranks of the country's
patriots, and the beast which he knew enjoyed a sort of honor: it drew
an illuminated "float" wherein rode a greatly envied fifer.

"What makes you ask that?" again demanded Amy, now laughing; for she had
just imagined what her mother's face would express, should her daughter
become a part of a "parade."

"Oh! because."

Pepita now took share in the conversation. "Br-r-rr-a-y! Ah-huh-um-umph!
Ah-umph--u-m-ph--ah-umph--umph--mph--ph--h-h-h!" she observed.

Never was a remark more felicitous. The lad threw himself down on the
grass, laughing boisterously. Amy joined, in natural reaction from her
former fear, and even the "Californian" helped on the fun by observing
them with an absurdly injured expression.

"She is funny, I admit; though she is as nothing compared to her
brother Balaam. If you like that kind of music, you should hear their
duet about breakfast time. Which is the shortest way to some real road?"

"Come on. I'll show you."

"Thank you; and, you are so tall, would you mind getting me that bunch
of yellow leaves--just there? They are so very, very lovely I'd like to
take them home to put in father's studio."

"What's that? Where's it at? Who are you, anyhow?"

"Amy Kaye."

"I'm 'Bony,'--Bonaparte Lafayette Jimpson. Who's he?"

"My father is Cuthbert Kaye, the artist. Maybe you know him. He is
always discovering original people."

The speech was out before she realized that it was not especially
flattering. Her father liked novel models, and she had imagined how her
new acquaintance would look as a "study." Then she reflected that the
lad was not as pleasing as he was "original."

"No. I don't know him. He don't live in the village, I 'low?"

"Of course not. We live at Fairacres. It has been our home, our family's
home, for two hundred years."

"Sho! You don't look it. An' you needn't get mad, if it has. I ain't
made you mad, have I? I'd like to ride that critter. I'd like to, first

Amy flushed, ashamed of her indignation against such an unfortunate
object, and replied:--

"I'd like to have you 'first rate,' too, if Pepita is willing. You get
on her back and show me which way to go, and I'll try to make her behave
well. I have some sugar left. That turning? All right. See, Pepita,
pretty Pepita! Smell what's in my fingers, amiable. Then follow me, and
we'll see what--we shall see."

"Bony" was much impressed by Amy's stratagem of walking ahead of the
burro with the lump of sugar held temptingly just beyond reach. For the
girl knew that the "Californian" would pursue the enticing titbit to the
sweetest end.

Yet this end seemed long in coming. For more than a mile their path lay
close to the water's edge, through bogs and upon rocks, over rough and
smooth, with the bluff rising steeply on their right and the stream
preventing their crossing to the farm lands on its left. But at length
they emerged upon a wider level and a view that was worth walking far to

Here the lad dismounted. He was so much too large for the beast he
bestrode that he had been obliged to hold his feet up awkwardly, while
riding. Besides, deep in his clouded heart there had arisen a desire to
please this girl who so pleased him.

"Hmm. If you like leaves, there's some that's pretty," he said, pointing
upward toward a brilliant branch, hanging far out above the stream.

"Yes, those are exquisite, but quite out of reach. We can get on faster
now; and tell me, please, what are all those buildings yonder? How
picturesque they look, clustered amid the trees on the river's bank."

Her answer was a rustle overhead. She fancied that a squirrel could not
have climbed more swiftly; for, glancing up, she discovered the witless
youth already upon the projecting branch, moving toward its slender
tips, which swayed beneath his weight, threatening instant breakage.
Below him roared the rapids, hurrying to dash over the great dam not
many yards away.

"Oh! how dare you? Come back--at once!"

"Scare you, do I? Sho! This is nothing. You just ought to see what I can
do. Catch 'em. There you are. That's prettier than any. Hello! Yonder's
a yellow-robin's nest. Wait. I'll get it for you!"

Amy shut her eyes that she might not see; though she could not but hear
the snapping of boughs, the yell, and the heavy splash which followed.



"Hi! ducked myself that time, sure!"

Amy ventured to open her eyes. There, dripping and grinning, evidently
enjoying the fright he had given her, stood her strange new
acquaintance. His hand still clutched the scarlet branch with its
swinging nest that he had risked his safety to secure, nor would
relinquish for so trivial a matter as a fall into the water.

"You--you might have been drowned!"

"But I wasn't."

"I should have felt that it was all my fault!" she exclaimed, now that
her fear was past, growing angry at his hardihood.

He stared at her in genuine surprise; all the gayety of his expression
giving place to disappointment.

"Don't you like it? They always build far out."

"Oh, yes. It's beautiful, and I thank you, of course. But I want to get
home. You must show me the way."

"Make the donkey carry 'em."

"Very well."

So they piled the branches upon the back of the dumbly protesting
"Californian," Amy retaining the delicate nest and gently shaking the
water from it.

"She don't like 'em, does she?"

"Not at all. Idle Pepita likes nothing that is labor. But I love her,
even though she's lazy."

"What'll you take for her?"


"Won't swop?"

"No, indeed."

"Why not?"

"Oh! dozens of 'whys.' The idea of my selling Pepita! For one thing, she
was a gift."

"Who from?"

"My uncle Frederic."

"When? Where? What for?"

"Oh! what a question asker. Come, Pepit! Tcht!"

Shaking her body viciously, but unable to rid herself of her brilliant
burden, the burro started swiftly along the footpath running toward the
distant buildings, and over the little bridge that crossed just there.
Both path and bridge were worn smooth by the feet of the operatives from
the mills, which interested Amy more and more, the nearer she approached
them. Once or twice, on some rare outing among the hills where her home
lay, she had caught glimpses of their roofs and chimneys, and she
remembered to have asked some questions about them; but her father had
answered her so indifferently, even shortly, that she had learned

Seen from this point they impressed her by contrast to all she had ever
known. There was a whirl and stir of life about them that excited and
thrilled her. Through the almost numberless windows, wide open to the
air, she could see hundreds of busy people moving to and fro, in a sort
of a rhythmic measure with the pulsating engines.

As yet she did not know what these engines were. She heard the mighty
beat and rumble, regular, unchanging, like a gigantic heart of which
this many-storied structure was the enclosing body; and she slowly
advanced, fascinated, and quite heedless of some staring eyes which
regarded her curiously from those wide windows.

A discontented bray and the touch of a hand upon her shoulder suddenly
recalled her, to observe that she had reached the bottom of a steep
stairway, and was face to face with another stranger.

"Beg pardon, but can I be of service to you?"

"Oh! sir. Thank you. I--I don't know just where I am."

"In the yard of the Crawford carpet mill."

"Is that the wonderful building yonder?"

"Yes. Have you never seen it before?"

"Not at near hand. I am here by accident. I was lost on the river bank,
a long distance back, and a strange lad helped me so far. I don't see
him now, and I'm rather frightened about him, for he fell into the
water, getting me this nest. He doesn't act just like other people, I

"No. Poor 'Bony'! He has run up into the street above us, yet even he
knew better than to have brought you just here," and he glanced
significantly toward a large sign of "No Admittance."

"Is it wrong? I'm very sorry. I'll go away at once, when I'm shown how."

Gazing about, her perplexity became almost distress; for she found
herself shut in a little space by buildings of varying heights. Behind
her lay the difficult route over which she had come, and on the east
uprose a steep bank or bluff. Against this was placed a nearly
perpendicular sort of ladder, and this steep stair was the only visible
outlet from the ravine.

The gentleman smiled at her dismay.

"Oh, that isn't as bad as it looks. I fancy you could easily climb it,
as do our own mill girls; but this pretty beast of yours, with the
fanciful burden, how about him?"

"I don't know. She might. She's right nimble-footed--when she chooses to

"So 'he' is a young lady, too? Well, I have great faith in girls, even
girl donkeys, as well as in those who own them. There will certainly be
a way out; if not up the bank, then through the mill. By the by, if
you've never visited such a place, and have come to it 'by accident,'
wouldn't you like to go through it now? I'm the superintendent, William
Metcalf, and am just about to make my rounds, before we shut down for
the night. I'd be pleased to show you about, though we must first find a
safe place where we can tie your donkey. She looks very intelligent."

"Oh, indeed, sir, she is! She's the dearest burro. She and her brother
Balaam were sent to my brother and me from California. Her name is
Pepita, and I am Amy Kaye. I live at Fairacres."

At this announcement the gentleman looked as if he were about to
whistle, though courtesy prevented. He bowed gravely:--

"I'm very glad to know you. If you'll excuse me for a moment, I'll find
something with which to tie the burro."

He soon returned, bringing a leather strap.

"We'll fasten her to the stair, but it will be better to put these
branches on the ground. Having them on her back frets her."

"Thank you. You're very kind."

Pepita did not endorse this opinion. In the matter of tying she gave
them all the trouble she could, and allowed them to depart only after a
most indignant bray. Her racket brought various heads to the windows,
and the visitors were as much of interest to the artisans as themselves
were to Amy.

She followed her guide eagerly, too self-unconscious to be abashed by
any stare; and though he had shown many strangers "over the works," he
felt that explaining things to this bright-eyed girl would be a
pleasanter task than ordinary.

"I like to begin all things at the foundation," he remarked, with a
smile, "so we'll go to the fire-room first."

This was down another short flight of steps, and over a bridge spanning
the race, which deep, dark watercourse immediately caught Amy's

"How smooth and swift it looks; and so black. Isn't that man afraid to
stand there?" indicating a workman stationed upon the sluice gate,
engaged in the endless task of raking fallen leaves away from the rack.

"Oh, no! not afraid! The work is monotonous, but it must be done, or
there'll be the mischief to pay. Now, here are the fires."

A soot-grimed man approached the door of the furnace room, and
respectfully touched his forehead to his superior, then glanced toward

"I'm afeared the little lady will soil her pretty frock," he remarked,
with another pull at his forelock.

"Thank you for thinking of it. I'll try to be careful," she answered,
tiptoeing across the earthen floor, to stoop and peer into the roaring
furnaces. "I should be afraid it would burn the whole place up. How hot
it is! Is it all right?"

"Yes; they're doing prime to-day. We takes care of the danger, miss.
But hot? Well, you should ought to be here about midsummer, say. Ah!
this isn't bad, is it, boss?"

"Very comfortable. You like your job, eh, Ben?"

"Sure; it's a good one. Steady, an' wages regular. Good day, miss,
you're welcome, I'm sure," he concluded, as she thanked him again for
opening the furnace doors and explaining how it was he managed the great

"Now, the engine room; to see the object of all that heat," said Mr.

"If only Hallam were here!" exclaimed Amy.

"Is he your brother?"

"Yes. Oh! it all seems just like fairyland; even better, for this is
useful, while fairyland is merely pleasant."

"Then you deem useful things of more account than pleasant ones? Hmm;
most young ladies who have visited us have seemed afraid rather than
pleased. The whir of the machinery frightened them."

"It frightens me, too, and yet--I like it. The power of it all awes me."

"Well, your enthusiasm is certainly agreeable."

Nor was he the only one who found it so. Even the usually silent workmen
in the fireproof storehouse, where the bales of wool were piled to the
ceiling with little aisles of passage between, were moved to explanation
by the alert, inquiring glances of this dainty visitor. So she quickly
learned the difference between Turkish and Scottish fleeces, and
remarked to her guide on the oddity of the sorted ones, "that look just
like whole sheepskins, legs and tail and all, with the skins left out."
In the scouring room she saw the wool washing and passing forward
through the long tanks of alkaline baths; and in the "willying" house
her lungs were filled by the dust that the great machines cleaned from
the freshly dried fleeces. Indeed, she would have lingered long before
the big chute, through which compressed air forced the cleansed fibres
to the height of four stories and the apartment where began its real
manufacture into yarn.

Mr. Metcalf took her next to this top floor; and though the deafening
noise of the machinery made her own voice sound queerly in her ears, she
managed to ask so many questions, that before she again reached the
ground floor and passed outward to the impatient Pepita, she had gained
a clear general idea how some sorts of carpets are made.

"And now, Miss Amy, that our little tour is over, I'd like to hear what,
of all you've seen, has most impressed you," said Mr. Metcalf, kindly.

"The girls."

"The--girls? In the spinning room?"

"Everywhere; all of them. They are so clean, so jolly, and--think! They
are actually earning money."

"Of course; else they wouldn't be here. Does it strike you oddly that a
girl should earn her own living?"

"I think it's grand."

"Hmm. You caught but a fleeting glimpse of them. There's a deal of
reality in their lives, poor things."

"Why! Are you sorry for them?"

"No,--and yes. They haven't much leisure, and I dare say that you are an
object of envy to every mill girl who has seen you to-day."

"Oh! I hope not. I liked them so. It seems so fine to really earn some
of the money which everybody needs so much, just by standing before one
of those 'jennies' and doing what little they did. They laughed often,
as if they were glad. Nobody looked sorrowful, so I don't see why you
pity them."

"It may be misplaced, for, after all, they _are_ happy in their way. I
do not think it is always the best way; still--Why, here's 'Bony.' Well,
young man, what mischief's up now? Do you march again to-night?"

"No. I'm going with her."

"Best wait till you're invited," suggested the superintendent.

The lad said nothing, but kept on tying into a compact bundle all the
branches heaped upon the ground, and to which he had made a considerable
addition during Amy's inspection of the mill. He had begged a bit of
rope from the office in the street above; and when he had secured the
boughs to his satisfaction, he slung them across his shoulder.

"Come on. I'll pack 'em for you to where you live."

He seemed none the worse for his fall into the water, and Amy laughed;
not only at the readiness with which he constituted himself her
assistant, but also at Pepita's frantic efforts to ascend the steep

"Thank you. But if we can get her up there, above, she can carry the
stuff herself. I can walk, when I am told the road."

"Up she goes she!" shouted the startling Lafayette, and gave the
unprepared burro a sharp prod with a stick he held.

Astonished, Pepita leaped to escape the attack and landed her forefeet
upon the fourth stair.

"Hi! There you be! You're a regular Rep-Dem-Prob! Up you go--I tell

"Oh! you dreadful boy!" exclaimed Amy, and tried to take the stick from
the fellow's hand.

"Don't. He isn't hurting her, and she _is_ going up!" laughed the
superintendent, as the burro made another skyward spring. But his
merriment suddenly ceased.

The "Californian" could use her nimble feet for more than one purpose.
She resented the indignity of her present position in the only manner
possible to her, and when a third prod touched her dainty flesh, she
flung one heel backward, with an airy readiness that might have been
funny save for its result.



"How dreadful! Is he killed?" cried Amy, pale with fear.

For the indignant Pepita had planted her active hoof squarely in the
mouth of the lad who was tormenting her, and had knocked him backward
from the stair. During a brief time he lay, dazed by the blow, with a
trickle of blood rapidly staining his features.

"Wait. Don't get frightened. There may not be much damage done. That boy
has as many lives as a cat. I'll see to him," returned Mr. Metcalf,

With a strong, kindly touch, the gentleman helped the unfortunate "Bony"
to his feet; whereupon, the lad flew into a fearful rage and started up
the ladder, in pursuit of the burro.

His movement roused Amy also to action, and she followed him so swiftly
that she reached the top, and the broad road there, almost as soon as
he. Before then, however, he had caught up a barrel stave, which
happened to be lying in a too convenient spot, and was belaboring Pepita
with all his might.

The latter, after her ascent of the steps, had remained standing at
their head, gazing dreamily downward in her own demure manner and
evidently considering that she had quite properly adjusted matters.

Amy succeeded in reaching them just as the third blow was descending
upon Pepita's flank and by a deft movement arrested the stroke. The
stave flew out of the lad's grasp, and his astonishment at her strength
cooled his anger.

"Don't you strike her again! You shall not. Aren't you ashamed of
yourself to beat a helpless creature like that? If you are still able to
act so--so brutally--you can't be much hurt. I was terribly frightened
and sorry, but now I don't care. She served you just right."

Then the red Tam dropped on the burro's neck and a torrent of
affectionate words was poured into the creature's indifferent ears.

"Sho! Huckleberries! She's drove my teeth clean down my throat!" slowly
ejaculated the youth.

This was about half true. One tooth had been broken out by the blow upon
the lad's jaw and another had been loosened. The copious bleeding of
these wounds gave him a startling appearance, and when Amy looked up a
shudder of repellent pity ran through her. Then she seemed to see her
mother's gentle face and, conquering the aversion she felt, she pulled
out her handkerchief and began to wipe the discolored, ill-shapen lips
of the half-wit.

He submitted to the operation in amazed silence. Even Mr. Metcalf had
nothing to say, though he watched with keen interest the outcome of this
little transaction.

"There. If I had some water, I could do it nicely. I'm sorry you were
hurt. But don't you ever strike my Pepita again! Next time she might
kill you. It was her only way of defending herself, for she hasn't sense
like you--"

Regarding the imbecile face before her, Amy's sentence ended in
confusion. Nor did it add to her comfort that the unhappy fellow now
began to weep in a whimpering sort of way, that might have suited a
spoiled child of a few years.

"Why, what is it? Do you suffer so terribly! Oh! I am so sorry!"

"There, my dear Miss Amy, let it pass. This is only one of 'Bony's'
charming habits," said Mr. Metcalf, smiling derisively. "He has rather
outgrown his age. Haven't you, lad? Well, it's all right. I'm sorry for
you. You're sorry for yourself; and our young lady here is sorry for us
both. Come. Brace up. Be a man. What would the 'boys' think of you, in
this uniform, crying? Eh!"

"Huh--huh--huh--huh-h-h!" responded the natural.

"I'm going home, Bonaparte. Good night. Thank you for the leaves. Mr.
Metcalf, will you tell me the nearest way, please?"

Amy picked up the fallen bundle of boughs, which the superintendent had
brought with him from the yard below, and laid them upon Pepita's back.

"These have given us some trouble, but they are still too beautiful to

The gentleman directed her, courteously escorted her through the
gateway, which bore another of those prohibitory "No Admittance" signs,
and watched her walk briskly away, thinking what a bright feature of the
landscape she made.

"Not a beautiful girl, by any means, yet one of the most wholesome,
honest, and engaging ones who ever stepped foot within this old mill.
Odd, too! A Kaye. I wonder if she will ever come again to what, if all
had gone as was expected, might easily have been her own great property.
Well, that was pretty to see: the way in which she wiped the face of
poor 'Bony.' The lad grows sillier every day, it seems, and the 'boys'
are making him worse by their nonsense. Where is he now? I'll have a
talk with him and try to keep him out of the parades. They are not good
for him," reflected Mr. Metcalf.

But the talk had to be postponed; for there was "Bony" already far along
the road toward Fairacres, following doggedly in Amy's footsteps, though
she repeatedly assured him that she could manage quite well without him
and preferred to be alone.

"No, I'm going," he asserted; and when she could not dissuade him, she
gave up trying to do so and led him to talk of himself--his most
interesting subject. So that, by the time they had come to the front of
the old mansion, she knew his simple history completely, and her pity
had almost outgrown her aversion.

"See, Cleena! Cleena Keegan! See what I have brought!"

The shout summoned a large woman to the door, who threw up her arms with
the answering cry:--

"Faith, an' I thought you was lost! Whatever has kept you such gait,
Miss Amy?"

"Oh! adventures. Truly, Cleena. Real, regular adventures. See my leaves?
See this lad! He got them for me. He is Bonaparte Jimpson."

"An' a curious spalpeen that same," casting a suspicious glance over the
youth's strange attire.

"I'm Bonaparte Lafayette Jimpson," he explained gravely and, to Amy's
surprise, timidly.

"The mischief, you be! An' what's Napoleon Bonyparty's gineral's
pleasure at Fairacres, the night?"

"Cleena, wait. I'll tell you. Yes, you will have time enough. The train
isn't due till after six, and they'll be a half-hour longer getting home
from the station. Sit you down, Goodsoul, just for one little bit of
minute. The scrubbing must surely be done by now. Isn't it?"

"Humph! The scrubbin's never done in this dirty world. Well, an' what is
it? Be quick with you!"

Amy coaxed the old servant down upon the doorstep of the freshly
cleaned kitchen, whither they had now gone, and speedily narrated her
afternoon's experiences.

"So you see, dear old Scrubbub, that he must have a fine feast of the
best there is in the house. Besides," and she pulled the other's ear
down to her lips, "I'd just like to have father see him. He isn't
pretty, of course, but he's _new_. I wonder, could he pose?"

"Pose, is it?" groaned Cleena, with a comical grimace. "Pose! Sure, it's
I minds the time when the master caught me diggin' petaties an' kept me
standin', with me foot on me spade, an' me spade in the ground, an' me
body this shape," bending forward, "till I got such a crick in me back I
couldn't walk upright, for better 'n a week. Posin', indeed! Well, he
might. He looks fit for naught else."

"Pooh, Cleena! you know it's an honor. But, come now, I want to put all
these leaves up in the dining room. Will you help me?"

"Will I what--such truck! No, me colleen, not a help helps Cleena the

"Oh, yes, you will. I'll bring the step ladder and hand them to you,
while you put them over the doors and windows. We'll make the place a
perfect bower of cheerfulness, and if our dears, when they come--Oh,
Cleena! they may need the cheerfulness very much."

However, it was not Amy's habit to borrow trouble, and she ran lightly
away, calling to the boy on the porch:--

"I'm going to put Pepita in the stable. If you'd like to see her
brother, you can come with me."

"Sho! Ain't he black!" exclaimed "Bony," as they led Pepita into the
great stables and he discovered Balaam.

Amid ample accommodations for a dozen horses, the two burros seemed
almost lost; but they occupied adjoining box-stalls which, if rather
time-worn and broken, were still most roomy and comfortable.

"Why, huckleberries! It's bigger 'n the mill sheds. And only them two.
Will he swop?"

As he asked this question the lad pulled from his pocket a miscellaneous
collection of objects, and invitingly displayed them upon the palm of
his long hand.

"No, I think not. I fancy we are not a 'swopping' family. But I must
choose some name for you besides that dreadful 'Bony.' Bonaparte is too
long. So is Lafayette. Let me see. Suppose we make it just 'Fayette'?
That is short and pleasant to speak, and I like my friends to have nice
names. Would you like it?"


"Why--why, Fayette! That doesn't sound well."

"Sho! Don't it? One all black an' t'other all white. Hum."

"Br-r-r-ray! Ah-umph--h-umph--umph--mph--ph--h-h-h!" observed Balaam to
his sister.

Fayette laughed, so noisily and uproariously that the burros brayed
again; and they kept up this amusing concert until Amy had brought each
an armful of hay, and had directed her companion where to find a pail
and water for their drink.

Then they returned to the house and beheld Cleena in the dining room,
already mounted upon the step-ladder, trying to arrange the branches
with more regard to the saving of time than to grace. But she made to
the picture-seeing girl a very attractive "bit."

Indeed, Cleena Keegan was a person of sufficient importance to warrant a
paragraph quite to herself. She was a woman of middle age, with a wealth
of curling, iron-gray hair, which she tucked away under a plain white
cap. Her figure was large and grandly developed. She wore a blue print
gown, carefully pinned back about her hips, thus disclosing her scarlet
flannel petticoat; both garments faded by time and frequent washings to
a most "artistic" hue. Upon her shoulders was folded a kerchief of
coarse white muslin, spotlessly clean; and as she stood, poised among
the glowing branches, with the dying sunset light touching her honest
face to unusual brightness, she was well worth Amy's eager wish:--

"Oh, Cleena! That father were only here to see and paint you just as you
are this minute!"

"Humph! It's meself's glad he isn't."

"Why! That's not nice of you, Goodsoul. Yet it's a great pity that a
body who is such a 'study' in herself can't fix those branches a bit
more gracefully. You're jamming the leaves all into a little mess and
showing the stems! Oh, Cleena, I wonder if I can't reach them."

"Truth, it's meself's willin' you should try. Belike I'd be handier at
the pullin' them down nor the puttin' them up."

With head erect she descended from the ladder, and stood, arms akimbo,
regarding the results of her labor. Even to her it suggested something
not "artistic," and at Fairacres anything inartistic was duly frowned

"Faith, it's not the way the master would do it, I see that, but--"

Before either she could finish her sentence or Amy mount the ladder,
Fayette had run to its top and stood there rapidly pulling from the wall
the branches Cleena had arranged. Thrusting all but one between his
knees, he fastened that over the window-frame so deftly and charmingly
that Amy clapped her hands in delight.

"Oh, that's lovely! Try another--and another!"

He obeyed. His vacant face flushed with a glow of enthusiasm equalling,
if not exceeding her own, and even Cleena spent some moments of her
rarely wasted time in watching him.

Her own face had again become a "study," yet of a sort to provoke a
smile, as her gaze roved from his handiwork, over the length of his
ungainly person, to rest upon his bare and not too cleanly feet; then
travelled slowly upward again, trying to settle once for all his
rightful position in the social scale. Her thought might have been thus

"His foot's heathen. His head's the same. His clothes--they're the
heathenest of all. I'd disdain 'em. But, arrah musha! The hand of him!
The master himself couldn't better them fixin's."

Then she hastened to her kitchen, and soon the appetizing odor of a
well-cooked meal was in their nostrils, and the two young decorators
realized that they were very hungry.

"There, that will do. It is perfect. Thank you ever and ever so much,


"Now I'll light the candles. I always do when the people are coming home
from town. They go there quite often; at least father does, though
mother hasn't been before in months. The candles are terrible
extravagance, Cleena says, but they're so pretty."

Fayette carried away the step-ladder, then returned to watch Amy as she
set the old-fashioned candelabra upon the already daintily spread table.
She had bordered the white cloth with some of the most dazzling-hued
leaves, and when the wax tapers threw their soft radiance over the whole
charming interior, poor Fayette felt his weak head grow dizzy and
confused by the beauty of it all.

He dimly realized that he was in a new world, which soothed and
appealed to his clouded nature as did the birds and the flowers. That
impulse, which he could neither express nor understand, which sent him
so constantly into the woods and solitudes, was gratified now. This was
as delightful as his favorite pastime of lying upon the grass and gazing
upward into the sunlit sky.

"Sho! It's pretty. I like it. I'm glad I come. I'll stay."

Amy had almost forgotten him.

"Yes, of course you'll stay till after supper. I'll--"

But a shadow fell across the threshold of the still open door, and
looking up she saw a stranger,--an old man of rather forbidding aspect,
whose glance passed swiftly from herself to the youth near the big

There followed an instant of mutual and frowning recognition between
these two; then Fayette disappeared through an inner doorway, while the
newcomer remained at the entrance, his hat in his hand, and an assumed
suavity in his manner.

Yet there was still a note of anger in the tone with which he

"I have called upon business with Cuthbert Kaye. Your father, I presume.
Is he at home?"

"Not yet. He went to the city, yesterday, with my mother and brother. I
expect them back on the next train. Will you come in?"

"Yes, thank you. I'll wait."

He accepted the great chair Amy rolled toward him, and let his gaze
slowly sweep the cheerful apartment. Yet he knew it by heart, already,
and his face brightened as he saw how little it had been changed since
these many years. Apparently not one of its quaint and rich old
furnishings was missing, and the passage of time had but added to the
remembered charm of the place. Even the chair into which he sank had a
familiar feel, as if his back had long ago fitted to those simple,
comfortable lines. The antique candelabra--how often had he watched his
grandmother's fingers polishing them to brilliancy.

But the girl was new. The only modern thing, save the freshly gathered
leaves,--which also seemed but a memory of his childhood,--to remind him
of the present and the errand upon which he had come.

"She's Kaye, though, to the bone. Dark, crisp hair. Those short curls
are like a boy's. Her eyes are the Kaye eyes; and that toss of her head,
like her great-grandmother come to life again. All our women had it. Ah,
well. If things--hmm."

The visitor became absorbed in his thoughts, and his wandering gaze came
home to rest, seemingly, upon the tips of his own boots, for he did not
notice when Amy disappeared and Cleena entered.

"Alanna! But this is a smart decent piece of work, now, isn't it?"

At this sudden and derisive remark the gentleman looked up.

"Oh, ho! You, is it?"

"Faith an' it is. An' likin' to know what brings you this gait."

"Keep a civil tongue in your head, woman. I'm not to be put off this
time by any false stories. Here I am, and here I shall stay until I see
your master."

Steadily and silently confronting one another for some seconds, they
measured each other's wills. The unwelcome guest was not sure but that
the woman would lift him bodily and fling him out of doors. She looked
ably strong and quite minded so to do; but, after a further reflection,
she appeared to change her mind as well as her tone.

"Hmm--yes. There's no irreverence meant. Come in by, to the library yon.
There's pictures to see, an' books a plenty. Leave the master be, like a
gentleman now, as you was born, till he eats his meal in peace. A body
can bear trouble better on a full stummick nor an empty. Come by."

To his own amazement, the caller rose and followed her. He told himself
he was a simpleton to have left the cheery supper room and the certain
presence of the man he wished to see for an hour of solitary waiting in
an unknown place.

"Library." There had been none in his grandmother's time. But he knew it
well--from the outside. A detached, strong little building, of hewn
stone like the mansion; one of Cuthbert Kaye's many "follies." Planned
with a studio on the second floor above the spacious book room on the
first. Well, it made the property so much the more valuable. Yes, after
all, he would better visit it while the coast was clear.

"Sure, sir, an' it's here the master do be spending all his time. Here
an' above. You was never in the paintin' study, now was you?" she asked


"Alanna! An' you two of the same blood!"

"Hmm--yes, of course I'll go, since I'm here."

So he followed her up the graceful staircase, with its softly covered
steps, and into a room which rumor said was worth travelling far to see;
and though thus prepared, its half-revealed beauty astonished him.

"Well, it is a fine apartment. It must have cost a power of money.
And--it explains many things."

"Money, says you? It did that," echoed Cleena, with a pious sigh.

"Yes, yes. I suppose so. It's rather dark, however, for me to see as I
would like. Isn't there a lamp here?"

"Lamp, is it? Askin' pardon for forgettin' me manners, but it's never a
lamp will the master have left in this place. If one comes, indeed, 'tis
himself brings it. Forby, on occasion like this, I'll fetch it an' take
all the blame for that same. It's below. I'll step down;" and she
departed hastily, leaving him alone.



As the stage from the railway station rolled up to Fairacres, Amy was
waiting upon the wide porch. She had put on her daintiest frock, white,
of course, since her father liked her to wear no other sort of dress;
and she had twisted sprays of scarlet woodbine through her dark hair and
about her shoulders. Before the vehicle stopped, she called out

"Oh! how glad I am you're here! It's been such a long two days! Are you
all well? Is everything right, mother dearest? Did you have a nice

The father reached her first, remarking, with a fond smile:--

"You make a sweet picture, daughter, with that open doorway behind you,
with the firelight and candlelight, and--Ah! did you speak, Salome?"
turning toward his wife.

"The man is waiting, Cuthbert. Has thee the money for him?"

Mr. Kaye fumbled in one pocket, tried another, frowned, and appeared

"Never mind, dear. Hallam can attend to it."

But the crippled lad had already swung himself over the steps upon his
crutches, and the artist remarked, with a fresh annoyance:--

"He must put it in the bill, Salome. Why always bother with such
trifles? If one could only get away from the thought and sound of money.
Its sordidness is the torment of one's life."

Mrs. Kaye sighed, as she paid the hackman from her own purse, then
followed her husband into the house.

His face had already lost all its expression of annoyance, and now
beamed with satisfaction as he regarded Amy's efforts to celebrate the

"Good child. Good little girl. Truly, very beautiful. Why, my darling,
you'll be an artist yourself some day, I believe."

"The saints forbid!" murmured a voice from the further side the room,
where Cleena had appeared, bearing a tray of dishes.

Nobody heard the ejaculation, however, save Hallam, and he didn't count,
being of one and the same opinion as the old serving-woman. All the
lad's ambitions lay toward a ceaseless activity, and the coloring of
canvases attracted him less than even the meanest kind of manual labor.

Nor did Amy share in her father's hope, though she loved art for his
sake, and she answered, with conviction:--

"Never such an one as you are, father dear."

But all this while the daughter's eyes had been studying her mother's
face, with the keen penetration of sympathy, and the whispered advice:--

"Be especially gentle with Hallam to-night, my child," but confirmed the
answer she had already found in that careworn countenance.

Yet Hallam showed no need of consolation as he sturdily stumped across
the room and exclaimed, cheerfully enough:--

"Fetch on the provender, Goodsoul. We're all as hungry as bears. What's
for us?"

"What should be? save the best rasher of bacon ever blessed eyesight,
with tea-biscuits galore. For second course--My! but that pullet was a
tender bird, so she was. An' them east-lot petaties would fain melt in
your mouth, they're so hot-foot to be ate."

"The pullet? Not the little brown one you have cared for yourself,

"What for no? Eat your victuals askin' no questions, for that's aye bad
for the appetite."

Both Amy and Cleena knew, without words, that this last city trip had
been a failure, like so many that had preceded it. Once more had the too
sanguine father dragged his crippled son to undergo a fresh examination
of his well-formed though useless limbs; and once more had an adverse
verdict been rendered.

This time the authority was of the highest. A European specialist, whose
name was known and reverenced upon two continents, had come to New York
and had been consulted. Interested more than common by the boy's fair
face and the sweet womanliness of the mother, the surgeon had given
extra attention to Hallam, and his decision had been as reluctantly
reached as it was final.

"Only a miracle will ever enable him to walk. Yet a miracle may occur,
for we live in an age of them, and nothing seems impossible to science.
However, in all mortal probability, he is as one dead below his knees.
My lad, take your medicine bravely and be a man in spite of it all. Use
your brain, thanking God for it, and let the rest go."

"That's an easy thing for you to say, but it is I who have to bear it!"
burst forth the unhappy boy, and was at once ashamed of his rude speech,
even if it in no wise offended the sympathetic physician.

The return journey had been a sad and silent one, though Hallam had
roused at its end with the sort of bravado that Amy had seen, and which
deceived her no more than it did any of the others; but she loyally
seconded his assumed cheerfulness, and after they had gathered about the
table, gave them a lively description of her afternoon's outing, ending

"For, mother dear, you hadn't said just where I might or might not ride,
and I'd never seen the carpet mills, though I now hope to go there
often; and, indeed, I think I would like to work in that busy place,
among all those bright, active girls."

Then her enthusiasm was promptly dashed by her father's exclamation:--

"Amy! Amy Kaye! Never again say such a thing! Let there be no more of
that mill talk, not a word."

Mr. Kaye's tone was more stern than his child had ever heard, and as if
he recognized this he continued, more gently:--

"But I am interested in that silly Bonaparte. I almost wish you had kept
him till I came."

Amy happened to glance at Cleena, who had warned her not to mention the
fact of the strange gentleman calling; nor had she known just when
Fayette went away, though she supposed he had done so after so suddenly
leaving the dining room.

"Why, Goodsoul, you are as beaming as if you had found a treasure."

"Faith, an' I have. Try a bit of the chicken, mistress, now do;" and she
waved the dish toward the lady, with a smile that was more than

"Well, Cleena, it's heartening to see anybody so bright. The work must
have gone finely to-day, and thee have had plenty of time for scrubbing.
No, thank thee; nothing more. Not even those delicious baked apples. The
best apples in the world grow on that old tree by the dairy door, I
believe," replied the mistress, with another half-suppressed sigh.

As she rose to leave the table, she turned toward her husband:--

"I hope thee'll soon be coming upstairs, Cuthbert."

It was noticeable that Cleena paused, tray in hand, to hear the answer,
which was out of common, for the old servant rarely presumed upon the
fact that she was also the confidential friend of her employers.

"Well, after a little, dear; but, first, I must go over to the studio."

"Arrah, musha, but, master! The painting's all right. What for no?
Indeed, then, it's the mistress herself needs more attention this minute
nor any picture ever was drawed."

"Why, Cleena!" exclaimed the lady, in surprise. Such an interference had
never been offered by the devoted creature to the head of the house.

"Asking pardon, I'm sure; though I know I know. I've lighted a fire in
the sittin' room above, an' it's sure for the comfort of both that yous
make yourselves easy the night."

"That's true, husband. Do leave the picture till morning. We're all
tired and needing the rest."

Always easily persuaded where physical comfort was at stake, the artist
acquiesced, and with his arm about his wife's slender waist he gently
led her from the room.

Cleena heard him murmuring tender apologies that he had not before
observed how utterly fatigued she looked; and a whimsical smile broke on
the Irishwoman's face as she cleared the table and assured the cups and
saucers, with a vigorous disdain, that:--

"Them two's no more nor a couple of childer still. But, alanna! Never a
doubt I doubt there'll be trouble with old Cleena when the cat leaps the
bag. Well, he's in it now, tied fast and tight."

Whereupon, there being nobody to see, the good woman executed a sort of
jig, and having thus relieved her feelings departed to the kitchen,

"It wasn't for naught Miss Amy fetched a simpleton home in her pocket.
Sure, I scared the life clean out of _him_, so I did, an' he'll stay
where he's settled till he's wanted, so long as I keep fillin' his
stummick with victuals like these. Will I carry a bit o' the fowl to the
lib'ry--will I no? Hmm. Will I--nill I?"

Having decided, Cleena passed swiftly from the house into the darkness
and in the direction of the distant library.

Meanwhile, up in the little chamber which had once been their nursery
and was still their own sitting room, Amy had drawn a lounge before the
grate, and, after his accustomed fashion, Hallam lay upon it, while his
sister curled upon the rug beside him.

But she did not look at him. She rested her chin in her palms and gazed
at the dancing flames, as she observed:--

"Even a king might envy us this fire of pine cones, mightn't he? Isn't
it sweet and woodsy? and so bright. I've gathered bushels and bushels of
them, while you were away, and we can have all the fun we want up here.
So now--can't you just begin and tell, Hal dear? Part of it I guess, but
start as you always do: 'I went from here--' and keep right on till you
get back again to me and--this."

She purposely made her tone light, but she was not surprised when her
answer was a smothered sob. Indeed, there was such a lump in her own
throat that she had to swallow twice before she could say:--

"No, darling, you needn't tell one word. I know it all--all--all; and I
can't bear it. I won't--I will not have it so!"

Then she turned and buried her face in the pillow beside her brother's,
crying so passionately that he had to become comforter himself; and his
thin fingers stroked her hair until she grew ashamed of her weakness and
looked up again, trying to smile.

"Forgive me, brotherkin. I'm such a baby, and I meant to be so brave! If
I could only take your lameness on myself, and give you my own strong,
active legs!"

"Don't, Amy! Besides, how often have you said that very same thing? Yet
it isn't any use. Nothing is of any use. Life isn't, I fancy."

Even the vehement Amy was shocked by this, and her tears stopped,

"Why, Hal!"

"Sounds wicked, doesn't it? Well, I feel wicked. I feel like, was it Job
or one of his friends? that it would be good to 'curse God and die.'
Dying would be so much easier than living."

The girl sprang up, clinching her brown hands, and staring at her
brother defiantly.

"Hallam Kaye, don't you talk like that! Don't you dare! Suppose God
heard you? Suppose He took you at your word and made you die just now,
this instant? What then?"

Hallam smiled, wanly, "I won't scare you by saying what then, girlie. If
He did, I suppose it would all be right. Everything is right--to the
folks who don't have to suffer the thing. Even the doctor--and I liked
him as much as I envied him--even he preached to me and bade me not to
mind, to 'forget.' Hmm, I wish _he_ could feel, just for one little
minute, the helplessness that I must feel always, eternally."

Hallam was dearer to his sister than any other human being, and the
despair in her idol's tone promptly banished her anger against his
irreverence. She went down on her knees and caught away the arm with
which he had hidden his face, kissing him again and again.

"Oh! there will be some way out of this misery, laddie. There must be.
It wouldn't be right, that anybody as clever and splendid as you should
be left a cripple for life. I won't believe it. I won't!"

"How like father you are!"

Amy's head tossed slightly, and a faint protest came into her eyes, but
was banished as soon because of its disloyalty.

"Am I? In what way? and why shouldn't I be?"

"You never know when you're down nor why you shouldn't have all that you

"Isn't it a good thing? Would it help to go moping and unbelieving?"

"I suppose not. Anyway, it makes things easier for you and him, and so,
maybe, for the rest of us."

The sister dropped back into her favorite attitude upon the rug and
regarded her brother curiously.

"Hal, you're as queer as can be, to-night. Seems as if there was
something the matter with you, beyond what that know-nothing doctor
said. Isn't there?"

"Don't call the poor man hard names, girlie. He was fine, and I was
impertinent enough for the whole family. Only, I reckon he was too high
up to feel anything we could say. But there _is_ something. Something I
must tell you, and I don't know how to begin. Promise that you won't get
into a tantrum, or run and disturb the little mother about it."

"Hallam Kaye! Do I ever?"

"Hmm! Sometimes. Don't you? Never mind. Sit closer, dear, and let me get
hold of your hand. Then you'll understand why I am so bitter; why this
disappointment about my lameness is so much worse than any that has gone
before. And I've been disappointed often enough, conscience knows."

Amy crept up and snuggled her dark head against Hallam's fair one,
remarking, with emphasis:--

"Now I'm all ready. I'll be as still as a mouse, and not interrupt you
once. What other dreadful trouble has come? Is it a grocery bill, or
Clafflin's for artists' stuff?"

"Something far worse than that."


"Did you ever think we might have--might have--oh, Amy! I can't tell you
'gently,' as mother bade--all it is--well, we've got to go away from
Fairacres. _Its not ours any longer._"

"Wh-a-at?" cried the girl, springing up, or striving to do so, though
Hallam's hold upon her fingers drew her down again.

"I don't wonder you're amazed. I was, too, at first. Now I simply wonder
how we have kept the place so long."

"Why isn't it ours? Whose is it?"

"It belongs to a cousin of mother's, Archibald Wingate. Did you ever
hear of him?"

"Never. How can it?"

"I hardly understand myself, though mother's lawyer tried to explain.
It's something about indorsing notes and mortgages and things. Big boy
as I am, I know no more about business than--you do."

"Thanks, truly. But I do know. I attended to the marketing yesterday
when the wagon came. Cleena said that I did very well."

"Glad of it. You'll have a chance to exercise your talents in that

"But, Hal, mother will never let anybody take away our home. How could
she? What would father do without his studio that he had built expressly
after his own plan? or we without all this?" sweeping her arm about to
indicate the cosiness of their own room.

"Mother can't help herself, dear. She was rich once, but she's
desperately poor now."

"I knew there was trouble about money, of course. There never seems to
be quite enough, but that's been so since I can remember. Why shouldn't
we go on just as we have? What does this cousin of our mother's want of
the place, anyway?"

"I don't know. I don't know him. I hate him unseen."

"So do I. Still, if he's a cousin, he should be fond of mother, and not

"Amy, we're all a set of simpletons, I guess, as a family, and in
relation to practical matters."

"'Speak for yourself, John.'"

"That isn't all. There's something--something wrong with father."

"Hallam Kaye! Now I do believe you're out of your head. I was afraid you
were, you've talked and acted so queerly. I'm going for Cleena. Is your
face hot? Do you ache more than usual?"

"Don't be silly. I'm as right as I ever shall be. Listen. I found it
all out in the city. Father had gone to some exhibition, and mother and
I were waiting for the time to go to the doctor. A gentleman called, and
I never saw anybody look so frightened and ill as mother did when she
received him, though I knew it wasn't about me. She hadn't hoped for
anything better in that line. She called the man 'Friend Howard Corson,'
and he was very courteous to her; but all of a sudden she cried out:--

"'Don't tell me that the end has come! I can't bear both sorrows in one
day!' And then she looked across at me. I smiled as bravely as I could,
and, Amy, I believe our mother is the very most beautiful woman in this

"Why, of course; and father's the handsomest man."

"Certainly," agreed the lad, with rather more haste than conviction.

"Well, what next?"

Before the answer could be given, there burst upon their ears an
uproarious clamor of angry voices, such as neither had ever heard at
Fairacres; and Amy sprang up in wild alarm, while Hallam groped blindly
for the crutches he had tossed aside.



"It's from the library!" reported Amy, who had first reached and opened
the window. "I can't make out anything except--yes, it is! That's
Fayette's voice. Hear that croak?"

"The foolish boy? Here yet?"

"So it seems. I'll go and find out."

"Wait. That's Cleena talking now, and another voice, a man's. What can
it all mean?"

Amy ran down the stairs and out of the house so swiftly that she did not
observe her father following with almost equal haste. Behind him sped
Mrs. Kaye, far more anxious concerning her husband than the noise

"Slowly, Cuthbert. Please do take care. Thee must not hurry so, and I
hear Cleena. She'll look out for everything. For my sake, don't run."

Hallam upon his crutches came last of all, and for a moment the entire
family stood in silent wonder at the scene before them.

Two men were wrestling like angry schoolboys; and the light from a
lantern in Cleena's hand fell over them and showed the distorted face
of "Bony" in one of his wildest rages. His contestant was gray haired
and stout, and was evidently getting the worst of the struggle. The
library door was open, and it seemed as if the half-wit were trying to
force the other backward into the building.

One glance revealed something of the situation to Mrs. Kaye, and, as the
wrestlers paused for breath, she moved forward and laid her hand upon
the old man's arm.

"Archibald, what does this mean?"

The low voice acted like magic. Fayette slunk away, ashamed, and the
other paused to recover himself. But his anger soon returned and was now
directed against the astonished woman herself.

"Mean! mean? That's for you to say. Since when has a Kaye stooped to the
pettiness of locking up an unwelcome visitor like a rat in a trap? A
pretty greeting and meeting, Cuthbert, after all these years!" he cried,
turning next toward the artist, with indignant contempt.

But the object of his wrath scarcely heard what he said. His own eyes
were fixed upon the ruined panel of his beautiful library door, and he
caught up the lantern and peered anxiously to learn the extent of the

The wife again answered, as if speaking for both:--

"Archibald, no. Whatever indignity thee has suffered, none of thy kin
know anything about it or could be parties to it. Thy own heart must
tell thee that; and now explain what it all means."

At the old familiar speech, the man's expression altered, and when he
replied it was in a far gentler tone.

"I came to see Cuthbert; for the thousandth time, isn't it? Failing him
again, though I didn't mean to fail, I had to talk with--thee," his
voice tripping slightly over the pronoun, "and that virago brought me
here to wait. Then she locked me up and set this idiot to watch. There
are no windows to get out of from above, nothing but that skylight, so I
finally forced the door at the foot of the stairs, and then again this.
Here was that ruffian, armed with a cudgel, and--the rest thee knows."

"I am very sorry, cousin. I can but apologize for what I would never
have permitted had I known," and the mistress's gaze rested upon Cleena
most reproachfully.

Yet that bold-spirited creature was in no wise disturbed, and replied,
with great enjoyment:--

"Sure, mistress, I did but do what I'd do again, come same chance. What
for no? If it wasn't for him, yon, there'd be peace an' plenty at
Fairacres the now. Faith, I harmed him none."


"Askin' pardon if I overstepped me aut'ority, mistress. Come, Gineral
Bonyparty, I'm surmisin' you an' me better be fixin' things up whiles
the family goes home to their beds."

Just then Mr. Kaye's silent examination of the injury done his beloved
studio came to an end. He set down the lighted lantern with the ultra
caution of one who dreads fire above all accidents, and turned toward
his wife. However, he took but few steps forward before he paused,
staggered, and would have fallen had not the ill-treated visitor sprung
to his aid,--to be himself pushed aside, while Cleena caught up her
master and strode off toward the house, as if she were but carrying an
overgrown child in her strong arms. Indeed, the artist's weight was
painfully light, nor was this the first time that Cleena's strength had
thus served his need; though this fact not even Hallam nor Amy knew.

The wife hurried after her fainting husband, and Amy started also; then
reflected that it was she who had brought Fayette to the house, and was,
in a measure, responsible for what had since happened there.

But the lad gave her time for neither reproof nor question, as he
eagerly exclaimed:--

"'Twa'n't none o' my doin's. She made me. She told me to set here an'
keep Mr. Wingate in, an' if he broke out I wasn't to let him. I don't
know what for. I didn't ask questions. 'Twa'n't none o' my business,
anyway. So I was just trying to jab him back. She fed me first rate.
Say, is that your brother?"

