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Title: Emmy Lou's Road to Grace - Being a Little Pilgrim's Progress
Author: Martin, George Madden, 1866-1936
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.

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Kentuckiana Digital Library)



EMMY LOU'S ROAD TO GRACE

[Illustration: "'Its name,' said Miss Eustasia severely, 'is the
Highland Fling.'"

[PAGE 152]]



EMMY LOU'S

ROAD TO GRACE

_BEING A LITTLE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS_

BY

GEORGE MADDEN MARTIN

AUTHOR OF EMMY LOU, ETC.

    _What danger is the pilgrim in!
      How many are his foes!
    How many ways there are to sin
      No living mortal knows._
                       --THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS

[Illustration]

    GROSSET & DUNLAP
    PUBLISHERS   NEW YORK

    Made in the United States of America



    COPYRIGHT 1916, BY
    D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
    Printed in the United States of America



    TO
    THAT HOSTAGE GIVEN TO THE FUTURE
    THE AMERICAN CHILD



PREFACE


SOME years ago a collection of short stories under the title, "Emmy Lou:
Her Book And Heart," was offered to the American public as a plea for
and a defense of the child as affected by the then prevailing stupidity
of the public schools.

The present series of stories is written to show that the same
conditions which in the school make for confusion in the child's mind,
exist in the home, in the Sunday school and in all its earlier points of
contact with life; the child who presents itself at six or even at five,
to the school and teacher, being already well on the way in the school
of life, and its habits of mind established.

It is the contention of these new stories that the child comes
single-minded to the experience of life. That it brings to this
experience a fundamental, if limited, conception of ethics, justice,
consistency and obligation. That it is the possessor of an innate
conscience that teaches it to differentiate between right and wrong,
and that the failure to find an agreement between ethics and experience
confronts the child long before its entrance at school.

Not only do its conceptions fail to square with life as it finds it, but
the practices and habits of the persons it looks up to fail to square
with what these elders claim for life. Further, the child meets with an
innate stupidity on the part of its elders that school cannot surpass, a
stupidity which assumes knowledge on the child's part that it cannot
possibly have.

These conditions make for confusion in the child's mind, and a
consequent impairment of its reasoning faculties, before it presents
itself to the school.

Given the very young child struggling to evolve its working rule out of
nebulæ, how do its elders aid it? The isolated fact without background
or connection, the generalization with no regard to its particular
application, the specific rule that will not fit the general case--these
too often are its portion, resulting in lack of perspective, no sense of
proportion, and no grasp of values. The child's conceptions of the
cardinal virtues, the moral law, the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood
of Christ, the human relation, are true, garbled, or false, in
accordance with the interpreting of its elders.

The child thus has been in the training of the home, the neighborhood,
and the Sunday school, for approximately four, three, and two years
respectively, before it comes to the school of letters.

One of the intelligences thrashing out the problems of the school today,
says:

"Education begins at the age of two or sooner, whether the parent wills
it or not. The home influence from two to six, for good or ill in
determining the mental no less than the moral status, is the most
permanent thing in the child's life. Even at the age of five, the
difficulty for the teacher in making a beginning, lies in the fact that
the beginning already has been made."

In the original stories portraying the workings of the schoolroom on the
mind of the child, the physically normal, mentally sound but slow type
was used, in the child called Emmy Lou, and in now seeking to show that
the conditions making for more or less permanent confusion in the
child's mind antedate the schoolroom, it has seemed wise to make use of
the same child in the same environment.



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER                                            PAGE
       I. OUT OF GOD'S BLESSING INTO THE WARM SUN        3
      II. SHADES OF THE PRISON HOUSE                    35
     III. A FEW STRONG INSTINCTS AND A FEW PLAIN RULES  65
      IV. THE TRIBUNAL OF CONSCIENCE                    95
       V. LIONS IN THE PATH                            131
      VI. THE IMPERFECT OFFICES OF PRAYER              161
     VII. PINK TICKETS FOR TEXTS                       195
    VIII. STERN DAUGHTER OF THE VOICE OF GOD           225
      IX. SO BUILD WE UP THE BEING THAT WE ARE         255
       X. SO TRUTH BE IN THE FIELD                     279



I

OUT OF GOD'S BLESSING INTO THE WARM SUN


FOR a day or two after Emmy Lou, four years old, came to live with her
uncle and her aunties, or in fact until she discovered Izzy who lived
next door and Sister who lived in the alley, Aunt Cordelia's hands were
full. But it was Emmy Lou's heart that was full.

Along with other things which had made up life, such as Papa, and her
own little white bed, and her own little red chair, and her own window
with its sill looking out upon her own yard, and Mary the cook in Mary's
own kitchen, and Georgie the little neighbor boy next door--along with
these things, she wanted Mamma.

Not only because she was Mamma, all-wise, all-final, all-decreeing, but
because, being Mamma and her edicts therefore supreme, she had bade her
little daughter never to forget to say her prayers.

Not that Emmy Lou _had_ forgotten to say them. Not she! It was that when
she went to say them she had forgotten what she was to say. A terrifying
and unlooked-for contingency.

Two days before, Papa had put his Emmy Lou into the arms of Aunt
Cordelia at the railroad station of the city where she and Aunt Katie
and Aunt Louise and Uncle Charlie lived. They had come to the train to
get her. As he did so, Mamma, for whose sake the trip south was being
made in search of health, though Emmy Lou did not know this, smiled and
tried to look brave.

Emmy Lou's new little scarlet coat with its triple capes was martial,
and also her new little scarlet Napoleon hat, three-cornered with a
cockade, and Papa hastened to assume that the little person within this
exterior was martial also.

"Emmy Lou is a plucky soul and will not willingly try you, Cordelia," he
told his sister-in-law.

"Emmy Lou is a faithful soul and has _promised_ not to try you," said
Mamma.

"Kiss Mamma and kiss me," said Papa.

"And say your prayers every night at Aunt Cordelia's knee," said Mamma.

"Pshaw," said Uncle Charlie, the brother of Mamma and the aunties, and
wheeling about and whipping out his handkerchief he blew his nose
violently.

"Brother!" said Aunt Katie reproachfully. Aunt Katie was younger than
Mamma and almost as pretty.

"Brother Charlie!" said Aunt Louise who was the youngest of them all,
even more reproachfully.

"Shall I send her to Sunday school at our church, or at your church?"
said Aunt Cordelia, plump and comfortable, and next to Uncle Charlie in
the family succession. For Papa's church was different, though Emmy Lou
did not know this either--and when Mamma had elected to go with him
there had been feeling.

"So she finds God's blessing, Sister Cordelia, what does it matter?"
said Mamma a little piteously. "And she'll say her prayer every night
and every morning to you?"

On reaching home, Aunt Cordelia spoke decidedly, "Precious baby! We'll
give her her supper and put her right into her little bed. She's worn
out with the strangeness of it all."

Aunt Cordelia was right. Emmy Lou was worn out and more, she was
bewildered and terrified with the strangeness of it all. But though her
flaxen head, shorn now of its brave three-cornered hat, fell forward
well-nigh into her supper before more than a beginning was made, and
though when carried upstairs by Uncle Charlie she yielded passively to
Aunt Cordelia and Aunt Katie undressing her, too oblivious, as they
deemed her, to be cognizant of where she was, they reckoned without
knowing their Emmy Lou.

Her head came through the opening of the little gown slipped on her.

"Shall I say it now?" she asked.

"Her prayer. She hasn't forgotten, precious baby," said Aunt Cordelia
and sat down. Aunt Katie who had been picking up little garments, melted
into the shadows beyond the play and the flicker of the fire in the
grate, and Emmy Lou, steadied by the hand of Aunt Cordelia, went down
upon her knees.

For there are rules. Just as inevitably as there are rites. And since
life is hedged about with rites, as varying in their nature as in their
purpose, and each according to its purpose at once inviolate and
invincible, it is for an Emmy Lou to concern herself with remembering
their rules.

As when she goes out on the sidewalk to play "I-spy" with Georgie, the
masterful little boy from next door, and his friends. Whereupon and
unvaryingly follows the rite. The rule being that all stand in a row,
and while the moving finger points along the line, words cabalistic and
potent in their spell cryptically and irrevocably search out the quaking
heart of the one who is "It."

So in the kitchen. The rule being that Mary, who is young and pretty and
learning to cook under Mamma's tutelage, shall chant earnestly over the
crock as she mixes, words which again are talismanic and potent in their
spell, as "one of butter, two of sugar, three of flour, four eggs," or
Mary's cake infallibly will fall in the oven, stable affair as the oven
grating seems to be.

And again at meals, rite of a higher class, solemn and mysterious. When
Emmy Lou must bow her head and shut her eyes--what would happen if she
basely peeked she hasn't an idea--after which, Papa's "blessing" as it
is called, having been enunciated according to rule, she may now reach
out with intrepidity and touch tumbler or spoon or biscuit.

So with prayer, highest rite of all, most solemn and most mysterious.
Prayer being that potency of the impelling word again by which Something
known as God is to be propitiated, and one protected from the fearful if
dimly sensed terrors of the dark when one comes awake in the night.

Emmy Lou's Mamma, hitherto the never-failing refuge from all that
threatened, haven of encircling sheltering arms and brooding tender
eyes, provided this protection for her Emmy Lou before she went away
and left her. And more. She gave Emmy Lou to understand that somewhere,
if one grasped it aright, was a person tenderly in league with Mamma in
loving Emmy Lou, and in desiring to comfort her and protect her. A
person named Jesus. He was to be reached through prayer too, and, like
God in this also, through Sunday school, this being a place around the
corner where one went with Georgie, the little boy from next door.

These things being made clear, no wonder that Mamma bade her Emmy Lou
not to fail to go to Sunday school, and never to forget to say her
prayers!

And no wonder that Emmy Lou quite earnestly knew the rules for her
prayers. That it hurt her knees to get down upon them had nothing to do
with the case. The point with which one has to do is that she does get
down on them. And being there, as now, steadied to that position by the
hand of Aunt Cordelia, she shuts her eyes, as taught by Mamma, though
with no idea as to why, and folds her hands, as taught by Mamma, with no
understanding as to why, and lowers her head, as taught by Mamma, on
Aunt Cordelia's knee. And the rules being now all complied with, she
prays.

But Emmy Lou did not pray.

"Yes?" from Aunt Cordelia.

But still Emmy Lou failed to pray. Instead her head lifted, and her
eyes, opening, showed themselves to be dilated by apprehension. "Mamma
starts it when it won't come," she faltered.

Aunt Cordelia endeavored to start it. "Now I lay me ..." she said with
easy conviction.

Emmy Lou, baby person, never had heard of it. Terror crept into the eyes
lifted to Aunt Cordelia, as well as apprehension.

"Our Father . . ." said Aunt Katie, coming forward from the shadows. Emmy
Lou's attention seemed caught for the moment and held.

". . . which art in Heaven," said Aunt Katie.

Emmy Lou shook her head. She never had heard of that either, though for
a moment it appeared as if she thought she had. A tear rolled down.

"Go to bed and it will come to you tomorrow," from Aunt Cordelia.

"Say it in the morning instead," from Aunt Katie.

But Emmy Lou shook her head, and clung to Aunt Cordelia's knees when
they would lift her up.

Aunt Cordelia was worn out, herself. One does not say good-bye to a
loved sister, and assume the care of a chubby, clinging baby such as
this one, without tax. "Whatever is to be done about it?" she said to
Aunt Katie despairingly. Then to Emmy Lou, "Isn't there anything you
know that will do?"

There are varying rites, differing in their nature as in their purpose,
but each according to its purpose inviolate and invincible.

"I know Georgia's count out?" said Emmy Lou. "Eeny, meeny, miny, mo?
Will that do?"

But Aunt Cordelia, however sorely tempted, could not bring herself,
honest soul, to agree that it would. Nor yet Aunt Katie.

Aunt Louise came tipping in and joined them.

"I know Mary's cake count," said Emmy Lou. "'One of butter, two of
sugar, three of flour, four eggs.' Will that do?"

Not even Aunt Louise could agree that it would.

Uncle Charlie came tipping in.

"I know Papa's blessing," said Emmy Lou. "'We thank Thee, Lord, for
this provision of Thy bounty. . . ?'"

"The very thing," said Uncle Charlie heartily. "Set her up on her knees
again, Cordelia, and let her say it."

And Papa's blessing had served now, night and morning, since, though it
was evident to those about her that Emmy Lou was both dubious and
uneasy.

The processes of the mind of an Emmy Lou, however, if slow, are sound,
if we know their premises. There was yet another way by which God could
be propitiated, and Jesus, who desired to love her and protect her,
reached. On the morning of her third day with her aunties, she inquired
about this.

"When is Sunday school?"

They told her. "Today is Saturday. Sunday school is tomorrow."

She took this in. "Will I go to Sunday school?"

"Certainly you will go."

She took this in also. So far it was reassuring, and she moved to the
next point, though nobody connected the two inquiries. "There's a little
boy next door?"

"Yes," from Aunt Katie, "a little boy with dark and lovely eyes."

"A sweet and gentle little boy," from Aunt Cordelia.

"A little boy named Izzy," from Aunt Louise.

Emmy Lou, looking from auntie to auntie as each spoke, sighed deeply.
The rules in life, as she knew it, were holding good. As, for example,
was not Aunt Cordelia here for Mamma? And Uncle Charlie for Papa? And
the substitute little white bed for her little bed? And the substitute
little armchair wherein she was sitting at the moment, for her chair?

To be sure the details varied. Hitherto the cook in the kitchen had been
Mary, pink-cheeked and pretty. Whereas now the cook in the kitchen not
only is round and rolling and colored and named Aunt M'randy, but there
is a house-boy in the kitchen, too, whose name is Bob. The stabilizing
fact remains, however, that there is a cook, and there is a kitchen.

And now there is a little boy next door. _For you to go to Sunday school
with the little boy next door_, holding tight to his hand, while his
Mamma at his door, and your Mamma at your door, watch you down the
street. That he lords it over you, edicting each thing you shall or
shall not do along the way, is according to immutable ruling also, as
Georgie makes clear, on the incontrovertible grounds that you are the
_littler_.

He has been to Sunday school too, before you ever heard of it, as he
lets you know, and glories in his easy knowledge of the same. And
whereas you, on your very first Sunday, get there to learn that Cain
killed Mabel, and are visibly terrified at the fate of Mabel, according
to Georgie it is a mild event and nothing to what Sunday school has to
offer at its best.

He knows the comportment of the place, too, and at the proper moment
drags Emmy Lou to her knees with her face crushed to the wooden bench
beside his own. And later he upbraids her that she fails in the fervor
with which he and everybody else, including the lady who told Emmy Lou
she was glad to see her, pour forth a hum of words. When he finds she
does not know these words his scorn is blighting. Though when she asks
him to teach them to her, it develops that he, the mighty one, only
knows a word here and there to come in loud on himself.

For a moment, the other night, Emmy Lou had fancied Aunt Katie was
saying these words used at Sunday school, but how could she be sure,
seeing that she did not know them herself?

And now there was a little boy next door here! And Emmy Lou arose, her
aunties having gone about their Saturday morning affairs, and seeking
her little sacque with its scalloped edge, which she pulled on, and her
little round hat which she carried by its elastic, went forth into the
warm comfort of the Indian Summer morning to find him.

He was at his gate! The rule again! Georgie was ever to be found even so
at his gate. Emmy Lou was shy, but not when she knew what she had to do,
and why. Opening her gate and going out, paling by paling she went along
past her house and her yard, to the little boy at the gate of his house
and his yard. When he saw her coming he even came to meet her.

As her aunties had said, he was a dark-eyed and lovely little boy. When
she reached him and put out her hand to his, he took it and led her
back to his gate with him. His name, she remembered, was Izzy.

"Sunday school is tomorrow?" she said, looking up at Izzy.

"Sunday school?" said Izzy.

"Where Cain killed Mabel?"

Izzy's dark eyes lit. He was a gentle and kindly little boy. Emmy Lou
felt she would love Izzy. "We call it 'Temple.' But it is today. My
Mamma told me to walk ahead and she would catch up with me."

"Today?"

Surely. With such visible proofs of it upon Izzy. Do little boys wear
velvet suits with spotless collar and flamboyant tie but for occasions
such as Sunday school? Aunties and even Mammas know less about Sunday
school than the Georgies and Izzys, who are authorities since they are
the ones who go. Emmy Lou put on her little hat even to the elastic.
Then her hand went into Izzy's again.

"I thought it was tomorrow?"

Izzy's face was alight as he took in her meaning. She was going with
_him_. His face was alight as he led her along.

"It's 'round the corner?" she asked.

"'Round two corners," said Izzy. "How did you know?"

A golden dome crowned this Sunday school, and wide steps led high to
great doors. They waited at their foot, Izzy and Emmy Lou, a dark-eyed
little boy in a velvet suit, and a blue-eyed little girl in a gingham
dress and scalloped sacque, while others went up and in, old men, young
men, old women, young women, little boys, little girls. Waited until
Izzy's Mamma arrived and found him.

