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Title: Molly Brown of Kentucky
Author: Speed, Nell, 1878-1913
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Molly Brown of Kentucky" ***

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[Illustration: One by one they emerged from their corner.--_Page 237._]


MOLLY BROWN OF KENTUCKY

by

NELL SPEED

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



[Illustration]

A. L. Burt Company
Publishers      New York

Printed in U. S. A.

Copyright, 1917,
By
Hurst & Company, Inc.

Printed in U. S. A.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                               PAGE

        I  A LETTER                        5

       II  THE ORCHARD HOME               19

      III  KENT BROWN                     37

       IV  AFTERNOON TEA                  51

        V  LETTERS FROM PARIS AND BERLIN  61

       VI  AT THE TRICOTS'                80

      VII  A MOTHER'S FAITH               99

     VIII  DES HALLES                    112

       IX  THE AMERICAN MAIL             123

        X  THE ZEPPELIN RAID             132

       XI  "L'HIRONDELLE DE MER"         138

      XII  TUTNO                         147

     XIII  THE "SIGNY"                   160

      XIV  THE CABLEGRAM                 167

       XV  WELLINGTON AGAIN              185

      XVI  IRISHMAN'S CURTAINS           200

     XVII  HEROES AND HERO WORSHIPERS    221

    XVIII  CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE       246

      XIX  WASTED DYE                    263

       XX  A WAR BRIDE                   270

      XXI  THE FLIGHT                    283

     XXII  THE WEDDING BREAKFAST         296

    XXIII  THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER      304



Molly Brown of Kentucky.



CHAPTER I.

A LETTER.


From Miss Julia Kean to Mrs. Edwin Green.

                                            Giverny, France,
                                                 August, 1914.

Dearest old Molly Brown of Kentucky:

You can marry a million Professor Edwin Greens, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., L.D.
(the last stands for lucky dog), and you can also have a million little
Green Olive Branches, but you will still be Molly Brown of Kentucky to
all of your old friends.

I came up to Giverny last week with the Polly Perkinses. They are great
fun and, strange to say, get on rather better than most married folks.
Jo is much meeker than we ever thought she could be, now that she has
made Polly cut his hair and has let her own grow out. Polly is more
manly, too, I think and asserts himself occasionally, much to Jo's
delight. I should not be at all astonished if his falsetto voice turned
into a baritone, if not a deep bass. He walks with quite a swagger and
talks about my wife this and my wife that in such masculine pride that
you would not know him.

Paris was rather excited when we came through last week. I have been at
Quimperle all summer and only stopped in Paris long enough to get some
paints and canvas. I had actually painted out. Jo had written me to join
her in this little housekeeping scheme at Giverny. I wish you could see
the house we have taken. It is too wonderful that it is ours! Such peace
and quiet! Especially so, after the turmoil in Paris. I have seen so few
papers that I hardly know what it is all about; no doubt you in Kentucky
with your _Courier Journal_ know more than I do. They talk of war, but
of course that is nonsense. Anyhow, if there is a war, I bet I am going
to be Johnny on the Spot. But of course there won't be one.

I miss Kent,--but I need hardly tell you that. I almost gave in and
sailed with him, but it was much best for me to wait in France for my
mother and father. They are now in Berlin waiting for the powers that be
to give some kind of a permit for some kind of a road that Bobby is to
build from Constantinople to the interior; that is, he is to build it if
he can get the permission of the Imperial Government. What the Germans
have to do with Turkey, you can search me, but that is what Bobby writes
me. He has done a lot of work on it already in the way of preliminary
plans. I am to hang around until I hear from them, so I am going to hang
around with the Polly Perkinses.

No doubt Kent is home by this time. I envy him, somehow. It is so
wonderful to have a home to go to. Now isn't that a silly line of talk
for Judy Kean to be getting off, I, who have always declared that a
Gypsy van was my idea of bliss? I never have had a home and I never
have wanted one until lately. I fancy that winter in Paris with your
mother in the Rue Brea was my undoing. Of course, if Bobby had been
anything but a civil engineer and Mamma had been anything but so much
married to Bobby that she had to trot around with him from one end of
the earth to the other, why then, I might have had a home. But Bobby is
Bobby and he wouldn't have been himself doing anything but building
roads, and I certainly would not have had Mamma let him build them all
by his lonesome. The truth of the matter is, I was a mistake. I
should either never have been born or I should have been born a boy.
Geewhillikins! What a boy I would have been! Somehow, I'm glad I'm not,
though.

I am wild to see little Mildred. It seems so wonderful for you to be a
mother. I know you will make a great job of being one, too. Are you
going to have her be an old-fashioned baby with the foregone conclusion
that she must "eat her peck of dirt," or is she to be one of these
infants whose toys must be sterilized before she is allowed to play
with them, and who is too easily contaminated to be kissed unless the
kisser gargles first with corrosive sublimate? Please let me know about
this, because kiss her I must and will, and if I have to be aseptic
before I can do it, I fancy I had better begin right now. Here is Polly
with the mail and Paris papers. Will finish later.

It has come! Actual war! We feel like fools to have rushed off here to
the country without knowing more about the state France was in. I can
hardly believe it even now. They are asking Americans to leave Paris,
but I can't leave. How can I, with Mamma and Papa in Berlin? I am going
to stay right where I am until things settle themselves a little. The
peasants even now do not believe it has come. We are not much more than
an hour from Paris, but there are many persons living in this village
who have never been to Paris. The old men stand in groups and talk
politics, disagreeing on every subject under the sun except the one
great subject and that is Germany. Hatred of Germany is the one thing
that there are no two minds about. The women look big-eyed and
awestruck. There are no young men--all gone to war. They went off
singing and joking.


What I long for most is news. We don't get any news to speak of. I am
filled with concern about Bobby and Mamma. It is foolish, as they are
able to take care of themselves, but Bobby is so sassy. I am so afraid
he might jaw back at the Emperor. He is fully capable of calling him to
account for his behavior. Some one should, but I hope it won't be Bobby.


Polly Perkins is going to drive a Red Cross Ambulance. He is quite
determined, so determined that he has actually produced a chin from
somewhere (you remember he boasted none to speak of). It is quite
becoming to him, this determination and chin, and Jo is beaming with
pride. I believe if Polly had wanted to run, it would have killed Jo.


Excuse the jerkiness of this, but I am so excited that I can only jot
down a little at a time. Things are moving fast! The artists and near
artists at Madame Gaston's Inn are piling out, making for Paris, some to
sail for United States and others to try to get into England. Jo and I
had determined to sit tight in our little house with its lovely walled
garden that seems a kind of protection to us--not that we are scared,
bless you no! We just felt we might as well be here as anywhere else.

This morning Jo came to breakfast looking kind of different and yet kind
of familiar--she had cut off her hair!

"I mean to follow Polly," she remarked simply.

"Follow him where?"

"Wherever he goes." And do you know, Molly, the redoubtable Jo burst
into tears?

I was never more shocked in my life. If your Aunt Sarah Clay had
dissolved into tears, I would not have been more at a loss how to
conduct myself. I patted her heartily on the back but the poor girl
wanted a shoulder to weep on and I lent her one. I tell you when Jo gets
started she is some bawler. I fancy she made up for all the many years
that crying has been out of her ken.

My neck is stiff from the wetting I got. Nothing short of the plumber
could have stopped her. When she finally went dry, she began to talk:

"By I'b glad Bolly didn zee be bake zuch a vool ob byself!"

"Well, you had better look after your p's and s's or you'll be taken up
as a German spy." That made her laugh and then she went on to tell me
what she meant to do, the p's still too much for her but her s's
improving.

"What's the use of my brofession now? I'd like to know that. Miniature
painting will be no good for years to come. This war is going to be
something that'll make everybody baint on big canvasses. Who will want
to look at anything little? I tell you, Judy, the day of mastodons is at
hand! There'll be no more lap-dogs, no more pet canaries. The one time
lap-dogs will find themselves raging lions; and the pet canaries will
grow to great eagles and burst the silly wires of their cages with a
snap of their fingers----"

"Whose fingers?" I demanded.

"Never mind whose! Mixed metaphors are perfectly permissible in war
time." I was glad to see she could say such a word as permissible, which
meant that her storm of weeping had subsided.

"Are you going as a Red Cross nurse?" I asked.

"Nurse your grandmother! I'm going to drive an ambulance or maybe fly."

"But they won't want a woman in the thick of the fight!"

"Well, who's to know? When I get a good hair-cut and put on some of
Polly's togs, I bet I'll make as good a man as Pol--no, I won't say
that. I'll never be as good a man as he is. I'm going to try the
aviation racket first. If they won't take me, I'll get with the Red
Cross, somehow. I know I could fly like a bird. I have never yet seen
the wheels that I could not understand the turning of. I believe it is
not so easy to get aviators. It is so hazardous that men don't go in for
it. I am light weight but awfully strong."

"But, Jo, what are you going to do about your feet?" You remember,
Molly, what pretty little feet Jo has.

"Oh, I'll wear some of Polly's shoes and stuff out the toes. I bet I'll
walk like Charlie Chaplin, but when one is flying, it doesn't make much
difference about feet."

Nothing is going to stop her. She is to start to Paris to-morrow, and I
will go, too. I know all of you think I should stay here in G---- until
I can get into communication with Bobby, but Molly Brown, I can't do it.
When history is being made, I simply can't stand aside and see it. I've
got to get in it by hook or crook.

Don't be scared--I am not going to fly! I wish I could, but I promised
Kent Brown I would never fly with any man but him, and while it was done
in jest, in a way I still feel that a promise must be kept. I wish I
were not made that way. I'd like to dress up like Jo Bill Perkins and
pass as a man, and I could do it quite as well as Jo, in spite of her
having practiced being a boy all her life, but I can't help thinking
what Bobby has always said to me: "Just remember you are a lady and you
can't go far wrong." Somehow, I am afraid if I cut off my hair and
discarded skirts, I might forget I am a lady. It is an awful nuisance
being one, anyhow.

I don't know just what I am going to do, but I certainly can't cross the
Atlantic, with Bobby and poor little Mamma somewhere in Germany, maybe
locked up in dungeons or something. I know it won't help them any for me
to be in France, but at least I will be nearer to them geographically.

My letter of credit on the Paris bankers will put me on easy street
financially, so as far as money is concerned, Bobby will know I am all
right. I can't think the war will last very long. Surely all the neutral
countries will just step in and stop it. The French are looking to
United States. It is very amusing to hear the old peasants talk about
Lafayette. They seem to think tit for tat: if they helped us out more
than a century ago, we will have to help them out now.

I can't tell what I think just yet. Everything is in too much of a
turmoil. I wish I knew what Bobby thinks. He is always so sane in his
political opinions. I get more and more uneasy about them, Bobby and
Mamma. Such terrible tales of the Germans are coming to us. I don't
believe them, at least not all of them. How could a kindly, rather
bovine race suddenly turn into raging tigers? Why should any one want
to do anything to Bobby? I comfort myself with that thought and then I
remember how hot-headed and impulsive he is, inherited directly from me,
his daughter, and I begin to tremble.

Jo and I are settling up our affairs here. Madame Gaston is to take
charge of our few belongings. I have a hunch it will be best to lighten
our luggage all we can. Jo is not going to turn into a man until we get
to Paris. She is too funny in her envy of old Mère Gaspard because of
her big moustache. You know how many of the French peasant women have
quite mannish beards and moustaches. Mother Gaspard has the largest and
most formidable one I have ever seen, although she is a most motherly
old soul, not a bit fatherly.

I will write from Paris again. I know Kent is in a state of grouch with
himself for sailing when he did. I believe he feels as I do about things
happening. I don't want houses to burn down, but if they do burn, I want
to see the fire; I don't want dogs to fight, but if there is a dog fight
going on, I am certainly going to stand on my tiptoes and look over the
crowd and see them tear each other up; I certainly don't want the
Nations to go to war, but if they will do it, I am going to have
experiences.

Please give my best love to all the family and a thoroughly sterilized
kiss to that marvelous infant. I verily believe if it had not been for
Kent's overweening desire to behold that baby, he would have waited over
for another steamer and in that way found himself in the thick of the
fight. I am glad he went, however. If Polly Perkins developed a chin and
rushed off, what might Kent have done with an overdevelopment of chin
already there?

                                            Yours always,
                                                         JUDY.



CHAPTER II.

THE ORCHARD HOME.


"R. F. D., late as usual," laughed Molly, as Mr. Bud Woodsmall's very
ramshackle Ford runabout came careening through the lane and up the hill
to the yard gate. "I fancy he has had to stop and talk war at every mail
box on his route."

"I think I'll go meet him," said Professor Edwin Green, rather
reluctantly arising from the chaise longue that seemed to have been
built to fit his lack of curves, he declared. He had been sitting on the
porch of the bungalow, eyes half closed to shut out everything from his
vision but the picture of Molly holding the sleeping baby in her arms.

"You know you want to gossip with him--now 'fess up!"

"Well, I do like to hear his views of the situation in Europe. They
are original, at least. He says Yankee capitalists are the cause of it
all. Don't you want me to put Mildred down? She has been asleep for
half an hour," and the young husband and father stood for a moment and
looked down on his treasures with what Judy Kean always called his
faithful-collie-dog eyes.

"I know I oughtn't to hold her while she is asleep, but she seems so
wonderful I can't bear to let her go. I think she is growing more like
you, Edwin."

"Like me! Nonsense! That would be a sad thing to have wished on the poor
innocent when there are so many handsome folks in the Carmichael and
Brown family from whom she could inherit real beauty."

"But Edwin, you are handsome, I think. You are so noble looking."

"All right, honey, have it your own way," and he stooped and kissed her.
"I will allow that the baby has inherited my bald head if you like--Hi
there!" he called to Mr. Woodsmall, who was preparing to unlock the
mail box, "I'll come get it," and he sprinted down the walk where the
garrulous postman held him enthralled for a good fifteen minutes. A blue
envelope with a foreign postmark told him there was a letter from Julia
Kean that would be eagerly welcomed by Molly, but there was no stopping
the flow of R. F. D.'s eloquence. The causes of the war being thoroughly
threshed out, he finally took his reluctant departure.

"A letter from Judy Kean! Now you will have to put the baby down!"

So little Mildred was tenderly placed in her basket on the porch and
Molly opened the voluminous epistle from the beloved Judy.

"Oh, Edwin, she is not coming home! I was afraid she would want to do
something Judyesque. Only listen!" and Molly read the Giverny letter to
her husband.

"What do you think Kent will say to this? I know he is very uneasy about
her anyhow since the war broke out, and now--well, I'm glad I'm not in
his shoes. She is not very considerate of him, I must say."

"Oh, you men folks!" laughed Molly. "I can't see how she could leave
France until she knows something about her mother and father, and after
all, I don't believe Kent and Judy are engaged."

"Not engaged! What do you think Kent has been doing this whole year in
Paris if he wasn't getting engaged?"

"Studying Architecture at the Beaux Arts. Sometimes persons can know one
another a long time and be together a lot and not get engaged," she
teased. It was a very well-known fact that Professor Edwin Green had
been in love with Molly Brown for at least five years, and maybe longer,
before he put the all important question.

"Yes, I know, but then----"

"Then what? My brother Kent is certainly not able to support a wife yet,
and maybe they are opposed to long engagements."

"Well, all the same I am sorry for Kent. It was bad enough when you went
abroad and the ocean was between us and I knew you were being well taken
care of by your dear mother,--but just suppose it had been war time and
you had been alone! The news from France is very grave. It looks as
though the Germans would eat Christmas dinner in Paris as they boast
they will."

"Oh, Edwin, no!" and Molly turned pale.

"Well, look at these head lines in to-day's paper. It looks very
ominous. When did you say you were expecting Kent home?"

"By to-morrow at latest. He wrote Mother he was to stay some time in New
York to try to land a job that looked very promising."

"Here she comes now!" he exclaimed, his face lighting up with joy as it
always did when his mother-in-law appeared on the scene.

Mrs. Brown was coming through the orchard from Chatsworth. Her hair had
turned a little greyer since Molly's marriage, but not much; her step
was still light and active; her grey eyes as full of life; and in her
heart the same eternal youth.

"Well, children! Did you get any mail? How is my precious little
granddaughter? I've a letter from Kent. It just did beat him home. Paul
'phoned from Louisville that he is in town now, just arrived and will
be here with him this afternoon. I am so excited!"

Dear Mrs. Brown's life was made up of such excitements now: her children
always going and returning. Mildred, Mrs. Crittenden Rutledge, had left
for Iowa only two days before, having spent two months with her little
family at Chatsworth; now Kent was almost home; and in less than a month
the Greens would make their annual move to Wellington. Sue, the eldest
daughter, married to young Cyrus Clay, lived within a few miles of
Chatsworth and seemed the only one who was a fixture. Paul's newspaper
work kept him in Louisville most of the time and John, the doctor, made
flying visits to his home but had to make his headquarters in the city
for fear of missing patients. Ernest, the eldest son, was threatening to
come home and settle at Chatsworth, but that was still an uncertainty.

"I must read you Judy's letter, Mother. I know you will feel as uneasy
as we do about her. Edwin thinks she should come home, but I think she
could hardly leave, not knowing something more definite about her
mother and father, who may be bottled up in Germany indefinitely."

"Only think of the sizzle Mr. Kean will make when they finally draw the
cork," laughed Mrs. Brown; but when Molly read the whole of Judy's
letter to her, the laughter left her countenance and she looked very
solemn and disturbed.

"Poor Kent!" she sighed.

"I wonder what he will do," from Molly.

"Do? Why, he will do what the men of his blood should do!" Mrs. Brown
held her head very high and her delicate nostrils quivered in the way
her family knew meant either anger or high resolve. "He will go to
France and either stay and protect Judy or bring her back to his
mother."

"But, Mother, are you going to ask this of him? Maybe he won't think it
is the right thing to do."

"Of course, I am not going to ask it of him. I just know the 'mettle of
his pasture.'"

"But the expense!"

"Expense! Molly, you don't sound like yourself. What is expense when
your loved ones are in danger?"

"But I can't think that Judy could be in real danger."

"I can't think anything else. You surely have not read the morning
paper. The Germans are advancing so rapidly.... The atrocities in
Belgium! Ugh! I can't contemplate our Judy being anywhere in their
reach."

"But, Mother, they must be exaggerated! People could not do what they
say they have done, not good, kind German soldiers."

"Molly! Molly! Your goodness will even let you love the Germans. I am
not made that way. The Anglo Saxon in me is so uppermost and I feel such
a boiling and bubbling in my veins that nothing but my grey hairs keeps
me from joining the Red Cross myself and helping the Allies!"

"Well, then you don't blame Miss Judy Kean," laughed Professor Green,
who never loved his mother-in-law more than when, as old Aunt Mary
expressed it, "her nose was a-wuckin'."

"Blame her! No, indeed! If I were her age, I'd do exactly what she is
doing, but I should certainly have expected Molly's father to come over
and protect me while I was being so foolhardy."

"Judy doesn't say she is going as a nurse," said Molly, referring to the
letter. "Jo Williams is to fly and Judy seems uncertain what she is
going to do,--just see the fight, as far as I can make out. I know Judy
so well I just can't feel uneasy about her. You mustn't think I am
mercenary, Mother, or careless of my friend. Judy always lands on her
feet and is as much of an adept in getting out of scrapes as she is in
getting in them."

"My darling, of course I didn't mean you were mercenary," cried Mrs.
Brown, seeing in Molly's blue eyes a little hurt look at the vigorous
tone she had taken when Molly merely suggested expense. "I just think in
your desire to think well of every one, nations as well as individuals,
that you are blind to the terrors of this war. If Judy will only go to
Sally Bolling, she will be taken care of. I fancy Sally is at La Roche
Craie now."

"Oh, I had forgotten to think of what this must mean to Cousin Sally!"
exclaimed Molly. "The truth of the matter is that it is so peaceful here
my imagination cannot picture what it is over there. I am growing
selfish with contentment. Of course Philippe d'Ochtè will join his
regiment and poor Cousin Sally and the Marquis will suffer agonies over
him."

"Yes and over France!" said Edwin solemnly. "I remember so well a
conversation I had with the Marquis d'Ochtè on the subject of his
country. I believe he really and truly puts his country above even his
adored wife and son. That is more patriotism than I could be capable
of----"

"Not a bit of it, my dear Edwin," broke in Mrs. Brown.

    "'I could not love thee half so well
      Loved I not honour more.'

"Molly and your little baby Mildred are but a part of your country, and
if the time should come and your country called you, you would answer
the call just as I hope my own sons would."

"Oh, Mother, you are a Spartan! I am not so brave, I am afraid," said
Molly. "Even now at the thought of war, I am thanking God my Mildred
baby is a girl."

Little Mildred, at mention of her name, although it would be many a day
before she would know what her name was, awakened and gave an
inarticulate gurgle. Mrs. Brown dropped the rôle of Spartan Mother and
turned into a doting grandmother in the twinkling of an eye.

"And was um little tootsie wootsies cold? Come to your Granny and let
her warm them. Molly, this baby has grown a foot, I do believe, and look
what a fine, strong, straight back she has! And does oo want your Granny
to rub your back? Only look, her eyes have brown lights in them! I said
all the time she would have brown eyes."

"And not Molly's blue eyes! Oh, Mother, that is very bad news to me.
Why, the baby's eyes are as blue as the sea now. They could not change,"
and Edwin Green peered into his offspring's face with such intentness
that the little thing began to whimper.

The proper indignation being expressed by the females and the baby
dangled until smiles came and a crow, Mrs. Brown informed the ignorant
father that all young animals have blue eyes and there is no determining
the actual colour of a baby's eyes until it is several months old, but
that the minute brown or golden lights begin to appear in blue eyes, you
can get ready to declare for a brown-eyed youngster.

"Well, she will surely have Molly's hair," he insisted.

"That we can't tell, either," said the all-knowing grandmother. "You
see, she is almost bald now except for this tiny fringe that is rapidly
being worn off in the back. That does seem a little pinkish."

"Pinkish! Oh, Mother-in-law, what a word to express my Molly's hair!"

"Can't you see she is getting even with you for making Mildred almost
cry?" laughed Molly. "I know she is going to have my hair because when
you slip a little bit of blue under that little lock that is on the
side, where it hasn't rubbed off, the 'pink' comes out quite plainly. My
Mildred will be a belle. I have always heard it said that a girl with
brown eyes and golden hair is born to be a belle. Oh, yes, I will call
the baby's hair golden although I have always called my own red."

"I don't know whether I want her to be a belle or not," objected Edwin.
"She might be frivolous."

"Frivolous with your eyes! Heavens, Daddy, she couldn't be!"

Mrs. Brown contentedly smiled and rocked the baby, who crowed and cooed
and kicked her pretty pink tootsies. The sun shone on the orchard home
and a particularly obliging mocking bird burst into song from one of the
gnarled old apple trees, heavy with its luscious fruit. Mocking birds
are supposed not to sing in August, but sometimes they do, and when
they do, their song is as wonderful and welcome as an unlooked-for
legacy.

Molly looked over the fields of waving blue grass to the dark beech
woods that bordered the pasture, a feeling of great happiness and
contentment in her heart. How peaceful and sweet was life! She leaned
against her husband, who put an ever-ready arm around her, and together
they gazed on the fruitful landscape. Mrs. Brown crooned to the baby a
song ever dear to her own children and one that had been sung to her by
her own negro mammy.

     "Mammy went away--she tol' me ter stay,
        An' tek good keer er de baby,
      She tol' me ter stay an' sing dis away:
        Oh, go ter sleepy, little baby!

      Oh, go ter sleep! sleepy little baby,
        Oh, go ter sleepy, little baby,
      Kaze when yer wake, yo'll git some cake,
        An' ride a little white horsey!

      We'll stop up de cracks an' sew up de seams--
        De Booger Man never shall ketch you!
      Oh, go ter sleep an' dream sweet dreams--
        De Booger Man never shall ketch you!

      Oh, go ter sleep! sleepy little baby,
        Oh, go ter sleepy, little baby,
      Kaze when you wake, you'll git some cake,
        An' lots er nice sugar candy!"

How could whole countries be at war and such peace reign in any spot on
the globe?

The whirr of an approaching motor awoke them from their musings and
stopped the delightful song before one-third of the stanzas had been
sung. It was Kent with John in the doctor's little runabout.

"My boy! my boy!" and Mrs. Brown dropped the baby in her basket and flew
across the grass to greet the long-absent Kent.

"I couldn't wait for Paul but had to get old Dr. John to bring me out.
Mumsy, how plump and pink you are. I declare you look almost as young as
the new baby," said Kent after the first raptures of greeting were over.
"And Molly, you look great! And 'Fessor Green, I declare you are getting
fat. I bet you have gained at least three-quarters of a pound since you
got married. Positively obese!"

"You haven't said much about the baby," objected Molly.

"Well, there's not much to say, is there? She is an omnivorous biped, I
gather, from the two feet I can see and her evident endeavor to eat
them, at least, I fancy that is why she is kicking so high. She has got
Edwin's er--er--well--his high forehead----"

"She is not nearly so bald-headed as you were yourself," declared his
mother. "You were such a lovely baby, Kent, the loveliest of all my
babies, I believe. I always adored a bald-headed baby and you had a head
like a little billiard ball."

They all laughed at this and Kent confessed that if he had been
bald-headed himself, he believed the little Mildred must be, after all,
very charming.

"Any letters for me?" he asked, and Molly thought she detected a note of
anxiety below all the nonsense he had been talking.

"No, I have not seen any."

"Well, have you heard from--from Judy Kean?"

"Yes," confessed Molly. "I got a letter to-day."

"Please may I see it?"

"Yes, of course you may."

But Molly felt a great reluctance to show Julia Kean's letter to her
brother. She knew very well he was uneasy already about their friend
and was certain this letter would only heighten his concern. Kent was
looking brown and sturdy; he seemed to her to have grown even taller
than the six feet one he already measured when he went abroad. His
boyish countenance had taken on more purpose and his jaw had an added
squareness. His deep set grey eyes had a slight cloud in them that Molly
and her mother hated to see.

"It is Judy, of course," they said to themselves.

"I landed my job in New York," he said, as he opened the little blue
envelope.

"Splendid!" exclaimed Molly.

Mrs. Brown tried to say splendid, too, but the thought came to her:
"Another one going away from home!" and she could only put her arm
around her boy's neck and press a kiss on his brown head.

They were all very quiet while Kent read the letter. Dr. John, alone,
seemed disinterested. He very professionally poked the infant in the
ribs to see how fat she had grown and, also, much to the indignation of
Molly, went through some tests for idiocy, which, of course, the tiny
baby could not pass.



CHAPTER III.

KENT BROWN.


"Mother, will you come and take a little walk with me?" asked Kent as he
finished Judy's letter. With his hand trembling, although his eyes were
very steady and his mouth very firm, he tucked the many thin blue sheets
back in their envelope.

"Yes, my son!" Mrs. Brown held her head very high and in her expression
one could very well read: "I told you so! Did I not know the 'mettle of
his pasture'?"

"Mother," he said, as he drew her arm in his and they took their way
through the orchard to the garden of Chatsworth, "I must go get Judy!"

"Yes, my son, of course you must."

"Oh, Mother, you think it is the only thing to do?"

"Of course, I know it is the only thing to do. I told Molly and Edwin
only a few minutes ago that you would want to do it."

"And what a mother! I--well, you know, Mother, I am not engaged to
Judy--not exactly, that is. She knows how I feel about her and
somehow--I can't say for sure--but I almost know she feels the same way
about me, at least, feels somehow about me."

"Of course she does! How could she help it?"

"You see, I knew it would be some time before I could make a decent
living, and it did not seem fair to Judy to tie her down when maybe she
might strike some fellow who would be so much more worth while than I
am----"

"Impossible!"

"I used to think maybe Pierce Kinsella would be her choice, when they
painted together so much."

"That boy! Why, Kent, how could you?"

"Well, he was a very handsome and brilliant boy and is pretty well fixed
by his uncle's generosity and bids fair to make one of the leading
portrait painters of the day. His portrait of you has made every lady
who has seen it want him to do one of her. Of course, he can't make all
of 'em look like you, but he does his best."

"It may have been wise of you not to settle this little matter with
Judy, son, but somehow--I wish you had."

"It was hard not to, but I felt she was so far away from her parents. I
thought she would be back in America in a month, at least. I wanted her
to come with me, but she felt she must wait for them, and of course, I
had to hurry back because of the possible job in New York. I am afraid
that I will lose that now, but there will be others, and I just can't
think of the things that might happen to my Judy--she is my Judy,
whether we are engaged or not."

"When will you start, son?"

"Why, to-night, if you don't mind."

"Certainly to-night! I have money for you."

"Oh, Mother, the money part is the only thing worrying me. I have a
little left, but not enough to get me over and back. I must have enough
to bring Judy back, too. You see, a letter of credit now in Paris is
not worth the paper it is on."

"No, I did not know. That is the one part of Judy's letter that put me
at ease about her. I thought she had plenty of money, and money
certainly does help out."

"Well, that is the part of her letter that made me know I must go get
her. The Americans who are abroad simply can't get checks cashed. She
might even be hungry, poor little Judy."

"Thank goodness, I have some money--all owing to Judy's father, too! If
he had not seen the bubbles on that puddle in the rocky pasture, we
would never have known there was oil there. What better could we do with
the money that Mr. Kean got for us than use it to succor his daughter?"

"Oh, Mother, you are so--so--bully! I know no other word to express what
you are. I am going to pay back every cent I borrow from you. Thank
goodness, I saved a little from the money I made on the architectural
sketches I did for the article Dickson wrote on the French country
homes. I'm going over steerage."

"You are going over in the first class cabin! Steerage, indeed! I lend
no money for such a trip."

"All right, Mother! You are the boss. And now, don't you think I'll have
time to go see Aunt Mary a few minutes?"

"Of course you must go see the poor old woman. She has been afraid she
would not live until you got home. She is very feeble. Dear old Aunt
Mary!"

They had reached the Chatsworth garden and Kent noticed with delight the
hollyhocks that had flourished wonderfully since he had dug them up that
moonlight night more than three years ago and transplanted them from the
chicken yard, where no one ever saw them, to the beds in the garden, and
all because Miss Julia Kean had regretted that they were not there to
make a background for the bridal party, after they had determined to
have Mildred's wedding out of doors.

"Haven't they come on wonderfully? I know Judy would like to see how
well they have done. I think hollyhocks are the most decorative of all
flowers. I wonder we never had them in the garden before, Mother."