"Yes. Oh, Hal! what shall we do?"

"You run to the house and see if mother wants anybody to go for the
doctor, while I try to help this boy stop up the doorway. It's going to
rain, and it would break father's heart if anything here were harmed."

A curious smile crossed the stranger's face, but he advanced to lend his
aid to the lad, Fayette, and succeeded in getting the parts of the door
so far into place that they would prevent any damage by rain, except in
case of severe storm. The broken lock was, of course, useless, and as
the mill lad saw the cripple fingering it, he remarked:--

"You needn't be scared. I'll stay an' watch. I won't march to-night. Oh,
I can do it all right. I often stay with the watchmen round the mill,
an' I've got a good muscle, if anybody wants to tackle it," with which
he glared invitingly toward the late prisoner.

A protesting groan was the only reply; and the lad received this with a
snort of disdain.

"Druther let old scores rest, had ye? All right. Suits me well enough
now, but I ain't forgot the lickin's you've given me, an' I ain't goin'
to forget, neither."

Fayette's look was again so vindictive that Hallam interposed, fearing
another battle between these uninvited guests.

"Well, I wish you _would_ watch here for a while. As soon as Cleena can
be spared, she shall bring you a blanket. And anyway, if you'll keep
everything safe, I'll try to find something to pay you for your

"Hmm, I'd take your donkey an' give back considerable to boot."

"My donkey? Balaam? Well, I guess not."

"I could do it. I could, first rate. I've got money. It's in the savings
bank. 'Supe' put it in for me."

"I couldn't think of it, not for a second. Mr. Wingate--is it?"

"Archibald Wingate, and your kinsman, young sir."

"So I heard my mother say. She would wish you to come to the house with
me, and we'll try to make you comfortable. I must go--I am wild to know
what is wrong with my father."

"We will, at once," answered the other, coldly. "Your father was always
weak--was never very rugged, and he hasn't lived in a way to make
himself more robust. A man's place is in the open; not penned like a
woman behind closed doors and windows."

"Beg pardon, but you are speaking of my father."

"Exactly, and of my cousin. Oh, I've known him since we sat together
under our grandmother's table, munching gingerbread cakes. Ah, she was a
famous cook, else the flavor of a bit of dough wouldn't last that long."

"I've heard of my great-grandmother's talent for cookery. Father and
mother often speak of it, and some of her old recipes are in use in our
kitchen to-day."

Mr. Wingate had kept an even pace with Hallam's eager swings upon his
crutches, and they were speedily at the old house door, with a kindly
feeling toward one another springing into life within the heart of each;
though but a little while before Hallam had exclaimed to Amy, in all
sincerity, "I hate him unseen."

With the ready trustfulness of youth, Hallam began to think his mother's
and the lawyer's words had not meant literally what they expressed.

On Mr. Wingate's side, the sight of Hallam's physical infirmity had
roused regret at the action he must take. Up till this meeting he had
lived with but one object in view--the possession of Fairacres; nor did
he now waver in his determination. There had simply entered into the
matter a sentiment of compassion which was a surprise to himself, and
which he banished as completely as he could.

Amy met them at the door with the gratifying report:--

"Father is about all right again. It was a sudden faint. Cleena says
that he has had them before, but that mother had not wished us told.
There is no need of a doctor, and Cleena is to get the west chamber
ready for Mr. Wingate to sleep in. I'm to freshen the fire and--here is
mother herself."

The house mistress came toward them, vial and glass in hand, on her way
back to the sick-room. The hall was dimly lighted, and as she turned at
the stair's foot and passed upward, with that soft gliding motion
peculiar to herself, she seemed to the entering guest like a sad-faced
ghost of a girl he had known. Halfway up she paused upon the landing and
smiled down upon them; and the serenity of that smile made the hard
facts of the case--illness, poverty, and home-breaking--seem even more
unreal than anything else could have done.

Amy looked into Mr. Wingate's eyes, which were fixed upon their mother.
"Isn't she like the Madonna? Father has so often painted her as such."

"Yes--hmm. He ought to. A Madonna of Way and Means. Say, little girl,
you are bright enough, but you act a good deal younger than your years.
How happens it you've never learned to look after your father yourself,
and so spare your mother? Can you do anything useful?"

"That depends. I can arrange father's palette, and crack his eggs just
right, and buy things--when there's money," she finished naïvely.

"It all seems 'father.' What about your mother? What can you do, or have
you done, to help _her_, eh?"

Amy flushed. She thought this sort of cross-questioning very rude and
uncalled for. As soon as she had heard this man's name she had realized
that it must be he of whom Hallam had spoken, and whom she, also, had
decided she "hated unseen." But, in truth, hatred was a feeling of which
the carefully sheltered girl knew absolutely nothing, though it came
very near entering her heart at that instant when the shrewd,
penetrating gaze of her kinsman forced her to answer his question.

"Why--nothing, I'm afraid. Only to love her."

"Hmm. Well, you'll have to add a bit of practical aid to the loving, I
guess, if you want to keep her with you. She looks as if the wind might
blow her away if she got caught out in it. Now, good night. You and your
brother can go. I'll sit here till that saucy Irishwoman gets my room
ready. Take care! If you don't mind where you're going, you'll drop
sperm on the rug, tipping that candlestick so!"


Hallam had been standing, leaning against the newel post, with his own
too ready temper flaming within him. But there was one tenet in the Kaye
household which had been held to rigidly by all its members: the guest
within the house was sacred from any discourteous word or deed. Else the
boy felt he should have given his new-found relative what Cleena called
"a good pie-shaped piece of his mind."

He had to wait a moment before he could say "good night" in a decent
tone of voice, then swung up the staircase in the direction of his
mother's room.

Amy was too much astonished to say even thus much. She righted the
candlestick, amazed at the interest in rugs which Mr. Wingate displayed,
and followed her brother very slowly, like one entering a dark passage
wherein she might go astray.

She stopped where Hallam had, before their mother's door, which was so
rarely closed against them. Even now, as she heard her children
whispering behind the panel, Mrs. Kaye came out and gave them each their
accustomed caress; then bade them get straight to bed, for she would be
having a long talk with them in the morning, and she wanted them to be
"as bright as daisies," to understand it.

"Mother, that man! He--he's so dreadful! He scolded me about the
candlestick, and--and you--and he made me feel like a great baby."

"I wish he might have waited; but, no matter. Good night."

It was a very confused and troubled Amy who crept into bed a little
while afterward, and she meant to lie awake and think everything out
straight, but she was too sound and healthy to give up slumber for any
such purpose, and in a few minutes she was asleep.



On the following morning the guest was the first person astir at
Fairacres, not even excepting Cleena, who rose with the birds; and when
she opened her kitchen door, the sight of him pacing the grass-grown
driveway did not tend to put her in good humor.

But there was little danger of her breaking bounds again, in the matter
of behavior. A short talk had passed between her mistress and herself,
before they bade each other good night, that had not left the too
devoted servant very proud of her overzeal; and she now turned to her
stove to rattle off her indignation among its lids and grates. But she
kept "speakin' with herself," after her odd fashion, and her tone was
neither humble nor flattering.

"Arrah musha! The impidence of him! Hasn't he decency to wait till all's
over 'fore he struts about that gait? But, faith, an' I'll show him one
thing: that's as good a breakfast as ever he got in the old lady's time,
as one hears so much tell of."

Whereupon, with this praiseworthy ambition, a calm fell upon poor
Cleena's troubled spirit, and when, a couple of hours later, the family
assembled in the dining room, everybody was astonished at the feast
prepared; while all but the stranger knew that a week's rations had been
mortgaged to furnish that one meal. However, nobody made any comment,
though Mr. Wingate found in this show of luxury another explanation of
the Kayes' financial straits.

"Cuthbert will not be down this morning, Archibald. I hope thee rested
well. Hallam, will thee take thy father's place?"

Mrs. Kaye's manner, as she greeted her kinsman, betrayed little of what
must have been her real feeling toward him, nor had her children ever
seen her more composed and gentle, though Hallam noticed that she was
paler than ever, and that her eyes were dull, as if she had not slept.

"It's going to be a miserable day outside," remarked the guest, a little

"Inside, too, I fancy," answered Amy. "I hate undecided things. I like
either a cheerful downpour or else sunshine. I think wobbly weather is
as bad as wobbly folks--trying to a body's temper."

Mr. Wingate laughed, though rather harshly. Amy was already his favorite
in that household, and he reflected that under different circumstances
than those which brought him to Fairacres, he would have found her very

"The weather should not be allowed to affect one's spirits," said Mrs.

"No, mother; I suppose not. Yet, it was so pretty here, last night; and
now the leaves over the windows are all shrivelled up, while this border
on the tablecloth is as crooked as can be. It all has such an afterward
sort of look. Ah, it _is_ raining, good and fast."

Mrs. Kaye excused herself and went to look out toward the library. The
wind was howling in that direction, and she exclaimed, anxiously:--

"Cleena, go at once and see if it is doing any harm out there! That
broken door and window--put something against them, if it is."

"I don't think there's any danger of harm. I've sent for a carpenter
more than an hour ago," observed Mr. Wingate.


For a moment there was a flash in the matron's eyes, but she did not
remark further, though Hallam took up her cause with the words:--

"I suppose you meant it for kindness, but my father does not allow any
one to interfere with that place. Even if it rained in, I think he would
rather give his own orders."

"Probably," answered the guest, dryly, while Cleena deposited a dish of
steaming waffles upon the table with such vigor as to set them all

"Sure, mistress, you'll be takin' a few of these, why not. I never
turned me finer, an' that honey's the last of the lot, three times
strained, too, an' you please."

"Waffles, Cleena? Did thee take some up to the master? I am sure he
would enjoy them."

"Indeed, I did that. Would I forget? So eat, to please Cleena, and to be
strong for what comes."

Even Mrs. Kaye's indifference was not proof against the tempting
delicacy, and doubtless the food did give her strength the better to go
through a trying interview. For immediately breakfast was over, she
rose, and, inviting the visitor into the old parlor, bade her children
join them.

"What our cousin Archibald has to say concerns us all. I leave it to him
to tell the whole story," and she sat down with Amy snuggled beside her,
while Hallam stood upon his crutches at her back.

Somehow, Mr. Wingate found it a little difficult to begin, and after
several attempts he put the plain question abruptly:--

"When can you leave, Salome?"

She caught her breath, and Amy felt the arm about her waist grow rigid,
but she answered by another question:--

"Must thee really turn us out, Archibald?"

The plain, affectionate "thee" touched him, yet for that reason he
settled himself all the more firmly in his decision.

"What has to be done would better be done at once. It is a long time,
Salome, since I have had any recompense for the use of this--my

"Your property?" cried Hallam.

"Yes, mine. Mine it should have been by lawful inheritance, save for a
rank injustice and favoritism. Mine it is now, by right of actual
purchase, the purchase of my own! Your mother seems to desire that you
should at last learn the whole truth, and I assure you that I have
advanced more than twice the money required to buy this place, even at
an inflated market value. So, lad, don't get angry or indignant. I make
no statements that I cannot prove, nor can your parents deny that I
notified them to vacate these premises more than two years ago."

"Mother, is that so?"

"Yes, Hallam."

"Why didn't we go, then?"

"Our cousin had a heart and did not force us."

"Why do you now, sir?"

"Because I'm tired of waiting. The case grows worse each day. I'm sick
of throwing good money after bad, while, all the time, such folly as is
yonder goes on," pointing toward the distant studio. "One man is as good
to labor as another. Cuthbert Kaye has had money all his life; _my_
money, of which I was defrauded--"

"Archibald! Beg pardon, but that is not so."

"But it is so, Salome. If you have been hoodwinked and believed false
tales, it is time these youngsters learned the facts. They are Kayes,
like you and me. It is honest blood, mostly, that runs in all our veins.
Well then, the life they are living is not an honest life. No man has a
right to more than he can pay for. Can Cuthbert--"

"Archibald, thee shall leave him out of the question!" cried the wife,
roused from her firm self-control. There was something so appealing in
her tone that her children watched her in alarm.

"Very well. So be it. Since he is not man enough to stand by you in the
trouble he has brought upon you--"

"If thee continues, we will leave the room."

"Why haven't I been able ever to meet him then? Why has he always thrust
you between himself and me? If he thought because you were a woman I
would forever put off the day of judgment, he has for once reckoned
without his host. I tell you the end has come."

Mrs. Kaye sank back in her chair, trembling; but still her lips were
closed until the angry guest had finished his speech and had walked off
some of his excitement in a hasty pacing of the long room. At length he
paused before her and said, more quietly:--

"There is no need of our having recourse to legal force. You should
leave without being put out. That is why I came, to arrange it all to
your satisfaction. You are a good woman, Salome, as good as any of your
race before you, and just as big a simpleton when your affections are
touched. A little more firmness on your part, a little less devotee sort
of worship of a--"

"Archibald, remember thee is speaking of what does not concern thee.
There is no need for rudeness, nor, indeed, 'legal' violence. Had I
understood, two years ago, that thee needed--needed--this old home for
thyself, I would have left it then. It has, of course, been to our
advantage to occupy it, but it has also been to thine. An empty house
goes swift to ruin. Everything here has been well cared for, as things
held in trust should be. We will leave here as soon as I can find a
house somewhere to shelter us."

Mrs. Kaye rose, as if to terminate the interview; but Mr. Wingate
cleared his throat and lifted his hand as if he had something further to

"I suppose you have thought about this many times, Salome. What are your

"They are not definite. House-hunting is the first, I suppose, since we
cannot do without a roof to cover us."

"How--I can't forget that we are kinsfolk, Salome--how do you propose to
live? I am a plain business man, as practical as--I mean, use common
sense. There are few houses to rent in this out-of-the-way town, where
everybody, except the mill folks, owns his own home,--and even some of
them do. I've come into possession of a house which might suit
you--'Hardscrabble.' I'll let you have it cheap."

"'Hardscrabble'! The 'Spite House'?"


"Oh, Archibald!"

"Exactly. I knew how it would strike you. We both know the story of the
place, but our grandfather's enemy took good care to make his tenement
comfortable inside, even if it was ugly as sin outside."

For a while Mrs. Kaye remained silent, debating with herself. Very soon
she was able to look up and smile gratefully.

"Thee knows as well as I what a stab thee has given my pride, Archibald;
but there is that saving 'common sense' in the offer, and love is
stronger than pride. Tell me what rent thee will ask, and I will take
the place if I can."

"Ten dollars a month."

The prompt, strictly business-like answer fairly startled its hearer.
Then she smiled again.

"I have never lived anywhere save at Fairacres, thee knows. I must trust
thee in the matter. I have no definite ideas about the values of houses,
but I think I can pay that. I must. There is nowhere else to go. Yes, I
will take it."

"It's dirt cheap, Salome. You will never think kindly of me, of course,
but I'm dealing squarely, even generously by you. If 'thee'd,'" for the
second time he dropped into the speech of his childhood, which his
cousin Salome had always retained, and she was quick to observe this,
"if thee had trusted me years ago, things might have gone better with us
both. When will thee move?"


"To-day? There's no need for quite such haste."

"Thee said 'the sooner the better,' and I agree. Get the lease ready as
soon as possible, and I will sign it. I've only one thing to ask about
that: please don't have the name put as either 'Hardscrabble' or 'Spite
House.' I'd like it called 'Charity House.'"

"Upon my word, Salome, you're the queerest mixture of business and
sentiment that I ever met. You're as fanciful as a girl, still. But the
name doesn't matter. Call the place 'Faith' and 'Hope' as well as
'Charity,' if you wish, after you get there; but I won't alter the lease
which I brought along with me last night."

"Brought already, Archibald? Thee expected me to go to that place,

"Under the circumstances, Salome, and, as you've just admitted, I didn't
see what else you could do. I've sent 'Bony' into the village for my
lawyer, because I want you should have things all straight. He'll
witness our signatures to the lease, and if you'll pick out such
furniture as you most especially care to have, I'll try to spare it,
though the mortgage covers all."

But the speaker's glance moved so reluctantly and covetously over the
antique plenishing that Mrs. Kaye promptly relieved his anxiety.

"It would be a pity to disturb these old, beloved things in their
appropriate places--"

"You're right," interrupted the gentleman. "I've a better notion than
that. I'll leave whatever is in 'Spite House' for your use, and not
break up Fairacres at all."

"Is it still furnished, then?"

"Yes, according to old Ingraham's ideas--for hard use and no nonsense.
He had a big family and nothing much but his temper to keep it on.
However, if there's anything actually needed, I suppose I could advance
a trifle more. It would be for your sake, only, Salome."

"Thank thee, but I hope not to run further into thy debt, Archibald,
save in case of direst need. And do not think but that I fully
understand and appreciate all the kindness which has permitted us to
stay at Fairacres so long. In some things, as thee will one day
discover, thee has mistaken and misjudged us; but in one thing I have
understood and sympathized with thee, always, and with all my heart: the
passionate love which a Kaye must feel for his home and all this."

There was pathos and dignity in the quiet gesture which Salome Kaye
swept over the apartment that had been her own for all her life; but
there was also courage and determination in her bearing as she walked
out of it, leaning lightly upon Amy's shoulder, and with Hallam limping
beside her. Somehow, too, Archibald Wingate did not feel quite as
jubilant and successful as he had anticipated, and he welcomed, as an
agreeable diversion, the approach of a buggy, conveying his friend,
Lawyer Smith, to witness the lease and to give any needful advice in the

"Hello, Smith. Quite a rainy day, isn't it? I've been studying that row
of old pines and spruces. How do you think the avenue'd look if I was to
have 'em trimmed up, say about as high as your head, from the ground?
Give a better view of the old Ardsley Valley, wouldn't it?"

The lawyer stepped down from his vehicle, backward and cautiously, then
turned, screwed up his eyes, and replied deliberately:--

"Well, it might; and then again it mightn't. It's taken a good many
years for those branches to grow, and once they're off they can't be put
back again. If I was in your place, I'd rather let things slide easy for
a spell; then--go as you please. Have you come to a settlement? Will
they quit without lawing?"

"Yes, they'll quit at once. Say, woman! You, Cleena, bring me a hatchet,
will you? I'll just lop off a little limb on one side, and see the
effect. Hurry up!"

"Faith, I'll fetch it!" responded Cleena, loudly. But when she did so,
she advanced with such a menacing gesture upon the new proprietor of her
old home that he shrank back, doubtful of her intent. "Ain't it enough
to break hearts, without breakin' the helpless trees your own forebears
planted long by?--Aha, my fine gineral, so you're bad penny back again?
Well, then, you're the handle o' time. By the way you tacked up them
boughs, you'll be clever at packin'. Come by. I'll give ye a job."

Thus, partly to Lawyer Smith's caution and partly to Cleena's
indignation, the fine evergreens of Fairacres owed the fact that they,
for the time being, escaped mutilation.



By nightfall it was all over; and Cleena, Hallam, and Amy, with their
self-constituted bodyguard, Fayette, were gathered about a big table in
the kitchen of the "Spite House," to eat a supper of bread and milk, and
to discuss the events of that memorable day. Strangely enough, as Amy
thought, none of them realized anything clearly except the facts of
fatigue and hunger.

"Arrah musha! but the face of that lawyer body, when I tells him I was
takin' the loan of his bit buggy wagon for the master an' mistress to
ride to Burnside the morn, an' how as old Adam would sure send it back
by a farm-hand, which he did that same. An' them two goin' off so quiet,
even smilin', as if--But there, there! Have some more milk, Master Hal.
It's like cream itself, so 'tis; an' that neighbor woman in the cottage
yon is that friendly she'd be givin' me three pints to the quart if I'd
leave her be."

"Well, dear old Adam will be glad to see them on any terms, he is so
fond of father and mother. But knowing they're in such trouble, he'll
have the best of everything for them to-night."

"Yes, Adam Burns is as likely as any man creature can be, which I've
never been bothered with meself, me guardian angel be praised."

"Well, Cleena, I've seen you work hard before, but you did as much as
ten Cleenas in one to-day."

The good woman sighed, then laughed outright. "It's been a hard row for
that wicked body to hoe."

"Who, Cleena?"

"That sweet, decent kinsman o' your own. Was many an odd bit o' stuff
went into the van 't he never meant should go there. The face of him
when I went trampin' up the libr'y stairs, an' caught him watchin'
Master Hallam packing the paint trash that he'd allowed the master might
have. 'Take anything you want here, my boy,' says he. So, seein' Master
Hal was working dainty an' slow, I just sweeps me arm over the whole
business; an' I'm thinkin' there'll be 'tubes' a plenty for all the
pictures master'll ever paint. In a fine heap, though, an' that must be
your job, Master Hal, come to-morrow, to put them all tidy, as 'tis
himself likes."

"I'll be glad to do it, Cleena; but in which of these old rooms am I to

Cleena had taken a rapid survey of the dusty, musty bedchambers, and her
cleanly soul revolted against her "childer" using any of them in their
present condition. So for Amy she had put Mrs. Kaye's own mattress on
the floor of what might be a parlor, and spread it with clean sheets;
for Hallam there was in another place his father's easy lounge; and for
herself and Fayette, who insisted upon staying for the night, there were
"shakedowns" of old, warm "comforts."

"And it's time we were all off to Noddle's Island. It's up in the
mornin' early we must be. So scatter yourselves, all of ye, an' to sleep
right away. Not forgettin' your prayers, as good Christians shouldn't."

"Of course not," answered Amy, drowsily; but Fayette looked as if he did
not understand.

"Sure, _you'll_ have to be taught then, my fine sir, an' I'll tackle
that job with the rest of to-morrow's."

But when daylight broke and roused the active Cleena to begin her
formidable task of scrubbing away the accumulated dirt of years there
was no Fayette to be found. Dreamily, she recalled the sound of musical
instruments, the shouts of voices, and the squealing of the rats that
had hitherto been the tenants of "Spite House"; but which of these, if
any, was answerable for the lad's absence, she could not guess.

"Well, I was mindin' to keep him busy, had he stayed; but since he's
gone, there's one mouth less to feed."

It did not take the observant woman long to discover that the outlook
for the comfort of "her folks" was even less by daylight than it had
seemed the night before. Her heart sank, though she lost no time in
useless regrets, and she did most cordially thank that "guardian angel"
to whom she so constantly referred for having prevented her spending the
last twenty-five dollars she possessed. This would long ago have wasted
away had it not been placed in the care of that true friend of the
family, Adam Burns, with whom her master and mistress had now taken

"Alanna, that's luck! I was for usin' it long syne, but the old man
wouldn't leave me do it. 'No, Cleena, thee's not so young as thee was,
an' thee might be wantin' it for doctor's stuff,' says he. Twenty-five
dollars! That'd pay the rent an' buy flour an' tea, an' what not;" and
with cheerful visions of the unlimited power of her small capital, the
old servant stooped to fill her apron with the stray chips and branches
the bare place afforded.

At that moment there fell upon her ears the familiar sound of Pepita and
Balaam braying in concert for their breakfast.

"Now what's to feed _them_ is more nor I know; yet never a doubt I doubt
it would clean break the colleen's heart must she part with her neat
little beast."

The braying roused Hallam and Amy, also, from a night of dreamless
sleep; and as they passed out from the musty house into the crisp air of
a frosty morning, they felt more cheerful than they considered was quite
the proper thing, under the circumstances. Then Amy looked at her
brother and laughed.

"Isn't it splendid after the rain? and isn't it funny to be here?
Yesterday it seemed as if the world had come to an end, and now it seems
as if it had just been made new."

"'Every morn is a fresh beginning,'" quoted Hallam, who loved books
better than his sister did.

"Let's go down to the gate, or place where a gate should be, and take a
good look at our--home."

"All right. Though we've seen it at a distance, I suppose it will appear
differently to us at near hand."

"And uglier. Oh, but it's horrid! _horrid!_" and with a sudden revulsion
of feeling Amy buried her face in her hands and began to cry. "I hate
it. I won't stay here. I will not. I'd rather go home and live in the
old stable than here."

"That wouldn't have been a bad idea, only we shouldn't have been

"Who could have hindered that? Who'd want an empty stable?"

"Our cousin Archibald!" answered Hallam, with scornful emphasis. "I
believe he feels as if he had a mortgage on our very souls. Indeed, he
said I might sometime be able to earn enough to buy the place back, as
well as pay all other debts. He said he couldn't live forever, and it
was but fair he should have a few years' possession of 'his own.'
He--Well, there's no use talking. I wish--I wish I were--"

"No, no! you don't! No, you don't either, Hallam Kaye! I know what you
began to say, and you shall not finish. You shall not die. You shall get
well and strong and do all those things he said. I'm ashamed of myself
that I cried. I felt last night as if my old life were all a beautiful
dream, and that I had just waked up into a real world where I had to do
things for myself and for others; not have others do for me any longer."

"That was about the state of the case, I fancy."

"Well, that isn't so bad. It shouldn't be, that is; for I have such
health and strength and everything. Nothing matters so much as long as
we are all together."

"Nobody knows how long we shall be. I don't like these 'attacks' of
father's, Amy. I'm afraid of them. It will kill him to live here."

It needed but the possibility of giving comfort to somebody to arouse
all Amy's natural hopefulness, and she commanded with a shake of her

"Hallam Kaye, you stop it! I won't have it! If you keep it up, I shall
have to--to cuff you."

"Try it!" cried the brother, already laughing at her fierce show of
spirit; yet to tempt her audacity he thrust his fingers through her
short curls and wagged her head playfully.

She did not resent it; she could resent nothing Hallam ever did save
that morbid talk of his. She had been fighting with this spirit ever
since she could remember, and their brief "tussle" over, she crept
closer to him along the old stone wall and begged:--

"Cleena has tied the burros out to graze in the weeds, and that will be
their breakfast, and while we're waiting for ours, I wish you'd tell me
all you know about 'Spite House.' I've heard it, of course, but it's all
mixed up in my mind, and I don't see just where that cousin Archibald
comes in."

"Oh, he comes in easily enough. He's a descendant of old Jacob Ingraham
as well as of the house of Kaye. I believe it was in this way: our
great-grandfather Thomas Kaye and Jacob were brothers-in-law, and there
was some trouble about money matters."

"Seems to me all the mean, hateful troubles _are_ about money. I don't
see why it was ever made."

"Well, they had such trouble anyway. Great-grandfather had just built
Fairacres, and had spent a great deal to beautify the grounds. He was a
pretty rich man, I fancy, and loved to live in a great whirl of society
and entertain lots of people and all that. He was especially fond of the
view from the front of the house and had cut away some of the trees for
'vistas' and 'outlooks' and 'views.' There were no mills on the Ardsley
then. They came in our own grandfather's time. It was just a beautiful,
shimmering river--"

"Hal, you're a poet!"

"Never," said the boy, with a blush.

"But you are. You tell things so I can just see them. I can see that
shimmering river this instant, in my mind, with my eyes shut. I can see
boats full of people sailing on it, and hear music and laughter and
everything lovely."

"Who's the poet now?"

"I'm not. But go on."

"It seems that old Mr. Ingraham thought he had been cheated by

"Likely enough he had. Else I don't see where he got all that money to
do things."

"But, missy, he was _our_ relative. He was a _Kaye_."

"There might be good Kayes and bad Kayes, mightn't there?"

"Amy, you're too honest for comfort. You may think a spade's a spade,
but you needn't always mention it."

"Go on with the story. In a few minutes Cleena will call us to our
'frugal repast,' like the poor children in stories, and I want to hear
all about this 'ruined castle' I've come to live in, I mean 'dwell,' for
story-book girls--'maidens'--never do anything so commonplace as just
'live.' Hally, boy, there's a lot of humbug in this world."

"How did you find that out, Miss Experience?"

"I didn't trouble to find it, I just read it. I thought it sounded sort
of nice and old, so I said it."

"Humph! Well, do you want to hear, or will you keep interrupting?"

"I do want to hear, and I probably shall interrupt. I am not blind to
my own besetting sins."

"Listen. Just as great-grandfather had everything fixed to his taste and
was enjoying life to the utmost, old Jacob came here to this knoll that
faces Fairacres--Oh, you needn't turn around to see. The trees have
grown again, and the view is hidden. On this knoll, if there was
anything tall, it would spoil the Fairacres' view. So Jacob built this
'Spite House.' He made it as ugly as he could, and he did everything
outrageous to make great-grandfather disgusted. He named this rocky
barren 'Bareacre,' and that little gully yonder he called 'Glenpolly,'
because his enemy had named the beautiful ravine we know as 'Glenellen.'
Polly and Ellen were the wives' names, and I've heard they grieved
greatly over the quarrel. Mr. Ingraham painted huge signs with the names
on them, and hung up scarecrows on poles, because he wouldn't let a tree
grow here, even if it could. There are a few now, though. Look like old
plum trees. My, what a home for our mother!"

Amy's face sobered again, as she regarded the ugly stone structure which
still looked strong enough to defy all time, but which no lapse of years
had done much to beautify. Nothing had ever thrived at Bareacre, which
was, in fact, a hill of apparently solid stone, sparsely covered by the
poorest of soil. The house was big, for the Ingraham family had been
numerous, but it was as square and austere as the builders could make
it. The roof ended exactly at the walls, which made it look, as Amy
said, "like a girl with her eyelashes cut off." There were no blinds or
shutters of any sort, and nothing to break the bleak winds which swept
down between the hills of Ardsley, and which nipped the life of any
brave green thing that tried to make a hold there. A few mullein stalks
were all that flourished, and the stunted fruit trees which Hallam had
noticed seemed but a pitiful parody upon the rich verdure of the
elsewhere favored region.

"Has nobody ever lived here since that wicked old man?"

"Oh, yes. I think so. But nobody for long, nor could anybody make it a

"It looks as if it had been blue, up there by the roof."

"I believe it was. I've heard that every color possible was used in
painting it, so as to make it the more annoying to a person of good
taste, such as great-grandfather was."

"Heigho! Well, _we've_ got to live here."

"Or die. It's hopeless. I can't see a ray of light in the whole

"You dear old bat, you should wear specs. I can see several rays. I'll
count them off. Ray one: the ugly all-sorts-of-paint has been washed
away by the weather. Ray two: the air up here is as pure as it's sharp,
and there's nothing to obstruct or keep it from blowing your 'hypo'
away. Ray three: there are our own darling burros already helping to
'settle' by mowing the weeds with their mouths. What a blessing is
hunger, rightly utilized! And, finally, there's that
worth-her-weight-in-gold Goodsoul waving her pudding-stick, which in
this new, unique life of ours must mean 'breakfast.' Come along. Heigho!
Who's that? Our esteemed political friend, 'Rep-Dem-Prob.' I'd forgotten
him. Now, by the lofty bearing with which he ascends to our castle of
discontent, I believe he's been out 'marching.'"

It was, indeed, Fayette whom they saw climbing over the rocks. He wore
his oilcloth blouse and his gay helmet, and soon they could hear his
rude voice singing and see the waving of his broom.

"He? Coming back again? Why, we can't keep him. We can't even 'keep'

"Yet never a doubt I doubt he means to tarry," quoted Amy, laughing at
her brother's rueful countenance.



"Sure, I thought ye had lost yourself or been ate by the rats!" cried
Cleena, as Fayette rather timidly peered in at the open kitchen door.
"But all rogues is fond o' good atin', so I suppose you've come for your
breakfast, eh?"

"No. I've et."

"Must ha' been up with the lark then. No, hold on. Don't go in there.
They're master Hallam an' Miss Amy still, an' always will be. They eats
by themselves, as the gentry should. If there's ought left when they're
done, time enough for you an' me."

"I've had my breakfast, I told you."

"Didn't seem to set well on your stummick either, by the way your temper
troubles ye. Are ye as ready to work as ye was yesterday?"

"Yes. What I come back for."

Cleena paused and studied the ill-shaped, vacant, though not vicious,
face of the unfortunate waif. Something drew her sympathy toward him,
and she pitied him for the mother whom he had never known. In the
adjoining room she could hear the voices of her own "childer," with
their cultured inflection and language, which was theirs by inheritance
and as unconsciously as were "Bony's" harsh tones and rude speech his

"Arrah musha! but it's a queer world, I d'know. There's them an' there's
him, an' the Lord made 'em both. Hear me, me gineral. Take a hold o'
that broom o' yours, an' show me what it's made for. If you're as clean
as you're homebly, I might stand your good friend. What for no?"

Fayette had returned Cleena's cool stare with another as steady. He
liked her far better and more promptly than she liked him, yet in that
moment of scrutiny each had measured the other and formed a tacit
partnership. "For the family," was Cleena's watchword, and it had
already become the half-wit's.

Cleena went to the well, tied her clothesline to the leaky old bucket
and lowered it. On the night before she had obtained a pail of spring
water from the cottage at the foot of the knoll, from the same friendly
neighbor who had sold her the milk. But their own well must be fixed. To
her dismay she found that it was very deep, and that the bit of water
which remained in the bucket when it was drawn up was quite unfit even
for cleaning purposes.

This worried her. A scarcity of water was one of the few trials which
she had been spared, and she could hardly have met a heavier. As she
turned toward the house she saw that Fayette had carefully set out of
doors the old chairs and the other movable furniture which the kitchen
had contained, and that, before sweeping, he was using his broom to
brush the cobwebs from the ceiling. The sight filled her with joy and

"Saints bless us! That's the first man body I ever met that had sense
like that!" and she lifted up her voice in a glad summons:--

"You, Napoleon Gineral Bonyparty, come by!"

"Before I finish here?"

"Before the wag o' dog's tail. Hurry up!"

"The wind'll blow it all over again."

"Leave it blow. Come by. Here's more trouble even nor cobwebs, avick!
First need is first served."

This summoned Hallam and Amy out to see what was going on, and after
learning the difficulty and peering into the depths of the old pit they
offered their suggestions. Said Amy:--

"We might draw it up, bucket by bucket, and throw it away. Then I
suppose it would fill with clean water, wouldn't it?"

"If we did, 'twould break all our backs an' there's more to do than
empty old wells. Master Hal, what's _your_ say?"

"Hmm, we might rig up some sort of machinery and stir it all up, and
with chemicals we could clear it and--"

"Troth we could, if we'd a month o' Sundays to do it in an' slathers o'
time an' money spoilin' to be spent."

Hallam was disgusted. Already he had blamed himself for his haughty
refusal of Mr. Wingate's offer, on the previous day, to send a practical
man to look over the premises and "set them going," as any landlord

But the lad had replied, as one in authority to decide for his absent
parents: "We won't trouble you, sir. What happens to us, after we leave
Fairacres, is our own affair. If you get your rent, that should be
sufficient for you."

After that the offer was not renewed; for Mr. Wingate was not the man to
waste either money or service, and the lad's tone angered him.

Regrets were now, as always, useless, and Cleena's open disdain of
Hallam's suggestion sent him limping angrily away; though Amy laughed
over her own "valuable contribution to the solution of the dilemma," and
by her intentional use of the longest words at hand caused Fayette to
regard her with a wonderment that was ludicrous in itself.

"Well, Goodsoul, we've helped a lot. Ask our 'Rep-Dem-Prob' what his
'boys' would do."

"What for no? Sure, he's more sense nor the whole of us. Say, me
gineral, what's the way out?"

Fayette colored with pride. He had an inordinate vanity, and, like most
of his sort, he possessed an almost startling keenness of intelligence
in some respects, as contrasted with his foolishness in others.
Moreover, he had been disciplined by poverty, and had always lived among
working people and, for a long time, about the carpet mills.

"Well, the 'Supe's' force-pump."

"Hmm, I know, I know. But what's the 'Supe' an' his pump? Is he fish,
flesh, or fowl, eh?"

"He's the 'Supe' to the mill. Ain't ye any sense?"

"No. None left after botherin' with you. What's it, Miss Amy?"

"I know. You mean Mr. Metcalf, don't you?"


"What would he do? How could he help us?"

"Lend me the donkey. I'll ride and tell him. All them houses--see them
mill cottages, down yonder?"

"Certainly. They look very pretty from here, with all the trees about

"They've got wells. Once in six months the wells has to be cleared out.
That's orders. Me an' another fellow goes down 'em, after the pump's
drawed out all it can. We bail 'em out. I clean cisterns, too. Ain't
another fellow in the village as good at a cistern as me. See, I'm slim.
I can get down a man-hole 't nobody else can. Shall I go?"

"I'll ask Hallam."

Who, upon consultation, replied:--

"I suppose it's the only thing we can do, but it does go against my
inclination to ask favors of anybody."

"Hal, that's silly. We must send Fayette to Mr. Metcalf, and will you
write the note, or shall I?"

"You, since you've seen him, personally."

"Which is the only way I could see him," laughed the girl, and ran into
the house to find a sheet of paper. Then the mill boy was given his
choice of the burros, to ride as messenger; and having selected Balaam,
departed down the slope in high glee. When he reached the mill, and Mr.
Metcalf was at liberty to see him, he began a voluble description of all
that had occurred since his chance meeting with Amy in the wood; but the
superintendent cut the story short.

"Now, see here, 'Bony.' This is the chance of your life. Understand?
They are, I should think, the very nicest folks you ever saw. Well,
treat them square. None of your monkey shines nor nonsense. Do
everything you can to help them. Of course you can have the pump, though
you can't carry it up to 'Hardscrabble' donkey-back. That fellow is as
black as his brother, or sister, is white. They're the prettiest donkeys
I ever saw. How my youngsters would like such. Well, go round to John.
There's no teaming to be done this morning, and he shall take the pump
there in the wagon. He'll help you too, no doubt, for a small payment."

"Say, 'Supe.'"


"I don't believe they've got any money. Don't look so they had a cent.
Ain't it queer? With all them purty things an' the way they act an'
talk. Ain't like nobody I ever saw before. Ain't never saw anybody liked
each other so much. I'm goin' to stay."

"Have they asked you?"


"Well, run along and get hold of John before he goes home for a nap, as
he might, with nothing needed here."

Then, when Fayette had left him, Mr. Metcalf took up Amy's note and
reread it.

The second perusal pleased the gentleman even more than the first. He
thought that the little letter was very characteristic of the girl he
had met, and he specially liked her statement that his former kindness
presupposed a later one. So he stopped John, the teamster, as he was
driving out of the mill yard, with the request:--

"You stay up there all day, if you can be of any use. Got your dinner
with you? and the horses'? Good enough. I've heard about that family
being turned out from their old home, and whether it was justly done or
not doesn't alter the fact of its hardness. Lend them a hand, as if it
were for me, John, and I'll make it all right with you."

"It's all right already, sir. I saw that girl, when she was down here
that day; saw her take her fine little handkerchief out of her pocket
and wipe that idiot's, or next door to idiot, wipe his lips as nice as
if he was her own brother. Ain't one of the mill girls'd do _that_.
They'd be too dainty. She wasn't, because she was quality. It always
tells. Pity though that such folks have so little common sense. Now--"

But Mr. Metcalf warded off any further talk of the good John, who had
lived at Ardsley all his life and knew the history of the Kaye household
almost better than they knew it themselves.

"I'll ask you to tell me about them another time. Just now I guess you'd
better hurry to get them a decent drink of water. Hold on, 'Bony.' Ride
over to the office door. I'll send a note back to Miss Kaye, and want
you to carry her a little basket."

So this was the note which answered Amy's, and that proved its writer to
be a gentleman, even though he had begun life a humble ash-boy in just
such a mill as he now managed so ably:--

"MY DEAR MISS AMY: The kindness is wholly on your side in allowing me to
serve you, and I hope you will command me in any further matter wherein
I can be of use.

"I am sending the pump by John Young, our teamster, with instructions to
remain under your orders for the rest of the day. You will find that
'Bony' thoroughly understands the business of well-cleaning, but you
will have to restrain him from venturing into any great hazard, because,
poor lad, he has not the caution to balance his daring.

"I am offering, also, a little basket of fruit which came my way this
morning, and which looks, I fancy, as if it wanted to be eaten by just
such a girl as you.


When Amy read this note aloud to Hallam and Cleena, she did so in a
proud and happy voice.

"Well, I've written letters for mother, and father, too, sometimes, but
I've not had many of my own. This is. I'm going to keep it always. The
very first one that has come here. Isn't he just the dearest man? Oh! I
am so happy I must just sing. It's such a beautiful world, after all,
and maybe we've had all our old things taken away just to teach us that
_folks_ are better than _things_. I feel as if I'd come out of a musty
room into the open air."

"Amy Kaye! You should be ashamed of yourself. Have you no heart at all?
As for musty rooms, if you can find any to beat these at 'Spite House,'
you'll do well."

"I know. I'm 'bad,' of course, but come on. I'll fetch you all father's
tubes and brushes that are in such a muddle, and you can sort them right
near the well, and watch John fix it, and take care of Fayette; I'm
going in and help Cleena, in any way I can."

Amy's cheerfulness was certainly infectious. It was also helpful to
Hallam's gloomy mood that just then there should be the well and cistern
cleaning, Mr. Young having discovered a cistern beneath a pile of
decayed boards, at a little distance from the house. But the water in
both being unfit for use, Amy bravely picked up a couple of pails and
started down hill to their new neighbor's cottage.

"Wait, Amy, I'll rig up something," called the cripple; and by the aid
of a rope, a barrel stave, and some wire he managed to hang the pails on
either side Pepita's saddle. "So all you'll have to do will be walk up
and down and make her behave," referring to Pepita's uncertain temper.

"If I had a barrel I'd better that job," said John the teamster. "I'd
drive down once and get all you needed for the day."

"But there isn't any barrel that will hold water," answered the girl.
"So I'll play 'Jack and Jill' with Pepita, as long as Cleena wishes.
Besides, the cottage children think she's beautiful, and they are so
kind they help me fill the pails each trip, as well as give us the water
in them."

John wiped his brow and looked admiringly upon her. "Keep that spirit,
lass, and it'll make small difference to you whether your purse is empty
or full. But 'give' you the water? I should say yes. The Lord gave it to
them in the first place, free as the air of heaven. Well, there'll be
water to spare up here, too, soon, for we've got the pump about ready
for work."

It was a long time, though, before any impression was made upon the
accumulation of water in the deep well. After a while, however, less
came with each draft, and it was thicker and fouler. Finally, the pump
ceased to be of any use, and was drawn up and laid beside the broken
curb. Then came the interesting part of the task, as well as the

Keeping an eye upon all of Fayette's movements, John had allowed him "to
boss the job," partly because the lad did fully understand his business,
and partly to give him pleasure. But now was need for utmost caution.

"Will you fetch me a candle?" the teamster asked Cleena; and when she
had done so he fastened it to the end of the clothesline and slowly
lowered it into the shaft. The flame was instantly extinguished.

"Hmm, have to wait a spell, I reckon. Might as well tackle the cistern."

"What made the candle go out? Was there a wind?" asked Amy.

"Carbonic acid gas," answered her brother.

"Huh," said Fayette, contemptuously, "'twa'n't neither. Just choke damp
an' fixed air. Soon's the candle'll stay lighted, I'll go down.
Cistern's the same, only wider. Got a powder here'll fix it, if it don't
clear soon."

After the cistern was cleaned, and this was a much easier task than the
well, Fayette returned to the curb, again lighted the candle, and
lowered it. The foul and poisonous gases had mostly passed away, and the
flame continued to burn as far down as the clothesline would reach.

"That's all right; I'll tackle it now."

"No, you'll not. None o' your foolhardiness here."

"Who made you boss o' me, John Young?"

"I did. I'll prevent you, if I have to hold on to you. Best leave it
open till to-morrow, or longer even," said John. "I'm going to eat my
dinner now. Come and have some."

"Bime-by. I'm goin' to take off my shoes. Work best when I'm barefoot."

The answer gave John no concern, for he knew this peculiarity of
Fayette's; so he walked quietly away toward the old shed where he had
tied his horses, to give them their food and secure his own. Before he
reached them, however, he heard a loud shout, and, turning, saw the
foolish boy capering about on the beam which had been laid across the
top of the well, and from which the rope and bucket were still

"'Bony,' you fool, get off that! A misstep and you're gone!"

"All right, I'll get off!"

There was a wild waving of arms, a burst of derisive laughter, and
"Bony" had disappeared.



The teamster's cry of horror brought everybody to the scene. Cleena was
the first to reach it and to find John standing by the mouth of the
well, whitefaced and trembling.

"What's it? What's down there? What mean ye yellin' that gait? Speak,
man, if ye can."

He could only point downward, while he strained his ears to catch any
sound that might come from below.

Then Cleena shook him fiercely. "Speak, I tell ye! Where's the boy?"

The other still pointed down into the shaft, but he made out to say:--

"I heard him laugh, then shout, and he must have gone stark crazy."

"He down there? That poor, senseless gossoon? Where was you that you'd
leave him do it?"

"I was walking--wait! I hear something."

Four white, terror-stricken faces now bent above the old well, while
Cleena's arms clasped her "childer" tightly, fearing they, too, might be
snatched away from her.

"Saints save us, it's bewitched! Oh, the day, the day!"

"Shut up, woman! Keep still. I hear something."

Again they stooped and listened, and Amy's keen ears reported,

"It's Fayette! It is, it is! It sounds as if he were speaking from the
far end of a long, long tube. But he's alive, he's alive!"

"He might as well be dead. His bones must be broken, and he can't live
long in such an air as that," said Hallam.

"I don't know. That he's alive at all proves that the air isn't as bad
as I thought. Besides, he may not have broken any bones. He's had
fearful falls, before this, and he always came out about sound. But the
rope doesn't reach much more than two-thirds down. I've heard they dug
this well a hundred and fifty feet deep. They had to, to reach water
from top this rock."

"A hundred and fifty feet! How can we possibly reach him?"

"Not by standin' talkin'. Whisk to the cottage, Amy, an' beg the length
of all the rope they have. To save a lad's life--be nimble!"

The girl was away long before Cleena finished speaking, while the latter
herself darted into the house, caught off the sheets and blankets from
the beds, and tore them into strips. Never wasting one motion of her
strong hands, and praying ceaselessly, she tied each fresh length and
tested it with all her force.

Meanwhile Amy almost flew over the space between "Spite House" and the
cottage, arriving there nigh breathless; but gasping out her errand, she
rushed straight to the line in the drying yard and began to tear it from
its fastenings on the poles.

"You're wanting my rope, miss? Somebody in the well? Heaven help him!
But wait! If it's _cleaning_ the well he is, why of course he'd be down
there. Who is it?"

"Fayette. Maybe you know him as 'Bony.'"

"The half-wit? Pshaw, Miss. Don't look that frightened. He's all safe,
never fear. Nothing hurts him. The Lord looks after him. I'm afraid this
rope won't hold, it's so old. Wait, I'll go, too. Never mind the
children, they'll have to take care of themselves."

All the while she was talking the kindly woman had been rolling the
line, retying it where their haste broke its worn strands, and following
Amy up over the slope. Now she paused for one second to remonstrate:--

"You, Victoria, go back! There's William Gladstone trying to creep after
us. Beatrice, Belinda, go home. You mustn't follow mother every time she
turns her back! Go home, I tell you. Go--right--straight--back--home.
My! but this _is_ steep!"

A shriek, shrill and piercing as only infant lungs could utter, made
even Amy stop, eager though she was to reach the well where poor "Bony"
might already have breathed his last. The one backward glance she cast
showed the numerous children of the house of Jones toiling industriously
skyward, in their mother's footsteps. Victoria, who was "eight and
should have known better," had left William Gladstone to take care of
himself, with the result that, being less than two years old and rather
unsteady on his legs, he had toddled up to the biggest stone in the
path, tried to step over it, lost his balance, and fallen. The hill was
so steep that once the fat little fellow began to roll downwards he
could not stop, and the terrified outcry first showed the mother his

"He'll bump his head against a rock and--"

Mrs. Jones did not finish her sentence, but faced about and ran
frantically down the slope, catching up her baby and smothering it with
kisses, although she had assured the little fellow, at least a dozen
times that day, that "he was the very plague of her life." She had
dropped the rope, and Amy caught it, then turned and ran as fast upward
as her neighbor was going in the other direction. Behind Amy still
followed Victoria, Beatrice, and Belinda.

"You should go back. Your little brother's hurt," shouted she.