She was dark-eyed and lovely too. She listened while he explained. Did a
shadow, as of patient sadness, cross her face?

"The little girl does not understand, Israel, little son," she said.
"Hold her hand carefully, and take her back to her own gate. I will wait
for you here."

Emmy Lou, bewildered as she was led along, endeavored to understand.

"It isn't Sunday school?" she asked Izzy.

His face was no longer alight, only gentle and, like his mother's,
patient. "Not yours. I thought it was. Mine and my mother's and my
father's."

Little girls left at their own gates, little girls who have come to live
at their aunties' home, go around by the side way to the kitchen door.
Emmy Lou had learned that already. If anyone had missed her there was no
evidence of it. Aunt M'randy, just emerging from this kitchen door, a
coal-bucket heaped with ashes in her hand, as Emmy Lou arrived there,
paused in her rolling gait, and invited her to go.

Where? Emmy Lou in her little sacque and her round hat hadn't an idea,
but seeing that she was expected to accept, took Aunt M'randy's
unoccupied hand and went.

And so it was that she found Sister. For Aunt M'randy was going down the
length of the back yard, a nice yard with a tree and a bush and what,
palpably in a milder hour had been flowers in a border, to the
alley-gate to empty the ashes. And beyond this alley gate, outside which
stood the barrel they were seeking, in the alley itself, with the
cottage shanties of the alley world for background, stood Sister! One
knew she was Sister because Aunt M'randy called her so.

Sister was small and brown and solid. Small enough to be _littler_ than
Emmy Lou. Her face was serious and her eyes in their setting of generous
white followed one wonderingly.

_Littler_ than Emmy Lou! The rule in life was extending itself. Hitherto
she, Emmy Lou, had been that littler one, and hers the eyes to follow
wonderingly, and the effect of meeting one thus littler than oneself is
to experience strange joys, palpably and patently peculiar to being the
larger.

Emmy Lou dropped the hand of Aunt M'randy and went out into the alley
and straight to Sister.

Nor did Sister seem surprised at this, but when Emmy Lou reached her and
paused, sidled closer, and her little brown hand crept into Emmy Lou's
white one and clung there. Whereupon the white one, finding itself the
bigger, closed on the brown one and Emmy Lou led Sister in through the
alley gate, past Aunt M'randy, and up through the yard with its tree and
its bush and its whilom flower border.

More! There was a depression in the pavement leading up to the house, a
depression all of the depth of about three of Emmy Lou's fingers.
Whereat she stopped, and putting her arms about Sister, solid for all
she was a baby thing, with straining and accession of pink in the face,
lifted her over! And the joy of it was great! Emmy Lou never had met one
_littler_ than herself before!

       *       *       *       *       *

That evening at dusk, Aunt Louise came in, brisk and animated. Her news
was for Aunt Cordelia and Aunt Katie, though certainly Emmy Lou had a
right to be interested.

"I met Molly Wright, the teacher of the infant class at Sunday school,"
she said, "and I stopped and told her that in the morning you would send
Emmy Lou around to her class. That our house-boy would bring her."

Aunt Cordelia had her ready the next morning aforetime, red coat with
triple capes, martial hat and all, ready indeed before Bob, the
house-boy, had finished his breakfast.

The day was warm and sleepily sunny and smiling.

"You may go outside and wait for Bob at the gate if you like," Aunt
Cordelia told Emmy Lou.

But Emmy Lou had no idea of waiting at any gate. Indecision with her was
largely a matter of not knowing what she was expected to do. She knew in
this case. By the time Bob was ready and out looking for her, she had
been down through the alley gate and back, bringing by the hand that
person _littler_ than herself, Sister. Had led her through the front
gate and along to the next gate where Izzy was standing.

Bob afterward explained his part vociferously if lamely. But as Aunt
M'randy said, that was Bob.

"There they wuz, the three uv 'em, strung erlong by the han's an'
waitin' foh me. Seem lak there warn't no call foh me to say nothin' tell
we got there."

"And then?" from Aunt Cordelia, while Aunt M'randy sniffed with
skepticism.

"When we come to the infant class door roun' on the side street like you
tol' me, there wuz a colored boy I know, drivin' a kerridge, an' he
called me. An' I tol' the chil'ren to wait while I spoke to him. When I
turned roun' ag'in I saw 'em goin' in th'ough the doah. An' I come
home."

Emmy Lou in truth led them in. Give her something that she knew to do,
and she could do it. Holding to the rule, Izzy was due to be there
because he was the larger, and Sister, laconic little Sister, solid and
brown, was due to be there because, in the former likeness of Emmy Lou,
she was the _littler_.

One's place at Sunday school in company with Georgie, has been the front
bench. The rule holds good, and Emmy Lou led the way to the front bench
now, where she and Izzy lifted Sister to a place, then took their own
places either side of her. If the rest of the infant class already
assembled were absorbed in these movements, Emmy Lou did not notice it,
in that she was absorbed in them herself.

Miss Mollie Wright came in next, breezy and brisk and a minute late, and
in consequence full of zeal and business.

Hitherto the rule has never varied. As Emmy Lou knew Sunday school, the
lady teacher now says, "Good morning, children." And these say, "Good
morning," in return.

But the rule varied now. Miss Mollie Wright coming around to the front
before the assembled class on its several benches, stopped, looked, then
full of sureness and business came to Izzy and Emmy Lou and Sister, and
took Izzy by the hand.

"I doubt if your mother and father would like it, Izzy," she said. "I
think you had better run home again. And this little girl next to you
doesn't belong here either." Miss Mollie Wright was lifting Sister
down. "I think she had better run along as you go." And in the very
nicest way she started Izzy and Sister toward the door. "What?" turning
back to the third little figure in a martial coat with triple capes and
a martial hat. "Why, are you going, too?"

Aunt Cordelia explained to Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise and Uncle Charlie
afterward. "M'randy saw them when they reached home and passed her
kitchen window going back through the yard, and came and told me, and
she and I went down to the alley gate after them."

"What were they doing?" asked Aunt Louise.

Aunt Cordelia answered as one completely exasperated and outdone.
"Sitting right down on the ground there in the alley, in their Sunday
clothes, watching M'lissy, on her doorstep, comb Letty's hair."

True! Around M'lissy, the mother of Sister, brown herself and kindly,
with teeth that flashed white with the smile of her there in the sun,
and Letty, the even _littler_ sister of Sister, firm planted on the
lowest step, between M'lissy's knees.

And bliss unspeakable as Izzy and Sister and Emmy Lou in a circle on the
ground around the doorstep watched. For Letty's head, by means of the
comb in M'lissy's hand, was being criss-crossed by partings into
sections, bi-sections, and quarter-sections, and such hair as was
integral to each wrapped with string in semblance of a plait, plait
after plait succeeding one another over Letty's head. The while M'lissy
sang in a mounting, joyful chant, interrupted by Letty's outcry now and
then beneath the vigor of the ministration.

"Ow-w, Mammy!"

The chant would hold itself momentarily for a reply.

"Shet up," M'lissy would say.

Which would be too much even for laconic Sister who from her place on
the ground between Izzy and Emmy Lou would defend Letty. "When Mammy
wrops yer h'ar, she wrops hard."

After which the combing and the wrapping and the chanting would go on
again, M'lissy's voice rising and falling in quaverings and minors:

    "Come to Jesus, come to Jesus,
     Come to Jesus just now,
     Ju-u-st no-o-w co-o-me to-o Jesus,
     Come to Jesus ju-u-st now."

Mamma's friend! In league with her in loving Emmy Lou and desiring to
comfort her and protect her! Found not where she had looked for Him at
all but here with M'lissy in the alley!

That night, according to rule, as Emmy Lou's head came through the
opening of the gown slipped over it, she said:

"Shall I say it now? Papa's blessing?"

And Aunt Cordelia, according to rule, sitting down and steadying Emmy
Lou to her knees, waited.

What should have brought it back, Emmy Lou's own little prayer as taught
her by Mamma? She only knew that it came of itself, and that while her
heart heaved and her breath came hard, she stopped in the midst of
Papa's blessing, "We thank Thee, Lord, for this provision of Thy
bounty,----" sobbed, caught herself, opened her eyes and looked mutely
at Aunt Cordelia, closed them and said:

    "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
     Look upon a little child;
     Pity my simplicity,
     Suffer me to come to Thee."



II

SHADES OF THE PRISON HOUSE


PAPA taking Mamma south, wherever that may be, in search of health,
whatever that may be, carried a rough and wrinkled Father Bear satchel.
Mamma, pretty Mamma, taken south in search of health, carried a soft and
smooth Mother Bear satchel. And since not only do journeys demand
satchels but analogies must be made complete, Emmy Lou left on the way
in the keeping of her uncle and her aunties was made happy by a Baby
Bear _papier-maché_ satchel, clamps, straps and all. A satchel into
which a nightgown could be coaxed, her nightgown, since satchels demand
gowns, not to mention a pewter tea set put in on her own initiative,
provided she folded and refolded the gown with zeal before essaying the
attempt.

After Emmy Lou's establishment in the new household, Aunt Cordelia
proposed that the satchel go to the attic where trunks and satchels off
duty belong. But Emmy Lou would not hear to this. "Mamma's coming by for
me as she goes home, and I want it down here so I can have it ready."

"And she gets it ready at least once a day," Aunt Cordelia told Uncle
Charlie. "If she doesn't wear her gowns out trying to put them in it,
she will the satchel. However, since she heard that her mother lived in
this house when she was a little girl named Emily, I've had no further
trouble with her, that is, trouble of a kind. How does one go about a
child's religious training, Charlie?"

But to Emmy Lou, Aunt Cordelia knew all about God and heaven. At her
bidding she learned a hymn, a pretty text, another prayer.

[Illustration: "'When I turned roan' ag'in I saw 'em goin' in th'ough
the doah.'"]

"For we must learn a little more about God and Heaven every day along
the way," Aunt Cordelia said.

With Emmy Lou at bedtime in her lap, a blanket wrapped about her gown,
the fire flickering, Aunt Cordelia, to help her get to sleep, sang about
Heaven.

    "Thy gardens and thy goodly walks
       Continually are green,
     Where grow such sweet and pleasant flowers
       As nowhere else are seen--"

"Asleep?" from Aunt Cordelia. "No?"

Emmy Lou in Aunt Cordelia's lap was amazed to hear these things. "Thy
gardens and Thy goodly walks!" Hitherto she had been afraid of heaven!
And afraid of God!

Aunt Cordelia hearing about it was shocked. Truly shocked and no less
dismayed at how to remedy it, if Emmy Lou had but known it.

"Afraid of God? Why, Emmy Lou! He is our Father to go to, just as you
run to meet Papa." Aunt Cordelia, gaining heart, took fresh courage.
"God is everybody's Father, just as Heaven is our home."

The Aunt Cordelias may generalize, but the Emmy Lous will particularize.

"Izzy's father? And Sister's father? And Minnie's?"

Israel Judah lived next door, little colored Sister lived in the alley,
and Minnie lived with the lady next door to Izzy.

"Their Father, and yours and mine and everyone's. Don't you think you
can go to sleep now?"

Emmy Lou was positive she could not. God, of whom she had been afraid,
is our Father!

Next door to Emmy Lou, at Izzy's, lives an old, old man. His brows are
white and his beard falls on his breast. He smiles on Emmy Lou when she
goes to his knee to speak to him, but he draws Izzy to him and kisses
him. Aunt Katie calls him beautiful. Uncle Charlie calls him a glorious
old patriarch. But Izzy's Mamma calls him _father_.

And suddenly to Emmy Lou, there in Aunt Cordelia's lap, God is a Person!
He paces his goodly walks, as Papa does the flagging from the gate to
the house with Emmy Lou running to meet him. God paces his walks between
his sweet and pleasant flowers and his brows are white and his beard
falls on his breast. Will he smile on Emmy Lou? And on Izzy and Sister
and Minnie? Or will he draw them to him and kiss them?

"And at last she went to sleep," Aunt Cordelia, coming downstairs, told
Uncle Charlie.

Straight from the breakfast table the next morning, Emmy Lou went and
brought her cloak.

"Izzy will be waiting for me at his gate," she told Aunt Cordelia. The
custom being for the two meeting at Izzy's gate then to go to the alley
hunting Sister.

Aunt Katie came downstairs just here, looking for Emmy Lou.

"Do you know where my scissors are? I can't find mine or any others."

Emmy Lou has a way of hunting scissors for herself and Sister to cut out
pictures, but is quite sure this time that she is not culpable.

"I ain't had nary pair," she assured Aunt Katie.

Aunt Katie, apparently forgetting the scissors, swept round on Aunt
Cordelia who was just leaving the breakfast table.

"There!" she said accusingly.

"There!" echoed Aunt Louise, still in the dining-room, too. "We told you
she would be picking up such things in the alley!"

"Emmy Lou," expostulated Aunt Cordelia, "you didn't mean to say, 'I
ain't had nary pair.' You know better. Think hard and see if you can't
say it right."

Emmy Lou, the cloak she had brought half on, thought hard. "I ain't had
ary pair," she said.

Aunt Katie spoke positively. "I don't think you ought to let her play so
much with Sister. Louise and I have said so right along."

Not play with Sister! Emmy Lou was astounded. She loved Sister, smaller
than herself! She turned to Aunt Cordelia for corroboration.

Aunt Cordelia was troubled. "Come to me, Emmy Lou, and let me put your
cloak on you, and tie your hood. If she were going to be here all the
time it would be different," this to Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise. Then to
Emmy Lou, "Suppose today you stay next door and play with Izzy?"

Emmy Lou was amazed. "And Minnie?" she asked. "Mayn't I play with
Minnie?"

"She means the little girl who works for Mrs. Noble," explained Aunt
Cordelia quietly.

"Mrs. Noble is from over the river," said Aunt Louise in tones which,
however one may wonder what the river has to do with it, disqualify this
lady at once. "She speaks of the child as a little hired girl."

"Emmy Lou," said Aunt Katie, "remember that this side of the Ohio we
have servants, not hired girls."

"But she must not call the little girl a servant, Katie," said Aunt
Cordelia. "I won't have her hurting the child's feelings, whatever she
is."

"I call her Minnie," said Emmy Lou, bewildered.

"Certainly you do," said Aunt Cordelia, and kissed her.

Aunt Louise defended Aunt Katie. "While the child is hardly to be held
responsible, she has ways, as well as Sister, we certainly do not want
Emmy Lou to imitate."

Ways? Minnie? Marvelous, inexhaustible Minnie? Certainly she has ways,
ways that draw one, that hold one. Were Aunt Louise and Aunt Katie
casting doubts on Minnie? As they had on Sister? Emmy Lou in cloak and
hood looked to Aunt Cordelia for corroboration.

Aunt Cordelia looked worried, "Just as she is beginning to be a little
happier, I wish, Louise, you and Katie could let the child alone."

"But Minnie?" Emmy Lou wanted to know.

"Yes, I suppose so. Run along out, now, and play."

A sunny winter day it was as Emmy Lou went, a day to rejoice in, could
one at four put the feelings into thought, except that Izzy at his gate
in his stout coat and his fur cap is only mildly glad to see her. Izzy
is six years old. Usually kind, and as patient to catch her point as to
help her to his, just now he is engrossed with looking down the street.

Without turning, he does, however, confide in her. "Minnie has just gone
by to the grocery!"

If Emmy Lou had been disposed to be hurt, she understood now! Minnie
having gone by to the grocery would be _back_!

They have known her to speak to now for a week. She stopped one day at
Izzy's gate when he and Emmy Lou and Sister were standing there. Her
plaits were tied with bits of calico and there was a smudge on her
wrist; under her arm was a paper bag and in her hand a bucket. She swept
the three of them, Izzy, Emmy Lou, and Sister, up and down with her
eyes.

"You go to synagogue," she told Izzy. "An' your mother's gone away sick
an' left you," she said to Emmy Lou. Then she turned to Sister.

"Nigger," she said.

But Sister was what she afterward explained as "ready for her." She had
met Minnie before, so it proved, and M'lissy, her mother, had her ready
if she ever met her again. For all she was a little thing, Sister swept
Minnie up and down with _her_ eyes.

"Po' white," she said.

Which, while meaningless to some--Emmy Lou and Izzy for example--brought
the angry red to Minnie's cheek.

This was a week ago. Since then Minnie had come out on the pavement
twice and joined Emmy Lou and Izzy at play.

Wonderful Minnie! At once instigator and leader, arbiter and propounder.
Why? Because she knew. Knew what? Knew everything. About the devil who
would come right up out of the ground if you stamped three times and
said his name. Though from what Emmy Lou had heard about him at Sunday
school, and Izzy knew from some boys down at the corner, one wondered
that any would incur the risk by doing either.

And Minnie knew about gypsies who steal little boys and girls out of
their beds! Izzy is six, and Emmy Lou is four, and Minnie is ten going
on eleven; can it be wondered that they looked up to her?

She speaks darkly about herself. She has brothers and sisters better off
than she is, somewhere, who don't want to speak to her when she meets
them on the street!