Both of them were thinking of Mildred's wedding on that rare day in
June. Kent remembered with some satisfaction that in the general
confusion that ensued after Mildred and Crit were pronounced, by Dr.
Peters, to be man and wife, and everybody was kissing everybody else, he
had had presence of mind to take advantage of the license accorded on
the occasion of a family wedding and had kissed his sister Molly's
college friend, Miss Julia Kean.

"By Jove! I think war ought to give a fellow some privilege, too," he
declared to himself. "I think I'll do the same when I see the young lady
in France."

They found Aunt Mary lying in state in a great four poster bed, while
her meek half-sister, Sukey Jourdan, administered to her wants, which
were many and frequent.

"Lawsamussy, if that ain't that there Kent! Whar you come from, son? I
done got so old an' feeble I can't say mister ter nobody. You alls is
all Ernest and Sue and Paul and John and Mildred and Kent and Molly ter
me. Cepn Molly is Molly Baby. I still got strenth fer that. Law, Miss
Milly, ain't he growed?"

"Yes, Aunt Mary, he is looking so well, and now he is going to turn
right around and go back to France to-night."

"Don't say it! Lawsamussy, Miss Milly, did he fergit somethin'?"

"Well, not exactly," laughed Kent, "but I didn't bring something with me
that I should have."

"Well, you be sho ter make a cross an' spit in it. If'n you fergits
somethin' er fin's you has ter tu'n aroun' an' go back 'thout res'in' a
piece, if'n you makes a cross an' spits in it, you is sho ter have good
luck. Here you, Sukey, set a better cheer for Miss Milly. Wherfo' you
done give her sich a straight up'n down cheer?"

"Oh, this will do very well, Sukey," said Mrs. Brown.

"You bring another, Sukey. I don' see what makes you so keerless. I low
if'n 'twar that no count Buck Jourdan, you'd be drawin' up the sofy fer
his triflin' bones."

Poor Sukey had no easy job to keep Aunt Mary satisfied. The old woman,
having been a most energetic and tireless person in her day, could not
understand that the whole world of darkeys could not be as she had been.
Sukey's son Buck, the apple of her mild eye, was the bane of Aunt Mary's
existence. She never missed a chance to make her younger half-sister
miserable on his account. Indeed, Sukey, mild as she was, would not have
stayed with Aunt Mary except for the fact that Aunt Mary had insured her
life for her with the understanding that she was to minister to her to
the end. It was dearly paid for, this service, as the old woman was most
exacting. Lenient to a degree of softness with white folks, she was
adamant with those of her own race.

"How do you feel, Aunt Mary?" asked Kent, looking with sorrow on the
wasted features of the beloved old woman.

"Well, I'm a feelin' tolerable peart this mornin' although endurin' of
the night I thought my hour had struck. I got ter dreamin' 'bout my
fun'ral, an' I got so mad cause Sis Ria Bowles done brought a fun'ral
zine like one she done tuck ter Brer Jackson's orgies! An' dead or not,
I wa'nt gonter stan' fer no sich monkey shines over me."

"Why, what did she take to Brother Jackson's funeral?" laughed Kent.

"Ain't you heard tel er that? She cut a cross outn that there sticky
tangle yo' foot fly paper en' she kivered it all over with daisy haids
an' call herse'f bringing a zine. I riz up an' spoke my mind in my dream
an' I let all these here niggers in Jeff'son County know that if they
don't see that I gits a fust class fun'ral, I gonter rise up when I
ain't a dreamin' an' speak my min'."

Sukey Jourdan listened to this tirade with her eyes bulging out of her
head, much to Aunt Mary's satisfaction, as she very well knew that the
way to manage her race was to intimidate them.

"I done been carryin' insuriance in two clubs an' a comp'ny, an' betwixt
'em I's entitled ter seventeen hacks. I'm a trustin' ter Miss Milly an'
that there Paul ter make 'em treat me proper. Paul done say he will
black list 'em in his newspaper if'n they leave off one tit or jottle
from the 'greement. I sho would like ter see my fun'ral. I low it's a
goin' ter be pretty stylish. I done pinted my pall buriers an' bought
they gloves an' I low ter be laid out myself in my best black silk what
Miss Milly done gimme goin' on sixteen year, come nex' Christmas. I
ain't a wo' it much, as I had in min' ter save it fer my buryin'. Some
of the mimbers gits buried in palls made er white silk. They do look
right han'some laid out in 'em, but then palls is made 'thout a piece er
back an' I has a notion that when Gabrel blows his trump on that great
an' turrerble day that ole Mary Morton ain't a goin' ter be caught
without no back ter her grabe clothes. It mought make no diffrunce if'n
Peter will let me pass on in, 'cause I low that the shining robes will
be a waitin' fer me--but sposin'--jes' sposin'----" and the dear old
woman's face clouded over with anguish, "jes' sposin' Peter'll say:
'You, Mary Morton, g'long from this here portcullis. You blongs in the
tother d'rection,' an' I'll hab ter tun 'roun' an' take the broad road
ter hell! What'll I feel like, if'n I ain't got no back ter my frock?
No, sir! I's a goin' ter have on a dress complete. It mought be that
Peter'll think better er me if I shows him sech a spectful back."

"You not get in Heaven!" exclaimed Kent. "Why, Aunt Mary, there wouldn't
be any Heaven for all of us bad Brown boys if you weren't there."

"Well, now them is words of comfort what beats the preacher's. I done
always been b'lievin' in 'fluence an' I mought er knowed my white folks
would look arfter me on the las' day jes as much as ever. I kin git in
as Miss Milly's cook if'n th'aint no other way. I been a 'lowing whin I
gits ter Heaven I wouldn't have ter work no more, but sence I been a
laid up in the baid so long I gin ter think that work would tas'e right
sweet. Cookin' in Heaven wouldn't be so hard with plenty of 'gredients
ter han' and no scrimpin' and scrougin' of 'terials. A lan' flowin' with
milk an' honey mus' have aigs an' butter. Here you, Sukey Jourdan! Whar
you hidin'?"

"Here I is, Sis Ma'y, I jes' stepped in the shed room ter men' the fire
ginst 'twas time ter knock up a bite er dinner fer you."

"Well, while I's a thinkin' of it, I want you to git my bes' linen apron
outn the chist--the one with the insertioning let in 'bove the hem, an'
put it in the highboy drawer with my bes' black silk. I low I'll be laid
out in a apron, 'cause if'n I can't git inter Heaven no other way, I am
a thinkin' with a clean white apron on I kin slip in as a good cook."

"Dear Aunt Mary, you have been as good as gold all your life," declared
Mrs. Brown, wiping a tear from her eye, but smiling in spite of herself
at Aunt Mary's quaint idea of a way to gain an entrance through the
pearly gates.

Aunt Mary had had many doubts about her being saved and had spent many
weary nights, terrified at the thought of dying and perhaps not being
fit for Heaven, but now that she had thought of wearing the apron, all
doubts of her desirability were set at rest; indeed, her last days were
filled with peace since she felt now that even Peter could not turn back
a good cook.

"I must be going, Aunt Mary," said Kent, taking the old woman's withered
hand in his strong grasp. "I'll be home again in a few weeks, I fancy,
maybe sooner."

"They's one thing I ain't arsked you yit: whar's that there Judy gal?
I been a dreamin' you would bring her back with you."

"She is the thing I am going back to France for, Aunt Mary."

"Sho nuf? Well, well! They do tell me they's fightin' goin' on in some
er them furren parts. Sholy Miss Judy ain't nigh the fightin' an'
fussin'?"

"Yes, I am afraid she is. That's the reason I must go for her."

"Oh, Kent son! Don't you git into no scrap yo'sef. It's moughty hard
fer young folks ter look on at a scrap 'thout gittin' mixed up in it.
Don't you git too clost, whin you is lookin', either. Them what looks
on sometimes gits the deepes' razor cuts with the back han' licks. You
pick up that gal an' bring her back ter you' maw jes' as fas' as yo'
legs kin carry you."

"I'll try to," laughed Kent.

"Don't try! Jes' do it! That there Judy gal is sho nice an'
'ristocratic, considerin' she ain't never had no home. She done tell
me whin she was here to little Miss Milly's weddin' that she an' her
folks ain't never lived in nothin' but rented houses. That's moughty
queer to me, but 'cose niggers don't understan' ev'y thing. Well, you
tell her that ole Mary Morton say she better pick up an' come back to
Chatswuth."

"I certainly will, Aunt Mary, and good-by!"

The old woman put her hand on his bowed head for a moment, and while she
said nothing, Kent took it for a benediction.



CHAPTER IV.

AFTERNOON TEA.


Molly had established the custom of afternoon tea in her orchard home,
and while she had been greatly teased by her brothers for introducing
this English custom into Kentucky country life, they one and all turned
up on her porch for tea if they were in the neighborhood.

"It is one place where a fellow can always find some talk and a place to
air his views," declared John, as he reached for another slice of bread
and butter. "It isn't the food so much as the being gathered together."

"Well, you are gathering a good deal of food together in spite of your
contempt for it," put in Paul. "That's the sixth slice! I have kept tab
on you."

"Why not? I always think plain bread and butter is about the best thing
there is."

"Yes, why not?" asked Molly, calling her little cook Kizzie to prepare
another plate of the desirable article. "Aunt Clay, you had better
change your mind and have some tea and bread and butter."

Mrs. Sarah Clay had driven over in state from her home when she heard
Kent had arrived. She wanted to hear the latest news, also to tender
her advice as to what he was to do now. She presented the same
uncompromising front as of yore, although her back had given way
somewhat to the weight of years. Judy Kean always said she had a hard
face and a soft figure. This soft figure she poured into tight basques,
evidently determined to try to make it live up to her face.

"Tea!" she exclaimed indignantly. "I never eat between meals."

"But this is a meal, in a way," said Molly hospitably bent, as was her
wont, on feeding people.

"A meal! Whoever heard of tea and bread and butter comprising a meal?"
and the stern aunt stalked to the end of the porch where the baby lay in
her basket, kicking her pink heels in the air in an ecstasy of joy over
being in the world.

"Molly, this baby has on too few clothes. What can you be thinking of,
having the child barefooted and nothing on but this muslin slip over her
arms? She is positively blue with cold."

Molly flew to her darling but found her glowing and warm. "Why, Aunt
Clay, only feel her hands and feet! She is as warm as toast. The doctor
cautioned me against wrapping her up too much. He says little babies are
much warmer than we are."

"Well, have your own way! Of course, although I am older than your
mother, I know nothing at all."

"But, Aunt Clay----"

"Never mind!"

Poor Molly! She could never do or say anything to suit her Aunt Clay.
She looked regretfully at the old lady's indignant back as she left her
and joined Kent, who was sitting on a settle with his mother, holding
her hand, both of them very quiet amidst the chatter around the tea
table. They made room for their relative, who immediately began her
catechism of Kent.

"Why did you not come home sooner?"

"Because I had some work to do, sketches illustrating an article on
French country houses."

"Humph! Did you get paid for them?"

"Yes, Aunt Clay!"

"Now, what are your plans?"

"I have landed a job in New York with a firm of architects, that is, I
had landed it, but I am not so sure now since----"

"Good! You feel that you had better stay at home and look after
Chatsworth."

"Oh, no! I am sure I could not be much of a farmer."

"Could not because you would not! If I were your mother, I would insist
on one of you staying at home and running the place."

"Ernest is thinking of coming back, giving up engineering and trying
intensive farming on Chatsworth."

"Ernest, indeed! And why should he have wasted all these years in some
other profession if he means to farm?"

"Well, you see," said Kent very patiently because of the pressure he
felt from his mother's gentle hand, "farming takes money and there
wasn't any money. Ernest always did want to farm, but it was necessary
for him to make some money first. Now he has saved and invested and has
something to put in the land, and he is devoutly hoping to get out more
than he puts in."

"If putting something in the land means expensive machinery, I can tell
him now that he will waste money buying it. But there is no use in
telling Ernest anything--he is exactly like Sue: very quiet, does not
answer back when his elders and betters address him, but, like Sue, goes
his own way. Sue is very headstrong and simply twists my husband's
nephew around her finger. I was very much disappointed in Cyrus Clay. I
thought he had more backbone."

Sue Brown, now Mrs. Cyrus Clay, had been the one member of the Brown
family who always got on with the stern Aunt Clay; and Kent and his
mother were sorry to hear the old lady express any criticism of Sue. It
seemed that Sue had done nothing more serious than to persuade Cyrus to
join the Country Club, but it was against Mrs. Sarah Clay's wishes, and
anything that opposed her was headstrong and consequently wicked.

"But to return to you----" Kent let a sigh escape him as he had hoped he
had eluded further catechism, "what are you going to do now?"

"Well, to-night I go back to New York, and day after to-morrow I take a
French steamer for Havre."

"Havre! Are you crazy?"

"I don't know."

"What are you going to do in France with this war going on?"

"I am not quite sure."

This was too much for the irate old lady, so without making any adieux,
she took her departure, scorning the polite assistance of her three
nephews. Professor Green called her coachman and helped her into the
great carriage she still held to, the kind seen now-a-days only in
museums.

"Kent, how could you?" laughed Mrs. Brown, in spite of her attempt to
look shocked.

"I think Kent was right," declared Molly. "How could he tell Aunt Clay
he was going to France to get Judy? She would never have let up on it.
I'm glad she has gone, anyhow! We were having a very nice time without
her."

"Molly!" and Mrs. Brown looked shocked. She always exacted a show of
respect from her children to this very difficult elder sister Sarah.

"Oh, Mumsy, we have to break loose sometimes!" exclaimed Molly. "The
idea of her saying Mildred was blue with cold! Criticising poor Sue,
too! Goodness, I'd hate to be the one that Aunt Clay had taken a shine
to. I'd almost rather have her despise me as she does."

"Not despise you, Molly,--you don't understand your Aunt Clay."

"Well, perhaps not, but she puts up a mighty good imitation of
despising. I think it is because I look so like Cousin Sally Bolling
and she never forgave the present Marquise d'Ochtè for making fun of
her long years ago. And then to crown it all, Cousin Sally got the
inheritance from Greataunt Sarah Carmichael and married the Marquis, at
least she married the Marquis and then got the inheritance. It was too
much for Aunt Clay."

Mrs. Brown looked so pained that Molly stopped her tirade. Aunt Clay was
the one person whom Molly could not love. She had a heart as big as all
out doors but it was not big enough to hold Aunt Clay.

"Here comes Sue! How glad I am! She 'phoned she would be here before so
very long. What a blessing she missed Aunt Clay! See, she is running the
car herself and isn't it a beauty? Cyrus just got it for her and Sue
runs it wonderfully well already. I forgot to write you about it, Kent.
But best of all! What do you think? Cyrus has had the muddy lane that
was the cause of Sue's hesitating whether to take him or not all
drained and macadamized. The approach to Maxton is simply perfect now."

"Good for Cyrus!" said Kent, jumping up to meet his sister, who drove
her big car through the gate and up the driveway as though she had been
running an automobile all her life.

"Only think, five Browns together again!" exclaimed Paul, as they seated
themselves on the porch of the bungalow after duly admiring the new car.
Molly had Kizzie brew a fresh pot of tea and John was persuaded to eat
some more thin slices of bread and butter.

"Yes, five of you together again," said Mrs. Brown wistfully. "Ah, me! I
wish I could get all seven of you at Chatsworth once more. Indeed, I
wish I had all of you back in the nursery again."

"But where would I come in then?" said Edwin Green whimsically.

"And little Mildred?" from Molly, hugging her infant.

"And Sue's new car, not to mention Cyrus?" teased Kent.

"You are right, children. I should be more of a philosopher.

    "'The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
      Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
        Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
      Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.'"

Molly stood over Kent with a cup of steaming tea and taking her cue from
her mother's quotation from the Rubaiyat and prompted by his knownothing
attitude with his Aunt Clay, she got off the stanza:

     "Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare;
      To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
        Drink! for you know not whence you came nor why:
      Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where."



CHAPTER V.

LETTERS FROM PARIS AND BERLIN.


From Miss Julia Kean to Mrs. Edwin Green.

                               Paris, and no idea of the date.
                            No fixed address, but the American
                                          Club might reach me.

Molly darling:

Things are moving so fast that even I can't quite catch on, and you know
I am some mover myself. Jo and I came to Paris as I wrote you we would,
but I haven't seen her since. She told me in as polite words as she
could command that she couldn't be bothered with me any more. At least
that was the trend of her remarks. She has the business before her of
making up to look as much like a man as possible and then of being taken
into the aviation school.

I met an art student from Carlo Rossi's on the street and he told
me Polly was already the proud driver of an ambulance. Lots of the
American art students have enlisted or joined the Red Cross. If I liked
sick folks or nursing, I think I'd join myself. I feel that I should be
doing something while I wait to hear from Bobby. I hope to see the
American Ambassador next week. He is simply floored under with duties
just now. I don't want any help from him, but just to find out something
about Bobby and Mamma.

If you could see Paris now! Oh, Molly, our gay, beautiful, eternally
youthful city has grown suddenly sad and middle-aged. There is no gaiety
or frivolity now. Her step has changed from a dance to a march. Her
laughter has turned to weeping, but silent weeping--she makes no outcry
but one knows the tears are there. Her beautiful festive clothes are
laid away and now there is nothing but khaki and mourning. The gallant
little soldier is to discard his flaming red trousers and blue coat for
khaki. The German finds him too easy a mark.

I begin to tremble for Paris, but strange to say I have no fear for
myself.

I have seen the Ambassador! He was very grave when I told him about
Bobby. There was some English capital involved in the railroad that
Bobby was to build in Turkey, and for that reason there may be some
complication. He is to communicate with Gerard immediately. In the
meantime, he advises me to go home. I told him I had no home, but would
wait here until I found out something. He asked me if I had plenty of
money and I told him yes, indeed, my letter of credit was good for
almost any amount. I had not had to draw on it as I had stocked up
before I went to G---- to keep house with the Polly Perkinses. The
Ambassador actually laughed at me. Do you know, I can't get any more
money? What a fool I have been! I have been so taken up with Paris and
the sights and sounds that money has never entered my head. I have quite
a little left, though, and I intend to live on next to nothing.

The Bents have left for America and have given me their key to use their
studio as I see fit. Mrs. Bent wanted me to go with them, but I can't
go until we hear from Gerard. Now I am back in the Rue Brea! It seems
strange to be there again where we had such a glorious winter. The
studio where Kent and Pierce Kinsella lived all last year is vacant. I
don't know where Pierce is. Gone to war, perhaps!

I spend the days on the streets, walking up and down, listening to the
talk and watching the regiments as they move away. I ran across some old
friends yesterday. You remember a wedding party I butted in on at St.
Cloud that day I scared all of you so when I took the wrong train from
Versailles and landed at Chartres? Well, I ran plump against the bride
on Montparnasse (only she is no longer a bride but had a rosy infant
over her shoulder). She came out of a little delicatessen shop and her
husband in war togs followed her, and there I witnessed their parting. I
seem fated to be present at every crisis in their lives. The girl did
not recognize me but the young man did. I had danced with him in too mad
a whirl for him to forget me. Then came the old father and his wife who
looked like a member of the Commune. They keep the little shop, it
seems. I shook hands with them and together we waited for the young
man's regiment to come swinging down the street. With another embrace
all around, even me, he caught step with his comrades and was gone. The
bonnemère clasped her daughter-in-law to her grenadier-like bosom and
they mingled their tears, the rosy baby gasping for breath between the
two. The old father turned to me:

"This is different from the last time we met, ma'mselle!"

"Yes, so different!"

"Come in and have a bite and sup with us. There is still something to
eat in Paris besides horse flesh." His wife and daughter-in-law joined
him in the invitation and so I went in. I enjoyed the meal more than
I can tell you. The grenadier is some cook and although the fare was
simple, it was so well seasoned and appetizing that I ate as I have not
done since I got back to Paris. The truth of the matter is, I am living
so cheap for fear of getting out of money and I am afraid I have been
neglecting my inner man. I can't cook a thing myself, which is certainly
trifling of me, and so have depended on restaurants for sustenance. I
dressed the salad (you remember it is my one accomplishment) and it met
with the approval of host and hostess.

I told them of my trouble and how I felt I must wait until I heard
something definite of my mother and father, and they were all sympathy.
I have promised to come to them if I get into difficulty, and you don't
know the comfortable feeling I have now that I have some adopted folks.

I might go to the Marquise d'Ochtè, but I know she has all on her hands
and mind that she can attend to. I don't need anything but just
companionship. I am such a gregarious animal that I must have folks.

I am dying to hear from you and to know if Kent landed his job. Is
he--well, angry with me for staying over? I would not have missed
staying for anything, even if he should be put out. I can't believe he
is, though. I had rather hoped for letters when the American mail came
in this morning, but the man at the bank was very unfeeling and had
nothing. Nobody seems to be getting any mail. I wonder if they are
stopping it for some reason or other. I have a great mind to take this
to some American who is fleeing and have it mailed in New York. I will
do that very thing. Good by, Molly--don't be uneasy about me. You know
my catlike nature of lighting on my feet.

                                                 Your own,
                                                         Judy.


From Mr. Robert Kean to his Daughter Julia.

                                                       Berlin.

My dear Judy:

I know you are intensely uneasy about us, but down in your heart you
also know that we never get into scrapes we can't get out of, and we
will get out of this. This letter will probably be postmarked Sweden
but that does not mean I am there. In fact, I am in durance vile here
in Berlin. I am allowed to walk around the streets and to pay my own
living expenses but leave Berlin I cannot. Your mother can't leave,
either--not that she would. You know how she thinks that she protects me
and so she insists that she will stay. I am allowed to write no letters
and can receive none. I am getting this off to you by a clever device of
your mother's, which I shall not divulge now for fear it might be seized
and thus get an innocent person in bad with this remarkable Government.

I am kept here all because I know too much about the geography and
topography of Turkey. Of course I have made careful maps of the proposed
railroad from Constantinople, the one we have been trying to get the
concessions for. Well, they have naturally seized the maps. But before I
dreamed of the possibility of this war, for, like all of us fool Anglo
Saxons, I have been nosing along like a mole, I had a talk with a high
Prussian Muckamuck at dinner one evening about this proposed road and I
drew the blame thing on the table cloth, and with bits of bread and salt
cellars and what not I explained the whole topography of the country and
the benefit it would be to mankind to have this particular railroad
built, financed by my particular company. That was where I "broke my
'lasses pitcher." Of course, having surveyed the country and made the
maps, at least, having had a finger in the pie from the beginning, I can
reproduce those maps from memory, if not very accurately, at least,
accurately enough to get the Germans going if that particular
information should be needed by the Allies.

Do you know what I see in this? Why, Turkey will be in this war before
so very long.

I am hungry for news. I feel that I will go mad if I can't get some
information besides what is printed in these boot licking newspapers
of Berlin. They speak of their soldiers as though they were avenging
angels--avenging what? Avenging the insult Belgium offered them for
not lying down and making a road of herself for them to walk over.
Avenging France for not opening wide her gates and getting ready the
Christmas dinner the Kaiser meant to eat in Paris. I'd like to prepare
his Christmas dinner, and surely I would serve a hors-d'oeuvre of
rough-on-rats, an entrée of ptomaines, and finish off with a dessert
of hanging, which would be too sweet for him. Now just suppose this
letter is seized and they see this above remark--what then? I must not
be allowed to write my opinion of their ruler to my own daughter, but
these Prussians who go to United States and get all they can from our
country, feel at perfect liberty to publish newspapers vilifying our
President and to burst into print at any moment about our men who are
high in authority.

Berlin is wild with enthusiasm and joy over her victories. Every Belgian
village that is razed to the ground makes them think it is cause for a
torch-light procession. I can't understand them. They can hardly be the
same kindly folk we have so often stayed among. They are still kind,
kind to each other and kind in a way to us and to all the strangers
within their gates, but how they can rejoice over the reports of their
victories I cannot see.

They one and all believe that they were forced to fight. They say
France was marching to Berlin for the President to eat Christmas dinner
here, and that Belgium had promised they should go straight through her
gates unmolested and did not regard the agreement of neutrality. I say
nonsense to such statements. At least I think nonsense. I really say
very little for one who has so much to say. I am bubbling over to talk
politics with some one. Your poor little mumsy listens to me but she
never jaws back. I want some one to jaw back. I have promised her to
keep off the subject with these Prussians. They are so violent and so
on the lookout for treason. There is one thing I am sure of and that is
that no Frenchman would want to eat Christmas dinner or any other kind
of dinner here if he could eat it in Paris. I am sick of raw goose and
blood pudding and Limburger cheese.

As I write this tirade, I am wondering, my dear daughter, where you are.
Did you go back to America with Kent Brown, who, you wrote me in your
last letter, was sailing in a week, or are you in Paris? I hope not
there! Since I see the transports of joy these law-abiding, home-loving
citizens, women and men, can get in over an account of what seems to me
mere massacre, I tremble to think what the soldiers are capable of in
the lust of bloodshed.

From the last bulletin, the Germans are certainly coming closer and
closer to Paris. I hope they are lying in their report. They are capable
of falsifying anything.

I am trying to get hold of our Ambassador to get me out of this mess,
but he is so busy it is hard to see him. I think he is doing excellent
work and I feel it is best for me to wait and let the Americans who are
in more urgent need get first aid. I have enough money to tide us over
for a few weeks with very careful expenditure. Of course I can get no
more, just like all the rest of, the Americans who are stranded here.

I feel terribly restless for work. I don't know how to loaf, never
did. I'd go to work here at something, but I feel if I did, it would
just mean that these Prussians could then spare one more man for
their butchery, and I will at least not help them that much. Your
mother and I are on the street a great deal. We walk up and down and
go in and out of shops and sit in the parks. I keep moving as much as
possible, not only because I am so restless but because I like to keep
the stupid spy who is set to watch over me as busy as possible. He has
some weird notion that I do not know he is ever near me. I keep up the
farce and I give him many anxious moments. Yesterday I wrote limericks
and nonsense verses on letter paper and made little boats of them and
sent them sailing on the lake in the park. If you could have seen this
man's excitement. He called in an accomplice and they fished out the
boats and carefully concealing them, they got hold of a third spy to
take them to the chief. I wonder what they made of:

    "The Window has Four little Panes:
        But One have I.
      The Window Panes are in its Sash,--
        I wonder why!"

or this:

     "I wish that my Room had a Floor--
      I don't so much care for a Door,
          But this walking around
          Without touching the ground
      Is getting to be quite a bore!"

I only wish I could see the translations of these foolish rhymes that
must have been made before they could decide whether or not I had a bomb
up my sleeve to put the Kaiser out with. Fancy this in German:

     "The poor benighted Hindoo,
      He does the best he kindo;
            He sticks to caste
            From first to last;
      For pants he makes his skindo."

Some of the ships sank and they had to get a boat hook and raise them.
My nonsense seems to have had its effect. I saw in this morning's paper
that some of the foreigners held in Berlin have gone crazy. I believe
they mean me. I must think up some more foolishness. I feel that the
more I occupy this spy who has me in charge, the better it is for the
Allies. I try to be neutral but my stomach is rebelling at German food,
and who can be neutral with a prejudiced stomach?

We are trying to cook in our room. You know what a wonder your little
mumsy is at knocking up an omelette and making coffee and what not, and
we also find it is much more economical to eat there all we can. When we
are there, we are out of sight of the spy, who, of course, can't help
his job, but neither can I help wanting to kick his broad bean. He is
such a block-head. He reminds me of the Mechanician Man, in our comic
papers: "Brains he has nix." He is evidently doing just exactly what he
has been wound up and set to do. I can't quite see why I should be such
an important person that I should need a whole spy to myself. I can't
get out of Berlin unless I fly out and I see no chance of that.

                  *       *       *       *       *

I have had my interview with the Ambassador. He sent for me, and the
wonderful thing was that it was because of the ball you had set rolling
in Paris. When one Ambassador gets in communication with another
Ambassador, even when it is about as unimportant a thing as I am, there
is something doing immediately. You must have made a hit, honey, with
the powers in France, they got busy so fast. It seems that the Imperial
Government is very leary about me. My being an American is the only
thing that keeps me out of prison. They are kind of scared to put me
there, but they won't let me go. I had to wait an hour even after I got
sent for, and I enjoyed it thoroughly because it was raining hard and
blowing like blazes and I knew that my bodyguard was having to take it.
Indeed I could see him all the time across the strasse looking anxiously
at the door where he had seen me disappear. I also had the delight of
reading a two weeks old American newspaper that a very nice young clerk
slipped to me. I suppose the American Legation gets its newspaper, war
or no.

Nothing can be done for me as yet. I have been very imprudent in my
behaviour, reprehensible, in fact. The paper boats were most ill
advised, especially the one that goes: "My Window has Four little
Panes." That is something to do with maps and a signal, it seems. "The
Window Panes are in its Sash," is most suggestive of information. Ah,
well! They can't do more than just keep us here, and if our money gives
out, it will be up to them to feed us. The time may come when I will be
glad to get even blood pudding, but I can't think it.

Your poor little mumsy, in spite of the years she has spent with me
roughing it, still has a dainty appetite, and I believe she would as
soon eat a live rat, as blood pudding or raw goose. She makes out with
eggs and salad and coffee and toast. So far, provisions are plentiful.
It is only our small purse that makes us go easy on everything. But if
the war goes on (which, God willing, it will do, as a short war will
mean the Germans are victorious), I can't see how provisions will remain
plentiful. What is England doing, anyhow? She must be doing something,
but she is doing it very slowly.

Your being in Paris is a source of much uneasiness to us, but I can't
say that I blame you. You are too much like me to want to get out of
excitement. I feel sure you will take care of yourself and now that the
French are waltzing in at such a rate, I have no idea that the Germans
will ever reach Paris. After all, this letter is to be taken by a lady
who is at the American Legation and mailed to Mrs. Edwin Green and
through her sent to you. They could not get it directly to you in
France, but no doubt it will finally reach you through your friend,
Molly. I am trusting her to do it and I know she will do it if any one
can, because she is certainly to be depended on to get her friends out
of trouble. In the meantime, the Ambassador here is to communicate
formally with the Ambassador in Paris, and he is to let you know that
all is well with your innocent if imprudent parents. Of course, your
mother could go home if she would, but you know her well enough to know
she won't. In fact, there is some talk of making her go home, and she
says if they start any such thing she is going to swear she can draw
any map of Turkey that ever was known to man, and can do it with her
eyes shut and her hands tied behind her.