"Yes'm. He is often," coolly replied Victoria, who could have the minor
excitement of examining the baby's bruises any day, but who did not
intend to lose the greater one of "a man down the well" for any
commonplace home matter.

Just before she came to the crest of the knoll Amy hesitated, and stood
still. It seemed to her she could not go on and face the possible, even
probable, tragedy at the top, and into the midst of her awestruck
waiting there was hurled this startling question:--

"Say, miss, where do you s'pose you'll have the funeral? May I come?"

"Ugh! Oh, you horrid little thing!"

Victoria appeared so amazed at the effect of her inquiry that she stared
back into Amy's face, wide-eyed and open-mouthed.


"I shouldn't have said that. But you go right straight back home. Your
mother wants you. I don't. Oh, dear! How could you say it?"

"Why, 'cause I like to go to funerals. I go to every one Ma does. She's
got a real nice 'funeral dress,' an' so have I."

Amy fled. She had never seen anything like little Victoria, and she was
so indignant that she almost forgot her dread of what might lie before
her. She reached the group about the well, who were now utterly silent,
and seemed to be watching with more astonishment than terror something
happening within it.

Amy, also, stretched her neck to see, though she shut her eyes, and
this naturally prevented; nor did she open them till she felt Cleena
clutch the skirt of her frock and heard her exclaim:--

"Faith, but he's the biggest monkey out o' the Zoo! Arrah musha! I'll
teach him scaring folks out o' their wits, an' wastin' good bedclothes
on such havers! Huh!"

For this was the marvel that now presented. Poor, silly Fayette, looking
more foolish and grotesque than ever, climbing upwards into the
daylight, blinking and sputtering, his back against the stones of one
side the shaft, his feet against the other, his hands clutching,
pulling; both feet and hands almost prehensile, like the creature's to
which Cleena had likened him, yet safe, unbruised, and only mud-splashed
and laughing.

With a final, agile movement he reached the top, threw his arms about
the beam, and leaped to the ground beside them. Then he laughed again,
hilariously, uproariously, and not for long.

In Cleena Keegan's indignant soul a plan had been rapidly forming.

"So you'd be givin' us all the terrors, would ye, avick? Sure, a taste
o' the same medicine's good for the doctor as his patient. I'll just
give ye a try of it, an' see what ye say. Hmm, them sheets might ha'
lasted for years, so they might; an' them blankets, my heart!"

Before anybody, least of all the astonished "Bony," could comprehend
what she would be about, Cleena had tripped and thrown the lad to the
ground. She was more powerful than even his boasted muscle, and he quite
unprepared for what she meant to do. The life-line made from her
cherished bedclothing was twisted about his wet shoulders like a flash.
Yet there seemed nothing violent nor vindictive as she rolled him over
and over, wisely winding and binding first his hands and feet. After
that the punishment she administered was but a question of endurance on
her part, and the length of the line.

"There, you blatherskite! What's your guardian angel thinkin' of ye the
now, you poor, ignorant, heathen gossoon? Well for ye that old Cleena
has met up with ye to beat some bits o' sense into your idle pate.
Tight, is it? Well, not so tight as the bands o' me heart when I looked
to see ye brought up to me dead. 'Twon't hurt. Lie there an' rest."

Cleena finished her harangue and her task together. After that she stood
up straight and strong, and regarded the teamster with a questioning

"Is it true, what he says, that he's nor kith nor kin, hereabouts?"

"I guess it's true," answered John, laughing at the ludicrous appearance
of Fayette upon the ground. "He was born in the poorhouse, an' I've
heard his mother died. His father had before then, I know. I used--"

Cleena was in no mood for long stories, and she foresaw that one was
imminent. She interrupted without ceremony--

"So, if I take him in hand to train him a bit, what for no? There'll be
no one botherin' an' interferin', is it?"

"I guess there won't anybody worry about 'Bony.' He's right handy around
the mill, an' he does odd jobs for a many people; but if you want him, I
'low you can have him 'for a song.'"

"I'll have no song singin', not I, nor from him. But if I don't make a
smart, decent lad where there lies a fool, my name isn't Cleena Keegan,
the day. Now what's about the well?"

"That's what I want to know, Cleena," cried Amy. "How did he, could he,
fall into it and climb out of it alive?"

"Easier than you think, miss. He slid down the rope as far as it went, I
suppose, then caught his feet in the stones of the sides, then his
hands, and went down just as he came up. He didn't go into the water in
the bottom, of course; but he's proved that the well is safe enough, and
to-morrow morning he ought to be made to go down, properly fixed, with a
rope around his waist and the tackle for bailing it out. It'll be a job,
then, even after to-day's beginning. But I'll tell the boss about it,
and I don't doubt he'll send the other man that helps 'Bony' in the mill
village, and get things right this time. What say, boy? Think you'll
take matters a little soberer to-morrow, if I come back to help?"

Fayette lay with closed eyes and made no answer, but Cleena spoke for
him, and as one in authority:--

"Faith an' he will. An' I'm thankin' ye, sir, for all ye've done the
day. Sure, by this hour to-morrow, we should begin to see daylight
'twixt the dirt."

"I 'low you will. You're a master scrubber, and no mistake. Well,
good-by. Anything I can do for you village way?"

"I'm beholden to you, sir, an' so are my folks, but there's not. I'm for
sending the childer down on their donkeys to see how fares the mistress
an' master; an' they'll fetch back what's lackin' o' food an' so on,
when they come. It's hungerin' sore will the sweet lady be for a sight
of her own."

"Oh, Cleena, is that so? May we go? But--that will leave you quite
alone," said Amy.

Hallam smiled. "She'll not be so very much alone, after all, dear," and
he nodded significantly toward the still apparently sleeping Fayette.

Then they went away to saddle the burros, and after having received a
mysterious message which they were to deliver to Adam Burn, to the
effect that "he'll know what to send o' them things in his box."

"And it's as clear as the sunshine just what you are asking, dear old
Goodsoul. That Friend Adam shall give us your dollars out of his box.
You transparent old pretender! Well, never mind, Scrubbub. Some day our
ships will come home, and then--you shall live in lavender," said Amy,
hugging the faithful woman, and smiling, though tears of gratitude were
in her dark eyes.

Which eyes, happening to look downward, saw Fayette's own half open, and
watching this little affectionate by-play with deep interest. No sooner,
however, did he perceive that Amy had discovered this fact than his lids
went down with a snap.

"Ah, ha, Fayette! I saw you. I'm sorry for you, but just you tell
Goodsoul, here, that you'll remember not to shame your 'guardian angel'
any more, and she'll let you up. I know her. Her heart's made of honey
and sugar, and everything soft and sticky. I believe she's caught you in
it, now, bad as you are, and if she has, you'll never get quite clear of
her love and too demonstrative kindness."

Then she cried to Hallam, who was limping toward the tethered burros:
"Now for a race. These dear little beasties would trot a good pace if
they realized they were on the road to mother and father and Friend Adam
Burn's big oat-bin!"

As they passed through the gateless entrance to "Bareacre," Hallam
turned, and with something of Amy's cheerfulness waved his hand to

"We'll be back before dark, Goodsoul. Don't keep that lad tied any
longer. Don't."

"Arrah musha! Can't I do what I will with me own? There's somewhat to
pass 'twixt him an' me afore he gets free o' them bonds."

Evidently, there was; nor was she sorry to see all go and leave her
alone with Fayette. Of what occurred during their brief absence at the
Clove, nobody ever heard; but when the brother and sister rode up the
slope, just as the evening fell, Fayette appeared to meet them and take
their burros for them. His manner was subdued and gentle, and on his
homely face was a look of exceeding peace.

Amy nudged Hallam mischievously. "Another lull before another storm,
isn't it?"

Hallam regarded the half-wit critically. "No. But I think he's 'met his

"Oh, is that what we are to call her in future? She's already as many
names as a Spanish princess." Then she lifted her voice to summon

"Heigho, 'Waterloo'! Father and mother are doing finely, and send love,
and dear old Adam sent something much more substantial, but not what you
asked for. Just plain beefsteak and potatoes, and a jolly chicken pie
that's in a basket on Hallam's crutch. Those crutches are the handiest

"Faith, so they be. An' there's a fire out of some wood the cottage
woman sent, an' the steak'll broil while the taties roast, like the
whisk of a squirrel in the tree."

So "Waterloo" became another of good Cleena's "love names." For it's
ever the tone and not the words that makes a sweet sound in one's ears,
and the woman's heart thrilled, and her weary shoulders lifted because
of the love which sang through Amy's innocent jest.



For one whole week the artist and his wife remained at the Clove. During
that time "Spite House" had undergone the most thorough cleaning and
overhauling of its existence. The walls had been scraped of the ancient
and discolored whitewash that covered them, and a fresh coat of
sweet-smelling lime applied.

"It's like a new-mown field, I think," said Amy, on the day that this
whitewashing had taken place, to Fayette who was artisan in
chief--always under Cleena's orders.

"An' I must be the daisy that grows in it," he returned, catching a
glimpse of his lime-splashed face in the tiny pocket mirror he always

"A whole bunch of daisies, indeed. But isn't it jolly? I never did so
much hard work in my life; my hands are all blistered and sore, my feet
ache--whew! And I never, never was so happy."

Fayette paused midway to the shed, which he had repaired with bits of
boards, begged or offered in various sources. The whitewash brush over
his shoulder dripped a milky fluid upon his bared head, and
occasionally a drop trickled as far as the corner of his capacious

But he minded nothing so trivial as this, and he stared at Amy in the
same wonderment with which he had regarded her from the beginning of
their acquaintance. She also paused and returned his gaze with an amused

"Fayette, that stare of yours is getting chronic. I wish you'd give it
up. Everything I do or say seems to astonish you. What's the matter with
me? Am I not like other girls? You must know many down at the mill."

"No, you ain't."

"How different? I'd really like to know."

"Ain't seen you cry once,--or not more 'n once," he corrected
truthfully. "An' you left all them things up there, an' the trees, an'
the posies, an' everything like that way."

For one moment Amy's breast heaved and her voice choked. Then she jerked
her head in a fashion she had when she wished to throw aside unpleasant
things and replied:--

"What would be the use of crying? If it would bring them all back, I'd
cry a bath-tub full. But it won't. Thinking about it only makes it
worse. _It had to be_, and in some ways I'm thankful it did. It was all
unreal and dreamlike up there. I knew nothing about the sorrows and
hardships in the real world. But how I am talking! I wonder, do you
understand at all what I have said?"

"I couldn't help cryin' when the bluebird's nest fell an' smashed all
the eggs," remarked Fayette, whimpering at the recollection. His words
were "like a bit of blue sky, showing through a cloud," as the girl
often expressed it, when the untaught lad revealed something of his
intense love of nature, so strongly in contrast to his otherwise limited

"Well, we must forget what's past and go to work. I'll tether the burros
out of the roadside while you clean up their shed; and when they come
back to find it all sweet and white, like Pepita herself, they'll be as
pleased as Punch. Wonder we never thought of having the old stable at
Fairacres whitewashed."

"Didn't have me, then," answered the lad.

"Fayette, you're as vain as a peacock. You always say 'ME' as if it were
spelled with the biggest kind of capital letters."

"Do I? Hmm," responded Fayette, with a vacant smile.

Then Amy went into the house where Hallam and Cleena were arguing about
what rooms should be arranged for the personal use of master and
mistress, because Hallam thought his father's likes and habits should
take precedence of all others.

During this time of separation from him, the son had grown to think of
his parent as a whimsical invalid, only. Oddly enough, with his own
physical infirmity, he had come to look upon any bodily weakness of
other lads or men as something almost degrading. He had always felt
himself disgraced by his own lameness. It was this which had given him
so bitter and distorted an outlook upon life, and involuntarily there
had crept into his love for his father a feeling of contempt as well.

Something of this showed in his talk with his sister, over this
selection of rooms, and shocked her. Then, with loyal indignation she
proceeded to enlighten him as to her own view of the subject.

"Now, see here, Hallam Kaye. I don't believe, I can't believe, and I
never will believe that from being a brilliant scholar and a wonderfully
talented artist my darling father has suddenly become a--a--the sickly,
selfish man you seem to imagine."

"Amy! I never said that. I never thought it. I only remember that he has
always had the best of everything, and I supposed he always should."

The tears of excited protest rushed into her eyes, but she dashed them
away. "Queer, I never cry, hardly ever, unless I'm mad. I am mad at you,
Hal Kaye, right straight clear through. You wait and see how father is,
after this trouble. All his life he has been petted by mother, who
adores him; and that not too agreeable cousin Archibald said the truth
about his having had so easy a path all his life. I tell you it isn't
for his children to sit here in judgment upon him, nor criticise
anything he does; but one thing I believe, he's had a good hard waking
up. He hasn't realized the truth. How should he? Mother has always
smiled and smiled and seen to everything. He was a genius. He was never
to be disturbed. He never has been. Not till now. Now he has been
tumbled off his cushions whack! and presently he'll get up--all right."

"Whe-e-ew! You don't mince matters in speaking of your relatives, do
you, sweet sister?"

"Not a bit. Just you wait. All the histories we've ever read, all the
tales we've ever heard, of gentlemen and gentlewomen, 'aristocrats,' who
have had to suffer anything dreadful, show that they have borne the
troubles as no meaner person could. The good there is in being of
'family,' it seems to me, is the self-respect that holds us upright, no
matter what blows are dealt."

Again Hallam blew a long note. But he looked at his excited little
sister with a new admiration.

"Upon my word, Amy, my dear, you are positively eloquent. Who knows but
you may one day take to the 'stump,' become a public orator, and
lecture, to fill the coffers of that 'family' of which you are so

"No, thank you. I don't need to go abroad to lecture. I find enough
subjects right in my own household. Between you and 'Bony' and Miss
Scrubbub my life's a burden to me. Now hear me, both of you; for in the
language of 'Bonaparty Gineral Lafayette,' 'there ain't none o' ye got
no sense 'cept me,' and 'me' says: Fix up the north chamber for a
studio. Put all father's things in there. Fix the middle room, which
faces east and the sunrise, for a bedroom; and this warm southwestern
one for a private sitting room, for mother darling, where she can
retreat to think upon her husband's greatness and her children's folly;
and where the sweet blessed thing will never be alone one single minute,
unless every other member of the family is sound asleep. So that's for
the 'retreating' of Friend Salome Kaye. Oh, that she were here this
minute! that I could hug the heart right out of her! Fly around, Amy,
'an' set the house to one side,' _à la_ Friend Adam's old housekeeper."

It was wonderful what four pairs of arms could accomplish when love
actuated them. "Spite House" had seemed hopelessly bare and dirty when
the little household first entered it, but it was far from that by the
end of a week's stay. Bare and bleak and unadorned it was still, and the
surroundings seemed to forbid that it would ever be any better. But
there was not an inch of its surface, outside or in, that had not been
cleaned and polished, by scrubbing or whitewash brush. Even the
moss-grown roof had been swept by Fayette, standing barefooted and
unsupported on the sloping shingles, while he vigorously attacked them.
To Hallam this seemed a desecration. The moss had been the one redeeming
feature of the roof's ugliness.

"Saints save us! If we leave go that muck up yon, it'll be like me
dressin' for mass an' no rackin' down me hair, so it would. No, Master
Hal, if riches we can't have, cleanness we can. An' that's aye more
pleasin' to God."

The plain, strong furniture which had been in the house had been placed
to best advantage; and in the parents' rooms above, as well as the one
family living room below, were gathered all that had been brought from
dear Fairacres.

A load of wood and another of coal, which Cleena supposed had been sent
by Friend Adam and paid for with her money, gave a comfortable look to
the woodshed, and in the storeroom was a bag of flour, a side of bacon,
a fair supply of vegetables, and a barrel of apples. These the village
grocer's lad had brought in his delivery wagon, and it was useless to
ask him by whose order. Since they were needed, however, it was well to
take them in and to consider them as belonging with the wood and coal.

Finally, the Saturday afternoon arrived on which Hallam and Amy were to
go to the Clove, to pass First Day with Adam Burn and their parents,
returning before nightfall with the latter, to begin their reunited
family life.

Dressed in their freshest clothes, upon Balaam and Pepita, groomed by
the willing hands of Fayette, they journeyed gayly down the slope over
the familiar road, eager for their visit and the warm welcome awaiting

"Do you know, Amy, it's queer that we've never been about alone much,
even on these country roads, till now? Losing our home seems to have
broken down ever so many restrictions."

"Well, don't you like it? Doesn't it make you feel freer and healthier?"

"Maybe. I'm not enthusiastic over our poverty. I'd be glad enough to go
back to Fairacres."

"So would I, if we could live there honestly. I wouldn't go, not for one
day, if I could help it, to live in debt as we did."

"Aren't we living in debt just the same now, and much more

"I suppose so; though it's different. This time it isn't going to last,
and we haven't shut our eyes to it."

"Why isn't it going to last? How can we stop it? I see nothing ahead
except starvation."

"Hallam Kaye, the very first thing you ought to learn is to be cheerful.
You don't want to be a dead weight on anybody, do you? Well, you will be
if you can't look ahead at all to anything bright. You and I are going
to work and mend the family fortunes. Then we're going back to Fairacres
and do all the good we can with the money we've earned."

"If I were sound--"

"And sensible, you'd race me again to the gate of the Clove."

Burnside-in-the-Clove was a bonny place. The "burn," from which the farm
took its name almost as much as from the family which had dwelt there
for generations, ran through the velvet lawn and was spanned by a rustic
bridge where the well kept driveway curved toward the roomy house.

"Oh! it's so lovely here. The many, many windows, each more cheery and
inviting than its neighbor; the old-fashioned door, opened almost all
the time; the hammocks, the benches, the flowers, the cool, sweet
dairy--this is a _home_. I guess I'll make ours here instead of at
Fairacres, after all," laughed Amy, as they paced sedately over the
gravel, the better to enjoy the scene, and now that they had arrived, in
no such haste for the meeting with their people.

"I like to go slowly now, don't you, Hal? Because that makes the
pleasure 'long-drawn out' and all the sweeter. In a minute mother's face
will be in the doorway, with father looking over her shoulder. Friend
Adam, blessed man, will hobble after, if he is not too lame; and then we
shall jump off and the 'man' will take the burros, and we will go in and
hug everybody all round, and eat the biggest kind of a supper--living on
dry bread and milk two meals a day can give an appetite! And then one of
dear old Adam's 'Spirit' talks; and bed and sleep, and breakfast and
meeting, and--"

"'Spite House'!"

"No, Hallam, truly not. Our mother couldn't live in such a place.
To-morrow a new life will begin on the barren knoll. 'Charity House' she
will have it, and wherever our mother goes, softness and kindness and
loveliness are sure to follow."

"Yes, that is so," answered the cripple, thoughtfully. "Well, hear me,
Amy. I guess I have been about as much of a wet blanket as I could be,
but I'm going to try my very hardest to make things easy for father and
mother. Just now, as we rode down the valley into all this peace and
quiet, I seemed to see myself exactly as I am. Heigho! but look how
green the grass is still, late in the year as it is, and how beautiful
the vines on the stone walls. The maples are like a golden glory. My
father must have been wonderfully soothed by so much loveliness about
him, though he's going to feel it all the--"

"Take care, Sir Optimist, that is to be. You're taking the wrong turn,
comrade. Come away from the down to 'has been,' and climb to 'will be,'
short metre."

It was all as they said. The mother's gentle face in the doorway,
looking rested and less faded for the week passed in the society of a
simple, noble man; the father's gay and debonair, as Amy remembered
it--how long ago, was it? And last of all Friend Adam, in gray attire,
his broadbrim crowning his snowy hair, his expression one of childlike
happiness and freedom from care.

He welcomed them both with all heartiness, but Amy was dearest. She had
always been, perhaps because she bore the name of his long dead wife,
and had always seemed to stand as a child to his childless life.

So after the fine supper was over, while before a blazing fire in
another room Mr. and Mrs. Kaye discussed with Hallam all the events of
the past week, Amy and the old man who had lived for more than eighty
years a blameless, helpful life sat by a window in another place and
looked out into the moonlight saying little, but enjoying all.

"Dear father Adam, shall I tell thee"--for with him she always drifted
into the sweet speech which was hers by birthright and his for all his
life--"shall I tell thee how it seems to me, as if thee had learned
every single lesson life and God has had to teach. Thee has had poverty
and sorrow, and endured the wrong that others have done thee. Thee has
seen thy kindred go away and leave thee alone. It is just like a good
soldier who has been in a thick fight and a sailor who has swam in deep
waters, but has come out safe on the other side. Thee is so calm and
happy, like Mrs. Jones's little Belinda, who sits in the sun and sings
and croons to herself, with never a plaything or anything good about her
except her own serene happiness. Isn't it?"

"Maybe, child. It may be. It should be, certainly. There should be no
care in either extreme of life. _Both ends are so close to the Father's

"Thee is right though, about the middle of life, little Amy. It is a
time of struggle and rebuff."

"But to-night it seems as if it could never have been so with thee. Tell
me, father Adam, how thee has kept thyself so simple and good."

"Nay, little one, not that. Simple, indeed, but not good. There is none
good but One. Yet there are certain things that help. I'll tell thee
what has helped me most, that is, in my daily life in the world, from
which we can never escape while the heart beats."

The dear old man rose, limped toward an ancient secretary, and took from
it a small book. Just an ordinary account book, ruled for the keeping of
small affairs, but arranged with every page inscribed by the trembling
fingers of this all-thoughtful friend.

"I have been thinking what a muddle it would be to thee, Amy, and I
fixed this for thee. On one side is the debt and the other side the
credit. Thee will have to keep the reckonings for thy family, I foresee;
for thee is practical. Look. Is the light sufficient?"

Amy held the little volume so that the rays of the harvest moon fell
clearly over them, and the old, quaint script was as legible as
copperplate. She questioned, and he explained just how the book should
be kept, and she found his "system" exceeding plain and direct, as was
everything about him. But there were two legends inscribed upon the
covers which had little in common with the figuring to be done between
them,--or so Amy thought; and when she asked him what they meant, he
quietly explained:--

"They have been my rules of life, Amy, and I think it would be well for
thee if thee also adopted them. They are short and easy to remember, but
they cover all. 'Simplicity, Sincerity, Sympathy,' on the front page;
and on the last, when the first rule seems sometimes to fail and the
heart needs cheer, there is this other: 'Love is all powerful.'"

"Thank thee, dear Adam, so much. Not only for the book and the help it
will be, but for the 'Rules' and--for thyself. I will make them mine,
and thee shall tell me if I am succeeding. Now, I know thee is sitting
up beyond thy time. I'll help thee to the living room and then to thy

Nor was Amy ever to forget that peaceful hour with this ripe old
Christian; and she never again sat in the rays of the harvest moon
without recalling the lessons she learned that night.



It seemed to Amy that she had never remembered so lovely a First Day as
that one at Burnside Farm. Things happened just as she had foretold.
Mrs. Kaye and Adam went to meeting in the little phaeton into which it
was so easy for him to climb, and Hallam and she rode beside it; for
"Old Shingleside," as the meeting-house was called, was at some distance
from the Clove. It crowned a wooded hill-top, and behind it lay the
peaceful burying-ground, with its rows of modest tombstones and wider
rows of grass-covered, unmarked mounds.

The windows of the meeting-house were all open, and the mild air came in
and warmed them; for as yet the plain box stoves held no blazing logs
within, and the rows of old-time foot-stoves reposed securely upon their
tops. Later, when the weather turned, these little wood-rimmed,
perforated tin boxes would be filled with coals from the fire and placed
beneath the feet of the elderly folk who came to worship.

The girl looked into her mother's face and found it beaming with the
still delight of one whose heart was deeply moved. She had always been
a member of this simple congregation, but of late years Salome Kaye had
been obliged to forego the pleasure of gathering with it. The distance
from Fairacres was too great for her to walk, and it was long since the
horses and carriages that had once filled Fairacres stables had

Hallam, also, from his place on the men's side, saw the joy in the face
he loved, and thought:--

"I wish mother would consent to ride one of the burros to meeting, then
she could come as often as she wished. But she doesn't think it
decorous. Well, I'm glad she's having the comfort to-day; but what is
Friend Adam saying? It sounds like a farewell."

He shot a startled glance across to Amy, among the women, and she
responded. Then both regarded Adam anxiously. He stood in the speaker's
place, where he was always found in meeting time. His body swayed gently
back and forth, though his hands rested upon his cane as if he needed
its support. His voice fell into the rhythmic measure to which they were
accustomed whenever he became the mouthpiece of the Spirit, but his
words were as of one who departs for a distant country and wishes many
things to be remembered.

His message was brief, yet delivered with all the fire and eloquence of
youth; but when he had finished and cast his eyes about him, something
like a sob burst from his withered lips:--

"It's so queer. He looks so happy and yet so sad. Well, he's giving the
hand of greeting to his neighbor, and so meeting's over."

There was no trace of sadness now. In the friendly hand-shaking that
became general was, as Amy had seen, the signal for the closing of the
meeting, whereupon old neighbors and friends fell promptly to giving and
receiving news of mutual welfare or trouble, as the case might be; and
after a while there was a driving away of vehicles, the nods and signals
of gray bonnets and broad brims, until the while party from the Clove
were the very last left lingering on the grass before the steps.

"Well, it's been a good day, Salome. And now the Word comes: 'For here
we have no continuing city, but seek one to come.'"

The old man's eyes fixed themselves earnestly upon the weather-beaten
structure; then with a bright smile he turned away and climbed into the
phaeton which Amy had brought.

Old Fanny mare trotted homeward at an almost giddy pace, and the burros
did their utmost to keep up with her, though their chronic laziness
overcame them at times, and they fell behind. After which Hallam and Amy
would prod their indolent beasts till they had "made a spurt and caught

"No use, children," laughed Adam Burn. "Fanny is a well-trained
'Quaker.' She knows meeting days as well as I do, and she never fails
to go there as slowly as she returns swiftly. She thinks, if horses
think, and I think they think--doesn't thee think so, Amy? She thinks
she has done her duty, and her conscience is as clear as her stomach is
empty. On meeting days she has always an extra feed. That's why she
spins along like this."

He was very jolly, and as full of fun as Amy herself. They found Mr.
Kaye pacing the driveway, waiting for them, and as eager for his dinner
as Fanny for hers.

They were soon gathered about the table, and again old Adam's jest was
the readiest, his cheerfulness the most contagious, and his suggestions
the most practical.

"I advise thee, Cuthbert, to have a lot of good soil drawn up and spread
over the top of Bareacre knoll. Thee can have the use of the team here
till--for some time. There is plenty of muck in the hollow, and I'd be
glad to have it cleared out. Then thee must sow grass, or grain and
grass mixed, and Salome can have as many roots and cuttings of the green
things here as she wishes. Get them all in this autumn. By another
spring they will begin to grow, and a little greenery will transform the

Mrs. Kaye thanked him, but Amy looked up from her dish of rice pudding
and smiled.

"Thee isn't helping us to keep the rule of 'don't run in debt' that thee
told me was so good."

"Cuthbert and I will settle that. Eat thy pudding, child." But he shook
his head at her so merrily she did not mind the rebuff.

After dinner came the big carryall, with its back part loaded so that
the springs touched, and with the "man" upon the front seat, ready to
drive the Kayes to their new home.

"Why, Adam, dear old friend, this is too much; it really is. I cannot
let thee do it," protested Mrs. Kaye, astonished at the sight. For there
were vegetables of every sort that grew at Burnside, with hams and
bacon, some very lively chickens, and baskets heaped with the grapes and
pears for which the Clove was famous.

"Too much, Salome? I think not. Not judging by the samples of appetites
I've seen this noon. Say nothing. Thee knows how gladly I give it, and
would give much more. Here, Amy, is a little letter for thee. I wish
thee to keep it without reading until--" he hesitated, looked at her
gravely, and finished his sentence--"until thy own heart tells thee that
the right time is come. For Hallam, too, there is a bit of writing, and
that he may read at any time he chooses."

"That's right now, then," laughed the lad, and eagerly tore the sealed

Adam Burn winced a little at the ragged edge this made on the paper, for
he was a careful person and hated slovenliness. But he could not refrain
a smile as he saw the expression of disappointment growing upon
Hallam's face, where he sat upon black Balaam, his crutches crossed
before him, looking down at the open sheet he had found. The envelope
dropped to the ground, and Amy picked it up; but her brother did not
show her the message he had received, and she was puzzled to hear their
old friend say:--

"The truth which I have written there is better for thee than a fortune,

"It may be, but, under the circumstances, I'd rather have the fortune."

"Thee'll find it, lad, never fear. Thee'll find it."

Amy thrust the envelope into her pocket, along with the letter Adam had
given her, and a moment later they all passed out of the yard, and
turned toward the knoll of Bareacre. The last glimpse they had of their
friend showed him standing in the sunshine, leaning upon his cane, and
gazing after them as they vanished from his sight.

"There is something different about that blessed old man to-day," said
Amy to Hallam, riding with him beside the carryall.

"Well, I suppose it makes him feel badly to know we are not going back
to Fairacres. He always does feel other people's troubles more than his

"What was in your letter, Hal?"

"Humph! It couldn't be called a letter. From anybody else I would have
thought it insulting."

"Not from him, dear. He couldn't insult anybody. He'd not have the
heart to do it. Do you mind telling?"

"Not a bit. I dare say you could take example by it too. For it was a
sort of sermon in few words,--'The perfection of a man is the stature of
his soul.' That's all."

"I don't see yet just what it means, but I think it is that you
shouldn't mind being lame. That you should let your soul grow so big you
would forget your poor legs, and other folks would forget them too."

Nothing more was said, and even Amy felt that they had had enough of
"sermons" for one day, and it was a relief to the thoughtfulness upon
them all to reach Bareacre, and to see Cleena, with Fayette beside her,
waiting to welcome them.

"Hal, isn't it odd? The poorer we are the more folks we have. Fayette
means to live there with us, and so, it seems, do all the little
Joneses. My! Who is that?"

"A scarecrow, I should think. Nobody I ever saw before."

Seated upon a rocking-chair which she had herself brought out from the
house was a young girl of about Amy's age, though from her dress and
manner she might have been at least several years older. Amy caught a
vision of something very gay and brilliant, rivalling the forests upon
the hillsides in variety of tint, but never in their harmony.

"Whew! Whoever she is she makes my eyes ache; and what a picture for
father to see, the first at his new threshold!"

Yet apparently without noticing anything unpleasing, Mr. Kaye assisted
his wife from the carryall and walked with her to where the stranger
still sat and rocked. She did not rise at their approach, and returned
the courteous greeting of the master and mistress of the house with the
barest of nods.

"How do? I come to pay a call."

But not upon them. For the first time in their lives the artist and his
lovely wife were relegated by this self-possessed young person to the
land of "old folks," in whom she felt no interest.

With a twinkle in his eye that met an answering one in hers, the
gentleman handed Mrs. Kaye on toward the eager Cleena, and turned to his

"My dears, a visitor for you, I think."

So Amy and Hallam rode up and dismounted, while the former went forward
slowly, smiling a welcome, yet feeling oddly disconcerted before this
unknown girl.

"I'm Gwendolyn Jones. Ma said it wasn't no more 'n friendly to come an'
call. I don't have no time 'cept Sunday an' Saturday-half. Then I
generally go to Wallburg to do my shopping. It's such a trouble,
shopping is, ain't it?"

"I don't know. I never did any," answered Amy, simply. She was amused
by Gwendolyn, but regretful that the visit had been timed just then. She
had counted upon showing the interior of the new home to her parents,
with all the best features accented, and now she must leave them to see
things for themselves. Besides, she was conscious that she had herself
been noticed only in the slightest degree by this maiden whose big brown
eyes were fixed upon Hallam with a steady gaze that annoyed him
exceedingly. He was always more conscious of his lameness in the
presence of a stranger, and the people he had met, heretofore, had been
so well bred that beyond the first involuntary surprise at his condition
they had ignored it entirely.

To his amazement Gwendolyn exclaimed:--

"So you're the lame fellow, are you? Well now, you don't look it, not
above your waist. You look real likely in your face, and your shoulders
is broader than Lionel Percival's. He's considered well growed, too."

"Is he?" asked poor Hallam, understanding that some sort of reply was

"Yes; 'Bony' feels real sot up, don't he, taking care of them donkeys?
Oh, I tell you, 'Bony' is a case."

"Is he?" again feebly ejaculated Hallam. He looked helplessly toward
Amy, but she was disappearing indoors, too eager to be with her parents
to loiter with this unprepossessing guest.

"Yes, he's telling all over the mill, and village too, how that he
belongs to your folks now. He's going to live here, ain't he?"

"He may be. It will be just as Cleena wishes, I fancy. She is the one
who has taken him in charge."

"That's the work girl, ain't it?"

To the young Kayes and their parents their faithful servant had never
been anything save just "Cleena." Her position in their family was as
assured as their own, and that she might be thought a "work girl" by
others, was a novel idea to the lad. It gave him something natural to
think about; and he stood leaning on his crutches, with a smile upon his
face, looking down upon the girl in the rocking-chair, chewing gum and
swaying so composedly.

"Why, yes; I suppose she is. She certainly works, and all the time. But
I should hardly call her a 'girl.'"

"Say, you must be tired, standing so long. Take this chair. I'll step in
and get another."

Again Hallam smiled. The girl, in her ignorant kindness of heart, had
broken a minor law of that courtesy in which he had been educated. She
had offered him the chair in which she had herself been sitting, instead
of the fresh one she meant to get. But he declined both, saying:--

"Please don't trouble. I can easily bring one for myself."

Because she was curious to see how he would do this, she watched him and
sat still. Now he was quite able to wait upon himself in most ways, and
handled his crutches so deftly that they often seemed to Amy, as to him,
"but an extra pair" of feet or hands, as the case might be.

So he swung himself into the house and out again, once more looking for
his sister, and hearing her voice above stairs explaining, exhibiting,
and regretting:--

"Isn't it too bad, mother, that this young lady should have come just
now? Hal has worked so hard and done so much. Anyway, father, you must
not, indeed you must not, go into your studio till he can take you
there. It would be such a disappointment, for he's arranged and
rearranged till I'm sure even your fine taste will be pleased."

He lingered a moment to catch the answer, and it filled his foreboding
soul with great content.

"It is all very excellent thus far, dear, and we'll surely leave the
studio for him to show. I had no idea you could so transform this barn
of a place. From the outside it was ugliness itself, but you have all
done wonders. We shall be very happy here."

"Can that really be father speaking? and we feared he would be utterly
crushed. Amy was right. Blood tells. And there's something better even
than blood to help him now. That's love. Dear old Adam was right, too:
so long as we have each other we can be happy."

Then he caught up a light chair under his arm and swung himself back to
play knight-errant to this unknown damsel.

She found him very agreeable, for he was a gentleman and could not fail
in courtesy toward any woman, old or young. So agreeable, indeed, that
she remained rocking, chewing, and talking, till the shadows of the
autumn evening crept round them, and Cleena, watchful for her "child,"
and indignant at the intrusion of this stranger, appeared.

"Arrah musha, Master Hallam, will you be sittin' here catchin' your
death? Come in by, immediate. The supper is on, an' the master waitin'.
Sure, that's bad luck, for the first meal we're all together in the new
home. Come by."

Hallam rose. It was impossible for him to avoid asking Gwendolyn to
remain, and she, utterly ignoring the sniffs and scowls of Cleena,
promptly accepted.

Of that meal it is not worth while to write. The girl did have the grace
to keep reasonably quiet, though occasionally she would feel that this
silence was not doing herself justice, and would break into the cheerful
conversation of the others with a boldness and self-assertion that made
Amy stare.

Finally she departed, and Mr. Kaye sighed his relief.

"Well, Friend Adam is the youngest old person, and Gwendolyn Jones is
the oldest young person I ever saw," remarked Hallam, as he lighted his
mother's bedroom candle and bade her good night.



"Yes, it is to be 'Charity House' now," said Salome Kaye, with that
quiet decision of hers which, as Amy described it, "Never makes any
fuss, and never wobbles."

"That's the best and the worst about mother. She never says 'yes' when
she means 'no,' and she never says either till it's all settled. I
remember how, when I was little, I used to ask, 'Is it decided?' and
when she answered, 'Yes, it's decided,' I gave up teasing. Mountains
might crush, but never move her."

"So it's 'Charity House' forever and a day. The trouble with you,
mother, is that all you say--or the little you say--always means
something. 'Charity House' is, I suppose, just as full of meaning as
everything else. Isn't it? Let me guess. It's 'Charity' because cousin
Archibald lets us live here for what he calls a 'starvation rent.'
That's the meanest kind of 'Charity,' and it's a lie, too."


"But, mother, it is. I've heard these people talk, and they all say that
the old curmudgeon--"

"Hallam, thee is proving that a 'Charity House' is the very sort of
home thee needed."

"Well, motherkin, it's true. He is curmudgeon-y. He's tried for years to
get a tenant for this property, and not even the mill folks would touch
it. He took advantage of us and made us think we were getting a great
deal for nothing."

"Are we not? Look about thee."

"Of course, it's big enough."

"What a curious place it is," said Amy; "like a box that eggs come in.
See, this is it," and she rapidly sketched upon a paper the diagram.
"Two partitions run this way, north and south, and two run at right
angles. That's three rooms deep on each floor, look at it from any point
of view. Each room is as like its neighbor as its twin. Hmm, I didn't
realize it, but there are eighteen rooms if we count the halls and the
'black hole.'"

"Almost as large as 'Fairacres,' thee sees."

"It's not so bad, if it weren't so fearfully bare," remarked Hallam,
examining Amy's sketch. "But it's queer."

The entrance hall was the middle front room of the old building. From
this a flight of stairs ran up and ended in "the middle room" above,
with a narrow flight behind into the attic. The upper middle room was
therefore an open space, from the sides of which a narrow gallery had
been reserved to surround the well-like opening of the stairway. Next
the stairs the gallery was furnished with a strong plain railing, to
prevent the accident of falling into the "well," and all the bedrooms
had doors opening upon it.

This upper space was dark, save when the bedroom doors were open and
gave it light. So, also, was the room below; and beneath this, still,
was the "black hole," the extension of a cellar under the kitchen.

Whatever the original purpose of this "hole," which received no light
nor ventilation except through the kitchen cellar, it was now the terror
and despair of Cleena's cleanly soul. She had wasted many good candles
in trying, by their light, to sweeten and make wholesome this damp,
miserable place. But despite all it remained almost as she found it.

"The pit of original sin," Hallam named it, advising her to give over
the task of purification. "You've sprinkled pounds of chloride, splashed
whitewash galore, swept and scrubbed and worn yourself out, and it's
hopeless. Well, I never heard that any of the Ingrahams died of
pestilence bred down there, so I fancy it won't hurt us."

"Faith, it shan't that. I'll keep the front cellar door open into it
incessant, an' I'll--"

"Waste your substance in lime. Don't, Goodsoul. But it's on my mind as
it is on yours. If I were as strong as I wish, I'd turn rabbit and
burrow galleries out from the middle vault under the middle rooms each
side of the house. That would give light and air and keep everything

Neither Cleena nor Hallam noticed that Fayette had been a close listener
to this conversation, nor heard the muttered exclamation:--

"I'll do it! Huckleberries! I'll s'prise 'em!"

This had been some days before Amy drew the diagram of the house, which
she now tossed into the waste-basket. From that it was rescued by the
half-wit and treasured carefully; for to the purpose formed in his mind
it would prove a great help.

"But go on, mother dear. What's the other sort of charity you mean?"

"That by all the advantages which we have had over these new neighbors
we should be helpful to them. We possess nothing of our own, absolutely,
not even our better training and--"

"Arrah musha! Sure the pullet was bad enough, but this baby'll be me
death! An' me steppin' me great foot--There, there, darlin'. Cry no
more, cry no more!"

The interruption was Cleena, and the cause "Sir" William Gladstone.

"Again, Goodsoul," jeered Amy.

"Again is it? An' me goin' down that hill betimes this mornin' to remind
me neighbor as how it wasn't necessary to send all the childer up here
to wonst. Not _all_!"

One of the first things which Cleena had made Fayette do was cut and
smooth a path from the door of "Charity House" to that of the cottage
below. She foresaw that there would be frequent errands to and fro, and
the loose stones, with the tangle of running blackberry vines, were
dangerous to life and limb. Then, because Hallam's lameness was also in
her mind, she had persuaded the mill boy to add a row of driven stakes
with rope strung along their tops.

"But never at all has Master Hal, for whom it was made, gone down or up
by that same. Me fathers, what's a body to do!"

"We're living in 'Charity,' Goodsoul. And I've observed that, look out
of window when I will, there's always a yellow headed Jones-let
ascending to us by the easy road you've fixed. Belinda, the small, is
apt to lead the way. She likes it up here. She likes it very much."

"Hmm, that's what the mother be's sayin'. But is that any reason at all,
avick, why they should be let?"

"Mrs. Jones thinks it is. She feels that we are flattered by the
preference her offspring show for our society; but between ourselves,
Cleena, I think it's more raisin-bread than affection. You made a dire
mistake in beginning to feed them."

"An' isn't it I that knows it? Now, this baby--"

"Yes, that baby. What's happened to him? He's spotted white and black,
like a coach-dog. What's he licking from his fingers?"

"It's spoilin' the bakin' o' bread is he the day. Takin' the coals from
the bucket, each by each, an' pressin' them deep in that beautiful
dough. Will I wash his face, eh? Never a wash I wash, but home to his
mother he goes the same as he is. If the sight does not shame her, I'd

"I'll take him, Cleena, and I'll bring back the milk for the day."

So with her pail in one hand and the other guiding the still uncertain
steps of William Gladstone, Amy started.

"It's a pity, Sir William, it really is a pity that you ever learned how
to climb. You've progressed so alarmingly. First time you tried it you
could only stumble and fall backward. Now--you hitch along famously.
Heigho! here's Victoria. All the high personages of Merrie England are
honoring us 'the day.' Well, Victoria Regina, what's the errand now?"

"Nothing, only thought I'd tell you about that old Quaker man you like."

"Everybody likes. What about him?"

"He's gone away. Ma says he won't never live to come back again."

"Victoria--Jones, what are you saying?"

"That Mr. Quaker Burn, up Clove way, had been took to Ne' York."

"I guess you're mistaken. We would have heard about it if it were so.
Now, if you please, though, I should like Master Gladstone to be 'took'
home. If you'll hold his other hand we'll get him there the quicker."

"I guess I'll go up and set a spell; you take him," remarked Victoria,
and turned to ascend the slope.

Amy sighed: "Something must be done to stop this!" Then she lifted her
eyes and scanned the white dusty road which circled Bareacre knoll, and
across which lay the Jones's cottage. A wagon was driving leisurely
along this highway, and it had a most familiar appearance. A moment's
watching showed it to belong to the Clove Farm, and it was Adam Burn's
"hired man" who was driving in it. Her heart sank. What if Victoria had
spoken the truth?

So she hurried her young charge to his home, and waiting only to have
her pail filled with the milk, ran back to intercept the approaching

"Good morning, Israel. How's dear old Adam?"

"Only the Lord knows. Sarah Jane's got him."

"She hasn't! Don't tell me!"

"But she has, though."






"Same old story. If she hadn't gone to Europe, she'd had him last year.
I knew how 'twould be when she come home this summer an' begun to send
him the letters. She's the powerfulest hand to do her duty that ever
was. Everything else has to give way."

Amy's hand trembled so that her milk began to trickle over the sides of
her pail.

"That's what it meant, then, that dear, precious old fellow. He knew he
was going to leave us, that First Day we spent at the farm. That was why
his words in the meeting-house were so like a farewell. It is too bad!
It must have broken his heart."

"No, it didn't. He didn't want to go, not a mite; but there wasn't no
heart-break, _not in sight_. If there was, he kept it hid. But he went
all round the place, into every shed and building, pointing out things
that should be done, and being most particular about the flowers and
garden. He told me to take care of everything just as if he was coming
back to-morrow. But he'll never. He'll never."

"Israel, you shall not say that! He must come back!"

"Oh, he'll come, of course, one way: that's feet foremost. He's a sight
feebler 'n he ever let on, an' this riotous livin' at York, what with
balls and parties and wine suppers, he won't last long. They'll kill him
out of hand amongst 'em."

"Oh, Israel, the idea of Adam Burn at 'balls and parties and wine
suppers,' when he's so simple and sweet and abstemious. I don't believe
he ever tasted wine during all his pure, beautiful life. I'm not
worrying about that. It's the leaving the things he loved will hurt him
so. Why couldn't Sarah Jane have left him in peace? O dear! O dear! This
will be a fresh sorrow for mother."

"So I suppose. For all of us, too. It's going to be lonesome for me, I
reckon. Though Mis' Boggs won't have so much to do. She wants to give up
the job, an' go live with our son, Jim. But Sarah Jane told us to stay,
an' so we'll have to."

"Is this dreadful woman who's spirited Adam away any kin to _you_?"

"Course not. But you needn't laugh. You don't know that lady. She's
masterful, and she's rich--'rich as Croesus,'--and don't know what to
do with her money. When the old man was lookin' around an' chargin' me
'bout things, she broke in with: 'Oh, don't worry, father-in-law. The
trumpery stuff isn't worth so much thought. I'm not a relic hunter, and
let it go,' says she. Then he reminds her that he wanted it kept right
for--Whew! I near let the secret out, didn't I? He told me he wrote you
a letter. He gave it to you, didn't he? Well, if you'll carry the
message for me, I won't climb 'Spite' hill this morning. There's a few
things to fetch up in the open wagon, and I'll see your folks about
hauling that muck. Good-by. The spirit's taken clean out of me.
Twenty-five years me and him has lived together, and to part sudden like
this. Twenty-five years by the clock, and a better man than him never
trod the footstool."

With that Israel brought the mare around, and giving a mournful nod of
his head drove dejectedly away.

Amy flew up the hill. She paid little heed now to the spilling of the
milk, for she began to realize in all its force the calamity which had
befallen them; and she burst into her mother's sitting room flushed and
indignant, demanding:--

"What right had Sarah Jane to take him away?"

Mrs. Kaye's heart sank. She understood what this hysterical question
implied. It had been a contingency long foreboded by her, though against
its justice she could find nothing to say.

"Every right, dear. She is his son's widow. She is acting, no doubt, as
she thinks her husband would wish."

"But he didn't want to go."

"She probably felt he was too old to live alone, without relatives.
Indeed, I know that she would have taken him long ago, if she had been
living in this country herself. As soon as she came home she has
attended to her--her duty, as she sees it. As I suppose, anybody would
see it, who was indifferent whether he went or stayed. I hope, though,
that she'll bring him back to Burnside in the spring."

"Do you know her, mother?"

"Not well. When we were both younger I used to see her sometimes. She
was never very fond of Burnside, however. It was too quiet for her. She
is a wealthy woman, who likes to do a great deal of good. She is at the
head of many charitable associations, and she has always had wonderful
executive ability."

"Does that mean being what Israel called 'masterful'?"

"About the same thing."

"Will she be good to our dear Adam?"

"Certainly. She will see that he has every comfort possible. He will,
doubtless, have a servant especially appointed to wait upon and care for
him, and he will be made to share in all the enjoyments of the house.
She believes that it is the duty of all to live actively in the world
and do good aggressively, so to speak. But Adam is so old and feeble, he
has passed his days in such simplicity, I can feel what a change for him
it will be. Still, if he were to fall seriously ill, he would be better
off at his daughter-in-law's than here. Ah, yes. I suppose it is for the
best--for him. For us--well, it will be hard to think of Burnside
without his gracious presence. He was my parents' oldest, closest
friend, as he has been mine."

Mrs. Kaye rose, folded up her mending, and left the room. "I must tell
Cuthbert," she remarked, as if to herself, and her face was very sad.

When Amy found her brother and told him the news his comment was:--

"That's a bad business for us, girlie."

"Of course. Don't you suppose I feel it?"

"As long as Adam Burn was near, mother would never have been allowed to
really suffer for anything. I mean that he would have managed to keep an
eye upon her and have helped us out, till we could help ourselves. Do
you know where that letter is he gave you? Have you read it? I should
think this might be that 'right time' of which he spoke."

"The letter? In my other dress pocket. I'll get it."