And she speaks darkly about the lady she lives with whom she calls Mis'
Snoble. "When Lisa Schmit from the grocery came to play with me, she
shoo'd her off with the broom," she said.

Only yesterday she appeared at her gate for a brief moment to say she
could not come out and play. "Mis' Snoble's feelin' right up to the
mark today; we're goin' to beat rugs an' wash winders."

But this morning as she pauses on her way home from the grocery, her
communication to Izzy and Emmy Lou at Izzy's gate is of different
import. "Mis' Snoble's not feelin' up to the mark today. Come in with me
an' ask her an' maybe she'll let me come an' play."

Go in with Minnie! To Mrs. Noble! Emmy Lou's hand went into Izzy's, as
she for one gazed at Minnie appalled!

Yet Minnie's face is eager and her eyes implore. Her plaits are tied
with calico, and her face behind its eagerness is thin. Izzy looses Emmy
Lou's hand, even as she draws it away, and, behold, his hand now is in
one of Minnie's, and Emmy Lou's is in the other. They are going with her
to ask Mrs. Noble.

Through Minnie's gate, around by the side pavement, in at the kitchen
door, through a hall and to another door. Mrs. Noble has not appeared
yet with her broom to shoo them away, but she might!

Minnie pushed this door open and led the way in--wonderful, brave
Minnie!--but Izzy and Emmy Lou paused in the doorway.

Mrs. Noble, spare and upright in her chair, crocheting, looked up. Her
eyes, having swept up and down Minnie, traveled on to Emmy Lou and Izzy,
then returned coldly, as it were, to her work.

"Kitchen's red up," from Minnie eagerly and hopefully in what one
supposed must be the language of over the river; "been to the grocery,
an' the sink's clean."

If Mrs. Noble heard this she was above betraying it.

"Fire's laid in the stove, but not lit."

Never a sign.

"Potatoes peeled an' in the saucepan waitin'."

Mrs. Noble looked up. "One half-hour, or maybe three-quarters till I
call."

And they were gone, Minnie first like a flash, Izzy next, no loiterer in
the house of Mrs. Noble himself if he could help it and only the
slower-paced because somebody had to wait for Emmy Lou.

More wonderful day than it had been earlier, sunnier and less frosty.
Minnie, whose wrap is disturbingly nearer a sacque than a coat in its
scant nature, takes her place on the horse-block at the curb before
Izzy's house, and he and Emmy Lou take places either side of her.

Minnie, wonderful Minnie, ten years old and over, knows it all. What,
for instance? Everything, anything. Such as this matter she brings up
now of brothers and sisters. They are a bad lot. She says so. A sort to
stop at nothing even to passing a poorer sister without knowing her on
the street! As she went to the grocery with her bucket and oil-can just
now, her brother passed _her_ on the street. Minnie heard once of a man.
When she takes this tone the time has come to draw closer. "... O'Rouke
was this man's name. He was rich and g-r-rand. So grand _he_ didn't know
_his_ own brothers when he met them on the street. An' his brothers made
up their minds they would go to his house an' hide theirselves an' watch
him when he counted his money. It was a g-r-rand house. Over the
mantelpiece was a picture of his dead mother. Over the piano was a
picture of his dead father. Over the what-not was a picture of his wife.
Over the sofa was a picture of hisself. An' his four brothers came to
hide theirselves an' watch him count his money. The room was dark in all
the corners. An' one brother clumb up on the mantelpiece an' hid hisself
behind the picture of his mother, an' cut holes th'ough the eyes so his
eyes r-o-olling could look th'ough. An' the next brother clumb up on the
piano an' hid hisself behind the picture of his father an' cut holes
th'ough the eyes so his eyes r-o-olling could look th'ough. An' the next
brother clumb up on the what-not an' hid hisself behind the picture of
the wife an'----"

Sister appeared around the side of Izzy's house and came through the
gate. Even though her finger _was_ in her mouth, when she saw Minnie she
looked provocative.

"Go on with the brothers, Minnie," begged Izzy.

"Go on, Minnie," begged Emmy Lou.

But Minnie had no idea of resuming the brothers. Nobody, it would seem,
could look provocative with impunity at her!

"Nigger," she said to Sister.

But M'lissy, the mother of Sister, had her ready again. Did she send her
around here for the purpose?

"Po' white," said Sister, taking her finger out of her mouth. "An'
worser. My mammy said to tell you so. You're a _n'orphan_."

The solid ground of the accustomed gave way. Confusion followed. Minnie,
hitherto the ready, the able, having sprung up to meet Sister's
onslaught, whatever it was to be, sank back on the horse-block, and
hiding her face in her arms, cried, and more, at touch of the quickly
solicitous arms of Izzy and Emmy Lou about her, she sobbed.

Whereupon Emmy Lou arose, Emmy Lou in her stout little coat and her hood
and her mittens; and looking about her on the ground, found a switch
full seven inches long, and with it drove Sister, little Sister, away,
quite away. Had not Emmy Lou's own aunties cast the initial doubt on
Sister anyway?

Then she came back to the horse-block. "What's a n'orphan, Minnie?" Izzy
was asking.

Emmy Lou wanted to know this very thing.

"It's livin' with Mis' Snoble an' wearin' her shoes when they're too
big for you," sobbed Minnie. "'Tain't as if anybody would be one if they
could help theirselves."

"What makes you a n'orphan, then, Minnie, if you don't want to be one?"
from Izzy.

"You're a n'orphan when _your mother goes to Heaven an' leaves you_ an'
forgets you," bitterly.

Heaven? God paces his goodly walks there, between his sweet and pleasant
flowers. But would your mother _leave you to go there_? And going,
_forget you_?

A window went up and Izzy's mamma appeared.

"Israel," she called, "run in to the porch and give grandpa his cane and
help him start into the house. It's growing chill."

Minnie on the horse-block flung up her head and wiped away the tears.
"That old man again!" she said.

Did Minnie have ways? Ways that Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise did not want
their Emmy Lou to imitate? Was this one of her ways?

For Izzy's grandpa of whom Minnie spoke disparagingly was he of the
white brows and the flowing beard. On days such as this they helped him
to the porch where he sat bundled in a chair in the sun, his cane beside
him.

Except when this cane was not, which was the trouble as Minnie saw it.
For Izzy's grandpa was forever letting his cane slide to the floor, yet
could not get up, or down, or about, without it.

Izzy ran in now. He was affectionate and dutiful. Aunt Cordelia said so.
And having put the cane in his grandfather's hand, though not without
several efforts at keeping it there, at which his grandfather,
slowly--Oh, so slowly this morning!--and with trembling effort, drew him
to him and kissed him, he came back.

"Why _did_ your mother go to Heaven and leave you and forget you,
Minnie?" he asked.

"Heaven's a better place than this, if what they tell about it's true,"
bitterly. "_I ain't blamin' her for goin'_, myself."

"Izzy," came the call in a few moments again. "Did you tell grandpa to
come in?"

Izzy went running, for when he turned to look, the cane had slipped from
his grandfather's hand again and rolled to the foot of the steps, and
his head above the snowy beard was fallen on his breast. Nor would he in
this world lift it again, though none of the three grasped this.

Aunt Cordelia was decided at the breakfast table the next morning.

"They will not want you next door with Izzy today," she told Emmy Lou.

"Mayn't he come here?"

"I doubt if his mother will want him to come today."

The day following, however, Aunt Cordelia and Aunt Katie went next door
from the breakfast table and when they came back they brought Izzy with
them, not _for a while_, but _for the day_. His dark eyes were troubled
and his cheeks were pale. He was kindly and affectionate. Aunt Cordelia
said so.

And Aunt Cordelia agreed that after dinner Bob could ask Mrs. Noble to
let Minnie come over.

"How can you, Sister Cordelia?" expostulated Aunt Louise. "A little
servant girl!"

Bob came back with Minnie. "For a nour," she said as she arrived. "I can
stay until the pork-house whistle blows for four."

She waited until Aunt Cordelia, having settled them in the sunny back
room, went out the door.

"What's happened to your gran'pa?" then she said to Izzy. Did she say it
not as if she did not know, but as if she did?

"He's gone to sleep," said Izzy. "He won't be sick or tired any more."

"Sleep?" from Minnie. "Haven't they told you yet? We watched 'em start,
Bob and I, before we came in."

Start? Start where? Izzy's eyes, already troubled, were big and startled
now. "Where's grandpa going? Where's my grandpa going?"

Did Minnie in some way imply that she knew more than she meant to tell?
"To Heaven," virtuously. "I've told you about it. That's why he won't be
sick or tired any more. You ought to be glad. Here!" with quick change
in tone. "Where you going? What's the matter with you now? You can't
keep him back if you try!"

But Izzy was gone. Nor when Minnie, who was nothing but a little servant
girl after all, for Aunt Louise said so, ran after him, did he pause;
only called back as he hurried down the stairs. He was a dutiful little
boy, Aunt Cordelia said so.

"If Grandpa has to go he'll need his cane. He can't get anywhere without
his cane."

       *       *       *       *       *

Emmy Lou, coming in through the kitchen from play, a week later, met
Uncle Charlie in the hall just arriving by the front door.

He neither spoke to her nor saw her as he overtook her on the lowest
stair, but pushed by and hurried up.

Emmy Lou's heart swelled. It was not like Uncle Charlie. She clambered
the curving flight after him. He had gone ahead into Aunt Cordelia's
room and she, on her way there herself, trudged after.

What did it mean? Why did it frighten her? Aunt Katie, Aunt Louise,
weeping? Uncle Charlie now beside the fireplace, bowed against its
shelf? This bit of yellow paper at his feet on the floor?

Aunt Cordelia, weeping herself, would know. "What is it?" faltered Emmy
Lou.

Aunt Cordelia knew and held out her arms to the call. No evasions now;
truth for Emmy Lou.

"Mamma will not be back. She has gone ahead to Heaven. Come to Aunt
Cordelia and let her comfort you, precious baby."

But Emmy Lou, still in her coat and hat, did not come; she did not pause
to dally. She hurried past the various hands outstretched to stay her,
to her own little room adjoining.

Complete her _papier-maché_ satchel was, even to its clamps and straps,
sitting beside her bed ready, her satchel which would hold a gown, and
other treasure such as pewter dishes could she stop for such now. She
dragged at a drawer of her own bureau.

"What in the world----?" from Aunt Cordelia, who had followed.

"What are you doing----?" from Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise, who had
followed Aunt Cordelia.

Emmy Lou knew exactly what she was doing. Izzy had known too when he
went hurrying after. Minnie in her time, had she known, might have gone
hurrying too. A nightgown, at her pull, trailed from the open drawer.

Yet what was there in the faces about her to disturb her? To make her
loose her hold on the gown, look from one to the other of them and
falter? Uncle Charlie, too, had come into the room now.

Were they casting doubts again? As they cast them on Sister who until
then had in truth been a little sister? As they cast them on Minnie who
until then had been neither hired girl nor servant, but Minnie? Emmy Lou
turned to Aunt Cordelia for corroboration.

Even as she looked, she knew. We must learn a little more each day along
the way, even as Aunt Cordelia had said.

The nightgown trailing from her hand fell limply. The satchel,
relinquished, rolled along the floor. Those goodly walks receded, their
sweet and pleasant flowers drooped their listless heads. Emmy Lou,
nearing five years old, was a step further from heaven.

"How shall we teach a little child?" said Aunt Cordelia, weeping.

"How indeed?" said Uncle Charlie.



III

A FEW STRONG INSTINCTS AND A FEW PLAIN RULES


EVERY exigency in life save one, for an Emmy Lou at six, seemingly is
provided for by rules or admonition, the one which sometimes is
overlooked being lack of understanding.

"'Take heed that thou no murder do,'" was the new clause of the
Commandments In Verse, she had recited at Sunday school only yesterday.

"'The way of the transgressor is hard,'" said Dr. Angell from his pulpit
to her down in the pew between Uncle Charlie and Aunt Cordelia an hour
later. Or she took it that he was saying it to her. For while one
frequently fails to follow the words in this thing of admonition, there
is no mistaking the manner. When she came into church with Uncle Charlie
and Aunt Cordelia, in her white piqué coat and her leghorn hat, Dr.
Angell had met her in the aisle and seemed glad to see her, even to
patting her cheek, but once he was in his pulpit he shook an admonishing
finger at her and thundered.

Nor did Emmy Lou, a big girl now for all she still was pink-cheeked and
chubby, lack for admonitions at home from Aunt Cordelia and Aunt Katie
and Aunt Louise above stairs, and Aunt M'randy in the kitchen below--a
world of aunts, in this respect, it might have seemed, had Emmy Lou,
faithful to those she deemed faithful to her, been one to think such
things.

Admonitions vary. Aunt Cordelia and Aunt M'randy drew theirs from the
heart, so to put it. "When you mind what I say, you are a good little
girl. When you do not mind what I say, you are a bad little girl," said
Aunt Cordelia.

"When I tell you to go on upstairs outer my way, I want you to go. When
I tell you to take your fingers outen thet dough, I want you to take 'em
out," said Aunt M'randy. Admonitions put in this way are entirely
comprehensible. There is no getting away from understanding mandates
such as these.

Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise drew their admonitions from a small, battered
book given to them when they were little for their guidance and known as
"Songs for the Little Ones at Home."

    "O that it were my chief delight
     To do the thing I ought;
     Then let me try with all my might,
     To mind what I am taught,"

said Aunt Katie.

    "O dear me, Emma, how is this?
     Your hands are very dirty, Miss;
     I don't expect such hands to see
     When you come in to dine with me,"

said Aunt Louise.

Nor did Emmy Lou suspect that it was because their advice did not come
from the heart it reduced her to gloom; that Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise
delighted in it not because it was advice, but because it did reduce her
to gloom; that Aunt Katie, who was twenty-two, and Aunt Louise, who was
twenty, did it to tease?

Bob, the house-boy, too, had his line of ethics for her. And while he
went to Sunday school, and to what he called Lodge, and had what he
termed fun'ral insurance, observances all entitling him to standing, he
pointed his warnings with dim survivals from an older, darker lore which
someone wiser than Bob or Emmy Lou might have recognized as hoodoo. Not
that Bob or Emmy Lou either knew this. Nor yet did Emmy Lou grasp that
he to whom she was told to go for company a dozen times a day when the
others wanted to get rid of her used the same to get rid of her himself.
On the contrary, her faith in him being what it was, his warnings sank
deep, the dire fates of his examples being guaranty for that. Moreover
his examples came close home.

The little girl who wouldn't go play when they wanted to get rid of her.
The little boy who would stay out visiting so late they had to send the
house-boy after him. The little girl who wouldn't go 'long when told to
go, but would hang around the kitchen. Treated as a class by Bob, a
class, so his gloomy head-shakings would imply, peculiarly fitting to
his present company, their fates were largely similar.

"They begun to peak, an' then to pine. An' still they wouldn't mind.
Thar ha'r drapped out in the comb. An' still they wouldn't mind. Thar
nails come loose. An' still they wouldn't mind. Thar teeth drapped out.
But it wuz too late. When they tried to mind _they couldn't mind_!"

And while his audience might chafe beneath the almost too personal tone
of these remarks, she dared not question them. Examples dire as Bob's
were vouched for every day. Only the Noahs were saved in the ark. Lot's
wife turned to a pillar of salt. The bear came out of the woods and ate
the naughty children. Aunt Cordelia and Sunday school alike said so. The
wicked sisters of Cinderella were driven out of the palace. Aunt Katie
and Aunt Louise said so. The disobedient little mermaid was turned into
foam. The little girl down at the corner, named Maud, who owned the
book, said so.

These things all considered, perhaps it came to be a matter of too many
and cumulative admonishings with Emmy Lou. Nature will revolt at too
steady a diet perhaps even of admonitions. Or it may be that even an
Emmy Lou in time rebels, when elders so persistently refuse to recognize
that there is another, an Emmy Lou's side, to most affairs.

For at six the peripatetic instinct has awakened and the urge within is
to move on. Where? How does an Emmy Lou know? Anywhere so that the
cloying performances of outgrown baby ways are behind her.

Many whom she knew in the receded stages of five years old, and four,
have moved on or away before this. Izzy who lived next door. Minnie who
lived next to Izzy. Lisa Schmit whose father had the grocery at the
corner but now has one at a corner farther away.

And others have moved into Emmy Lou's present ken. Mr. Dawkins has the
grocery at the corner now, and his little girl is Maud, guarantor for
the mermaid, and his big girl is Sarah, and his little boy is Albert
Eddie. The peripatetic instinct impelling, Emmy Lou goes to see them as
often as Aunt Cordelia will permit.

There is fascination in going if one could but convey this to Aunt
Cordelia in words. Any can live in houses; indeed most people do; or in
Emmy Lou's time did; but only the few live over a grocery.

It argues these different. Mr. Schmit was German. Mr. Dawkins is
English. At Emmy Lou's, the teakettle, a vague part in family affairs,
boils on the stove, but at Maud's, the teakettle, a family affair of
moment, boils on the "hob," which is to say, the grate. And more, the
father and mother of Maud and Albert Eddie not only have crossed that
vague something, home of the little mermaid, the ocean, but their mother
has all but seen the Queen.