We both of us wish you were safe in Kentucky with your friends. We spend
many nights talking of you and reproaching ourselves that we have left
you so much to yourself. I don't see how we could help it in a way, but
maybe I should have given up engineering and taken up preaching or been
a tailor or something. Then I might have made a settled habitation for
all of us. Your mumsy is writing you a long letter, too, so I must stop.
She is quite disappointed not to use her clever scheme for getting the
letter to you, and rather resents the lady at the Legation.

                                                  Yours,
                                                        BOBBY.



CHAPTER VI.

AT THE TRICOTS'.


It took one month and three days for Judy to get the above letter,
but her mind was set somewhat at rest long before that time by the
Ambassador himself, who had learned through his confrère in Berlin that
Mr. and Mrs. Kean were safe and at large, although not allowed to leave
Berlin.

The daughter was so accustomed to her parents being in dangerous places
that she did not feel so concerned about them as an ordinary girl would
have felt for ordinary parents. Ever since she could remember, they had
been camping in out-of-the-way places and making hair-breadth escapes
from mountain wild cats and native uprisings and what not. She could not
believe the Germans, whom she had always thought of as rather bovine,
could turn into raging lions so completely.

"Bobby will light on his feet!" she kept saying to herself until it
became almost like a prayer. "No one could hurt Mamma. She will be
protected just as children will be!" And then came terrible, exaggerated
accounts of the murder in cold blood of little children, and then the
grim truth of the destruction of Louvain and Rheims, and anything seemed
possible.

"A nation that could glory in the destruction of such beautiful things
as these cathedrals will stop at nothing." But still she kept on saying:
"Bobby will light on his feet! Bobby will light on his feet!" She no
longer trusted the Germans, but she had infinite faith in the sagacity
and cleverness of her father. He always had got himself out of difficult
and tight places and he always would.

In the meantime, money was getting very low. Try as she would to
economize, excitement made her hungry and she must eat and eat three
times a day.

"If I only had Molly Brown's skill and could cook for myself!" she would
groan as she tried to choke down the muddy concoction that she had just
succeeded in brewing and was endeavoring to persuade herself tasted a
little like coffee. She remembered with swimming eyes the beautiful
little repasts they had had in the Bents' studio during that memorable
winter.

"Judy Kean, you big boob! I believe my soul you are going to bawl about
a small matter of food. If the destruction of Louvain did not make you
weep, surely muddy coffee ought not to bring tears to your eyes, unless
maybe they are tears of shame."

The truth of the matter was, Judy was lonesome and idle. She could not
make up her mind to paint. Things were moving too fast and there was too
much reality in the air. Art seemed unreal and unnecessary, somehow.
"Great things will be painted after the war but not now," she would say.
She carried her camera with her wherever she went and snapped up groups
of women and children, soldiers kissing their old fathers, great ladies
stopping to converse with the gamin of the street; anything and
everything went into her camera. She spent more money on films than on
food, in spite of her healthy hunger.

On that morning in September as she cleared away the scraps from her
meager breakfast, her eyes swimming from lonesomeness, appetite
unappeased and a kind of nameless longing, she almost determined to
throw herself on the mercy of the American Legation for funds to return
to New York. The Americans had cleared out of Paris until there were
very few left. Judy would occasionally see the familiar face of some art
student she had known in the class, but those familiar faces grew less
and less frequent.

"There's the Marquise! I can always go to her, but I know she is taken
up with her grief over Philippe's going a soldiering," she thought as
she put her plate and cup back on the shelf where the Bents kept their
assortment of china.

A knock at the door! Who could it be? No mail came to her and no
friends were left to come.

"Mam'selle!" and bowing low before her was the lean old partner of St.
Cloud, Père Tricot. "Mam'selle, my good wife and I, as well as our poor
little daughter-in-law, we all want you to come and make one of our
humble menage."

"Want me!" exclaimed Judy, her eyes shining.

"Yes, Mam'selle," he said simply. "We have talked it over and we think
you are too young to be so much alone and then if--the--the--well, I
have too much respect for Mam'selle to call their name,--if they do get
in Paris, I can protect you with my own women. I am not so old that I
cannot hit many a lick yet--indeed, I would enlist again if they would
have me; but my good wife says they may need me more here in Paris and I
must rest tranquilly here and do the work for France that I can best do.
Will you come, Mam'selle?"

"Come! Oh, Père Tricot, I'll be too glad to come. When?"

"Immediately!"

Judy's valise was soon packed and the studio carefully locked, the key
handed over to the concierge, and she was arm in arm with her old
friend on her way to her new home in the little shop on the Boulevarde
Montparnasse.

Mère Tricot, who looked like a member of the Commune but acted like a
dear, kindly old Granny, took the girl to her bosom.

"What did I tell you? I knew she would come," she cried to her husband,
who had hurried into the shop to wait on a customer. It was a
delicatessen shop and very appetizing did the food look to poor Judy,
who felt as though she had never eaten in her life.

"Tell me!" he exclaimed as he weighed out cooked spinach to a small
child who wanted two sous' worth. "Tell me, indeed! You said Mam'selle
would not walk on the street with an old peasant in a faded blouse if
she would come at all, and I--I said Mam'selle was what the Americans
call a good sport and would walk on the street with an old peasant, if
she liked him, in any kind of clothes he happened to be in, rags even.
Bah! You were wrong and I was right."

The old Tricots were forever wrangling but it was always in a
semi-humorous manner, and their great devotion to each other was always
apparent. Judy found it was better never to take sides with either one
as the moment she did both of them were against her.

How homelike the little apartment was behind the shops! It consisted of
two bed rooms, a living room which opened into the shop and a tiny tiled
kitchen about the size of a kitchen on a dining car--so tiny that it
seemed a miracle that all the food displayed so appetizingly in the
windows and glass cases of the shop should have been prepared there.

"It is so good of you to have me and I want to come more than I can say,
but you must let me board with you. I couldn't stay unless you do."

"That is as you choose, Mam'selle," said the old woman. "We do not want
to make money on you, but you can pay for your keep if you want to."

"All right, Mother, but I must help some, help in the shop or mind the
baby, clean up the apartment, anything! I can't cook a little bit, but I
can do other things."

"No woman can cook," asserted old Tricot. "They lack the touch."

"Ah! Braggart! If I lay thee out with this pastry board, I'll not lack
the touch," laughed the wife. She was making wonderful little tarts with
crimped edges to be filled with assortments of confiture.

"Let me mind the shop, then. I know I can do that."

"Well, that will not be bad," agreed old Tricot. "While Marie (the
daughter-in-law) washes the linen and you make the tarts, Mam'selle can
keep the shop, but no board must she pay. I'll be bound new customers
will flock to us to buy of the pretty face." Judy blushed with pleasure
at the old peasant's compliment.

"And thou, laggard and sloth! What will thou do while the women slave?"

"I--Oh, I will go to the Tabac's to see what news there is, and later
to see if Jean is to the front."

"Well, we cannot hear from Jean to-day and Paris can still stand without
thy political opinion," but she laughed and shoved him from the shop, a
very tender expression on her lined old face.

"These men! They think themselves of much importance," she said as she
resumed her pastry making.

Having tied a great linen apron around Judy's slender waist (much
slenderer in the last month from her economical living), and having
instructed her in the prices of the cooked food displayed in the show
cases, Mère Tricot turned over the shop to her care. The rosy baby was
lying in a wooden cradle in the back of the little shop and the
grandmother was in plain view in the tiny kitchen to be seen beyond the
living room.

"Well, I fancy I am almost domesticated," thought Judy. "What an
interior this would make--baby in foreground and old Mother Tricot on
through with her rolling pin. Light fine! I've a great mind to paint
while I am keeping shop, sketch, anyhow."

She whipped out her sketch book and sketched in her motive with sure and
clever strokes, but art is long and shops must be kept. Customers began
to pile in. The spinach was very popular and Judy became quite an adept
in dishing it out and weighing it. Potato salad was next in demand and
cooked tongue and rosbif disappeared rapidly. Many soldiers lounged in,
eating their sandwiches in the shop. Judy enjoyed her morning greatly
but she could not remember ever in her life having worked harder.

When the tarts were finished and displayed temptingly in the window,
swarms of children arrived. It seemed that Mère Tricot's tarts were
famous in the Quarter. More soldiers came, too. Among them was a face
strangely familiar to the amateur shop girl. Who could it be? It was the
face of a typical Boulevardier: dissipated, ogling eyes; black moustache
and beard waxed until they looked like sharp spikes; a face not homely
but rather handsome, except for its expression of infinite conceit and
impertinence.

"I have never seen him before, I fancy. It is just the type that is
familiar to me," she thought. "_Mais quel type!_"

Judy was looking very pretty, with her cheeks flushed from the
excitement of weighing out spinach and salad, making change where sous
were thought of as though they were gold and following the patois of the
peasants that came to buy and the argot of the gamin. She had donned a
white cap of Marie's which was most becoming. Judy, always ready to act
a part, with an instinctive dramatic spirit had entered into the rôle of
shop keeper with a vim that bade fair to make the Tricots' the most
popular place on Boulevarde Montparnasse. Her French had fortunately
improved greatly since her arrival in Paris more than two years before
and now she flattered herself that one could not tell she was not
Parisienne.

The soldier with the ogling eyes and waxed moustache lingered in the
shop when his companions had made their purchases and departed. He
insisted upon knowing the price of every ware displayed. He asked her to
name the various confitures in the tarts, which she did rather wearily
as his persistence was most annoying. She went through the test,
however, with as good a grace as possible. Shop girls must not be
squeamish, she realized.

One particularly inviting gooseberry tart was left on the tray. Judy had
had her eye on it from the first and trembled every time a purchaser
came for tarts. She meant to ask Mère Tricot for it, if only no one
bought it. And now this particularly objectionable customer with his
rolling black eyes and waxed moustache was asking her what kind it was!
Why did he not buy what he wanted and leave?

"_Eh? Qu'est-ce que c'est?_" he demanded with an amused leer as he
pointed a much manicured forefinger at that particularly desirable tart.

Judy was tired and the French for gooseberry left her as is the way with
an acquired language. Instead of _groseille_ which was the word she
wanted, she blurted out in plain English:

"Gooseberry jam!"

"Ah, I have bean pensè so mooch. You may spick ze Eengleesh with me,
Mees. Gueseberry jaam! Ha, ha! An' now, Mees, there iss wan question I
should lak a demandè of the so beootifool demoiselle: what iss the prize
of wan leetle kees made in a so lufly tart?" He leaned over the counter,
his eyes rolling in a fine frenzy.

Where was Mère Tricot now? What a fine time to brandish her pastry
board! Gone to the innermost recesses of the apartment with the rosy
baby! Suddenly Judy remembered exactly where she had seen that silly
face before.

"At Versailles, the day I got on the wrong train!" flashed through her
mind. She remembered well the hateful creature who had sat on the bench
by her and insulted her with his attentions. She remembered how she had
jumped up from the bench and hurried off, forgetting her package of
gingerbread, bought at St. Cloud, and how the would-be masher had run
after her with it, saying in his insinuating manner: "You have forgot
your _gouter, cherie_. Do you like puddeen very much, my dear?"

It was certainly the same man. His soldier's uniform made him somewhat
less of a dandy than his patent leather boots and lemon coloured gloves
had done on that occasion, but the dude was there in spite of the change
of clothes. On that day at Versailles she had seized the gingerbread and
jammed it in her mouth, thereby disgusting the fastidious Frenchman. She
had often told the story and her amused hearers had always declared that
her presence of mind was much to be commended.

The soldier leaned farther and farther over the counter still demanding:
"A leetle kees made in so lufly a tart."

Ha! An inspiration! Judy grasped the desired gooseberry tart and thrust
the whole thing into her mouth. There was no time to ask the leave of
Mère Tricot.

"_Ah quelle betise!_" exclaimed the dandy, and at the same moment he,
too, remembered the young English demoiselle at Versailles. He
straightened up and into his ogling eyes came a spark of shame. With a
smile that changed his whole countenance he saluted Judy.

"Pardon, Mademoiselle!"

Judy's mouth was too full to attempt French but she managed to say in
her mother tongue:

"Why do you come in a respectable place like this and behave just like
a Prussian?"

"Prussian! Ah, Mademoiselle, excuse, excuse. I--the beauty of the
_boutiquier_ made me forget _la Patrie_. I have been a roué, a fool. I
am henceforth a Frenchman. Mademoiselle iss wan noble ladee. She efen
mar her so great beauty to protec her dignitee. I remember ze _pain
d'epice_ at Versailles and _la grande bouchée_. Mademoiselle has _le bel
esprit_, what you call Mericanhumor. _Au revoir, Mademoiselle_," and
with a very humble bow he departed, without buying anything at all.

The Tricots laughed very heartily when Judy told them her experience.

"I see you can take care of yourself," said Père Tricot with a nod of
approval. "If the Prussians come, they had better look out."

"Do you forgive me for eating the last gooseberry tart?" she asked of
Mère Tricot. "I was very glad of the excuse to get it before some one
bought it from under my very nose."

Mother Tricot not only forgave her but produced another one for her that
she had kept back for the guest she seemed to delight to honour.

"Our _boutiquier_ has sold out the shop," declared the old man. "I shall
have to go to market very early in the morning to get more provisions
cooked."

"Ah, another excuse for absenting thyself!"

"Oh, please, may I go with you?" begged Judy.

"It will mean very early rising, but I shall be so pleased," said the
delighted old man, and his wife smiled approval.

It was arranged that Judy was to sleep on a couch in the living room.
This suited her exactly, as she was able after the family had retired to
rise stealthily and open a window. The French peasant and even the
middle class Parisian is as afraid of air in a bedroom as we would be
of a rattlesnake. They sleep as a rule in hermetically sealed chambers
and there is a superstition even among the enlightened of that city that
night air will give one some peculiar affection of the eyes. How they
keep as healthy as they do is a wonder to those brought up on fresh air.
Judy had feared that her sleeping would have to be done in the great bed
with Marie and the baby and welcomed the proposition of the couch in the
living room with joy. There was a smell of delicatessen wares but it was
not unpleasing to one who had been economizing in food for so many days.

"I'd rather smell spinach than American Beauties," she said to herself,
"and potato salad beats potpourri."

Her couch was clean and the sheets smelled of lavender. Marie, the
little daughter-in-law, had been a _blanchisseuse de fin_ before she
became the bride of Jean Tricot. She still plied her trade on the family
linen and everything she touched was snow white and beautifully ironed.
The clothes were carried by her to the public laundry; there she washed
them and then brought them home to iron.

As Judy lay on the soft, clean couch, sniffing the mingled smells of
shop and kitchen and fresh sheets, she thanked her stars that she was
not alone in the Bents' studio, wondering what she was to do about
breakfast and a little nervous at every sound heard during the night.

Even the bravest feels a little squeamish when absolutely alone through
the long night. Judy was brave, her father's own daughter, but those
nights alone in the studio in Rue Brea had got on her nerves. It was
just so much harder because of the gay, jolly winter spent in the place.

     "I feel like one who treads alone
      Some banquet hall, deserted,"

expressed her sentiments exactly. Once she dreamed that Molly Brown was
standing over her with a cup of hot coffee, which was one of Molly's
ways. She was always spoiling people and often would appear at the
bed side with matutinal coffee. The dream came after a particularly
lonesome evening. She thought that as Molly stood over her, her hand
shook and some of the coffee splashed on her face. She awoke with a
start to find her face wet with hot tears.

Here at the Tricots, life was quite different. Mère and Père Tricot were
playing a happy duet through the night with comfortable snores. Marie
could be heard cooing to her baby as she nursed it and the baby making
inarticulate gurgles of joy at being nourished. The feeling of having
human beings near by was most soothing. Judy did not mind the snores,
but rejoiced in them. Even when the baby cried, as it did once in the
night, she smiled happily.

"I am one of a family!" she exclaimed.



CHAPTER VII.

A MOTHER'S FAITH.


"Edwin, Kent has been gone over two weeks now and not one word from
him," announced Molly when Mr. Bud Woodsmall had come and gone, leaving
no mail of any great importance. "I can see Mother is very uneasy,
although she doesn't say a word."

"What was the name of his steamer?" asked the professor as he opened his
newspaper. "I wouldn't worry. Mail is pretty slow and it would take a
very fast boat to land him at Havre and have a letter back this soon."

Edwin spoke a little absent-mindedly for the Greens were very busy
getting ready for their yearly move to Wellington College and time for
newspaper reading was at a premium.

"But he was to cable."

"Oh! And what was the name of the steamer?"

"_L'Hirondelle de Mer_, swallow of the sea. I fancy it must mean flying
fish. Paul says it is a small merchantman, carrying a few passengers."

"_L'Hirondelle de Mer?_" Edwin's voice sounded so faint that Molly
stopped packing books and looked up, startled.

"What is it?"

"It may be a mistake," he faltered.

Molly jumped up from the box of books and read over her husband's
shoulder the terrible headlines announcing the sinking of the small
merchantman _L'Hirondelle de Mer_ by a German submarine. No warning
was given and it was not known how many of the crew or passengers had
escaped. The news was got from a boat-load of half-drowned seamen picked
up by an English fishing smack. The cargo was composed of pork and beef.

Molly read as long as her filling eyes would permit, and then she sank
on her knees by her husband's chair and gave way to the grief that
overcame her.

"Oh, Molly darling! It may be all right. Kent is not the kind to get
lost if there is any way out of it."

"But he would be saving others and forget himself."

"Yes, but see--or let me see for you--it says no women or children on
board."

"Thank God for that!--And now I must go to Mother."

"Yes, and I will go with you--but we must go with the idea of making
your mother feel it is all right--that Kent is saved."

"Yes--and I truly believe he is! I couldn't have been as happy for the
last few days as I have been if--if--Kent----" She could say no more.

Edwin held her for a moment in his arms and then called to Kizzie to
look after little Mildred, who lay peacefully sleeping in her basket,
blissfully ignorant of the trouble in the atmosphere.

"Look! There's Mother coming through the garden! She knows! I can tell
by the way she holds her head."

"My children! You were coming to me. You know, then?"

"Yes, Mother! But Edwin and I think Kent is too strong and active
to--to----"

"I know he is safe," declared the intrepid mother. "I am as sure of it
as though he were here in the garden of Chatsworth standing by me. One
of my children could not have passed away without my being conscious of
it." She spoke in an even, clear tone and her countenance was as one
inspired.

"Oh, Mother! That is what I felt, too. I could not have been so--so
happy if anything awful had happened to Kent."

Edwin Green was very thankful that the women in his family could take
this view of the matter, but not feeling himself to be gifted with
second sight, he determined to find out for sure as soon as possible
what had become of his favorite brother-in-law. He accordingly
telegraphed a night letter to Jimmy Lufton in New York to get busy as
quickly as possible, sparing no expense, and find out if the Americans
on board the vessel were saved.

No doubt my readers will remember that Jimmy Lufton was the young
newspaper man whom Edwin Green had feared as a rival, and now that he
had won the prize himself, his feeling for that young man was one of
kindliness and pity.

Answer came: a stray sailor had reported that he had seen the submarine
take on board two of the passengers who were battling with the heavy
sea. Whether Kent was one of them, he could not tell.

There were days of anxious waiting. Molly and Edwin went on with the
preparations for their flitting, but could not leave Mrs. Brown until
she had assurance of the safety of her beloved son. That lady continued
in the belief that all was well with him, in spite of no news.

Aunt Clay came over to Chatsworth to remonstrate with her younger sister
over what she called her obstinacy.

"Why should you persist in the assertion that you would know if anything
had happened to your son? We all know that things happen all the time
and persons near to them go on in ignorance of the accidents. For my
part, I think it is indecent for you and your daughters to be flaunting
colours as you are. You should order your mourning and have services for
those lost at sea."

As Mrs. Brown's flaunting of colors consisted of one lavender scarf that
Nance Oldham had knitted for her, this was, to say the least,
unnecessary of Sister Clay.

Molly, who was present when the above unfeeling remarks were made,
trembled with rage and wept with misery; but not so Mrs. Brown.

"I don't agree with you," she said with a calmness that astonished her
daughter.

"Well, if Kent is alive, why does he not communicate with you? He is
certainly careless of you to leave you in ignorance for all of this
time."

Molly noticed with a kind of fierce joy that her mother's head was now
held very high and her sensitive nostrils were a-quiver. "Her nose was
a-wuckin'," as Aunt Mary put it.

"Careless of _me_! Kent! Sister Sarah, you are simply speaking with
neither sense nor feeling. It has been your own fault that you have not
obtained the love and affection of my children and so you wish to
insinuate that they are careless of me. My son will let me know where he
is as soon as he can. I already know he is alive and safe. You ask me
how I know it! I can only say I know it." This was said with so much
fire that Aunt Clay actually seemed to shrink up. She bullied Mrs. Brown
up to a certain point, but when that point reached criticism of one of
her children, woe betide Aunt Clay.

Molly, whose certainty of Kent's being alive was beginning to grow weak
and dim with the weary days, felt new strength from her mother's brave
words. Edwin Green was forced to leave for the opening of Wellington,
but Molly closed the bungalow and brought little Mildred over to
Chatsworth, there to wait with her mother for some definite news.

Old Aunt Mary was a great comfort to them. She shared in their belief
that their dear boy was alive.

"Cose nothin' ain't happened ter that there Kent. Didn't he tell me he
was a goin' ter Parus ter bring home that Judy gal? The Dutch ain't a
goin' ter do nothin' ter a kind faceded pusson like our Kent. As fer
drowndin'! Shoo! I done hear Lewis say that Kent kin outswim de whole er
Jeff'son County. He kin swim to Indiany an' back thout ever touchin'
lan', right over yander by the water wucks whar the riber is mo'n a
mile. An' waves! Why, Lewis say whin the big stern wheelers is a jes'
churnin' up the riber till it looks like the yawnin' er grabes at
Jedgement Day that Kent would jes' laff at them an' plunge right through
jes' lak a feesh. An' I do hear tell that the waters er the mighty deep
is salty an' that makes me know that Kent ain't goin' ter sink. Don't we
tes' the brine fer pickles wif a aig? An' don't the aig float? An' if'n
the mighty deep is called the briny deep don't that mean it kin float a
aig? What kin float a aig kin float a young man what already knows how
ter swim crost an' back on the 'Hier Riber."

Julia Kean's second letter came, also the one from her father in Molly's
care. Molly immediately sent it to the American Club in Paris. Judy's
letter certainly had nothing in it to reassure them as to her safety,
except the meeting with the old man with whom she had danced at St.
Cloud.

"It means that Judy is able to make friends wherever she goes, and as
she says, she can always light on her feet, somehow," sighed Molly. She
did not add what was in her mind: "If she had only come home with Kent!"

"Mother, I must write to Judy now that I have some kind of address. Must
I tell her?"

"Yes, my dear, tell her all we know, but tell her of our conviction that
all is well. I will write to her myself, on second thought."

John and Paul both spent every night at Chatsworth now, although it
meant very early rising for both of them and often a midnight arrival
or departure for Dr. John, whose practice was growing but seemed to
be restricted to persons who persisted in being taken very ill in the
night.

"It is because so many of them are charity patients or semi-charity and
they always want to get all they can," he would declare. "Of course, a
doctor's night rates are higher than day rates, and when they are
getting something for nothing, if they call me up at two a. m. they are
getting more for nothing than they would be if they had their toe aches
in the day time."

Ten days had passed since the half-drowned sailors had been picked up by
the English fishing smack, and still no message from Kent.

Mrs. Brown wrote and dispatched her letter to Judy Kean. It was a hard
letter to write, much harder than it would have been had there been an
engagement between the two. The good lady felt that Judy was almost like
a daughter and still it required something more than existed to address
her as one. She must convey to Judy the news that Kent was shipwrecked,
and still she wanted to put in the girl's heart the faith she had in his
safety.

"Poor Judy! If she is alone in Paris, think what it will mean for this
news to reach her!" Molly agonized to herself. "She may and may not care
for Kent enough to marry him, but she certainly is devoted to him as a
friend. She will feel it just so much more keenly because he was on his
way to her."

Molly could not sleep in her great anxiety, and her faith and the
certainty of Kent's safety left her. "I must keep up for Mildred's
sake," she would cry as she tried to choke down food. Her every endeavor
was to hide this loss of faith from her mother, whose belief in her
son's being alive and well never seemed to falter.

Daily letters from Edwin were Molly's one comfort. He was back in the
grind of lectures at Wellington and was missing sorely his wife and
child.

"Molly darling, you mustn't wait any longer in Kentucky," her mother
said at breakfast one morning. Molly was trying to dispose of a glass of
milk and a soft boiled egg, although her throat seemed to close at the
thought of food.

"But, Mother, I wouldn't leave you for anything in the world," she
declared, making a successful gulp which got rid of the milk, at least.

"Your husband needs you, child, and I know it would be best for you.
There is no use in waiting."

Molly looked up, startled. Had her mother, too, lost heart? Her face had
grown thinner in those days of waiting and her hair was quite grey, in
fact, silvery about the temples; but her eyes still held the light of
faith and high resolve.

"She still has faith! And you, Molly Brown Green! Oh, ye of little
faith! What right have you to be a clog and burden? Take another glass
of milk this minute and keep up your health and your baby's health."
This to herself, and aloud: "Why, Mumsy, I want to stay right here.
Little Mildred is thriving and Edwin is doing very well at Wellington.
Every one is asking him out to dine, now that he is untrammelled with a
wife. He reports a big gain in attendance on last semestre and is as
cheerful as can be. Caroline, please bring me another glass of milk, and
I think I'll get you to soft boil another egg for me!"



CHAPTER VIII.

DES HALLES.


Mère Tricot called Judy just at dawn. The kindly old grenadier stood
over her, and this was no dream--she held a real cup of coffee.

"The good man is ready. I hate to wake you, but if you want to go to
market with him, it is time."

"Oh, yes! It won't take me a minute."

Judy gulped the coffee and dived into her clothes. There seemed to
be no question of baths with the good Tricots, and Judy made a mental
note that she would go every day to the Bents' studio for her cold
plunge. A bathroom is the exception and not the rule in the poorer
class of apartments in Paris. In New York, any apartment worthy of the
name boasts a bathroom, but not so in the French city.

Père Tricot was waiting for her with his little green push cart to
bring home the purchases to be made in market. He was dressed in a
stiff, clean, blue blouse and his kindly, lank old face was freshly
shaven.

"Ah, Mam'selle! So you will go with the old man?"

"Go with you! Of course I will! I love the early morning, and the market
will be beautiful."

The streets were very quiet and misty. Paris never gets up very early,
and as the cold weather comes, she lies abed later and later. The
Gardens of the Luxembourg were showing signs of frost, or was it heavy
dew? The leaves had begun to drop and some of them had turned.

There was a delightful nip in the air and as Judy and the old man
trudged along, the girl felt really happy, happier than she had for many
a day. "It must be having a home that is doing it," she thought. "Maybe
I am a domestic person, after all.

"Père Tricot, don't you love your home?"

"My home! You don't think that that shop in Boulevard Montparnasse is my
home, eh?"

"But where is your home then?"

"Ah, in Normandy, near Roche Craie! That is where I was born and hope to
die. We are saving for our old age now and will go back home some day,
the good wife and I. Jean and Marie can run the shop, that is, if----"

Judy knew he meant if Jean came through the war alive.

"The city is not for me, but it seemed best to bring Jean here when he
was little. There seemed no chance to do more than exist in the country,
and here we have prospered."

"I have visited at Roche Craie. I think it is beautiful country. No
wonder you want to go back. The d'Ochtès were my friends there."

"The Marquis d'Ochtè! Oh, Mam'selle, and to think of your being their
guest and then mine!" Judy could have bitten out her tongue for saying
she had visited those great folk. She could see now that the dear old
man had lost his ease in her presence. "They are the greatest
landowners of the whole department."

"Yes, but they are quite simple and very kind. I got to know them
through some friends of mine who were related to the Marquise. She, you
know, was an American."

"Yes, and a kind, great lady she is. Why, it was only day before
yesterday she was in our shop. She makes a rule to get what she can from
us for her household. She has a chef who can make every known sauce, but
he cannot make a tart like my good wife's. We furnish all the tarts of
the d'Ochtès when they are in Paris. Madame, the Marquise, is also
pleased to say that my _pouree d'epinard_ is smoother and better than
Gaston's, and only yesterday she bought a tray of it for their _déjeuner
a la fourchette_. Her son Philippe is flying. The Marquis, too, is with
his regiment."

"How I wish I could have seen her!"

"Ah, then, Mam'selle would not be ashamed for the Marquise to see her
waiting in the shop of poor Tricot?"

"Ashamed! Why, Père Tricot, what do you take me for? I am only too glad
to help some and to feel that I can do something besides look on," and
Judy, who had been walking on the sidewalk while her companion pushed
his _petite voiture_ along the street, stepped down into the gutter and
with her hand on the shaft went the rest of the way, helping to push the
cart.

As they approached the market, they were joined by more and more
pedestrians, many of them with little carts, similar to Père Tricot's
and many of them with huge baskets. War seemed to be forgotten for the
time being, so bent were all of them on the business of feeding and
being fed.

"One must eat!" declared a pleasant fat woman in a high stiff white cap.
"If Paris is to be entered to-morrow by the Prussians, I say we must be
fed and full. There is no more pleasure in dying for your country empty
than full."

"Listen to the voice of the Halles, Mam'selle. Can't you hear it
roaring? Ah! and there is the bell of St. Eustache."

The peal of bells rose above the hum of the market.

"St. Eustache! Can't we go into the church a little while first?"

And so, hand in hand with the old Normandy peasant, Judy Kean walked
into the great old church, and together they knelt on the flagged floor
and prayed. Judy never did anything by halves, not even praying. When
she prayed, she did it with a fervor and earnestness St. Anthony himself
would have envied. When they rose from their knees, they both looked
happier. Old Tricot had prayed for his boy, so soon to be in the
trenches, and Judy offered an impassioned petition for the safety of her
beloved parents.

When they emerged from the church, the sun was up and the market was
almost like a carnival, except for the fact that the color was subdued
somewhat by the mourning that many of the women wore.

"Already so many in mourning!" thought the girl. "What will it be
later?"

"First the butter and eggs and cheese! This way, Mam'selle!"