But when she had searched not only in her pockets but in every other
possible place, the letter could not be found; and though Mrs. Kaye
assured them that there was probably very little of importance in it,
her children could not help imagining something quite to the contrary;
and to learn the unread message became the great desire of their hearts.

"Well, in any case, we have what he said to you, Hal, about soul growth
and that."

"Humph! Such talk is all well enough, but how is it going to help when
we reach our last dollar? Did you ever think, Amy, seriously think how
we are going to live? Just where our actual bread and butter is to come

"No. Why, no, not really."

"Then it's high time you did."



At about the same moment, on a "Saturday-half" in November, Amy Kaye and
Gwendolyn Jones left each her own home to visit that of the other. They
met on the slope of "Bareacre" and paused for mutual greetings.

"How do? I was just going up to your house," said Gwendolyn, turning her
back to the wind that just then blew strongly.

"Good afternoon. Were you? And I was going to yours."

"My! How cold it is. Winter'll be here before we know it. Makes a body
think about her clothes. That's why I was coming. I thought, maybe,
you'd like to go shopping with me."

"You're forgetting, I fancy, that I told you I never did that. I
shouldn't know how to shop, nor scarcely what it means," laughed Amy.

"That's what me and ma was saying. You seem such a little girl, yet
'Bony' says you're 'most as old as I am."

"But I don't feel old, do you? I wish I might never grow a day older,
except that if I do I may be more useful to my people."

"Won't you go, then?"

"Maybe, if you will do something for me, too. I'm not on the road to buy
anything, but to sell. I thought that you might know of somebody who
would like a burro. Do you?"

"I'd like one myself, first-rate, only I'm saving for a wheel. I'm
buying it on the instalment plan. I pay a dollar a week, and after I get
my winter things I'll pay more. Do you ride?"

"Nothing so fine as a bicycle; just either Pepita or Balaam."

"It's awful hard to have to walk everywhere, and the good thing about a
wheel is that it don't have to eat."

"And the bad thing about a burro is that it does."

"Are you in earnest? Do you want to sell it?"

"No; I don't _want_ to at all, but I'm going to if I can. Do you know
anybody who really might buy Pepit?"

"Guess I do. Guess the 'Supe' would."

"The 'Supe'--Mr. Metcalf?"

"Yes; I heard him say he'd like to get such a pair of mules or donkeys,
or whatever they are, for his children. He's got a slew of them, and he
gets 'em every conceivable thing. I wouldn't wonder if he did, if you
was to ask him."

"Will he be at the mill to-day?"

"No; he's at his house, I guess. The mill's shut up, only the watchman
there. The 'Supe' don't hang around there himself so much since the new
'boss' came."

"Maybe his house would be out of your way. If you'll tell me how to find
it, I can go by myself. I wouldn't like to give you trouble."

"Oh, 'twouldn't be a mite. I'd like it. There'd be time enough afterward
for Mis' Hackett's. She keeps open till near midnight, Saturdays. She
gets lots of the mill trade, and she'd like to have it all. But
Wallburg's far nicer. Don't you love Wallburg?"

"I was never there except once, when father had a guest from town. Then
mother sent for a carriage, and they took their friend to see the city.
Hallam and I rode our burros, but we were very tired when it was over.
Even then we passed through the residence streets only."

"Pshaw! It's where the stores are that I like. I always wish I was made
of money when I'm in a store. They do have such lovely things."

"Doesn't your mother buy your clothes?"

"My mother? _My mother?_ Well, I guess not. The idea! If a girl earns
her own money and pays for all she has, I guess she's a right to pick
'em out. Don't you?"

"Why--yes. I suppose she has a right, if her mother allows. But I should
think it would be very trying to select one's own things. I should be
so afraid I wouldn't choose correctly, and not please her taste."

"My land! What if you didn't? It's you that has to wear them, isn't it?
Have a piece of this gum. It's a new sort. Mis' Hackett keeps it and
charges two cents a stick. Other kinds are only one cent, but this is

Gwendolyn was kind-hearted. She was also very vain. She felt that it was
a fine thing to be acquainted with "aristocratics" like the Kayes; yet
in her heart she was rather ashamed of Amy's plain attire, the
simplicity of which seemed to Gwendolyn a proof of Mrs. Kaye's
incapacity to "shop"; and its being white--though of soft warm wool--of
her want of taste. She supposed, also, that any girl who could, would
buy gum, and decided that her new acquaintance must be very poor indeed.

"Take it. I can get plenty more. I earn real good wages now."

"Do you?" asked Amy, so wistfully that the other was confirmed in her
opinion of the poverty.

"I should think you would like to work in the mill, wouldn't you? If
your folks have lost their money, it would seem real handy to have a
little coming in."

"Yes, it would, indeed. But I couldn't do it."

"Why not? You're strong enough, I guess, if you aren't so big."

"Yes, I'm strong and well. But father has forbidden me to think of it."

"Pshaw! He'd come round. If you want to do it, I _would_; and once you
were settled he wouldn't care, or he couldn't help himself, anyway. He's
kind of queer, isn't he? I've heard that."

"Queer? Yes; just as queer as a splendid gentleman like him must always
seem to common people," flashed the daughter, all the more disturbed
because she realized that there had been once, if not now, just a little
truth in the suggestion.

"Pshaw! I didn't mean to make you mad. O' course, I hadn't ought to have
spoke so about your own father. I s'pose I'd be mad, too, if anybody
said things about pa. They do, sometimes, or about ma, their naming us
children by fancy names, as they did. You see, they're English, pa and
ma are, and so they named us after English aristocratics. Ma's a master
hand for reading novels, too, and she gets notions out of them. We take
the _Four Hundred Story Paper_, and the _Happy Evening Gazette_. Do you
take them?"

"No; I never heard of them."

"My land! you didn't? Ain't that queer? Why, they're splendid. They have
five serial stories running all the time. As fast as one is finished
another is commenced. Umm, they're awful exciting. You can't hardly wait
from week to week to get the new instalments. Trouble is, ma says, we'd
ought to each of us have a copy, we're so crazy to get hold of it when
it comes. Some of the girls take fashion papers, and we lend them
'round. Some lend, I mean. Some are stingy, and won't. They have
patterns in them. You can get some of the patterns free, and some cost
ten or fifteen cents. Say, how do you like my dress?"

Amy looked critically at her companion's attire. She admired it far less
than Gwendolyn had her own simple frock, and she found the question
difficult to answer without giving offence. She compromised by saying:--

"Your mother must be very industrious to have made it, with all the
housework and the children."

"If you ain't the greenest girl I know! My mother couldn't make a dress
like this to save her life."

"O--oh!" stammered Amy.

"Indeed, she couldn't. This was made by a dressmaker. The best one in
Ardsley, too. She charged me five dollars, and ma said it was too much.
I think it was, myself, but what can you do? You must look right, you
know; if you don't the girls will make fun of you, and the boys won't
take you any place. Is there any boy you like, much?"

"Why, of course; though I know only three. Is this the way, around the

"Three? Who're they?"

"Hallam, and Fayette, and William Gladstone. Doesn't the mill village
look cosy? The cunning little houses with their porches and gardens and
neat palings. Such a lot of folks living together should have good
times, I think."

"Oh, they do; prime. That's the 'Supe's' house, that big one, upon that
little hill. That whole row belongs to the different 'bosses,'--of the
setting room, the weavers, and the rest. The 'Supe' is real nice, I
think, though some say he's stuck up. He was a poor boy, once,--as poor
as a church mouse. Say, don't you feel sort of afraid to call on him,
after all?"

"Why? No, indeed. Afraid? Why should I?"

"Oh, because."

Amy laughed and hastened forward. Nothing more was said until they
reached the door, shadowed by vines from which not even yet all the
leaves had fallen. The whole place had a sheltered, homelike appearance,
which spoke well for the taste and kindliness of its owners.

"Yes; Mr. Metcalf is in. Would you like to see him? Ah, Gwendolyn, is it
you? Walk in." Yet even Amy noticed that the maid's manner in welcoming
her companion was less cordial than in welcoming herself. She concluded
that there might be some truth in the assertion of this family
considering themselves rather better than their neighbors.

They were ushered into a cheery sitting room, which seemed also a sort
of library, for there were bookcases around the walls, and a table was
spread with the current literature of the day. The room was small by
comparison with those to which Amy had been accustomed, but what it
lacked in size it made up for in comfort. A coal fire glowed on the
hearth, a bird sang in its cage before the window, and about the floor
were scattered the playthings that told that it was the resort of

The girls were not kept waiting. Mr. Metcalf entered almost at once,
nodded kindly to Gwendolyn, and cordially extended his hand to Amy.

"I am very pleased to see you, Miss Amy. Sit nearer the fire, for it's
right cold to-day."

"Thank you, but I'm not cold, and I don't wish to detain you. Gwendolyn
tells me that it is your holiday, too, and that you go to Wallburg."

Mr. Metcalf glanced across at the other girl, who bridled and simpered
as she adjusted her hat and settled her skirts.

"She goes there herself, I fear, rather too much. Eh, Gwendolyn?"

"I go when I please," answered the mill girl, pertly. She resented
something in the tone of her superintendent, feeling that out of work
hours he had no authority over her.

"Oh, of course. By the way, there's the stage just ready for the other
end of the village. Do you see it, Miss Amy? The shop mistress, Mrs.
Hackett, sends one over every Saturday afternoon to carry our folks
free to her place of business. She's an enterprising person, but,
unfortunately, as soon as she had adopted this plan, two other merchants
of the town set up rival stages also. It's very funny, sometimes, to see
the respective drivers' efforts to secure passengers, and therefore

At the mention of stages, Gwendolyn rose and looked through the window.
Then she turned toward Amy like a person in great haste.

"Tell the 'Supe' what you came for, Amy, so we can get a ride
over,--that is, if you want to go shopping with me after all."

But poor Amy could not reply just then. It had come over her with a rush
what her errand really meant to her, and she was wholly indifferent to
the charms of a stage or even "shopping."

"Don't wait for me, please,--that is, of course, I will keep my word,

"All right, then, some other day. I'll be up to see how you made out,
and if Mr. Metcalf don't want it maybe I'll hear of somebody else who
does. By, by. Good day, sir," and off she tore, banging the door and
shouting loudly to the driver of Mrs. Hackett's stage.

Mr. Metcalf watched her in silence till she had climbed the steps at the
rear of the omnibus, and then he remarked:--

"That girl has so much sense that she ought to have more."

"That's a doubtful compliment, isn't it?" asked Amy, smiling.

"I suppose so, though it's quite true. She is warmhearted, generous to a
fault, and as silly as they make them. However, she has given me the
pleasure of seeing you to-day, and I hope that you will tell me how I
can be of use to you. From Gwendolyn's words I judge that you came upon
some special errand."

"Yes; I came to ask if you would like to buy my white burro."

"Ah, you are tired of her? I mean you wish to sell her? Has she been
misbehaving or interfering with 'Bony' again?"

"No, she has been very, very good, and I don't at all wish to part with
her; but I want some money very badly, and that is the only thing--the
only way I could get it."

"I am very glad you came to me. Ever since I made Miss Pepita's
acquaintance, that day at the mill, I've wished I could find another
like her for my little Nanette. How much do you ask for the burro?"

"I don't ask anything. That is, I don't know how much she is worth."

"I think you told me that she was a gift to you?"

"Yes, from my uncle in California."

"Hmm, I've heard of him," commented the gentleman, briefly. "Now, I am
almost as much in the dark in regard to the value of such animals as
you are, but, at a rough estimate, I will offer you fifty dollars. Then
I will make inquiries, and if I find I have named too small a price, I
will add the balance. Is that satisfactory?"

"Oh, yes, indeed. Thank you. I--I shall be glad to have Pepita in such a
nice place."

At home Amy had spoken to none save Cleena about this intention of hers,
and that good creature had sighed and wiped her eyes, but had not
uttered one word of protest. The girl sighed, too, now, and the
superintendent felt it would be kind to cut the matter short.

"When can I send for her?"

"Oh, at--at any time, I suppose. Or, if you don't mind, I'd like to ride
her here myself. Just once more."

Mr. Metcalf looked at his watch.

"In a few moments John will be passing by Bareacre on his way to the
other village. You might drive up with him and ride her down here
afterward. There will be ample time before dark, and you must tell your
people not to be anxious, should there be any delay."

"Very well; and maybe Hallam, my brother, will come, also. Though he
hasn't been told yet, and might not--"

"Very well. Excuse me for a moment. I will speak to John."

He did not add, nor Amy reflect, that it was a very long and roundabout
way to reach "the other village," by passing over rough and steep
Bareacre hill; but John was willing enough to take it, when he was told
who was to be his companion on the route. He had liked Amy from the
first, and had grown to know her fairly well during his time of helping
the Kaye household to settle.

"All right, boss. Sorry the little thing is to give up her donkey. She
set a powerful store by it, I 'low. Well, all ready? How do, Miss Amy?
So me an' you're going to take a trip together, eh? Then I can find out
for myself how the well is doing. Don't see much of 'Bony' since your
folks took him in hand. Giddap, there, Jinny! Here we go!"

To pass the time agreeably John talked of everything which he imagined
might be of interest to the silent girl beside him, but he elicited few
replies, and had the stream of his words flow, for once, without
interruption. Yet it seemed a very, very slow ride to Amy, and when it
came to an end, she scarcely waited to thank John for his "lift" before
she sped to the shed where Pepita was tied, and shutting the door behind
her, threw her arms around the neck of the gentle beast, to cry as
freely as she pleased.

"Bray! Br-a-ay! Ah-umph! Ah-u-umph!" inquired the burro, turning her
head around as far as she could by reason of Amy's embrace.

"Oh, you darling, you dear old darling. Don't talk to me. Don't look at
me as if you thought I had no heart. Do you think I don't love you,
that I will sell you, Pepit'? But--it must be. It must be. Better you
than Balaam, and even he--"

"Ah-umph! A-ah-umph! Br-r-r-ay! Bray-bray-bray! B-r-a-y-a-u-m-p-h!!"
protested Balaam, with great haste and emphasis; and this sound was an
added pang in the heart of the unhappy Amy, who felt that she was not
only breaking her own heart by this separation, but the hearts of this
four-footed pair as well.

Then she heard a sound along the frozen ground, and instantly she lifted
her head, pulled her Tam over her eyes to hide the traces of tears, and
called out, gayly:--

"Is that you, Hal dear? What do you think? You and I are to ride down to
Mr. Metcalf's, right away now. Is Fayette in the house? I want him to
help me groom Pepita to 'the Queen's taste,' as he says. Halloo to him,
for me, please."

But instead of that the brother hobbled into the shed and asked:--

"Why should we go there? I don't want to. I've no fondness for paying

"But you must go this time, Hal. You really, really must. I'll tell you
why, by and by."



When the cripple firmly declined the visit, Cleena found some errand for
Fayette to do at the "general store" in the mill village. Hallam thought
it a little queer that he was not greatly urged in the matter, and that
Cleena should ask him to let Fayette ride Balaam.

"For you know, Goodsoul, how I hate to have anybody ride him, except
myself. Not even Amy is really welcome, though she does sometimes. I
don't see why she goes, anyway. What have we to do with any of these
people? When mother is ill, too. If I were a daughter, I'd stay at

Cleena wheeled about from scrubbing the kitchen table and retorted,

"Don't you go throwing blame on Miss Amy, lad. Arrah musha! but she's
the more sense of the lot of us, so she has, bless her bonny heart. An'
that sunbright an' cheerful, no matter--"

"She's not very cheerful this afternoon, Cleena. I believe she'd been
crying, just now, when I found her in the shed. I fancy she'll find a
ride anything but funny, on such a day as this. I like the warm fire
better than the road in such weather."

"Get back to it then, child. There's your book yon, on the settle. Wait.
Carry in a bowl of porridge to the mistress, an you can? Heigh! Move
them crutches easy now, an' not spill the stuff all over me nice floor."

In her heart Cleena was very proud of her deft-handed "child," who could
do so many helpful things, even though a cripple, and she watched him
cross the wide room, swinging easily along on his "other feet," yet
holding the bowl of steaming liquid upright and safely. Then she sighed,
and going to the door called:--

"Me Gineral Bonaparty, come by!"

Fayette was digging, even though the ground was frozen, and it would be
months before anything could grow again. But the simple fellow was a
"natural farmer," and it was his intention to "let her lie fallow this
winter. Next summer I'll show you a garden'll make your eyes bung out.
I'm the best gard'ner anywhere's round, I am."

He now replied:--

"What fer? I want to get this side gone over, this afternoon. Then come
Monday I'm goin' to get some trees down brook way, an' get John to haul
'em up an' set 'em out, an' get Miss Amy--"

"Faith, what else'll you 'get' with your 'get' an' 'get,' I'd know. Come
by, I tell ye, to wonst."

When Cleena spoke in that tone, it was noticeable that Fayette always
obeyed. He now threw down his spade, though reluctantly, and sauntered
to the kitchen door.

"A woman hain't got no sense nohow, stopping a man from his work."

"An' all the sense a man body has, me fathers, is to keep a woman
standin' in her doorway. I'm wantin' ye to go to the store down below.
Master Hallam's for lettin' ye ride Balaam. Off with ye, now, an' clean
the beast's coat, sayin' nothin' of Miss Amy's own little white. Will
she ride with ye? What for no? Proud you be, says I, to be escortin' of
the like o' her."

Fayette's eyes shone. The desire of his heart was to possess Balaam for
himself; failing this, to have the privilege of using the pretty
creature occasionally.

"How happened it? How does she want to go there in such a wind? Blows
the hair right off your head, I 'low. I'd ruther go alone, I would."

"'Ruthers' is all froze up. Haste along with ye now, an' be off. Mind ye
talk pretty to my colleen, 'cause--No matter."

Fayette made swift work of the grooming, and only a few moments later
Amy and he rode out of the enclosure. As she descended the slope, the
girl turned and waved her hand cheerfully to Cleena, then set her face
toward the valley and relapsed into silence.

Fayette endured this as long as he could, for though he rarely needed
anybody else to speak, this afternoon he was annoyed by his companion's

"What's the matter, Amy? You ain't said a word since we started."

"Haven't I? and we're almost there, already. Well, I was thinking.
That's all. I'll try to do better on the way home."

"Feelin' bad about your ma? Land, she'll get well. All she wants is a
bit o' boneset tea, or sage an' sassafras. I'll go yarb hunting
to-morrow, if I get my garden ploughed. Cleena'll stew it. Say, have you
heard my new one? Hark to this."

He pulled from his pocket a small jewsharp and began to "play" upon it
in the most nerve-rasping manner.

"Oh, Fayette, another? Why, you must have a half-dozen already. I come
upon them everywhere about the house, in the rooms where you are."

"Ain't got none now but this. I bought it to Mis' Hackett's. Cleena's
took my others. Got 'em all in her kitchen draw'. 'Low she'll get this
if you tell on me."

"I'll not need. You'll have it out to show her how talented you are, and
then--away goes your pride, your jewsharp, and all."

"Hmm, she better try. I'll teach her a lesson some day she ain't goin'
to ferget. That woman bosses me too much. I ain't a-goin' to stand it.
You'll see. I'll clear out an' leave the whole kerboodle first you know.
Sho! Here we be."

"Indeed. Well, I'm sorry to have reached the place so soon, though it is
pretty cold."

"You go in and see the 'Supe's' folks. I'll ride along an' do my
arrants. Cleena'd ruther trust me than you, wouldn't she? I'm a master
hand for a trade, an' she knows it. Say, I do wish he'd sell me Balaam."

"You must drop that subject, really, Fayette. Even if Hallam were to
part with his burro, it would not be to you."

The simple lad's fierce temper rose in full force at Amy's blunt words.

"Like to know why not? Ain't my money as good as anybody's? Ain't I
'stuck up' enough to suit? He never rode in a parade, he didn't. Told me
so himself."

"Nor do I think he ever will, and, of course, one person's money is as
good as another's, excepting that we could never trust how long you
would be kind to dear old Balaam. Hal would take much less to have the
creature well treated than--I mean--Oh, don't get so angry; it's not
worth while."

The more she tried to smooth matters over, the more indignant the other
became. His harp was still between such discolored teeth as Pepita's
former assault had left him, and added to the grotesqueness of his
appearance as he glared upon Amy. To finish what she had begun, she

"Just tie him there, at that second post, please, and you'd best put his
blanket on him."

"Tie him? I'm goin' to ride him to the village to let the boys see him
an' try him. I promised I would. Tie him! I shan't neither!"

"You certainly will not ride him to wherever those dreadful boys are.
Nobody shall touch him, except you or me, and you ought not."

Fayette gave her one more angry glance, leaped from his saddle with a
jerk, and bestowed upon the unoffending burro a vicious kick. Then he
disappeared down the street, and Amy tied Pepita in haste, that she
might look after the other animal also.

Just then she heard a step upon the path behind her, and the
superintendent's pleasant voice, saying:--

"Well, young lady, you are certainly prompt, and promptness is a
cardinal virtue--from a business man's point of view. See, here is the
little girl for whom you are giving up your pet."

"Ah, indeed."

Amy smiled upon the child, who might have been ten years of age, and the
fragile little creature appeared to smile in return. Then it came over
the visitor that there was something out of common in that uplifted,
happy face, and that the smile was not in response to her own greeting.
The wide blue eyes looked upward, truly, but with the blank stare of
one who sees nothing.

"Ah, is it so?" cried Amy, a second time, watching with what hesitation
the little girl moved along the path, and how persistently she clung to
her father's hand.

"Yes, blind; quite blind--from her birth," said Mr. Metcalf, sadly.

Amy was on her knees in a moment, clasping the child's slight body in
her arms and saying:--

"Then I'm glad, glad that you are to have Pepita. She is the dearest,
nicest burro--except when she's bad--and will carry you wherever you
want to go,--that is, if she is willing. You dear little girl, she shall
be yours, without that money either. I never knew about you before, or
you should have had her before, too."


Mr. Metcalf smiled, well pleased. His blind daughter was the idol of his
flock, and anybody who was attracted by her became interesting to him.
Amy had been so, even before this incident, but he liked her heartily

"So, Miss Amy, though you hated to part with your burro for money, you
would do so willingly for love and sympathy?"

"Why, of course. If I'd only known--"

"You will not make a good business woman, at this rate. But this wind is
sharp. I mustn't keep Nanette out here long, else her mother will worry,
and that wouldn't do. Suppose, since you know more about donkeys than I
do, that you give my girl her first riding lesson. Reach Miss Amy your
hand, dear heart."

Amy caught the little white-mittened fingers in her own and kissed them
impulsively. Then she rose and placed the child on Pepita's saddle.

"Take hold of the bridle, so, in both hands, now, till you learn how.
I'll keep my arm about you. No, dear, you cannot fall. I wouldn't let
you, even if Pepita would, and she's in a gentle mood to-day. Aren't
you, Pepit'?"

"Br-a-ay! Ah-ump!" responded the burro. She did not always have her
replies so ready, and, for an instant, it seemed as if she would
frighten her new mistress. But there was always something absurdly
amusing in Pepita's tones, and after the first shock of hearing them had
passed, Nanette burst into a merry laugh that made the others laugh too.

"Oh, doesn't she talk nicely! Does she always answer so quick?"

"No, indeed. Sometimes the naughty little beast will not say a single
bray. She has many moods, has Pepit'. You'll find them all out, though,
after a while. Now, how do you like it? Isn't the motion soft and

"Oh, if mamma could see!" cried the happy little girl, turning her sunny
face toward Amy. Then she suddenly pulled off her mittens and drew her
new friend's head down so that she could feel the unfamiliar features.
Swiftly, lightly, the tiny finger-tips passed over every one, then
travelled upward and lost themselves in the close rings of hair under
the scarlet Tarn. "Now, I'll know you forever. What color is your hair?
What is your hood, or bonnet?"

"My hair is very dark brown, or almost black, I think. My Tarn is red.
But do you know colors?"

"I know what they are like to me. Papa says that maybe that is not the
same as they are in the truly world, but I don't care. They are pretty
and suit me, my blind colors do. I like you. I like you very much. I
think you are lovely, lovely to give me your don-key--"

"But I didn't. That is, I will, since I know about you; but I asked your
father to buy her first. I wouldn't--"

"Oh, never mind. It's all the same, isn't it? It would be in my blind
world. She was yours and now she is mine, and you're lovely. Oh, I wish
mamma could see!"

"Why, can't she, dear? Is she--"

"No," interrupted the superintendent, smiling. "No, she isn't blind. The
only body in our household who is able to see beautiful things with her
eyes shut is Nanette, here; and the only trouble with the mother is that
there is a new baby in her room just now, so she hasn't time or strength
to get up and look out of window at new burros. She thinks the new
babies are the nicer of the two sorts. Eh, Nan, child?"

"I suppose she does, but I don't. Pooh! there have been three new baby
sisters that I can remember, and once I was a new baby sister myself, to
my brothers. They're so common, you know; but I don't think of any girl
anywhere, except you, and now me, that has had a new snow-white donkey.
Do you?"

"No, I do not," laughed Amy.

Mr. Metcalf invited Amy into the house, while he led the burro around to
the little stable in the rear, which was to be Pepita's new home. Amy
would have liked to throw her arms about the hairy white neck, but pride
forbade, and so the parting was made without any sign of distress on
either side. Pepita was eager for shelter, and her late mistress to hear
what the blind child was saying.

"It's right this way into the sitting room. I love the sitting room
best. That's where papa has his books and papers, and it smells like
him. He smokes, you know, but only in this room or out of doors. Oh, do
help me think! Mamma, dear heart, says I am to name this last little new
baby. Just fancy it! I, myself! And it bothers me terrifically. I would
want a nice long name, the longest that's in the books; but papa says
that there are so many little folks who like us and come to live with
us, that we mustn't spend time on long names. Oh, I've just thought!
I'll name her 'Amy.' That's short, isn't it? Could a body nickname it?
We don't like nicknames here. I'm the only one. I'm sometimes 'Nan' to
papa. When the baby last before this one came, mamma named her Abby
after Grandmother Abigail. Then she thought we couldn't ever stop to say
Ab-i-ga-il, so she shortened it to Abby. Next thing, listen. Abby was
crying one day and Rex heard her, and grandmother asked, 'What's that?'
'cause she's deaf and doesn't hear straight, and Rex said, 'Oh, that's
nothing but little Ab!' She was just three days old then, and mamma
thought if her name got cut in two so quick as that, she wouldn't have
any at all in a week or two longer. So she's just Ruth now; and when the
boys say 'Ruth-y,' papa makes them put a nickel in the box. Do you have
a nickel box on your bookcase?"

"No, indeed. Tell me about it. I've never heard of such a thing."

"Why, it's this way. Feel me your hand. I'll show you." And as if she
could see perfectly, Nanette guided Amy to the further side of the room,
where stood a pretty, polished box upon the bookshelf. The box had a
slit in its cover, and it jingled merrily in the blind child's hand.

"Hear! We must have been pretty bad this month. But that makes it all
the better for the little 'fresh airers,' doesn't it? Sometimes, when I
think about them, I just want to do things--_not nice things_--all the
time, so as to make more money for them. But of course it wouldn't be
honorable, and I wouldn't do it."

"Do you put the nickels in when you are 'naughty'?"

"Yes, for crossness and unpolite words and messing at table and--lots of
things. Once--" Nanette paused and turned her eyes toward Amy for a long
time. Then she again passed those delicate finger-tips over the other's
face, and decided:--

"Yes, I can trust you. Once one of us, I couldn't tell you which one,
but one of us told a wrong story, a falsehood, an untruth. One of the
dreadful things that made our dear Lord kill Ananias and Sapphira dead.
Wasn't that awful? Mamma and papa didn't know what to do. A nickel
didn't seem much pay for a lie, did it? So they made it a dollar. Yes,
ma'am, one whole dollar. That's twenty nickels. Oh, it was so unhappy
those days! I was gladder than ever that I was blind. I think I should
have died to see the bad face of the one that did it while it was bad.
But mamma says such a lesson is never, never forgotten. You see, we
haven't any right to be bad, have we?"

"I suppose not, dear. What a wise little thinker you are!"

"Papa says I think too much. That's why, one why, he was so glad to get
me the burro. He hopes it will stop me some. But in a home a body must
remember it isn't his home nor her home, but the home of everybody that
belongs. If I should be naughty, it would throw things all out of--of
smoothness, don't you know. I can't be naughty all by myself. If I
could--no, I wouldn't like it either. When I'm selfish or bad, I always
feel as if I had on a dirty apron, and I do just hate dirty clothes!"

"And you do just love to talk, little one," cried the superintendent,
coming in and catching up his daughter in his strong arms. "We tell her,
Miss Amy, that she makes up for what she doesn't see by what she does
say. Eh, midget?"

Nanette cuddled her fair head against her father's beard, and turned her
eyes toward Amy. It seemed impossible to believe that those beautiful
eyes could not really behold whereon they rested, and the tears of
sympathy rose to Amy's own as she tried to comprehend this.

"Isn't he a dear, funny papa? But you just wait until you see my mother.
She's the nicest thing in this whole world. Oh, papa, shall I call the
baby 'Amy'?"

"If you like, darling. It's a pleasant, old-fashioned name."

"I'll tell you a better one, though it's longer. That is 'Salome.'"

"Who's she?" asked Nanette.

"My mother. As you feel about yours, I think she is the sweetest thing
in this whole world."

"Sa-lo-me, Sa-lo-me," repeated the child, slowly. "That is pretty. What
do you say about that, papa?"

"As you and mother please, darling. It is a good name. But now, dear,
run away. I have to talk business with this new friend of yours, and
where you are--eh?"

"Yes, I do talk, don't I? I love to talk. Good-by, Amy. Please come
again to see me, and every time you must ride on Peppy--what is her

"Pe-pi-ta. It is Spanish and very pretty, I think."

"Pay-pee-tah," repeated Nanette, imitating the sound and ignorant of the

"Now, Miss Amy, I've had your saddle put upon your brother's burro. You
can ride him home, and I will have 'Bony' carry the other saddle.
To-morrow he shall bring the girl's saddle back to Nanette, and I echo
her invitation that you should come often to visit us and ride upon your
own, old favorite. Here is the envelope with the money, and since you
must go at all, I'll urge you to go at once. There is another squall
coming, and it will darken early."

As she rode homeward a doctor's phaeton passed her. It was being driven
rapidly, and a face peered out at her from beneath the hood. Then it
stopped and waited for her to approach.

"Do you belong at the 'Spite House'?"

"Yes; why?"

"Make haste. Drive on."



"Make haste. Drive on."

The words sang themselves into Amy's brain as she urged Balaam up the
slope, and for days thereafter they returned to her, the last vivid
memory of that happy time before bereavement came.

Then followed a season of confusion and distress; and now that a
fortnight was over she sat beside a freshly made mound in Quaker
burying-ground, trying to collect her thoughts and to form a definite
plan for her future.

The end of a gentle, beneficent life had come with merciful suddenness,
and the face of Salome Kaye was now hidden beneath this mound where her
child sat, struggling with her grief, and bravely endeavoring to find
the right way out of many difficulties. Finally, she seemed to have done
so, for she rose with an air of grave decision and kneeling for one
moment in that quiet spot, rose again, and passed swiftly from the

Hallam was at the cemetery gate, resting sadly against the
lichen-covered stone post, and waiting for her return. Indian summer
had come, a last taste of warmth and brightness before the winter
closed, and despite their sorrow nature soothed them with her
loveliness. In any case, whether from that cause or from her own will,
the girl found it easier than she had expected to speak with her brother
upon their material affairs.

"Shall we stop here a little while, Hal dear, to talk, or will we go on
slowly toward home? I've been thinking, up--up there beside mother, and
I've found a way, I hope."

"I don't care where, though I'd rather not talk. What good does it do? I
hate it. I hate home. I hate this place worse--Oh, it's wicked! It's
cruel! Why did she ever have to leave Fairacres! She might be--"

Amy's hand went up to Hallam's lips. "Hush! Do you suppose God blunders?
I don't. If He had meant her to stay with us, He would have found a way
to cure her. To think otherwise is torture. No. No, no, indeed no!
Father is left and so are we. We have got to live and take care of him
and of ourselves."

"I should like to know how. I--a miserable good-for-naught, and you--a

"Exactly, thank you, just a girl. But a girl who loves her brother and
her father all the more because--_she_ loved them too. A girl who has
made up her mind to do the first thing and everything that offers,
which will help to make them comfortable; who is going to put her family
pride in her pocket and go to work. There, it's out!"

"Go--out--to--work, Amy--Kaye!"

"Yes, indeed. Don't take it so hard, dear."

In spite of himself he smiled. Then he remembered. "I don't see how you
can laugh or jest--so soon. As if--but you _must_ care."

"Just because I do care, so very, very much. Oh, Hal, don't dream I'm
not missing her every hour of the day. I fancy I hear her saying now,
this moment, as she used to say when I'd been naughty and was penitent:
'If thee loves me so much, dear, thee will try to do the things I like.'
The one thing she liked, she _lived_, was a brave helpfulness toward
everybody she knew. She didn't wait for great things, she did little
things. Now, the first little things that are facing us are: the earning
of our rent and of our food."

Hallam said nothing. He knocked a stone aside with the end of his
crutch, and groaned.

"I'm going to work in the mill," she continued.

"Amy! Father expressly forbade that, or even any mention of it. You, a

"He has given me permission, even though I am a Kaye." She tried to
smile still, but found it hard in the face of his want of sympathy, even

"Do you think he knew what he was saying when he did it?"

"Yes, Hallam, I do. It seems to me that father is more like other folks
since this trouble came than he was before. I was worried and asked the
doctor, for I remembered mother always used to spare him everything
painful or difficult that she could. The doctor said:--

"'It may be that this blow will do more to restore him than all her
tender care could do.'

"And then I asked him something else. It was--what was the matter with
him--if it was all his heart. He said, 'No, indeed. It's his head.' He
was in a great fire, at a hotel where he was staying, a long time ago.
He was nearly killed, and many other people were killed. For a while he
thought that mother had been burned, they had gotten separated some way,
and it made him--insane, I suppose. But when she was found, in a
hospital where he was taken, he got better. He isn't at all insane now,
the doctor says, but is only a little confused. Mother never had us told
about it, because she wanted we should think our father just perfect,
and for that reason she drew him into this quiet life that we always
have lived. If he wanted to spend money foolishly, she never objected.
She hoped that by not opposing any wish he would get wholly well. Part
of this Cleena has told me, for she thought we ought to know, now, and
part the doctor said. Oh, Hal, I think it will be grand, grand, to take
care of him as nearly like she did as we can. Don't you?"

Hallam's eyes sparkled. "Amy, I always said she was the most beautiful
woman in the world, in character as well as person."

"To us, she certainly was. My plan is this: I will go to Mr. Metcalf and
ask him to give me a place in the mill. If those other girls can work,
so can I."

"Do you know who owns the mills now?"

"Yes; our cousin Archibald Wingate."

"And you would work for him? You would demean yourself to that? Yet you
know how, when he offered us money last week, or to do other things for
us, both father and I indignantly declined."

"Yes, I know. I, too, was glad we didn't have to take it, though I do
not believe he is as bad as we think. We look at him from _this_ side;
but if we could from the _other_, he might not seem so hard-hearted. He
said he was sorry. He seemed to feel very badly."

"Yes, and when he came and asked Cleena to let him see--her, just once
more, she gave him a reproof that must have struck home. She told him he
was practically the cause of mother's death,--his driving her from
Fairacres,--and I shall always feel so, too."

"I hope not, dear."

"Well, I hate him. I hope I can sometime make him suffer all he has made

"But, Hal, that is vindictive. To be vindictive is not half as noble as
to be just. Mother was just. While it grieved her to leave her home, she
fully appreciated how much he must long for it. It was their
grandmother's, you know, and he felt he had a right there. I do not
blame him half as much as I pity him. He's such a lonely old fellow, it
seems to me."

"Humph! I wouldn't work for him and take his money. I should feel as if
it were tainted."

For a moment Amy was staggered by this view of her brother's. Then it
dropped into its proper place in the argument, and she went on:--

"It would be pleasanter to work for somebody else. But there _is_ nobody
else. I think Mr. Wingate has very little to do with the employees of
the mill. It's Mr. Metcalf who pays them, and he's a dear, good friend
already. I'm going to see him this afternoon. I asked Gwendolyn to tell
him I was coming, but I suppose he thinks it is about selling Balaam.
He's ready to take him off your hands if you want to part with him. That
seventy-five dollars he paid for Pepita and the saddle and harness was
such a blessing. It carried us through; we couldn't have done without
it, unless we'd let Mr. Wingate help."

"Never! Well, I suppose he'll have to take him. If I can't work, I can
give up, as well as you."

"No, Hal, I don't want to sell him yet. Wait till the last thing and we
can't help it. Do try to think kindly of what I'm doing, dear. Down in
my heart I'm pretty proud, too. But you start home. I'll take a bit of
lunch and then start out to seek my fortune. Wish me luck, laddie; or,
rather, bid me God-speed."

She lifted her face for his kiss, and he gave it heartily. It was to the
sensitive, proud, undisciplined boy the very hardest moment of his life,
save and apart from his bereavement.

"To think, Amy, little sister, that I, who should be your protector and
supporter, am just--this!"

"Hush! you shall not point so contemptuously to those poor legs. I think
they are very good legs, indeed. There's nothing the matter with them
except that they won't move. They've been indulged so long--"

"Amy, I don't understand you. First you seem so cheerful; then you make
light of my lameness. Are you forgetful, or what?"

"Not forgetful, nor hard-hearted. Just 'what,' which means that I
believe you could learn to walk if you would."

"Amy! _Amy!!_"


"Do you suppose I wouldn't if I could?"

"Hal, do you ever try?"

He looked at her indignantly; then he reflected that, in fact, he never
did try. But to convince her he made an effort that instant. Tossing his
crutches to the ground, he tried to force his limbs forward over the
ground. They utterly failed to respond to his will, and he would have
fallen had not Amy's arms caught and supported him.

"There, you see!"

"For the first attempt it was fine. Bravo! _Encore!_"

Yet she picked up his "other legs" and gave him, then led Balaam away
from the late thistle blooms he was browsing. Hallam mounted, crossed
his crutches before him, and lifted his cap. Amy tossed him a kiss and
turned millward, while he ascended the hill road. But no sooner was she
out of sight than her assumed cheerfulness gave way, and for a time it
was a sad-faced girl who trudged diligently onward toward duty and a
life of toil.

Gwendolyn had delivered her message, and the superintendent welcomed Amy
to his office at the mill with a friendly nod and smile; but, at that
moment, he was deep in business with a strange gentleman, negotiating
for a large sale of carpets, and after his brief greeting he apparently
forgot the girl. She remained standing for some moments, then Mr.
Metcalf beckoned an attendant to give her a chair and the day's

Her heart sank even lower than before. The superintendent appeared a
different person from the friend she had met in his own home. Her throat
choked. She felt that she should cry, if she did not make some desperate
effort to the contrary; so she began to read the paper diligently,
though her mind scarcely followed the words she saw, and would deflect
to those she heard, which were very earnest, indeed, though all about a
matter no greater than one-eighth cent per yard.

"How queer! Two great grown men to stand there and argue about such a
trifle. Why, there isn't any such coin, and what does it mean? Well, I'm
eavesdropping, and that's wrong. Now I will read. I will not listen."

Running in this wise, her thoughts at last fixed themselves upon a
paragraph which she had perused several times without comprehending. Now
it began to have a meaning for her, and one so intense that she half
rose to beg the loan of the newspaper that she might show it to Hallam.

"The very thing. The very thing I heard those doctors talking about in
mother's room. I'll ask for it, or copy it, if I can, and show my boy.
Who knows what it might do?"

There was a little movement in the office. The gentleman in the big
top-coat, with his eyeglasses, his gold-handled umbrella, and his
consequential air, was leaving. He was bowing in a patronizing sort of
way, and Mr. Metcalf was bowing also, smiling almost obsequious. He was
rubbing his hair upward from his forehead, in a way Amy had already
observed to be habitual when he was pleased. Evidently he was pleased
now, and greatly so, for even after the stranger had passed out and
entered the cab in waiting, the superintendent remained before the glass
door, still smiling with profound satisfaction.

Then, as if he had suddenly remembered her, he turned toward Amy.

"Well, miss, what can I do for you to-day? I saw you were interested in
our argument over the fraction of a cent, and I'm glad to tell you I
won. Yes, I carried my point."

The girl was disgusted. Though she liked to know her friends from every
side of their characters, she was not pleased by this glimpse of Mr.

He saw her feeling in her face and took it merrily, dropping at last
into the manner which she knew and liked best.

"A small business, you're thinking, eh? Well, Miss Amy, let me tell you
that on this one deal, this one sale, my gaining that fraction of a cent
means the gaining to my employer of several thousand dollars. And that
is worth contesting, don't you think?"

"It doesn't seem possible. Just that tiny eighth! Why, how many, many
yards you must sell!"

"Indeed, yes. The mills are constantly turning out great quantities and,
fortunately, the market is free. We dispose of them as fast as we can
finish. We could sell more if we could manufacture more. But this is not
what has brought you here, I fancy. Tell me your errand, please. I have
much to get through with before closing."

The return to his business manner again chilled Amy's enthusiasm, but
she thought of her father and what she hoped to do for him, and needed
no other aid to her courage.

"I've come to ask a place in the mill. I want to work and get paid."

"Certainly. If you work, you will be paid. What makes you want to do it?
Does your father know?"

"He has consented. I think he understands, though he didn't seem to care
greatly, either way. I must do it, sir, or something. It was the only
thing I knew about."

"You know nothing about that, really. The girls here are from an
altogether different class than that to which you belong. You would not
find it pleasant."

"That wouldn't matter. And aren't we all Americans? Equal?"

"Theoretically. How much do you suppose you could earn?"

"I don't know. Whatever my work was worth."

"That, at the beginning, would be not more than two dollars a week, and
probably less. It would be fatiguing, constant standing in attending to
your 'jenny.' I really think that you would better abandon the idea at
once. Try to think of something nearer what you have known."

Yet he saw the deepening distress in her face and it grieved him. He was
bound, in all honesty to her, to set the dark side of things before her,
and he waited for her decision with some curiosity.

"If you'll let me try, I would like to do so."



"Well, deary, it's time. Oh, me fathers, to think it! Wake up, Amy, me
colleen, me own precious lamb."

Six o'clock of a gray November morning is not an inspiriting hour to
begin any undertaking. Amy turned in her comfortable bed, rubbed her
eyes, saw Cleena standing near with a lighted candle in her hand, and
inquired, drowsily:--

"Why--what's happened? Why will you get up in the middle of the night?
Don't bother me--yet."

"Faith, an' I won't. Upon honor it's wrong, it's all wrong. What'll your
guardian angel think of old Cleena to be leavin' you do it! Body an'
bones, I'll do naught to further the business--not I!"

The woman's voice was tremulous with indignation or grief, and all at
once Amy remembered. Then she sprang from her cosy nest, wide-awake and
full of courage.

"Hush, dear old Goodsoul, I forgot. I forgot, entirely. I was dreaming
of Fairacres. It was a beautiful dream. The old house was full of little
children and young girls. They were singing and laughing and moving
about everywhere. I can hardly believe it wasn't real; but, I'm all
right now. I'll be down stairs in a few minutes. Don't wake anybody
else, for there's no need. Is it six o'clock already? It might be
midnight or--any time. Why, what's this?"

"A frock I've made for you, child."

"_You_ made a frock for me? Why, Cleena!"

"Sure, it's not so handy with the needle as the broom me fingers is. But
what for no? Them pretty white ones will never do for the nasty old
mill. This didn't need so much. The body'll about fit, thinks I, if I
sew it fast in the front an' split it behind. The skirt's not so very
long. She was a mite of a woman, God rest her. Well, I'll go an' see the
milk doesn't boil over, an' be back in a jiffy to fasten it for you. Ah,
me lamb! Troth, a spirit's brave like your own will be prospered, I

Then Cleena went hurriedly out of the room. The frock which she had
prepared for Amy's use in the mill was remodelled from an old one of her
mistress's. As has been said, Amy had never worn any sort of dress
except white. The fabric was changed to suit the season, but the color
was not. Even her warm winter cloak was of heavy white wool, faced here
and there with scarlet, to match the simple scarlet headgear that suited
her dark face so well. Quite against the habits of her own upbringing,
Mrs. Kaye had clothed her daughter to please the taste of her artist
husband, and therefore it had not greatly mattered that this taste
dictated a style more fanciful than useful.

Now everything was altered, and Cleena had consulted Mrs. Jones with the
result just given. But from a true delicacy, the faithful old servant
did not stay to watch the girl as she adopted the new garb which
belonged to the new fortunes, though she need not have been afraid.

For a moment Amy held the gray dress in her hand, feeling it almost a
sacrilege to put it on. She remembered it as the morning gown of her
mother, plain to the extreme, yet graceful and precious in her sight
because of the dear wearer. Then she lifted the garment to her lips, and
touched it lightly.

"Mother, darling, it is a good beginning. It seems to me it is like a
sister of mercy putting on her habit for the first time. It is a
protection and a benediction. If I can only put on my mother's beautiful
character with her clothing, I shall do well, indeed." Then she examined
the alterations which Cleena had been instructed by the cottager to
make, and was able to smile at them.

"The new sewing and the old do not match very well, but it will answer,
and it does fit me much better than I would have thought. My! but I must
already be as large, or nearly so, as she was. Well, no time for
thinking back now. It's all looking forward, and must be, if I am to
keep my courage."

Then she knelt beside her bed, prayed simply and in full faith for
success in her efforts to provide for her beloved ones, and went below,
smiling and gay.

"Think of it, Cleena Keegan. This is Monday morning. On seventh day I
expect to bring back two splendid dollars and put into your hands. I,
just I, your own little Amy. Think of the oatmeal it will buy."

It was not in Cleena's heart to dampen this ardor by remarking how small
a sum two dollars really was, considered in the light of a family
support; and, after all, oatmeal was cheap. Fortunately, it also formed
the principal diet of this plainly nurtured household, and even that
very breakfast to which the young breadwinner now sat down.

But the meal was exquisitely cooked, and the hot milk was rich and
sweet. Also, there lay, neatly wrapped in a spotless napkin, the mid-day
luncheon, which Cleena had been told to prepare, and which Mrs. Jones
suggested should be of something "hearty and strong" for "working in the
mill beats all for appetite."

Then Amy took the big gingham pinafore, that Cleena had also prepared,
and with her little parcels under her arm, skipped away down the slope
to the Joneses' cottage, where Gwendolyn was to meet and escort her to
her first day's work.

"Pshaw! I thought you wasn't coming. We'll be late if we don't hurry.
Hmm. Wore your white cloak, didn't you? Well, I guess the girls won't
laugh at you much. A dark one would have been better."

"But I have no dark one, so it was this or nothing. How fast you walk,
almost as if you were running!"

"We'll be late, I tell you. I don't want to get docked, if _you_ do."

"What is 'docked'?"

"Why, having something taken from your wages."

"Would that be done for just so short a time?"

"Yes, indeed. The time-keeper watches out and nobody has a chance to get
off. To be late five minutes means losing a quarter day's wages. They
count off a quarter, a half, three-quarters, or a whole, according to

"Then Gwendolyn, let's run. I wouldn't make you lose for anything."

"All right."

When they arrived at the mill, Gwendolyn said:--

"You come this way with me. Hang your cap and coat right here, next to
mine. Never mind if the girls do stare, you'll get used to that. I felt
as if I should sink the first day I came, though that was ages ago.
Hello, Maud, where was you last night?"

Amy did not feel in the least like "sinking." She had overcome her
drowsiness, and the light was already growing much stronger. She looked
around upon these strangers who were to be her comrades at toil, with a
friendly interest and curiosity. Some of her new mates regarded her with
equal curiosity, though few with so kindly an interest as her own. The
unconscious ease of Amy's bearing they esteemed "boldness," or even
"cheek," and her air of superior breeding was distasteful to them.