"You know the Queen?" the two had asked Emmy Lou anxiously.

And she had said yes. And she did know her. Knew her from long
association and by heart. She sat in her parlor at the bottom of the
page, eating bread and honey, while the maid and the blackbird were at
the top of the next page.

"Tell her about it," Maud and Albert Eddie then had urged Sarah, their
elder sister, "about when mother all but saw the Queen?"

Sarah complied. "'Now hurry along home with your brother in the
perambulator while I stop at the shop,' mother's mother said to her.
Mother was twelve years old. But she didn't hurry. She stopped to watch
every one else all at once hurrying and running, and so when she reached
the corner the Queen, for the Queen it was, had gone by."

"If she had minded her mother----" from Albert Eddie.

"And hurried on home with the perambulator----" from Maud. Proof not
only of a worthy attitude on their part towards the admonition of the
tale, but of an evident comprehension of what a perambulator was.

But Aunt Cordelia, not always a free agent, was no longer permitting so
much visiting.

"You are letting her actually live on the street," said Aunt Katie.

"With any sort of children," supplemented Aunt Louise.

Undoubtedly Aunt Cordelia came the nearest to understanding there is
another side to these affairs. "Sometimes I think she's lonesome," she
said.

    "Those children who are all the day,
     Allowed to wander out,
     And only waste their time in play,
     Or running wild about----"

said Aunt Katie. Aunt Louise finished it:

    "Who do not any school attend,
     But trifle as they will,
     Are almost certain in the end,
     To come to something ill."

And while it almost would seem that Aunt Cordelia was being admonished
too, and from the little book, in the light of what followed, it
appeared that Aunt Katie, Aunt Louise, and the little book were right.

The day in question started wrong. In the act of getting out of bed,
life seemed a heavy and a listless thing. If Emmy Lou, less pink-cheeked
than usual if any had chanced to notice, but full as chubby, ever had
felt this way before, she would have told Aunt Cordelia that her head
ached. But if the head never has ached before?

Her attention was distracted here, anyhow, and she, startled, let her
tongue pass along the row of her teeth. Milk teeth, those who knew the
term would have called them. There is much, however, that an Emmy Lou,
one small person in a household of elders, is supposed to know that she
does not, knowledge coming not by nature but through understanding.

Then, reassured, her attention came back to the affairs of the moment,
the chief of these being that life is a heavy and listless affair and
the labyrinthine windings of stockings more than ever fretting in effect
upon the temper. And after stockings come garments, ending with the pink
calico dress apportioned to the day, and succeeding garments come
buttons. Aunt Katie in the next room was cheerful.

    "I love to see a little girl
     Rise with the lark so bright,
     Bathe, comb and dress with cheerful face----"

One was in no mood whatever for the little book, and showed it. Aunt
Louise in the next room too, possibly grasped this.

    "Why is Sarah standing there
     Leaning down upon a chair,
     With such an angry lip and brow,
     I wonder what's the matter now?"

Aunt Cordelia was struggling with the buttons. "Let her alone, both of
you. Sometimes I think you are half responsible."

The outrages of the day went on at breakfast. Emmy Lou's once prized
highchair, a tight fit now, and which, could she have had her own way,
would have been repudiated some time ago, was in itself provocative. She
climbed into it stonily.

Bob placed a saucer before her. If she ever had suffered the qualms of
an uneasy stomach before, she would have known and told Aunt Cordelia.

"I don't want my oatmeal," said Emmy Lou.

"You must eat it before you can have anything else," said Aunt Cordelia.

"I don't want anything else."

"She's fretful," said Aunt Katie.

"She's cross," said Aunt Louise.

"I am coming to think you are right, Louise," said Aunt Cordelia. "What
she needs is to be at school with other children. School opens the day
after tomorrow, and I'll start her."

"This baby?" from Uncle Charlie incredulously, his gaze seeking Emmy Lou
in her highchair.

"Look at that oatmeal still untouched," from Aunt Cordelia. "Charlie,
_she is getting so she doesn't want to mind_!"

The outrages went on during the morning. Emmy Lou did not know what to
do with herself, whereas Aunt Cordelia had a great deal to do with
herself. "You little hindering thing!" by and by from that person with
exasperation. "Go on out and talk with Bob. He's cleaning knives on the
kitchen doorstep."

But Bob, occupied with his board and bath-brick and piece of raw
potato, had no idea of talking with her. He talked to himself.

"Seems like I done forgot how it went, 'bout thet li'l boy whut would
stan' roun' listenin'. Some'n' like 'bout thet li'l girl whut wouldn't
go about her business----"

Gathering up his knives and board, he went in to set his table. Turning
around by and by he found her behind him in the pantry. He talked to
himself some more.

"Reckon is I done forgot how it went? 'Bout thet li'l girl got shet up
in the pantry after they tol' her to keep out? She knowed ef she coughed
they'd hear an' come an' fin' her thar. An' she hed to cough. An' she
wouldn't cough. An' she hed to. An' she wouldn't. An' she hed to. An'
she DID. But it wuz too late. The pieces of her wuz ev'ey whar, even to
the next spring when they wuz house-cleanin', an' foun' her knuckle-bone
on the fur top shelf. Looks lak to me, somebody else is gettin' ready
for a good lesson. Better watch out."

The final outrage was yet to come. At the close of dinner Emmy Lou came
round to Aunt Cordelia's chair. Aunt Cordelia was worn out. She had
never known her Emmy Lou to behave as she had in the last day or so.

"Now don't come asking me again," she said, forestalling the issue.
"I've gone over the matter with you several times before today. You
cannot go play with anybody. No, not with Maud at the corner or anybody
else." Then to Uncle Charlie, shaking his head over this unwonted
friction as he rose to start back down town: "They tell me there is
whooping-cough around everywhere, Charlie." Then to Emmy Lou: "Now try
and be a good girl for the rest of the day, Aunt Cordelia will have her
hands full. It is Bob's afternoon out. Try and be Aunt Cordelia's
precious baby."

But Emmy Lou, her tongue traveling the row of her teeth anew, didn't
propose to be anybody's precious baby. She was a big girl, now, almost
six years old, and wanted it recognized that she was. And she didn't
feel good in the least, but like being quite the reverse for the rest of
the day.

This was at two o'clock. At three Aunt Cordelia's own Emmy Lou, the pink
calico upon her person and a straw hat upon her head, turned the knob of
the front door. Having obeyed thus far in life, she was about to
disobey.

The front door, its knob requiring both hands and her tiptoes, whereas
the kitchen door would have been open. But Aunt M'randy was in the
kitchen.

As it chanced, Bob was leaving by the kitchen door, and coming around by
the side pavement as Emmy Lou came down the steps, they met. His idea
seemed to be that she was tagging after him, an injury in itself when
she divined it. He was of the same mind evidently when a moment later
she was still beside him outside the gate.

He paused and addressed the air disparagingly before he went. "Looks
like to me I'll have to bresh up my ricollection 'bout thet li'l girl
whut would come outside her own gate after she was tole not to come.
Spoilin' for one good lesson, thet li'l girl wuz, an' 'pears like to me
she got it. Better watch out." And Bob was gone, up the street, whereas
it was the definite intention of the other person at that gate to go
down the street.

Mr. Dawkins' grocery fronted on the main street while his housedoor
opened on the side-street. A few moments later a small figure in a
familiar pink dress and straw hat reached this side door, and, pausing
long enough for her tongue to pass uneasily along the row of her teeth,
opened it upon a flight of stairs and went in.

Five o'clock it was and after when Mr. Dawkins' eldest daughter Sarah,
followed by Maud and Albert Eddie, came down these steps propelling a
visitor in a pink dress and straw hat, a visitor known from the Dawkins'
viewpoint as that little girl from up the street in the white house that
get their groceries from Schmit.

Perhaps this fact explained Sarah's small patience with this person who
in herself would seem to invite it. She not only was pale, and her lips
pressed with unnatural while miserable firmness together, but her eyes,
uplifted when Sarah most undeniably shook her, were anguished.

"If you'd open your mouth and speak," said Sarah with every indication
of shaking her again.

A stout gentleman coming along the side street which led from a car-line
crossed over hastily.

"Here, here! And what for?" Uncle Charlie asked with spirit.

Sarah looked up at him. With her long, tidy plaits and her tidy person
she conveyed the impression that she was to be depended on. Maud looked
up at him. With her small tidy plaits and her tidy person she conveyed
the impression that she was to be depended on, too.

Albert Eddie looked up. Mr. Dawkins was to be congratulated on his
family. There was dependability in every warm freckle of Albert Eddie's
face.

Emmy Lou, Uncle Charlie's own Emmy Lou, had been looking up the while,
anguished. She was a reliable person in general herself, or Uncle
Charlie always had found her so.

"If she'd open her mouth and speak," said Sarah. "Half an hour ago by
the clock it was, she gave a sound, and I turned, and here she was like
this."

"Sister was telling us a story----" from Albert Eddie.

"The story of naughty Harryminta----" from Maud.

"No use your trying, sir," from Sarah. "I've been trying for half an
hour. We're taking her home."

"Excellent idea." He took Emmy Lou's little hands. "So you won't tell
Uncle Charlie either?"

Evidently she would not, though it was with visible increase of anguish
that she indicated this by a shake of her head.

"We'll walk along," said Sarah. "I've my part of supper to get, but
we'll feel better ourselves to see her home."

They walked along.

"I was talking to them peaceful as might be----" from Sarah again.

"Sister was telling us a story----" from Albert Eddie.

"The story of naughty Harryminta----" from Maud.

Was it a sound here from Uncle Charlie's Emmy Lou, or the twitch of her
hand in his, which betrayed some access to her woe?

"And what was the story?" asked Uncle Charlie. It might afford a clue.

Maud volunteered it. "The little girl's mother said to her, 'Don't.' And
her name was Harryminta. And when she got back from doing what she was
told not to do, her mother was waiting for her at the door. 'Whose
little girl is this?' And Harryminta said, 'Why, it's your little girl.'
But her mother shook her head. 'Not my little girl at all. _My little
girl is a good little girl._' And shut the door."

"Talk about your coincidence," said Uncle Charlie afterward. "Talk about
your Nemesis and such!"

For as the group came along the street--the Dawkins family, Uncle
Charlie, and Emmy Lou--and turned in at the gate, Aunt Cordelia flung
the front door open. Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise were behind her. They
had really just missed Emmy Lou.

"Whose little girl is this?" said Aunt Cordelia, severely. But not going
as far as the mother of Araminta she did not shut the door. Instead,
Sarah explained.

"Half an hour ago by the clock----" Sarah began.

They led her into the hall, and Aunt Cordelia lifted her up on the
marble slab of the pier table. Aunt Cordelia's admonitions and mandates
came from the heart. "Open your mouth and speak out and tell me what's
the matter?"

Emmy Lou opened her mouth, and in the act, though visibly against her
stoutest endeavor even to an alarming accession of pink to her face,
ominously and unmistakably--whooped; the same followed on her part by
the full horror of comprehension, and then by a wail.

For with that whoop the worst had happened. As with the little boys and
girls in Bob's dire category of naughty little boys and girls, her sin
had found her out indeed.

"I'm coming to pieces," wailed their terrified Emmy Lou, "because I
didn't mind."

And according to her understanding she was, since after her vain
endeavor for half an hour by Sarah's clock to hold it in place with
tongue and lips, in her palm lay a tooth, the first she had shed or
known she had to shed, knowledge coming not by nature but through
understanding.

Aunt Cordelia did not carry out her program the day school opened. There
was whooping-cough at her house, and a day or so after there was
whooping-cough at Mr. Dawkins'.

"He is very indignant about it," Aunt Cordelia told Uncle Charlie. "He
stopped me as I came by this morning from my marketing. He said it
wasn't even as though we were customers."

"Which is the least we can be after this, I'm sure you will agree," said
Uncle Charlie.

Just here in the conversation, Emmy Lou, miserable and stuffy in a pink
sacque over her habitual garb because Aunt Cordelia most emphatically
insisted, whooped.

    "Those _good_ little girls, Marianne and Maria,
     Were happy and well as _good_ girls could desire--"

said Aunt Louise.

Aunt Cordelia, approaching with a bottle and spoon as she did after
every cough, shook her head. "Little girls who mind are good little
girls," she said.

"Emmy Lou is learning to be a good little girl while she is shut up in
the house sick," said Aunt Katie. "She knows all of her Commandments In
Verse for Sunday school now. Let Aunt Cordelia wipe the cough-syrup off
your mouth and say them for Uncle Charlie before he goes."

Emmy Lou learning to be a good little girl said them obediently.

    "Thou shalt have no more gods but me;
     Before no idol bow thy knee.
     Take not the name of God in vain,
     Nor dare the Sabbath day profane.
     Give both thy parents honor due,
     Take heed that thou no murder do.
     Abstain from deeds and words unclean,
     Nor steal though thou art poor and mean;
     Nor make a willful lie nor love it,
     What is thy neighbor's, dare not covet."

Aunt Cordelia, Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise looked pleased. Emmy Lou had
said the verses without stumbling. Uncle Charlie looked doubtful. "Five
words with understanding rather than ten thousand in an unknown tongue?
How about it, Cordelia?"

But Bob, bringing Emmy Lou's dinner upstairs to her on a tray, had the
last disturbing word. "Been tryin' to riccollect how it went, 'bout thet
li' girl kep' her tongue outer the place whar her tooth drapped out,
so's a new tooth would grow in."



IV

THE TRIBUNAL OF CONSCIENCE


UNCLE CHARLIE took six blue tickets from his pocket and set them on the
dining-room mantel. His ownership of a newspaper was the explanation for
this liberality of supply to those who could put the two things
together.

"I wonder," said he, "if anybody in this room ever heard of the circus?"

Emmy Lou could not get down from her place at the dinner-table fast
enough. She hurried to the kitchen. She had heard of the circus from Bob
the house-boy, who had a circus bill!

Bills, as a rule, are small affairs measurable in inches; bits of paper
which reduce Aunt Cordelia to figurings with a lead pencil, short
replies, and low spirits.

But a circus bill, pink and pictorial, is measurable in feet. As Bob
spread his on the kitchen table yesterday and again this morning, it
fell either side well on the way to the floor. Its wonders, inexplicable
where he, spelling out the text, forebore to explain, or explicable
where he did if one knew no better than he, were measurable only by the
limits of the mind to take them in. If Emmy Lou, who started to school
last fall three weeks late owing to a popular prejudice against
whooping-cough, had caught up as Aunt Cordelia easily assumed she would,
or "caught on," in the words of Uncle Charlie, she might have been
spelling out some of the wonders of the circus bill for herself.

Bob's finger had paused beneath a lady in myriad billowing skirts poised
mid-air between a horse and a hoop such as Emmy Lou spent hours trying
to trundle on the sidewalk. "She's jumpin' th'ough the hoop, but thet
ain't nothin'. Heah in the other picture she's jumpin' th'ough six."

Emmy Lou, hurrying to the kitchen now and finding Bob about to start in
with the soup, borrowed the bill and hurried back with it to the
dining-room and Uncle Charlie's side.

"This one's an elephant," she explained, her finger, even as Bob's,
beneath the picture. "He picks little children up and puts them in his
trunk."

"I see you know, though some do call it his howdah," said Uncle Charlie.
"And no doubt about the lions and the tigers, the giraffe and the zebra
as well?" regretfully. "Even the lemonade?"

"Lemonade?"

"Pink. And peanuts." Uncle Charlie motioned to Bob to put his soup down
and have done with it, as it were. "Also Nella, The Child Equestrienne
in Her Triumphal Entry--here she is. And Zephine, the Wingless Wonder,
in Her Flight Through the Air----"

"Am I going to the circus?" from Emmy Lou.

"That's what I hoped," from Uncle Charlie, handing back the bill and
turning to his soup. "But of course if there is room for doubt about
it----"

The very next day Emmy Lou came hurrying home from Sunday school. She
had the Dawkins, Sarah, the conscientious elder sister, Maud, and Albert
Eddie, for company as far as the grocery at the corner. Since Aunt
Cordelia had learned they were English, apparent explanation for those
who understood, they had been persuaded to go to St. Simeon's Sunday
school too.

Sunday school was to have a--Emmy Lou in her Sunday dress and her Sunday
hat, hurrying on from the corner by herself, tried to straighten this
out before reaching home and reporting it. What was it Sunday school was
to have? In Uncle Charlie's study--a small back room, somewhat battered
and dingy but, as he claimed in its defense, his own--was a picture of a
stout little man propelled in a wheelbarrow by some other men.

Emmy Lou had discovered that Uncle Charlie loved the little man and
prized the picture. When she asked who he was and where he was going in
the wheelbarrow, Uncle Charlie said it was _Mr. Pickwick_ going to a
_picnic_. Or, and here was the trouble, was it _Mr. Picnic_ going to a
_pickwick_? It depended on this what Sunday school was to have.