They wormed their way between the great yellow wagons unloading huge
crates of eggs and giant cheeses. The smell of butter made Judy think
of Chatsworth and the dairy where she had helped Caroline churn on her
memorable visit to the Browns. Ah me! How glad she would be to see them
again. And Kent! She had not let herself think of Kent lately. He must
be angry with her for not taking his advice and listening to his
entreaties to go back to the United States with him. He had not written
at all and he must have been home several weeks. Maybe the letter had
miscarried, but other letters had come lately; and he might even have
cabled her. He certainly seemed indifferent to her welfare, as now that
the war had broken out, he had not even inquired as to her safety or her
whereabouts; not even let her know whether or not the job in New York
had materialized.

She was awakened from her musings by her old friend, who had completed
his bargaining for cheese, butter and eggs and now was proceeding to
the fish market.

"I must buy much fish. It is Friday, you remember, and since the war
started, religion has become the style again in France, and now fish,
and only fish, must be eaten on Friday. There are those that say that
the war will help the country by making us good again."

And so, in a far corner of the cart, well away from the susceptible
butter and cheese, many fish were piled up, fenced off from the rest of
the produce by a wall of huge black mussels in a tangle of sea weed.

"Well, there are fish enough in this market to regenerate the whole
world, I should think," laughed Judy.

The stalls were laden with them and row after row of scaly monsters hung
from huge hooks in the walls. Men, women and boys were scaling and
cleaning fish all along the curbings.

"Soon there will be only women and boys for the work," thought Judy
sadly, "and maybe it will not be so very long before there will be only
women."

Cabbages and cauliflowers were bought next (cauliflowers that Puddenhead
Wilson says are only cabbages been to college); Brussels sprouts, too;
and spinach enough to furnish red blood for the whole army, Judy
thought; then chickens, turkeys and grouse; a great smoked beef tongue,
and a hog head for souse. The little green wagon was running over now
and its rather rickety wheels creaked complainingly.

Old Tricot and Judy started homeward at as rapid a rate as the load
would allow. Judy insisted upon helping push, and indeed her services
were quite necessary over the rough cobbles. When they reached the
smooth asphalt, she told Père Tricot she would leave him for a moment
and stop at the American Club in the hope of letters awaiting there for
her.

How sweet and fresh she looked as she waved her hand at the old man! Her
cheeks were rosy, her eyes shining, and her expression so naïve and
happy that she looked like a little child.

"Ah, gentile, gentile!" he murmured. His old heart had gone out to this
brave, charming American girl. "And to think of her being friends with
Madame the Marquise!" he thought. "That will be a nut for the good wife
and Marie to crack."

He pushed his cart slowly along the asphalt, rather missing the sturdy
strength that Judy had put into the work. Then he sat on a bench to rest
awhile, one of those nice benches that Paris dots her thoroughfares with
and one misses so on coming back to United States.

Paris was well awake now and bustling. The streets were full of
soldiers. Old women with their carts laden with chrysanthemums were
trudging along to take their stands at the corners. The air was filled
with the pungent odors of their wares. Old Tricot stretched himself:

"I must be moving! There is much food to be cooked to-day. It is time my
Mam'selle was coming along. Ah, there she is!" He recognized the jaunty
blue serge jacket and pretty little velour sport hat that Judy always
knew at which angle to place on her fluffy brown hair. "But how slowly
she is walking! And where are her roses? Her head is bent down like some
poor French woman who has bad news from the trenches."



CHAPTER IX.

THE AMERICAN MAIL.


Judy had, clasped in her arms, a package of mail, unopened except for
the letter on top, which was the one that poor, brave Mrs. Brown had
written her. She had kept throughout the letter the same gallant spirit
of belief in her son's safety, but Judy could not take that view.

"Gone! Gone! and all because of poor miserable, no-account me!" her
heart cried out in its anguish, but she shed no tear and made no sound.
Her face, glowing with health and spirits only a few minutes ago, was
now as pale as a ghost and her eyes had lost their sparkle.

Père Tricot hastened towards her as she came slowly down the street.

"My dear little girl, what is it?"

"He is drowned and all for me--just my stubbornness!"

"Who? Your father?"

"No!"

"Your brother, then?"

"I have no brother."

"Ah, then, your sweetheart? Your fiancé?"

"I--I--sometime he might--that is, we were not fiancéd, not exactly."

The old man drew her down on the bench beside him:

"Now tell me all about it, _ma pauvre petite_."

And Judy told him of her friends in Kentucky. Of Molly Brown and her
brother Kent; of her own stubbornness in not leaving France when the war
broke out; and then she translated Mrs. Brown's letter for him.

"Ah, but the good lady does not think he is drowned!"

"Yes, but she is so wonderful, so brave."

"Well, are you not wonderful and brave, too? You must go on with your
courage. If a mother can write as she has done and have faith in _le bon
Dieu_, then you must try, too--that will make you worthy of such a
_belle mère_. Does she not say that two passengers were seen to be
saved by the enemy?"

"Oh, Père Tricot, you are good, good! I will try--if Kent's own mother
can be so brave, why surely I must be calm, too, I, who am nothing to
him."

"Nothing? Ah, my dear Mam'selle, one who is nothing does not have young
men take trips across the ocean for her. But look at the spinach wilting
in the sun! We must hasten to get the cooking done."

Poor Judy! All zest had gone out of the morning for her. She put her
package of mail in the cart, not at all caring if it got at the fishy
end, and wearily began to push. Père Tricot, well knowing that work was
a panacea for sorrow, let her take her share of the burden, and together
the old peasant in his stiff blue blouse and the sad young American girl
trundled the provisions down the boulevard.

"You have more letters, my daughter?"

"Yes, I have not read them yet. I was afraid of more bad news."

"Perhaps there is something from the mother and father."

"No, the big one is from Molly and the others are just from various
friends."

When they reached the shop, of course Mère Tricot started in with her
usual badinage directed against her life partner, but he soon tipped her
a wink to give her to understand that Judy was in distress, and the kind
old grenadier ceased her vituperation and went quietly to work washing
spinach and making ready the fowls for the spit.

Judy took her letters to a green bench in the diminutive court behind
the apartment which passed for garden, with its one oleander tree and
pots of geraniums. Her heart seemed to be up in her throat; at least,
there was a strange pulsation there that must be heart. So this was
sorrow! Strange to have lived as long as she had and never to have known
what sorrow was before! The nearest she had ever come to sorrow was
telling her mother and father good-by when they started on some perilous
trip--but they had always come back, and she was used to parting with
them.

But Kent--maybe he would never come back! It was all very well for Mrs.
Brown to refuse to believe in his being gone forever, but why should he
be the one to be saved, after all? No doubt the passengers who were lost
had mothers and--and what? Sweethearts--there she would say it! She was
his sweetheart even though they were not really engaged. She knew it now
for a certainty. Kent did not have to tell her what he felt for her, and
now that it was too late, she knew what she felt for him. She knew now
why she had been so lonesome. It was not merely the fact that war was
going on and her friends were out of Paris--it was that she was longing
for Kent. She understood now why she felt so homeless just at this time.
She was no more homeless than she had always been, but now she wanted a
home and she wanted it to be Kent's home, too. Fool! fool that she had
been! Why hadn't she gone home like all the sensible Americans when war
was declared? The Browns would never forgive her and she would never
forgive herself. She read again Mrs. Brown's letter. How good she was to
have been willing to have Kent turn right around and go back to Paris
for that worthless Julia Kean. And now he was gone, and it was all her
fault! Ah, me! Well, life must be lived, if all the color had gone out
of it.

She wearily opened the letter addressed in Molly's handwriting. It was
from her father, and in it another from her mother, forwarded by Molly.
At last she had heard from them. They, too, hoped she had gone back to
America. Had taken for granted she had, since they had sent the letters
to Molly. She read them over and over. The love they had for her was to
be seen in every word. Never again would she part from them. How she
longed for them! They would understand about Kent, even though she was
not engaged to him. And now she knew what Bobby would advise her to do
were he there in Paris: "Work! Work until you drop from it, but work!"

Already the great range, that stretched the entire length of the tiny
tiled kitchen, was filled with copper vessels, and appetizing odors were
permeating the living room and the little shop beyond.

"Let me help," said Judy bravely. "Must I mind the shop or do you need
me here? I can't cook, but I can wash spinach and peel potatoes."

"Marie can look after the shop this morning, my dear child, so you go
rest yourself," said the good wife.

"I don't want to rest! I want to work!"

"Let her work, Mother! Let her work! It is best so," and Judy's old
partner got the blue bowl, sacred to mayonnaise, and Judy sat on the
bench in the court and stirred and stirred as she dropped the oil into
the beaten egg. Her arm ached as the great smooth yellow mass grew
thicker and thicker, but the more her arm ached, the less her heart
ached. When the bowl was quite full, she started in on a great basket
of potatoes that must be peeled, some for Saratoga chips and some for
potato salad. Onions must be peeled, too, and then the spinach cleaned
and chopped in a colander until it was a purée.

The Tricots worked with a precision and ease that delighted Judy. She
never tired of watching the grenadier turn out the wonderful little
tarts. On that morning a double quantity was to be made as Marie was to
carry a basket of them to "the regiment"; that, of course, meant Jean
Tricot's regiment. They had not yet been ordered to the front, but were
ready to go at any moment.

The old woman put batch after batch in the great oven. They came out all
done to a turn and all exactly alike, as though made by machinery. Then
they were put in the show cases in the shop; and more were rolled out,
filled and baked.

"Sometime may I try to do some?"

The old woman smiled indulgently at Judy's pale face.

"You may try right now."

Judy made a rather deformed batch but Mère Tricot declared the children
would not know the difference, and they could be sold to them. "The
soldats must have the prettiest and another time you can make them well
enough for them."

So far, Judy had not shed a tear. Her eyes felt dry and feverish and her
heart was still beating in her throat in some mysterious way. Suddenly
without a bit of warning the tears came. Splash! Splash! they dropped
right on the tarts.

"Never mind the tarts!" exclaimed the kindly grenadier. "Those must go
to Jean's regiment. They will understand."

"I could not help it," sobbed poor Judy. "I was thinking how proud Kent
would be of me when he knew I could make tarts and wondering how many
he could eat, when all of a sudden it came to me that he never would
know--and--and--Oh, Mother Tricot!" and she buried her face on the bosom
of the good old woman, who patted her with one hand and held her close
while she adroitly whisked a pan of tarts from the oven with the other.

"Tarts must not burn, no matter if hearts are broken!"



CHAPTER X.

THE ZEPPELIN RAID.


Judy's cry did her good, although it left her in such a swollen state
she was not fit to keep shop, which was what she had planned to do for
the afternoon.

"I think I'll go round to the studio in Rue Brea for a little while. I
want to get some things."

What she really wanted was to get a bath and to be alone for a few
hours. Her kind hosts thought it would be wise to let her do whatever
she wanted, so they gave her God-speed but begged her not to be out
late.

Judy now longed for solitude with the same eagerness she had before
longed for companionship. She knew it would be unwise for her to give
up to this desire to any extent and determined to get back to her kind
friends before dark, but be alone she must for a while. She got the key
from the concierge and entered the studio. All was as she had left it.
Windows and doors opened wide soon dispelled the close odor. A cold bath
in the very attractive white porcelain tub, the pride of the Bents, made
poor Judy feel better in spite of herself.

"I don't want to feel better. I've been brave and noble all morning and
now I want to be weak and miserable. I don't care whether school keeps
or not. I am a poor, forlorn, broken-hearted girl, without any friends
in all the world except some Normandy peasants. The Browns will all hate
me, and my mother and father I may never see again. Oh, Kent! Kent! Why
didn't you just pick me up and make me go with you? If you had been
very, very firm, I'd have gone."

Judy remembered with a grim smile how in old days at college she had
longed to wear mourning and how absurd she had made herself by dyeing
her hair and draping herself in black. "I'm going into mourning now. It
is about all I can do for Kent. It won't cost much and somehow I'd feel
better." Judy, ever visualizing, pictured herself in black with organdy
collar and cuffs and a mournful, patient look. "I'll just go on selling
tarts. It will help the Tricots and give me my board." She counted out
her money, dwindled somewhat, but now that she was working she felt she
might indulge her grief to the extent of a black waist and some white
collars and cuffs. "I've got a black skirt and I'll get my blue suit
dyed to-morrow. I'll line my black sport hat with white crêpe. That will
make it do." In pity for herself, she wept again.

She slipped out of the studio and made her few purchases at a little
shop around the corner. Madame, the proprietaire, was all sympathy. She
had laid in an especial stock of cheap mourning, she told Judy, as there
was much demand for it now.

It took nimble fingers to turn the jaunty sport hat into a sad little
mourning bonnet, but Judy was ever clever at hat making, and when
she finished just before the sun set, she viewed her handiwork with
pardonable pride. She slipped into her cheap black silk waist and pinned
on the collar and cuffs. The hat was very becoming, so much so that
Judy had another burst of tears.

"I can't bear for it to be becoming. I want to look as ugly and forlorn
as possible."

She determined to leave her serge suit in the studio and come on the
following day to take it to a dye shop. As she was to do this, she
decided not to leave the key with the concierge but take it with her.

Her kind friends looked sadly at the mourning. They realized when they
saw it that Judy had given up all hope of her friend.

"Ah, the pity of it! The pity of it!" exclaimed the old grenadier.

Marie, whose apple-like countenance was not very expressive of anything
but health, looked as sympathetic as the shape of her face would allow.
Round rosy cheeks, round black eyes, and a round red mouth are not easy
to mold into tragic lines, but Judy knew that Marie was feeling deeply
for her. She was thinking of her Jean and the possibility of turning her
bridal finery into mourning. There was so much mourning now and
according to the _Temps_, the war was hardly begun.

"I'll have my serge suit dyed to-morrow," Judy confided to her.

"Ah, no! Do not have it dyed! Mère Tricot and I can do it here and do it
beautifully. The butcher's wife over the way is dyeing to-morrow and she
will give us some of her mixture. It is her little brother who fell only
yesterday."

That night there was great excitement in the Montparnasse quarter. A
fleet of air ships circled over the city, dropping bombs as they flew.
The explosions were terrific. The people cowered in their homes at first
and then came rushing out on the streets as the noise subsided.

Père Tricot came back with the news that no great harm had been done,
but it was his opinion that the Prussians had been after the Luxembourg.

"They know full well that our art treasures are much to us, and they
would take great pleasure in destroying them. The beasts!"

"Where did the bombs strike?" asked Judy from her couch in the living
room. She had wept until her pillow had to be turned over and then had
at last sunk into a sleep of exhaustion only to be awakened by the
ear-splitting explosions.

"I don't know exactly, but it was somewhere over towards the Gardens of
the Luxembourg. I thank the good God you were here with us, my child."



CHAPTER XI.

"L'HIRONDELLE DE MER."


Kent Brown, when he reached New York on his return trip to Paris in
quest of the rather wilful, very irritating, and wholly fascinating
Judy, got his money changed into gold, which he placed in a belt worn
under his shirt.

"There is no telling what may happen," he said to the young Kentuckian,
Jim Castleman, with whom he had struck up an acquaintance on the train.
"Gold won't melt in the water if we do get torpedoed, and if I have it
next me, whoever wants it will have to do some tearing off of clothes to
get it. And what will I be doing while they are tearing off my clothes?"

"Good idea! I reckon I'll do the same--not that I have enough to weigh
myself down with." Castleman was on his way to France to fight.

"I don't give a hang whether I fight with the English, French, Serbs
or Russians, just so I get in a few licks on the Prussians." He was a
strapping youth of six feet three with no more idea of what he was going
up against than a baby. War was to him a huge football game and he
simply meant to get into the game.

The _Hirondelle_ was a slow boat but sailing immediately, so Kent and
his new friend determined to take it, since its destination, Havre,
suited them.

"I like the name, too," declared Kent, who shared with his mother and
Molly a certain poetic sentiment in spite of his disclaimer of any such
foolishness.

There were very few passengers, the boat being a merchantman. Kent and
Jim were thrown more and more together and soon were as confidential as
two school girls. Kent had been rather noncommittal in his replies at
first to Jim's questions as to what his business was in the war zone at
such a time if it were not fighting. As their friendship grew and
deepened, as a friendship can on shipboard in an astonishingly short
time, Kent was glad enough to talk about Judy and his mission in Paris.

"She sounds like a corker! When is it to be?"

"I don't know that it is to be, at all," blushed Kent. "You see, we are
not what you might call engaged."

"Your fault or hers?"

"Why, we have just drifted along. Somehow I didn't like to tie her down
until I could make good--and she--well, I believe she felt the same way;
but of course I can't say. She knows perfectly well that I have never
looked at another girl since I saw her at Wellington when she and my
sister graduated there. She has--well,--browsed a little, but I don't
think she ever meant anything by it. We get along like a house
afire,--like the same things,--think the same way,--we have never talked
out yet."

"Well, if you'll excuse me, I think you were an ass not to settle the
matter long before this."

"Do you think so? Do you think it would have been fair? Why, man, I owed
some money to my mother for my education in Paris and did not even have
a job in sight!"

"Pshaw! What difference does that make? Don't you reckon girls have as
much spunk about such things as men have? If I ever see the girl I want
bad enough to go all the way to Paris to get her, I'll tell her so and
have an answer if I haven't a coat to my back."

"Perhaps you are right. I just didn't want to be selfish."

"Selfish! Why, they like us selfish."

Kent laughed at the wisdom of the young Hercules. No doubt they (whoever
"they" might be) did like Castleman selfish or any other way. He looked
like a young god as he sprawled on deck, his great muscular white arm
thrown over his head to keep the warm rays of the sun out of his eyes.
His features were large and well cut, his hair yellow and curly in spite
of the vigorous efforts he made to brush it straight. His eyes were blue
and childlike with long dark lashes, the kind of eyes girls always
resent having been portioned out to men. There was no great mentality
expressed in his countenance but absolute honesty and good nature. One
felt he was to be trusted.

"Doesn't it seem strange to be loafing around here on this deck with no
thought of war and of the turmoil we shall soon be in?" said Jim one
evening at sunset when they were nearing their port. "We have only a
day, or two days at most, before we will be in Paris, and still it is so
quiet and peaceful out here that I can hardly believe there is any other
life."

"Me, too! I feel as though I had been born and bred on this boat. All
the other things that have happened to me are like a dream and this life
here on the good old _Hirondelle de Mer_ is the only real thing. I
wonder if all the passengers feel this way."

There were no women on board but the other passengers were Frenchmen,
mostly waiters from New York, going home to fight for _la France_. The
cargo was pork and beef, destined to feed the army of France.

"What's that thing sticking up in the water out yonder?" exclaimed
Kent. "It looks like the top of a mast just disappearing."

"A wreck, I reckon!" exclaimed Jim.

Kent smiled at his countryman's "reckon." Having been away from the
South for many months, it sounded sweet to his ears. The "guess" of the
Northerner and "fancy" of the Englishman did not mean the same to him.

The lookout saw the mast-like object at the same time they noted it, and
suddenly there was a hurrying and scurrying over the whole ship.

"Look, it's sunk entirely out of sight! Jim Castleman, that's a German
submarine!"

The shock that followed only a moment afterwards was indescribable. It
threw both of the Kentuckians down. They had hastened to the side of the
vessel, the better to view the strange "thing sticking up out of the
water."

The boats were lowered very rapidly and filled by the crazed passengers
and crew. The poor waiters had not expected to serve their country by
drowning like rats. As for the crew,--they were noncombatants and
not employed to serve any country in any way. They were of various
nationality, many of them being Portuguese with a sprinkling of
Scandinavians.

"Here's a life preserver, Brown! Better put it on. This ain't the Ohio."

"Good! I'll take my chances in the water any day rather than in one of
those boats. Can you swim?"

"Sure! I can do three miles without knowing it. And you?"

"Hump! Brought up within a mile of the Ohio River and been going over to
Indiana and back without landing ever since I was in pants."

"Well, let's dive now and get clear of the sinking boat. If anything
happens to me and you get clear, you write my sister in Lexington--she's
all I have left."

"All right, Jim! Let's shake. If I give out and you get through, please
go get Judy and take her back to my mother."

"That's a go! But see here, there is nothing going to happen to us if
endurance will count for anything. Have you got on your money belt?"

"Yes; and you?" said Kent, feeling for the gold he carried around his
waist.

"I'm all ready then."

The boats, loaded to their guards, were putting off. Our young men felt
it was much safer to trust to themselves than to the crazy manning of
the already overloaded boats. They were singularly calm in their
preparations as they strapped on the life preservers.

"Jim, throw away the papers you have, recommending you to that French
general. We may get picked up by the submarine, and as plain,
pleasure-seeking Americans we have a much better chance of being treated
properly than if one of us was going to join the Allies." Kent had
inherited from his mother the faculty of keeping his head in time of
peril.

"Good eye, old man! They are in my grip and can just stay there. I
reckon I'm a--a--book agent. That won't compromise me any."

"All right, stick to it! And here goes! We must stay together."

The Kentuckians dived as well as the bulky life preservers would permit
and then they swam quietly along side by side. The ship was rapidly
settling. The last boat was off, so full that every little wave splashed
over its panic-stricken passengers.



CHAPTER XII.

TUTNO.


The sea was comparatively calm and quite warm. If it had been anything
but a shipwreck, our young men would have enjoyed the experience. They
congratulated themselves that they had trusted to their own endurance
and the life preservers rather than to the crazy boats when they saw one
of the overloaded vessels come within an ace of turning turtle.

The submarine was now on top of the water and was slowly steaming
towards the scene of disaster. The boats made for the opposite direction
as fast as the oarsmen could pull. They had not realized that all the
submarine wanted was to destroy the pork and beef cargo. The hungrier
the French army got the sooner they would be conquered by the Germans.

"Well, my friend the book agent, what do you think about swimming in
the direction of the enemy? Remember we are Americans, just plain
Americans with no desire to do anything in the way of swatting
Prussians.--Neutral noncombatants!" said Kent, swimming easily, the
life preserver lifting him so far out of the water that he declared he
felt like a bell buoy.

"Yes, I'll remember! My line is family albums and de luxe copies of
Ruskin. I hope those poor devils in the boats will make land or get
picked up or something."

"Me, too! If the sea only stays so smooth they can make a port in less
than a day, if they don't come a cropper. We are almost in the English
Channel, I should say, due south of the Scilly Islands."

"Well, I feel as though I belonged on them--here we are shipwrecked and
floating around like a beach party, conversing as quietly as though it
were the most ordinary occurrence to book agents and damsel seekers!"

"There is no use in getting in a stew. I have a feeling that the Germans
are going to pick us up. They are heading this way and I don't reckon
they will let us sink before their eyes. If they don't pick us up, we
are good for many hours of this play. I feel as fresh as a daisy."

"Same here!"

"Thank God, there weren't any women and children on board!" said Kent
fervently.

"Yes, I was feeling that all the time. I'd hate to think of their being
in those crazy boats."

The German boat was quite close to them now. The deck was filled with
men, all of them evidently in great good humour with themselves and Fate
because of the terrible havoc they had played with the poor _Hirondelle
de Mer_, who was now at her last gasp, the waves washing over her upper
decks.

"_Wei gehts?_" shouted Jim, raising himself up far in the water and
wigwagging violently at the death dealing vessel.

It was only a short time before the efficient crew had Kent and Jim on
board, in dry clothes and before an officer. The fact that they were
Americans was beyond dispute, but their business on the other side was
evidently taken with a grain of salt by the very keen looking, alert
young man who questioned them in excellent English.

Jim was quite glib with his book agent tale. He got off a line of talk
about the albums that almost convulsed Kent.

"Why were you going to Paris to sell such things? Would a country at war
be a good field for such an industry?"

"But the country will not be at war long. We expect the Germans to have
conquered in a short time, and then they will want many albums for the
snapshots they have taken during the campaign. I have been sent as an
especial favor by my company, who wish to honor me. I hate to think of
all my beautiful books being sunk in the _Hirondelle_." Jim looked so
sad and depressed that the young officer offered him a mug of beer and
urged him to try the Bologna sausage that was among the viands waiting
for them.

Kent's reason for going to Paris was received with open doubt. It was
very amusing in a way that they should be completely taken in by Jim's
ingenuous tale of albums while Kent, telling the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth, should be doubted.

"Going to Paris to bring home a young lady? Is she your sister?"

"No, she is a friend of my sister," answered Kent, feeling very much as
though he were saying a lesson.

"Do you know Paris?"

"Yes, I studied architecture at the Beaux Arts last winter."

"Ah, then your sympathies are with France!"

"I am an American and my nation is remaining neutral on the war."

"Yes, your nation but not the individuals! What were your intentions
after finding the young lady?"

"To take her back to United States as fast as we could go."

"Well, well! I am afraid the young lady will have to content herself in
Paris for some weeks yet, as we are bound for other ports now. Make
yourselves at home," and with a salute the officer left them to the
welcome meal which had immediately been furnished them after their
ducking.

If the Kentuckians had had nothing to do but enjoy life on that
submarine, no doubt they could have done it. They were treated most
courteously by officers and men. The food was plentiful and wholesome,
the life was interesting and conversation with the sailors most
instructive, but Jim was eager to strike that blow against Prussia and
it was extremely irksome to him to have to keep up the farce of being a
book agent. Kent was more and more uneasy about Judy, realizing, from
the sample of Germans he now came in contact with, that ruthlessness was
the keynote of their character. They were fighting to win, and win they
would or die in the attempt; by fair means or foul, they meant to
conquer the whole world who did not side with them.

"Gee, if I don't believe they can do it," sighed Jim, as he and his
friend were having one of their rare tete-a-tetes. "They have such
belief in their powers."

"Yes, they seem much more stable, somehow, than the French. Did you ever
imagine anything like the clockwork precision with which this monster is
run?"

"When do you reckon we will get off of her? We have been on a week now
and I see no signs of landing us. I am always asking that human question
mark, Captain von Husser, what he is going to do with us, and he just
smiles until his moustache ends stick into his eyes, and looks wise. I
feel like Hansel and Gretel and think maybe they are fattening us to eat
later on. I am getting terribly flabby and fat," and Jim felt his
muscles and patted his stomach with disapproval.

"I'd certainly like to know where we are. You notice they never tell us
a thing, and since we are allowed only in the cabin and on a certain
part of the deck, we never have a chance at the chart. I wish they would
let us bunk alone and not have that fat head in with us. This is the
first time they have let us talk together since we got hauled in, and I
bet some one is to blame for this."

Kent had hardly spoken before a flushed lieutenant came hurriedly up and
with ill-concealed perturbation entered into conversation with them.

"Gee whiz!" thought Kent. "I wish Jim Castleman and I knew some kind of
a language that these butchers did not know. But the trouble is they are
so terribly well educated they know all we know and three times as much
besides." Suddenly there flashed into his mind a childish habit the
Browns used to have of speaking in a gibberish called Tutno. "I wonder
if Jim knows it! I've a great mind to try him." Putting his hand on his
friend's arm, he said quite solemnly: "Jug i mum, sank a nun tut, yack o
u, tut a lul kuk, Tutno."

"Sus u rur e!" exclaimed Jim, delightedly.

The lieutenant looked quite startled, wigwagged to a brother officer who
was passing and spoke hurriedly to him in German. As German was worse
than Greek to Kent and Jim (they had studied some Greek at school but
knew no German) they did not know for sure what they were saying, but
from the evident excitement of the two officers they gathered they had
quite upset the calculations of their under-sea hosts.

"Gug o tot, 'e mum, gug o i nun gug, sus o mum e!" exclaimed Kent with
such a mischievous twinkle in his eye that the two officers bristled
their moustaches in a fury of curiosity.

"Yack o u, bub e tut!" was Jim's cryptic rejoinder.

For the benefit of my readers who have never whiled away the golden
hours of childhood with Tutno or who have perchance forgotten it, I
reckon (being a Southerner myself, I shall say reckon) I had better
explain the intricacies of the language. Tutno is a language which is
spoken by spelling and every letter sounds like a word. The vowels
remain the same as in English but the consonants are formed by adding u
and then the same consonant again. For instance: M is mum; N is nun; T
is tut; R is rur. There are a few exceptions which vary in different
localities making the language slightly different in the states. In
Kentucky, C is sank; Y is yack; J is jug. Now when Jim exclaimed: "Yack
o u bub e tut!" he conveyed the simple remark: "You bet!" to Kent's
knowing ears.

Kent had opened the conversation by the brilliant remark: "Jim, can you
speak Tutno?" and Jim had answered: "Sure!" Then Kent had come back
with: "Got 'em going some!"

The Kentuckians were in great distress when they realized that no doubt
the sinking of the _Hirondelle de Mer_ had been reported in the United
States and that their families must be in a state of doubt as to their
whereabouts. They had requested the Captain to let them send a message
if possible, and he had told them with great frankness that in war time
the women must expect to be uncertain. Two more ships had been sunk
since they had been taken on board, but they were kept in ignorance
as to what ships they were or what had been the fate of the crew or
passengers. They knew that some men had been added to the number of
prisoners on board, but as they were kept in a compartment to
themselves, they never saw them.

Between operations, when the submarine came up on top of the water
and all on board swarmed on deck to smoke and enjoy the fresh air and
sunshine, Kent and Jim were politely conducted down into the cabin after
they were deemed to have had enough, and then the other prisoners,
whoever they were, were evidently given an airing.

After our young men started their Tutno game they were never left alone
one minute. Such a powwowing as went on after it was reported was never
beheld. It was evidently considered of grave international importance.
Once they found their keeper taking furtive notes. Evidently they hoped
to gain something by finding out what the Americans were saying.

The plentiful food that had at first been served to them was growing
more meagre and less choice. There was nothing but a small portion of
black bread with very bad butter and a cup of coffee for breakfast; a
stew of a nondescript canned meat and more black bread for dinner, and
for supper nothing but black bread with a smearing of marmalade.

Jim's superfluous flesh began to go and Kent got as lean as a grey
hound.

"Pup rur o vuv i sus i o nun sus, lul o wuv, I rur e sack kuk o nun!"
said Jim, tightening his belt.

It had been more than two weeks since the sinking of the _Hirondelle_
and the young men were growing very weary of the life. Their misery was
increasing because of the uncertainty they knew their families must be
in. No respite was in sight. They could tell by the balmy air when they
were allowed on deck that they were further south than they had been
when they were struck, but where, they had not the slightest idea.

"The water looks as it does around Burmuda, but surely we are not over
there," said Kent in Tutno.

"The Lord knows where we are!" answered Jim in the same language.

"I wish the brutes would let us telegraph our folks, somehow. They could
do it if they chose. They can do anything, these Prussians." When Kent
said Prussians in Tutno: "Pup rur u sus sus i nun sus," the young
officer whose turn it was to guard them whipped out his note book and
examined it closely.

"Sus often repeated!" he muttered.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE "SIGNY."