"My, ain't she a brazen thing! Looks around on the whole crowd as if she
thought she could put on all the airs she pleased, even in the mill.
Well, 'ristocrat or no 'ristocrat, she'll have to come down here. We're
just as good as she is and--"

"A little better, too, you mean," commented a lad, just passing.

The girl who scorned "'ristocrats" paused in fastening her denim apron
and looked after the youth, who was, evidently, a personage of
importance in the eyes of herself and mates. They watched his jaunty
movements with undisguised admiration, and his passing left behind him a
wake of smiles and giggles which to Amy seemed out of proportion to the
wit of his remark.

However, there was little loitering, and the long procession of girls,
with its sprinkling of men and boys, swiftly ascended the narrow open
staircase to the upper floors. This staircase was built along the side
wall of the great structure, flight above flight, an iron frame with
steps of board. The only protection from falling upon the floor below,
should one grow dizzy-headed, was a gas-pipe hand-rail; and even this
might not have been provided had not the law compelled.

As she fell into line behind Gwendolyn and began the upward climb, Amy
grasped this slender support firmly; but everything about her seemed
very unlike her memory of her first visit here. Then the sun was
shining, she was under the guidance of the genial superintendent, and
the scene was novel--like a picture exhibited for her personal
entertainment. Now the novelty was past, the scene had become dingy, and
herself a part of it.

All around her were voices talking in a sort of mill _patois_ concerning
matters which she did not understand. But nobody, not even Gwendolyn,
spoke to her, and a sudden, overpowering dismay seized her stout heart
and made her head reel. Then she made a misstep and her foot slipped
through the space between two stairs. This brought the hurrying
procession to a standstill, and recalled attention to the "new hand."

"My sake! Somebody's fell. Who? Is she hurt? Oh, that donkey girl. Well,
she ain't so used to these horrid stairs as we be."

"Hold back! She's sort of giddy-headed, I guess."

Amy felt an arm thrown round her waist, a rather ungentle pull was given
her dangling foot, and she was set right to proceed. But for an instant
she could not go on, and she again felt the arm supporting and forcing
her against the bare brick wall, so that those below might not be longer

Then she half gasped:--

"Oh, I am so sorry. I didn't mean--"

"Of course you didn't. Never mind. You ain't the first girl has had her
foot through these steps, and you won't be the last. After somebody has
broke a leg or two, then they'll put backboards to 'em. Not before. Is
your head swimming yet?"

"It feels queerly. It jars so."

"That's the machinery and the noise. The whole building just shakes and
buzzes when we get fairly started. Don't be scared. You're all safe.
Lots of girls feel just that way when they first come. Lots of 'em faint
away. Some can't stand it at all. But you'll get used, don't fear. I was
one of the fainters, and I kept it up quite a spell. The 'boss' of the
room got so mad he told me if I didn't quit fainting I'd have to quit
spinning. So I made a bold face and haven't fainted since. You see, I
couldn't afford to. I had to do this or starve."

By this time Amy's fright was past, and she was regarding her comforter
with that friendly gratitude which won her the instant liking of the
other, who resumed:--

"Pshaw! The girls didn't know what they were saying. You don't look a
mite stuck up. You aren't, are you?"

"Indeed, no. Why should I be? But I do thank you so much for your
kindness just now, and I'm sorry if my blundering has made you late.
Will you be 'docked'?"

"Oh, no. We've time enough. Gwen is always in a desperate hurry. She
likes a chance to talk before she begins work. She's a nice girl, but
she isn't very deep. Say, have you seen her new winter hat?"

"No; has she another than that she wore this morning?"

"My! yes."

The "old hand" and the "new" were now quietly climbing to the top floor
where their tasks were to be side by side, and Amy had time to examine
her companion's face. It was plain and freckled, boasting none of that
"prettiness" of which Gwendolyn was so openly proud, but it was gentle
and intelligent, and had a look of delicacy which suggested chronic
suffering, patiently borne. Amy had not far to seek the cause of this
pathetic expression, for Mary Reese was a hunchback. In her attire there
was as much simplicity as in Amy's own, but without grace or harmony of

"You're looking at my clothes, aren't you? Well, they're the great
trouble of my life. After I pay my board and washing, I don't have more
than fifty cents left. I do the best I can, but I'm no hand with a
needle, and Saturday-halves are short. I thought you were the loveliest
thing I ever saw, that day you went round the mill with the 'Supe.'"

"Oh, did you see me then? Did I see you? What is your name? Ah, are we
up there already?"

"You can ask questions, can't you? Yes, I saw you. My name is Mary
Reese. If you saw me, you certainly didn't notice me, and I'm always
mighty glad when folks don't turn for a second stare at my poor

"Mary, nobody would, surely," cried Amy, and flung her arm protectingly
across the deformity of her new friend.

"You dear, to think you'd do that when you know me so little. Well,
there's many a body touches my hump 'for luck,' but I can't remember
when anybody did for--love. I'm not going to forget it, either. Even a
homely little hunchback has her own power among these people. There,
we're here. This is our 'jenny.' I'm so glad we are to work on the same
machine. There'll be another girl on your side till you learn; then
she'll be taken off and we'll be alone. I'll like that. Shall you?"

"I--think--so," responded Amy, absently, her attention now engrossed by
the excitement about her. Girls were hurrying to take their places
before the long frames filled with reels, on which fine woollen threads
were being wound by the revolutions of the machinery overhead. These
reels whirled round so rapidly that Amy could not follow their motion,
and the buzz-buzz, as of a thousand bees humming, filled her ears and
confused the instructions of the girl who was to give her her first
lesson in winding and "tending."

Across the great frame Mary nodded encouragingly, but it is safe to say
that Amy had never felt so incompetent and foolish as she did while she
was striving to understand what was expected of her.

"No, no, no; you must be quicker. See, this spool is full. This is how.
'Doffer,' here!"

The lad who had created the ripple of admiration on his passage to this
room, now approached. His motions were exact and incredibly swift. It
was his duty to remove full spools and replace them by empty ones, and
he did this duty for sixteen spinning frames. Seeing the "new hand's"
astonishment at his deftness he became reckless and, intending an
unusually dexterous movement, miscalculated his reach, and the result
was a momentary tangle among the whirling spindles.

"Stupid, see what you're at!" cried Amy's instructor, as by a swift
movement of her foot she brought the rapidly circling frame to a
standstill. "Now, you've done it!"

"And I'll undo it," he returned, casting a side glance at the stranger.

"If those who've worked here so long make mistakes, I'll not give up,"
she thought; and Mary came round from behind the frame in time to read
this thought.

"Don't you mind. You see, we have to be on guard all the time. If we're
not, something happens like this. Wait. While they're fixing those
spools, you watch me tie these threads. That's what you have to do. To
keep everything straight and fasten on the new ends as the old ones run

"But I don't see you 'tie' it. There is no knot."

"Of course not. We couldn't have rough things in the thread that is
going to make a carpet. We just twist it--so. Do you see? It can't pull
apart, and it makes no roughness. Try; keep on trying; and after you
have practised awhile, you'll be as swift as swift."

"I feel as slow as slow."

The "new hand" smiled into the eager face of her willing helper, and the
poor hunchback's heart glowed. That so bright a creature should ever
come to be a worker in that busy mill, side by side with her own self,
was stranger than the strangest of the cheap novels she read so

"It beats all, don't it?" demanded Mary, clasping Amy's little brown

"What, dear? What beats what? Have I done that one better? Do you think
I'll ever, ever be able to keep up my side of the 'frame' after this
other one leaves me?"

Mary's laugh was good to hear. Mr. Metcalf, entering the room, heard it
and smiled. Yet his smile was fleeting, and his only comment a reprimand
to "Jack doffer" for his carelessness.

"It must not happen again. Understand?"

"Yes, sir," answered the youth, humbly.

Of Amy herself the superintendent took no notice whatever beyond a curt
nod. She did not understand this, and a pain shot through her sensitive
heart. Then she reflected that he might not have seen her.

"Do you suppose he did, or that he knew me? You see, I've always worn
white before, and maybe he did not recognize me."

"Oh, he saw you all right. He wouldn't more 'n nod to his own wife, if
he's on his rounds, and full of business. I've heard that he was very
pleasant outside the mill and among his folks, but I never saw him any
different from just now. Seems to me he looks on us like he does the
spools on the spinners. I always feel as if I were part of the
machine--the poorest part--and I guess you will, too. There, it's fixed
and starting up. Hurry to your place and don't get scared. Sallie's
cross, but she can't help it. She used to be one of the 'fainters.' Yes;
that's right. Now all there is, is to keep at it till twelve o'clock

That meant nearly five hours of the steadiest and most difficult labor
which Amy had ever undertaken. Yet these others near her, and the crowds
of spinners all through the great apartment, appeared to take this labor
very easily, and were even able to carry on a conversation amid the
deafening noise.

Amy watched so intently, and tried so faithfully to do just what and all
that was expected of her that she did, indeed, make a rapid progress
for one beginning; and when the welcome whistle sounded, she was
surprised to see how instantly every frame was stopped, and to hear Mary

"If you don't want to go with anybody else, I'd admire to have you eat
your lunch with me."

"I'd like to, certainly, but I don't believe I can eat. My head is
whirling, whirling, just like those dreadful spools. Isn't it terrible?"

"No, I don't think so. I don't notice them now, except to make them say
things. But come along, we have a half-hour nooning. We might have a
whole hour, but most of the hands like to give up part of their
dinner-time every day and then take the afternoon off on Saturday. The
'Supe' doesn't care, so that's the way we get our 'Saturday-half.' I
sometimes wish we worked the other way, but of course we couldn't. If
part stops, the other part has to, 'cause every room depends on some
other room to keep it going."

"Why, I think that's beautiful, don't you? Like a big whole, and all of
us the needed parts."

"No, I don't. I don't see one single beautiful thing about this hateful
old mill. At least, I didn't before this morning, when you came."

Amy looked into Mary's face a moment. Then she stooped and kissed it
gently. Small though Amy herself was, for her age, she was still taller
than her new friend, and felt herself far stronger.

Away in another place Gwendolyn and her mates observed this little
by-play, and one girl remarked:--

"Hmm. That settles _her_ hash. If she's going to take up with that
horrid Mary Reese, there won't anybody go with her. Not a single girl,
and as for the fellows--my!"

To this flirtatious young person to be ignored by "the fellows" meant
the depth of misfortune. Happily, however, Amy had never hear the word
"fellow," as at present applied, and to do anything for the sake of
attracting attention to herself she would have considered the extreme of

Mary guided her to a quiet corner behind some bales, and filling a tin
cup with water from a faucet, proceeded to open her own luncheon. Then
she watched Amy, who, almost too weary to eat, loitered over the untying
of the dainty parcel Cleena had made up. When she at last did so, and
quietly sorted the contents of the neat box, she was surprised by Mary's
astonished stare.

"What is it, dear? Aren't you hungry?"

"Hungry? I'm starved. But--see the difference. It goes even into our
victuals. Oh dear, there isn't any use!" and, with a bitter sob, the
mill girl tossed aside her own rude parcel of food and dropped her face
in her hands.

Girlhood is swiftly intuitive. The boarding-house lunch which the
hunchback had brought was quite sufficient in quantity, but it was
coarse in extreme, and meats had been wrapped in one bit of newspaper
along with the sweets, so that the flavor of each article spoiled the
flavor of all. Yet it was the first time that Mary had rebelled against
such an arrangement.

Now it was different. Amy's speech, Amy's manner and belongings, opened
before the slumbering ambition of the mill girl a picture of better
things, which she recognized as unattainable for herself.

Then she felt again the clasp of firm, young arms about her own neck,
and a face that was both smiling and tearful pressed close to her own.

"You dear little girl. I see, I understand. But you've never had a
chance to try how I've lived and I've never tried how you do. Let's
change. Yes; I insist, for this once. You eat my lunch, and I'll eat
yours. It will do Goodsoul's great heart no end of good when I tell her
about it, and it will make me comprehend just how life looks from your
side. Remember, we're both poor girls together now, and I--insist."

Amy had a will, as has been remarked. So, in a few seconds, the two
lunches were exchanged, and for almost the first time in her life Mary
Reese knew what it was to feed daintily and correctly.

"It makes me feel as if I was straighter, somehow. And you're a dear,
dear girl."

"Thank you, of course it does. I wouldn't like to do anything that hurt
my own self-respect, even in such a little thing as eating. But, you
see, I had my darling mother. Now I've had to let her go; yet if you'll
let me, I'll be so glad to teach you all she taught me. It will be
keeping her memory green in just the very way she'd like."

"Teaching isn't all. The difference is _born_ in us."

"Nonsense. Think of Mr. Metcalf. They say he was a foundling baby, and
yet he's a gentleman."

"Even if he doesn't speak to you in work hours?" asked Mary, with a
mischievous glance that would have surprised her mill mates had they
seen it. Already the leaven of kindness was working in her neglected
life, and for the moment she forgot to be upon the defensive against the
indifference of others.

"Even anything. But, hear me, Mary Reese. Here am I, as poor as poor can
be, but determined to succeed in doing something grand. Guess what?"

"I couldn't tell. The whistle will blow again in a minute."

"I'm going to build a Home for Mill Girls, where they shall have all
things that any gentlewoman should have. I haven't the least idea how
nor when nor where. But I'm going to do it. You'll see. And you shall
help. Maybe that's just why God let me come here and be a mill girl

After a pause the other spoke. "It seems queer to hear you say such
things. Yet you're not what I call 'pious,' I--guess."

"Don't be afraid. I'm not goody-goody, at all. But it's the most
interesting thing mother taught me: the watching how everything
'happens' in life, like a wonderful picture or even a curious, beautiful
puzzle. Each part, each thing, fits so perfectly into its place, and
it's such fun to watch and see them fit. Yes, I believe that's the key
to my coming."

For a moment these girlish dreamers clasped hands and saw visions. The
next, a whistle sounded and, still hand in hand, they returned to their
frame and to this toil which was part of a far-reaching "plan." On the
way they passed "Jack doffer," wearing his most fetching smile, and a
new necktie, recklessly disported during work hours for the sole purpose
of dazzling the bright eyes of the pretty "new hand."

Unfortunately for his vanity, the "new hand" never saw him, because of
those still lingering visions of a Home with a capital H; and oddly
enough, the youth respected her the more since she did not. Later on
things would be altered; but neither of them knew that then.



"Me Gineral Bonyparty, come by!"

The lad in the depths of the cellar vouchsafed no reply. He heard
distinctly, and Cleena knew that he did. This did not allay her rising

"The spalpeen! That's what comes o' takin' in folks to do for. Ah,
Fayetty," she called wheedlingly.

Good Cleena had almost as many titles for her "adopted son" as her
"childer" had for her. Each one suggested to the simple fellow some
particular mood of the speaker. "Gineral" meant mild sarcasm, and when
"Bonyparty" was added, there was indicated a need for prompt and
unquestioning obedience. "Fayetty" was the forerunner of something
agreeable, to which might or might not be appended something equally

Said Hallam, once: "Freely translated, 'Fayetty' stands for ginger
cookies, and sometimes the cookies must be earned."

The call came the third time:--

"Napoleon Bonyparty Lafayette Jimpson, come out o' that! Two twists of
a lamb's tail an' I'll fasten ye down!"

The reconstruction of Fayette gave Cleena plenty of employment, and in
one thing he disappointed her, sorely and continually: he utterly and
defiantly refused to work in the mill or elsewhere that would bring in
wages. Since Amy had become a daily toiler, this attitude on his part
angered the poor woman beyond endurance.

Yet there was not any laziness about Fayette. Nobody could have been
more industrious, or more illy have directed his industry. As long as it
was possible to work in the ground he had labored upon the barren soil
of Bareacre, and those who understood such matters assured the Kayes
that they would really have a fine garden spot, when another spring came

"Surely, he that makes the wilderness to blossom is well engaged,
Cleena," Mr. Kaye had remonstrated once, in his quiet way.

"Faith, yes, master, but till them roses bloom there might be better
doin'," she had returned. In her heart she respected Mr. Kaye's judgment
less even than the mill boy's, though she veiled this contempt by an
outward deference.

To-day was a crisis. For good or ill, Cleena had determined to have the
question of wage-earning settled. Either the lad must go to work and
bring in something to pay for his keep, or he must "clear himself out."

"D'ye mean it?"

"Yes, avick, I means it! Up with ye, or stay below--for as long as I

Fayette threw down his pick and crawled forward through the trench he
was digging. The idle suggestion of Hallam had taken firm hold of the
natural's mind, and with a dogged persistence, that he showed also in
other matters, he had now been daily laboring upon the cross-shaped
excavation which was to ventilate the cellars of "Charity House." He had
made a fine beginning, and so explained to Cleena, as his mud-stained
face appeared above the cellar stairs.

"A beginnin' o' nonsense. When all's done, what use? Sit down an' taste
the last o' the cakes me neighbor sent up. Here, you William, keep out
o' that! It's for Miss Amy, dear heart. Four weeks an' longer she's been
up before light, trudgin' away as gay as a mavis, with never a word that
she's bothered. Alanna, Mister Gladstone, what's now?"

A surplus of small Joneses had swarmed over the lower floor of the house
on the hill, and their presence was now accepted by Cleena with little
opposition, because of the generosity of their parents.

"True for ye, the babies be forever under me foot, but one never comes
atop the rise but there's doubled in his little fist the stuff to make
him welcome. It may be a cake, or a biscuit, or a bowl o' milk even.
It's something for some one."

"The 'some one' is generally the bearer of the loaf, or cake, eh,
Cleena?" asked Hallam, who was lingering in the kitchen, gathering what
warmth he could from the stove there. The coals provided in the autumn
were long ago consumed, and out of the scanty supply she had been able
to procure since then, Cleena wasted little below stairs. In the
master's studio above a fire was always burning, and if, as he sometimes
did, he asked whence the supply, the faithful servant put his inquiry
aside with some evasive remark.

He had now work at hand which engrossed him entirely, and to which heat
and physical comfort were a necessity. He was painting a life-sized
portrait of his wife, and not one of the household could do aught but
wish him God-speed on so precious a labor.

Meanwhile, Hallam lay so silent upon the settle beside the stove that
neither of them, Cleena nor Fayette, noticed him.

"Here you, William, Beatrice, Belinda, come by! Set yourselves down in
the corner, yon. Here's a fine bag o' scraps for you two little maids.
Pick 'em over that neat your mother'll be proud; and, William, take out
these things from Miss Amy's box till you puts them back as straight as
straight. Sure, it's long since herself's had the time, an' he's a smart
little gossoon, so he is."

The little girls emptied the bag of pieces on the floor, and sorting
them into piles began to roll them into tidy bundles. Along with
improving Fayette, Cleena had early set out upon the same lines with the
small Joneses. Even William Gladstone, the mite, was already learning to
distinguish between soiled hands and clean, and to enjoy the latter.

So now, while she talked, Cleena set the child to take out and replace
with exactness the few treasured letters and cards, or papers, which
were Amy's own, and kept in her big japanned box.

Once, idly, Cleena observed the child lingering over a square packet,
like an old-time letter, sealed with red wax. It was this bit of color
which the little one fancied, and she smiled to see his delight in it.

"The blessed baby! Sure, he's the makings of a fine man in him, so he
has. Take a look, Fayetty, if yerself would copy yon."

"You'll let that youngster play with your things once too often. He's a
_hider_, Lionel Percival says so."

"Humph! An' what that silly heeram-skeeram says means naught. Now, hear
me, me gineral. This ends it. You goes to work, or you goes to play.
Which is it?"

"I--I won't."

"Which is it?" repeated Cleena, sternly.

The natural fidgeted. In his heart he was afraid of his self-constituted
"mother." He had no wish to return to the drudgery of the mill. He was
wholly interested in his cellar-digging. He had heard tales of mining,
and in some way he had obtained a miner's lantern. This he fastened to
his "parade hat," and wore to lighten his underground labors.

Vague visions of untold wealth floated in his dull brain. Somewhere in
the world he knew that other men were digging in other trenches for
gold. He had heard the "boys" say so often, and some of them had even
gone to do likewise. He had seen gold sometimes in Mr. Metcalf's office
safe. Not much of it, indeed, but enough to fire his fancy. All the time
he toiled he was looking for something round and glistening, like the
coins he had seen. He was not in the least discouraged because he had
found none. There was time enough, for he had not much more than begun
what he hoped to complete. Yet, as Cleena knew, he had made a
considerable opening under the west room and had carried out many
barrowfuls of earth. This he had utilized upon his garden, which was
almost as interesting to him as his mining.

"Which is it, avick?"

"Must I?"

"Troth, must ye? Indeed, look here." Leaning over the table she spread
before her charge's eyes a dilapidated pocket-book. It had been the
receptacle for the family funds, but it was now quite empty. Fayette
stared hard. Then he whistled.

"You don't say so! All gone? Every cent?"

Cleena nodded. Her face was very grave. It frightened the lad. He
glanced toward Hallam, apparently asleep on the settle, and whispered:--

"Where's hers? What she earns?"

"Humph! That little! Well, it's gone. The last week's wage to buy her
shoes. Faith, the poor little feet! Steppin' along to her duty with
never a turn aside, an' the holes clean through the soles. Oh, me
fathers, that ever I should see the day!"

Overcome by her memories of far different circumstances, Cleena bowed
her gray head upon her arms above the empty purse and shook in
suppressed grief. So faithful was she that she would not have counted
even her life of value if by sacrificing it she could have restored unto
her "folks" the departed joy and comfort of their house.

Fayette reached over and lifted the purse. He was not satisfied until he
had examined it for himself. Then he rose and took the lantern from his

"I'll fetch some," he said briefly, and turned toward the door.

But Hallam had not been so fast asleep as he seemed, and he demanded
whither Fayette was bound.

"It's nothin' to worry about, Master Hal. Just a little matter o'
business 'twixt me gineral here an' meself. Can't a body wear out her
shoes without so much ado?" she asked, thrusting into view her great
foot with its still unbroken, stout, calfskin brogan upon it.

Hallam smiled. "You can't deceive me, dear old Scrubbub. It's not you
that's wanting new shoes, and if Fayette is going millward, I am going

"Master Hal, what for now? An' what'll the master be sayin' if he's
wantin' you betimes? Isn't it bad enough to keep him content without
Amy, let alone yerself? No, no; go up by. It's warmer in the paintin'
room, an' sure a body's still as you can't bother nobody, even a

But the cripple limped across the room and took from a recess his cap
and the short top-coat he wore when he rode Balaam. It was as warm as it
was clumsy, and gave his slender figure a width that was quite becoming.
Like Amy's, his headgear was always a Scotch Tam, and when it crowned
his fair face Cleena thought him exceeding good to look upon.

"Arrah musha, but you're the lad for me! An' after all, no matter if the
winds be cold, a ride'll do ye fine, an' make the oatmeal taste sweet in
your mouth."

"It's time something did. Oatmeal three times a day is a trifle
monotonous. Heigho! for one of your chicken pies, Goodsoul."

He was sorry as soon as he said that. Not to be able to give her
"childer" what they desired was always real distress to Cleena. So he
laughed her regret away, with the question:--

"If I bring home a pair of fowls, will you cook them?"

"Will I no? Fetch me the birds, an' I'll show you. Go on, Fayetty, an'
saddle the beast."

But Fayette was not, at that moment, inclined to do this office for the
other lad. He had resolved upon a kindly deed, one which involved
self-sacrifice on his part, and like many other wiser people he was
inclined to let the one generous act cover several meaner ones.

It was his heart's desire to own Balaam. If he took some of the money
which the superintendent was keeping for him and gave it to Cleena for
the housekeeping, he lessened his chance of obtaining his object by just
that much. If he gave Cleena the money, he wanted everybody to
understand that he fully realized, himself, how magnanimous he was.

However, in many respects Hallam was his hero, and between the two there
had been, of late, a little secret which Fayette was proud to share.
Each day he would ask, with extreme caution:--

"You hain't told nobody yet, have ye?"

Commonly the cripple would answer: "No; nor shall I. There's no use."

"Sho! Yes, there is. Read it an' see. If it's in the paper, it's so.
Huckleberries! You ain't no more pluck than a skeeter."

Then Hallam would reread the scrap of newspaper he carried in his
pocket; and each time, after such a reading, a brighter light shone in
the eyes of both boys, and the foundling would observe:--

"It's worth tryin'. I say, it's worth tryin'. _I_ ain't tired yet. Keep
her up."

Hallam knew the half-column of print by heart. It had been brought him
by Amy, on the day she went to Mr. Metcalf's office. She had asked the
loan of the newspaper, and had received it as a gift. She had hurried
home, full of enthusiasm, and showed it to Hallam. He had not been
enthusiastic, and had apparently tossed the article aside as worthless
to him. Amy was too busy to give the matter further thought, and did not
know that after she had left the room her brother had read the paragraph
a second time, and had then carefully preserved it.

Even now, as they started for the mill, Fayette requested to "hear it
again," but Hallam declined.

"It's too cold. And if I don't hurry and do what I set out to, I'm
afraid I'll back out."

"Is it somethin' ye hate to do?"

"Yes; it--Don't let's talk about it."

"Just the way I feel. I'd ruther live on one meal a day 'n do it. Once I
give it to her, I shan't never see no more of it. Oh, I know _her_!
She's a regular boss, she is."

"Cleena? But she's a dear old creature, even so."

"Oh, I like her. I like her first rate. She's a good cook an' middlin'
good-lookin'. I hain't got nothin' again her. They say, to the village,
how 't John Young talks o' sparkin' her."

"What? Teamster John? Our Cleena? Well, he'd better not!"

In his indignation Hallam nearly slipped from his saddle. He did let one
of his crutches fall, and Fayette picked up that, took the other, and
cheerfully "packed" them to the end of their journey.

"Why not? His wife's dead."

"Yes. But--our Cleena! Cleena Keegan! Well, there's no danger of her
encouraging him. Between her own 'folks,' yourself, and the Joneses, I
think she has all she can attend to without taking in a man to worry

The subject was idlest village gossip, but it served to divert Hallam's
thoughts from his impending errand, and he arrived at the office of the
mill in good spirits. Then he remembered a saying he had heard in the

"All roads lead to the mill," and quoted it for Fayette's benefit.

"That's so. But, say, I hate that old Wingate that's got it now. He
licked me when I worked for him. Licked me more 'n once, just because I
fooled a little with his horses. I was bound out to him from the
poor-farm, an' I run away. He treated me bad. I'm goin' to get even with
him some day. You watch an' see."

"Well, here we are. Is this the office? Will you go in with me and help
me find the superintendent? I've never been here, you know."

"Huckleberries! Ain't that queer? And Amy comes every day."

Fayette meant no reproach. His thoughts were never profound, but Hallam
flushed and felt ashamed.

"That's true. The more disgrace to me. Well, cripple or not, that's the
last time anybody shall ever say, truthfully, that my little sister has
set me an example of courage and effort. Hurry up. Open the door."

A moment later both lads stood within the little room wherein so many
big money transactions took place; and it is doubtful if any speculator
coming there had felt greater anxiety over the outcome of his visit than
these two whose "operations" were to be of such a modest limit.

"Boss, I've come after my money. I want the whole lot."

"Good day, 'Bony'; good day, Hallam Kaye, I believe."

Hallam bowed, and before his courage could wane, replied:--

"Yes; I'm sorry to interrupt you in business hours, but--will you buy
Balaam, Pepita's brother?"

Before the gentleman could answer, Fayette had clutched Hallam's

"What's that? Did you come here to sell that donkey?"

"I came to try to sell it, certainly."

"Then I'm sorry I ever touched to help you. I want him myself. I come
to get my money a purpose. My money is as good as his. He shan't have
it. I'll have it myself."

Mr. Metcalf interrupted:--

"But, 'Bony,' you can't afford to keep such an animal. It would take all
your capital to pay for him. Wait. Sometime, if you're industrious,
you'll be rich enough to have a horse and carriage. Indeed, I mean it;
and, yes, Hallam, I will very gladly buy your burro. I've wanted him
ever since Amy let us have Pepita. I--"

"You shan't have him, then. You never shall. I want him, an' I'll keep
him. You see!"

The door opened and shut with a bang. Whether purposely or not, it was
impossible to say, but in his outward rush the half-wit brushed so
rudely past Hallam that he knocked his crutch from his grasp, so that he
would have fallen, had not the superintendent caught and steadied the
lad to a seat.

"That's 'Bony' all over. As irresponsible as a child and ungovernable in
his rage. Yet, never fear; he'll be back again, sometime."

"But--he has taken Balaam. What can I do now?"

Mr. Metcalf walked to the window and looked out. There was a dash of
something black disappearing at the turn of the road.

"Humph! That's bad. He's taken the road to the mountains. When his
'wood fit' comes over him, summer or winter, he vanishes. Sometimes he
is gone for months."

"And he's taken Balaam with him," repeated the other.

"Yes; he certainly has;" but when the superintendent looked toward
Hallam he was startled by the hopeless expression of the lad's fine



"Sit down, lad, and rest. It will not be long before noon, and then I
will send for your sister to come here."

"Thank you. Do you think he will stay long, this time?"

"'Bony'? It's just as the fit takes him. There's no accounting for his
whims, poor unbalanced fellow. In some respects he is clever and
remarkably clean-handed. In fixing parts of the machinery, I would
rather have his help than that of most professionals, he is so careful
about the minutest details. Yet, of course, it would be out of the
question to rely upon him. There's another thing. He's a most excellent
nurse. For days at a time, when there's been sickness in the mill
village, he has devoted himself faithfully to whoever seemed to take his
fancy. His big, ungainly hand has a truly wonderful power of soothing.
When I had rheumatic fever, he was the only person I could endure to
have in the room with me. His step was lighter even than that of my
wife, and I really believe I should have died but for his care."

The superintendent was talking, simply to entertain and divert his
visitor from the lad's own present annoyance, but he little knew how
full of import his casual remarks were to his hearer.

"Do you mean that he is magnetic? that there is something in the claim
he makes of being a 'healer'?"

"Quite as much as in the claim of any such person. There are, of course,
some human beings so constituted that they can influence for good the
physical conditions of other people. I am very sorry that his present
whim has seized him. I would like the burro, and you would like the
price of him. Well, all in good time. Meanwhile, if I can help you,
please tell me."

"There was only one way in which you could, so far as I know. That was
by buying my pet. I--I don't suppose," Hallam continued, with hesitancy,
"that there is anything such a--a useless fellow as I could do to earn
money here?"

"I am not so sure about that. What sort of work would you like?"

"Any sort."

Mr. Metcalf went into another room and presently returned with some
oblong pieces of cardboard. These had a checked surface, and upon these
checks were painted or stained partial patterns, designs for the carpets
woven in the mills.

"Your father is an artist. Have you learned anything about his work, or
of coloring?"

"Something, of course, though very little. I would not be an artist."

"Indeed? But there are artisans whose work is simple, mechanical, and
reasonably lucrative. Our designers, for instance, make an excellent
living. Do you see these numbers at the sides of the patterns?"


"They are for the guidance of the weavers. The threads of the carpets
are numbered, and these numbers correspond. Therefore, the weaver can
make his carpet from his pattern with mathematical exactness. We require
many such copies of the original design. If you would like to try this
sort of work, I will give you a temporary job. The boy who usually does
it is ailing, and I have allowed him a vacation. The wages are small, no
more than Amy earns, but the work isn't difficult, and is the only thing
I have now, suitable for you."

Incidentally the gentleman's eyes turned toward Hallam's crutches
leaning against the arm of the chair where he sat; but instead of
feeling humiliated by the glance, as the sensitive cripple often did,
this casual one fired his heart with a new ambition. He recalled the
words of the surgeon, and was no longer angry with them.

"I will be a man in spite of it all," flashed through his brain. Aloud
he said:--

"I will be very glad to try the work."

"Very well. When can you begin?"


Mr. Metcalf smiled.

"All right. A lad so prompt is the lad for me. But I had imagined
another sort of fellow,--not so energetic, indeed."

"I've not been worth much. I've been lazy and selfish; but I mean to
turn over a new leaf. I'll try to be useful, and if I fail--I fail."

"But you'll not fail. God never sent anybody into this world for whom He
did not provide a place, a duty. You will succeed. You may even get to
'the top,' that roomy plane where there are so few competitors. I want
you to count me your friend. I, too, am a self-made man. There are few
obstacles one cannot conquer, given good health and determination."

Then once more the employer's gaze rested upon the crutches, and his
heart misgave him that he had roused ambitions which could not be
realized. The poor cripple was handicapped from the start by his

Hallam again saw the expression of the other's face, and again it nerved
him to a firmer will.

"Even that shall not hinder, sir; and now if you will explain to me the
work, I'll make a try at it right away."

Mr. Metcalf placed the designs upon a sloping table, at one side the
office, and Hallam took the chair before it, as requested. Then the
superintendent went over the system of numbering the designs, and
illustrated briefly.

"Now you try. I'll watch. Go on as if I were not here. If I do not
speak, consider that you are working correctly."

Hallam's intelligence was of a fine order, and he had always been a keen
observer. Before Mr. Metcalf had finished his explanations the lad had
grasped the whole idea of the work, and he took up the pen the gentleman
laid down with the confidence of one who understood exactly what he had
to do.

"'Knowledge is power,' there is no truer saying," remarked the teacher,
watching the tyro's eager efforts. "It's as easy as A B C to you,

"It seems very simple. I think I would enjoy it better, though, if I
could see the application."

"How the patterns are used?"


"Come this way."

Which was not by the shorter one of the stairway on the cliff, up which
Fayette had once forced the reluctant Pepita, but around by the sloping
wagon track and into the lower rooms of the great building. Already the
lad knew most of these by the descriptions his sister had given him, but
no description could equal the facts. As she had done, so he experienced
that thrill of excitement, as he realized the mighty, throbbing life all
around him, of which the wonderful machinery and the human hands and
brains which controlled it seemed but parts of one vast whole. His eyes
kindled, his cheeks flushed, and, as Amy had done, he forgot in his
eagerness over the new scene that others might be observing him and his

At the weavers' looms he was "all eyes and ears," as one remarked.
Seeing the woollen threads stretched up and down, perfectly colored and
looking like a greatly elongated pattern, gave him a complete insight of
the task for which he had been engaged.

"I thought I understood it before. I think I could not make a mistake
now. A mistake would mean disaster wouldn't it?"

"It would," answered the superintendent, delighted to find his new
helper such a promising aid. "See, here is the pattern. Watch the weaver
awhile, then come with me to the 'setting room.' There is where Amy will
be if she keeps on as industriously as she has begun. I tell you brains
count. You are both gifted with them, and it should make you
grateful--helpful, too. I think the least of all a man's possessions
that he has a right to keep to himself is his brain."

Hallam looked up in surprise. Amy's acquaintance with the superintendent
had begun most auspiciously, and he had desired to be considered her
"friend," even as now her brother's. Yet since her coming to work in the
mill, Mr. Metcalf had not exchanged a dozen sentences with her. She saw
him daily, almost hourly. He was everywhere present about the great
buildings. In no department was anybody sure of the time of his
appearance, yet not one was overlooked. This kept the operators keyed
to an expectancy which brought out from them their best, for the
approbation of this observant 'boss' meant much to each. Yet he rarely
spoke in a harsh tone to any, nor had any ever heard him utter an oath.
This, in itself, gave him a distinction from all other mill
superintendents under which most of these operatives had served, and
added, it may be, a greater awe to their respect of him.

"I've been color mixer in a carpet mill these forty years, and Metcalf's
the only 'Supe' I ever knew could run one without swearing," often
remarked the master of the dyeing room. "He does; and a fellow may count
himself lucky to work under such a man."

The color mixer, being a most important personage in the institution,
had influence among his _confrères_, with good reason. His trade was an
art and a secret. Like all trade secrets it commanded its own price. He
was said to enjoy a salary "among the thousands," and to have rejected
even richer offers for the sake of the peaceful discipline at Ardsley.

Then the two visited the "setting room," where the mill girls reached
the highest promotion possible in their business. The "setting" is the
arrangement upon frames of the threads of the carpet, perfectly
adjusted. A girl sits upon each side the frame, which holds from two
hundred threads to slightly an advance upon that number. It is clean and
dainty work, and the operator is fortunate who can secure the position.
It is the same "thread" which, drawn over wires, in the weaver's hands,
makes the looplike surface of Brussels carpeting, which was the only
sort manufactured at Ardsley.

"You find it fascinating, don't you? So did Amy. Well, if you work here,
in any department, you will have opportunity to study the whole science,
from beginning to end. But I'm to meet Mr. Wingate in ten minutes in his
private office. Let us go back."

Amy, away up on the fourth floor where she worked, knew nothing of this
visit, and was a little dismayed when she received a summons to go down
"to the 'Supe's' room for her nooning."

She was now alone with Mary at her "jenny," and had already become so
expert that those who understood such matters prophesied she would soon
be promoted to the "twisting and doubling." That very morning the "boss"
of their room had said to her:--

"We never had a girl come here who got on so fast. It mostly takes
months to learn a half-machine. After another three she can mind both
sides. That means about four dollars and a half a week. Well, you've
been quick and faithful, and nobody could envy your good luck."

As she picked up her lunch basket and descended toward the office, more
than one called after her a good wish.

"Don't you be scared of the 'Supe.' If he scolds and you aren't to
blame, just tell him so, and he'll like you the better."

"Maybe he's going to promote you a'ready, though I don't see how he
could. I won't be jealous if he does, though," cried another; and
Gwendolyn, the inquisitive, resolved to keep up Amy's spirits by
accompanying her to the interview.

"But, Gwen, did he send for you?"

"No; course not. If he did, I shouldn't feel so chipper. There ain't no
love lost 'twixt the 'Supe' and me."

"Then maybe--"

"Trash! I'm going. Ain't I the one that fetched you here in the first
place? Hadn't I ought to stand by you, thick or thin?"

"Yes, I suppose so," answered Amy, more frightened by Gwendolyn's
suggestive manner than by any consciousness of blunders made. Nor did
she remind her neighbor that for a time, at first, while Amy's
popularity had not been determined, the other had shrewdly held aloof,
waiting the turn of the tide. Fortunately, this had been in the "new
hand's" direction, and since then Gwendolyn's attentions had been almost

But, indeed, Amy did not even think this. "Simplicity, sincerity,
sympathy"--she was faithfully striving to make this the rule of her own
life, and therefore she could not imagine anything lower in the lives of
others. But she still kept her frank tongue, and she gave it rein, as
the pair hurried officeward.

"Dear Gwen, if you only wouldn't chew that gum! It makes you look so
queer, and spoils all the pretty outline of your cheek. Besides, I'm
sure Mr. Metcalf doesn't like it. He always frowns when a gum-chewer has
to speak with him about her work."

"Pshaw, what a fuss you are! There, then, though that's the first bit
off a new stick, I've thrown it out the window. _Is_ my cheek pretty?
How do you manage to see things without looking? I never see you take
your eyes off your frame, yet not a thing goes on in that room you don't
seem to hear or know."

"I'm sure I don't know, unless it's because having lived all alone,
without other girls, I love to hear the voices and see the bright faces.
Oh, I do love _folks_! And it seems to me that every single girl in that
mill is far more interesting than the best story book I ever read."

"Well, if you don't beat! But, say, Amy!"


"I don't believe there's another girl there would tell me I was pretty
without saying something else would spoil it."

"Oh, indeed, there must be. If it's the truth, why shouldn't one say it?
But if it's the truth, again, you have no right to deface the beauty. Do
give up the gum."

"Why haven't I a right?"

"I don't know why. I simply know you haven't, any more than I have to be
untidy or disagreeable. I never realized until I came to be always among
so many people how each one could pain or please her neighbor. And it
seems to me each of us should be the sweetest, the best natured, the
truest, it is possible. Heigho! I'm turning a preacher, and it's a good
thing that there's the office, and I must stop. Brace your courage, Amy,
and knock at the door."

She did so and was promptly admitted; but did not see the
superintendent, who thus served her, for he purposely stepped behind the
door, so that her first glance fell upon Hallam seated at the sloping
table and busily at work. She caught her breath, regained it, and rushed
forward with a little shriek.

"Hallam! Hallam Kaye! You here! you--working?"

"Yes; I'm here. My first day at wage-earning. Didn't provide any lunch.
Can you spare some for me? Ah, Gwendolyn, good day."

Then another person appeared in the doorway--one whom nobody present
cared to see just then, though the superintendent stepped from his
hiding-place, the mirth dying out of his genial face as he bowed
respectfully to his superior, Mr. Archibald Wingate, the owner of
Ardsley Mill and of most of the surrounding property.

"Good day, Metcalf. Eh? What? Amy? Hallam? You here?"

"Yes, cousin Archibald. We are both here and working for you," answered
Amy, quietly. Then she surprised even herself by extending her hand in



For an instant it seemed as if the old man would respond to the
proffered civility; but his hand dropped again to his side, and Amy had
the mortification of one who is repulsed. However, she had little time
for thought. The master of the mill passed onward into his "den" and
closed its door with a snap. On the ground glass which admitted light
through the upper half the door, yet effectually screened from
observation any who were within, was printed in large letters:--

"Private. No Admittance."

Then the girl turned an inquiring face toward the superintendent, who
took her hand and shook it warmly.

"Allow me to congratulate you, Miss Amy. You have done well,--famously,
even. There's not been a girl in the mill, since I've had charge, who
has learned so swiftly and thoroughly. What's the secret of it? Can you

She had not been summoned for a reprimand, then. In her relief at this,
the young operative scarcely heard the question put to her, and the
gentleman replied to it himself.

"I can tell you. It's your untiring perseverance, your persistent effort
to do your best, without regard to anything or anybody about you. If all
our girls would take example by you, promotions would be more frequent."

Gwendolyn resented the glance with which the superintendent now favored
her, and Amy would have preferred not to be so openly praised. She drew
a chair to the table where Hallam sat, and hastily spread her luncheon
upon it.

"Come, Gwendolyn, bring yours. While we're eating, Hal shall tell us
what this all means."

He did so, rapidly, and between mouthfuls, for the half-hour's nooning
had already been cut short by the unexpected meetings; and when the
whistle sounded and the girls hurried back to their room, Amy carried a
very thoughtful face.

"Why, what a funny girl you are! You look as if you'd been scolded,
after all, 'stead of praised and promised promotion. What's wrong?"

"Fayette. To think he could run away with Balaam, after all we--or
Cleena has done for him. Of course, he's done things for us, too; but I
thought if we were kind to him, and made him feel that he was dear to
somebody, he would improve and grow a splendid man."

"'Can't make a purse out of a pig's ear,'" quoted Gwendolyn, seriously.
"But don't you fret. He'll be back again, as humble as a lamb. You
couldn't dog him away from 'Charity House,' I believe. He's been just
wild over you all ever since he first saw you and your white burro. Say,
Amy, I'm going to try and not chew any more. Your brother don't like it,
does he, either?"

"No; he detests it. He doesn't like anything that is unwomanly or

Then they separated, but in the heart of each was a fresh determination:
in Gwendolyn's that she would make herself into a "real lady," according
to the standard of this brother and sister whom she admired, or saw
admired of others; and in Amy's, to better deserve the encouragement of
her employers, and to support Hallam to the utmost in his new ambition.

But as she resumed her work she reflected, with much perplexity: "I
don't understand yet why Mr. Metcalf is so delightful out of mill and so
different here; nor why cousin Archibald still persists in being
unfriendly, since he has gotten everything he wants."

But she was still too ignorant of life to know that it is commonly the
inflicter of an injury who shows ill feeling, and not the recipient of

The afternoon passed swiftly, as all her days did now, and at the signal
for leaving labor, both the girls hurried to don their outer things and
join Hallam. But Amy had still a word for Mary.

"To-morrow is half-holiday, you know, dear, and I've talked with
Cleena. She wishes you to come and spend the night at 'Charity House,'
and we'll fix things about that club all right."

"What's that about a club?" asked another girl, noticing how the
hunchback's face brightened. "Are you two going to join ours?"

"Maybe; maybe not. Maybe we'll compromise and have but one. Though we
can do little until after Christmas, it's so near now."

"Oh, don't get up another. We have just lovely times in ours. All the
boys come and--but I'll not tell. I'll leave you to see. They wanted I
should ask you, and your brother, too. He's real nice looking, 'Jack
doffer' says, even if he is lame."

Amy's cheek burned, and her quick temper got her into trouble.

"My brother Hallam is a very, very handsome boy. Even with his lameness
he's a thousand times better looking than any boy in this mill, and
what's more, he's a _gentleman_!"

Then this champion of the aristocracy, which she thought she disdained
but now discovered she was proud to call her own class, walked off with
her nose in the air and her dark eyes glittering with an angry light.

"There, now you've done it!" cried Gwendolyn, in amazement. "But ma said
it wouldn't last. She says that's the way with all the heroines in her
novels that lose their money and pretend to be just plain folks
afterward. They never are. They're always 'ristocratics an' they can't
help it."

"Oh, well, they shouldn't try," remarked this young "heroine," fiercely.
"I don't care at all what they say about me, but they'd best let my Hal

"Hoity-toity, I don't see as he's any better than anybody else."

Amy stopped short on the path from the mill to the ladder upon the
bluff. Suddenly she reflected how her mother would have regarded her
present mood. "He that ruleth his own spirit."

The words seemed whispered in her ear. A moment later she turned and
spoke again, but her voice was now gentle and appealing.

"Yes, he is better, though I'm not. He is better because he is just what
he seems. There is no pretence about him. He doesn't think that
plastering his hair with stuff, and wearing ugly, showy clothes, and a
hat on the back of his head, or swaggering, or smoking nasty cigarettes,
or being insolent to women, are marks of a gentleman. He's the real
thing. That's what Hal is, and that's why I'm so proud of him, so--so
touchy about him."

"Amy, what does make a gentleman, anyway, if it isn't dressing in style
and knowing things?"

"It's the simplest thing in the world; it's just being kind out of
one's heart instead of one's head. It's being just as pure-minded and
honest as one can be, and--believing that everybody else is as good or a
little better than one's self. So it seems to me."

"We _are_ different, then. I never should know how to say such things. I
don't know how to think them. It isn't any use. You are you, and I am
me, and that ends it."

Amy did not even smile at the crooked grammar. This was the old cry of
Mary, too, and it hurt her.

"Oh, Gwen, I am so sorry. It _is_ of use. There _isn't_ any difference,
really. We are both girls who have to earn our living. Our training has
been different, that is all. I want to know all you know; I want you to
know all I do. I want to be friends; oh, I want to be friends with every
girl in the world!"

"Pshaw! do you? Well, I don't. I don't want but a few, and I want them
to be stylish and nice. You'd have a lot of style if you could dress

Poor Amy. This was like a dash of cold water over her enthusiasm. Just
when she fancied that Gwendolyn was aspiring to all that was noble and
uplifting, down she had dropped again into that idea of "style" and
fashion and good times. But she remembered Mary. In the soul of that
afflicted little mill girl was, indeed, a true ambition, and she felt
glad again, from thoughts of her.

"Hallam, how can you climb all the way to 'Charity House'? You will
drop by the way. It's hard, even for me."

"I can do it. I must. There is nothing else to be done."

So they set out together, through the darkness. The days were at the
shortest, and Christmas would come the following week. Hallam and Amy
looked forward with dread to the festival, remembering their mother had
striven, even under disadvantages, to keep the holiday a bright one for
her children. There had never been either many or costly gifts at
Fairacres, but there had been something for each and all; and the
home-made trifles were all the dearer because Salome's gentle fingers
had fashioned them.

Now Gwendolyn was full of anticipation, and from her talk about it her
neighbors judged she meant to expend a really large sum of money in
presents for her friends.

"But, Gwendolyn, how can you buy all these things? You told me you
earned about five dollars a week, and you've bought so many clothes;
and--I guess I'm not good at figures. My poor little two dollars and a
half, that I get now, wouldn't buy a quarter of all you say."

"Oh, that's all right. Mis' Hackett, she charges it. I always run an
account with her."

"You? a girl like you? What is your mother thinking about? I thought to
buy a wheel that way was queer; but how dare you?"

"Why, I'm working all the time, ain't I? Anybody that has regular work
can get anything they want at Mis' Hackett's, or other places, too. Ma
and pa do the same way."