Uncle Charlie, hat and cane in hand, waiting in the hall for Aunt
Cordelia to start to church, straightened out the matter. _Mr. Pickwick_
was going to a _picnic_. It then followed that Emmy Lou, in general a
brief person, had such a store of information about the picnic she was
moved to share it with Uncle Charlie. This common interest about the
circus and their recurring conversations about it were drawing them
together, anyhow. Her data about the picnic on the whole was menacing in
its character. As, for example:

It was to be in Mr. Denby's grove. He charged too much for it, but St.
Simeon's could not do any better. If you went too far away from the
swings and the benches the mamma of some little pigs would chase you.

Further. You cannot go to St. Simeon's picnic, or, indeed, to any picnic
without a basket! Emmy Lou had endeavored to find out what sort of a
basket and Sarah had cut her short with the brief reply, "A picnic
basket."

And, finally, "Albert Eddie wishes he'd never started to St. Simeon's.
Sarah says he has to go to the picnic and he wants to go to the circus!"

Aunt Cordelia arriving in full church array caught this last. "I've
been meaning to speak about it myself. I find the circus is here for the
one day only and that the day for St. Simeon's picnic."

Emmy Lou received this as applying to the Dawkins only. The information
her inquiries had enabled her to get together led her personally to
disparage picnics.

"Albert Eddie says Sarah made him wash dishes at the last picnic he went
to. And she makes him carry baskets. That if he'd wash dishes for 'em at
the circus and carry water, they'd let him in."

"Sarah, Maud, Albert Eddie, you, me, and one ticket to spare; such was
my idea," said Uncle Charlie, he and Aunt Cordelia preparing to start.
"The only thing we've ever given the Dawkins up to date is the
whooping-cough. Picnic or circus, duty or pleasure, we'll have to put it
to them which they want it to be."

Aunt Cordelia, even at the risk of being late to church, stopped short.
She didn't see the matter in any such fashion at all! "Emmy Lou will
prefer to go to her own Sunday school picnic too, I hope," decidedly.
"How you distract and bother the child, Charlie!"

"I bother Emmy Lou? She and I are as near good friends as people get to
be. We respect each other's honesty and go our own ways. I am going to
leave the tickets where I put them yesterday. I planned to take her and
the Dawkins to the circus. You and she can fight it out." He proceeded
through the open doorway to the stone steps.

"In that case," from Aunt Cordelia as she followed him, "since you seem
to put me in the wrong, I leave it to her own conscience. She is seven
years old, a big girl going to school and Sunday school, and ought to
know right from wrong." And the two were gone.

Conscience! Familiar shibboleth to the seventh age of little girls!
Stern front behind which Aunt Cordelia these days hides her kindly
features.

Somewhere beyond the neighborhood where Emmy Lou lived with Aunt
Cordelia and Uncle Charlie, was the roundhouse and the yards of a
railroad. Or so Aunt Cordelia explained. The roundhouse bell, rung every
hour by the watchman on his rounds, made far-off melancholy tolling
through the night.

The sins at seven, the chubby, endeavoring Emmy Lou's sins, her cloak on
the coat-closet floor instead of the closet peg, mucilage on Aunt
Katie's rug where a paper outspread before pasting began would have
saved it--sins such as these have no prod to reminder more poignant than
this melancholy tolling of the roundhouse bell in the night.

"It is an uneasy conscience," Aunt Cordelia invariably claimed when Emmy
Lou, waking, came begging for permission to get in her bed. "If your
conscience was all that it should be, you'd be asleep."

Yet did Aunt Cordelia, as a rule, leave those matters to Emmy Lou's
conscience which she thought she did? Did Emmy Lou three out of four
Sundays find herself remaining at church rather than on her road home
because she herself wanted to stay? Or taking off her new dress on
reaching home because she wanted to get into the older one?

Or, rather, did she find her baffled if unsuspecting self, coerced and
bewildered, doing these and other things in the name of choice when the
doing was not through choice at all?

Aunt Cordelia was going to leave the decision between the circus and the
picnic to Emmy Lou, too, because she said she was. Nor did Aunt
Cordelia, honest soul, or Emmy Lou, unquestioning and trusting one,
dream but that she did.

"I'll see Sarah Dawkins," said Aunt Cordelia to Aunt Katie and Aunt
Louise the very next morning, "and arrange with her to look after Emmy
Lou at the picnic. We'll use the small hamper for her basket. She can
take enough for herself and them. Bob can take her and it around to the
church corner where the chartered street cars are to be waiting, and put
her in Sarah's charge there. I can't see, Katie, why you oppose a cake
with custard filling for the basket."

"It's messy," said Aunt Katie, "both to take and to eat."

"But if she likes it best?" from Aunt Cordelia.

It was the first thing come to Emmy Lou's hearing lending appeal to the
picnic; or light on the purpose of the baskets.

Uncle Charlie arriving for dinner outmatched it, however, by another
appeal. "I saw a new circus bill on the fence of the vacant lot as I
came by. A yellow bill."

Emmy Lou hurried right down there from the dinner-table. Nella, the
Child Equestrienne, was kissing her hand right to Emmy Lou from her
horse's back. And the elephant, abandoning his customary dark business
of putting little children in his trunk, with unexpected geniality was
sitting on a stool before a table drinking tea.

And the next day Bob outmatched this. He had been to the grocery to see
about chickens for the picnic to which Emmy Lou ought to want to go.

"There's a Flyin' Dutchman on the outside, an' side-shows too. I seen
about it on a bill the other side of the grocery. A green bill."

Emmy Lou hurried down there. She didn't see anything that she could
identify as a Flying Dutchman, perhaps because she was hazy as to what a
Dutchman was. But Zephine, swinging by her _teeth_, was just leaping
into space.

"I think I will let her wear her sprigged muslin," said Aunt Cordelia at
supper that night. "A good many grown persons go in the afternoon."

"Their excuse being to take the children----" from Uncle Charlie easily.

"I am not talking of the circus, Charlie, and you know I am not," from
Aunt Cordelia sharply.

"She has decided then?"

"She certainly ought to have decided. There never should have been any
doubt. I'll put in some little tarts, Katie; all children like tarts."

Had Emmy Lou decided? She heard it assumed that she had. Why, then, with
this sense of frustration and bewilderment was she swallowing at tears?

"I certainly feel I may say Emmy Lou has decided," repeated Aunt
Cordelia. "I'm sure, Katie, tarts are just the thing."

"I'll never believe it," said Uncle Charlie, emphatically, nor was he
referring to the tarts.

Did he refuse to be party to any such idea?

"I would not be surprised," said he to Emmy Lou the next evening, "if we
hear the circus rumbling by in the night. Our street is the one they
usually take from the railroad yards to the circus-grounds. I put six
tickets on the mantelpiece where at the most we will need only five.
Suppose I take one and see what I can do with it?"

"Emmy Lou has no idea but of going to her own Sunday school picnic,"
said Aunt Cordelia. "I wish, Charlie, you would be still about your
tickets and the circus."

"They are not my tickets. They are going to stay right here. I merely
was to go with Emmy Lou on one of them. They are her tickets to do with
as she wants and to take whom she pleases."

Though the circus did go by in the night, according to report next
morning, Emmy Lou failed to hear it. Nor did the melancholy of the
tolling bell disturb her. Aunt Cordelia said this was because she was
going to her Sunday school picnic as she should, and had a quiet
conscience.

"I come roun' by the circus as I come to work," Bob said in the pantry
where Aunt Cordelia and he packed the basket with Emmy Lou for
spectator. "Gittin' them wagons with the lookin'-glass sides ready for
the perade. Thet ol' elephant come swinging erlong like he owned the
y'earth. Mr. Charlie gimme a ticket las' night to go."

Which reminded Emmy Lou. Even though she was going to the picnic, there
was comfort in the thought those tickets yet on the mantelpiece were
hers. She went into the dining-room and pushed a chair to the hearth.
The sprigged muslin she was to wear had a pocket, and later when this
dress was put on the tickets which were her own were in the pocket.

If one never has been to a picnic the only premises to go on are those
given you.

"You haven't a thing to do but stay with Maud and Albert Eddie, and mind
Sarah," said Aunt Cordelia as she put Emmy Lou's hat on her head and its
elastic under her chin, "except, of course, to look after your basket.
There is pink icing on the little cakes and a good tablecloth that I
don't want anything to happen to under the beaten biscuits at the
bottom. There is ham and there's tongue and there's chicken."

"I have to look after the basket," Emmy Lou told Sarah as she and the
Dawkins with the rest of St. Simeon's Sunday school were put aboard the
excursion cars.

"Of course you do," said Sarah approvingly. "We all do. It's right here.
And," with the heartiness of one distributing largesse in privileges,
the meanwhile settling her three charges in their places, "when we get
off the car Albert Eddie shall carry it."

Emmy Lou had a seat between Albert Eddie and Maud. Beyond Albert Eddie
were three little boys in knickerbockers, blouses, and straw hats, as
gloomy in face as he.

"Not only _let_ him carry water for the elephant but gave him _a ticket_
for doing it," the nearest one was saying to the other three. "Had it
with him when he got back. I saw it myself. He lemme take it in my hand.
A _blue_ ticket."

"Right past the circus grounds, tents and all," from the second little
boy as their car came in sight of the beflagged tent city. "I'll betcher
they're gettin' ready for the parade right now!"

Four glittering, turbaned beings appeared around a tent, each leading a
plumed and caparisoned horse to a place before a gilded and
high-throned edifice. "Didn't I tell you they were?" bitterly. A band
crashed.

The heads of St. Simeon's Sunday school, regardless of danger, craned
out as one. The more venturesome left their seats.

St. Simeon's chartered cars rolled inexorably by. Heads came in. The
venturesome returned to their places.

"What is there to a picnic anyhow?" from the third little boy. "Nothin'
at all but what you eat."

Albert Eddie staggered under the weight of the basket when in time the
car stopped on the track along the dusty road outside Mr. Denby's grove.
But then one out of every two persons descending from the several cars
was similarly staggering under the weight of a basket.

Sarah and Maud, with Emmy Lou led by either hand between them, followed
Albert Eddie with their own. After which, St. Simeon's, having brought
all baskets to a common center beneath a tree in the neighborhood of the
ice-water barrel, went off and left them.

"I'm going with a little girl who asked me," Maud told Sarah. "We won't
go too far or the mother of the little pigs will chase us."

"Albert Eddie, I told the ladies that you would get the wood for a fire
so we can put the coffee on," said Sarah. "When you come back from that
you can take the bucket and bring us the ice-water from the barrel for
the lemonade."

Sarah's glance came next to Emmy Lou, no mixer in the world of Sunday
school at best, as Sarah before this had observed. Sarah frowned
perturbedly. Some are picnickers by intuition, for example Maud and the
little girl gone off together; others come to it through endeavor. It
was seven-year-old Emmy Lou's first picnic, and she in her sprigged
muslin stood looking to Sarah.

Sarah was a manager, but having yet to manage for Emmy Lou her frown was
perturbed. Then her face cleared. She fetched a flat if a trifle
over-mossy stone and put it down on the outskirts of the baskets grouped
beneath the sheltering tree, and near the ice-water barrel. "There, now!
You can sit down here and look after the baskets till I get back," she
told Emmy Lou and was gone.

There is virtue in coming to a picnic. Aunt Cordelia plainly gave one to
understand so.

"Why don't you go play with the others, little girl?" asked a lady who
was tying on a gingham apron as she hurried by. "Go over to the swings
and see-saws."

But Emmy Lou, no picnicker by intuition, nor as yet by any other mode of
arrival, was grateful that she had to stay with the baskets, and, had
the lady paused long enough for a reply, could say so.

Was there virtue in coming to the picnic for Albert Eddie too? Emmy Lou
on her stone under the tree guarding baskets saw him come back with his
load of firewood. She saw him next carrying the bucket of water from the
barrel.

And here some ladies approaching the baskets beside Emmy Lou beneath the
tree, and casting appraising eyes over the outlay, began to help
themselves to the same! To this basket, and that basket, and carry them
away! One even approached and laid hands on Emmy Lou's own! It took
courage to speak, but she found it.

"It's mine," from Emmy Lou.

"And just the very nicest looking one I have seen," said the lady
heartily after raising the lid and probing into the contents. "Anyone
would be glad to say it was hers," and went off with it! St. Simeon's
with a commendable sense of fellowship made a common feast from its
picnic baskets at long tables for all, but Emmy Lou did not know this.
She only saw her cake with the custard filling, her cakes with the pink
icing, her tarts, her ham and tongue, her chicken and biscuits and
tablecloth borne off from her with a coolness astounding and appalling.

Virtue is hers who dully endures a picnic. Emmy Lou, coming out of her
stun and daze and seeing some little boys approaching, the ice-water
barrel being a general Mecca, swallowed hard that, did they notice her,
they might not see how near she was to crying. Three little boys in
knickerbockers, blouses, and straw hats they were, still with their
common air of being more than justifiably aggrieved.

They noticed her and at the abrupt halt of one, all stopped.

"We saw her on the car," he said. "_What's she got?_"

[Illustration: "Why should that monstrous bulk of elephant have
trumpeted just then?"]

For Emmy Lou's hand some time since had brought forth for comfort
from her pocket the blue tickets which were her own. That hand closed on
them at the question now. She'd just seen her basket go!

"_Are_ they circus tickets? Sure? Lemme see them? Aw, what you scared
of, lettin' me see 'em in my hand?"

Emmy Lou did not know just what. The ways of a picnic and those
attending were new to her, but what she had learned discouraged
confidence. Her hand and the tickets in it went behind her.

"Where'd she get 'em?" the boy asked now of Albert Eddie, arriving with
his bucket for more water.

He set the bucket down by the barrel and joined the group.

"Do you s'pose they are really hers?" was the query put to him as he got
there.

Emmy Lou knew Albert Eddie, had known him for a long time as time is
measured at seven years. He looked after her on the way to and from
Sunday school even though he did it at Sarah's bidding, whereas Maud
forgot her. Moreover, he had not wanted to come to the picnic, and, bond
firmly established between them, neither had she. She surrendered her
tickets into his hands to be inspected. She even credentialed them. The
others had doubted them! "They're mine. My Uncle Charlie said so. To
take anybody I wanted to take if I hadn't had to come here!"

Her tickets! Five by actual count and actual touch! To do what she
pleased with! This plump little girl with the elastic of her hat under
her chin, sitting alone at the picnic on a stone!

The conversation in the group became choric and to some extent Delphic,
Emmy Lou, with her eyes on the tickets in Albert Eddie's hands, alone
excluded.

"Aw, we could!"

"Follow the track!"

"Could she do it?"

"'Tain't so far she couldn't if we start now."

Four little boys, nearing nine, Albert Eddie, Logan, John, and Wharton,
made Machiavellian through longing, turned to this little girl on her
stone and made court to her as they knew how.

"Aw, you ask her! You know her!" from Logan to Albert Eddie.

Albert Eddie cleared his throat. He'd carried the basket. He'd carried
the wood. He'd carried the water. He was bitter to desperate lengths,
indeed, and in the rebound no good and obedient little boy at all but
one gloriously afloat on seas of dire and reckless abandon.

"We'll take you to the circus, these boys and me, and let you see
everything, if you want us to," with a _diablerie_ of cunning so
appalling and so convicting in its readiness he knew he must falter if
he stopped to consider it.

"'Tain't as if we hadn't been before, every one of us," from Logan, with
that yet greater cunning of the practiced and the artist, indifference;
"but we wouldn't mind taking you."

"I been twice," from Wharton mightily.

"I been once, last year," from Albert Eddie.

"I been twice in _one_ year," from John, "here at home and when I went
to visit my grandmother."

"I been twice to one show," from Logan, eclipsing them all. "One day
with one uncle, and the next day with another!"

And Emmy Lou never had been at all! The tickets, most cunning play of
all, had been put back in her own hand.

"Old clown he threw his hat up, turned a handspring, and come up and
caught it on his head," from Wharton. "We'll show you the clown."

"--rode one horse standing and driving five and kissed her hand every
time she came by--" Logan, forgetting his cue and his cunning, was
saying to Albert Eddie and John.

"--picks out the letters, that dog does, and spells his own name--"
John, forgetting his cue and his cunning, was saying to Albert Eddie and
Logan.

Emmy Lou moved on her stone.

"--rolls in a big keg, that elephant does, and turns it up and sits down
on it. We'll show you the elephant too," Wharton, faithful to his cue,
was saying to her.

Emmy Lou stood up. She handed the tickets to whoever might be to take
charge of them. She put her hand in Albert Eddie's. "I didn't want to
come to the picnic and not go to the circus," she said.

They were grateful and solicitous little boys. They hurried her unduly,
perhaps, in getting her out of the grounds, but once upon the safer
territory of road beside the track they were mindful of her.

"I'll take her by one hand," said Logan to Albert Eddie, "and you keep
hold of her by the other hand, because she knows you."

Whatever that hot, dusty, shadeless, that appalling stretch of country
road meant to Emmy Lou, she never afterward referred to it. But then
there were reasons making silence more natural on her part.