"The orders of the Commander are for the Americans to disembark!"

A lieutenant clicked his heels in front of our friends and saluted.

"Bub u lul lul yack!" shouted Jim. "Where? When?"

"Immediately!"

The submarine was on the surface of the water, but Jim and Kent had been
ushered below, evidently to give their mysterious fellow prisoners a
turn at the deck. They were never allowed to see them, and to this day
are absolutely ignorant as to who they were or how many or of what
nationality.

It turned out that a Swedish vessel, the _Signy_, had been sighted
thirteen miles off the Spanish port of Camariñas. She was signaled and
ordered to take aboard the Kentuckians and land them. Explicit commands
were given the captain of the _Signy_ that she was to land the young men
immediately.

Kent and Jim were too glad to get off the submarine to care where they
were being landed. They only hoped it was not in South America.

"Gug o o dud bub yack!" shouted Jim to the grinning crew of the German
vessel.

The young lieutenant of the inquisitive mind made another note in his
little book as the life boat from the Swedish ship bore the young men
away.

They were very cordially received on board the _Signy_ but not allowed
to stay a moment longer than was necessary. The ship steamed to within a
few miles of the Spanish port, all the time being followed up by the
submarine, then the boats were lowered again and Kent and Jim rowed to
shore. They were given a good meal in the interim, however, one that
they were most pleased to get, too, as black bread and canned stew had
begun to pall on these favored sons of Kentucky.

"Where in the thunder is Camariñas?" queried Kent. "I know it is Spain,
but is it north, south, east or west?"

"Well, I reckon it isn't east and that's about all I know."

It proved to be in the northwest corner and after some mix-ups, a person
was found who could speak English. The American Consul was tracked,
cablegrams were sent to Kentucky apprising their families of their
safety, and at last our friends were on the train en route for Paris.

It was a long and circuitous journey, over and under and around
mountains. They would have enjoyed it at any other time, but Kent was
too uneasy about Judy to enjoy anything, and Jim was too eager to get in
line to swat the Prussians, as he expressed it, to be interested in
Spanish scenery. They traveled third class as they had no intention of
drawing too recklessly on their hoarded gold.

After many hours of travel by day and night, they finally arrived in
Paris. It was eleven at night and our young men were weary, indeed. The
hard benches of the third class coaches had made their impression and
they longed for sheets and made-up beds.

"A shave! A shave! My kingdom for a shave!" exclaimed Kent, as they
stretched their stiffened limbs after tumbling out of the coach in the
Gare de Sud.

"Don't forget I am a stranger in a strange land, so put me wise," begged
Jim.

"I know a terribly cheap little hotel on Montparnasse and Raspail where
we can put up, without even the comforts of a bum home, but we can make
out there and it is cheap. The _Haute Loire_ is its high sounding name,
but it is not high, I can tell you."

"Well, let's do it. I hope there is some kind of a bath there."

"I trust so, but if there isn't, we can go to a public bath."

The Kentuckians were a very much dishevelled pair. They had purchased
the necessary toilet articles at Camariñas, but sleeping for nights in
suits in which they had already had quite a lengthy swim did not improve
their appearance. The submariners had pressed their clothes after their
ducking, but Jim's trousers had shrunk lengthways until he said he felt
like Buster Brown, and Kent's had dried up the other way, so that in
walking two splits had arrived across his knees.

"We look like tramps, but the _Haute Loire_ is used to our type. I don't
believe we could get into a good hotel."

"Are you going to look up your girl--excuse me, I mean Miss Kean, before
you replenish your wardrobe?"

"Why, yes, I must not wait a minute. I would like to do it to-night."

"To-night! Man, you are crazy! Get that alfalfa off your face first. One
night can't get her into much trouble."

"Perhaps you are right. I am worn out, too, and a night's rest and a
shave will do wonders for both of us."

Paris looked very changed to Kent. The streets were so dark and
everything looked so sad, very different from the gay city he had left
only a few weeks before. The _Haute Loire_ had not changed, though. It
was the same little hospitable fifth class joint. The madame received
the exceedingly doubtful looking guests with as much cordiality as she
would had they been the President of the Republic and General Joffre.

There were no baths that night, but tumbling into bed, our Kentuckians
were lost to the world until the next day. What if the Prussians did fly
over the city, dropping bombs on helpless noncombatants? Two young men
who had been torpedoed; had floated around indefinitely in the Atlantic
Ocean; had been finally picked up by the submarine that had done the
damage; had remained in durance vile for several weeks on the submarine,
resorting to Tutno to have any private conversation at all; and at last
been transferred to a Swedish vessel and dumped by them on the northwest
coast of Spain--those young men cared little whether school kept or not.
The bombs that dropped that night were nothing more than pop crackers to
them. The excitement in the streets did not reach their tired ears.

Kent dreamed of Chatsworth and of taking Judy down to Aunt Mary's cabin
so the old woman could see "that Judy gal" once more. Jim Castleman
dreamed he swatted ten thousand Prussians, which was a sweet and
peaceful dream to one who considered swatting the Prussians a
privilege.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE CABLEGRAM.


"Tingaling, aling, aling! Phome a ringin' agin! I bet that's Mr. Paul,"
declared Caroline, the present queen of the Chatsworth kitchen. "I kin
tell his ring ev'y time. I'm a goin' ter answer it, Miss Molly."

Molly, who was ironing the baby's cap strings and bibs (work she never
trusted any one to do), smiled. It was one of Caroline's notions that
each person had a particular way of ringing the telephone. She was
always on the alert to answer the "phome," and would stop anything she
was doing and tear to be first to take down the receiver, although it
always meant that some member of the family must come and receive the
message which usually was perfectly unintelligible to the willing girl.

The telephone was in the great old dining room, because, as Mrs. Brown
said, every one would call up at meal time and if you were there, you
were there. Molly followed Caroline to the dining room, knowing full
well that she would be needed when once the preliminaries were over. She
gathered the cap strings and bibs, now neatly ironed and ready for the
trip to Wellington that she would sooner or later have to take.

Still no news from the _Hirondelle de Mer_, that is, no news from Kent.
The last boat load of sailors and passengers had been taken up, but none
of them could say for sure whether the two Kentuckians had been saved or
not. One man insisted he had seen the submarine stop and take something
or some one on board, but when closely questioned he was quite hazy as
to his announcement. Jimmy Lufton had kept the cables hot trying to find
out something. The Browns and Jim Castleman's sister had communicated
with each other on the subject of the shipwrecked boys.

"'Low!" she heard Caroline mutter with that peculiarly muffled tone that
members of her race always seem to think they must assume when speaking
through the telephone. "This here is Mrs. Brown's res-i-d-e-n-c-e!
Yessir! This here is Ca'line at the phome. Yessir! Miss Molly done made
yo' maw eat her breakfus' in the baid. No, sir, not to say sick in the
baid--yessir, kinder sick on the baid. Yessir! Miss Molly is a
launderin' of the cap ties fer the baby. We is all well, sir, yessir.
I'll call Miss Molly."

Of course she hung up the receiver before Molly could drop her cap
strings and reach the telephone.

"Oh, Caroline, why did you hang it up? Was it Mr. Paul?"

"Yassum! It were him. I done tole you I could tell his ring. I hung up
the reception cause I didn't know you was so handy, an' I thought if I
kep it down, it might was'e the phome somehow, while I went out to fetch
you."

Molly couldn't help laughing, although it was very irritating for
Caroline to be so intensely stupid about telephoning. Paul, knowing
Caroline's ways, rang up again in a moment and Molly was there ready to
get the message herself.

"Molly, honey, are you well? Is Mother well? How is the baby?"

"All well, Paul! Any news?"

"Good news, Molly!" Molly dropped all the freshly ironed finery and
leaned against the wall for support. "A cablegram from Spain! Kent was
landed there by the German submarine."

"Kent! Are you sure?"

"As sure as shootin'! Let me read it to you--'Safe--well, Kent.' Tell
Mother as soon as you can, Molly, but go easy with it. Good news might
knock her out as much as bad news. I'll be out with John as fast as his
tin Lizzie can buzz us."

"Safe! Kent alive and well!"

Molly's knees were trembling so she could hardly get to her mother's
room, where that good lady had been pretending to eat her breakfast in
bed. Old Shep, standing by her bedside, had a suspiciously greasy
expression around his mouth and was very busy licking his lips, which
imparted the information to the knowing Molly that her mother's dainty
breakfast had disappeared to a spot to which it was not destined by the
two anxious cooks, Molly and Caroline.

"Molly, what is it? I heard the 'phone ring. Was it Paul?"

"Yes, Mother! Good news!"

Mrs. Brown closed her eyes and lay back on her pillows, looking so pale
that Molly was scared. How fragile the good lady was! Her profile was
more cameo-like than ever. These few weeks of waiting, in spite of the
brave front she had shown to the world, had told on her. Could she stand
good news any better than she could bad?

"Kent?" she murmured faintly.

"Yes, Mother, a cablegram! 'Safe, well, Kent.'"

"Where?"

"Spain, I don't know what part."

And then the long pent-up flood gates were opened and Mrs. Brown and
Molly had such a cry as was never seen or heard of. The cap strings that
Molly had dropped on the floor when she heard that there was news, she
had gathered up in one wild swoop on the way to her mother's room, and
these were first brought into requisition to weep on, and then the
sheets and the napkin from the breakfast tray, and at last even old Shep
had to get damp.

"I bus' stop ad gall up Zue ad Ad Zarah. Oh, Bother, Bother, how good
God is!"

"Yes, darling, He is good whether our Kent was spared to us or not,"
said Mrs. Brown, showing much more command of her consonants than poor
Molly.

Caroline appeared, one big grin, bearing little Mildred in her arms.

"She done woke up an' say ter me: 'Ca'line, what all dis here rumpus
'bout?'"

As Mildred had as yet said nothing more than "Goo! Goo!" that brought
the smiles to Molly and Mrs. Brown.

"Lawd Gawd a mussy! Is Mr. Kent daid? Is that what Mr. Paul done phomed?
I mus' run tell Aunt Mary. I boun' ter be the fust one."

"No, no, Caroline! Mr. Kent is alive and well."

"'Live an' well! Well, Gawd be praised! When I come in an' foun' you
all a actin' lak what the preacher says will be in the las' day er
jedgment, a weepin' an' wailin' an' snatchin' er teeth, I say ter
myse'f: 'Ca'line, that there dream you had 'bout gittin' ma'id was sho'
sign er death, drownin' referred.' Well, Miss Molly, if'n you'll hol'
the baby, I'll go tell Aunt Mary the good news, too. Cose 'tain't quite
so scrumptious to be the fust ter carry good news as 'tis bad, but then
news is news."

Sue was telephoned to immediately and joined in the general rejoicing.
Aunt Sarah Clay was quite nonplussed for a moment because of the
attitude she had taken about the family mourning, but her affection for
her sister, which was really very sincere in spite of her successful
manner of concealing it, came to the fore and she, too, rejoiced. Of
course she had to suggest, to keep in character, that Kent might have
communicated with his family sooner if he only would have exerted
himself, but Molly was too happy to get angry and only laughed.

"Aunt Clay can no more help her ways than a chestnut can its burr." And
then she remembered how as children they would take sticks and beat the
chestnut burrs open and she wondered if a good beating administered on
Aunt Clay might not help matters. She voiced this sentiment to her
mother, who said:

"My dear Molly, Life has administered the beating on your Aunt Clay long
ago. It is being childless that makes her so bitter. I know that and
that is the reason I am so patient, at least, I try to be patient with
her. Of course, she always asserts she is glad she has no children, that
my children have been a never ending anxiety to me and she is glad she
is spared a similar worry."

"But, Mother, we are not a never-ending anxiety, are we?"

"Yes, my darling, but an anxiety I would not be without for all the
wealth of the Indies. Aren't you a little bit anxious all the time about
your baby?"

"Why, yes, just a teensy weensy bit, but then I haven't got used to her
yet."

"Well, when you get used to her, she will be just that much more
precious."

"But then I have just one, and you have seven."

"Do you think you love her seven times as much as I love you, or Kent or
Milly or any of them?"

"Oh, Mother, of course I don't. I know you love all of us just as much
as I love my little Mildred, only I just don't see how you can."

"Maybe you will have to have seven children to understand how I can, but
when you realize what it means to have Mildred, maybe you can understand
what it has meant always to poor Sister Sarah never to have had any
children."

"I suppose it is hard on her but, Mother dear, if she had had the seven
and you had never had any, do you think for a minute you would have been
as porcupinish and cactus-like in your attitude toward the world and
especially toward Aunt Clay's seven as she is toward yours? Never!"

Molly's statement was not to be combatted, although Mrs. Brown was not
sure what she would have been like without her seven anxieties; but
Molly knew that she would have been the same lovely person, no matter
how many or how few children she had had.

"I'm going to try to feel differently toward Aunt Clay," she whispered
into her baby's ear, as she cuddled her up to her after the great rite
of bathing her was completed that morning. "Just think what it must be
never to hold your own baby like this! Poor Aunt Clay! No wonder she is
hard and cold--but goodness me, I'm glad I did not draw her for a
parent." The baby looked up into her mother's eyes with a gurgle and
crow, as though she, too, were pleased that her Granny was as she was
and not as Aunt Clay was.

"We are going to see Daddy soon, do you know that, honey baby?" And
Molly clasped her rosy infant to her breast with a heart full of
thanksgiving that now there was no dire reason for her remaining in
Kentucky longer.

A farewell visit must be paid to Aunt Mary. The baby was dressed in
one of her very best slips and Molly put on her new blue suit for the
occasion, as she well knew how flattered the old woman was by such an
attention.

"Well, bless Gawd, if here ain't my Molly baby and the little Miss Milly
all dressed up in they best bibantucker! I been a lyin' here a dreamin'
you was all back in the carstle, that there apple tree what you
youngsters done built a house up'n an' Miss Milly done sent me to say
you mus' come an wash yo' faceanhans fer dinner, jes' lak she done a
millium times, an' who should be up in the tree with you an' that there
Kent but yo' teacher an' that there Judy gal."

Molly laughed as she always did when Aunt Mary called Professor Edwin
Green, her teacher.

"Yes, chile, they was up there with you an' Kent up'n had the imprence
to tell me to go tell his maw that he warn't comin' ter no dinner,
'cause he an' that there Judy gal was a keepin' house up the tree." The
old woman chuckled with delight at Kent's "imprence."

"I shouldn't be astonished if they did go to housekeeping soon, Aunt
Mary, but I don't fancy it will be up a tree."

"An' what I done say all the time 'bout that there Kent not being
drownded? When the niggers came a whining 'roun' me a sayin' he was sho'
daid 'cause they done had signs an' omens, I say ter them I done had mo'
ter do with that there Kent than all of 'em put together an' I lak ter
know what they be havin' omens 'bout him when I ain't had none. If'n
they was any omens a floatin' 'roun' they would a lit on me an' not on
that triflin' Buck Jourdan. He say he dream er teeth an' 'twas sho sign
er death. I tell him mebbeso but 'twas mo'n likely he done overworked
his teeth a eatin' er my victuals, a settin' 'roun' here dayanight a
strummin' on his gittah, an' what's mo' I done tole him he better git
the blacksmith ter pull out one er his jaw teeth what ain't mo'n a
snaggle. Sukey low she goin' ter send him in ter Lou'ville ter one er
these here tooth dentists, but I say the blacksmith is jes' as good a
han' at drawin' teeth as they is, an' he chawge the same as ter shoe a
mule, an' that ain't much."

"But Aunt Mary, I should think if there is anything serious the matter
with Buck's teeth he had better see a dentist. The blacksmith might
break his tooth off."

"Who? This here blacksmith? Lawsamussy, honey, why he's that strong an'
survigorous that he would bust Buck's jaw long befo' he break his tooth.
He'll grab hol' the tooth and put his knee in Buck's chist an' he gonter
hol' on till either Buck or the tooth comes."

A groan from the next room, the lean-to kitchen, gave evidence that Buck
was in there, an unwilling eavesdropper since the method of the
blacksmith on his suffering molar was the topic.

"Don't you think the baby has grown, Aunt Mary?" asked Molly, mercifully
changing the subject.

"Yes, she done growed some an' she done growed prettier. I seed all the
time she were gonter be pretty, an' when that there Paul came down here
an' give it to me that the new baby looked lak a pink mummy--I done
tol' him that I didn't know what a mummy were, but what ever it were,
the new baby didn't look no mo' lak one than he did when he was born,
'cause of all the wrinkly, scarlet little Injuns he would a fetched the
cake. That done dried that there Paul up an he ain't been so bombast
since bout the looks er no new babies." The old woman chuckled with
delight in remembrance of her repartee.

"Aunt Mary, I think you are feeling better, aren't you? You seem much
more lively than when I saw you last."

"'Cose I is feelin' better. Ain't we done heard good news from that
there Kent?"

"But I thought you knew all the time he was all right."

"Well now, so I did, so fur as I knew anything, but they was times when
I doubted, an' those times pulled me back right smart. Why, honey, I
used ter pray the Almighty if he lacked a soul ter jes' tak me. I is a
no 'count ole nigger on the outside but mebbe my soul is some good yit.
If I could give up my life fur one er Miss Milly's chillun, I'd be
proud ter do it!"

"Oh, Aunt Mary, you have been so good to us always!"

"Lawsamussy, chile! What I here fur but ter be good ter my white
folks? They's been good ter me--as good as gole. I ain't never wanted
fur nothin' an' I ain't never had a hard word from Carmichael or
Brown, savin', of cose, Miss Sary. She is spoke some hard words in her
day, but she didn' never mean nothin' by them words. I don't bear no
grudge against po' Miss Sary. The good Lord done made her a leetle
awry an' 'tain't fur me ter be the one ter try to straighten her out.
Sometimes whin I lies here a thinkin' it seems ter me mebbe some folks
is made lak Miss Sary jes' so they kin be angels on earth like yo'
maw. Miss Sary done sanctified yo' maw. She done tried her an' rubbed
aginst her, burnt her in de fire of renunciation and drinched her in
the waters of reproachment until yo maw is come out refimed gold."

"Maybe you are right, Aunt Mary. I am trying to be nicer about the way
I feel about Aunt Clay myself. I think if I feel differently, maybe Aunt
Clay would feel differently toward me. She does not like me, and why
should she, since I don't really like her?"

"I don't want ter take no Christian thoughts from yo' min' an' heart,
honey chile, but the good you'll git from thinkin' kin' things 'bout
Miss Sary will be all yo' own good. Miss Sary ain't gonter be no
diffrent. She done got too sot in her ways. The leper ain't gonter
change his spots now no mo'n it did in the time er Noah, certainly no
ole tough leper lak Miss Sary."

It was hard to tell the old woman good-by. Every time Molly left
Chatsworth she feared it would be the last farewell to poor old Aunt
Mary. She had been bedridden now for many months, but she hung on to
life with a tenacity that was astonishing.

"Cose, I is ready ter go whin the Marster calls," she would say, "but
I ain't a hurryin' of him. A creakin' do' hangs long on its hinges an'
the white folks done iled up my hinges so, what with good victuals
with plenty er suption in 'em an' a little dram now an' then 'cordin'
ter the doctor's subscription, that sometimes I don't creak at all. I
may git up out'n this here baid 'fo long an' be as spry as the nex'. I
wouldn't min' goin' so much if I jes' had mo' idee what Heaven is lak.
I'm so feard it will be strange ter me. I don't want ter walk on no
goldin' streets. Gold ain't no better ter walk on than bricks. Miss
Milly done read me the Psalm what say: 'He maketh me to lay down in
the green pastures.' Now that there piece sounds mighty pretty--jes'
lak singin', but I ain't never been no han' to set on the damp groun'
an' Heaven or no Heaven, I low it would give me a misery ter be a
doin' it now; an' as fer layin' on it, no'm! I wants a good rockin'
cheer, an' I wants it in the house, an' when I wants ter res' myse'f,
a baid is good enough fer me."

The old woman's theology was a knotty problem for all of the Brown
family. They would read to her from the Bible and reason with her, but
her preconceived notion of Heaven was too much for them. She believed
firmly in the pearly gates and the golden streets, and freely announced
she would rather have her own cabin duplicated on the other side than
all the many mansions, and her own whitewashed gate with hinges made
from the soles of old shoes than the pearly gates.

"What I want with a mansion? The cabin whar I been a livin' all my life
is plenty good enough for this old nigger. An' what's mo, blue grass a
growin' on each side of a shady lane is better'n golden streets. I ain't
a goin' ter be hard-headed bout Heaven, but I hope the Marster will let
me settle in some cottage an' let it be in the country where I kin raise
a few chickens an' mebbe keep a houndog."

"I am sure the Master will let you have whatever you want, dear Aunt
Mary," Molly would say.

"But if'n he does that, I'll get too rotten spiled ter stay in Heaven.
He better limit me some, or I'll feel too proudified even fer a angel."



CHAPTER XV.

WELLINGTON AGAIN.


"Oh, it is nice to be back home," sighed Molly, settling herself
luxuriously in the sleepy-hollow chair that was supposed to be set
aside for the master of the house. With the girlish habit she had never
outgrown, she slipped off her pumps and stretched out her slender feet
to the wood fire, that felt very comfortable in the crisp autumn
weather.

"That's what you said when we arrived in Kentucky in the spring," teased
her husband.

"Well, so it was nice. The migratory birds have two homes and they are
always glad to get to whichever one is seasonable. I reckon I am with my
two homes as Mother is with her seven children. I love them just the
same. Thank goodness, I haven't seven of them, homes, I mean."

"Yes, I think two are enough."

"Which home do you love best, Wellington or the Orchard Home?" asked
Molly, smiling fondly at her husband, who was dandling little Mildred on
his knees with awkward eagerness.

"Why, neither one of them is home to me unless you are there, and
whichever one you grace with your presence is for the time being the one
I like the better."

"And the baby, too, whichever one she is in makes it home!"

"Oh, certainly!" exclaimed Edwin Green with a whimsical expression on
his face. "I see that when I make love now it is to be to two ladies and
not to one."

"Don't you think Mildred has grown a lot? And see, her eyes have really
turned brown, just as Mother said they would. Don't you think she looks
well?"

"Yes, honey, I think she looks very well, but I don't think you do."

"Me! Nonsense! I am as well as can be, just a little tired from the
trip."

"Yes, I know. Of course that was fatiguing, but I think you are thinner
than you have any right to be. I am afraid you have been doing too
much."

"Oh, not at all. I have had simply nothing to do but take care of the
baby, and that is just play, real play."

"Humph, no doubt! But maybe you have played too hard and that is what
has tired you. I thought you were going to bring Kizzie along to nurse."

"Oh, that was your and Mother's plan! I never had any idea of doing it.
'Deed and um's muvver is going to take care of 'ittle bits a baby
herself," and Molly reached out and snuggled the willing Mildred down in
the sleepy-hollow chair. Daddy's knee was not the most comfortable spot
in the world, and a back that has only been in the world about four
months cannot stand for much dandling.

"But, Molly darling, Kizzie is a good girl and it would help you ever so
much to have her. You know we can well afford it now, so don't let the
financial side of it worry you."

"But, Edwin, I can't give up taking care of the baby. I just love to do
it."

"All right, my dear, but please don't wear yourself out."

The fact was that the long strain of waiting for news from Kent had told
on Molly, and she was looking quite wan and tired. It was not just the
trip from Kentucky, which, of course, was no easy matter. Twenty-four
hours on the train with an infant that needed much attention and got
much more than it really needed was no joke, but the long hours and days
of waiting and uncertainty had taken Molly's strength. She did feel
tired and had no appetite, but she felt sure a night's rest would
restore her. She rather attributed her lack of appetite to the poor food
that the new Irish maid, whom Edwin had installed in her absence, was
serving.

"I'll take hold of her to-morrow and see what can be done," she said
rather wearily to herself. "I wish Mother could train her for me. I
should much rather do the cooking myself than try to train some one who
is as hopelessly green as this girl."

That night little Mildred decided was a good time to assert herself.
The trip had not tired her at all; on the contrary, it had spurred her
on to a state of hilarity, which was very amusing at first but as the
night wore on, ceased to be funny. She had come to the delightful
knowledge of the fact that she had feet and that each foot had five
toes. The cover did not stay on these little pigs one moment. Every
time Molly would settle her tired bones and begin to doze, there would
be a crow from Mildred, a gurgle, and straight in the air would go the
bed clothes, tucked in for the millionth time by the patient young
mother. Then the pink tootsies would leap into sight and soon find
their way to a determined little mouth.

"Darling, you must go to sleepsumby!" Molly would remonstrate. "And you
will catch your death if you don't keep covered up!"

But the four months' old baby had been too busy in her short life
learning other things to bother her head about a mere language. The
business of the night was feet and feet alone. There was too much to do
about those wonderful little feet for her to think of sleep. Finally
Molly gave up. She closed the windows, as too much fresh air on bare
feet and legs might not be best and already the little limbs were icy
cold. Then she kindled a fire in the grate, the furnace not yet having
been started, and gave herself up to a night of sleeplessness. Early in
the action, Edwin had been banished to the guest chamber, as he must get
sleep no matter what happened, for he had a busy day ahead of him.

Toward morning little Mildred mastered her pedagogy, as her father had
called it, and then she dropped off into a deep and peaceful sleep. The
weary Molly slept, too.

Before he went to his lectures, Edwin crept into the room to look at his
sleeping treasures. The chubby baby still had a toe clasped in her hand
but from very weariness had fallen over on her side and was covered up
all but the pink foot, which was asserting itself in the remarkable
position that only the young can take. Molly looked very pale and tired
but was sleeping peacefully. Edwin smiled at them. He had given the
green maid from the Emerald Isle strict orders not to awaken them. He
devoutly hoped that Molly would not know what a very mean breakfast he
had endeavored to choke down; burnt bacon and underdone biscuit washed
down with very weak coffee and flanked by eggs that had been cooked too
long and not long enough, thereby undergoing that process that the
chemist tells us is of all things the most indigestible: half hard and
half soft. The burnt bacon had been cold and the underdone biscuit still
cooking, seemingly, when the poor young husband and father had tried to
nourish himself on them.

He had rather hoped when Molly once got back to Wellington that his food
would be better; no doubt it would as soon as she, poor girl, could get
rested up. He was thankful, indeed, now that she was asleep and tiptoed
out of the room and house without making a sound.

She slept until late in the morning and then the business of the day
began, getting little Mildred fed and washed and dressed and fed again
and then to sleep. The good-natured, if wholly incapable, Katy hung
around and waited on the pretty young mistress. Katy had never been out
in service in the "schtates," but had come from New York in answer to an
advertisement in a newspaper inserted by the despairing professor when
he had come back to Wellington alone while his wife waited in Kentucky
for news of her brother. He had had kindly visions of getting a good
Irish cook and having the housekeeping all running beautifully before
Molly's return.

Immigrant Katy proved rosy and willing but with no more conception of
how to cook than she had how to clean. She was great on "scroobing,"
but walls and furniture and carpets were not supposed to be scrubbed.
The kitchen floor and pantry shelves were alike beautiful after her
administrations, but gold dust and a stiff brush had not improved the
appearance of the piano legs. Edwin had come home in the nick of time
to stop her before she vented her energies on Molly's own Persian
rug, the pride of her heart because of the wonderful blue in it.

"What time is it, Katy?" asked Molly after the baby was absolutely
finished and tucked in her carriage to stay on the porch.

"'Tis twilve of the clock, Miss, and I haven't so much as turned a hand
below schtairs."

"Oh, it can't be that late! Lunch at one! What are we to have?"

"And that I am not knowing, Miss. Sure and there is nothing in the
house."

"Oh, Katy, and I have been dawdling up here for hours! I forgot about
keeping house, I was so taken up with the baby."

"Yes, and no doubt your man will be sour about it, too."

Molly, still in her kimono, flew to the regions below and began
frantically to search for something to concoct into luncheon. A forlorn
piece of roast veal was excavated and half a loaf of stale baker's
bread. A can of asparagus, a leftover from the housekeeping of the
spring, was unearthed. Olive oil was in the refrigerator, also, butter,
milk and eggs. The veal looked very hopeless, evidently having reposed
for hours in a half cold oven before it had furnished forth a miserable
dinner for the poor professor.

"Now I'll 'form a miracle on the vituals,' as dear Aunt Mary would say,"
declared Molly to herself. "Katy, get the dining room straight. Don't
scrub anything but just clear off the table and then set it again as
well as you can. Put on a fresh lunch cloth and clean napkins; then see
that the fire in the library is all right."

The veal, run through the meat chopper, came out better than was to be
expected, and croquettes were formed and frying in deep fat before the
dazed Katy had cleared off the breakfast table.

"Katy, you must hurry or we won't have the master's luncheon ready when
he gets in."

"Faith, and, Mrs. Green, you do be flying round so schwift like, that I
can't get me breath. I feel like the wind from your schkirts was sinding
me back. All I can do is schtand schtill and breast the wind."

"Well, I tell you what you do then," laughed Molly: "You come fly with
the wind," and she caught the Irish girl by the hand and ran her around
the dining room table just to show her how fast she could go if
necessary. Katy, having got wound up, kept on going at a rate of speed
that was astonishing. To be sure, she broke a cup and a plate, but what
was a little chaney to the master's luncheon being served on time?

The faithful can of asparagus was opened and heated; toast was made from
the half loaf of stale bread, and a cream sauce prepared to pour over
the asparagus on toast. Popovers were stirred up and in the oven before
Katy got the table set, although she was going with the wind instead of
trying to breast it. A few rosy apples from the orchard at Chatsworth,
unearthed from the depths of the unpacked trunk, formed a salad with a
mayonnaise made in such a hurry that Molly trembled for its quality; but
luck being with her that day, it turned out beautifully.

"No lettuce, so we'll put the salad on those green majolica plates and
maybe he won't notice," she called to Katy, just as the professor
opened the front door.

"Mol--ly!" he called.

"Here I am."

The mistress of the house emerged from the kitchen in a state of
mussiness but looking very pretty withal, her red-gold hair curling up
in little ringlets from the steam and her cheeks as rosy as though she
had joost come over wid Katy. Her blue kimono was very becoming but
hardly what she would have chosen to appear in at luncheon.

"I am so sorry not to be dressed, but I had to hustle so as to get lunch
ready in time. The clock struck twelve when I thought it was about ten."

"Did you have to get luncheon? Where was Katy?"

"She helped, but I wanted to have a finger in it. If you will wait a
minute, I will get into a dress."