"But--that's _debt_. It must be horrible. It seems like going out of one
debt into another as fast as you can. Oh, Gwen, don't do it."

"Pshaw! that isn't anything. Why, look here, that's the very way your
own folks did. If they hadn't been in debt, they wouldn't have had to
move from Fairacres, and all that. Would they?"

Both Hallam and Amy were silent. The keen common sense of the mill girl
had struck home, and again Amy realized that her vocation was not that
of "preaching." Finally, the cripple spoke:--

"It's like it, yet it isn't. We had something left to pay our debts. It
wasn't money, but it was money's worth. We paid them. We are left poor
indeed, but we haven't mortgaged our future. That's all. But we are too
young to talk so wisely. If your parents approve, they probably know
best. Hark! there is a wagon coming."

They all paused, and drew aside out of the road to let the vehicle pass.
It was so dark that they could distinguish nothing clearly, and the
lantern fastened to the dashboard of the buggy seemed but to throw into
greater shadow the face of the occupant. To their surprise, the
traveller drew rein and saluted them:--

"Hello. Just getting home, eh?"

All recognized the voice. It belonged to Mr. Wingate.

"Yes, just getting home," answered Amy, cheerily.

"Growing pretty dark, isn't it? Hmm, yes. Heard you lost your donkey,

"For the time, I have, sir," responded the lad, rather stiffly. He hated
this man "on sight," or out of it, and it was difficult for him to
conquer his aversion. All the kindness he had felt toward him, on the
night of Mr. Wingate's first unwelcome visit to Fairacres, had been
forgotten since; because in his heart he believed that his mother's
death was due to her removal from her home. Yet he wished to be just,
and he would try to feel differently by and by. Meanwhile, his unused
strength was fast waning. He had met with a great disappointment that
day, for he was going home empty-handed. He had lost his beloved Balaam,
and he had nothing to show for it. In all his life he had never walked
so far as from the mill to the Bareacre knoll, and even his crutches
seemed to wobble and twist with fatigue. Amy had noticed this, and made
him pause to rest more than once; but the night was cold, and he felt it
most unwise to risk taking cold by standing in the wind. Poverty was
teaching Hallam prudence, among many other excellent things.

"None of us can afford to be sick now," he reflected.

"Hmm. That half-witted fellow ought not to be allowed to go free. He's
done me a lot of mischief, and I guess he injures everybody who
befriends him. The last thing he ought to be trusted with is
horse-flesh, or mule-flesh either. Well, I'm going your way, and it's a
tough pull on a pair of crutches. If you'll get in, I'll give you a lift
as far as the bars."

Everybody was astonished, and everybody waited for Hallam's reply in
some anxiety. Amy knew his mind, and she knew, also, that he was very
weary. She hoped that he would say:--

"Thank you; I'll be glad to accept," but his answer was a curt: "Thank
you; I would rather walk."

"Very well. Suit yourself."

The horse was touched sharply, and bounded up the hill road at an
unusual pace.

"Oh, Hal, why didn't you ride? You are so tired."


"You'd better. Old man don't like to have his favors lost," remarked
Gwendolyn. "I've heard lots say that, even though he hasn't been at
Ardsley so very long."

Now, in the lad's heart, besides his unwillingness to "accept favors
from an enemy," there had been another motive. Until that evening he had
not realized how lonely and dark was the homeward walk for his sister,
after her long day of toil, and even with the company of Gwendolyn. In
this his first experience it had come upon him with a shock, that it was
neither pleasant nor safe for Amy, and he resolved she should never
again be left without his escort, if he were possibly able to be with

But he could not, or felt that he could not, tell this to the girls;
much less to Mr. Wingate, finding it easier to be misjudged than to
explain. Yet had the mill owner known the fact, it would have gone far
toward propitiating him, and toward rousing his admiration for his young

So with the best intentions all around, the breach between Fairacres and
"Charity House" was duly widened.

The trio of mill workers trudged wearily upward, and the mill master
hurried recklessly through the gloom toward a home he had coveted, but
found a lonely, "ghost-haunted" solitude. For though there are no real
spectres to frighten the eye, there are memories which are sadder to
face than any "haunt" would be.

"Stir up the fire, man. Don't you know it's a bitter night outside?" he
cried, as he entered it.

The master's tone boded ill for the servant if obedience were not
prompt. So though a great blaze roared upon the wide hearth in the old
room where we first met this gentleman he was not content, nor was the
good dinner which followed appreciated. Nothing was right that night for
Archibald Wingate.

Nothing? Yes, one thing gave him great satisfaction, so that, late in
the evening, sitting before the blaze he had complained of, he rubbed
his hands with a quiet glee.

"If you please, sir, there's a black donkey wandered into the place
to-night. It went straight to the stable and to one of the box stalls on
the west. It seemed to know the way. The stable boy says it's one of
them belonged to the--the folks was here before we came. I thought you'd
like to know, sir; and, if you please, is it to remain?"

"Yes, Marshall, it is to remain."

And again the old gentleman smiled into the dancing flames and rubbed
his smooth palms.



After one o'clock on the afternoon before Christmas was a mill holiday;
and while the great looms were silent, those who usually toiled at them
took their way into Wallburg city to do their Christmas shopping. Though
a few, indeed, were able to satisfy their needs at the local stores, and
among these, for once, was Gwendolyn. She had come up the knoll after
dinner hour, to invite Amy's presence at the gift buying, and concluded
her invitation by saying:--

"Even if you won't get anything yourself, you might come and look at the
pretty things. It's surprising how many you find you can pick out in a
few minutes. They've the loveliest dolls there 't I'm going to get for
Beatrice and Belinda. Victoria's so big she's outgrown doll--"

Cleena could hold her tongue no longer.

"Toys, is it, alanna! Better be shoes for their feet; an' as for Queen
Victory an' her dolls, more's the shame to you as sets her the example
o' growin' up before her time. Vases for the mother, is it? An' she
after patchin' the sheets off her bed. Pardon unasked advice, which
same is unsavory, belike, an' get the makin' of a new pair. That's
sense, so it is."

It was sense. As such it commended itself to Gwendolyn, during her walk
to the village, and bore results for the comfort of her family; for
though she did run in debt to make her Christmas gifts, at least she now
altered her usual habit completely, and for each member of the household
provided some article of use. Even Mrs. Hackett paused in her busy
attendance upon the crowd of customers to remark:--

"Well, now, Gwen, that's a good plan. I guess your folks will be proud
of what you're giving them this year. Yes, I'm more 'n willing to trust
you for 'em. A girl that'll spend her money as you are, isn't going to
cheat me in the long run. Yes, the wagon'll be going out late to-night
and will fetch 'em all for you. Flannel and sheeting and such are a
mighty sight heavier to carry than notions. But say, I'll put in a
little candy for the youngsters, seeing they're disappointed of their

Meanwhile, up at "Charity House," Amy had drawn Cleena into a corner to
discuss their own plans, and especially to ask concerning a proposed
trip to the city, by her father, and immediately after the holidays.

"You know, Goodsoul, that he hasn't been there alone in a long time. Is
it safe for him to go now? If he should have one of his attacks, what
would happen? Should Hallam go with him? and--worst of all--how can we
spare the money?"

"Faith, Miss Amy, I'd leave the master be. It's the fine sense he's
gettin' the now. It would hearten the mistress could she see how he does
be pickin' up. Always that gentle I d' know, as if the sorrow had been a
broom sweepin' his soul all free of the moilder an' muss was in it long
by. Only yesternight, whilst I was just washin' off me table afore
layin' me cloth, into the kitchen he steps an' sits himself down by the
door, lookin' out toward Fairacres. It was as soft as summer, like it is
this eve, but faith! a 'green Christmas makes a fat graveyard.'"

The very word made them both silent for a moment, and then Amy

"Father has packed up a half a dozen or more of his small canvases,
studies of heads most of them are, I believe, and all are unframed. What
do you suppose he means to do with them?"

"Sell them. What for no?"

"But mother never liked to have him. These are all pictures he did long

"The quicker they'll go off the hand then."

"Do you approve?"

"With all me heart."

Amy dropped her face on her palms and considered the matter. Even with
her habit of dealing with facts rather than fancies, she still found
life a most perplexing and complex affair. The only help she gained
toward understanding it was that clew taught her by her mother of
matching the days and the events as one matches a fascinating puzzle.
Out of this thought she spoke at last, though quite to the bewilderment
of honest Cleena.

"It seems as if our losing all that belonged to us were making us
sturdier folks, improving us all. Mother needed no improvement, so she
hadn't to face the battle long. Well, one thing I know, she would be
glad for us all, and some way I feel her very near to-day. Only, if I
could just talk with her and ask her things."

"Sure ye can, me colleen. I mind it's no far to the land where she's
gone. But about the money. See here; how got I this?"

And Cleena whipped out a handkerchief from her jacket pocket and
unfolded it with utmost care. In this were a number of silver pieces,
from half-dollars to dimes, and added together made the "smart decent
sum" of five dollars and fifteen cents.

"Why, Cleena! Where? I thought all ours was spent as soon as earned."

"Where? An' I to be mendin' a few clothes for me neighbors. Even that
man John fetches me a blouse now an' again, to put in a fresh pair o'
sleeves or set on a button that's missin'. Sure, ye didn't think Cleena
was one would be leavin' her childer bring in all the wage. Only--" and
the good creature's fine face clouded dismally.

Amy's arms were around the other's neck, and her soft cheek pressed
against the shoulder that had borne so many burdens for her and hers.

"Only what, you darling Scrubbub?"

"Only I was mindin' to buy a few trinkets for you an' Master Hal. 'Tis
Christmas comes but once a year, an' sure me heart should give good

"Cleena, Cleena! A poet! What next?"

"Arrah musha, no! Not one o' them sort. But it's in the air, belike.
Christmastide do set the blood running hitherty-which. So they say in
old Ireland. It's this way, me darling. Gifts for you an' Hal--or the
trip to town for the master. Which, says you? For here's the silver will
pay either one, an' it's you an' him shall decide."

"Then it's decided already. At least, I'm sure Hallam will so agree when
he comes in. You know he's stopped at Mr. Metcalf's to see some books on
designing. Hallam thinks that either he might learn to do it or that
perhaps even father might give some odd moments to it, though I don't
know as he would hardly dare propose it. The idea was Mr. Metcalf's, and
he hasn't much 'sentiment' about him. He said that if there was any way
in which father could make a living, he would be happier if so employed.
It sounded dreadful to me at first, and then it seemed just sensible."

"That last it was, and so I b'lieve the master'll say himself. But
child, child, you do be gettin' too sober notions into your bonny head.
Oh, for that Balaam the spalpeen stole! But since ye can't ride, why
then it's aye ye must walk. Either way, get into the open. There's not
many such a day 'twixt now and Easter. Away with ye! Haven't I me pastry
to make an' to-morrow Christmas? Go where ye've no thought, an' let the
spirit carry ye. Then there'll be rest. But be home by nightfall, mind."

"Cleena, you dear, the kindest, truest, best woman left in this world!"

"Indeed, that's sweet decent speech, me dear; but seein' your 'world's'
no bigger nor Ardsley township, I 'low I'll not be over set up by that
same. Run away, child, run away!"

"Cleena, you're watching down the road. Why? Why?--I demand; and you
talk of pastry, the which hasn't been in 'Charity House' since we came
to it, save and except that dried apple pie sent in by Mrs. Jones."

"Ugh!" cried Cleena, making a face of contempt. "The match o' that good
soul's pastry for hardness an' toughness isn't found this side of the
Red Sea."

"Cleena, is that old John coming here to-day? Is it _he_ you are
watching for?"

"Why for no? If a man's more nor his share an' nobody to cook it, why
shouldn't he be a bringin' it up an' lettin' a body fix it eatable?
Sure, it's John himself. Ye're too sharp in the wits, an' I don't mind
tellin' ye; it's all charity, Miss Amy. Him livin' by his lone an'
gettin' boardin'-house truck. If he says to me, says he, 'Shall I fetch
the furnishin' o' the best Christmas dinner ever cooked an' you be after
preparin' it,' says he, 'only givin' me one plateful beside your nice
kitchen fire,' says he, could I tell the man no, and me a good
Christian? Ye know better, Miss Amy. Think o' the master, an' Master
Hal, to-morrow comes. What's the good o' John, then, but to find food
for me folks? Run along!"

Mr. Kaye had already gone off for one of his long tramps, over the
fields and through the woods, to which he was now much given. He had
taken such, at first, to subdue the restlessness which followed upon his
wife's death, and as some sort of break in his unutterable loneliness.
But nature had helped him more than he had dreamed; and to the pure air,
the physical fatigue, and consequent sound sleep was due much of the
cure of his mental illness that all who knew him now noticed.

So there was nobody who needed Amy just then, and she set off from
"Charity House" at a brisk pace, resolved, as Cleena had advised, to
forget all worry and labor, and "just have one good, jolly time."

She took the road upward toward the woods behind Fairacres, meaning to
gather a bunch of late ferns for the decoration of the morrow's dinner
table, since Cleena promised it should be a feast day, after all.

Before she quite realized it even, she had deflected from her course,
remembering just then a certain glen in the grounds of her old home
where rare ferns grew to prodigious size, and where no cold of winter
seemed to harm them. Then once upon the familiar path every step was
suggestive of some bygone outing, and led her to explore farther and
still farther.

"Ah, the frost-bleached maiden-hair. Nowhere else does it last like
this. It's almost as white as edelweiss, and far more graceful. I must
put that in my basket, if nothing else." So she pulled it gently and
with infinite care, lest she should break the delicate fronds that had
outlasted their season by so long. Then there were others, dainty green
and still fragrant, which she gathered eagerly; with here and there a
bit of crimson-berried vine, or a patch of velvet moss.

Always she kept to the depth of the little ravine, through which ran a
tiny, babbling brook. This had long ago been named "Merrywater," nor had
it ever seemed gayer and more winsome than then. It was like reunion
with some old beloved playmate, and Amy forgot everything but the
present enjoyment as she stooped and dabbled in the water here and
there. Sometimes she came to the fantastic little bridges which Hallam
had used to lie upon the bank and construct out of the roots and pebbles
she brought him. Where these had fallen into decay she repaired them;
and at one time was busily endeavoring to force a grapevine into place
when she heard a sound that made her pause in her task and spring to her

"Ah-umph! A-h-u-m-ph! A-H-U-M-P-H!!!"

"Pepita! No--Balaam! Balaam, Balaam--Balaam!"

She was off up the bank in another instant. The sound was from the old
stable, so dear, so familiar to her. As she ran she caught up here and
there great tufts of sweet grass, such as had been neglected by the
mowers, but were dear to donkey appetites.

"Oh, the precious! The blessed little beast! Won't Hallam be glad! Won't
this be a Christmas gift indeed, to bring him back his own pet! How glad
I am I took this way to walk, and how queer it is that he should be back
in his very own old home. Is it so queer, though? Wouldn't I come, too,
if I were just a burro and were set free to follow my own will? I can
hardly wait to reach him."

In a moment she had done so, and had filled the manger with the still
luscious grass, while climbing upon its front she had thrown her arms
about the animal's neck and was assuring him, as she might a human
being, that he had been sadly missed and would be most welcome home.

On his part the burro was fortunately silent, though his great, dark
eyes looked volumes of affection, and he laid his big ears gently back
to be out of Amy's way, while she caressed him. She smoothed his
forelock, ran her fingers through his mane, patted his shaggy head, and
told him that his "big velvet lips were the softest things on earth."


This remark, if such it could be called, fell upon Amy's ears so
suddenly that she half tumbled backward from her perch upon the manger,
and just saved herself by springing lightly down, or she thought it was
lightly, until she wheeled and faced the intruder.

None other than Archibald Wingate, making a horrible grimace, and
holding up one of his pudgy feet as if he were in great pain.

"Oh, I beg your pardon! I didn't know it was your foot, or you were
you--I thought it was only the hay on the floor."

"Ugh! Great goodness! Umm. If you ever have the gout, young woman, you
will understand how it feels to have anybody jump down full force upon
your toes. Ouch! O dear! O dear!"

Amy had never been accustomed to seeing people make ado over physical
suffering. She did not understand this man before her, and a thrill of
distress ran through her own frame, like the touch of an electric

"Oh, I am so sorry! I wouldn't have done it for anything if I had known.
Can't I do something now to help you? Let me rub it or--or--lead you.
You look--" In spite of her good intentions, the horrible contortions
by which Mr. Wingate's countenance expressed his feelings affected her
sense of the ridiculous, and she smiled. As instantly ashamed of the
smile, she buried her face in her hands, and waited what would come

"Huh! Yes, you look sorry, of course you do, laughing at an old man
after you've nearly broken his foot in two. Hmm. You're a sorry lot, the
whole of you; yes, you are! O-oh!" Yet he, too, and in spite of himself,
laughed; but it was at his own pitiful joke about his kinsmen being a
"sorry lot."

Fortunately, Amy did not understand a jest of this nature, but she was
swift to see the brightening of his face. She put her hand on his arm,
and tried to draw his hand within her own.

"Maybe it won't be so bad. Lean on me, and I'll help you to a seat or to
the house. And thank you, thank you so much for putting Balaam in the
stable, and taking such good care of him. If Hal had known, he wouldn't
have worried so about the little beast. He's been so tenderly cared for,
we couldn't bear to think of him as off in the open fields with nobody
but Fayette."

Mr. Wingate said not a word. He simply ceased groaning and grimacing,
and he slipped his arm through Amy's, while a curious expression settled
on his face. He did not lean at all heavily upon her, however, and he
merely glanced toward the burro as the pair walked to the stable door.
Then the animal thought it time to protest. Amy had brought him fresh
grass, but she had dropped it all outside his manger, where he could not
reach it. This was aggravation in the extreme. More than that, whenever,
in the old days, she had been afflicted with one of these outbursts of
affection, there had generally been a lump of sugar connected with it.
To lose affection, hay, and sugar, all in one unhappy moment, was too
much even for donkey patience.

"AH-UMPH! H-umph! A-h-u-m-p-h!"

"Whew! he's split my ears open. Plague take the beast!" cried Mr.
Wingate, hurrying forward, and now stepping with suspicious freedom from

Amy hurried, too, wondering at his sudden recovery. "Oh, do you dislike
his talk? I love it. I always laugh when I hear it, it is so absurd, and
Pepita's was even funnier. She had a feminine note, so to speak, and she
whined like a spoiled baby."

"What do you know about spoiled babies?"

"Why--nothing--only William Gladstone, he's a trifle self-willed, I

"William Gladstone! What do you mean? Who are you talking about? Are you
all crazy together?"

"Not the English statesman, certainly. Just Mrs. Jones's youngest son.
And I don't think we're crazy."

"I think you are, the whole lot. Well, will you come into the house
with me? How did you know the donkey was here? Who told you?"

"He told me," laughed Amy. "Yes, I'll go in if you wish, if I can help

"How did he tell you?"

"I was gathering these ferns in the glen, and I heard him bray. See,
aren't they beautiful? They're for the table to-morrow. The prettiest
ferns in all Fairacres grow along the banks of 'Merrywater.'"

"Yes, I know. I used to gather them when I was a child. My grandmother
liked them, though she called them plain 'brakes.' So you're not afraid
to trespass, then? And you're able to have a dinner-party even so soon
after--and with all the pretended devotion. But Cuthbert--"

Amy's hand went up to her kinsman's lips. It was a habit of hers,
sometimes playfully sometimes earnestly used, to ward off anything she
did not wish another to say to her, and she had done it before she
thought; but having so done she would not withdraw her silent protest.
This man should never say, nor would she ever hear, a word against her
father. Of that she was determined, even though she must be rude to

For a moment Archibald Wingate resented the girl's correction. Then, as
her hand dropped to her side and her gaze to the ground, he spoke:--

"You are right. I had no business to so speak. I honor you for your
filial loyalty and--Come into the house. I have something I wish to
discuss with you. So you want to thank me for taking care of Balaam, do
you? You may feel differently after you have heard what I have to say.
Oh, you did give me a twinge, I tell you!"

"Would it relieve the pain if I bathed the foot for you? Or is there
anybody else to do it?"

"Would you do that for _me_?"


"Ring that bell."

Amy obeyed. It was the familiar one which summoned, or had summoned,
Cleena from her kitchen.

A man answered the call.

"Marshall, have a foot-bath brought in here. This young lady is going to
dress my foot for me. For once there'll be no blundering heavy-handed
servant to hurt me."

Over and over and over Amy washed and soothed the red, misshapen foot.
The repugnance she had felt to touching it had all vanished when she saw
how acute must have been the old man's suffering and his now evident

"I thought you made a big fuss. Now I don't see how you walk about at

"I walk on my will," answered he, grimly. "You're a good girl; yes, you
are. You're a real Kaye. Our women were all good nurses and
tender-handed. It's a pity--such a pity!"

Amy thought the prodigious sigh that moved his mighty breast was for
his own distress, and echoed his regret sincerely. "Yes; it is a pity.
It seems to me it should be cured. I wish it could."

"So do I. Say, little woman, suppose you and I try to cure it."

Amy looked up. She had been speaking simply of his disease. She now saw
that he had not been thinking of that at all. For the moment, while she
so gently manipulated the swollen ankle and bound it with the lotions
Marshall handed her, he had been quite comfortable, and the keen twinkle
in his eye set her thinking. Was it the family feud he wished might be
healed? He, who was the very foundation and cause of it?


She caught his hand in both hers, eagerly.

"Do you mean that we might live at peace; in love, as kinsfolk should?
Now--this peace day--when the Christ child comes? Is it that?"

But Marshall made a little motion which might be warning or contempt.
The old man's face hardened again.

"What are you asking? Look, you've wet my cuffs! Your hands just out of
hot water and all liniment!"

"Never mind your cuffs. _Look out for your heart._ You're a poor, lonely
old fellow, and I'm sorry for you."

Before he knew what she was about, Amy had thrown her arms about her
cousin's neck and imprinted a kiss--somewhere. It didn't much matter
that it landed squarely on the tip of his pudgy nose. Archibald Wingate
was so little in the habit of receiving kisses that he might easily have
imagined this was quite the customary place for their bestowal.



It would be difficult to tell which was the most startled. Amy stepped
back from the unresponsive object of her affectionate impulse and
blushed furiously. She feared that he would think her bold and silly,
yet she had only meant to be kind, to comfort him because she pitied
him. Now, she was painfully conscious that Marshall was standing near,
coolly observant, with a cynical smile upon his thin lips. It was a
curious fact, which Amy instantly recognized, that this master of whom
so many people stood in awe should himself stand in awe of his own

"Ahem--shall I remove the bath, sir? Has the young person finished?"

Amy had not been accustomed to hearing herself spoken of as a "person,"
and the word angered her. This restored her self-possession. She looked
up, laughing.

"I don't know how I came to do that, cousin Archibald. I hope you'll
forgive me."

"Oh, I'll forgive you. I don't know how you did it, either. Well, man,
why are you standing there, grinning like a Cheshire cat. I tell you
she has finished. You can take away the things."

"Very well; it is time for your nap, sir."

The worm turned. "What if I don't take one to-day? What will happen?"

"I don't know, sir, except that you will probably be ill. The doctor's
orders are, when you have an attack--"

"Hang you and the doctor and the attacks, all together! You can leave
the room, can't you? When I want you, I'll ring."

Because he was too astonished to do otherwise, Marshall obeyed. He was a
privileged person. His master did not often cross his will. There being
no other apparent heirs, Marshall had, in his own imagination,
constituted himself Mr. Wingate's heir. Why not? A lifelong service, an
untiring devotion to whims of all sorts, a continual attention to the
"creature comforts" which were so greatly a part of Archibald's
life--these merited a rich reward. Marshall intended to receive this
reward, should he be lucky enough to outlive his employer. He felt that
he would fill the position of owner of Fairacres with dignity and
profit. He did not like this new interest Mr. Wingate was taking, by
fits and starts, in the deposed family who were his relatives
and--enemies. In Marshall's opinion the breech between these kinsfolk
ought not to be healed. Amy's presence in the house was a disastrous
portent. She must be gotten out of it as soon as possible, and in such
a way that she would not care to come again. But how?

The servant revolved this question, as he carried away the bath, and so
profoundly that he failed to notice where he was going and stepped down
a forgotten stair so unexpectedly that he fell and drenched himself with
the water from the tub.

"Plague on her! Now, I'm in for it!" Which meant that before he could
remove the damage to his attire Amy would probably have gained whatever
she came to seek. He did not believe that anybody would visit his master
without having "an axe to grind," for he judged all men by himself.

However, having tasted the sweets of rebellion against this iron rule of
Marshall, Mr. Wingate determined to enjoy it further.

"He's a meddling old fool. He's a good servant, too. There isn't another
man in the world would put up with my tempers as he does. Never a word
in return, and as smooth as silk."

Amy laughed. "He looks to me as if he had had his hair licked by
kittens. It's so slick and flat. Do you have to mind him always?"

"Mind him? _I_--mind my _servant_, eh?"

"Oh, I beg your pardon. Of course--"

Mr. Wingate's face was scarlet. The weakness which he had hardly
acknowledged to himself had been instantly discovered by this
bright-eyed girl. It wasn't a pleasant thing to have so observant a
person about. He had something to say to her, however, and he would do
it at once and get rid of her. All his newly aroused affection died in
his resentment against her judgment.

"I want to go to the studio. There is something there I don't mean to
keep, and don't wish to destroy, without consulting some of you."

Amy followed him quietly out of the house toward the building where her
father had spent so many hours, and which she held in strictest
veneration. Did it not still enclose the "great picture" which even she
had never seen, and which had been kept screened from the sight of all?

So she still expected to find the white curtain undisturbed; and as she
entered the studio, paused--amazed. The canvas covered the end of the
apartment; but after one hasty glance Amy shielded her eyes in a
distress that was almost terror.

"Hmm. It _is_ very realistic, isn't it? The thing is horrible. I don't
wonder that Cuthbert's wits got scattered, working on it. It would drive
me crazy in a week, and I'm a hard, matter-of-fact man. I kept it,
because by right I might have kept everything that was here. I supposed
I was getting something worth while. But this! I don't want it. I
couldn't sell it. I hate to destroy it. What's to be done?"

"Oh, I wish I hadn't seen it!"

"So do I. I see it sometimes in the night and then I can't sleep. I
mean I imagine I see it, for I never come here after dark. It's a
wonderful picture, sure enough. A horrible one."

The canvas fascinated Amy. It depicted a great fire. It was ugly in
extreme. The big, bare building was in flames, everywhere. The windows
seemed numberless, and at almost every window a face; on these faces all
the gamut of fright, appeal, and unutterable despair. They were
human--_living_. The girl felt impelled to run and snatch them from
their doom; also the impulse to hide her eyes, that she might not see.

Mr. Wingate had taken a chair before the painting, and was looking at it

"I tell you that's a marvellous thing, and it's as dreadful as masterly.
There's only one way I can see by which a man could get any money out of
it: that's by cutting out the separate faces and selling them singly. A
body might endure to see one such countenance in his collection, but not
more; or, it might be destroyed altogether. It explains why Cuthbert
never recovered from the shock of the accident he was in. He never lost
sight of it. He must have begun this while it was fresh in his brain,
and he did his utmost to keep it fresh. Poor Salome, she had a hard

"She had a happy life. She loved my father. He loved her. Whatever he
did was right, just right in her eyes. You needn't pity her. But, oh, if
she were only here to consult! Why did you show it to me? Why did I
have to see it?"

"Because it couldn't be helped. The thing _is_; it exists. Now what is
to be done with it?"

"I--will ask my father."

"I don't know that that is wise. It might bring about a return of his
malady, and I'm told he is improving in all respects."

"I must do it; it is his. There is no other way."

"What if it makes him worse again?"

Poor Amy! All her Christmas cheer had died from her heart. She felt that
it would be almost wicked to remind her father of this, his "life work,"
of which she had not heard him speak since he left Fairacres. Yet it was
his. He had given years to its completion, so far as it had neared that

Mr. Wingate regarded her keenly. "Well?" he asked.

"Oh, I don't know what to say. Have you nothing to propose?"

"Only what I did. To cut it up and sell the faces as so many small
canvases. That would partially repay me for the things he still owes
for--the paints and so on. But I detest the thing so I hate to spread
the misery of it."

"Repay you? Do you mean that you believe you have a right--you _own_
that picture?"


"Why, it is the labor of--it means many years out of my poor father's
life. Can such a thing be 'owned' by anybody except him?"

"Yes, of course. Hark you. You go home and tell him what I offer. I will
take the picture off his hands and allow him--hmm--maybe two hundred
dollars; or, he can take it and owe me that much more. In any case I
want to get rid of it. I won't have it left here much longer. I shall
have other uses for this room, maybe. Anyway, I mean to get that off the

Amy moved slowly toward the door. She did not know how to reply, and she
felt her cousin was a very hard, unjust man. Yet she agreed with him
that the picture was enough to make a person wish it out of sight, even
out of existence.

At the doorway he arrested her steps, by laying his hand upon her

"Help me down; I'm afraid of stairs. And there's another thing--that

"Oh, yes; I had forgotten Balaam. May I ride him home? Will you have him
brought around for me?"

"Eh? What? Not so fast--not quite so fast! No, I don't mean the stairs.
I can manage this pace for them. I mean the donkey. It came here of its
own accord. It gave me an idea. If your brother wants to sell him--By
the way, how do you expect to pay the rent?"

Amy stopped short, halfway down the stairs, and so suddenly that Mr.
Wingate remonstrated.

"If you'd give warning of these spasmodic actions of yours, it would be
more comfortable for those depending on you. There, please move along."

"The rent? I had not thought. Didn't my mother attend to that?"

"For the first quarter year, she did. To whom must I look now?"

Unmindful, since this new distressing question had been raised, how much
she inconvenienced him, Amy sat plump down and leaned her head against
the hand-rail.

It always appeared to aid her reflective powers if she could rest her
troubled head against something material.

"I'll try to think. I earn two dollars and a half a week."

"Oh, my foot hurts again. Let's get into a decent room and talk it over
there. I hate draughty halls and unwarmed rooms. There's a fire in the
little side parlor off the dining room. That's my own private den. I
want to get there and lie down. That rabbit pie I had for lunch doesn't
agree with me, I'm afraid. Do you like rabbit pie?"

"No, indeed; I wouldn't eat one for anything."

"Why not?"

"I should fancy the pretty creatures looking at me with their soft eyes.
They're the gentlest animals in the world."

"The most destructive, you mean."

She did not contest. Besides, she was now in great haste to leave
Fairacres and regain the shelter of her own home. Strange, she
reflected, how quickly she had ceased to think of this house, her
birthplace, as a home; since all that went to make it such had gone

"About that rent money. If Hallam is able to keep at work we may
together earn five dollars a week. That would be twenty dollars a month.
The rent is ten. We will be able to pay it, I think."

"Do you imagine you will be able to live upon the remainder? Upon two
and a half dollars a week, four grown persons?"

"If we have no more, we shall have to do so, shan't we?"

"Excuse me; but what would you eat? I saw no sign of scrimping and
pinching that day I first came here--to stay."

"Oh, then Cleena was determined you should say no blame of her
housekeeping. She gave you all in one meal. We've often laughed over it

"Humph! But this two and a half per week, what would it buy?"

"Meal and milk. Sometimes oat meal, sometimes corn. Once and again an
egg or something for father. Oh, we'd manage."

"Hmm, hmm; you'd rather live on that than run in debt? You younger
Kayes, who are all I seem to take account of now--Salome is gone."

"We will run in no debt we cannot pay, unless we are ill and it is
impossible to help. Hal and I settled that long ago. So far we have
managed, and now he is working too, I feel as rich as--rich."

"Exactly. Amy, if this old house were yours, what would you do with it?"

The answer was prompt and decided.

"Make it into a Home for Mill Girls."

"Whew! What in the world! Fairacres? The proudest old mansion in the
country, or in this part of it! Are you beside yourself?"

"I should be with delight, if I could make that dream a reality."

"I gave you credit for more sense. But, business--that donkey. How much
did Mr. Metcalf intend to pay for it?"

"I suppose the same as he did for Pepita. Seventy-five dollars--burro,
harness, and all."

"At ten dollars a month, that would take you along well into next
summer. Tell Hallam that I will keep the animal and allow him eight
months' rent for it. That's giving you a half month, you see. Will you?"

"Yes, I'll tell him," answered she, with a catch in her voice. "Only I
had hoped to take him home with me. It would have made such a delightful
Christmas for us all. You don't know how much we love those pretty

"Pretty! Opinions differ."

"And would it be quite right to make any such arrangements, after having
asked the superintendent to buy it, and he agreeing? Wouldn't he be the
one to say something about it?"

"Amy, you're incorrigible. You're a radical. A thing is either
absolutely right or it is absolutely wrong--according to your standard.
You'll be in trouble as long as you live, for you'll find nobody else
with such antiquated notions as yours. There are a great many things
that are expedient."

"I hate expedient things. I like just the easy, simple 'no' and 'yes'
that was my darling mother's rule. I'm glad I'm at least a birthright

Mr. Wingate was silent. He seemed to drop into a profound reverie, and
the girl hesitated to disturb him, eager as she now was to be away.
Finally, as she had made up her mind to speak, he did so himself.

"Amy, do you ever use the plain speech now?"

"Sometimes--between ourselves. For mother's sake we can never let it

"Will thee use it to me now and then? It was the habit of my boyhood.
Salome was my oldest friend. We've played together in this very room,
again and again. She was my good angel. Until--No matter. You are her
child. Not like her at all in face or manner. She was always gentle,
and shrank from giving pain. Truthful and puritanical as she was in her
ideas, she had the tact, the knowledge to say things without hurting
those whom she corrected. She corrected me often and often, when we were
young, but she hurt me--never. Now, you--heigho!"

"Now, I hurt--thee. Of course. I speak first and think afterward. But
does thee know, cousin Archibald, thee is the very queerest man I ever

"Have you--has thee--known many?"

"Very few. Thee is so good on one side and so--so--not nice on the
other. Like a half-ripened pear. But I am sorry for thee. I wish I could
do thee good. Do I speak it as thee wishes?"

"Indeed, yes. It is music, even though the words are unflattering
enough. Well, I'll not keep thee longer. And I don't ask you to call
attention to this whim of mine by saying 'thee' in public," he remarked,
himself falling back into the habit of their intercourse.

"No; if I say 'thee,' it is to be always, whenever I remember--like a
bond to remind me I must be kind to thee for my mother's sake. If she
did thee good, I must try to do thee good too."

"In what way?"

Amy reflected. The first, most obvious way, would be by cheering his
solitude. Yet she hesitated. The thing which had come into her mind
involved the desires of others also. She had no right, until she
consulted them, to commit herself. Yet she disliked to leave this lonely
old fellow, without trying to make him glad.

She sat down again in the chair from which she had risen and regarded
him critically.

"Oh, cousin Archibald, if thee were only a little bit different!"

"Thee, too!" he laughed--actually laughed; and the action seemed to
clear his features like a sunburst.

"Oh, of course. Well, it's this way. To-morrow's Christmas, isn't it?"

"So I've heard."

"And somebody--Teamster John--has sent Cleena 'the furnishing of a good
dinner,' she told me. I don't know when we may have another such a meal,
one that thee would think fit to eat. I'd like to ask thee to come and
share it with us, instead of staying here alone, all grumpy with the
gout. But it isn't my dinner, thee sees, and I'm going home to tell my
people everything. About the picture and the donkey and all. If, after
that, they agree with me that it would be nice to ask thee to spend the
holiday with us, I'll bring thee word. If I do, will thee come?"

Mr. Wingate leaned back in his easy-chair and hugged his gouty foot for
so long and so silently that Amy grew impatient and rose.

"Anyway, I must go home. I've been here ever so much later than I meant
to stay. Good-by."

"Wait! How impetuous you--thee is. Well, I've received a great many
invitations to dine, from the banquets of bank presidents down to the
boiled dinners of my own workmen, but I doubt if I ever received one so
honest and so honestly expressed."

"Will thee come, if thee is asked?"

"Yes; I'll come--_if I'm asked_. Don't thee bother to walk all the way
back again, though. If by nine o'clock to-night I have heard nothing to
the contrary, I shall understand that I am expected to dine with my
tenants at 'Spite House.' At what hour, please?"

"On Christmas, dinner is usually at three o'clock. And, if thee pleases,
it is no longer 'Spite' but 'Charity House.' My mother changed all that.
Thee must not dishonor her wishes if thee loves her."

A wonderful, an almost beautiful change passed over the old man's face.

"Amy, thee speaks as if she were here still."

"She is to me. She always will be. Good-by."

She was gone, and the house seemed bigger and emptier after she had left
it. But Archibald Wingate would not have had anybody know with what
almost childish anxiety he waited the striking of the clock, as the hour
of nine drew near. He had been judged a hard and bitter man. He was very
human, after all. The small brown hand of his young cousin was pointing
a new, strange way, wherein he might happily walk, and in secret he
blessed her for it. But he was a man who liked his own will and to
follow his own road still; though he might do his utmost to bend that
road in the direction she had elected. Meanwhile, he would have his
supper sent in and sitting at ease before his own hearth-blaze review
many plans.

So he did, and after the supper a comfortable nap, from which he roused
with a start, fancying the old clock in the hall was striking the hour.

"Eh? What? Is it nine already? That timepiece must be fast."

"It's only me, sir, Marshall, with a bucket of coals. And, if you
please, there's a young person outside insists upon seeing you, sir. Am
I to bid him go away until morning?"

In his disappointment the master's face really paled. Marshall noticed
it and wondered, but he knew enough, sometimes, to hold his tongue. This
seemed to him to be one of the times, and he therefore made no comment,
nor even inquired for the master's health.

"No, don't send anybody away. I fancy that was never the custom at
Fairacres, on Christmas Eve, be the visitor who he might. We'll not
disturb the old ways, more than we can help. After all--Bid the
messenger come in."



The "young person" to whom Marshall referred in such contemptuous terms
was Lionel Percival Jones. He so announced himself, as he was ushered
into the presence of the great man.

"I've come to bring a letter from Amy Kaye."

"Indeed; would it not sound better if you said 'Miss Kaye,' or 'Miss
Amy'? She is a kinswoman of mine."

Lionel Percival was astonished. He had prepared himself for this visit
with the utmost care. He had oiled his curly auburn locks with a scented
pomatum, and parted them rakishly in the middle. He wore his most
aggressive necktie and his yellowest shoes, also his Sunday suit of
clothes. With the exception of the necktie and the pomatum, he would not
have attracted attention to himself anywhere, and so would have been
well dressed. With these, he seemed to be all-pervading. He had
instantly, by means of them, offended Mr. Wingate's taste, and put
himself at disadvantage.

"Why, I'd just as lief say 'Miss,' but she's a mill girl, same as my own
sister. I didn't go to mean no harm."

The mill owner winced. Then inquired:--

"Is there an answer expected?"

"Yes, sir."

"Very well. Wait here."

The master of Fairacres limped into the adjoining room and turned his
back toward the door between, hiding his face from the lad's observation
as he read.

"Humph! She left it open, which is correct enough with reliable
messengers. Probably, though, he had the curiosity to read what she had
to say,"--in which he wholly wronged the bearer. But Mr. Wingate had yet
to learn that even lads who attire themselves atrociously may still be
true gentlemen at heart, and sin in taste through ignorance only.

This was the note:--

"DEAR COUSIN ARCHIBALD WINGATE: My father and Hallam will be very happy
to have thee dine with us to-morrow, Christmas Day. Cleena says that
dinner will be served at three o'clock. If thee knew her as well as I
do, thee would understand that she means not a minute before nor one
afterward. If thee pleases, I would rather not have any 'business' talk
of any sort to-morrow. I would like it to be a day of peace, as my
mother always kept it for us. Thee may meet some other guests, but we
will try to make thee happy.

"Good night,

It was a very cheerful and smiling old gentleman who returned to the
room where Lionel Percival waited for the reply, a brief but stately
acceptance of the invitation; for since Amy had set him the example, the
mill owner considered that she regarded such formality essential.

Then he called in Marshall and bade him see that the messenger had a bit
of supper before his return walk, which proceeding made the valet stare,
and the boy feel exceedingly proud. It would be something of which to
boast among his comrades at the mill.

The morning proved a cloudless one, mild and merciful to such as
suffered from gout, and Mr. Wingate drove himself to "Charity House" in
his own little phaeton. He felt this was an occasion when Marshall's too
solicitous attentions might be in the way. He held a debate with
himself, before setting off, whether he should or should not add to the
feast from his own larder, and he decided against so doing by the simple
test of "put yourself in his place."

But there was plenty and to spare. Teamster John did nothing by halves.
Those who have least of this world's goods are always the most generous.
Cleena had prepared each dish with her best skill and waited upon her
guests with smiling satisfaction. Afterward, in the kitchen, she and
John discussed the strange reunion of their "betters," and Cleena
speculated upon it in her own fashion:--

"Sure, there's never fish, flesh, nor fowl could withstand the loving
ways of me little colleen. And to hear them talkin' together, like lambs
in the field. Them--"

"I never heerd lambs talkin'," observed John, facetiously.

"Then it's deaf ye've been belike. Oh, me fathers, if here doesn't come
me own Gineral--Napoleon--Bonyparty! Where have ye been avick, avick?"
she demanded, pushing hastily back from the board and hurrying out of
doors. "Well, it's proof o' yer sense ye comes back in due time for a
bit o' the nicest turkey ever was roast. But it's shamefaced ye be,
small wonder o' that! Howsomever, it's a day o' good will. Come by. Wash
up, eat yer meat, an' give thanks. To-morrow--_I'll settle old scores_.
Come by."

Yet when Fayette entered the kitchen and learned from John who were the
guests in the dining room beyond, he scowled and would have gone away
again. However, he had forgotten Cleena. That good woman, having
received her prodigal back, did not intend to relinquish him. She saw
his frown, his hasty movement, and shutting the door put her back
against it.

"You silly omahaun! If your betters forgives an' eats the bread o'
peace, what's you to be settin' such a face on the matter? Come by. Be
at peace. There's the blessed little hunchback eatin' cranberry sauce
cheek by jowl with her 'boss,' an' can't you remember the Child was born
for such as you, me poor silly lad? Come by."

Fayette "came by" at last, silently and because he was half famished,
and could not resist the savory odors of the tempting food Cleena
offered him. Yet in his heart there was still anger and evil intent; and
though he was amazed to find Mary Reese a guest at the Kayes' table, as
well as their "mortal enemy," Mr. Wingate, he made no further comment,
and as soon as the meal was over retreated without a word to his chamber
and shut the door.

"It's like he might ha' just stepped out yesternight, he drops into ways
so quick," said Cleena.

"But he's not the same lad. He'll give somebody trouble before long. You
do wrong, woman, to harbor him. He's vindictive and dangerous."

The trustful Cleena laughed the teamster to scorn.

"Faith, give a dog a bad name an' he'll earn it. Let the lad be. In old
Ireland we call such the 'touched of God.' We judge not, an' that's the
size of a man--how he betreats the helpless ones. Put that in your pipe
an' smoke it."

Surely, John thought, there was a deal of good sense and heart kindness
in this stalwart daughter of Erin. He was Yankee himself, to the
backbone; yet, as he pushed back from the table, satisfied and at ease,
he pulled from his pocket a small paper parcel. It was his Christmas
gift for his hostess, and intended to suggest many things. She was
bright enough to comprehend his meaning, if she chose. Would she? She
gave no sign, if she did, as she unrolled the package and placed its
contents--a small flag of Ireland and its mate, in size, of the United
States--behind the kitchen clock, where the blended colors made a bit of
gayety upon the whitewashed wall.

"Long may they wave!" cried the donor.

"Troth, I'm not seein' no wavin'. They're best as they be, with the
timepiece betwixt. Each in its place, as the Lord wills, an' mine's
here. So here I bides till I'm no longer wanted."

"It's a biggish house," quoth the undismayed suitor. "There's room in it
for me, too, I cal'late."

But if Cleena heard this remark she ignored it, passing swiftly into the
dining room to remove the dishes of the first course, and substituting
the luxury of a basket of fruit which she had accumulated somehow, as
only herself could have explained.

Maybe there is no trivial thing that so greatly helps to bridge over a
trying situation as good breeding. The breeding which is really good,
out of the inner life: kindness and the reluctance to inflict pain. It
was such breeding that enabled the oddly assorted company at that
Christmas dinner table to pass the hours of their intercourse not only
in peace, but with absolute enjoyment.

Finally, when the elders pushed back their chairs, Mr. Kaye proposed
that Amy should sing some of the old-time ballads familiar to the
childhood of both himself and his kinsman. So Hallam took out his
mother's guitar and tuned it, and his sister placed herself beside him.

"Ah, how well I remember that little instrument," cried Mr. Wingate,
"and the commotion it caused among the Friends. Music used to be the
most 'worldly' and undesirable thing, but they are more tolerant now.
Give us 'Lang Syne,' youngsters. It's the song for the day and--this

It was. They sang it lustily, and Amy was amazed to hear how finely that
deep voice of their cousin could fill in the pauses of her own treble,
sweet but not strong. Then there was "Annie Laurie," and "Edinboro'
Toon," and "Buy my Caller Herrin'," and others; till Cleena drew John to
the door to listen and applaud, forgetting for once the big pile of
dishes standing unwashed upon her kitchen table.

"For, aye, it's a time o' peace, thank God. An' her that has gone is
among us never a doubt I doubt. What's a bit o' idlin' when a sight for
saints is afore ye? If Fayetty, now--"

But Fayette was not there. Neither was he in his own room when Cleena
sought him there. He had left it while she was off guard and had made
his escape unseen. Forces of good and evil were tormenting him: the
struggle to do right and please these good friends, and the greater
yearning to seek the wrong path to revenge.

Yet, after all, what was this poor human waif to these happier folk? So
he asked himself as he sneaked away in the twilight which hid his

Had Amy heard the question, she would have answered it promptly: "Much,
Fayette. Everybody one knows is something to one's self."

But she did not even hear of his brief visit, for, having discovered his
fresh defection, Cleena decided to keep the matter to herself.

It was getting quite late when Archibald Wingate drove away from
"Charity House" toward Fairacres, and as he went he pondered of many
things. Once or twice he fancied he saw a lurking shadow in the road,
that was not due to either bush or tree which bordered it. But he
thought little of the matter, so engrossed was he with the recollections
of the evening.

"Queer, what a pleasant time I had. Yet we are all, practically,
enemies. Each side feels that the other side has been at fault. Anyway,
I seem to hear Salome saying: 'Judge not my children by the mistakes of
their parents.' Nor will I; of that I am resolved. I'll give even that
top-lofty lad, Hallam, a fair show, by and by. I must test him a little
longer first, then I'll begin. That is, if he's made of the right stuff.
As for Amy, she's a witch. She's wheedled the heart right out of me with
her bright, unflinching, honest eyes. Talked to me about getting up a
'club' for the mill folks. 'The right sort of club, with books and
pictures and everything helpful.' The saucebox! and she earning the
mighty wage of two-fifty per week. Well, all in good course. I haven't
toiled a lifetime to attain my object, then relinquish it without a
little enjoyment of it; though, after all, possession isn't everything.
The struggle was about as enjoyable as the result. But I succeeded! I am
master of Fairacres, of Ardsley Mills, of half all Ardsley township. The
old family is still on top. But, I'll buy Cuthbert's great picture and
burn it up--sometime. Hmm. Wonder where that visionary Frederic Kaye is,
of whose unpractical schemes I am reaping the benefit. Odd--buried
himself in California, so to speak, and the only visible proofs that he
had ever reached that happy land are a couple of braying burros.--Hello!
hello, I say! Who's that? What's up?"

The shadow which had dogged the track of the mill owner's phaeton had
suddenly become a reality. His horse was seized, forced backward, the
horsewhip wrenched from its socket, and before he could defend himself
Mr. Wingate's head and shoulders felt the cuts of the whip, delivered in
swift and furious intensity.

"Hold on! hold--on! What--who--stop, stop, _s-t-o-p_! You're killing me!
What's wanted? It's murder--_murder_!"