Yet she saw the circus! Emmy Lou saw the circus! Come what might, she
had that!

What that they arrived at the circus entrance dinnerless, dust-laden,
and, but for a stop along the way at a pump and trough, thirsty!

What that the man sitting at the mouth of the passage between canvas
walls, to whom the tickets were handed, eyed them, four unattended
little boys taking marked care of one little girl in their midst--since
he let them by and in!

Sawdust, orange-peel, flaring gas jets, camel, lions, big pussy-tiger,
Oh, glorious and unmatchable blend of circus aroma! Oh, vast circling
sweep and reach of seats and faces, with four little boys guarding one
little girl in their midst, wandering along looking for places!

Oh, blare of brass, Oh, fanfare of trumpets, Oh, triumphant entry of all
hitherto but dimly sensed and hauntingly visioned, color, pageant,
rhythm, triumph, glory, heretofore lost as they came, but now palpable,
tangible, and existent!

Oh, pitiful, a bit terrifying, white-faced clown! The butt, the mock,
the bear-all! Emmy Lou does not laugh at the clown! Because she pities
him and is sorry for him, her heart goes out to him instead! And she
trembles for Nella as her horse urged by the snapping, menacing whip
sweeps by faster and even faster--and she cries out when at the crash of
the kettle-drums, Zephine leaps----

"But I didn't see the elephant like I did the lions and the camel and
the tiger," she tells Logan and Albert Eddie and the others. Nor had
she. The elephant had gone to take his place in the triumphal entry when
Emmy Lou and her four cicerones, in their progress through the animal
tent before the program, reached his roped-in inclosure.

And so they made their way back to him through the surging crowd as they
went out, four solicitous little boys conducting Emmy Lou. Made their
way as near as might be, then pushed her through the row of spectators
in front of them to the rope.

"He picks little children up and puts them in his trunk," she was saying
as one fascinated by the very awfulness of that she dwelt on, as they
squeezed her through.

Why should that monstrous bulk of elephant have trumpeted just then--as
Emmy Lou emerged at the rope--have flung his trunk out in all the lordly
condescension of a mighty one willing to stoop, in the accustomed quest
of peanuts?

       *       *       *       *       *

Aunt Louise, returning from a futile trip to the church corner to meet
Emmy Lou, had just explained that the picnic had not returned, being
delayed, so rumor said, by the search for five missing children, when
Bob walked in bringing a dust-laden Emmy Lou.

"Came on her at the circus?" from Aunt Cordelia incredulously.

"In the animal tent roun' there whar thet elephunt is," Bob diagrammed.

Emmy Lou's face, bearing marks of recent agitation, showed agitation
anew.

"Good work," from Uncle Charlie, just arrived himself. "Who was with
her?"

"Some li'l boys, she says. She warn't with nobody when I come on her
runnin' f'om thet elephunt toward me without knowin' it, an'
screamin'."

Emmy Lou's agitation broke into speech mingled with tears. "He picks
little children up and puts them in his trunk. And he tried to pick up
me!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Along in the night Emmy Lou awaking found that she wanted a drink. These
warm June nights the water bottle and tumbler sat on the sill of the
open window in Aunt Cordelia's room, which meant that Emmy Lou must get
out of bed and patter in there to them.

Reaching the window--was Emmy Lou in her nightgown and her bare feet
really there and awake or in her bed in reality and direly dreaming?

Was it so or not so, this looming, swinging, menacing bulk, palpably
after her again, approaching adown the silent, dusky street?

Seven years old and a little, little girl, Emmy Lou fled to Aunt
Cordelia's bedside and tugged at her arm to get her awake.

Aunt Cordelia, taking her into her bed, soothed her, her hand massaging
up and down back, shoulders, little thighs, comfortingly enough, even
the while she scolds. She takes it without question that Emmy Lou has
been dreaming.

"It is what comes of being a naughty little girl again. We never sleep
well when our conscience is uneasy."

Emmy Lou lay close. Conscience! Aunt Cordelia said so!

Nor did Aunt Cordelia dream, nor Emmy Lou suspect, that the monstrous,
looming shape padding along the silent street beyond the open window
with its broad sill was the circus elephant making his way to the
railroad yard and his traveling car, the yard where the roundhouse bell
even now made melancholy tolling in the night.



V

LIONS IN THE PATH


EMMY LOU came home at close of her first day in the Second Reader. "I
sit with Hattie," she said.

"Who is she?" asked Aunt Katie.

"Where does she come from?" added Aunt Louise.

Emmy Lou was perplexed. Who is Hattie? In her pink-sprigged dress with
her plaits tied behind her either ear? Breathing briskness and
conviction? Why, Hattie is _Hattie_. But how convey this to Aunt Katie?

And where does she come from? How does Emmy Lou know? Or how is she
expected to know? The population of school, in common with the parallel
world of Sunday school, has no background other than school itself, but
assembling out of the unknown and segregated into Primer Class, First
Reader, Second Reader, even as Sunday school is segregated into Infant
Class, Big Room, and Bible Class, performs its functions and disperses.
Where, then, does Hattie come from?

"She came out of the cloakroom, and she asked me to sit with her."

Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise laughed. They have laughed at Emmy Lou before
in this sense and so have others. She has said "Madam and Eve" happily
and unsuspectingly all these years until Aunt Katie discovered it and
not only laughed but _told_, and Aunt Louise, in whose person and
carriage Emmy Lou takes pride, was a "blunette" until she found it out
and laughed and told.

A little boy at school as long ago as last year laughed and told a boy
named Billy who Emmy Lou had believed was her friend: "Ho, Teacher told
her to wait there for the present, and she thinks it's a present," And
at Sunday school a little girl laughed and told: "She thinks her nickel,
that nickel in her hand, is going up to God."

In consequence of these betrayals of a heart too faithfully shown and a
confidence too earnestly given, Emmy Lou is cautious now, laughter
having become a lion in the path and ridicule a bear in the bush.

A picture hangs above Aunt Cordelia's mantelpiece. It has been there
ever since Emmy Lou came to make her home with her aunties, but she was
seven years old when she asked about it.

"Where is the man going?" she said then to Aunt Cordelia. "What will the
lions do to him?"

"He is going _right onward_. The lions in his path will turn him aside
if they can."

"Correct," said Uncle Charlie overhearing. "But the lions can't turn
the trick. See the man's sword? And his buckler? The sword of his
courage, and the buckler of the truth."

"Who is the man?" Emmy Lou wanted to know.

"The anxious pilgrim of all time," said Uncle Charlie.

But Aunt Cordelia, taking Emmy Lou on her lap, explained. "The man is
any one of us--you, me, Uncle Charlie, your little friends Maud and
Albert Eddie down at the corner, everybody. If we meet our lions as we
should, with courage and the truth, they, nor anything, can prevent our
going right onward."

    "Oh, let the pilgrims, let the pilgrims then,
     Be vigilant and quit themselves like men!"

said Uncle Charlie.

And now laughter has become a lion in Emmy Lou's path. Will Hattie, her
new friend, laugh at her? One can refrain from showing one's heart to
Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise, but in the world of school Emmy Lou needs a
friend.

Omniscience at home is strangely wanting about this world of school,
perhaps because Emmy Lou's aunties in their days went to establishments
such as Mr. Parson's Select Academy, where the pupil is the thing, and
school and teachers even a bit unduly glad to have and hold her, whereas
Emmy Lou at her school has not found herself in the least the thing.

In saying she was to sit with Hattie she was implying that she was
grateful indeed for the overture, whereas Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise,
taking it the other way, ask who Hattie is and where she comes from.

Aunt Katie said more: "We must find out something about her. Suppose you
try?"

But Emmy Lou in one short day has divined all she needs to know, though
she does not know how to tell this to Aunt Katie. Hattie is Hattie,
life a foe to be overcome, this world the lists, and Hattie the
challenged, her colors lowered or surrendered never, though the lance of
her spirit be shivered seventy times seven and her helmet of conviction
splintered.

And Emmy Lou?--who, as complement to this divination, loves
Hattie?--Emmy Lou, what with over-anxious debate, what with caution,
what with weight of evidence and its considering, is the anxious pilgrim
of all time, lions in the path and bears in the bush.

Hurrying off to school the next morning to resume the grateful business
of sharing a desk with this new friend, Emmy Lou found Hattie waiting
for her at the gate even as she had said she would be, and life today,
even as life yesterday from the initial moment of acquaintance with
Hattie, became crowded at once, even jostled and elbowed with happening
and information.

As the two took their places in the line forming at the sound of the
school-bell, a little girl pushed in ahead of them where there was no
place until she by crowding made one. But she did not care for that and
showed it, her curls, which shone like Aunt Cordelia's copper hot-water
jug, tossing themselves, and her skirts flaunting.

Hattie explained this. "She asked me to sit with her, that's why she's
crowding us now. Her name is Sally Carter. But I choose, I don't take my
friends." Her voice lowered and one gathered that following was an
accusation, even an indictment. "She's the richest little girl in the
class and wants you to know it. And she is an Episcopalian, too."

Emmy Lou felt anxious. Would Hattie laugh? "I don't know what an
Episcopalian is."

But she seemed to regard the admission as commendable. "Sally's church
gave an entertainment and called it for the orphans' fund, and she did
the Highland Fling on the stage."

Emmy Lou had no idea what the Highland Fling was, either, but the line
had reached the entrance doorway beyond which speech is forbidden.
Except for this, must she have said she did not know? Or might she
refrain from committing herself?

For there are different ways of meeting your lions. Emmy Lou knew two
ways. Last year at school a little girl stood up in the aisle for no
reason but a disposition to do so. Promptly and sharp came the rap of a
pencil on the teacher's desk.

Lion in the path of the little girl! Lion of reprimand! But the little
girl threw dust in the lion's eyes. "Oh, didn't the bell ring for
everyone to stand?" she inquired. And sat down.

There is another way. Emmy Lou walked in on her friends the Dawkins one
day, over the grocery at the corner, to find Albert Eddie in trouble.
Possibly more than any person of Emmy Lou's acquaintance, he seemed an
anxious pilgrim of all time too.

"Stand right where you are," Sarah his big sister was saying to him.
"You've had something in your mouth again that you shouldn't. Don't tell
me. Can't I smell it now I try?"

Albert Eddie was sniffling, which with a little boy is the first step on
the road to crying. But he met his lion.

"It's cigars off the catalpa tree," he wept, and went on into the next
room and to bed even as Sarah had forewarned him.

And so, as soon as Emmy Lou is free to speak, she must tell Hattie that
she does not know what the Highland Fling is? Alas, that in the
exigencies of sharing a desk with this person and incidentally
fulfilling the functions of the Second Reader she forgot to do so!

At the school gate at the close of the day Hattie said, "Come go to the
corner with me, and I'll show you where I live."

Go with Hattie? Her friend and more, her monitor and protector? Who the
day through had steered her by the Charybdis of otherwise certain
mistake, and past the Scylla of otherwise inevitable blunder? Go with
her at her asking? Did rescued squire follow his protecting knight in
fealty of gratitude? Did faithful _Sancho_ fall in at heel at his
_Quixote's_ bidding? Emmy Lou, who always went hurrying home because she
was bidden so to do, faced around today and went the other way.

Hattie lived in a brick house in a yard. Pausing at her gate she made a
proposition. "If you could go to my Sunday school I can come by and get
you."

"I go to Sunday school," said Emmy Lou.

Hattie was regretful but acquiescent. "Of course, if you go. I didn't
know. I'll walk back with you and see where you live. I'm Presbyterian.
What are you?"

Having no idea what Presbyterian was, how could Emmy Lou say in kind
what she was?

A little girl just arrived at a neighboring gate, an _habitué_ of the
Second Reader also, though Emmy Lou did not know her, joined Hattie and
Emmy Lou as they passed. Hattie knew her and, such is the open sesame of
one achieved friend, Emmy Lou found that she was to be considered as
knowing her also. Her name was Sadie.

"I've just told her I'm Presbyterian," Hattie explained.

"I'm Methodist," said Sadie. "That's my church across the street."

Methodist is Sadie's church, and Presbyterian then is Hattie's? The
names in both cases being abbreviated without doubt, and in seemlier
phrase, St. Methodist and St. Presbyterian? Emmy Lou is on ground
entirely familiar to her now, and she shifts her school-bag and her
lunch-basket relievedly, for while the pilgrim must not fail to say she
does not know when she does not, yet surely she may take advantage of a
knowledge gained through finding out?

"I go to St. Simeon's P. E. Church," she stated. "It's 'round on Plum
Street."

"What sort of church is that?" said Hattie.

"It's a stone church with a vine," said Emmy Lou, nor even under
questioning could she give further information.

Reversing the idea of Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise, Hattie would seem to
be gradually finding out who and what Emmy Lou is? Friendship evidently
must rest upon declared foundations. Emmy Lou goes to Sunday school and
her church is on Plum Street. So far so good. But one and yet another
lion faced, another and another spring up.

"Have you taken the pledge?" asks Hattie.

Emmy Lou in her time has taken the measles and also the chicken-pox, and
more latterly the whooping-cough. And also given it. But the pledge? Has
she taken it, and failed to recall it? And is it desirable or
undesirable that she should have taken it?

"I've taken it," says Sadie in a tone that leaves no doubt that one
should have taken it.

While the pilgrim must scorn to throw dust in the eyes through evasion,
may she not hope for advantage through finding out again? Or must she
definitely draw her sword and face this lion by saying that she does not
know?

Bob, the house-boy, sent to hunt her, is the instrument of her respite.
He brought up before the advancing group. Time was when he would have
said, "Reckon you is done forgot whut happened to thet li'l girl whut
didn't come straight home like she was tol'." But Emmy Lou is a big girl
and Bob acknowledges it. "Reckon you is done forgot whut happens about
dessert for them that don't come on time to get it."

The implication dismaying even Hattie and Sadie, they took leave of Emmy
Lou hastily.

"You can tell us about your pledge another time," Hattie called. "Maybe
we will come around to see you this afternoon to get better acquainted."

Despite Bob's implication, Aunt Cordelia had saved some dessert for Emmy
Lou. By diligent application to her dinner she even caught up with the
others and thus achieved time for an inquiry. Was it on her mind that
Hattie and Sadie might come around this afternoon?

"What's the pledge?"

"Which variety?" from Uncle Charlie. "It might be a toast."

"Or a pawn," said Aunt Louise.

"Or a surety," said Aunt Katie.

"And also an earnest," from Uncle Charlie. "Take your choice."

"Now stop mystifying her," said Aunt Cordelia. "There is altogether too
much of it. I won't allow it. A pledge, Emmy Lou, such as you probably
are thinking about, is a promise. I daresay some of the little boys you
know have taken one. I hear it's quite the thing. Now, hurry. That's why
I sent Bob after you. Dancing school has been changed from Saturday to
Friday afternoon, and you have only half an hour to dress and get there.
Aunt Katie is going with you."

"But," dismayed, "two little girls said maybe they would come to see
me."

"Well, I'm sorry. I will see them for you if they come. Now, hurry."

And Emmy Lou accordingly hurried. For while the claims of school are all
very well in Aunt Cordelia's regard, the claims of church, as Emmy Lou
understands these claims, are imperative. And, moreover, while school
centers itself and its activities within five days and its own four
walls, St. Simeon's is the center of a clustering and revolving
seven-day system.

On Monday Aunt Cordelia herself takes Emmy Lou to old Mrs. Angell's
sewing class for the little girls of the Sunday school at the rectory
next door to the church. On Thursday Aunt Louise takes her to the
singing class for the children of the Sunday school at the organist's,
across the street from the church. And her aunties share among them the
duty of getting her twice a week to dancing school, taught by Miss
Eustasia, the niece of Dr. Angell, at her home next door on the other
side of St. Simeon's. The Church assembles its youthful populace here in
force as Emmy Lou grasps it, old Mr. Pelot, who taught Miss Eustasia
herself in her day and the mammas and papas of St. Simeon's in their day
too, wielding a bow and violin and being her assistant.

Dancing school! Emmy Lou, hurrying, is getting ready. School among
schools, secular, sewing, singing, or Sunday, of endeavor, effort, and
anxious perturbation! Aunt Cordelia does her best to help Emmy Lou
along. She takes her in the parlor from time to time, after dinner,
after supper, and, sitting down to the piano, strikes the chords. Aunt
Cordelia's playing has a tinkling, running touch, and her tunes have an
old-fashioned sound.

"_One_, two, three, start now--" Aunt Cordelia says. "Why didn't you
start when I said? Katie, go away from the door, you and Louise both.
You have laughed at her dancing, and she won't do a thing while you are
here."

Then again to the endeavor. _One_, two, three, _one_, two, three, alike
the chant and hope and stay of dancing. Emmy Lou starts right; she is
sure that her right foot leads out on time: but the difficulty is, the
while she pantingly counts, to bring up the left foot on the moment.

Uncle Charlie stops in the parlor doorway while he lights a cigar before
returning downtown. "We might think the left foot was faithful to the
Church and only the right given over to the World, but that Eustasia
plys her art in the shadow of St. Simeon's."