"Why, you look beautiful in that loose blue thing; besides, I have to
eat and run. A faculty meeting is calling me."

The luncheon was delicious, and Edwin gave it all praise by devouring
large quantities of it. Molly could not eat much as she was too hot, and
hurrying is not conducive to appetite. Mildred, who was sleeping on the
porch, awoke when the meal was half over and Molly could not trust Katy
to take her up.

"She might hold her upside down. I will bring her to the table and she
can talk to you while you are finishing!"

So Molly flew to the porch and picked up her darling. She had intended
to take her to the dining room but she remembered it was time for
Mildred to have her food and so the patient Edwin had to finish his meal
alone.

He found his wife and baby on the upper back porch. The color had left
Molly's cheeks and she was quite pale, and there was a little wan,
wistful look in her countenance that Edwin did not like.

"Molly, honey, you are all tired out. You did not eat your luncheon and
you got no sleep last night. What are we going to do about it?"

"Oh, I'm all right! Please don't bother about me! Did you like the apple
salad? They were apples from Kentucky."

"Fine! Everything was delicious. But I don't want you to wear yourself
out cooking. If Katy can't cook, we must get some one who can. If she
can't cook and you won't let her nurse, why what is the use of her?"

Molly, worn out with the sleepless night and the record breaking getting
of a meal out of nothing, felt as though she would disgrace herself in a
minute and burst into tears. She could not discuss the matter with Edwin
for fear of breaking down. Edwin kissed her good-by and tactfully
withdrew.

"You goose, Molly Brown!" she scolded herself. "And what on earth are
you so full of tears over? I know Edwin thinks I ought to have a nurse
and I just can't trust Mildred to any one. I am going to try so hard to
have everything so nice that he won't think about it any more."

A grand telephoning for provisions ensued, and a dinner was planned for
six-thirty that would have taxed the culinary powers of a real chef and
before which Katy bowed her head in defeat. It meant that by four Molly
must be back in the kitchen to start things.



CHAPTER XVI.

IRISHMAN'S CURTAINS.


Callers came in through the afternoon to welcome back to Wellington the
popular wife of the popular professor and to glimpse the new baby. Kind
Mrs. McLean, the wife of the doctor, a little older than when last we
saw her but showing it only in her whitening hair and not at all in her
upright carriage and British complexion, stopped in "just for a moment"
to be picked up later by the doctor on his way to a country patient.
Miss Walker herself, the busy president of Wellington, ran in from the
meeting of the faculty to greet her one time pupil and to give one kiss
to the college baby. Several of the seniors, who were freshmen when
Molly was still at college as post graduate and who had the delight of
calling her Molly while most of the others had to say Mrs. Green, came
in fresh from a game of basketball, glowing with health and enthusiasm.

While these friends were all gathered about Molly and the baby, Alice
Fern, Edwin Green's cousin, driving in to Wellington in a very stylish
new electric car, stopped to make a fashionable call on her law kin. She
had never forgiven Molly for stealing (as she expressed it) Edwin's
affections. She was still Miss Fern, and although she was possessed of
beauty and intelligence, it was likely that she would remain Miss Fern.
Molly was never very much at her ease with Alice. She was particularly
sensitive to any feeling of dislike entertained toward her, and Edwin's
cousin always made her feel that she disapproved of her in some way.

The living room in the broad old red brick house on the campus, occupied
by the professor of English, was a pleasant room, breathing of the
tastes and pursuits of the owners. Low bookshelves were in every nook
and cranny, filled with books, the shelves actually sagging with them.
Botticelli's Primavera, a present from Mary Stewart, adorned one wall;
Mathew Jouette's portrait of Molly's great grandmother, a wedding
present from Aunt Clay, another. This was the portrait that looked so
much like Molly and also like the Marquise d'Ochtè, between whom and
Aunt Sarah Clay there was no love lost; indeed, it was this likeness
that had induced Aunt Clay to part with such a valuable work of art. The
other pictures were some dashing, clever sketches by Judy Kean, and
Pierce Kinsella's very lovely portrait of Mrs. Brown, that had won
honorable mention at the Salon and then had been sent by the young
artist to adorn Molly's home. On the whole, it was a very satisfactory
and tastefully furnished room and Molly and Edwin always declared they
could talk better and think better in that room than in any they had
ever seen.

On that first day home, Molly was a little conscious of the fact that
the room needed a thorough cleaning, not the scrubbing that Katy was so
desirous of administering, but just a good thorough cleaning. However,
she was so glad to see her friends again and so proud of showing her
wonderful baby to them that the cleaning seemed of small importance.

"I'll dust all the books to-morrow," she said to herself, "and have Katy
wipe down the walls, polish the glass on the pictures, and above all,
wash the windows."

She well knew that Miss Walker and dear Mrs. McLean were not noticing
such things, or, if they did, they would make all excuses. As for the
college girls--dirt was not what they came to see. They came to see the
lovely Molly and her adorable baby. If the walls were festooned with
cobwebs, why that was the way walls should be in the home of a learned
professor of English, who had written several books, besides the
libretto to a successful opera, and who was married to a beautiful
Titian-haired girl who was also a genius in her way, having been
accepted in magazines when she was not even out of college. What did
they care for dust on the books and smeary window panes? Molly was so
popular with the college girls that in their eyes she was perfection
itself.

Alice Fern's entrance broke up the cheerful group gathered around Molly
and the rosy Mildred. Miss Walker suddenly remembered that she had an
important engagement and hurried off, and Mrs. McLean, who made no
endeavor to hide her impatience at Miss Fern's exceeding smugness, went
outside to wait for the doctor. The girls stayed, however, hoping to sit
out the unwelcome interrupter.

These girls were favorites of Molly's. The harum scarum Billie McKym
from New York reminded her in a way of her own Judy, although no one
else could see it. Josephine Crittenden, Tom boy of college and leader
in all sports, hailed from Kentucky, and being a distant relative of
Crittenden Rutledge, Mildred Brown's husband, was of course taken
immediately under the wing of the loyal Molly. She had what she called a
crush on Molly, and not a little did she amuse that young matron, as
well as annoy her, by her gifts of flowers and candy.

The third girl was from the West. Thelma Olsen was her name, and
although her family had been in America for three generations, Thelma
had inherited the characteristics of a Viking maiden along with the
name. She was very tall, with an excellent figure and the strength of
a man. Her hair was as yellow as gold and her eyes as blue as corn
flowers. She moved with dignity, holding her head up like a queen. Her
expression was calm and kindly. She had, in very truth, worked her way
through college, which of course appealed to Molly, remembering well her
own boot blacking days and her many schemes for making a few pennies.
But what most touched our Molly was the fact that Thelma had a writing
bee in her bonnet. The girl had an instinct for literature and a longing
for expression that must come out. Professor Green thought very highly
of her gift for prose and did much to encourage her.

These three girls formed a strange trio, but they were inseparable,
having roomed together since their freshman year. Billie was very rich
in her own name, since she was an orphan with nothing closer than a
guardian and an aunt-in-law. Money meant no more to her than black-eyed
peas. She was intensely affectionate and where she loved, she loved so
fiercely that it positively hurt, she used to say. She was witty and
clever but not much of a student, as is often the case where learning
comes too easily. She was so generous it was embarrassing to her
friends. Her talent lay in clothes. She knew more about clothes than
Paquin and Doucet and all the others. It positively hurt her when her
friends did not wear becoming clothes, just as it hurt her when she
loved them so hard. The object of her life was to clothe her dear friend
Thelma in dark blue velvet. Thelma was too proud to be clothed in
anything that she had not paid for herself, and the consequence was that
coarse blue serge was as near as she came to poor Billie's dream.

Alice Fern seated herself on the front of a chair with very much of
a lady-come-to-see expression and then formally entered into a
conversation, going through the usual questions about when Molly had
arrived and how old the baby was, polite inquiries regarding the
relatives in Kentucky, etc.

Molly was eager to get into the kitchen just for a moment to start Katy
on the right track, well knowing that nothing would be doing until she
did, but Alice Fern's arrival made that impossible. She would not in the
least have minded excusing herself for a moment to the girls, but if
Edwin Green had to wait until midnight for his dinner, she could not be
guilty of such a breach of etiquette with the cousin-in-law, whose
disapproval she felt was ever on the alert for a _raison d'être_. A leg
of lamb, and well grown lamb at that, must have plenty of time and the
oven must be hot (something Katy knew nothing about), but the wife of
Professor Green must not let his relatives know that she was such a poor
manager as to have to leave the parlor to attend to cooking at a time in
the afternoon when callers were supposed to be doing their calling.

Alice Fern was really a very pretty young woman, and since she had
nothing to do but attend to her person, she was always excellently well
groomed. No blemish was allowed on her faultless complexion from sun or
wind. An hour a day was religiously given up to massage and manicure.
Her hair was always coiffed in the latest mode, and not one lock was
ever known to be out of place. Her costume was ever of the richest and
most stylish.

On that afternoon, as she rode up in her closed electric car, dressed in
a fawn-colored suit with spotless white gloves and spats, she really
looked like a beautiful wax figure in a showcase. Beside her, poor Molly
looked like a rumpled Madonna. She had on a very becoming blue linen
house dress that she had donned as not only suitable for possible
callers but also not too pure or good in which to cook her husband's
food. The baby had delighted the admiring audience, before the arrival
of Miss Fern, by clutching a handful of her mother's pretty hair and
having to have her little pink fingers opened one by one to disengage
them. No doubt it was a highly intelligent and charming performance, but
it had played sad havoc with Molly's hair.

"We are so glad you are back, Molly, for more reasons than one,"
exclaimed Jo Crittenden, hoping to loosen the tension a little, when
Alice had completed her perfunctory catechism. "When are you going to
begin the Would-be Authors' Club?"

"Oh, do begin soon!" begged Billie. "Thelma has turned out some
scrumptious bits during vacation, and even I have busted loose on
paper."

"Yes, I have written a lot this summer," said Thelma, as Molly smiled on
her. "Have you done anything, or has the baby kept you too busy?"

"Oh, I had plenty of time while I was in Kentucky. You see, out there I
have a very good servant and then my mother helps me with Mildred. I
have finished a short story and sent it off. Of course, I am expecting
it back by every mail."

"I should think your household cares would prevent your giving much time
to scribbling," sniffed Alice, if one could call the utterances of such
an elegant dame sniffing.

"Scribbling! Why, Mrs. Green has written real things and been in real
magazines," stormed Billie.

"Ah, indeed!"

"Yes, and if we had not limited the Would-be Authors to twenty, we would
have the whole of Wellington clamoring to join," declared Jo, who
considered it was high time for a perfect gentleman to step in and let
Miss Alice Fern know how Wellington felt toward Mrs. Edwin Green.

Miss Fern said nothing but stared at the corner of the room that Edwin
and Molly called: "The Poet's Corner." It was where all the poetry,
ancient, medieval and modern, found shelf room. Over it hung
Shakespeare's epitaph, a framed rubbing from the tomb, the same that
Edwin had always kept over his desk in his bachelor days to scare his
housekeeper, Mrs. Brady, into sparing his precious papers.

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

She kept her eyes so glued to the spot over the book shelves that
finally all turned involuntarily to see what she was gazing on so
intently. There it hung! There was no denying it or overlooking it: a
great black cobweb that must have been there for several generations of
spiders. No doubt it had taken all summer to weave such a mighty web and
catch and hold so much grime.

Molly blushed furiously. For a moment, she almost hated Katy and she
wholly hated Alice Fern. That elegant damsel had a supercilious
expression on her aristocratic countenance that said as plainly as
though she had given utterance to her thoughts:

"Author's Club, indeed! She had much better clean her house."

Molly was suddenly conscious that every corner was festooned with
similar webs. The late afternoon sun was slanting in the windows and its
searching rays had found and were showing up every grain of dust. The
panes of glass were, to say the least, grimy.

"Oh!" she faltered, "I didn't know it was so--so--dusty in here. Katy,
the new maid, was supposed to have cleaned it before I came."

"What do you care for a few Irishman's curtains?" said the
hero-worshipping Billie. "No one noticed them until--ahem--until the
sun came in the window." She _said_ sun came in the window but she
plainly _meant_ Fern came in the door.

"I haven't had time to do much housekeeping since I got back," continued
Molly, lamely. "The new maid, Katy, that Edwin got from New York, is
most inefficient but so good-natured that I am hoping to train her. The
truth of the matter is that she and I spent the whole morning doing
things for Mildred and we let the house go. I am going to have a big
cleaning to-morrow."

Molly felt like weeping with mortification and she began to hate herself
for making explanations and excuses to Alice Fern. Even if she kept
Professor Green's house festooned in cobwebs from attic to cellar and
had dust over everything thick enough to write your name, what business
was it of this perfect person? She suddenly realized, too, that that
perfect person had never uttered a word although she had looked volumes.

Miss Fern arose from her prim seat and made a rather hasty retreat. The
relieved Molly excused herself to the girls and rushed to the kitchen to
start Katy on the dinner that should have been on half an hour before.
What was her chagrin to find the fire only just kindled, as Katy had let
it go out so that she might polish the stove. The Irish girl was on her
knees "scroobing," happy in a sea of soap suds.

Molly almost had hysterics. How could she ever get things done? Edwin
would be home any moment now and she could not stand having a miserable
underdone dinner for him, nor could she stand having his dinner hours
late. She realized that there was no use in reprimanding Katy,--the girl
was simply ignorant. She asked her gently to postpone her "scroobing"
until later and to wash her hands and prepare the vegetables. Then she
piled kindling wood in the range until the chimney roared so that Katy
said it sounded like a banshee. The oven must be hot for the roast.

"I tell you what to do, Katy: make some tea immediately and slice some
bread quite thin, open this box of peanut cookies, and we will have such
a grand tea that the master won't be hungry until the roast is done."

"And phwat a schmart trick!" laughed the girl.

When Miss Fern made her adieux, Molly had flown so quickly to the
kitchen that she had not seen her husband crossing the campus. Alice
Fern had seen him, however, and her greeting of him was so warm and
friendly, her smile so charming and her manner so cordial that she
hardly seemed the same person who had just left poor Molly stuttering
and stammering apologies over her Irishman's curtains.

"Look at the pill!" exclaimed Jo. "She is about to eat up Epiménides
Antinous Green." That was the name Professor Green was known by at
Wellington.

"Did you ever see any one cast such a damper over a crowd without saying
a single word? I thought Molly was going to cry," declared Billie.

"I think our friend is looking very tired," said Thelma. "I wish we
could do something for her. She says this new maid is almost worse than
none at all."

"I've got a scheme!" squealed Billie. "I know of a way to help. Gather
'round me, girls!" And then such another whispering as went on in the
house--while Molly behaved like triplets in the kitchen, being in at
least three places at one time in her determination to get dinner on the
stove. Mildred lay on the divan, happy with her newly found toes, and
Edwin helped Alice Fern into her glass show case.

"I appreciate your coming to see my wife so soon, Alice. I should so
like to have you and Molly be close friends."

"Thank you, Edwin, I am sure nothing would please me more. You must
bring Molly out to see us." Could this be the same person who had made
the living room look so dusty and ill kempt only a few minutes before,
this gracious, charming, sweet, friendly creature, who doted on babies?
She had paid no attention to Mildred except to give her a tentative poke
with her daintily gloved finger, but to hear her conversation with
Edwin, one would have gathered that she was a supreme lover of children.

The girls would not stay to tea, although Molly pressed them, but full
of some scheme, they hurried off.

Dinner was not so very late, after all, and the tea and bread and peanut
cookies saw to it that the professor was not too hungry before the leg
of lamb had reached the proper stage of serving. Molly was too much of a
culinary artist not to feel elated when things turned out right, which
they usually did if she could get her finger in the pie. The day had
been a very trying one for her. The sleepless night had left her little
strength to grapple with it and the slow stupidity of Katy was very
irritating. It was over at last, however, and dear little Mildred had
decided to let her pigs rest and had gone quietly to sleep at the
proper time that a well-trained infant should. Edwin was smoking his
after-dinner pipe and everything was very peaceful and pleasant. Molly
was trying to keep her eyes open, ashamed to confess that she was so
sleepy she could hardly see.

She lay back in the easy chair while Edwin read aloud from his scrap
book of fugitive verse. This scrap book Professor Green had started when
he was in college, putting in only the rare, fine things he found in
magazine reading. Molly had helped him in his collecting and now the
volume was assuming vast proportions.

Suddenly Molly's upturned eyes rested on the terrible cobweb that had
been her Waterloo of the afternoon. How black and threatening it looked!
She hoped Edwin would not see it. And the books! Actually you had to
open one and beat it and blow it before you dared begin to read. All
this must be cleaned to-morrow and oh, how tired she was!

"Did not Alice look lovely this afternoon?" said Edwin, stopping his
reading for a moment. "I hope you and she are going to be great
friends. I think it was very nice for her to come so soon to call on
you. She spoke so sweetly of the baby, too."

Molly said nothing but gazed at the cobweb. She said nothing but she did
some thinking:

"Molly Brown, what right have you, just because you are tired and Alice
Fern came to call on you, looking very pretty and very beautifully
dressed, and found you all frumpy and your living room looking like
a pig sty, what right have you, I say, to sulk? Now you answer your
husband and tell him Alice was pretty and don't tell him anything else."
Accordingly, after giving herself the mental chastisement, Molly emitted
a faint:

"Yes, very pretty!" But it was so faint and so far away that Edwin
looked at her in alarm, and then it was that she could stand nothing
more and broke down and shed a few tears.

"Why, Molly, my dearest girl, what is the matter?"

"Nothing, but I am tired and everything is so dirty. Look at the
cobwebs! Look at the dust on the books! Look at me! I am an old frowsy,
untidy frump."

"You! Why, honey, you are always lovely. As for dust--don't bother about
that. Let me read you this wonderful little poem by Gertrude Hall. I
clipped it years ago."

Professor Green saw that Molly was tired and unstrung and he well knew
that nothing soothed her more than poetry. Of course, man-like, he had
no idea that what he had said about Alice Fern's looking so sweet had
been too much for her, as she had contrasted herself all the afternoon
with her husband's immaculate cousin. Molly wiped away the foolish tears
as Edwin read the poem.


"THE DUST.

By Gertrude Hall.

    It settles softly on your things,
      Impalpable, fine, light, dull, gray;
    The dingy dust-clout Betty brings,
      And, singing, brushes it away:

    And it's a queen's robe, once so proud,
      And it's the moths fed in its fold,
    It's leaves, and roses, and the shroud,
      Wherein an ancient Saint was rolled.

    And it is beauty's golden hair,
      And it is genius' wreath of bay,
    And it is lips once red and fair
      That kissed in some forgotten May."

"It is lovely, exquisite!" breathed Molly. "I don't feel nearly so bad
about it as I did."

But she did wish that Alice Fern had not seen that black, black cobweb.



CHAPTER XVII.

HEROES AND HERO WORSHIPERS.


The next morning poor Molly slept late again. With all good intentions
of waking early and going down stairs in time to see about her husband's
neglected breakfast, when morning came she did not stir. Mildred had
given her another wakeful night after all, finding out more things about
her little pigs. Finally the little monkey had given up and dropped off
to sleep, and she and her doting mother were both dead to the world when
the time came for Professor Green to go to lectures.

Again he gave instructions to Katy not to disturb the mistress and crept
out of the house as still as a mouse. Breakfast had been a little
better. Molly was rubbing off on Katy evidently. Just to associate with
such a culinary genius as Molly must have its effect even on the worst
cook in the world, which Katy surely seemed to be.

Coming across the campus, he ran into Billie McKym, Josephine Crittenden
and Thelma Olsen. They looked very bright and rosy as they gave him a
cheery good morning. Each carried a bundle. He wondered that they were
going away from lecture halls instead of toward them. But after all, it
was not his business to be the whipper-in for lectures. Wellington was a
college and not a boarding school. If students chose to cut lectures, it
was their own affair until the final reckoning.

"Just our luck to meet Epiménides Antinous!" cried Billie. "He should
have been out of the house five minutes ago, at least."

"His legs are so long he doesn't have to start early," declared Jo.
"Just see him sprint!"

"I am certainly sorry to cut his lecture to-day," sighed Thelma, "but
this thing must be done."

The Greens' front door was never locked except at night, so the girls
crept quietly in. Billie peeped into the kitchen, where she discovered
Katy on her knees "scroobing" the part of the kitchen she could not
finish the evening before, when Molly was so hard-hearted as to make
her stop and prepare vegetables. Such a sea of suds!

"Katy," whispered Billie.

"Merciful Mither! And phwat is it? Ye scart me," and the girl sat back
on her heels and looked at Billie with round, wide eyes.

"We are great friends of Mrs. Green and we have come to dust her books
and--ahem--do a few little things. Is she still asleep?"

"Yis, and the master was after saying she must not be distoorbed, not on
no account."

"Of course she must not be! That is why we have come to dust the things.
We think she looks so tired."

"And so she is, the scwate lamb; but she do fly around so, and she do
cook up so mooch. I tell her that she thinks more of her man's insides
thin she do of her own outsides."

"Well, Katy, we want you to let us have a broom and a wall brush. We
brought our own aprons and rags," and Billie pressed a round, hard
something into Katy's hand. It was not so large as a church door nor
so deep as a well, but it served to get the Irish girl up off of her
run-down heels; and in a trice the coveted broom and wall brush were in
possession of the three conspirators, as well as a stepladder, which
they decided would be needful.

"Don't say a word to Mrs. Green, Katy,--now remember. We are going to
work very quietly and hope to finish before she gets downstairs. We
don't want her to know who did it, but we mean to get it all done
before noon," said Jo, rolling up her sport shirtsleeves and disclosing
muscular arms, that showed what athletics had done for her and what she
could do for athletics.

"Where must we begin, Thelma?" asked Billie, who was as willing as could
be but knew no more about cleaning than a hog does about holidays, Jo
declared.

"Begin at the top," laughed Thelma, tying up her yellow head in a great
towel and rolling up her sleeves.

"Gee, your arms are beautiful!" exclaimed Billie. "I'd give my head for
such arms. I'd like to drape them in a silver scarf. Think how they
would gleam through." The arms were snow white and while Thelma's
strength was much greater than Jo's, her muscles did not show as they
did on that athletic young person.

Thelma blushed and laughed as she balanced herself on a stepladder and
began taking down pictures. A cloud of dust floated down and enveloped
her.

"Look, look! She looks like the 'white armed Gudrun'! Don't you remember
in William Morris's 'Fall of the Neiblungs'? The battle in Atli's Hall?

    "'Lo, lo, in the hall of the Murder where the white-armed
            Gudrun stands,
      Aloft by the kingly high-seat, and nought empty are her
            hands;
      For the litten brand she beareth, and the grinded war-sword
            bare:
      Still she stands for a little season till day groweth white
            and fair.
      Without the garth of King Atli, but within, a wavering
            cloud
      Rolls, hiding the roof and the roof-sun; then she stirrith
            and crieth aloud.'"

"Cut it out! Cut it out!" cried Jo, "and come lend a hand."

"Mustn't we dust before we sweep?" innocently asked Billie.

"If you want to, but you'll have to dust again afterwards," said the
white-armed Gudrun from her ladder. "The books are really so dirty that
I don't think it would hurt to wipe down the walls without covering
them, but that is a mighty poor cleaning method. Poor Molly! Didn't she
look tired yesterday? I hope she won't think we are cheeky to take a
hand in her affairs."

"Cheeky! She will think we are her good friends, not like that snippy
Miss Fern who stared so at the cobwebs and then went out and palavered
over Epiménides Antinous. She used to claim him, so I am told. One of
the nurses at the infirmary told me that when Epi Anti had typhoid
there, years ago, Miss Fern came and dressed herself up like a nurse and
almost bored the staff to death taking care of her sick cousin," said
Billie, delighted with the job that had been given her of wiping down
walls. "Isn't this splendid? Just look at all the dirt I got on my
rag!"

"Well, don't rub it back on the wall," admonished Jo.

"No. Well, what must I do with it?"

"Can't say, but don't put it back on the walls."

"Jo, you and Billie dust the books and I will finish up the pictures.
I can't trust myself to dust Professor Green's books. I am afraid of
breaking the tenth commandment all the time," sighed Thelma. "I'll wash
the windows, too."

"Oh, Thelma! The white-armed Gudrun sitting in windows washing them!
That's not occupation meet for a queen. Let me do it."

"You, Billie McKym, wash a window! Did you ever wash one in your life?"

"Well, no, not exactly, but I bet I could. What's the use of a college
education if one can't wash windows when she gets to be a full grown
senior?"

But since the object of the girls was to get the room clean, it was
decided that Thelma was to wash the windows. My, how they worked! Jo
found she had muscles that her athletics had never revealed. She found
them because they began to ache.

"Why, to dust all these books and books is as bad as building a house,"
she said, straightening up and stretching when she had finished the
poet's corner.

"Exactly like laying brick," declared Billie. "I'm going to join the
Hod-carriers' Union. I'll be no scab."

Katy had occasionally poked her head in at the door, entreating "whin
they coom to the scroobing" to call her.

The cleaners made very little noise, so little that the sleeping Molly
and Mildred were not at all disturbed.

"I wish she knew it was almost done," said Thelma, perched in the window
sill and rubbing vigorously on a shining pane. "She would be so glad. I
know she is worrying about it in her sleep. Hark! There is the baby!"

Then began the business of the day upstairs. Katy was called, for water
must be heated as Katy, according to her habit, had let the fire go out
before the boiler was hot.

"Katy, we must hurry up with Mildred this morning and get to the
library. It is filthy," said Molly, as she slipped the little French
flannel petticoat over Mildred's bald head.

"Yes, mum!" grinned Katy.

"We have luncheon almost ready, with the cold lamb to start with."

"Yes, mum."

"Don't you think you could get the dining room cleaned while I am
attending to the baby?"

"Yes, mum, if yez can schpare me."

"Oh, I think I can. But, Katy, before you go hand me that basket. And,
Katy, perhaps you had better wash out this flannel skirt. I am so afraid
she might run short of them. You can empty the water now--and, Katy,
please hold the baby's hand while I tie this ribbon, she is such a
wiggler--and, Katy--a little boiled water now for her morning tipple.
She must drink lots of water to keep in good health."

"Yes, mum, and how aboot breakfast for yez, mum?"

"Oh, I forgot my breakfast! Of course I must eat some breakfast. I'll
come down to it."

"Oh, no, mum! And let me be after bringing it oop to yez, mum," insisted
the wily Katy, who was anxious for the youthful house cleaners to
accomplish their dark and secret mission without interruption. Not only
was it great fun, a huge joke, in fact, for her to be paid fifty cents
to let others do her work, but it meant that since others were doing it,
she would not have to, and she could have just that much more time for
"scroobing" and resting. A tray was accordingly got ready and Molly
found she had a little more appetite than the morning before; also, that
Katy's food was really a little better.

"Your coffee is better this morning, Katy," she said, believing that
praise for feats accomplished but egged on the servitor to other and
greater effort.

"Yes, mum, so the master said."

"Poor Edwin," thought Molly, "how I have neglected him. I must do
better. But if I don't wake up, I don't wake up. If I could only get a
little nap in the day time. Mother always wanted me to take one, but how
can I? The living room must be cleaned to-day." She felt weary at the
thought. Accustomed as she was to being out of doors a great deal, she
really needed the fresh air.

"As soon as luncheon is over, we must get busy with the cleaning. I wish
we might have done it in the forenoon, but I am afraid it is too late."

"Yes, mum, it's too late!" and Katy indulged in such a hearty giggle
that her mistress began to think perhaps she was feeble-minded as well
as inefficient.

"Is the table in the dining room cleared off, Katy, so you can set it
for luncheon?"

"No, mum, it is not!"

"Oh, Katy! What have you been doing all morning?"

"Well, mum, I scroobed my kitchen, and--and----"

"And what?" demanded Molly.

"And I did a little head work in the liberry, that is, I----"

"Oh, Katy, did you clean the living room, clean it well?"

"Well, mum, yez can wait and see if it schoots yez," and Katy beat a
hasty retreat to warn the cleaners that the mistress was about to
descend.

The room presented a very different appearance to what it had before the
girls rolled up their sleeves. The slanting afternoon sun would seek out
no dusty corners now; everything was spick and span. The books no longer
had to be beaten and blown before you dared open them, and they stood in
neat and orderly rows; the walls held no decorations in the shape of
Irishman's curtains now; the picture glass shone, as did the window
panes; the rugs were out in the back yard sunning after a vigorous
beating and brushing from Thelma, whom Billie called "the powerful
Katrinka."

The floor, being the one part of the room that Katy had put some licks
on, did not need anything more serious than a dusting after everything
else was done.

"Katy, you might bring in the rugs now as we have done everything else,"
suggested Billie. Katy went out into the back yard and bundled up the
rugs. Molly, seeing her from an upper window, smiled her approval.

"I believe she is going to do very well," she said to herself. "She
seems to be trying, and she is so fond of Mildred."

"Come on, girls, we must hurry and get off! Molly will be down stairs
any minute now and she must not see us," and Thelma unwound the towel
from her head and took off her apron.

"Well, surely the white-armed Gudrun is not going across the campus with
a black face," objected Billie. "Why, both of you look like negro
minstrels----"

"And you!" interrupted Jo. "You should see yourself before you talk
about kettles. You'd have not a leg to stand on and not a handle to your
name. I told you to tie up your head. I believe nothing short of a
shampoo and a Turkish bath will get the grime off you."

"Let's hide behind the sofa and after Molly goes on the porch with the
baby, we can sneak up to the bath room," suggested Thelma. The girls
then crouched on the floor behind a sofa that stood near the poet's
corner.

In a minute Molly came down the stairs, little Mildred in her arms and
on her face a contented and rested expression. She stood in the doorway
of the living room and exclaimed with delight over its polished
cleanliness.

"Oh, Katy, how splendid it is! Did you do it all by yourself and in such
a short time? I don't see how you managed it. Why, you have even dusted
the books. That is almost a day's work in itself. I was dreading it
so,--it is such a back breaking job."

Jo rubbed her aching back, with a grim smile, and nudged Billie.

"And you have kept yourself so clean, too!" Molly began to feel that she
had the prize servant of the east: one who could clean such an Augean
Stable as that room had looked, dust all the books, wash the windows and
wipe down walls, beat rugs, polish picture glass, etc., etc., and still
be neat and tidy. "Why, I would have been black all over if I had done
such a great work."