And again after another visitation of stripes, that awful cry of

The word holds its own horror. No one can thus hear it shouted, in the
stillness of the night, unmoved. It affected even the ferocious
assailant of the lonely old man, and arrested his further blows.

"Murder." That meant death, prison, everything that was hateful. Even to
Fayette's dull brain there penetrated some realization of what his
present deed implied. For this was he who had waylaid an "enemy" on the
highroad and beaten him into unconsciousness.

Then he remembered his own wrongs, and his anger flamed afresh.

"Thought you could do all the lickin', did ye? How many times did _you_
have _me_ thrashed? What did you care if the man who thrashed me 'bout
killed me? What was I, only 'Bony,' out o' the poor farm! Ugh, you old
rascal! Take that, and that, and that. Huckleberries! but it's fun to
settle such scores."

The old horse which Mr. Wingate drove stood quiet in the road, else the
matter might have had a different ending; for had she run and dragged
her now helpless master, he would surely have been killed. As it was,
she did not move, so there was nothing to deaden the sound of the sharp
blows Fayette administered; and in the silence of the place and night
this sound carried far.

It reached the ears of a foot passenger, toiling up the mill road toward
Fairacres and quickened his pace. So that when the half-wit finally
paused for breath, he felt himself caught by his collar and heard a
stern voice demanding:--

"What's this? Hold! Stop! This--_here_, in _Ardsley_?"

Fayette looked up. The man who had gripped him was much taller than he,
and seemed in that dim light a giant for strength. The capture brought
back all those visions of punishment and the prison. In a twinkling the
agile lad had writhed himself free from his short coat and leaped away
into the darkness.

The newcomer heard a sound of retreating footsteps and mocking laughter,
then turned his attention to the injured man in the phaeton.

"An old fellow, too, he seems. Hello! Are you alive? Hey! Can't you
speak? That's serious."

The stranger's actions were alert and decided. He gently raised the bent
figure of the unconscious Mr. Wingate to as comfortable a position as he
could, stepped into the vehicle, and took up the reins.

"If nothing is changed, the nearest house is old Fairacres. But I didn't
look for such a home-coming. Get up there, nag!"

Not since the days of her youth had the sorrel mare been forced into
such a pace as then. The rescuer drove for life and death, and as if all
turnings of the old road were familiar to him. Nor did he slacken rein
until he reached the front door of the mansion, and sung out in a voice
to wake great echoes:--

"Hello, there! Come out! A man in distress!"

This hello reached the stable, where Fayette was loosing Balaam, and
roused that intelligent beast to speak his opinion concerning these
disturbances of his rest.

Marshall, hurrying to answer the imperative demand at the front door,
heard the burro's bray of protest, though he paid it small attention
then, because of the nearer demand. Holding his candle high above his
head, he slid back the bolts and peered out, but the sight which met his
gaze set him trembling like an aspen.

"Why--my land! Master, what--what's happened? Have they murdered you out
of hand? Ah, but my mind misgave me how 'twould be. To think it--to
think it!"

"Hush! Put down the candle. Give a lift; he's powerful heavy. Is this
your master?"

The servant retreated. This might be the very person who had done the
mill owner such terrible injury. He would put his own precious anatomy
out of harm's reach.

"Oh, you fool! Come back. You're safe. Leave that door open. I'll bring
him in myself. Make way there--quick!"

Marshall tried to barricade the entrance to the room beyond the hall by
means of his own plump body, and was promptly kicked aside, as the
stranger strode past him, bearing the unconscious man upon his
shoulder, very much as if he had been a bag of meal.

"Is this your master?"

"Y-ye-s. Who--are you--ordering--"

"Hot water--lights--a doctor--everything--_at once_. I'm Frederic Kaye."



The excitement at Ardsley was intense. Never had its quiet precincts
been disturbed by a crime so unprovoked and dastardly.

"To strike a man in the dark."

"To waylay an old fellow like that. The man is a coward, whoever he be,
that did it."

"Poor old 'boss.' He wasn't to say over lovable, in ordinary, but I'd
pity even a scoundrel got treated that way."

"He ought to be punished with his own stripes."

"Oh, he'll get what he deserves. Never fear. If old man Wingate had been
poor--well, you might say. But a rich man has friends."

Such talk all through the mill, on that day after Christmas, interfered
seriously with the customary labor. But it was small wonder; and though
he tried to enforce discipline and keep things running smoothly, even
Mr. Metcalf himself was greatly disturbed and anxious.

The news of the assault upon the mill owner had spread rapidly. At
first the story told by the stranger, who had so suddenly and
opportunely appeared upon the scene, was given credence. Then, when it
was remembered that this stranger, now known to be Frederic Kaye, had
been injured and supplanted by Archibald Wingate, a faint suspicion
began to rise in men's minds.

Only those who have suffered from it know with what terrible rapidity an
unjust rumor grows and spreads. Inoculated by this evil germ, even the
fairest judgment becomes diseased. Those who had best known Frederic
Kaye, the old people who recalled his frank, impetuous, happy-go-lucky
boyhood, here in the town where he was born and bred; those who had
received good from his hand, and nothing but good; even these joined
with the baser sort in considering the night attack upon the mill owner
"quite natural. Just what might have been expected."

"Of course no one knows what sort of life Kaye's led out there in
Californy. The jumping-off place of creation."

So, instead of finding himself among friends, the returned citizen
discovered that he was among enemies, under the basest of suspicions. He
had remained all night at Fairacres, with the doctor so hastily summoned
there. This gentleman was an old acquaintance, and from him Mr.
Frederic, as he had always been called in distinction from Mr. Kaye, the
artist and his brother-in-law, learned the history of the past weeks.
Yes, even of years.

"It's a pity, a great pity! When I failed to pay what I owed on the
property here, and Salome, my sister, saw that I would lose everything
unless somebody came to my aid, she did so. I hoped, I fully expected,
to be able to return what she advanced. All the world knows now that I
was not."

"She was not the first person who has been ruined by injudicious

The Californian winced. His home-coming was proving a terrible
disappointment to him, and he little dreamed how much worse than
disappointment was yet in store.

"Well, bad luck has pursued me. I have lost in every speculation I ever
undertook. The last I tried was the evaporation of fruits. There's money
in it, if I had the capital--"

"Then you did not know how badly things were going with your sister?"

"I never dreamed it. You knew her well--Salome was never a whiner. If
she had even intimated the straits which she was in, I would have thrown
up every chance and come back at once, to put my shoulder to the wheel
in some shape. I wouldn't have permitted it."

"How happen you here just now?"

"My niece, Amy, wrote me of her mother's death. It was a brief,
heart-broken little letter. I have it here. It brought me home, but I
still fancied that home was this house." The gentleman took from his
pocket a small envelope and read its enclosure aloud. It was, as he had
stated, extremely short and gave only the facts.

"MY DEAR UNCLE FREDERIC: Our mother is dead. She is buried at Quaker
cemetery. My father and Hallam are well. So is Cleena. I don't know how
to write to you because you are really a stranger to me. The burros are
both well. Your loving


"There, that's all. It was enough to bring me clear across the
continent, however. My heart aches; I should have come sooner. Oh, for
one sight of Salome's beautiful face before--" He dropped his head on
his hand and a sob shook the strong frame.

The doctor rose and busied himself about his patient. He respected the
brother's grief, and he liked this man, unthrifty and neglectful as he
might have been.

Then Marshall made a sign, and the physician left the room so quietly
that Mr. Kaye did not hear him go. Outside, in the hall, the valet was
waiting, almost breathless with eagerness.

"Will he live?" he questioned in a whisper.

"Time will tell. I hope so," was the unsatisfactory response.

"Well, if he don't, that's his--murderer."

The other sprang back as if he had been struck.

"Man, take care what you say! How dare you?"

"Ain't it reasonable? Didn't he say he was the man that owned the mill,
this house, everything before master did? Who else had a grudge against
the poor old man?"

"Lots of people, I reckon. It won't hurt him to tell the truth. He was
as testy as a snapping turtle--you know that. Plenty of folks disliked
him. Most likely the person who attacked him was a tramp who hoped to
find money. By the way, did anybody look to see if there had been
robbery as well as assault?"

"I did. No; there wasn't anything stole, so far as I know. That's what,
one thing--why it must have been--"

Dr. Wise laid his hand on Marshall's shoulder.

"Look here, man, you stop that talk. Not another word of it. How dare
you, I say how dare you, thrust suspicion upon an innocent man? I'd
stake my life on the integrity of any Kaye was ever born. Unfortunate
this returned wanderer may be, but--If you let me hear one single word
more of such fol-de-rol, I'll make it hot for you. Understand? Haven't
we got enough on our hands to keep your master alive? There must be
quiet here, absolute quiet. It's your business to have it maintained;
and if you don't, I'll have you punished as accessory to the deed. Hear

All this had been delivered in the lowest tone possible, yet each
syllable was as distinctly enunciated as if it had been shouted. The
doctor knew Marshall. He chose that idle threat of "accessory" as the
safest means to accomplish his own object.

This was all very well, so far as it went. Unfortunately, the doctor was
not the only person to whom the valet had already announced his
suspicion. There were other servants in the kitchen, and they had been
swiftly poisoned by his opinion. So that when, after a sleepless night
of watching beside his kinsman's bed, Frederic Kaye set off for "Charity
House" and his relatives, he was even then a marked man.

Into the sacredness of reunion, when the little family on the knoll were
discussing all that had befallen them, on either side, and the two men
were renewing old affections, while Hallam and Amy were forming new ones
for this new uncle, there came an alarming summons.

A local officer of the law presented himself before the group and on
behalf of the public safety arrested the stranger.

"Arrest me? Why, what in the name of justice do you mean?"

"Just what I say. For the attack upon a peaceful citizen, who lies at
the point of death, brought there by your villainous hand," repeated the
sheriff, solemnly. He so seldom had opportunity to exercise his office
that he now embellished it with all the dignity possible.

"Indeed, take care of your words, friend! It was a case of rescue, not
attack. You are slightly mixed in your ideas, sir. I found him suffering
a terrible horsewhipping at the hands of somebody whom I do not know,
who slipped away from me when I seized him, and disappeared in the
darkness. I was too anxious over Mr. Wingate to notice, or even care,
which direction the rascal took. But--aha, it's too absurd!"

"Remember that whatever you say will be used against you," cautioned the
officer of the law.

"Let it. I could ask no better treatment."

"You say you grabbed a fellow. What was he like?"

"It was too dark to see distinctly. He appeared rather tall and slim. I
don't remember that he said a word, but he laughed harshly as he ran.
Somehow, that laugh gave me the impression that the man was demented.
But I have nothing else to judge by, and I would not be unjust. The
thing for which to be thankful is that Dr. Wise hopes my kinsman's
injuries are not fatal."

"Hmm. All the same, sir, you will have to go with me."

Frederic Kaye turned toward his friends a countenance which expressed as
much amusement as annoyance. Cuthbert Kaye had risen, and his face was
white with indignation. The sight of this, determined his brother-in-law
to yield quietly to the inevitable. He had heard much during his night
with Dr. Wise of the artist's recent condition, and he felt it would be
criminal to let him become excited now. So he laid his hand
affectionately upon the trembling shoulder, and remarked, with laughing

"Why, lad, don't think of it. It's a ludicrous mistake, of course, and
the best, the simplest way to correct it is for me to go with this
gentleman; and I doubt not I'll be back in time for dinner. Why, Cleena,
woman, take care! It's delightful to find you so loyal to your 'black
sheep,' but fisticuffs won't answer, nor even a shillalah."

This was a diversion, and everybody laughed. For Cleena had advanced
threateningly toward the sheriff, raising her rolling-pin, that she
happened to have in hand, as if she would bring it down upon his
offending head. Her hand dropped to her side, but her eyes did not cease
to hurl contempt upon the officer, as, under cover of the merriment
resulting, Frederic Kaye himself led the way out of the house toward the
"bar of justice."

Because Cleena fancied that Amy had taken cold, the girl had remained at
home that morning, but she now begged to be allowed to return to the

"I want to go and see Mr. Metcalf. He'll be the very one to help Uncle
Frederic, if he needs help, and I'd rather tell him the story myself."

"If you go, I will too," said Hallam, quickly. "I'll have no holidays
you do not share."

"Nonsense! Your work is 'piece work.' If you get behind at one time,
you can make it up at another. The superintendent told me you could soon
bring it home to do, if you wished."

"But I shall not wish--not for the present. Let us both go."

Mr. Kaye looked up as if he would remonstrate. Then he took up a western
newspaper that their guest had laid down, and began to read. But his
children had seen his glance, and interpreted it to themselves by a
swift exchange of their own. Amy's eyes spoke to her brother's, as
plainly as words:--

"We mustn't leave him alone to-day," and Hallam's had telegraphed

"No, I see that. One of us must stay."

"Well, father, Hal is not half so necessary to the success of Ardsley
Mill as I am. He's going to help you mount those sketches this morning,
while I hunt up Uncle Frederic, and try to get a 'day off' to visit with
him. Cleena must dish up the remains of the yesterday dinner for us, and
we'll keep Christmas over again. Isn't it just lovely, lovely, to have
one's relatives turn up in this delightful fashion? First, Cousin
Archibald, behaving just like other folks; and now this romantic arrival
of the long-lost uncle. Good-by. I'll be back as soon as I can."

Mr. Kaye and Hallam repaired to the upper floor as Amy went away, but
Cleena remained standing for a long time, motionless in the middle of
the room. Her head was bent, and her gaze fixed, as if she were studying
some matter deeply. Finally she roused with a mighty sigh and stalked
out of the room.

"Sure, the pother o' life. It's an' up an' down, so fast it makes a body
dizzy in their wits. That boy, Fayetty, one day as good as a fine fish
o' Friday; the next--eatin' me heart out with the worry. Never a doubt I
doubt 'twas himself belabored the old man on his road home. There's bad
blood 'twixt 'em. But I'll aye see if he's in his bed the now."

So she ascended to the back chamber that Fayette used. To her knock
there came, at first, no response; but she kept on with her tapping and
interspersed this with coaxing tones, and finally a voice answered her.

"What you want?"

"Yerself, avick."

"Well, you can't have me."

"Can I no? It's two makes a bargain."

"Clear out."

"After you is manners for me. Come by."

"Leave me alone."

"I'd take shame to myself. Have ye heard the fine doin's? No?"

"What doings?"

"The lad's back from foreign parts, Miss Amy's uncle. He's the one has
donkeys in his pocket. Heard ye ever o' him?"

"Where's he at?"

"Faith, I d' know. Belike he's after takin' a stroll about, meetin' old
friends. What for no? Come on an' help me get a fine dinner out o'

"Suppose he'd give me one?"

"Never a doubt I doubt, _he'll give ye all ye deserve_. Come by. There's
kindlin' to split an' praties to peel, an'--Whist! What's that I hear?"

Fayette's curiosity was very strong. It had led him into trouble more
than once. It now induced him to open the door and peep through.

"What's that, Cleena? Anything happenin'?"

"Arrah musha, but I think yes!"


"Sure, if ye're askin', I'm believin' it's Willyum Gladstone happenin'
down in your minin' hole."


The door flew open, Fayette rushed by as if he could not move half fast
enough. It seemed to Cleena he cleared the stairs with two bounds, and
an instant after she heard him hurrying into the cellar at the same
headlong pace.

"Hmm. I thought that'd fetch him," she chuckled. Then she suddenly
remembered that she had once heard the lad speak of using "giant
powder," or some such explosive in his work of the underground passage.
She had strictly forbidden this, and had carefully watched lest any
suspicious material might be brought upon the premises. She had even
persuaded Teamster John to examine the trench and the articles which
Fayette had placed there. He had found nothing wrong, and the pick and
the shovel had been so long disused that they had rusted. Of late Cleena
had let William Gladstone play down there in the soft dirt, while she
was busy at other things.

"Alanna, the day!"

Cleena followed her leader only a trifle less swiftly, and reached the
top of the cellar stairs just in time to receive a whirling object plump
in her arms. The object was the incipient statesman, and in a second
more the half-wit had also reached the kitchen floor and had shut the
door behind him.

"I'll teach him to interfere with my gold mine!"



"Oh, Mr. Metcalf, may I come in?"

The superintendent was alone in his office and admitted Amy at once.
"Such strange things have happened, I've not come to work to-day, but to
ask your help. My Uncle Frederic--"

"Sit down, child, you are breathless with haste. You needn't talk. I
have heard your news. Dr. Wise has sent me a message. I am expecting him
here immediately."

"Isn't it dreadful?"

"Very," answered the gentleman, and his grave face emphasized his words.
He knew Archibald Wingate better than anybody else could know him. He
was the rich man's confidential employee, from whom no weaknesses were
hid. He believed the mill owner to be vindictive, and he had heard his
often-expressed contempt for the "whole family of Kaye, so far as its
men are concerned." Of course, this had been some time ago; before
Fairacres had become Mr. Wingate's home. Since then his enmity toward
his relatives had seemed to slumber, it had even altered to a sort of
friendliness; yet Mr. Metcalf had no faith in the endurance of this
friendliness should any test be put upon it. The attack of the night
before had pointed suspicion very strongly toward one of "the Kayes,"
and should the victim recover, he would, doubtless, prosecute to the
full extent of the law the person who had assaulted him.

"Do you know how he is?"

"Of whom do you ask?"

"Cousin Archibald, of course. I am so sorry for him. If I hadn't to
work, I would go and take care of him, if he'd let me."

"I don't think he would. Besides, you would not be either strong or wise
enough. He must have trained nursing, the best obtainable. I hear that
he has recovered consciousness and is resting quietly. What
complications may arise one cannot foresee. He has been a high liver,
and he is an old man; but I hope for the best. I hope it not only for
his sake, but everybody's concerned."

"Wasn't it queer that that man, that officer,--a sheriff he called
himself,--should come after my uncle? It frightened my father, so Hallam
stayed with him. I'm sorry to be away from my place to-day, but Cleena
fancies I have taken cold. Then, too, since Uncle Frederic came, of
course I should devote myself to him. He's just splendid. So big and
strong and jolly. Even under his sorrow about my mother he is as
sunshiny as possible. He's like a fresh west wind that 'airs' a house
so wonderfully. I do want you to see him; and I came to ask if you'd
just go and explain to that sheriff how silly it is to suspect him."

Mr. Metcalf regarded Amy for a moment in silence. With all her good
sense, she was as ignorant as a child of many things in practical life.
He answered her very gently:--

"I expect to see him soon, that is my intention. Dr. Wise and I will
become his 'bail', so that he can soon be set at liberty."

"I do not understand you. What do you mean?"

"Why, this: your uncle has been arrested upon suspicion of waylaying and
assaulting Mr. Wingate. He will be imprisoned unless somebody becomes
surety for him, that he will appear at court when summoned to stand his
trial and prove his innocence if he can. It is right you should know
this, though extremely disagreeable for me to speak of it."

Amy's face paled as he talked. She did not wonder that her father had
been frightened. The thing was horrible, and the disgrace of it crushed
her. She bowed her head beneath its weight, and sat silent so long that
the superintendent was moved to rise and comfort her.

"Don't take it so to heart, my child; there is, of course, some great
mistake. The thing is--to find out who the real assailant was and bring
him to justice. This, unfortunately, will be a difficult matter."

"No; I won't mind it. Why should I? If he had done this wicked thing, I
should be right to feel shame; but he didn't. Oh! I've just thought of
something that might help. Uncle Frederic said he caught the man by the
collar, and the man slipped out of his coat and ran away. Where is the
coat? Has anybody looked for it?"

"Several persons, my own messenger among others. There is no trace of
any garment anywhere near the highroad. If we could find that, as you
say, it would simplify matters greatly. Come with me; I heard Nanette
wishing she could show you her Christmas gifts. To hear her describe
each, one would imagine she could see them. She is so interested about
Balaam, too. She wonders where he is, and if he misses Pepita as much as
she would miss one of her numerous sisters. When Dr. Wise has been here
and we have concluded our business, I will call for you, probably, with
your uncle. I have a new horse I'm anxious to try, and things are so
unsettled here to-day--"


"Yes; Ardsley doesn't often have such a sensation as its wealthiest
citizen being horsewhipped. It's difficult to get the hands to work
regularly. It's just as well you do not try, till it's blown over. You
would be asked no end of questions, idle as the people who would put

In his kind heart he wished to save her not only the questions, but the
shadow which might rest upon her because of her misjudged relative. By
nightfall, or earlier, he was determined to have the Californian set at
liberty. It was an outrage that one who acted the good Samaritan should
receive such reward, and he believed that two as influential townsmen as
Dr. Wise and himself could, by their indorsement of the prisoner, turn
the tide of public opinion in his favor.

So Amy went again to the Metcalf home and forgot all her cares in the
midst of its bright young people. The hours went swiftly round, and it
was not till the gate clicked and a trio of gentlemen came striding up
the path that she remembered how anxious she had been.

Then she sped out of the house and flung herself into her uncle's arms.

"Oh, I'm so glad they found out their mistake! How ashamed that sheriff
will be! Please, Mr. Metcalf, may I show him his own little Pepita, that
was? And thank you for helping him to explain, or for the 'bail,' and
everything. Thank you, too, Dr. Wise. Do you know how Mr. Wingate is?"

"Improving. He's pretty badly scared and shocked, but I think he will
come out all right."

"Can he tell who struck him? That would clear everything up all right."

"Yes; it would be a simple solution of the matter. I am hoping he will
be able to tell, after a while; but for the present my object is to
prevent, as far as possible, his recalling the incident. He must not be
excited, else there may be fever. But all in good time, I think. Now Mr.
Metcalf has invited us to ride behind his new horse. I have an hour of
leisure, and I propose to show this old Ardsley boy the changes a few
years have made, even in our quiet town. Did I hear anything about a
small girl named Amy being one of the party?"

"Indeed, you did. Oh, what a treat! A real Christmas gift. To ride
behind a brand new horse, beside a brand new uncle, in a brand new
carriage, is enough to turn my head; so forgive me if I'm silly--sillier
than common. And oh, Mr. Metcalf, can't Nanette go too? She's so little
she takes up no room worth mentioning, and I love her."

It was a merry party. Amy believed that all the morning's trouble had
been overcome, and did not realize that being out on bail was in itself
sort of an imprisonment to a man of honor. Until the real culprit was
found Frederic Kaye would still be under suspicion; yet he could enjoy
his parole, and this ride had been purposely planned by his friends as a
means of influencing that variable public opinion which had first
promptly misjudged him.

Therefore, they drove through the principal streets of the town, past
all its business places, and lingered by the haunts of the village
gossips, that Ardsleyites might see and comment.

"Well, if that don't beat all!" exclaimed Mrs. Hackett to her
customers. "There's Dr. Wise and the 'Supe' driving Mister Fred all over
creation. I guess they don't believe anything against him, bad as things
look. I don't know as 'tis right, either. I guess I'll wait and see
before I make up my mind."

But having already spread the "news" by means of every villager who had
visited her place of business that morning, this was rather late in
season to stem the tide of rumor; though on the principle of "better
late than never," it may have done some good.

When the ride was over and the Kayes deposited at the door of "Charity
House," Amy was in the wildest of spirits. It seemed to her as if the
world were the loveliest, friendliest place, and her gayety infected all
about her. The gentlemen accompanied Mr. Frederic into the new home and
spent an hour delightfully with the artist, amid his pictures. Then
Cleena, aided by Amy, brought in a tray of luncheon, and they stayed to
share it.

"Blessings on Teamster John's turkey. What a lot of comfort it has given
lots of folks!" remarked Amy to Cleena, in the kitchen, as she surveyed
the neatly arranged tray.

"Yes, so be. Arrah musha, were the man as sensible as his fowl I'd know.
But, colleen, keep an eye to that back door. Fayette's behind, in the
store closet. It's behind he must stay or there's mischief a-brewin'."

"Indeed, I wonder he isn't putting himself forward, to attract Uncle
Frederic's notice, as he always does of strangers. Well, poor lad, I
fancy the introduction can wait. When you've carried in the tray, I'll
go and serve them."

But after the light meal was over and the guests departed, Hallam became
absorbed in the new magazines that his uncle produced from his valise;
while the elder Kayes dropped back into the reminiscences that were so
interesting to themselves and so dull to Amy. Try as she would, now that
all was quiet, she could not keep from her mind a picture of Archibald
Wingate, riding home from a pleasant visit and suffering such mischance.

"My first little dinner-party, too. I must go and see him. I must tell
him that I am sorry. I must offer to help."

So, after a while, as the afternoon waned, Amy put on her outdoor
things, and telling only Cleena her errand, set off for Fairacres. She
was admitted by a strange servant, and was passing straight toward the
room which her cousin occupied when she was met and prevented by

"If you please, miss, he's allowed to see nobody."

"Not even me? Surely, I will not disturb him. I won't even speak to him,
if that will hurt him. I just want to satisfy myself how badly he's
injured, and maybe smile at him. Just that little bit. Oh, Mr. Marshall,
isn't it so sad! I'm so very, very sorry."

"Yes, and well you might be, miss. No, not even to look at him. He's
not to be worried by nobody."

So Amy went sorrowfully home again, and as she had to resume her labor
in the mill at such an early hour the following day, she could not
repeat her visit until another night came round. Frederic Kaye had gone
to the mansion, however, and had been coldly assured by the officious
Marshall that "the master was doing well." This bulletin had been issued
through the upper half of the old-fashioned door, which opened across
its middle, and to effect an entrance the caller would have had to force
the bolts of the lower half. The valet regarded the Californian with
suspicion that, as the latter admitted, was not ill-founded; and he had
not forgotten the feel of the stranger's boot-toe on the night of the
accident. So he kept a safe barricade of the premises, and Frederic also
went away unsatisfied.

For several days these visits were repeated, with similar results; but
when Sunday came round and she had daylight for her purpose, Amy again
hurried to Fairacres.

"I'll see him this time, if I have to climb over Marshall's objecting
shoulders," she merrily cried to Cleena, as she departed.

But when she reached the old homestead she found it desolate. The light
snow which had fallen overnight lay everywhere undisturbed. No paths had
been cleared nor entrances swept. The windows were closed and shuttered
as Amy never had seen them. Even the stables were shut up and deserted;
and after a half hour of vain efforts to arouse somebody, the
disappointed girl returned to "Charity House."

"Troth, ye went away like a feather, an' you come home like a log.
What's happened, me colleen?"

"He's gone. I can't see him. I can't tell him. Oh, I'm so sorry, so

To comfort her, Uncle Frederic paid a visit to Dr. Wise, and came back
with news that was not very satisfactory. Without consulting the
physician, Mr. Wingate had suddenly decided to go south for the winter.
Marshall had attended to everything. The horses and cattle had been sent
from Fairacres to one of the outlying farms belonging to the estate.
There was no reference to future return, and Mr. Metcalf had been
instructed to settle all accounts. Beyond this there was no mention of
anybody, and no address was left except that of the mill owner's city
bankers, who would forward any necessary papers. Mr. Wingate had gone
away for absolute rest, and wished not to hear from Ardsley unless under
extreme necessity.

So Amy's dream of a reunited family, of that peace and happiness which
should exist between Fairacres and "Charity House," came to an end. But
other hopes and plans took its place, and she returned to her mill work
on the Monday, too busy and eager to spend time in useless regret.

"The best thing about life," observed this wise young person to her
Uncle Frederic, "is that it has to keep right on. There's so much to do,
and the days are so short, if a body grieves one moment he's sure to
laugh the next. And, uncle, I've such a lovely idea about a 'club' for
the mill folks. To take the place of one that--doesn't seem to help them
much. I believe you're the very man to arrange everything, and that you
were sent home just in time."

"Wh-e-w! A Daniel come to judgment? No, a faithful daughter of a brave,
unselfish woman. You'll never be Salome, little girl, but maybe you will
be an improvement even on her. All her good sense with a little

"Considerable more snap than wisdom, I fancy," laughed she, and sped
down the hill to join Gwendolyn for her walk millward.



"Sure, Mister Frederic, I'd be proud to show ye the cellar that's doin'
below. Would he mind comin' the now?"

"A 'cellar below' is surely in its proper place. I'll be delighted to
view it, Mistress Goodsoul."

"Alanna, it was ever yourself had a jest an' a twist of a body's words!
To my notion, it's a tidy job, but I sometimes misgives it's no all
right for the house."

"Then it surely should be looked after. Who's doing it for you?"

"That silly one I was tellin' you about. He's--he's--" The woman glanced
over her shoulder, as if she feared to be heard. This was a curious
circumstance in the case of one so frank as she, and her old friend
commented on it.

"Why so mysterious, Cleena? Secrets afoot? But it's after Christmas, not
before it."

"Come by."

He followed her gayly down the stairs into the one central cellar, and
from this slightly farther into another, being opened toward the side.
She carried a lighted candle in her hand, and pointed with pride to the
neatness of the work as far as it had proceeded.

"Nobody could ha' done it finer, eh?"

"It seems all right. The walls will have to be supported, of course,
though it looks a solid rock. Old Ingraham obeyed the Scripture
injunction in letter, if not in spirit. What does Cuthbert think of

"The same as of most things--nothin' at all. So long as he's his bit
pictures an' books to pore over, the very house might tumble about his
ears an' no heed. There's been no nerve frettin' nor crossness since the
mistress was called--not once. He's a saint the now. But it's aye good
ye're come home, Mister Fred."

"And it's good to hear you say so, old friend. Yet if it suits you just
as well, I'd prefer to have you say it up in the open. I'm not a lover
of dark cellars, or of holes that may be cellars some day. Come out of
it; it gives me the 'creeps.'"

"Ye believe it's all safe, eh?"

"Safe enough so far."

"Come by. If you like not this place, you must e'en bide the kitchen a
bit. I've somewhat to speak to you."

Cleena started back over the way they had come, and Mr. Kaye was
following her, when he stumbled against something soft, and fell
headlong in the mud; but he was up again in an instant, no worse for the
accident save by the soil upon his clothing. He had grasped the thing
over which he had tripped, and held it up to the candle-light.

"Hello! Seems to me I've seen this garment, or felt it, before. That
peculiarity of a cloth coat with a leather collar is noticeable. Whose
is it, Cleena?"

"Fetch it," she commanded tersely, and he obeyed her. Once in the better
lighted kitchen she extinguished the candle, carefully closed all the
doors, and seated herself near her visitor. She had taken the coat from
him, and laid it upon her own knees. Her manner was still full of that
mystery which consorted so oddly with her honest, open face.

"I thought so. I thought so, so I did."

"Very likely."

"Cease yer haverin', lad. There's matter here."

"Considerable. Upon my clothes, too. The matter seems to be of the same
sort--rather brown and sticky, what the farmers call 'loom.'"

"Know you whose coat this be?"

"Never a know I know," he mimicked, enjoying his bit of nonsense with
this old friend of his youth.

"It's Fayetty's."

"Your superior cellar digger? Whew!"

He had now become quite as serious as she desired. "Cleena, this is a
bad business. This coat was on the back of the man who horsewhipped Mr.

"I thought it; but, mind you, me lad, he's not for punishin'."

"Hold on, he certainly _is_. Don't you know that I--I, a Kaye, am under
suspicion of this dastardly thing? Of course you do. Well, then, I'm
going to step out from under the suspicion with neatness and despatch.
How long have you been hiding this, Cleena?"

"The poor chap's been here ever since. Only once a day he slips out, but
he's back by night. Oh, he's safe enough the now."

"Glad of it. Like to have him handy; and as soon as you've finished what
you have to say, I'll walk into the village and inform the sheriff, or
somebody who should know."

"You'll do naught like it."

"Why, Cleena, woman, have you lost your good sense?"

"Have I saved it, no? Hear me. I know 'twas me poor little Gineral
Bonyparty 't did the deed. I knew, soon as I heard the tale o' the coat.
You're no so stupid yerself. You recognized it immediate. It was a part
o' his uniform he wore a-paradin'. His notion 'twould save the collar
clean o' the jacket I fixed him. He's never no care in all his hard life
till he met up with me. The poor little gossoon!"

"Cleena, Cleena, turncoat! Wasn't I once, on a day gone by, another
'poor little gossoon'? But come, drop nonsense; it's a disgracefully
serious business for me and for your whole family."

"It's because o' the family I say it. The lad's for no punishin'. Not
yet. You're big an' strong, an' uncommon light o' heart. It'll do ye no
harm. The suspicioned you must be till--Wait lad. You loved the
mistress, Salome?"

"Why, Cleena, you know it!"

"Love you her childer?"

"Dearly; for their sakes I must shake off this obnoxious misjudgment."
He shrugged his shoulders as if the obloquy were a tangible load that
could be shifted.

"Hallam, the cripple, that's walked never a step since a diny dony
thing, an' a bad nurse set him prone on the cold stones o' the nasty
cellar house where her kind lived. That winter in the town, an' me
mindin' the mistress with Miss Amy a babe. How could we watch all the
time? He must have the air, what for no? An' her with a face as smooth
as bees-wax. Down on the cold, damp stones she'd put him, whiles off
with her young man she'd be trapesin', an' him made a cripple for life."

"Yes, Cleena, I remember it all. And how, as Amy tells me, almost a
fortune has been spent to restore him. But if ever I earn enough to try
again, I'll never rest till every doctor in the world, who understands
such things, shall tell me there is no hope."

"Good lad. Aye, aye, _good lad_!"

The gentleman looked at her in amazement. This had been the old
servant's term of commendation when he had refrained from some of his
youthful and natural mischievousness. She seemed to mean it just as
earnestly now. Suddenly she leaned forward and placed her hands upon his

"Say it again, avick. You'd do all in your power for me darlin' Master
Hallam, what for no?"

"What idleness to ask! I would give anything in this world to see him

"The Kayes are aye proud, in troth. Yer honor, lad; _even yer honor_?"

"Hmm, well--yes. Even my honor."

"Hark to me."

For five minutes thereafter Cleena talked, and not once did her listener
interrupt. Her words were spoken in that sibilant whisper that is louder
than ordinary speech, and not one of them was lost. When she had
finished, she rose and demanded, laying her hand upon Mr. Kaye's

"Now, Mister Fred, will ye leave me gineral be?"

"Yes, Cleena. For the present, till a final test comes, he shall be safe
from any interference from me. I'll take him under my personal
protection. I'll make myself his friend. He shall have a fair chance. If
he fails--"

"He'll no fail! he'll no fail, laddie! Such as him is the Lord's own.
Whist, alanna, here he comes."

Fayette approached the entrance, walking stealthily, and casting furtive
glances toward that part of the building where the guest had hitherto
remained. Apparently satisfied that the coast was clear, he crept to
the door and tapped it twice.

Cleena nodded her head, and Frederic Kaye opened to admit the boy, who
would have retreated when he saw the stranger, had not his arm been
caught and held so firmly he could not writhe himself free.

"Leave me alone. What you doin'?"

"Why, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you since Christmas night."

"'Twasn't me. I never done it. Leave me be. Huckleberries! I'll smash

"Why, Fayette, I'm astonished. Be quiet, listen. I know you--I know all
about you. You have got to behave. You must stay here and do exactly
what Cleena and I tell you to do. You'll be treated well. I'll show you
how you can make a lot of that money you like so much; upon condition,
though--upon the one condition that you simply behave correctly. You are
wise enough to understand me. If you disobey or prove tricky--well, I
have but to hand you over to the law and you're settled. Do you

"You mean, if I don't mind, they'll jail me?"

"That's it, exactly. You're cleverer than I hoped."

"All right; I'll do it. Say, I believe Balaam's sick."

"Balaam? Have you got him, too? Are you a horse thief as well as
highwayman? Well, poor fellow, it's lucky your lot is cast in this
peaceful valley instead of on the frontier. Where is he?"

"I rode him to a place I know. There was plenty o' fodder once, but
it's been took. He hain't had much to eat, an' maybe that's it. I was
bound old Wingate shouldn't get him."

"Look here, young man, call nobody names. That's not allowed. And now
you travel after Balaam. If he's too sick for you to manage alone, I'll
go with you; if not, you must do it. How far away is he?"

"Not more 'n a mile."

"Fetch him. I've something to tell you, for your own benefit. I'll teach
you how to grow mushrooms, down in that cellar you're digging.
Well-grown ones will bring you a dollar a pound. I know, I've raised
them. I'd made a fortune only I love daylight and hate darkness. If you
can stand the underground part just for fun, you'll make it pay."

"Huckleberries! I'll get him. I'll hurry back."

As if he expected the new enterprise to begin that very night the lad
started down the hill. Already there was a manlier bearing about his
ill-shaped body. The necessity for hiding which he had felt had been
removed, and he was a free lad again.

An hour later Frederic Kaye saw him reappear, riding the apparently
restored burro, and smiled grimly.

"Hmm. Well, I'm in for it. I'm to remain under the cloud for an
indefinite time. If it succeeds--I'll not regret. If it doesn't, maybe
the Lord will square it up to my account, against the thoughtless
neglect I showed Salome. Now, I'll go out and interview my old
acquaintance of the Sierras. I wonder is his voice as mellifluous as

"Br-a-a-ay! Ah-umph! A-h-h-u-m-p-h!!" responded Balaam, from afar.



It is amazing how fast time flies when one is busy. At "Charity House"
all were busy, and to all the winter passed with incredible swiftness.

To Amy each day seemed too short to accomplish half she desired, and
each one held some new, fascinating interest in that study of life which
so absorbed her.

"You're the funniest girl, Amy. Even the lengthening of the days,
getting a little lighter in the mornings, week by week, so we can see
the sun rise and such things, as we walk to work--I'd never think of it,
'cept for you."

"Now you do think of it, isn't it interesting?"

"Yes, I like it. Things seem to mean something, now I know you. Before,
well--'pears like I didn't think at all; I just slid along and took no

"But it's so wonderful. Everything is wonderful,--even the way the
months have gone. Here it is spring, the bloodroot lying in a white
drift along the brookside, and the yellow lilies opening their funny
tooth-shaped petals everywhere in the woods. Yet only a minute ago, as
it seems, the dead leaves were falling, and I was on my way for the
first time to work in the mill. I belong there now, a part of it. I have
almost forgotten how it used to be when I was so idle."

"Seems to me you could never have been idle, Amy. Anyway, you've got on
splendid. The 'Supe' says he never had a girl go ahead so fast. Isn't it
grand, though, to be out of the mill this lovely day? Saturday-half
means ever so much more fun now than it used to do, and doesn't cost
half so much money. Don't worry you half so much either, as it did to go
shopping all the time. Say, Amy, I've about got Mis' Hackett paid up."

"I'm delighted; it must be wretched to feel one's self in debt, I

"It's mighty nice to feel one's self out of it. I've got you to thank
for that, too, 'long of lots of other things. Isn't the club doing fine?
We wouldn't have had that, either, but for you."

"Nonsense! Indeed, you would. Hallam was as interested as I in the
subject; and as soon as we told Uncle Fred, he was even more eager than
we. But it is to father we all owe the most, I think."

"So do I. To dream of a splendid gentleman like him, and such a painter,
taking so much time and trouble just for a lot of mill folks, I think
it's grand. I don't understand how he can."

"Seeing that his own two children are 'mill folks,' I can, readily,"
answered Amy, laughing. "But, indeed, I know he would go on with it now
just as thoroughly, even if we were not in the case at all."

This talk occurred one lovely afternoon when the half-holiday made a
club picnic a possible and most delightful thing. The two girls,
Gwendolyn and Amy, were a little earlier than the others, and were on
their way to the appointed meeting place, "Treasure Island," a small
piece of wooded ground rising in the middle of the Ardsley's widest
span. From the island to the banks, on either side, were foot-bridges,
and in the grove tables and benches had been built by the lads of the
organization. It was an ideal picnic ground, and these were ideal
picnickers; for those who toil the hardest on most days of the week
enter most heartily into the recreations they do secure.

The girls were passing down into the glen where Amy had once lost her
way and been rescued by Fayette. It seemed so long ago that she could
hardly realize how few months had really elapsed.

She spoke of the matter to her companion, who seemed to be in a
reflective mood that afternoon, and who again remarked upon the change
in the mill boy, also.

"Your uncle and Cleena Keegan have made him different, too. He's as
proud as Punch of his mushroom raising, isn't he? He owes that to Mister
Fred; but, odd! he's as scared of Cleena as if she owned him. He didn't
forgive that thing about Balaam, and seems to feel he has a right to
him, same's Mr. Metcalf has."

"Poor old Balaam, he's made a lot of trouble, first and last; but I
guess he's all right now, only Cleena won't let Fayette talk of him. She
says it's 'punishment,'--the only sort she can inflict. I don't
understand why she wants him punished, anyway."

"Maybe for stealing him that Christmas night out of Mr. Wingate's

"Possibly; I don't know. She's like a mother puss with her kitten. One
minute she pets him to foolishness, the next she gives him a mental slap
that reduces him to the humblest, most timid mood. Well, I'm glad the
burro business is settled, though it's odd how Fayette covets that
animal; and the exercise of going up and down to his work, the days he
has to go, isn't hurting Hallam at all. I never knew him to be so well
and strong as he seems this spring."

"Amy, how was it about Balaam? Ma says she never heard the rights of it
yet. And say, she likes that book you lent her, about the woman went
round the world alone, visiting them hospitals, better 'n any novel she
ever read. She's going to give up the other story papers soon as the
subscription runs out an' take one o' them library tickets you were
telling about, or your uncle, where they send the books to you by mail
and you can have your choose of hundreds. Say, wouldn't it be prime if
we could get a big library here?"

"Grand! We will, some day, too."

"My! You say such things as if you expected them to be. How, I'd like to

"Well, if in no other way, by just us mill folks banding together and
making a beginning. Indeed, I think my father would give his own little
library as a start. There's a fine one at Fairacres, and I'm hoping when
Cousin Archibald comes back he'll get interested in our work and help

"Might as well look for miracles."

"I do. I'm always finding them, too. There's one at your very feet.
Don't tread upon it, please."

Stooping, the girl pulled Gwendolyn's dress away from a tiny green
speck, growing in dangerous proximity to the wood road.

"What's it?"

"This baby fern."

"All that fuss about a fern!"

"It's life, it's struggle. See, so dainty, so fine, yet so plucky,
forcing its soft frond up through the earth, among all these bits of
rocks; never stopping, never fearing, just trusting the Creator and
doing its duty. It would be a pity to end it so soon."

"Amy, did I ever! Well, there it is again. I shall never be able to
crush anything like that without remembering what you've said just now.
I--I wish you wouldn't. It makes me feel sort of wicked. And that's
silly, just for a fern."

"Gwen, anything that makes us more merciful can't be silly. Heigho!
there are the picnickers all coming along the banks and over the
bridges. Truly, a goodly company, yet we began with just you and Lionel,
Mary Reese, Hallam, and me. Now there are a hundred members, old and
young. There's one of the everyday miracles for you!"

The vigorous young association which went by the name of the "Ardsley
Club" flourished beyond even Amy's most sanguine expectation. Three
rooms of "Charity House," the sunny western side of the higher story,
had been cheerfully offered by Mr. Kaye as a home for the club. These
rooms he had had fitted up under his own supervision, though the work
had been done by the members themselves, in hours after mill duties were
over. The color mixer had supplied the material with which the once ugly
white walls were tinted; and upon the soft-hued groundwork there had
been stencilled a delicate conventional design. At one end of the large
room designated the "reading room" a scroll bore the legend which old
Adam Burns had given Amy as a "rule of life": "Simplicity, Sincerity,
Sympathy," and opposite gleamed in golden letters the other maxim: "Love
Conquers All."

"Love, Simplicity, Sincerity, and Sympathy, which is the synonym of
Love, and forms with it the golden circle," was adopted as one of the
by-laws, and it is true that each member endeavored to keep this one
law inviolably. The result was a spirit of peace and goodwill rarely
found in a gathering of so many varying natures. It had been Mr. Kaye's
idea to make the affair one of no expense to the members, outside of his
own household, but Frederic promptly vetoed that.

"In the first place, there are none of us rich enough to do such a
thing. There will be lights, firing, musical instruments, books, current
literature, games--any number of things that cost money. Amy's idea is
fine. A club of the right sort will be a powerful factor for good in
this community of mill workers, but it must be made self-supporting. If
you give the use of the rooms and will act as instructor along some
lines,--art and literature, which you comprehend better than
financiering, respected brother,--you will have done your generous
share. Amy and Cleena will keep the rooms in order, with occasional aid
from the girl members--after we secure them. A small sum, contributed by
each member, will run the whole concern. People who are as constantly
employed as these mill operatives have not the leisure nor means to
acquire a book education, but a more intelligent, wider-awake, more
receptive class is not to be found. Yet let nobody dare to approach them
with anything at all in the nature of 'charity' or mental almsgiving.
Your democrat beats your aristocrat in the matter of pride every time,
and that is a paradox for you to consider. I relinquish the floor."

"After having exhausted the subject," laughed Hallam. But the subject
had not been exhausted. Amy proposed the matter the very next day, at
"nooning," and secured the members as mentioned by her to Gwendolyn. In
a week the membership had doubled; and as soon as the affair was really
comprehended, that it was a mutual benefit organization in the highest
sense of the word, applications were plentiful.

Uncle Frederic had been a literal globe-trotter, and his journeyings on
foot made him able to discourse in a familiar way of things no
guide-book ever points out. Nor did Cleena's good cookery come in for
any poor show among these healthy, happy folk. The club paid for the
simple refreshments provided at their weekly "socials," and Cleena
prepared them. Even this day, for their out-of-door reunion, she had
made all the needful preparations, and had been so busy she had scarcely
remembered to keep a close watch upon Fayette.

"But troth, it's no more nor right he should take his bit fun with the
rest," she remarked to herself, as she pulled the last tin of biscuits
from the chimney oven and spread them with sweet butter and daintily
sliced tongue. "He's aye restless betimes; and--but it's comin', it's
comin', me blessed gossoon!"

But to whom Cleena's exclamation referred it would have been difficult
to say,--though possibly to Fayette, as her next words seemed to
indicate. For the good creature still "conversed with Cleena" in every
instance when she happened to be left alone, it being a necessity of
her friendly nature that she should talk to somebody.

"Me gineral's never got over the burro business yet, alanna! An' it do
seem hard how 't one has so little an' t' other so much. That Mr.
'Super' Metcalf now, as fine a man as treads shoe leather, never a doubt
I doubt, yet himself judgin' it fair, since the man Wingate wanted the
beast, the man Wingate should have him. Anyway, there he stands, brayin'
his head off in the 'Supe's' stable, in trust for the old man'll never
bestride him. Nobody rides him at all, Miss Amy says; yet here's me
gineral heart-broke for him; an' the cripple goin' afoot; an' all them
little Metcalfs envyin' an' covetin'; an' all because a man who's word
is law said he'd take him for rent an' just kept him, whether or no. But
a good job it was when Mister Fred come home, with money for rent an' a
few trifles, but not much besides. Well, where's the need? Eight dollars
a week is Miss Amy's wage now, God bless her! an' Master Hal's nigh the
same,--let alone them bit pictures the master's be's doin' constant.
Mister Fred's the knack o' sellin' 'em too. Well, if the mistress could
see--and hark, me fathers! What's that?"

Down in the fragrant glen and on the little island the hungry
"Ardsleyites" waited long for the promised supper; and up on Bareacre
knoll things were happening that would provide another sensation for the
little town, quiet now since the Christmas horsewhipping episode.



Almost before she asked it, Cleena answered her own question.

"The powder! the powder! It's Fayetty a-meddlin'! Oh, is he killed, the
witless gossoon?"

Then she turned toward the stairway leading into the cellar, and from
whence she had heard the dull roar, and now imagined she saw smoke as
she certainly did smell suggestive fumes. She needed not to descend,
however, for at the stair's head the lad rushed against her, bruising
her with something hard and heavy that he carried, and thus dispelling
her first fear of his personal injury.

"Fayetty--Fayetty! Hold by! What's amiss? What's--"

He deposited a box upon the kitchen table, plump in the tray of
biscuits, and catching Cleena about the waist began to execute a
grotesque dance with her for helpless partner. After a moment she was
able to extricate herself from his frantic clutch and to demand

"Ye omahaun, are ye gone daft?"