One foot to the Church and the other to the World? What does Uncle
Charlie mean? Are aspersions to be cast on dancing by other than its
victims? Or can it be that Uncle Charlie, too, like Aunt Katie and Aunt
Louise, is laughing at her?

But today Emmy Lou and Aunt Katie go hurrying off to dancing school,
Emmy Lou in her Sunday dress devoted to St. Simeon's functions, carrying
her slippers in their bag.

Miss Eustasia's house is old and shabby. She lives here with her mother
who is Dr. Angell's sister, a lady who crosses her hands resignedly and
says to the mammas and visitors at dancing school, "Eustasia was not
brought up to this; Eustasia was raised with a right to the best."

Aunt Katie and Emmy Lou hurry in the front door. Miss Eustasia in the
long parlor on one side of the hall is hurrying here and hurrying there,
a little frown of bother and of earnestness between her brows,
marshalling some classes into line, whirling others about face to face
in couples. And old Mr. Pelot, tall and thin, with a grand manner and an
arched nose, is rapping with his bow on the mantel and calling for
order. Mammas and visitors are in place along the wall, and Dr. Angell,
who sometimes, as now, comes over from the rectory to look on, beams and
takes off his glasses and rubs them, and, putting them on, beams again.

All of which is as it should be, as Emmy Lou understands it; and Miss
Eustasia, born and baptized, brought up and confirmed, as it were, in
the church next door, had to have something to do. And St. Simeon's,
gathering its children together, offered her this, and at the same time
provided for Mr. Pelot, who, being on everybody's mind in his old age,
also had to have something to do.

And St. Simeon's did itself proud. As Aunt Katie and Emmy Lou came in,
its Infant Class, as Emmy Lou from long association knew it, was out on
the floor taking its first position, while St. Simeon's Big Room,
resolved into skirts, sashes, and curls, or neat shoes, smooth
stockings, knickerbockers, jackets, broad collars, and ties, was waiting
its turn to flutter lightly to places, or, bowing stiffly, go into duty
stoutly. After which its Bible Class, now standing about in confidential
pairs, would go through their new figure in the cotillion sedately. Or
so it was that Emmy Lou coming in in her Sunday dress and her slippers
understood it.

"Just in time," said Miss Eustasia to her briefly. "Get into line."

The Infant Class withdrawing to get its breath, Emmy Lou finds herself
between Logan and Wharton in a newly forming line stretching across the
room. She is glad, because they are her friends, having gone with her on
occasion to the circus, and she can ask them about the pledge.

To each nature of school its vernacular: rudiments and digits, head and
foot, medals and deportment, to the secular; bias and hem, whipping and
backstitch, to the sewing; chorus and refrain, louder please, now
softer, to the singing; sponsors, catechism, texts, to the Sunday; and
Miss Eustasia now is speaking to the class in the vernacular of the
dancing school.

"No, no, no," in discouragement of all attempts at conversation. "Eyes
in front, everybody, on me, and take the first position. Now, right hand
on right hip, so. Left hand lifted above left shoulder, so. Right foot
out, heel first----"

"What do you call it?" from Logan, desperate with his efforts. "Have we
had it before? What's its name?"

"Its name," said Miss Eustasia severely, "is the Highland Fling."

Emmy Lou found a moment before dispersal to interview Logan and Wharton.
"What's the pledge? Have you taken it?"

"No, I haven't," said Logan, not so much curt as embittered, so one
gathered, by his share in the afternoon.

Wharton was more explicit. "We don't have pledges at our Sunday school."

Emmy Lou knew another little boy, Albert Eddie. She went down to the
corner the next morning to see him. If the truth be told, she still
preferred the snugness of life over a grocery to a house in a yard.

Mrs. Dawkins, on what she called a pinch, went down in the grocery and
helped. She was there this Saturday morning, and Maud with her. Sarah in
the kitchen upstairs was mixing the Saturday baking in a crock, and
Albert Eddie, being punished, was in a corner on a stool.

Politeness dictating that the person in durance be ignored, under these
circumstances Emmy Lou immediately addressed herself to Sarah.

"What's the pledge? Do you know anybody who's taken it?"

Sarah brought Albert Eddie right into it, stool, corner, and all.
"Albert Eddie can tell you for he's just taken one. He's been a bad boy
again, and it wasn't catalpa cigars this time either. And after he's
been warned. I've made him promise now. Albert Eddie, turn round here
and say your pledge."

       *       *       *       *       *

Monday morning found Emmy Lou at the school gate betimes. "I've got my
pledge now," she told Hattie and Sadie eagerly, as together they
arrived.

"Of course you have," from Hattie commendingly, "I knew you must have
taken one. Say yours."

Emmy Lou said hers:

    "I'll never use tobacco, no,
     It is a filthy weed,
     I'll never put it in my mouth----"

She stopped. As could be seen in the horrified faces of Hattie and
Sadie, something was wrong.

"They taught you that at your Sunday school?" from Hattie.

"You, a little girl----?" from Sadie.

Whereupon the pilgrim, the pilgrim Emmy Lou, saw it all, saw that she
had but endeavored to throw dust into eyes, beginning with her own.

"I didn't get my pledge at Sunday school, I got it from a little boy. I
asked him and he taught it to me. We don't have pledges at my Sunday
school."

"We went to see you on Friday like we said, and you were out," said
Hattie severely.

"They changed the day and I had to go," from Emmy Lou. "I was at dancing
school."

"Dancing school? Your Sunday school doesn't have pledges and you go to
dancing school? Your church lets you go? Like Sally Carter's? And you
didn't tell us?"

"My church might give up pledges if it had to," said Sadie, "but its
foot is down on dancing."

Yet Hattie would be fair. "Your minister knows? What sort of dancing?
What did you dance on Friday?"

"Our minister was there. It is the Sunday school that dances. We danced
the Highland Fling."

The school bell rang.

"Well," said Hattie as she turned to go, "I'm Presbyterian."

Sadie bore witness as she turned to follow. "And I'm Methodist."

Emmy Lou lifted her buckler and drew her sword. Never dust in the eyes
again. For she knew now what she was over and above being a St.
Simeonite, having asked Aunt Cordelia. In this company it bore not only
the odium of disapproval and the hall-mark of condemnation, but from the
qualifying term applied to it by Aunt Cordelia would seem to merit both.

"I'm a low church Episcopalian," said Emmy Lou, the pilgrim, stoutly if
wretchedly.

When Emmy Lou reached home that day Aunt Katie brought up an old matter.
"Aunt Cordelia rather likes the looks of the little girl named Hattie
who came here. So I suppose it is all right for you to go on sitting
with her. What have you found out about her?"

What Emmy Lou would have liked to find out was, would Hattie go on
sitting with her? But how make those things clear to Aunt Katie?

"Charlie," said Aunt Cordelia to her brother that night, "what on earth
do children mean? Emmy Lou as she was getting ready for bed asked me why
Hattie's church and Sadie's church have the pledge and hers has the
Highland Fling? It isn't possible that she has confused dancing and
Sunday school?"

Uncle Charlie stared at his sister, then his shout rang to heaven.



VI

THE IMPERFECT OFFICES OF PRAYER


RECRUITING Sunday occurred at Emmy Lou's Sunday school the winter she
was eight. The change to this nature of thing was sudden. Hitherto when
Hattie, her best friend, who was Presbyterian, spoke of Rally Day, or
Sadie, her next best friend, who was Methodist, spoke of Canvassing Day,
Emmy Lou of St. Simeon's refrained from dwelling on Septuagesima, or
Sexagesima, or Quinquagesima Sunday, as the case might be, for fear it
appear to savor of the elect. As, of course, if one has been brought up
in St. Simeon's, and by Aunt Cordelia, one has begun to feel it does.

Hattie and Sadie, on the contrary, full of the business and zeal of
Rally Day and Canvassing Sunday, looked with pity on Emmy Lou and St.
Simeon's, and at thought of Quinquagesima and such kindred Sundays shook
their heads. Which is as it should be, too.

For, while there is one common world of everyday school in the firmament
of the week, drawing the Emmy Lous and Hatties and Sadies into the fold
of its common enterprise and common fellowship, there are varying worlds
in the firmament of Sundays, withdrawing the Emmy Lous and Hatties and
Sadies into the differing folds of rival enterprises, Hattie to the
First Presbyterian Church North, Sadie to the Second Avenue M. E. Church
South, and Emmy Lou with no status or bias as to pole at all, if we
except polemics, to St. Simeon's P. E.

And each one within her fold is so convinced her fold is the only fold,
it is her part to make all others feel this. Which is as it should be,
too. And, as Hattie pointed out when Sadie got worsted in being made to
feel it and cried, is only the measure of each one's proper Christian
zeal!

And Hattie, being full of data about her Rally Day, and Sadie, being
full of grace from her Canvassing Day, were equipped at seemingly every
point for making another feel it. Whereas when Sadie asked Emmy Lou what
Quinquagesima or fifty days before Easter had to do with saving souls,
and Hattie asked her to spell it, Quinquagesima not only died on her
lips but she and it seemed indefensibly and reprehensibly in the wrong.
Which Emmy Lou endeavored to remember was but a measure of Christian
zeal again.

And now St. Simeon's, awakening to its needs in such zeal, was to have,
not a Rally nor yet a Canvassing, but a Recruiting Sunday. For every
Sunday school with any zeal whatever has a nomenclature of its own and
looks with pity and contumely on the nomenclature of any other Sunday
school. So that Emmy Lou heard with a shock of incredulity that what she
knew as the Infant Class was spoken of by Hattie as the Primary, and by
Sadie as the Beginners.

But this department of Sunday school, whatever its designation, belongs
to the early stages of faith. Emmy Lou is in the Big Room, now, and here
has heard about St. Simeon's Recruiting Sunday.

Mr. Glidden, the superintendent, announced it. He was a black-haired,
slim, brisk young man. Emmy Lou knew him well. She liked Mr. Glidden. He
came to see Aunt Louise, and admired her. Week days he was a young man
who was going to do credit to his father and mother. Aunt Cordelia said
so. Sundays, if he let his Christian zeal carry him too far, his betters
at St. Simeon's would have to call him down. Uncle Charlie who was a
warden at St. Simeon's said so, curtly, in a way most disturbing.

In announcing Recruiting Sunday, Mr. Glidden spoke with feeling. "In the
business-run world of today," he told his Sunday school, "St. Simeon's
must look at things in a business way. What with Rally Day and
Canvassing Day in the other Sunday schools, St. Simeon's stands no
chance. Emulation must be met with emulation. Let St. Simeon's get out
and work. And while it works,"--Mr. Glidden colored; he was young--"let
it not forget it shall be its Superintendent's earnest and also daily
prayer that it be permitted to bring even the least of these into the
fold."

Furthermore, there should be inducements. "For every new scholar brought
in," said Mr. Glidden, "there shall be an emblazoned card. For every
five emblazoned cards there shall be a prize. Cards and prizes I shall
take pleasure in giving out of my own pocket."

In the light of after events, as Emmy Lou grasped them, the weakness in
the affair lay in Mr. Glidden's failure sufficiently to safeguard his
prayer.

Emmy Lou had considerable data about prayer, gathered from her two
friends, Hattie being given to data, and Sadie being given to prayer. As
Hattie expounded prayer as exemplified through Sadie, one fact stands
paramount. You should be specifically certain in both what you ask and
how you ask it. For the answer can be an answer and yet be calamitous
too. Hattie used the present disturbing case with Sadie for her proof.

Sadie and her brother decided they wanted a little sister, and would
pray for one. They did pray, fervently and trustfully, being Methodists,
as Hattie pointed out, night after night, each beside her or his little
white bed. And each was answered. It was twin little sisters. Since
when, Sadie was almost as good as lost to her two friends, through
having to hold one little sister while her mother held the other.

"You've got to make what you want clear," Hattie argued. "They both
prayed for a little sister at the same time. If they'd prayed, Sadie one
night, and Anselm the next, or if they'd said it was the same little
sister, they wouldn't 'a' had a double answer and so been oversupplied."

Sadie was torn with conflict over it herself. Her little sisters weren't
justified to her yet, but she wasn't going to admit they might not still
be, though the strain on her Christian zeal was great.

For at Sadie's Sunday school you did not get a prize for the new
scholars you brought in on Canvassing Day. You got a prize when the next
Canvassing Day came around, if they were still there. And Canvassing Day
was nearly here again, and her scholars were failing her.

"It's no easy thing to be a Methodist," she said in one of her moments
of respite from a little sister, talking about it with pride through her
gloom. "You work for all you get! When I could look my scholars up every
week, and go by for 'em with Tom and the barouche when the weather was
bad, I had them there for roll-call every Sunday. But now that I have to
hold my little sisters and we haven't Tom or the barouche either because
on account of my little sisters we can't afford them, they've backslid
and dropped out."

Hattie had data as to that, too. "You needn't be so bitter about it,
Sadie. I know you mean me! You went around and picked your scholars up
anywhere you could find 'em, and I did too. It wasn't as if any one of
'em had a call to your Sunday school. Or as if they had a conviction.
Except Mamie Sessums whose conviction took her away."

Sadie spoke even more bitterly. "You needn't count on Mamie. Because
she had had a conviction that took her away from where she was, I
counted on her the most of any of mine."

Hattie was positive. "But the conviction she has now took her away from
yours. Her mother thinks there is too much about falling from grace at
your Sunday school; she doesn't think it nice for little girls to hear
so much about sin."

"She wouldn't have fallen from grace herself if I could have kept after
her," from Sadie. "If I hadn't to hold my little sisters Mamie wouldn't
be a backslider now. But my little sisters will be justified to me yet.
I'm not going back on prayer."

It all emphasized the need of exceeding caution in prayer. Emmy Lou
never had thought of it so. Time was, in fact, when, praying her "Gentle
Jesus," at Aunt Cordelia's knee, she poured it out in Aunt Cordelia's
lap, so to speak, and left it there. Not that Aunt Cordelia had not
made her understand that prayer goes to God. But that Aunt Cordelia who
attended to everything else for her would see about getting it there.

But that was when Emmy Lou was a baby thing, and God the nebulous center
of a more nebulous setting, with the kindly and cheery aspect as well as
the ivory beard of---- Was it Dr. Angell, the rector of St. Simeon's? Or
was there in the background of Emmy Lou's memory a yet more patriarchal
face, reverent through benignity, with flowing ivory beard? A memory
antedating her acquaintance with Dr. Angell? She was a big girl now, and
God was not quite so nebulous nor quite so cheery. His ivory beard was
longer, and in the midst of nebulæ for support was a throne. But He yet
could be depended on to be kindly. Aunt Cordelia was authority for that.

Her concept of prayer, too, had moved forward; prayer in her mind's eye
now taking the form of little white cocked-hat _billets-doux_ winging
out of the postbox of the heart, and, like so many white doves, speeding
up to the blue of Heaven. If God was not too busy, or too bothered, as
grown people sometimes are on trying days, she even could fancy Him
smiling pleasantly, if absently, as grown-up people do, when the
cocked-hat _billets-doux_, a sort of morning mail, were brought in to
Him.

And so she was glad that Sadie was not going back on prayer, but was
sure that her little sisters would be justified to her. Indeed, her
heart had gone out to Sadie about it, and she had sent up _billets-doux_
of her own, and would send more, that the little sisters should be
justified to her.

But from this new point of view supplied by Hattie, the winging
_billets-doux_, as in the mind's eye they sailed upward, seemed to
droop a little, weighted with the need of exceeding caution in prayer.
And in the light of this revelation God in His aspect changed once more,
again gaining in ivory beard and in throne what He again lost in cheer.

Long ago Aunt Cordelia used to rock her to sleep with a hymn. Emmy Lou
had thought she knew its words, "Behind a frowning providence, He hides
a smiling face." Could she have reversed it? She had been known to do
such things before. All this while had it been saying: "Behind a smiling
providence, He hides a frowning face?"

At Emmy Lou's own home Aunt M'randy the cook, like Hattie, seemed to
feel that prayer not sufficiently set around with safeguards and
specifications could prove a boomerang. "Didn't I w'ar myse'f out with
prayer to get rid er that no-account nigger house-boy Bob? To hev' thet
prayer swing eroun' with this worse-account house-boy, Tom?"

Tom had gone to Hattie's house from Sadie's where they no longer could
afford to have him, but he had not stayed there. He didn't get along
with the cook. From there he came to be house-boy for Aunt Cordelia
where Bob couldn't get along with the cook. Tom's idea of his importance
apparently was in the number of places he had lived, and his
qualifications he summed up in a phrase: "I ca'ies my good-will with me
to the pussons I wuks foh."

The morning after Recruiting Sunday had been announced at St. Simeon's
Sunday school, Uncle Charlie spoke of it at the breakfast table. He
didn't seem to think much of it, and referred to it by another name,
calling it an innovation.

Aunt Louise, on the contrary, defended it. She was teaching in the
Sunday school now. "If everyone would show the energy and
progressiveness of Mr. Glidden since he took the Sunday school," she
said with spirit, "St. Simeon's would soon look up."