Katy stood by, quite delighted with the undeserved praise. The young
ladies had told her not to tell and far be it from her to refuse to
accept the unaccustomed praise from any one. She had never been very apt
in any work she had undertaken and no one had ever taken any great pains
to teach her, and now if this pretty lady wanted to praise her, why she
was more than willing. She felt in her pocket for her fifty cent piece,
that still seemed a great joke to her. The sweet taste of the praise did
one great thing in her kindly Irish soul: it was so pleasant, she
determined to have more of it, and through her slow intelligence there
filtered the fact that to get more praise, she must deserve more praise,
and to deserve it she must work for it. She beat a hasty retreat to the
dining room and actually cleared off the table, where the master had
eaten his solitary breakfast, in a full run. She broke no dishes that
morning, either, which was a great step forward.

Molly could not tear herself away from the wonder room. She moved
around, busying herself changing ornaments a bit and placing chairs at
a slightly different angle, doing those little things that make a room
partake of a certain personality.

"Here, baby, lie on the sofa, honey. Muddy is going to give you a little
ride. Do you know, darling, that Katy knows how to put things in place
just like a lady? She must have an artistic soul. Look how she has
arranged the mantel-piece! Servants usually make things look so stiff.
Actually there is nothing for me to do in the room, she has done it so
beautifully."

Billy here dug an elbow into Jo's lame back that almost made her squeal,
but she held on to her emotions and in turn gave her chum a fourth
degree pinch.

"Now, Muddy is going to ride her baby--this sofa must go closer to the
wall," and Molly put Mildred on the sofa and gave it a vigorous push.
The law of impenetrability, that two things cannot be in the same place
at the same time, prevented the baby from having much of a ride. Molly
gave a harder push. "I must be very feeble if I can't budge this sofa."

Then came a smothered groan from the huddled girls, and one by one they
emerged from their corner, clutching their bundles of dust rags and
aprons and exposing to Molly's amazed eyes three of the very blackest,
dirtiest faces that ever Wellington had boasted in her senior class.

They sat on the floor and laughed and giggled, and Molly sat down beside
them and would have felt like a college girl again herself if it had not
been for little Mildred, who took all the laughter as an entertainment,
got up for her express amusement, and gurgled accordingly.

"Now you must all stay to luncheon!" cried the hospitable Molly.

"Oh, indeed we mustn't," said Billie, who never could quite get used to
Molly's wholesale hospitality, having been brought up in the lap of
luxury but with no privileges of inviting persons off hand to meals.

"But you must. I won't do a thing for you but just put on more plates.
I was going to have the very simplest meal and I'll still have it."

The girls stayed, after giving themselves a vigorous scrubbing, and
Molly's luncheon was ready when Professor Green arrived. The cold leg of
lamb played a noble part at the impromptu party, flanked by a lettuce
salad that Billie insisted upon dressing, reminding Molly more than ever
of her darling Judy. A barrel of preserves had just arrived, some that
Molly and Kizzie had put up during the summer. On opening it, a jar of
blackberry jam, being on top, was chosen to grace the occasion. Molly
made some of the tiny biscuit that her husband loved and that seemed
such a joke to Katy. When she came in bearing a plate of hot ones, she
spread her mouth in a grin so broad that Professor Green declared she
could easily have disposed of six at one mouthful.

"I always call them Gulliver biscuit," he said, helping himself to three
at a time, "because in the old Gulliver's Travels I used to read when I
was a kid there was a picture of Gulliver being fed by the Lilliputians.
He was represented by a great head, and the Lilliputians were climbing
up his face by ladders and pouring down his throat barrels of little
biscuit that were just about the size of these."

They had a merry time at that meal. Molly told her husband why his prize
pupils had cut his lectures and all others that morning, and how she had
almost passed a steam roller over them in form of the library sofa.

"We were terribly afraid we would offend her," explained Thelma, "but
she was dear to us."

"Offend me! Why, I can't think of anything in all my life that has ever
happened to me that has touched me more. I don't see how you ever
thought of doing anything so nice."

"'Twas Billie," from Thelma.

"Thelma and Jo did all the dirty work," declared Billie.

"Dirty work, indeed! You looked as though you had used yourself to wipe
down the walls with," laughed Jo.

"Well, anyhow, when that snippy Miss Fern comes again, giving her
perfunctory pokes at the baby and looking at the cobwebs until nobody
can help seeing them, I bet she won't find anything to turn up her nose
at. I'd like to use her to clean the walls with. If there is anything I
hate it is any one who is the pink of perfection in her own eyes. We
were having such a cozy time until she lit on us with her dove-colored
effects. Who cared whether there were cobwebs or not?"

"Did Miss Fern speak of the cobwebs?" asked Edwin, while the others sat
around in frozen horror, remembering that she was his cousin and that he
was evidently very fond of her.

"Oh, no, she didn't open her lips; she just pursed them up and stared
at the corner. Of course, she had already given her dig about Molly's
surely not having time to write and attend to her house, too; and then
when she fixed her eyes on that Irishman's curtain we all knew what she
was thinking, and that she wanted us to know it, just as well as though
she had spoken it and then written it and then had it put on the
minutes.... What's the matter?... Oh, Heavens! What have I done?... Oh,
Professor Green! She is your cousin! Please, please forgive me," and
Billie clasped her hands in entreaty.

"Oh, don't mind me," said the professor with a twinkle. "Go as far as
you like. If the ladies have such open minds that he who runs may read,
and they think disagreeable things about my wife, why, they deserve to
be used for house cleaning purposes, have the floor wiped up with them
and what not."

The luncheon broke up in a laugh and evidently there were no hard
feelings on the part of the host for the criticism of Miss Fern that
had so ingenuously fallen from the lips of the irrepressible Billie.

"Billie! What a break!" screamed Jo, when they got outside after Molly
had given them all an extra hug for the undying proof of friendship they
had given her.

"Break, indeed! I never forgot for an instant that Epi Anti was a near
cousin to that maidenhair fern. I just thought I'd let him know how
she had acted and how uncomfortable she had made our Molly feel. I
knew Molly would never let him know, and I could do it and make out it
was a break."

"Well, if you aren't like Bret Harte's heathen Chinee, I never saw one,"
laughed Thelma.

    "'Which I wish to remark,
      And my language is plain,
      That for ways that are dark
      And for tricks that are vain,
      The heathen Chinee is peculiar.'"

"All the same, I bet old Epi Anti doesn't tell Molly any more what a
sweet thing Alice Fern is."

"How do you know he did?"

"Insight into human nature," and Billie made a saucy moue.

"Gee, my back aches!" said Jo. "I think I'll do housework often. It
certainly does reach muscles we don't know about. But didn't it pay just
to see dear old Molly's face when we rolled out from behind the sofa?"

And all of them agreed it had.

"Edwin," said Molly, after the girls had gone, "I think I'll send for
Kizzie to come help me. I may put her in the kitchen and take Katy for a
nurse."

"Good! I am certainly glad you have come to that decision. What changed
you?"

"Well, it seems to me that when it comes to the pass that my college
girls feel so sorry for me they cut such lectures as yours to give the
whole morning to cleaning up for me I must do something, and the only
thing I can think of doing is to send for Kizzie."

"Can you mix the black and white without coming to grief?"

"Remember, Katy is more green than white, and she is so good-natured,
she could get along with anything."

"I can't tell you how relieved I am, honey. I wanted you to do what
pleased you, but I could not see how I was coming in on this. I felt
very lonesome, and while I wasn't jealous of the baby, I was certainly
envious of her. If Kizzie comes, you can be with me more and nurse me
some."

"Yes, dearie, I missed it, too, but somehow I couldn't get through. If
Katy had been more competent----"

"But she wasn't and isn't."

"No, she certainly isn't, but she adores Mildred already and Mildred
actually cries for her. I believe she would make a fine nurse. If only
she doesn't feel called upon to scrub the baby."

Edwin laughed and, settling himself for a pleasant smoke, opened the
morning paper, which neither he nor Molly had found time to read.

"Oh, what a shame!" he exclaimed. "The Germans dropping bombs on Paris!
Infamous!"

"Paris! How can they? Oh, Edwin, Judy and Kent both there!"



CHAPTER XVIII.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.


When the teller of a tale has to fly from one side of the ocean to the
other in the twinkling of an eye, as it were, at any rate between
chapters, and the persons in the tale have no communication with one
another except by letters that are more than likely to be tampered with
on the high seas, it is a great comfort to find that all the characters
have at last arrived at the same date. On that morning after the
dropping of bombs when Judy, dressed in her sad mourning garb, was
selling spinach and tarts to the hungry occupants of the Montparnasse
quarter, Molly, allowing for the difference in time, was oversleeping
herself after a wakeful night and the college girls were quietly
cleaning her living room. Kent and Jim Castleman were stretching
themselves luxuriously in the not too comfortable beds of the _Haute
Loire_ preparatory to making themselves presentable, first to find
Judy, and then to find the general who, no doubt, would be glad to have
the Kentucky giant enlist in the ranks, even though his letter of
introduction and credentials had gone to the bottom with the _Hirondelle
de Mer_. Jim Castleman's appearance was certainly credential enough that
he would make a good fighter.

A bath and a shave did much towards making our young men presentable.
Kent with a needle and thread, borrowed from the chambermaid, darned the
knees of his trousers so that they did very well just so long as he did
not try to sit down; then the strain would have been too much. Jim's
were hopelessly short.

"Nothing but a flounce would save me, so I'll have to go around at high
water mark; but I'll soon be in a uniform, I hope."

They had breakfast in a little café where Kent had often gone while he
was a student at the Beaux Arts, and there Jim Castleman astonished the
madame by ordering four eggs. She couldn't believe it possible that any
one could eat that much _déjeuner_ and so cooked his eggs four minutes.
His French was quite sketchy but he plunged manfully in with what he had
and finally came out with breakfast enough to last until luncheon. Kent
was willing to do the talking for him but he would none of it.

"Let me do it myself! I'll learn how to get something to eat if I starve
in the attempt."

And now for Judy! Kent could hardly wait for his famished friend to eat
his two orders of rolls and coffee and his four eggs, but at last he was
through.

First to the bank! No, they did not know where Mlle. Kean was. She had
been in once to get money but they were sorry they could not honour her
letter of credit. She had left no address.

Then to the American Club! Judy had been in the day before for mail, and
had had quite a budget. She had left no address, but came for letters
always when the American mail was reported in.

Where could she be?

Next, to his cousin, the Marquise d'Ochtè, on the Faubourg!

The venerable porter, at the porte-cochère, who came in answer to the
vigorous ring that the now very uneasy Kent gave the bell, said that
none of the family was within and they had no visitor. Madame the
Marquise had gone to the front only the day before, but was coming home
soon to open a hospital in her own home. Even then the workmen were busy
carrying out her orders, packing away books, pictures, ornaments, rugs
and what not so that the house would be the more suitable to care for
the wounded. The Marquis and Philippe were both with their regiments.
The old porter was sad and miserable. Jules, the butler, was gone; also
Gaston, the chef whose sauces were beyond compare. Madame had taken
great hampers of food with her, even going to Montparnasse for tarts
from Tricots'.

Kent turned sadly away. Judy was somewhere, but where? Her letter to
Molly telling of her being in the Bents' studio had come after Kent
left Kentucky and he had no way of knowing that she was there. Polly
Perkins and his wife, he knew were in the thick of the battle from the
first letter he had seen from Judy. Where was Pierce Kinsella? He had
not heard from his studio mate and friend but he rather thought there
was little chance of finding him. At any rate, he determined to go to
the Rue Brea and see if the concierge there knew anything of the lost
damsel.

They found a crowd at the entrance to the court on which the studios
fronted. The concierge in the midst of them was waving her arms and
talking excitedly.

"Yes, and the first I heard was a click! click! click! and that, it
seems, was the terrible thing flying over us and then an explosion that
deafened me. They say it was meant for the Luxembourg and they missed
their mark. That I know nothing about----"

"What is it? Tell me quick!" demanded Kent, elbowing his way through the
crowd with the help of Jim, that renowned center rush.

"Ah, Monsieur Brune!" she exclaimed, grasping his hand. "Did you know
that a dirty Prussian had sent a bomb right down through the skylight of
the good Bents' and now all their things are wrecked?"

"The Bents'!" gasped Kent. "Was any one hurt?"

"And that we can't say. The young lady has not been sleeping there
lately but yesterday she came and got the key and did not return it, so
I thought she must have slept there last night! This morning we can find
no trace of her. The bomb did much damage, but surely it could not have
destroyed her completely."

"Destroyed her! What young lady?"

"Why, Mademoiselle Kean, of course."

Kent was glad of the strong arm of Jim Castleman. He certainly needed a
support but only for a moment. He pushed through the crowd and made his
way to the shattered wall of the studio. The bomb had not done so much
damage as might have been expected. The front wall was fallen and the
skylight was broken all over the floor. The chairs and easels were
piled up like jackstraws at the beginning of a game. The bedrooms were
uninjured but the balcony where Judy and Molly had slept that happy
winter in Paris had fallen.

Would Judy have slept up on the roost just for auld lang syne or would
she have occupied a more comfortable bedroom? If she had been blown into
such small bits that there was nothing to tell the tale, why should
these other things have escaped? There were the blue tea cups in the
china closet uninjured, although most of them were turned over, showing
that the shock had reached them, too. What was that blue thing lying on
the divan in the corner under untold débris?

Kent pulled off the timbers and broken glass and unearthed Judy's blue
serge dress, which was waiting to be dyed a dismal black. He clasped it
in his arms in an agony of apprehension. Letters fell out of the pocket.
He recognized his mother's handwriting, also Molly's. So, Judy had
heard from Kentucky! He stuffed them back in the jacket.

"Jim, I simply don't believe she was here. I couldn't have slept all
night like such a lummux if she--if she----"

"Yes, old fellow! I know! I don't believe she was here, either."

"I just know I would have had some premonition of it! I would have been
conscious of it if anything had been happening to Judy," which showed
that Kent Brown was his mother's own son. He was not going to mourn the
loss of a loved one until he was sure the loved one was gone, and he had
her own unfailing faith that something could not have happened to one he
cared for without his being aware of it.

"Sure you would!" declared Jim, not at all sure but relieved that his
friend was taking that view of the matter.

"I know something that will be a positive proof whether she was here or
not last night." Kent walked firmly to the bath room, which was behind
the bed rooms and out of the path of the bomb. He threw open the door
and looked eagerly on the little glass shelf for a tooth brush.

"Not a sign of one. I know and you know that if Judy had been here last
night her tooth brush would have been here, too. I am sure now! Come on,
and let's look somewhere else."

Kent went out with Judy's serge dress over his arm. The concierge looked
sadly after him: "Her dress is all he has to cherish now. The poor young
man! I used to see he was in love with her when Mrs. Brune was in the
Bents' studio and her son occupied the one to the right with Mr.
Kinsella. Oh, la la! _Mais la vie est amer!_"

The crowd dispersed, since there was nothing more to see and the hour
for _déjeuner a la fourchette_ was approaching. The concierge went off
to visit her daughter who was ill. The studios were all empty now and
her duties were light. Her husband was to see that no one entered the
court to carry off the Bents' things, which were exposed pitifully to
the gaze of the public until the authorities could do something. He,
good man, waited a little while and then made his way to a neighbouring
_brasserie_ to get his tumbler of absinthe, and one tumbler led to
another and forgetfulness followed soon, and the Bents' studio
properties were but dreams to his befuddled brain.

Judy had spent a busy morning. Marie had gone to carry tarts to "the
regiment" and all of the waiting in the shop fell on her. She did it
gladly, thankful that she was so busy she could not think. She measured
soup and weighed spinach and potato salad and wrapped up tarts until her
back ached. Finally Mère Tricot came in from the baking of more tarts.

"My child, go out for a while. You need the air. I am here now to feed
these gourmands."

"All right, Mother! I want to get my dress at the studio. Marie says she
will dye it for me."

"Certainly! Certainly! We can save many a sou by doing it ourselves. Go,
child!"

Judy put on her little mourning bonnet and sadly found her way to the
Rue Brea.

"I wonder where the bomb hit last night. Père Tricot said near the
Luxembourg."

What was her amazement to find the poor studio in ruins. No concierge to
tell her a thing about it, for her lodge was locked tight and no one
near. Judy picked her way sadly over the fallen front wall.

"I'll get my dress, anyhow." But although she was sure it had been on
the divan in the studio, no dress was to be found.

"Well, I'll have to have something to wear besides this thin waist. I am
cold now, and what will I do when winter, real winter comes? I shall
have to send to Giverny for my trunk, and no telling what it will cost
to get it here. Oh, oh, how am I to go on? I wish to God I had been
sleeping on that balcony when the bomb struck. Then I would have been at
peace."

Judy gave herself up to the despair that was in her heart. She made a
thorough search for the suit through the poor wrecked apartment but no
sign of it could she see. She went sadly back to the delicatessen shop
and stepped behind the counter, her hat still on, to assist the good
Mother Tricot, who was being besieged with customers.

"Take off your hat, child. Here is a fresh cap of Marie's and an apron.
Did you get your dress?"

Judy told her kind friend of the bomb-wrecked studio and her lost suit.

"Oh, the vandals! The wretches! There must be a Prussian in our midst
who would be so low as to steal your suit. No Frenchman would have done
it. Before the war,--yes, but now there is not one who would do such a
dastardly trick. We are all of one family now, high and low, rich and
poor,--and we do not prey on one another."

"Well, it makes very little difference," said Judy resignedly. "I'll
send for my trunk. I have other suits in it."

"Other suits! Oh, what riches!" but then the old woman considered that
the friend of the Marquise d'Ochtè perhaps had many other suits.

Judy donned the cap and apron and went on with the shop keeping. No one
could have told her from a poor little bereaved French girl. The cap
was becoming, as was also the organdy collar. Her face was pale and her
eyes full of unshed tears, but the sorrow had given to Judy's face
something that her enemies might have said it had lacked: a softness and
depth of feeling. Her friends knew that her heart was warm and true and
that the feeling was there, but her life had been care free with no
troubles except the scrapes that she had been as clever getting out of
as she had been adroit getting in. She had many times considered herself
miserable before but now she realized that all other troubles had
been nothing--this was something she had had no conception of--this
tightening of the heart strings, this hopeless feeling of the bottom
having dropped out of the universe.

She felt absolutely friendless, except for her dear Tricots. The Browns
could never see her again. They must blame her, as it was all her fault
that Kent had come for her. If she had not been so full of her own
conceit, she would certainly have sailed for America when all the others
did at the breaking out of the war. Her mother and father seemed as
remote as though they were on another planet. The war might last for
years and there seemed no chance of their leaving Berlin.

"I'll just stay on here and earn my board and keep," she sighed. "The
Tricots find me useful and they want me."

In the meantime, Kent and Jim Castleman went and sat down in the Garden
of the Luxembourg to smoke and talk it over, Kent still fondly clasping
the serge dress.

"I'll find her all right before night," declared Kent. "She'll be sure
to go to the Bents' studio sometime to-day. I'll write a note and leave
it with the concierge. I'll also leave a note at the American Club. She
must go there twice a week at least. I'd like to know where the poor
little thing is," and Kent heaved a sigh.

"I bet she is all right, wherever she is," comforted Jim. "Say, Brown,
I don't like to mention it, but I am starved to death."

"Not mention it! Why not?"

"Well, you see when a pal is in trouble it seems so low to go get
hungry."

"But I'm not in trouble. Now if I thought that Judy had been in that
place last night there would be something to be troubled about, but as
it is, I just can't find her for a few hours, or maybe minutes. Where
shall we eat?"

"That's up to you. I'm getting mighty low in funds, so let's do it cheap
but do it a plenty," and Jim looked rather ruefully at his few remaining
francs.

"I am still in funds but I shall have to go it mighty easy, too, to get
Judy and me home. I tell you what we might do. Let's go to a shop where
they have ready cooked food and bring it out here and eat it. They say
you can live on half what it costs to eat in a restaurant. When I was
studying over here I knew lots of fellows who lived that way. Of course,
they had studios where they could take the stuff and eat it, but the
Luxembourg Garden is good enough. I know a place where the Perkinses
used to deal. They are the funny lot I told you about, the long-haired
man and the short-haired woman. He is driving an ambulance now and
goodness knows where she is."

"Well, let's go to it. I am so hungry I can hardly waddle. These
Continental breakfasts with nothing but bread and coffee don't fill me
up half way."

Kent smiled, remembering the two full orders and the four eggs his
friend had tucked away, but he said nothing. Having a good appetite of
his own, he had naught but sympathy for his famished friend.

They left the garden and made for the shop where Jo and Polly Perkins
had bought their ready cooked provisions.

"These people make some little pies that are mighty good, too. We might
get half a dozen or so of them as a top off," suggested Kent.

"Fine! I've got a mouth for pie, all right."

Judy had gone to the kitchen for a moment to bring to the fore the
smoked tongue that Père Tricot had been slicing in those paper-thin
slices that he alone knew how to accomplish. She bore aloft a great
platter of the viand, the even slices arranged like a wreath of autumn
leaves. While she was still in the living room behind the shop, two
strangers entered. Their backs being to the light, Judy only saw their
silhouettes as they bent over the show cases eagerly discussing what
selection of meats and vegetables they should make, while Mère Tricot,
accustomed to slim-pocketed customers, patiently waited. Suddenly she
leaned over the counter and touched something which one of the young men
had thrown over his arm.

"What is this?" she demanded with the manner she could so well assume,
that of a woman of the Commune who meant to right her wrongs.

The purchaser of sauce and potato salad, the two cheapest and most
filling of the wares, held up rather sheepishly a blue serge suit.

"Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle! Come quick! It is your suit--and no
Frenchman, as I said, but a Prussian, no doubt."

The grenadier slid quickly from behind the counter and putting her
brawny arm out, held the door firmly, so that no escape could be
possible.



CHAPTER XIX.

WASTED DYE.


Judy emerged from behind the curtains which divided the family living
room from the little shop, the platter of tongue held high. In her cap
and apron, she reminded one of a Howard Pyle illustration for some
holiday number of a magazine.

"Gee, what a beaut!" exclaimed the taller of the two strangers.

The one with the serge suit dropped it and made a rush for the girl. He
had her in his arms, platter of tongue and all, before Mère Tricot could
rescue it. But that dame managed to extricate the big dish before any
greater damage was done than disarranging the effect of a wreath of
autumn leaves.

Hearts that were broken may be mended but platters of smoked tongue
must not be dropped on the floor and smashed.

"Oh, Judy gal, Judy gal! Tell me all about it!"

"Kent! Kent! I thought you were drowned and have gone into mourning for
you," sobbed Judy.

As for Jim Castleman, in the most execrable and impossible French, he
was explaining to good Mother Tricot how it all happened, and Father
Tricot hastened to the shop from his carving to find out what it was all
about, and then such a handshaking and hugging as ensued was never seen!

"We were all about to sit down to _déjeuner a la fourchette_," said the
ever hospitable old man, "and if the young gentlemen would come with us,
we should be much honoured."

The grenadier was equally pleased to have them and, indeed, Jim
Castleman was so hungry by that time that he would have eaten cold
spinach with his fingers.

How that old couple plied the young Americans with their delightful
food and how they listened to their tale of shipwreck and rescue! When
Kent told of their fooling the Prussians with Tutno, the childish
language they had known in their youth, the Tricots laughed with such
glee that a gendarme put his head in the door to see what it was all
about. When Jim Castleman in a speech that sounded more like Tutno than
Parisian French, informed his hosts that he was there to join the army
of Joffre, old Mère Tricot helped him to two more tarts, although he had
already eaten enough of them to furnish dessert for any ordinary French
family of four.

"And now, Madame," said Kent to his hostess, "I want you to do another
thing for me. You have done so many things already that maybe I should
not ask you."

"What is it, mon brave?" and the old woman smiled very kindly on the
young American, whom she had not half an hour before called a Prussian
and accused of stealing Judy's serge suit.

"I am to be married very soon and I want you to help me out in it."

"Married!" Judy gasped.

"Yes, Miss Judy Kean, I am to be married and so are you. What's more, it
is to be just as soon as the French law will tie the knot."

"Well, of all----"

"Yes, of all the slippery parties, I know you are the slipperiest and I
have no idea of letting you get away. Am I right, Jim?"

Jim was too busy with a tart to be coherent. He nodded his head,
however, and when Kent put the same question to Mère Tricot in French,
she upheld him.

"It would be much more convenable if you were married. It is very easy
to get married in war time. The authorities are not near so difficult to
approach on the subject. I will see what can be done by the magistrate
who married Jean and Marie, and no doubt if you interview your American
Ambassador, much can be attended to in a short time."

"Kent Brown, if you think----" sputtered Judy.

"I don't think a thing, I just know," said Kent very calmly. "Put on
your hat, honey, and let's take a little walk."

"Well, all right--but----" Was this the Judy Kean who prided herself on
so well knowing her own mind, calmly consenting to be married against
her will? Was it against her will? She suddenly remembered the
communings she had had with herself, in which she had cried out to Kent:
"Why, why, did you not make me go with you?"

"I shall have to rip the lining out of my hat before I can go out," she
said quite meekly.

"The lining out of your hat?" questioned Kent.

"Yes, you see I went into mourning when--when----" and Judy, now that it
was all over, still could not voice the terrible thing she thought had
happened to Kent.

"Please don't rip it out until I see you in it. Not many men live to see
how their widows look mourning for them."

"Widows, indeed! Kent Brown, you presume too much!" exclaimed Judy, but
she could not help laughing. The hat was very becoming and she was not
loathe to wear it, just once.

First Mère Tricot must be assisted with the dishes, however; but then
Judy got ready to go walking with Kent.

Père Tricot undertook to be guide to Jim Castleman, offering to lead him
to the proper place to enlist.

"I'll only look into it to-day," said Jim, grasping Kent's hand. "I
shan't join for keeps until I have officiated as best man."

Judy, who had gone into Marie's tiny bedroom to get into her rescued
serge suit, overheard this remark and blushed to the roots of her fluffy
hair. As she put on her white lined hat, she peeped again into the
mirror: "Judy Kean, you are much too rosy for a widow," she admonished
her image.

Mère Tricot saw them off, her good man and Jim to the recruiting
station, and Kent and Judy to the Luxembourg Gardens, a spot hallowed by
lovers.

"Well, well!" she said to herself. "The good God has brought the poor
lamb her lover from the grave. I am glad, very glad,--but it is
certainly a pity to waste all that good dye the butcher's wife saved for
us. It is not good when kept too long, either. I won't throw it out yet
a while, though,--some one will be wanting it, perhaps."



CHAPTER XX.

A WAR BRIDE.


Marrying in Paris was certainly a much easier matter than it had been
almost two years before when Molly Brown and Edwin Green had struggled
to have the nuptial knot tied. Judy's baptismal certificate was not
demanded as had been Molly's, and the long waiting for research work, as
Kent expressed it, was not required. Mère Tricot undertook to engineer
the affair and did it with such expedition that it could have been
accomplished even before Judy got her trunk from Giverny.

It was very nice to have one's trunk again, although it really was
embarrassing to take up so much of the Tricots' living room with the
huge American affair.

"It seems funny to be married without any trousseau," Judy confided to
Mère Tricot.

"No trousseau! And what is in that great box if not trousseau?"

"I am sure I don't know. I really haven't any clothes to speak of that I
can remember," declared Judy.

"Well, let us see them!" begged Marie and her belle mère.

They were dying of curiosity to peep into the great box, so Judy
unpacked for their benefit, and their eyes opened wide at her stack of
shirt waists and lingerie and her many shoes.

"Two more suits and a great coat, silk dresses--at least three of
them--and skirts and shirts of duck and linen!" exclaimed Marie. "And
hats and gloves--and blouses enough for three! Not many war brides will
boast such a trousseau."

So our bride began to feel that in comparison to the little Marie, she
had so much that she must not worry about wedding clothes. Instead, she
divided her store of riches, and making up a bundle with a silk dress
and some blouses and lingerie, a suit and a hat, she hid it in Mère
Tricot's linen press for Marie to find when she, Judy, was married and
gone over the seas.

She well knew that the French girl would not accept the present unless
it were given to her in a very tactful way, and just to find it in the
linen press with her name on it and the donor out of reach seemed to
Judy the most diplomatic method.

Madame le Marquise d'Ochtè must be looked up again. Not only were Kent
and Judy very fond of her, but they knew they could not show their faces
to Mrs. Brown unless they had seen her dear Sally Bolling. This time
they found her in the old home in the Faubourg. She had been to the
front and come back to get her house in readiness for the wounded.

Could this be the gay and volatile Marquise, this sad looking,
middle-aged woman? She had grown almost thin during those few months of
the war. Her beautiful Titian hair was now streaked with grey. Judy
remembered with a choking feeling the first time she had come to the
Ochtè home on that night soon after Molly and her mother had arrived
in Paris, when they had dined in the Faubourg and then gone to hear
_Louise_ at the Opera. The Marquise had been radiant in black velvet and
diamonds, a beautiful, gay woman that one could hardly believe to be the
mother of Philippe. She had looked so young, so sparkling. She had said
at one time that she allowed no grey hairs to stay in her head, but had
her maid pull them out no matter how it hurt. Now it would take all a
maid's time to keep down the grey hairs in that head, and would leave
but a scant supply for a coiffure could they be extracted.

Kent thought she looked more like his mother and loved her for it. Her
greeting was very warm and her interest great in what Judy and Kent had
been doing and what they meant to do. She received them in the great
salon that had been converted into a hospital ward. All of the Louis
Quinze furniture had been stored away in an upper chamber and now in its
place were long rows of cots. The floor was bare of the handsome rugs
which had been the delight and envy of Judy on former visits, and now
the parquetted boards were frotted to a point of cleanliness that no
germ would have dared to violate.

"I left the pictures for the poor fellows to look at--that is, those
who are spared their eyesight," she said sadly. "My hospital opens
to-morrow, but I want the privilege of giving a wedding breakfast to you
young people. I can well manage it in the small _salle à manger_. That
is left as it was."

"Oh, you are so kind, but dear old Mère Tricot is making a great cake
for us and she would be sad indeed if she could not give the breakfast,"
explained Judy.

"That is as it should be," said the Marquise kindly, "but am I invited?"

"Invited! Of course you are invited, and the Marquis and Philippe if
they can be got hold of."

"They are still in camp and have not gone to the fore, so I will manage
to reach them. Jean is very busy, drilling all the time, but a family
wedding must be attended. Philippe is learning to fly," and she closed
her eyes a moment as though to shut out the remembrance of accidents
that happen all the time to the daring aviators.

Judy wondered if he had come in contact with Josephine Perkins, but said
nothing as it was a deep secret that Jo was passing off as a man and a
word might give her away.