"It's money, Cleena Keegan! _It's money!_ The cellar's full of it!
Money, money, money! Chests full, cellars full--oh! oh! oh!"

Then did her eye fall upon the box and the spot where it rested, and
indignation seized her soul. With one grasp of her strong hands she
flung it to the floor, where it fell heavily, cracked, and burst

Both were then too astonished to speak. Fayette's wildest dreams had,
evidently, come true. Cleena could not believe her eyes. Never in all
her life had she seen so many precious coins. They were dimmed by age
and moisture, yet, unmistakably, they were of gold, with a few that
might be silver. All the fairy tales of her beloved Ireland rushed
through her mind, and she regarded the half-wit with a new veneration.

"Sure, you're one o' them elf-men, I believe; that different from
ordinary you can even make dollars o' doughnuts. Arrah musha, 'twas a
smart decent day when Miss Amy fetched you home to Fairacres! Sent, was
ye, to make the old family rich; and the marvel o' cure in your long,
lean hands. Troth, I'm struck all of a heap."

But Fayette was not. He had never been so active. He began to gather up
the coins which had been scattered by the breaking of the chest and, for
want of something better in which to store them, pulled Cleena's apron
from her waist and piled them in that. She sat on, silently regarding
him. For a few minutes she honestly believed that he was a genuine
specimen of the "little people" who were said to make green Erin their
favorite home. But when he began to gabble in a hoarse, excited tone of
how he had long been expecting this "find"; how he had watched his
opportunity when all the household should be absent that he might
disobey and use the explosive that would lessen his labor so greatly,
she came back to common sense.


"So you've been lookin' for it, have ye? Well, now you've got it, but ye
might ha' been killed in the job. What for no? With Mister Fred gone to
town an' him tellin' ye most explicit ye should no touch nor meddle at
all. Was aught like this found in either of them mushroom ones?"

"I--don't--know," answered Fayette, slowly, still stooping and tying his
bundle. "If there was--that man's--got it. It was _mine_. _I_ begun the
digging. I--"

"An' he finished, eh? Well, you take up your pack an' put it here in my
dresser. Then go wash your face. Such a sight! Hold, did ye any more
harm there below?"

"Harm! harm! to dig such a treasure as this out of my mine? Well, if I
used only a little bit of powder and got so much, what a lot I might
have found if I'd used more. I'll bet the whole ground is full."

"Oh, ye silly! Put that stuff down. It's makin' ye lose what little
sense you've got. An', me neighbor, look here. See them beautiful
biscuits all spoiled the day, the day!"

This reminded the lad that he was hungry. He had been hard at work all
day in the underground passage, the third and last of those he had set
out to make beneath "Charity House." The first two had been completed,
the walls shored, the rich beds for mushroom-raising made upon the dark
damp floors. Already these beds were dotted with the white growths, that
in a marvellous short time would be full-grown mushrooms and finding a
place upon many an epicure's table.

That very hour, even, Frederic Kaye was in the city negotiating for
their regular sale at profitable prices; and wondering not a little, it
may be, at the strange fact that "Spite House," instead of being the
barren, unproductive spot at first supposed, would prove instead a
veritable mine of support to the whole household. Of that other
"mining," with its anticipated results in gold of which Fayette had
sometimes babbled, Mr. Kaye took no account. Old Jacob Ingraham who
built the house had been a hard, close-fisted man, if all accounts were
true, and not at all likely to deposit his money in the ground, when
there were investments which would help to increase it. But of old
Jacob's wife, history said little, and Frederic never thought.

Fayette placed the apron in the cupboard, as he had been bidden, and
when he would have added the broken box also, Cleena prevented.

"Oh, ye dirty boy! That--that mouldy, muddy, nasty thing! No, no! No,
no!" and she tossed it unceremoniously into the box of kindling-wood.
In the roomy "Dutch" oven in the wall she had baked many of her picnic
biscuits, and she regarded the ruin Fayette had wrought among her
sandwiches with an air absurdly sad.

Now he had no scruples against a bit of dirt, and had already crammed
his mouth full of the broken food, when Cleena looked round and saw him.
His mouth was distended with laughter as well as bread, and this
provoked her still further. Sweeping her long arm over the table, she
brushed all the sandwiches into a big pan that stood conveniently near,
and remarked grimly:--

"Not another bite o' better food do you get till them's all ate."

"All right. I like 'em. But what's the picnickers goin' to do?"

"The best they can. An' you're to help. Go wash your hands."

"I have."

"Again, once more; then show 'em to me."

The lad laughingly obeyed. Then demanded:--

"What for?"

Cleena replied by action rather than word. She tied a fresh gingham
apron about his shoulders and brought the strings around in front so
that his mud-stained clothing was entirely covered. Then she led him to
her kneading-table and set a bucket of sifted flour before him.

"Make biscuit."

"How many?"

"Three hundred. Fall to, measure, I'll count."

She did. For two whole hours the pair labored in that kitchen, Fayette
kneading, cutting out, slipping the pans into the ovens and removing
them; while Cleena spread and cut tongue after tongue, till even more
than the original supply had been reproduced. Then she paused and looked

There stood Teamster John in the doorway, smiling and watching Fayette's
new occupation with genuine surprise.

"Shucks! makin' a cook out of him? Ain't ye rather late with your
luncheon? I drove up to carry the baskets down to the 'Island.'"

"Humph! Ready they was, fast enough. But--man, look here," and she
opened the cupboard door to draw forth the apron of gold.

"No, you shan't! He shan't touch it! It's mine--it's mine!" cried
Fayette, and snatched the bundle from her hands. He had not tied it
securely, and again the long-buried coins rolled into the sunlight and
spread themselves over the floor.

"To the--land's--sake!"

"They're mine--they're all mine--every single one. I found 'em. I
blasted 'em out. Nobody shall touch them--nobody!"

"You--blasted them--out? From the cellar of this house? You--simpleton!"

"Like to ha' done it yourself, hey?"

"No; but I'm sorrier than I can tell that ever you were let to fool with
powder. How'd Mister Frederic allow it?"

Cleena answered promptly, "He didn't. He strict forbid it. Yes, I know,
I know. It was a chance. If me guardian angel hadn't been nigh, you
might never ha' seen old Cleena again. Arrah musha, but I'm that shook
up I'd know! What say? Is it time yet for their supper down yon, or

"It'll be a little late, maybe, but never mind. My, my! Chests o' gold!
Who'd believe it? Like a story book, now, ain't it? And where, in the
name of common sense, did you get all this flour and meat an' fixings,
Cleena, woman?"

"Mister Fred. The last day he went to town. He was to buy enough for one
picnic, so he brought home enough for two. That's ever his way. He's the
good provider, is Mister Fred. Bless him!"

"Exactly. Well, I'll tell you, it _is_ late, so I'll just drive down to
tell the youngsters they'd better come up here and eat their supper.
They'll be crazy wild for a sight of that chest and what was in it; and
if they don't come to-day, they'll be besieging you all day to-morrow.
When a thing like this happens, it belongs to the town."

"Don't neither; belongs to _me_. I found it. I'll keep it. I dare ye!"

"All right, lad. Don't worry. I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.
I've heard of such things afore now, and never once that they didn't
bring trouble. All I'm thankful for is you didn't kill anybody nor smash
up the house with your fool blastin'. You won't get another chance to
try, if I have to come right here and stay myself;" and he smiled
sweetly toward Cleena, who ignored the smile, but agreed with the

"Yes; that's right. That's sense. What for no? Troth, to-morrow's a
Sunday, an' not to be disturbed o' none such havers. What's a bit of old
dollars dug out o' the mud? An' Monday's me wash. Faith, it's sense in
small matters ye're havin', Teamster John. Drive yon an' make haste
back. I'll spread me a cloth on the grass an' each may eat like a
heathen, does he like, that same as he was down in the woods."

"But they shan't touch it--they shan't even see it! It's mine. I'll keep
it, understand?"

Cleena understood not only the words, but the lad with whom she had to

"Whist, alanna, would you hide yourself, then? Faith, no; run avick. Put
on your Sunday suit, brush yer hair, make yerself tidy, then stand up
like a showman at Donnybrook fair, an' pass the time o' day with who
comes. What for no? The box an' the gold must be showed. Such a thing
can't be hid. Well, then, gossoon, just show it yerself."

So when, not long after, the whole band of merrymakers came trooping
over the knoll of Bareacre, they found not only their belated supper
spread for them, but a sight to amuse their curiosity in the buried
treasure, estimated at various sums by the excited beholders, and with
an ever increasing value as the story passed from mouth to mouth.

"It will belong to 'Bony,' of course."

"No; to the Kayes. He doesn't own the house."

"Nor they. If they did, they wouldn't take it from him. They're not that
sort of folks."

"But they're as poor as anybody now."

"Archibald Wingate owns the property. I should think it belonged to

"The 'Supe' will probably take it in charge."

So the talk bandied back and forth till poor Fayette's weak brain was in
a whirl; and amid it all there was one name that fell upon his hearing
with a sense of pain,--"Archibald Wingate." The man he hated. Well, of
one thing he was resolved--this unearthed treasure might be the mill
owner's, but if it were, he should never, never touch it.

Poor Fayette! So he still stood and proudly exhibited the wonder, and
told over and again exactly how he had long suspected its existence, and
had watched his opportunity, with this result. Since he was happy and
watchful, Cleena felt he was secure--for the present. But all the time
she longed for Mr. Frederic's return, or even for that of Mr. Kaye, who
was abroad upon a sketching ramble. There should be somebody in
authority present, since Hallam and Amy were both too young, and
Teamster John--well, he might "do at a pinch." In any case, he must
remain on guard till a better man appeared.

This better man did arrive, just as the evening fell, in the person of
Uncle Fred, riding up the driveway in old Israel Boggs's farm wagon. Amy
was first to discover their approach and ran gayly to meet them,
beginning her tale of the afternoon's adventure with her very
salutation; but long before she reached the side of the wagon she saw
that something was amiss with her jolly uncle. His face was very grave,
and even his voice was hushed, so that though his greeting to his niece
was even kinder than usual, it startled her by its solemnity.

"Why, Uncle Fred, what is the matter? What has happened?"

"I'll tell you presently. But how come so many here? I thought the
picnic was at 'Treasure Island.'"

She nodded cheerfully to Israel, whose face was even more sad than
Frederic Kaye's, and gave a rapid history of events. Strangely enough,
neither of the two newcomers appeared much interested. It was as if some
greater matter absorbed them, and their manner subdued Amy to silence;
while the farmer tied old Fanny, and then followed his friend into the
front part of the house, quite away from the excited groups surrounding
Fayette and his wonderful exhibit.

Once inside the shelter of the passage, Mr. Frederic laid his hand upon
Amy's shoulder, and said, very gently:--

"Prepare for a great sorrow, Amy dear. I have just come from the
death-bed of our good friend, Adam Burn."

Never till that moment had the girl known how well she loved the saintly
old man. Rarely meeting, he had still exercised over her young life one
of its most powerful influences, and an influence all for good.

"Oh, Uncle Fred, it can't be. It mustn't be. He was so good, so kind,

"Altogether lovely. Yes, dear, all that. Old Israel, here, needs
comfort. Talk to him a little."

So she led the heart-broken Israel into the farthest room, and sitting
down beside him persuaded him to speak with her of the one that had
passed on, and in the act to find relief. Then she slipped away a moment
and found Hallam, who, when he had heard this later news, quietly
dismissed the club and brought the happy holiday to a reverent close.

"Land! that makes all such ilk," said Teamster John, pointing to
Fayette's glittering heap, "to seem of small account. What's a litter of
gold alongside of such as him?"

And not one among them all who had ever known Adam Burn found anything
now worth discussing save the goodness and simplicity of their dead
neighbor and friend.

But late that night, after Israel had gone back to the desolate Clove,
to make such arrangements for the old man's burial as his friends at
"Charity House" had deemed fitting, Uncle Frederic remarked, casually:--

"By the way, Amy, Mrs. Burn ('Sarah Jane,' you know) told me a bit of
news, to the effect that you are the old man's heiress, because of your
name that was his wife's. She says he gave you a sealed letter before he
left Ardsley, which letter explained everything,--where the will was to
be found, and the few directions necessary for the settlement of the
estate. Your father and I are trustees, she thinks, until you come of
age, but you are the heir. Good night."

"No, no, uncle, I don't want to be! I want nothing that is gained by his
death. And--I lost that letter, anyway."

"Lost it? That's serious. However, it can doubtless be arranged. Good



The months flew by. The summer came and went. It was the hour for
closing on a "Saturday-half," a whole year since Amy Kaye first visited
the mills of Ardsley, and now she felt as they were a part of her very
life. Beginning at the bottom she had industriously worked her way
upward till she had just been promoted to the pleasant and well-paying
task of "setter," in the big clean room, where the open windows admitted
the soft air of another Indian summer.

Away, at the extreme end of the long apartment, was a sunshiny office,
lately constructed for the personal use of Archibald Wingate. This
office was partitioned from the setting room by a glass sliding door,
and through this, as Amy now lifted her eyes, she could see the broad
back of her relative bending above a desk full of correspondence.

At every setting frame there are two operators, for left hand and for
right; and it was Amy's good fortune to have Mary Reese for her comrade,
and a more sunshiny pair of workers could be found nowhere.

For Hallam, also, it had been a busy, happy year. Like Amy, having
begun with the humblest task and smallest wage, he had now advanced to
be bookkeeper in one department, while he still retained his work of
coloring and preparing the patterns for use in the weaving of the famous
Ardsley carpets. He looked a far stronger, healthier lad than of old,
and his disposition to think upon the dark side of things had now no
time to develop, for activity effectually prevents brooding.

Fayette was still a member of the Kaye household, and seemed to belong
there as much as any of the others. He had been busy, too, all the year
through, with his mushroom-raising, his gardening, and now that the
autumn had come round again, with odd jobs at the mill. His deftness
would always procure him employment of some sort, yet only that morning
Mr. Metcalf had remarked to Hallam, confidentially:--

"Queer, but I can never trust 'Bony.' He seems as honest and reliable as
possible for a time, and then, suddenly, he will do something to
disappoint me. I don't like his demeanor toward the 'boss.' Ever since
Mr. Wingate returned, late this summer, and took to coming here every
day, 'Bony' has come too. Have you noticed?"

"I know he comes. I hadn't connected the two comings, however. I guess
he's all right. There's a splendid side to that poor lad's nature, if
you but knew it. Some day, I hope before very long now, he and I are to
surprise the world."

"Why, Hal, you're as gay as a blackbird. What's the surprise, eh? Too
precious to disclose even to me?"

"At present, yes. In a little while, a few days--Heigho!" and the lad
looked significantly toward his crutches, leaning against the desk where
he wrote.

But the superintendent did not observe the glance. His mind was full of
misgiving. Within a day or two he had had occasion to suspect that the
half-wit had some uncanny scheme on hand. The lad's dislike of the old
mill owner appeared to grow with the passage of time. The dull brain
never forgot an injury, and it always seemed to Fayette that Mr. Wingate
had wronged him. From the old days of his "bound out" life on the farm,
when whippings and punishments were of almost daily occurrence, to the
present, there had been no diminution in the mill boy's resentment. Now
there was this later injury, or injustice, as he believed, about the
money found in the cellar of "Charity House."

The facts were these: the glittering coins had, when estimated, been of
about one thousand dollars' value. To Fayette this seemed an enormous
sum; to Mr. Wingate, a trifle. In the chest with the treasure had been
also a time-yellowed letter, or memorandum, signed by the wife of Jacob
Ingraham, and decreeing that the property thus hidden had been placed by
her own hands in the wall of the cellar of "Spite House" for the
"benefit of my nearest of kin."

The document, in itself, was as curious as its hiding-place, and proved
that the ancient dame had been a keen observer of men's failings, if not
their virtues.

"For I have seen, in this, my lifetime, that gold profits a man nothing.
It is ever a bone of contention, and he who has it is poorer than he who
has it not. I hope this chest will do him good who finds it; and if it
is never found, then the earth will be so much the richer by this small
portion of the wealth it has lost. In any case, to prevent evil, and, if
possible, to secure a blessing, I have said one prayer over each coin
herein disposed, and so, in duty to my conscience, I lock the box and
throw the key down the old well of this Bareacre knoll."

The letter had further added that nobody, not even Jacob Ingraham, had
known of this bestowal of the chest, because had anybody, "most of all,
he," so known, it would have been excavated and its contents scattered.

Now Archibald Wingate was, on his mother's side, the last direct
descendant of Mrs. Ingraham, and the property was clearly his. To him,
as soon as he returned from his prolonged stay out of town, the broken
chest and intact contents had been given by the superintendent, who, Mr.
Kaye promptly decided, would be the proper guardian of the treasure
until his employer returned.

There had been a terrible scene with Fayette when Cleena told him this
decision, and for several days thereafter the lad had not been visible.
Some thought he had gone off in one of his wanderings through the woods
and fields; but the truth was, he had been kept under lock and key by
the energetic and masterful Cleena Keegan. She had assured that patient
listener, herself, that:--

"Sure, it do be right. Will I lose all the good we have gained for the
sake o' bad temper? The end's in sight,--the blessed end o' the secrecy,
an' the weary struggle o' keepin' me gineral's nose to the grindstone,
and now to leave go? Not while Cleena Keegan draws a free breath, an'
can handle a silly gossoon, like him yon."

From the first it had been a strange and powerful influence that this
good woman exercised over the foundling she adopted, and fortunately his
imprisonment was not so very long, else it would have been impossible to
conceal it from the rest of the household; not one of whom did, however,
suspect such a proceeding.

When the object for which she had restrained him of his liberty seemed
quite gained, Cleena let Fayette go; and, oddly enough, after his
liberty was granted him, he no longer cared for it. He kept close to
Bareacres, bare no longer, but teeming with the rich vegetation
resulting from his own labor, guided by Frederic Kaye's trained
judgment. The summer had proved a most interesting as well as busy one
to both these gardeners. The results of their mutual labor were
harvested and stored for the family's winter use, and Fayette had
returned to the mill. Idleness, or the want of that regular employment
he had enjoyed, now reawoke the dark thoughts which had disturbed his
clouded brain during the time of his "retreat" under Cleena's compelling

This day, when Amy watched her cousin through the glass partition, and
waited with Mary for Hallam to complete his own task in a room adjoining
the private office of Mr. Wingate, Fayette was hanging about the mill,
as if himself waiting for some one.

Amy called to him once, and received a surly answer:--

"I'll go when I get ready. I ain't hurting nobody--yet."

"Of course not, who'd suppose so? I'd think you'd like a run in the
woods after hours. There was a frost a few nights ago. There may be
hickory nuts to gather."

"Gather 'em, then, if you want 'em. I don't. I've got other fish to fry.
I'll fry 'em, too."

"Well, you're cross, 'Fayetty, me gineral.' I'll not wait much longer,
even for Hal. You can come home with him, and help him bring the
patterns he is to show father, please."

"I thought you wanted to see Mr. Wingate, too, Amy," observed Mary,
"about that legacy of yours. You're the queerest girl. Any other would
be wild to have things fixed, but you don't seem to care a bit."

"Why should I? We are very comfortable at 'Charity House.' Mrs. Burn,
dear Adam's daughter-in-law, has gone abroad again. If she had time,
she'd cheerfully help us--if she could. We think the letter of
instruction will sometime be found, and that will make all clear. We
don't like law, and Adam would have hated it. No; we'll wait for a time
longer, but I promised father I'd consult Cousin Archibald, and see when
he would meet either father or Uncle Fred to discuss it.

"Meanwhile, old Israel and his wife are doing just the same at Burnside
as if their master were still there. All I could think of taking the
property for, it seems to me, would be to give my father such a lovely
home again."

"Well, Amy, I must go. I want to finish reading that book Mr. Kaye lent
me, this afternoon. I'll see you at the club to-night. Good-by."

With a kiss and a hand pressure, which revealed the depth of their
friendship, Mary departed, and Amy turned to the open window to watch
the cloud shadows drift over the lovely valley, wherein the Ardsley
leaped and sparkled. As she gazed, thinking of many things, she became
conscious, in an idle sort of fashion, that Fayette had passed out of
doors, and was walking close beneath, or along the building's wall, and
in a stealthy manner, suspicious in itself.

"Heigho! What now, I wonder. He's up to some mischief, I'm afraid. How
queer he is at times. Why, even when he was told that Mr. Wingate knew
him for the person who horsewhipped him last Christmas and had refused
to take any notice of it, except to thank Uncle Fred for his
rescue--even then Fayette would not say that he thought my cousin good.
All he did say was: 'Well, he better not. He knows too much. If he
locked me up or had me fined, I'd lick him again soon's I got out. He
ain't no fool. But that don't make me feel any different. He ain't
jailed me, but he's got my money. _Mine_; I dug it out the cellar an'
blasted, to the risk o' my life. He keeps it, when he's got a bank full,
they say. Kept Balaam, too, or give him to one of them Metcalf
youngsters. Well, his time'll come. I'm not forgettin', if I do keep my
mouth shut for a spell.'"

Recalling this speech, Amy tried to put herself in the half-wit's place,
which effort made her pity him the more, yet watch his present
manoeuvres none the less closely. But presently he disappeared in a
distant lower doorway, and she forgot him and returned to her happy

Fayette had bided his time. On such an afternoon, at such an hour, he
judged that nobody would be in the mill building save the distant
watchman and that indefatigable toiler, Archibald Wingate, with whom was
the half-wit's present business. He had seen the last whisk of Mary's
blue skirt disappearing above the back-stairway, and, knowing that Amy
and she were waiting for Hallam, concluded that the trio had departed

So he entered the little basement door gleefully. All seemed propitious,
yet he meant once more and carefully to examine the preparations he had
made, to see if there was any flaw anywhere. He was so absorbed, so
excited, that he scarcely breathed as he crept slowly along the inside
of the wall, just as a moment before he had passed along its outer
surface. At one spot he paused and tried a simple-looking tube that had
been brought from the outside, through a convenient aperture, into the
inside of the building. The thing looked harmless, yet it ran along the
groove where the floor and wall joined, clear into that cheery inner
office, where Archibald Wingate sat that very moment, signing his name
to one of the most generous letters of his life.

"There," he reflected, as he leaned back in his chair and tossed aside
his pen; "there, that is foolish enough to satisfy even my impractical
small kinswoman, bless her! A thousand dollars isn't much, but it's--a
thousand dollars; and when I double it by another thousand, which has
never been buried by any ancient ancestress, it makes a tidy sum for a
foundling lad. Poor 'Bony,' he hates me like poison. I wonder, when he
finds out that I've done this for him, when I place it in his hands
myself, and tell him, furthermore, that I have asked Fred Kaye to send
west for several more of those burros he's given us a sample of, and
that one is for the 'Rep-Dem-Prob' himself--I wonder, will there rise in
his stunted heart some perception of what life should mean; of what it
shall mean, during my last brief hold of it, to me? and all because of a
girl's bright trustfulness and love."

It was a day for musings. Even Fayette, intent on evil, had his
own--like Amy and the lonely old man in the silent office. He wondered,
pausing for a moment, how "it would feel to be blown up. That day when I
found the money he's took from me, if I'd had a bigger charge of powder,
would I ha' knowed what struck me, if it had gone off sudden? Hmm. I
almost hate to do it. He seems--he'll never guess, though, and he hadn't
any right. He's been again' me from the first. I'll do it. He hain't had
no mercy--I won't, neither."

So he crept softly back to the low entrance, and stooping, struck a
match. The match burned well, and in an instant had communicated its own
flame to the cheap fuse that ran along the wall. In the far-off office,
concealed beneath the mill owner's desk, there was already waiting a
powerful explosive, which Fayette had purloined from the store of the
workmen who were excavating for the new wing of the building. In a
moment more the fuse would have burned unnoticed to its fatal end, and
an awful crime, of whose enormity the dull criminal had no real
comprehension, would have been committed.

But Hallam had caught the prevailing mood. He, like the others left
lingering about the silent building, had fallen into a reverie which,
judging by his bright expression, was full of happiness. For many
months, and for the first time in his life, he had kept a secret from
his father and Amy. If that can be called a secret which was known also
to Cleena, to Uncle Frederic, and to Fayette, upon whose aid alone the
success of this mystery had depended. The lad had been faithful. At most
times his help had been rendered freely, out of love and sympathy; at
others there had been compulsion on Cleena's side and from the other one
of the quartette, who had himself suffered false blame and the disgrace
of suspicion because of the secret.

"To-morrow, please God, it shall end. I couldn't bear to tell them, who
love me so, until I was sure, sure. The old surgeon said it might be a
miracle would be enacted for my benefit. Well, it has, it has! I've
known it, really, almost from the beginning, though it's been so hard
and at times so seemingly hopeless. But if I hadn't loved them even more
than myself, I wouldn't have kept on trying. To-morrow--the experiment
in their presence! Will it ever come!"

The lad stood up and arranged the papers in his own desk. Then he heard,
or fancied that he did, a slight sound in the deserted building. The
corps of operatives had been well drilled to watch for any sign of that
dreaded element, fire, and he was alert now,--the more that, following
this, there was a slight odor, pungent and more alarming than even the
first sound.

He wheeled about and--what was that? In the dimness of the angle where
it lay, away out toward that closed office with its unsuspecting
occupant, a tiny spark was making its steady, creeping progress. For an
instant Hallam gazed at it astonished, the next he realized its full
meaning and horror. Could he reach it? Was there time?

With a shriek of warning he rushed forward,--stumbling against, leaping
over obstacles,--gaining upon that menacing point of fire and fume,
which now seemed to race him like a living thing.

The miracle was wrought--two miracles! A few more seconds, and it would
have been too late; but now the lame walked and, as it were, the dead
came back to life.

Hallam's shriek, the uproar of overturned obstructions, reverberated
through the empty building and brought Archibald Wingate, Amy, and poor
Fayette face to face with the panting, excited rescuer. All comprehended
at once what had been attempted and how prevented. The mill owner laid
an iron grip upon the half-wit's shoulder, who made no effort to escape;
for at last, at last, there had penetrated to his dim intelligence the
wide, the awful difference between good and evil. When he saw the once
crippled lad, whom his own hands had restored to health, thus fling
away his life with unstinted hand, that he might save the life of
another,--once his enemy also,--there had roused within the dormant
brain of the foundling a sudden perception of Hallam's nobility and his
own baseness. Therefore, stunned by this new knowledge, he stood humble
and unresisting.

Amy's great heart comprehended just what and how her poor protégé was
suffering. With her, to think was to act. She sprang to him and laid her
small hand on his other shoulder, and the tender sympathy of this touch
thrilled him more than the hard grasp of his master.

"Oh! but Hallam--Hallam--you _walked_! _walked!_ you ran! You--you--who

Her voice choked, ceased, and she turned from Fayette to fling herself
headlong into her brother's arms. For the first time in their lives he
could receive her and support her firmly. Then she stepped back and
shook him. Gently at first, then violently. His crutches were--nobody
cared where, though certainly not at hand; yet he stood fixedly,
resisting her attacks, and again catching her to him with that
overflowing joy that only such as he could guess.

"But I don't understand. Tell--tell; not here, though. Is all safe? No
danger any more?"

"No," said Fayette to her demand, "there ain't no danger. Not 'less the
fuse had burned out to the end. It's under the desk. He'll find it.
I--I--but it's put out. I--"

"You didn't mean it, did you, boy? You could not. You didn't

"No, I didn't, I didn't," whimpered the stricken fellow.

Mr. Wingate relaxed his hold. How could he retain his fury against such
an enemy? It was too unequal. The lad was dangerous, he must be
punished, he--

Hallam read these unspoken thoughts.

"For my sake, Cousin Archibald, forgive him. It is he who has made me
able to save you this day, even though it was he who put you in such
peril. Months ago, Amy read in a paper how a lad was cured whose case
was just like mine. There was only will power on the cripple's part, and
the daily, sometimes hourly massage by one of those persons whose
physical magnetism, or whatever it is, was strong. 'Bony' was such a
person, and I just such a cripple. We began. For weeks I couldn't move
my legs without using my hands to help. Then one day I found, just after
the rubbing was over, that I could push one foot along the floor a tiny
way. That gave us both courage. He has been untiring. We were soon on
the road to what I believed, though with lots of set-backs, would be a
cure. Uncle Fred knew; that's why he wouldn't let Fayette be arrested or
punished for assaulting you. He took the blame himself, if the boy would
stick to me. Cleena knew, too--"

"And not us, father nor me!" exclaimed Amy, in a hurt tone.

"No; that was to be my blessed surprise for you two. It was to your own
suggestion, which I suppose you forgot soon after, with the newspaper
scrap you brought, that I owe the beginning. It was Cleena kept us at
it. She wouldn't let us give it up,--no, not if she had the whole crowd
under lock and key on a bread and water diet; eh, Fayette?"

The shamefaced fellow looked up, with a slight gleam in his eye, then
dropped his gaze again.

Hallam went on: "To-morrow, the First Day that mother loved, I was going
to make an experiment before you all--my surprise. I have practised in
private continually, and uncle, as well as Cleena, has urged me to tell
you before; but I kept it till the anniversary--you know."

"Ah," said Archibald Wingate, with a sudden recollection, "so it is. She
was my best friend, my best beloved. You are her children. All my hard
middle life seems to have slipped out of my memory, like a bad dream,
and I am back in our youth-time again, with Salome and Cuthbert and
Fred,--all gay and glad together. I wonder, I wonder what she would bid
me do to you, poor fellow," he finished, regarding the abject natural
with a pitying air.

"I know! Forgive him, else thy Salome and my mother were not one."

"Amy, thee is right. Come into the office, all of you."

"Is it safe?" she asked, hanging back.

"We'll make it safe. 'Bony,' or Fayette, take that stuff you put under
the desk and step out there to the Ardsley. Behind that rock is a deep
hole. I used to fish there as a lad. I can see if you obey. Drop that
death powder into the stream and come back."

Fayette obeyed, and they watched him, shivering. But when the water
flowed on after an instant, undisturbed and merrily singing its
deathless song, they breathed deeply and with complete relief.

"Look here, Fayette; you think I've been a hard man. So I have--so I
have. You've been a bad boy too, eh?"

"Yes; I won't never--"

"Of course you won't. Look here, I say. What's this--this heap of stuff
I took out of the safe? Did you ever see it before?"

"Yes; it's the money I blasted out."

"Well, if it were yours, would you promise never again to blast anything
or anybody or anywhere? Your very own to keep forever, if you liked."

"Huckleberries! Do you mean it?"

"If you promise, I mean it."

"Oh, I do--I do. I'll keep my word. I meant to try and I did. But it's
over. I'm glad; I wasn't happy, never. I promise, whether or no, money
or not."

"I believe you'll keep that promise: Hallam and Amy, here, are
witnesses. Now, listen: I, too, promise. I'll not only give you this old
hoard, but this besides." He swept into view a pile of golden eagles,
larger than any there save himself had ever seen, and placed it beside
that time-worn lot of similar material. In bestowing his gift he had
provided to have it in such shape as he knew the half-wit would best
comprehend. "This is for you, also. It is just as much more as you
found. I give it to you because my little cousin here has taught me it
is better to give than to receive. You must take both piles, in this new
hand-bag, and ask Mr. Metcalf to take care of it for you. You trust
_him_, don't you?"

"Yes--yes," answered Fayette, in breathless eagerness.

"Now, the condition: if you ever again, by word or deed, do any sort of
injury to any human being or to any helpless animal, I will have you
punished, punished in full for all you have done wrong in the past. Do
you understand?"

"Yes," sobbed the grateful and greatly excited youth. Somewhere he had
heard, maybe from Cleena's lips, something about heaping coals. He felt
at that moment as if the living coals were lying upon his own poor head.

"Then go; and if it will give you any pleasure to know it, I believe
that you are now about the richest of the mill operatives living in
Ardsley village."

Stumbling, through his tears, and truly far more grateful for the
prevention of his crime than even for his unexpected good fortune and
full forgiveness, Cleena's Fayetty went.

As his footsteps died away, Amy, who seemed given to outbursts to
relieve her full heart, threw her arms about the old man's neck and
kissed him over and over.

"That's better, child, that's better. The first time thee planted it on
my nose, I seemed to have a dim perception that this was not the
regulation feature for such gifts, but it answered; though I like them
better on my cheek, child. Thee's improving. Now let's go home. Yes;
it's the carryall. There's room for us all. On the way I'll tell thee--"

"No, no; wait till we get home. Don't let's leave anybody out any more.
By thy face I can see it's something delightful thee is going to tell.
Oh, make the old horse travel, travel--fast, fast!"



On half-holidays Cleena had always the best dinner of the week. To its
enjoyment were usually brought the best appetites of the week as well;
for there was leisure and talk and laughter, and that interchange of
experiences which kept their family life so united.

Archibald Wingate joined the party at this present half-holiday dinner;
yet even with such cheerfulness about him could not but shiver now and
then, as he recalled his narrow escape of the afternoon. To have taken
his meal alone, on that day, would have been to suffer greatly.

But Amy had brought him in and placed him in the seat of honor, and amid
the general rejoicing over Hallam's wonderful recovery and surprise,
they had made him feel that he was a sharer. They had just drawn back
from the table, and were going into the sitting room, when there came a
tap at the door that Cleena answered. It was a small tap, very low down
on the panel, but it was given due importance; for wasn't the visitor
Master "Willyum Gladstone Jones," and wasn't Cleena just making fine
progress in teaching him his "manners"?

So they all paused to wait the child's important entrance, and to smile
over Goodsoul's greeting:--

"The top o' the evenin' to you, Mister Jones. An' what may be givin' us
the pleasure of a visit from your lordship the now? A what? Speak up; a
box is it? Miss Amy's box. Never a doubt I doubt you've made messes of
its insides, by the way. No? Then your improvin', to that extent I must
even be givin' ye a bite o' this fine apple pie. Hmm; exactly. Well,
give the young lady her bit property, again' I slips on a plate an'
teaches ye how to eat decent, as ye should."

So the little fellow, who had just been promoted to his first trousers
and felt as all boys do in such a case, walked proudly across the room
and offered Amy a japanned casket.

"Why, Sir William, how came you by that? I haven't seen it for ever so
long. I used to keep my few letters in it. I wonder if they're here

"Ev'y one. My mamma seen 'em all. She said the top one--I don't know.

"Arrah musha! but I remember one day, long syne, he was aye botherin'
an' I set him to orderin' the box neat an' nice. He must ha' took it
away with him an' me not payin' no attention. Well, a box o' such
truck's neither here no more there, I forecast."

Amy had stopped to admire the new garment, fashioned from an old one of
Hallam's, and having thus satisfied the little one's innocent pride, now
opened her recovered keepsake. She lifted the letters idly, dropped
them, and again catching one that had, indeed, lain upon the top, sprang
up and waved it overhead.

"The letter! the letter! The lost one of Adam!"

"No; is it really? To come in such a way--"

"On such a day--oh, Hal!"

She caught her brother's hands and wrung them in delight, then ran to
her father and placed the letter before him.

He looked at it critically.

"Yes; that is Adam Burn's handwriting. His own familiar seal. These
people who have had it in keeping--"

"I hided it. Zen I dugged it out. Same like Fayetty," explained Sir
William, between mouthfuls.

"The blessed baby! that explains."

"Let us go into the parlor and read it. It is yours, daughter; you must
yourself break the seal."

"Oh, I'll break it fast enough."

"Hmm. Young lady, I thought you were the girl who didn't want to be an
heiress," commented Uncle Fred, teasingly.

Amy's face sobered.

"You are right. I didn't so wish then, when the shock and sorrow were
fresh; but now I do. Just think of all the comfort for all you folks in
that lovely home."

"Then I must lose my tenants, eh?" asked Mr. Wingate, smiling.

"Thee'll lose nothing! Wait. If thee has plans to tell, so have I."

The letter was a simple one, plain, and leaving no room for any sort of
legal difficulty. Amy could enter upon her heritage that day, if she
wished. The place where the will was stored was designated, and they
knew it would there be found. But after the reading a little silence
fell upon them all.

The old mill owner was the first to break this. He did it almost

"Speaking of wills, and after the events of the day, I've been thinking
of mine. By the way, Amy, I suppose thee'll cease to work for me now."

"I don't see why I should, unless my father needs me at home. We will
see about that afterward. Tell us thy plans, please. I'd like to hear

"And I'd like to have thee make them for me."

"Make them? I?"

"Yes; in truth and deed. If thee were me and had as much money as I
have, and were just such a lonely, childless, forlorn old man, what
would thee do, that would accomplish the most good? according to thy
judgment, which I have found a fairly sound one."

The elder Kayes listened in astonishment. They had been prepared by
various matters for a great change in their kinsman, though not for one
so radical. But the father began to perceive how this change had been
wrought, and his heart gave thanks for the devoted, sunshiny daughter
who seemed to shed an influence for happiness and goodness on all whom
she knew. It was due to her, he believed, that this new Archibald had
replaced the old.

"Does thee mean it, truly?"

"Yes; I mean it. Let me hear. If it is possible, I will carry out the
wishes thee expresses, knowing they will be all for the benefit of
somebody deserving."

"Well, then, I'd help the unpractical Kaye family to get settled at
Burnside Farm, on the condition that for my services I was given a big,
delightful room in the old farmhouse, to live in and with them, forever
and ever and ever, so long as the dear Lord permitted--that's if I were
thee, Cousin Archibald."

"But would that ne'er-do-well Kaye family take in an old curmudgeon,
does thee think?"

"Never. A curmudgeon is a thing they detest. They'd take in a nice, fat,
old fellow, whose heart was so big it made his body grow to hold it, and
who meant to do all the good with his money that his money would do, and
not leave it for anybody to squabble over after he died."

"Excellent, Miss Wisdom; proceed."

"After I'd got a niche at Burnside, I'd take 'Charity House' and remodel
it into a Modern Industrial School. I'd have 'designing' taught, in
regular classes, by a well-known artist, named Cuthbert Kaye. I'd have
agriculture under the instruction of another expert, Frederic Kaye. I'd
have a school of scientific cookery--not by you, my Cleena, but by
somebody who hates pies and adores oatmeal and _et cetera_. No, really,
I do think the mill folks should understand more about foods and their
uses. They'd save so much money and--dyspepsia."

"Hurry up. Where do I come in?"

"At the mercantile college end of the establishment, learned brother.
There should be a splendid library, a gymnasium, a swimming pool--"

"A swimming pool on the top of Bareacre knoll!"

"Please don't interrupt, Hal. It's impolite. I'd have it--somewhere. I'd
have a paddock full of burros--"

"They're already ordered," cried Archibald, forgetting everything in his
enjoyment of her happy face.

"Am I to continue? May I let my fancy riot?"

"Yes, indeed; give thyself full freedom for once."

"Then I'd take beautiful Fairacres, that has been a happy home for
generations, and I'd make it a Happy Home, with capital letters. I'd
call to it all the tired and ailing mill folks in the country. I'd make
its disused studio and book rooms into a hospital, and where father
painted his picture of pain, that he destroyed, let all pain be soothed;
and all the other big chambers into havens of rest for other girls who,
unlike me, have no fathers, nor Uncle Freds, nor Hallams, nor Cousin
Archibalds, nor anybody. I'd have Mary Reese trained to be its Little
Mother; and Archibald Wingate should be full manager of all, beloved and
venerated, reaping the happiness he has himself bestowed; and oh,
cousin, if it might be true! and if I were not out of breath! There!
have I 'rioted' enough?"

Mr. Wingate turned his head sidewise and looked admiringly upon the
unselfish girl who had planned so much for others, and had not,
apparently, remembered to plan anything for herself.

"Yes; thee has rioted enough. But, little one, if thee pleases, if my
other kinsfolk here so please; if the dead past is indeed the dead past,
and the future may be our happy own, there is no reason under the blue
heaven why thee has not prophesied aright. What say, my friends? Shall
Amy's word be that which the Spirit has moved her to say? Shall we make
it real and tangible, this beautiful, helpful dream of hers? You are all
interested alike. You are my next of kin. After me you will inherit--or
these others whom she has named. Was Amy's word the true Word, Cuthbert?
The word Salome would have spoken?"

"It was the true Word, Archibald. Let it be as Salome's child has
spoken," said Cuthbert Kaye, grasping his kinsman's hand.

And all Ardsley now knows that as it was then agreed, so it is, and will

       *       *       *       *       *



_By Evelyn Raymond_

_347 pp. Cloth. $1.50_

California ranch life is the setting of this bright story for young
people. It will read like a fairy tale to those who know nothing of the
wideness of life on a great ranch as compared with our overcrowded
Eastern city existence. The story "moves." Incident follows incident
with rapidity enough to maintain interest, and the teachings of the book
tend to a sturdy wholesomeness throughout.--_Epworth Herald._

It is not often that a woman succeeds in writing an Indian story,
exciting enough to commend itself to boys, yet with a girl for its
principal character, and with the noblest of teachings throughout the
tale; but in "A Daughter of the West" Evelyn Raymond has accomplished
precisely that feat. The scene is laid among the broad valleys and lofty
mountains of California, and every chapter is crowded full of
incident.--_Christian Endeavor World._

This story of our western plains will appeal to many a youthful reader.
The heroine, beloved by her people, the community, and even by the
neighboring Indian tribes, carries the interest of the reader to the
final page. Her courage in time of personal danger, her sweet
disposition in her relations with those around her, are well depicted by
the author. The book is well illustrated and attractively bound, and
cannot fail to be a success.--_Journal of Education._

This "Daughter of the West" is one of the freshest, breeziest, most
wholesome stories we have read in a long time. The scene has a
California ranch for its setting. But the writer tells her story in such
a natural and charming style, that we relish every word of
it.--_Christian Observer._

"A Daughter of the West," by Evelyn Raymond, is a story of California
ranch life, of which Patience Eliot is the heroine. By severe experience
she comes to hold herself and all her large belongings of wealth as a
sacred trust, to be spent in the service of others. The story is one
which will tend to quicken the nobler aspirations of all young
women.--_The Advance._

This story of Evelyn Raymond's is not lacking in exciting incident, at
least, even though it is not a love tale. Patience Eliot, the heroine, a
California girl born and bred, as much at home in the saddle as the
wildest rider of the plains, exhibits her training in season and out,
and though she startles certain more conventional people with her ways,
she illustrates well the excellence of the training of Nature's child.
The atmosphere of the greater part of the story is that of Southern
California, with its mingled society of Mexicans, Indians and reckless
frontiersmen, and among them the heroine lives and thrives. It is a
healthful out-of-door story, wholesomely interesting and
alive.--_Colorado School Journal._

"A Daughter of the West," by Evelyn Raymond, the story of an American
princess, is a narrative of California ranch life. It affords a pleasant
picture of that sort of life, and portrays effectively a certain type of
training for the young. It also illustrates the striking changes that
sometimes occur in personal careers in a country like our own. It is
full of incident, and will promote patriotism and a high ideal of
life.--_The Congregationalist._

       *       *       *       *       *


_By Amy E. Blanchard_

_331 pp. Cloth. $1.50_

"A Girl of '76," by Amy E. Blanchard, is one of the best stories of old
Boston and its vicinity ever written. The value of the book as real
history, and as an incentive to further historical study can hardly be
over-estimated.--_The Bookseller._

This is one of the season's books that deserves a wide reading among the
girls. The events in which Elizabeth Hall, the heroine, took part
occurred in those stirring times, beginning with the Boston Tea Party.
The call to Lexington, Battle of Bunker Hill, and the burning of
Charlestown follow, and in all these the little maid bears her share of
the general anxiety and privation with a fortitude which makes wholesome

The manners and customs of that time are vividly pictured in this
interesting and well written story, and while we joyfully reach the
"peace" chapter with which it ends, we are truly sorry to part with this
charming girl of '76.--_Journal._

The tale is told with sentiment and vivacity, giving bright pictures of
a singing school, a quilting bee, and other old-time entertainments. It
is just the book for the youngest of the D. A. R. societies, and is
dedicated to "My Revolutionary Sires."--_Literary World._

It is a thoroughly well-told tale, and of so genuine a charm as to
challenge the interest of readers other than the youngsters. Here too,
the pictures are of actual merit, and demand a share in the well
deserved praise bestowed upon the book as a whole.--_S. S. Times._

       *       *       *       *       *



_321 pp. Cloth. $1.50._

It is charmingly written, and the young reader will not only enjoy it as
a story, but will also get a very clear knowledge of that part of
history which relates to the war of the Revolution. The little
"Revolutionary Maid," Kitty DeWitt, is a plucky little Whig, and full of
courage; her presence of mind, on many occasions, saves her and others
from the Red coats.--_Christian Observer._

Amy E. Blanchard's "A Revolutionary Maid" sets a charming heroine in the
middle period of the Revolutionary War, and keeps her a stanch little
patriot in spite of her Tory surroundings.--_Detroit Free Press._

The plot of the story before us, without being intricate, is ingenious
and the interest in the characters is fully sustained throughout. The
trying experiences of Kitty DeWitt were those of a multitude of girls
and women, and their decision for patriotism was a power in shaping the
great national events which followed. Such books are educational in
patriotism. The more American girls are made to feel and know their
power and influence in national affairs the better.--_The Inter-Ocean._

Among the large number of Revolutionary Books in the new literature, "A
Revolutionary Maid" is not merely remarkably entertaining, but also
unique.--_Boston Journal._

There could be no better material with which to give an historical
flavoring to a story than the New Jersey campaign, the battle of
Germantown, and the winter at Valley Forge. Miss Blanchard has made the
most of a large opportunity, and produced a happy companion book to her
"Girl of '76."--_The Christian Endeavor World._

       *       *       *       *       *




_By Elbridge S. Brooks_

_301 pages. Cloth, $1.50_

Mr. Brooks knows how to catch and hold the attention of boys and girls.
In this story of Aaron Burr's conspiracy he is very happy, choosing
scenes and incidents of picturesque American history and weaving them
into a patriotic and stirringly romantic narrative. The young hero is a
fine character strongly presented, and from first page to last the
interest is lively. We heartily recommend the book to our young readers
as one sure to please and instruct them.--_The Independent._

Elbridge S. Brooks has written nothing better than "A Son of the
Revolution." Designed for boys, it is so spirited and interesting,
dealing as it does with little known episodes in our past history as a
nation, that it will gain many readers in the ranks of the grown up. It
is really as the sub-title says, "an historical novel" of the days of
Aaron Burr, when he was conspiring to create a western empire. A young
fellow full of enthusiasm and patriotism, named Tom Edwards, comes under
the fascination of Burr, and works with him for quite a period before
considering his true aims and real character. When the day of awakening
comes, the fight with his conscience is thrilling. No better book for
boys can be mentioned, nor one so rich in lessons of true
patriotism.--_The Publisher's Weekly._

Elbridge S. Brooks has told in "A Son of the Revolution" a story which
will stimulate the patriotism of all young Americans. He relates the
adventures of an Ohio lad who was a relative of Aaron Burr and had
implicit faith in that brilliant but unprincipled statesman. The story
is remarkably well told and it is finely illustrated.--_The San
Francisco Chronicle._

Mr. Brooks in this volume presents to his readers a new field of
interest and importance. No one incident in the history of our country,
as a nation, is so full of the picturesque as the wild scheme of treason
which stirred the soul of Aaron Burr to plot against the country he had
struggled to establish. Every boy ought to know the history of this arch
traitor.--_The Awakener._

In this volume the author touches upon a field of interest but little
known, and concerning which but slight attention has been given by
historians and novelists.

Burr's conspiracy, although not now considered as an historical event of
marked importance, yet, during the period of opening up the middle
western states was a serious episode in the nation's career. With this
period and the events connected therewith the author has interested
himself, and has presented to the reader a novel of intense feeling of
patriotism and loyalty to the government.

Coming at this time, when national affairs are strongest in the minds of
the people, we predict for this story a widespread success.--_Journal of

An historical of Aaron Burr's time, by Elbridge S. Brooks, presenting
the story of the adventures of the "young son" as faithful facts of
history, but in an interesting and inspiring way which will hold and
help the young reader.--_The International Evangel._

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