"There are many Americans in the aviation camp, and very clever and apt
they are, Philippe says. I am proud of my countrymen for coming forward
as they are."

"Yes, I think it is great for them to. I--I--think I ought not to marry
Kent and go off and leave so much work to be done. I ought to help.
Don't you think so, Cousin Sally?" asked Judy.

The Marquise smiled at Judy's calling her cousin, smiled and liked it.
Kent looked uneasy and a little sullen. Suppose his Judy should balk at
the last minute and refuse to leave the stirring scenes of war! What
then? He had sworn not to return to United States without her, and
unless he did return in a very short time, the very good job he had
picked up in New York would be filled by some more fortunate and less
in love young architect.

"Why, my dear, it is not the duty of all American girls to stay on this
side and nurse any more than it is the duty of all American men to stay
here and fight. Only those must do it who are called, as it were, by the
spirit. You must marry my young cousin and go back to United States, and
there your duty will begin, not only to make him the brave, fine wife
that I know it is in you to make, but also to remember suffering France
and Belgium. There is much work waiting for you. This war will last for
years, thanks to that same Belgium who threw herself in the breach and
stopped the tide of Prussians flowing into France. If it had not been
for Belgium, the war would have been over now--yes, over--but France
would have been under the heel of the tyrant and Belgium off of the map.
Thank God for that brave little country!" and Judy and Kent bowed their
heads as at a benediction.

Kent kissed the Marquise for her sensible advice. He very well knew that
Judy would have been a great acquisition to his cousin's hospital, and
that workers were not numerous (not so plentiful at the beginning of the
war as they were later). Her advice was certainly unselfish. He thanked
her, also, for realizing that it was not up to all American men to stay
and fight. He had no desire to fight any one unless his own country was
at war, and then he felt he would do his duty as his ancestors had done
before him.

"I tell you what we'll do, you children and I: I'll order out the car--I
still keep one and a chauffeur so that with it I can bring the wounded
back to Paris--and we will go out to the aviation camp and see Philippe
and ask him to the wedding. You would like to see the camp, eh?"

"Above all things!" exclaimed Kent and Judy in chorus.

The broad grassy field, bordered by houses, sheds and workshops,
presented a busy scene as the Ochtè car drove up. Biplanes were parked
to one side like so many automobiles at a reception in a city, or
buggies at a county seat on court day in an American town. The field was
swarming with men, all eagerly watching a tiny speck off in the blue sky
in the direction of the trenches where the French had called a halt on
the Germans' insolent and triumphant march to Paris.

No more attempt was made to stop the car of Madame the Marquise from
coming into the aviation camp than there would have been had she been
Joffre himself.

"They know me very well," she said in answer to Kent's inquiry as to
this phenomenon, as he well knew they were very strict about visitors in
camp. "I am ever a welcome guest here, not only because they know I love
them, but because of something I bring." She pointed to a great hamper
of goodies packed in by the chauffeur.

The car was surrounded by eager and courteous young aviators and
soldiers, and Kent and Judy well knew it was not all for the _gateaux_
that the Marquise was so beloved. Philippe was summoned and clasped in
his mother's arms. Her heart cried out that every time might be the
last.

The Marquise was changed but her son even more so. His dilettantish
manner was gone for good, as was also his foppish beard. His face, clean
shaven except for a small moustache, was brown and lean; his mouth had
taken on purpose; his eyes were no longer merely beautiful but now had
depth of expression and a look of pity, as though he had seen much
sorrow.

He was greatly pleased to see his cousin Kent and also Miss Kean, who,
of course, he thought had gone back to America long ago. He remembered
Judy always as the young lady he came so near loving. Indeed, he would
have addressed her when Molly Brown had refused him, had he not been
made to understand by his fair cousin how important it was to love with
one's whole soul if married happiness was to be expected. He had, after
that, gone very slowly in possible courtships. Molly's friend, Frances
Andrews, had almost been his choice, but there was something of
fineness lacking in her that deterred him in time, and he was in a
measure relieved when that dashing young woman proceeded to marry an
impoverished Italian prince. His mother was relieved beyond measure at
what she could not but look on as her Philippe's escape. In fact, she
had never seen but one girl she thought would be just right for her
beloved son and that was Molly Brown.

Philippe was told of Kent's being shipwrecked and of Judy's having taken
up her abode with the Tricots. This last bit of information amused him
greatly. Judy told with much sprightliness of her serving in the shop
and of her learning to make tarts. Philippe began to look upon his
cousin Kent as a very lucky dog. He sighed when he promised to come to
the wedding breakfast, that is, if he could get leave. Why did all of
the charming American girls pass him by?

"_J'ai la France et ma mère_," he muttered, as his arm crept around the
waist of that beloved mother.

"What are they all looking at so intently?" asked Judy.

"Why, that is a daring young American aviator who has gone to seek some
information concerning the trenches of our friends the enemy. He is a
strange, quiet little fellow. No one ever gets a word out of him but he
has learned to manage his machine quicker than any of the nouveaux, and
now is intrusted to carry out all kinds of dangerous orders. He looks
like a boy sometimes and sometimes when he is tired, like a strange
little old man. He is not very friendly but is quick at repartee and so
the fellows let him alone. Speaks French like a Parisian. I have seen
him before somewhere, but can't place him. I asked him once and he was
quite stiff and said I had the advantage of him. Of course I didn't like
to force myself on him after that, but I'd really like to be friendly if
he would let me. See, here he comes! Look!"

They watched in silence the aeroplane sinking in a lovely spiral glide.
As it sank to rest on the greensward, many hands were outstretched to
assist the grotesque little figure to alight. Judy recognized in an
instant the person she had thought all the time Philippe was describing.
It was, of course, Jo Bill Perkins. She was swathed in a dark leather
coat and breeches, with a strange shaped cap coming down over her ears.
The great goggles she wore could not deceive Judy.

"What is his name?" she asked Philippe.

"Williams is all I know, J. Williams."

"I believe I know him. Would you mind taking him my card and asking him
to come speak to me?"

"Not a bit, but I don't believe he will come. Let him make his report
first, and then I will tell him you are here. You are very charming and
fetching, Mademoiselle, but I doubt your being able to bring Williams to
your feet."



CHAPTER XXI.

THE FLIGHT.


Judy felt that perhaps she was not quite fair to Jo to test her by this
interview, but she did long to speak to her. If Kent and Cousin Sally
recognized her, she knew full well she could trust them to keep silent.

Philippe crossed the field and stopped the daring little aviator just
after he had made his report to the commander.

"A young lady is asking for you."

"A young lady for me? Absurd!"

"Yes, she has heard of your wonderful feats and longs to meet you,"
teased Philippe; and then added: "Really, Williams, you are superb."

"Not at all! Well, I am tired and don't want to meet any young ladies."

"But this one already knows you," and Philippe produced Judy's card.

"Miss Julia Kean," Jo read in amazement. "How did she get out here,
anyhow? Where is she?"

"Over here with my mother," and Philippe looked with some amusement at
the evident blush that spread over Jo's freckled cheeks. She still had
on the grotesque cap and goggles which would have made recognition of
her difficult. She wanted very much to see Judy. She wanted to hear
something of her Polly, too, and she intended to have Judy look him up
if possible, and report to her.

"Will you see her?"

"Sure!"

"Miss Kean is a charming girl, Williams, isn't she?" said the quizzing
Philippe, looking searchingly at his companion as they made their way
across the field.

"You bet!" said Jo.

"Have you known her long?"

"Quite a while," and Jo's cheeks again were suffused with a dark flush.

"Poor little fellow!" thought Philippe. "I can't bear to tell him she
is to be married. He is such a dare devil the chances are he will be
killed before long and he may never have to know that his inamorata has
chosen a better looking man, not a better man--they don't make them to
beat little Williams."

As they approached the car, impulsive Judy jumped out and ran to meet
her friend. Jo ran, too, and they embraced with such ardor that Philippe
stood back amazed. Maybe Kent Brown was not to be so envied, after all.
If the girl who was to marry him in a day was so lavish with her
embraces for other men, what kind of wife would she make? Of course,
Williams was a rather dried up person, but then a man's a man for a'
that.

Kent, too, was rather astonished when his fiancée left him with such
precipitation and before all the aviation camp hugged and kissed the
strange bunchy little figure. Ardor for the heroes of France was all
well enough, but a fellow's sweetheart need not be quite so warm in her
manner of showing her appreciation, especially when the fellow happens
not to be one himself in the habit of making daily daring flights to spy
out the weakness in the trenches of the enemy.

The Marquise laughed as she had not done since the first week in August
of that terrible year. Kent looked at her in astonishment. She was not
so very much like his mother, after all. His mother would not have been
so much amused over the discomfiture of a young lover.

That matron was saying to herself: "How stupid men are!" She had
recognized Jo from the beginning. Kent had known in some far off corner
of his brain that Mrs. Polly Perkins was doing something or other about
the war, but his mind had been so taken up with his own affairs and
Judy's possible danger that that knowledge had stayed in the corner of
his brain while the more important matter of getting married was
uppermost. Suddenly the truth flashed over him and he was overcome with
laughter, too.

"Caught on, eh?" asked his cousin.

He nodded.

"We must keep mum," she admonished. "There is no reason why a woman
should not do her part this way if she can. I'd fly in a minute if that
would help any. Of course these stupid men would raise a hue and cry if
they knew a woman was carrying off the honours."

"I am as quiet as the grave," declared Kent.

Judy came to the car with her friend and with the utmost audacity
introduced Jo as Mr. Williams. The Marquise greeted the supposed young
man graciously. Kent sprang out and shook Jo warmly by the hand, much
to the astonishment of his cousin Philippe.

"Can't I see you a moment alone?" whispered Jo in Judy's ear. The
Marquise, as though she divined what was in the heart of Mrs. Polly
Perkins, asked her to come sit in the car; and then she suggested that
Philippe show the camp to Kent and on second thought decided to go with
them. The chauffeur had been sent with the hamper to the mess hall, so
Judy and Jo had a few minutes alone.

"I must find out something about Polly. I feel as though I could wait
no longer for news of him. Can't you help me?"

"Well, you know I am to be married to-morrow and sail for United States,
but I am going to see that news is got to you somehow. Cousin Sally will
do it, of course. She is the very person."

"Oh, but that Philippe must not know. He has already been very curious
about where he has seen me before, and I have had to be insufferably
rude to him to keep him from prying into my past. I have made good as
a man, but still they would not like it, I know."

"How on earth did you ever get in? I am dying to hear all about it."

"Well, naturally the examination for physical fitness was worrying me
some. I got that little dried up art student named Joel Williams, the
one who was always trying to claim kin with me, to take the examination
and then let me slip in in his place. I bought his ticket to America to
pay him for his trouble. He was broke, as usual, and scared to death
when the war started, and willing to do anything to get home. It was
really very simple to manage it. I am the same type, in a way, although
I hope I am not so dried up as my would-be cousin. Same initials, too,
which made the entering rather more regular."

"Oh, Jo, what a girl you are!"

"Shh! Don't call me a girl even to yourself. Do you think the Marquise
d'Ochtè recognized me?"

"Of course she did and Kent, too! Do you think they would have left us
alone if they had not thought you were safe? Kent wouldn't have left me
with such a bird if he had not known who the bird was. He would be
afraid I might fly away with you. Oh, Jo, I do so want to fly!"

"Well, why not?"

"Oh, could I really?"

"I think so. I have brought in information to our commander that is
valuable enough for me to ask one small favor of him. Come on, let's
ask!"

The two girls were across the field and knocking for admittance at the
Commander's tent before the Marquise and the two young men had begun
their tour of inspection.

"A favor to ask!" exclaimed the grizzled old warrior who sat poring over
a map where Jo had only a few moments before added some crosses that
meant much to the tactics of the French army.

"I want to take a friend up in a machine."

"A friend! I am sorry, my son, but it is hard to tell friends in this
day of war. I can't let you. He might be no friend, after all, to
France."

"He! It is not a man but an American girl. She is just outside your
tent," and Jo raised the flap and motioned Judy to enter. Judy was
introduced. The old warrior looked at her searchingly.

"Tell me, are you related to Robert Kean?"

"His daughter, sir."

"Robert Kean's daughter! Why, my child, your father and I have been
close friends for years. Tell me where he is and what he is doing."

So Judy told of her father's letter and his being held in Berlin
because of the knowledge he had of Turkey's topography. She made him
laugh long and loud when she told of the ridiculous limericks he had
written on the paper boats.

"And you, Robert Kean's daughter, want to fly, and to fly with our
bravest and most daring aviator! Well, don't fly off to America with
him,--and God bless you, my children," and he gave Judy a fatherly
embrace and went back to his map.

When Kent got back to the car with his cousin, there was no Judy.

"Where can she have gone and where is Williams?"

Philippe looked rather mysterious. Young girls who rushed up and
embraced bird men with such ardor should not be allowed too much rope.

"No doubt she will be back soon. Williams is perhaps showing her the
camp. Look, there goes another machine up! Two in it! By Jove, it is
Williams! I can tell by his way of starting. He has such a smooth
getaway always. Could the passenger be Miss Kean?"

"More than likely," said Kent composedly. "She has always been crazy to
fly. I reckon Williams will take good care of her and not go too high or
try any stunts."

"Oh, certainly not!" said Philippe wonderingly. Americans were a riddle
to him. He never quite understood his own mother, who had rather a
casual idea of proprieties herself at times. That good lady, coming up
just then, expressed no concern over the impropriety of Judy's flying
with a man when she was to be married on the morrow to some one else.

Kent sat in the car with his cousin Sally and together they enjoyed
Judy's flight. Jo took her as close to the fighting line as she dared,
but she had no idea of endangering the life of her passenger. They
dipped and curved, for the most part confining their maneuvers to the
vicinity of the camp. Judy never spoke one word, but held her breath and
wept for sheer joy.

"To be flying! To be flying! Oh, Judy Kean, you lucky dog!" she said to
herself. "All my life I've been dreaming I could fly and now I am doing
it."

"Dizzy?" asked Jo.

"No, but happy enough to die," gasped Judy. "If I wasn't going to be
married, I'd be a bird man."

When the landing was finally made and Judy stepped out, the world seemed
very stale, flat and unprofitable. She was glad Kent was there waiting
for her. If she could not be a bird man, she could at least be a very
happy war bride. The great leather coat she had worn in her flight was
very ugly and unbecoming, and she was thankful for one thing that she
did not have to wear such frightful looking clothes all the time.

On the way back to Paris she asked cousin Sally how she had recognized
Jo Williams so readily.

"By her feet, of course! Why, no man on earth ever had such eternally
feminine feet." That good lady promised to find out immediately
something about Polly and let his spunky wife know where and how he was.
"She will have the Cross of Honour before she gets through, Philippe
says."

"You don't feel as though it were your duty to tell she is a woman, do
you?" asked Judy.

"Duty to tell! Heavens, child! I feel it is my duty to help France in
every way I can, and surely to get that girl out of the aviation corps
would be a hindrance to _la Patrie_. I doubt even Philippe's thinking it
his duty to tell, and," with a twinkle in her eye that the horrors of
war could not altogether dim, "Philippe has a very stern idea of his
duty. He felt maybe it was his duty to get in a flying machine and go
after you and Mr. Williams so he could chaperone you. He felt that the
dignity of the family was at stake,--so soon to be the bride of his
cousin and flying with another man! Terrible!"

"Why, of course! I never thought of how it looked. There I went and
hugged and kissed Jo right before everybody. I bet you a sou this
minute Philippe and all the rest of them are feeling sorry for you,
Kent."

"Well, they needn't be," declared that young man as he found Judy's hand
under the robe. "I'm satisfied--but I did feel a little funny for half a
minute when you went and kissed Jo so warmly. It took me a moment longer
to recognize her. Why didn't you put me on?"

"Put you on? How could I, with all the people around?"

"You promised me once you wouldn't fly with anybody until you could fly
with me. Don't you remember?"

"Of course I did, you goose! But I didn't say anybody--I said any man;
so you see I didn't break my promise when I flew with Mrs. Polly
Perkins!"



CHAPTER XXII.

THE WEDDING BREAKFAST.


When the Marquise d'Ochtè said she would do something, she always did it
and did it as well as it could be done. When she undertook to find out
where and how Polly Perkins was for the benefit of his spunky wife, she
did it and did it immediately. And not only did she find him, but she
got a little respite from duty for him and bore him back to Paris where
she had already spirited Jo to be present at the wedding breakfast. She
had asked a holiday for Jo, too, although the grizzled commander was
loathe to let his best aviator off even for a day.

Jo was taken to the converted d'Ochtè mansion and there dressed like a
nice, feminine little woman, her hair curled by madame's maid. A tight
velvet toque and a dotted veil completed the transformation and the
commander himself would not have recognized his one time prize aviator.
All of this masquerade was for the sole purpose of fooling Philippe,
who, also, was to be one of the guests at the Tricots'.

Polly was so happy to see his Jo again that it was pathetic to behold,
and her pride in him and his bravery was beautiful. Polly was vastly
improved. Kent, who had always liked the little man and had insisted
that there was much more to him than the other members of the colony
could see, was delighted to have his opinion of his friend verified.

The ceremony was a very simple one, performed, not by the magistrate as
Mère Tricot had suggested, but at the Protestant Episcopal Church. Polly
Perkins gave away the bride, and Jo looked as though she would burst
with pride at this honour done her husband. Jim Castleman was best man,
and Cousin Sally fell in love with him on the spot.

"He is like the young men of my youth," she declared, "the young men of
Kentucky, I am not saying how many years ago."

The little living room at the Tricots' soon after the ceremony was full
to overflowing, but every one squeezed in somehow. The old couple were
very happy in dispensing hospitality. Their Jean came home for a few
hours and their hearts were thankful for this glimpse of their son.
Marie beamed with joy and the rosy baby delighted them all by saying,
"Pa-pa!" the first word it had ever uttered.

Philippe, looking so handsome that Judy, too, wondered that all the
American girls passed him by, fraternized with Jean, the peasant's son,
with that simplicity which characterizes the military of France.

The party was very gay, so gay that it seemed impossible that the
Germans were really not more than thirty miles from them. Of course they
talked politics, men and women. Old Mère Tricot had her opinions and
expressed them, and they listened with respect when she pooh-poohed and
bah-bahed the notion that the Nations had gone to war from altruistic
motives.

"Belgium might as well die fighting as die not fighting. The Germans
had her any way she jumped. France had to fight, too, fight or be
enslaved. As for Great Britain--she couldn't well stay out of it! When
the Germans got Antwerp, why, where was England? Let us fight, I
say--fight to a finish; but let's be honest about it and each country
say she is fighting for herself."

"Do you think United States should come over and help?" asked Kent, much
interested in the old woman's wisdom.

"Not unless she has wrongs of her own to right!" spoke the grenadier.

"But think how France helped us out in '76!" exclaimed Judy.

"Yes, and helped herself, no doubt. I am not very educated in history,
but I'll be bound she had a crow of her own to pick with England."

"To be sure," laughed Philippe, "France did want to destroy the naval
supremacy of Great Britain. Her alliance with Spain meant more to France
than her alliance with America. She was not wholly disinterested when
she helped the struggling states."

"Oh, Heavens, Philippe, please don't take from me the romantic passion I
have always had for Lafayette!" begged his mother. "I used to thrill
with joy when tales were told of my great grandmother's dancing with
him."

"Keep your passion for Lafayette. He was at least brave and
disinterested, but don't waste much feeling on the government that
backed him. Vergennes, the minister of France at that time, prepared a
map in which the United States figured as the same old colonial strip
between the Alleghenies and the sea. They had no idea of helping United
States to become a great nation."

"Yes, I remember reading a letter from Jay in which he said: 'This court
is interested in separating us from Great Britain, but it is not their
interest that we should become a great and formidable people.' But I
feel deeply grateful to France for all she did," said Kent.

"Me, too!" cried Jim Castleman. "And I mean to do all I can to pay it
back."

"Ah! My American Lafayette!" cried the Marquise. "A toast, a toast, to
my American Lafayette!" And they stood up and drank a toast to the
blushing young giant.

"I didn't dream any one could have such a good time at her own wedding,"
said Judy when the last vestige of cake had disappeared. It was a
wonderful cake with a tiny white sugar bride and a chocolate groom
perched on top. There had been much holding of hands under the table.
Every other person seemed to be eating with his or her left hand, and
Cousin Sally complained that she had no hand to eat with at all, as
Philippe held one of her hands and the American Lafayette held the
other.

The Marquis could not come, much to the regret of all the company, for
his regiment expected to be called to the front any day and no leaves
could be granted.

Judy put up a brave front when adieux were in order, but her heart was
very sad. How many terrible things might happen to these kind friends
she was leaving! The Tricots, good souls, might be bereft at any
moment. Dear Cousin Sally, with two in the war, might be doubly visited
by the hand of death. Polly and Jo Perkins were to part after this brief
time of happiness, holding hands under the Tricots' hospitable board,
one to return to his office of caring for the wounded, the other to her
office of keeping the German ambulance drivers busy. The young Kentucky
giant, Jim Castleman, was to join his regiment on the following day. His
glee at having a chance to swat the Prussians was intense. He didn't
look like a person who could ever die, but one bit of shrapnel might in
the twinkling of an eye destroy that virile youth.

"Come to see me when you can, my American Lafayette," begged the
Marquise, "and if you get so much as a tiny little wound, let me nurse
you if you can get to me."

Jim had delighted the little party by translating into his execrable
French football terms to describe his idea of how the war should be
conducted. His left tackle was frankly: "_gauche palan_," and his centre
rush was: "_cintre jonc_."

He and Kent were not very demonstrative in their parting, but both of
them felt it deeply.

"Wuv e lul lul! Sus o lul o nun gug!" called Jim, as the cab bearing the
bride and groom started.

"Gug o o dud lul u sank kuk!" was Kent's feeling rejoinder.



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER.


No submarine warfare interrupted the peaceful passage of our
honeymooners. The voyage was delightful to both of them after all the
trials they had been through. Judy was as much at home on the water as
on land, literally a born sailor, as she had been born at sea. Kent
loved a ship and all the many aspects of the ocean. The lazy days on
deck, with their chairs drawn as close together as chairs could be,
their hands clasped under the steamer rug, seemed like a beautiful
dream, only a dream that was going to last for a lifetime, not the lazy
days on deck but the being together and never talking out. Being lazy
was not the idea of eternal bliss common to either of these young
persons. Kent felt there were worlds to conquer in the architectural
universe and he meant to do his share towards conquering them; and with
Judy by his side, he gloried in the task before him. As for Judy, she
meant to paint like mad and to work up many ideas she had teeming in her
head. She was thankful for the reels of undeveloped snapshots she had in
her trunk, as she was going to use them as a jog to her memory for the
numerous illustrations she meant to make in an article she was thinking
of writing on Paris at the outbreak of the war.

Cousin Sally's admonition to work for the Allies was not forgotten,
either. Judy was planning a busy winter for herself in New York just as
soon as she and Kent could get themselves settled in an apartment.

"It must be very inexpensive, too, Kent. We must save money."

Kent couldn't help laughing at Judy's solemn face. What would Judy's
friends say at her becoming penurious? Judy, the spendthrift!

"You see, I've always cost poor Bobby a lot of money; not that he has
ever complained, but I don't mean to be a burden to you, Kent."

Kent had no answer for such foolishness but to squeeze her hand.

"I'd be perfectly happy if I just knew that Bobby and poor little Mumsy
were all right."

"Why, they may be on the high seas this minute. We will surely hear
something of them when we get to New York."

                  *       *       *       *       *

Sandy Hook was at last sighted and then came the slow, majestic steaming
into the harbour! Liberty still held her torch on high with the gulls
circling around her. The same little tugs were puffing up and down, with
the great ferries plying back and forth like huge shuttles. New York's
sky line was as fascinating to Mrs. Kent Brown as it had ever been to
Judy Kean.

"Oh, Kent, I love it so! How could I have stayed away so long?" cried
Judy, rapturously making sketches in the air.

The pier was filled with an eager crowd, awaiting the arrival of the
steamer.

"There won't be any one for us," said Judy rather wistfully. "Your
mother is in Kentucky, and of course Molly couldn't leave the baby to
come meet us, and there isn't any one else."

Kent smiled and said nothing. He was almost sure he saw the figure of
his tall brother-in-law, Professor Green, towering above the crowd, but
he was afraid he might be mistaken and could not bear to disappoint
Judy.

It was Edwin Green and hanging on one arm was Molly (Kent knew her by
the blue scarf). And who was that on the other arm? Oh, what a mother!
It was Mrs. Brown, her face uplifted and glowing.

"Judy, look a little to the left of the second post! Right in front of
us, honey! What do you see?"

"Oh, it's Molly! I can tell her by her blue scarf--and Kent! Kent,
there's your mother and dear Edwin!" Then Judy clutched her young
husband's arm. "Look a little to the right, standing by your
mother--there's a big man that looks like Bobby--See, with a little
doll baby woman in front of him--he's keeping the crowd off of
her--see! see! It is--it is Bobby and little Mumsy!"

Judy, who not much more than two weeks before had considered herself the
most unfortunate and friendless of mortals, now knew that there was not
such a happy person in all the world. How long the vessel took to be
made fast to the pier! And then such a crowding and pushing! Every one
on board seemed to have some one on the pier he had not seen for
centuries and must get to immediately.

"They can't be as anxious to hug their mothers as I am, and I know they
haven't any Bobbies," she complained. "And I am sure they have not been
shipwrecked like you and given up for drowned by their families. They
ought to let us off first."

Mr. Kean was behaving exactly as though he were at a football game. He
was jumping up and down and waving and shouting, and his rooting egged
Kent to make a rush for the gangway, holding Judy like a pigskin; and
once on the gangplank there was nothing to do but push and be pushed by
the crowd until they shot out on the pier into the arms of their waiting
and eager families.

With every one talking at once, it was difficult to get any accurate
knowledge about one another, but when it was all sifted out it developed
that Mr. and Mrs. Kean had finally been allowed by the Imperial
Government to leave Berlin, in fact, they had been encouraged to go. Mr.
Kean was looked upon as a dangerous person, a lunatic at large, and they
did not want the responsibility or expense of caring for him. His jokes
got to be too many and serious, and when he became such an adept in
evading the spy set to watch him that two had to be detailed for that
duty, the powers that be evidently decided that what knowledge he
possessed of the topography of Turkey did not outweigh in importance the
wearing out of perfectly good soldier material. He worried the spy so
that he was nothing more than skin and bones, poor fellow!

They had arrived in New York only the day before and had immediately got
Molly on the long distance telephone. Of course, they knew nothing of
Judy's being married, but unhesitatingly approved of the step Kent had
taken and did not consider him at all high-handed. Mr. Kean, being of a
most impulsive disposition, could understand it in other persons, and
little Mrs. Kean was so used to her comet-like husband and daughter that
she was never astonished by anything they did.

"I was not the impulsive one this time, though, Bobby," Judy declared
when they finally settled themselves around the luncheon table at the
hotel where a second bridal feast had been prepared, ordered by the
lavish Bobby. "It was Kent. I had no idea of ever being married--in
fact, it seemed to me to be not quite decent to be married so quickly
when I was in such deep mourning--The wedding was quiet because of the
recent bereavement----"

"In mourning! You, Judy, in mourning for whom?" and poor little Mrs.
Kean gasped, not knowing what she was to learn now.

"Why, for Kent himself. Nothing but the bombs dropped in Paris kept me
from having my best serge suit dyed black. Molly, I always said I'd make
a fetching widow, and I did all right. Kent thought I was just lovely in
the hat I fixed for his mourning."

"Oh, Judy! The same old Judy!" exclaimed Molly fondly.

Molly had thought it would be impossible for her to go to New York
to meet the incoming steamer with its precious cargo, but Edwin had
declared she should go; so little Mildred was taken on the jaunt as
well, with the eager Katy as nurse. Kizzie was already installed as
cook and Katy was proving a most careful and reliable nurse. Molly was
looking and behaving more like herself and no longer had to let her
patient husband go off to his lectures like a bachelor with no wife to
pour his coffee.

"And now, you and Kent and Mr. and Mrs. Kean must all come to Wellington
to visit us," announced the hospitable Molly. "Mustn't they, Edwin?"

"Indeed they must," said Edwin obediently, but in his heart wondering
where Molly would put all of them. The old red house on the campus was
large but had not very many rooms. The young professor could never quite
get used to the Browns and their unbounded hospitality. His favorite
story was one on his mother-in-law; how, when one of her sons brought
home the whole football team to spend the night, she calmly took the top
mattresses off all the beds (the beds at Chatsworth were fortunately
equipped with box mattresses and top mattresses) and made up pallets on
the floor, thereby doubling the sleeping capacity of her hospitable
mansion.

"I can't come, Molly,--mighty sorry," said Kent, "but my job must be
held down now. They have kept it open for me long enough."

"And I stay with Kent!" declared Judy.

"Hurrah, hurrah! Her mother's own daughter!" cried the delighted Bobby.
"I was wondering what kind of wife my girl would make; now I know. I
wouldn't take anything for that: 'I stay with Kent.'"

"Oh, I'm going to be terribly domestic. I found that out while I was
living with the Tricots. What's more, I can make tarts--the best ever. I
can hardly wait to get a flat and a pastry board to make some for Kent."

"You might use your drawing board for a pastry board," teased her
father. "I fancy art is through with."

"Through with, indeed! Why, Bobby, I am astonished and ashamed of you! I
am going to paint all the time that I am not making tarts, and what time
is left, I am going to knit socks and make bandages for the wounded."

"And poor me! When do I come in?" asked Kent.

"You come in early and behave yourself or I'll spend the rest of the
time making suffrage speeches," laughed the war bride.

                  *       *       *       *       *

And now since we must leave our friends some where, what better time and
place than at this second wedding breakfast, while all of them are
together and happy? Perhaps we shall meet them again when the old red
house on the campus shall be taxed to its utmost in its endeavor to
behave like Chatsworth. We shall see Judy and Kent in their little flat
and mayhaps taste one of Judy's tarts. We must know more of Molly's
girls at Wellington and meet dear Nance Oldham and little Otoyo Sen
again. It is hard to part forever with our friends and those who know
Molly Brown feel that all her friends are theirs.

So I hope our readers will be glad to meet again "Molly Brown's College
Friends."


THE END.



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                  *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's note:

Minor printer's errors have been corrected. Otherwise the original
has been preserved, including inconsistent spelling and hyphenation.





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