"Glidden!" said Uncle Charlie. "Willie Glidden! Pshaw!"

"Why you speak of him in that tone I don't see, unless it is because you
are determined to oppose every innovation he proposes."

"I oppose his innovations?" heatedly. "On the contrary I am in favor of
giving him his way so he may hang himself in his innovations the
sooner." And Uncle Charlie, getting up to go downtown, slammed the door.

Which would have been astounding, Uncle Charlie being jocular and not
given to slamming doors, had it not to do with that one of the many
worlds in the firmament of the Sundays, St. Simeon's. Emmy Lou was glad
she understood these things better now. For persons altogether amiable
in the affairs of the week-days to grow touchy and heated over the
affairs of Sundays is only a measure of their Christian zeal. There was
comfort and reassurance in the knowledge. Time was when it would have
frightened her to have Uncle Charlie slam the door, and made her choke
over her waffle, and sent her down from her chair and round to Aunt
Cordelia for comfort and reassurance.

Aunt Louise, addressing herself to Aunt Cordelia in her place behind the
coffeepot, still further defended Mr. Glidden.

"He is even waking dear old Dr. Angell a bit. Not that we don't love Dr.
Angell as he is, of course," hastily, "but he does lack
progressiveness."

"Which may be why some of us do love him," said Aunt Cordelia tartly.
Aunt Cordelia! Pleasant soul! Who rarely was known to sacrifice good
temper even to Christian zeal! Emmy Lou choked on her waffle despite
all! "But don't draw me into it! I decline to take sides."

"Which means, of course, that you've taken one," said Aunt Louise. "As
if I could ever expect you to side with me against Brother Charlie."

"And if I do agree with Charlie, what then? To have the running of St.
Simeon's passed over his head to Willie Glidden! The church our own
grandfather gave the ground for! And he the senior warden who has run
St. Simeon's his way for thirty faithful years!"

And Aunt Cordelia, getting up from behind the coffeepot and going toward
the pantry to see about the ordering, broke forth into hymn, as was her
way when ruffled. Emphatic hymn. And always the same hymn, too, Aunt
Cordelia, like Uncle Charlie, objecting to innovations. Emmy Lou was
long familiar with this hymn as barometer of Aunt Cordelia's state of
being:

    "Let the fiery, cloudy _pillow_,"

sang Aunt Cordelia, flinging open the refrigerator door.

What it meant, a fiery, cloudy pillow, further than that Aunt Cordelia
was outdone, was another thing. Emmy Lou always intended to ask, but the
very fact that Aunt Cordelia only sang it when outdone prevented--that
and the additional fact that when Aunt Cordelia was outdone Emmy Lou in
distress of mind was undone.

Aunt Louise waited until Aunt Cordelia, who could be seen through the
open doorway, straightened up from her inspection of the refrigerator.
"Still," she said, "you won't object that I entered Emmy Lou's name at
Sunday school yesterday as a recruiter? To try her best and get a
prize?"

"I do object if there are tickets about it," emphatically. "You can take
care of them for her if so. Willie Glidden has gone mad over tickets.
What with her blue tickets for attendance one place in my bureau
drawer, and her pink tickets for texts in another place, I won't be
bothered further."

Yet what were Sunday schools without tickets? Emmy Lou getting down from
the breakfast table, her still unfinished waffle abandoned for all time
now, was dumbfounded. The one thing common to all Sunday schools was
tickets. Though St. Simeon's under the accelerating progressiveness of
Mr. Glidden had gone further, and whereas in ordinary your accumulated
tickets for every sort of prowess only got you on the honor roll, a
matter of names on a blackboard, Mr. Glidden had instituted what he
called "a drawing card." At St. Simeon's, now, when your blue tickets
for attendance numbered four--or five those months when the calendar
played you false and ran in another Sunday--you carried these back and
got the Bible in Colors, a picture at a time. And, incidentally, a color
at a time, too. Emmy Lou had a gratifying start in these, last month
having achieved a magenta Daniel facing magenta lions in a magenta den,
and this month adding a blue David with a blue sword cutting off the
head of a not unreasonably bluer Goliath.

Pink tickets grow more slowly. Aunt Cordelia said that she could see to
it that Emmy Lou got to Sunday school, but she could only do her best
about the texts.

And she did do her best, Emmy Lou felt that she did.

"Say the text over on the way as you go," Aunt Cordelia had said to her
as she started only yesterday. "That way you won't forget it before you
get there."

And she had said it on the way, and had said it in the class, too, when
called on by Miss Emerine.

Aunt Cordelia, plump and pleasant soul, had ways of her own, and Emmy
Lou in ways even beyond the plumpness was modeled on her. Aunt Cordelia
said "were" as though it were spelled w-a-r-e, and Emmy Lou said it that
way too.

"'And five ware wise, and five ware foolish,'" Emmy Lou told Miss
Emerine.

"Five what?" Miss Emerine asked, which was unfortunate, this being what
Emmy Lou had failed to remember.

It was Tom, the new house-boy, who really started Emmy Lou's recruiting
for St. Simeon's. Hearing Aunt Louise ask her what she was doing about
looking up new scholars, he volunteered his help.

"There's a li'l girl up the street whar I wuked once is thinkin' about
changin' her Sunday school. I'll tell her to come aroun' an' see you."

The little girl came around promptly. It was Mamie Sessums. Emmy Lou
knew her at week-day school. Far from being without a conviction, as
Hattie had claimed, she now had two.

"My mother says Tom don't do anything but try to have her change my
Sunday school. He lived with us before he went to live at Sadie's. But
she says she's very glad to have me stop Hattie's and go with you. She
didn't send me there to have the minister go by our house every day and
never come in. Sadie's minister never came to call on her when I went to
that Sunday school either. Do you have tickets at your Sunday school?"

Tickets were vindicated. Emmy Lou hurried upstairs and came back with
all her trophies of this nature. Mamie seemed impressed by the Bible in
Colors.

"You get them a picture at a time," Emmy Lou explained. "The first one
is Adam in buff."

"Buff?" said Mamie doubtfully.

"Buff," repeated Emmy Lou firmly, since it was so, and not to be helped
because Mamie didn't seem to like it. "My Uncle Charlie says so."

But it was only lack of familiarity with buff on the part of Mamie. As a
prize, it impressed her. "I'll meet you on your church steps on
Recruiting Sunday," she said.

After Mamie left, Emmy Lou went around to see Hattie. "Don't let it make
you feel bad, taking Mamie away from me," Hattie told her. "I never
expected anything else. When it's not a call, nor even a conviction,
they're like as not to fail you on the very doorstep."

Sadie, at her window holding a little sister, waved to Emmy Lou and
Hattie on the sidewalk. It was hard Sadie couldn't be with her friends
any more. Emmy Lou sent up a _billet-doux_ that the little sisters might
be justified to Sadie yet. Poor Sadie!

It was Tom who told Emmy Lou where to go for her next recruit. She had
no idea it would be so easy. Sadie had worked hard for all she got but
it didn't seem hard to Emmy Lou. "There's a li'l girl roun' on Plum
Street where I wuked once, too. I'll speak to her, an' then you go roun'
an' see her."

With Aunt Cordelia's permission, Emmy Lou went around. It proved that
she knew this little girl at school, too. Her name was Sallie Carter.
She was the richest little girl in the class and said so. Her curls
shone like Aunt Cordelia's copper hot-water jug, and her skirts stood
out and flaunted.

Sallie had convictions too. She had tried Sadie's Sunday school while
her own church was being rebuilt, and she was just about through trying
Hattie's.

"My mother thinks it's strange that Tom should be sending you after me
too. Though he did live with us before he lived with any of you. She is
surprised at some of the little girls who go to Sadie's Sunday school.
And after she took me away they were the first little girls I met on the
steps at Hattie's Sunday school. My mother says I'm a Carter on one side
and a Cannon on the other, and everybody knows what that means. We're
high church and you are low, but she's glad to have me go with you to
St. Simeon's for a while and try it. Do you have tickets?"

Tickets and more, the Bible in Colors. Emmy Lou, explaining it, felt
again she couldn't sufficiently uphold tickets to Aunt Cordelia.

The very next day Tom came to Aunt Cordelia and said if she would let
Emmy Lou go with him to Mr. Schmit's when he went to get the ice, he
knew of some other little girls who might be persuaded to go to her
Sunday school. At Aunt Cordelia's word, Emmy Lou got her hat and joined
Tom with his basket.

The accustomed place to get extra ice before Tom came was Mr. Dawkins'
at the corner. But Tom wouldn't hear of going to Mr. Dawkins'. He
argued about it until Aunt Cordelia gave in. He said he used to live
with Mr. Schmit and drive his wagon.

Emmy Lou knew Mr. Schmit herself. Tom, after an inquiry at the counter,
took her through the store to the back yard where he left her, a back
yard full of boxes and crates and empty coops. Mr. Schmit's little girl
Lisa was here with a baby brother in her arms, and another holding to
her skirts, Yetta, her little sister, and Katie O'Brien from next door
completing the group. Emmy Lou knew Lisa and Katie at school, too.
Lisa's round cheeks were mottled and red, and the plaits hanging down
her back were yellow. She did not seem overly glad to see Emmy Lou
though she came forward.

"Well?" she said.

It made it hard to begin. And even after Emmy Lou had explained that she
had come to get them to go to Sunday school Lisa was unmoved.

"What do we want to go to Sunday school for? If we wanted to go to
Sunday school we'd be going. We go to our grandfather's in the country
now on Sundays. That way we get a ride in my papa's grocery wagon and we
get to the country too."

"But if you would," urged Emmy Lou, "it would get me a prize."

"Sure I see," said Lisa. "I see that. But if Katie here and Yetta and me
give up our ride out to my grandfather's, what do we get?"

"Oh!" said Emmy Lou, and hastened to set forth St. Simeon's largesse and
system in tickets.

"What do we do to get the tickets?" asked Lisa. "We're Lutheran and
Katie's Dominican. I don't know as we'd be allowed to. We wouldn't mind
four Sundays and get a picture, would we, Katie?"

Katie, whose hair was black and whose eyes were blue, agreed.

"Sure, we'd like a picture. But I don't know as they'd let me at home.
They said I shouldn't go to no more Sunday schools. The little girl who
was sassy to us and said they didn't want us there was at two Sunday
schools we've been to now."

"Still," said Lisa, "we'd like a picture. Which one is your Sunday
school?"

When Emmy Lou rejoined Tom, she was overjoyed. "And they'll meet me on
the church steps too. All of 'em will meet me on the church steps, Mamie
and Sally and Lisa and Yetta and Katie."

And now it was Recruiting Sunday. But the shortness of manner with which
Aunt Cordelia tied Emmy Lou's hair-ribbons was not on account of this,
Recruiting Sunday for her having taken its place among the minor evils.
Late on Saturday evening she had lost Tom, a case again of the
house-boy not getting on with the cook.

"After I wore myse'f out with prayer to git rid of thet no-account Bob,
to have thet prayer swing aroun' with this worse-account Tom," was Aunt
M'randy's explanation of the disagreement.

"They want me over at Sadie's house tomorrow, anyway," Tom said with
feeling as he went. "'Count of their grandfather walkin' in on 'em f'om
Kansas City sudden there's big doin's hurried up about the twins.
They're goin' to have a barouche roun' f'om the livery stable too, an'
they want me to drive."

Then Tom became darkly cryptic. "I tol' you when I come, I ca'ies my
goodwill with me to the pussons I wuks foh."

And now it was Sunday morning and no house-boy. "Charlie," said Aunt
Cordelia to this person, "I wish you'd walk around to the Sunday school
door with Emmy Lou. She's never been so far alone. Louise is not ready,
and she's to meet all those children on the church step where they'll be
waiting for her, and thinks she ought to be early."

"Surely," said Uncle Charlie. "I'm glad to. I've an idea it's about time
for Willie Glidden to be hanging himself in some of his innovations."

At the corner Uncle Charlie and Emmy Lou met Tom coming back towards
Sadie's with the barouche from the livery stable. One felt Tom saw them,
though he looked the other way.

At the second corner they met Sally Carter. Her curls shone like Aunt
Cordelia's copper hot-water jug, and her skirts stood out and flaunted.
She stopped when Emmy Lou stopped, but with reluctance, since it was
palpable she was in a hurry.

"I've decided I didn't treat Sadie right. My name's still on her roll.
Those little girls my mother didn't want me to associate with at the
other Sunday schools were on your church steps, anyway, and she wouldn't
want me to stay."

At the next corner they met Lisa and Yetta and Katie, scoured and
braided and in their Sunday dresses. They didn't want to stop either,
palpably being in even a greater hurry.

"As long as we're goin' to Sunday school we think well go back to the
one we started from," said Lisa. "That sassy little girl our mothers
said we shouldn't put up with was on your church steps anyhow, and was
sassy to us some more."

At St. Simeon's itself they met Mamie. "I didn't want to wait, but I
felt I ought to. I'm going back to Sadie's, and I'm late. Tom called to
us here on the steps as he went by in the barouche, and said Sadie's
little twin sisters were going to be baptized at her church right after
Sunday school."

"Which," said Uncle Charlie the while his Emmy Lou swallowed tears,
"hangs Willie Glidden neatly in his own innovations."

When Sadie and Hattie and Emmy Lou met at school the next day, Sadie's
eyes were bright and her face shone. Why not? As she pointed out, her
little sisters were justified to her, her erring scholars were returned,
her grandfather said he'd see to it that they _could_ afford to have Tom
back and the barouche too, and it all went to prove the efficacy of
prayer.

It would seem to. That is, of Sadie's prayer. Emmy Lou could see that.
She indeed had sent up _billets-doux_ in Sadie's behalf herself. But it
did not explain everything.

"Mr. Glidden at my Sunday school prayed too, that the least of these be
brought into the fold."

Hattie forgot her own right to grievance in the joy of this additional
data in support of her position. Had she not claimed that an answer to
prayer can be an answer and yet be calamitous too?

"Exactly," said Hattie. "'The least of these into the fold.' But he
didn't say which fold!"

Did not say which fold? To God who knows everything? For Mr. Glidden
meant his fold. Hattie, then, was right?

The concepts of Emmy Lou, eight years old, a big girl now, moved on
again. Behind a smiling providence God hides a frowning face. And those
winging _billets-doux_, already weighted with caution and now heavy with
doubt, in the mind's eye faltered, hung, and came fluttering, drifting,
so many falling white doves, wings broken, down from the blue.



VII

PINK TICKETS FOR TEXTS


THE walls of St. Simeon's conservatism had fallen. St. Simeon's, with
its arches above, its pews below, their latched doors, as it were,
symbolic, the Old Dispensation depicted in the window above its entrance
doors, and St. Paul, the apostle of the personal revelation, smitten to
his knees by light from Heaven, the figure of the window above its
chancel. Modern progressiveness, the battering-ram in the hands of
Willie Glidden, come up through the Sunday school himself but yesterday,
had assailed the defenses of an older generation successfully.

Or so Uncle Charlie seemed to think as he repeated the news brought from
Sunday school by Aunt Louise and Emmy Lou. "Dr. Angell came into the
Sunday school room this morning and offered a rector's prize for pink
tickets earned for texts? Each child receiving a pink ticket for every
Sunday throughout the year to be thus rewarded? Willie Glidden has
goaded him to this."

Mr. Glidden had goaded the rector of St. Simeon's to other things which
Emmy Lou, nearing nine years, had heard discussed at home.

"Popular heads to my sermons for the newspapers and the bulletin board?"
it was reported that Dr. Angell had said indignantly. "Who but Glidden
wants notices in the papers or a bulletin board either? For forty years
I have sedulously refrained from being popular, and I'll not begin it
now."

But he came to it, popular heads being furnished by him weekly, in a
dazed pother at finding himself doing it, but still doing it.

"Prizes to encourage the Sunday school?" so report said his comment was
to this last proposition. "Pay the children of my church for doing their
duty?"

But the report also said that he calmed down on grasping that the
proposition centered about texts.

When Dr. Angell met the little people of his flock in the company of
their elders he addressed them much after the same fashion. "A big girl,
now!" or "Quite a little man!" he would say. "Old enough to be coming to
church every Sunday and profiting by service and sermon."

"Sermon," said he, on occasion to a little boy who said he didn't like
sermons. "The sooner you realize and profit by the knowledge that life
is one unending sermon, sirrah, the better for you."

Dr. Angell had gathered his own sermons into a book, as Aunt Cordelia
told proudly to strangers, a stout volume bound in cloth, with a golden
sun in a nimbus of rays stamped on the cover, entitled "Rays from the
Sun of Righteousness."

And now, his attention caught and held by the word "text," since from
his viewpoint to every sermon its text, and possibly to every text its
sermon, he was offering a rector's prize for a year's quiver of pink
tickets, these being the visible show of as many correctly recited
texts.

"Will you have Emmy Lou try?" Aunt Louise said to Aunt Cordelia. "We in
the Sunday school feel we should do all we can to support Mr. Glidden."

But Aunt Cordelia needed no urging from Aunt Louise. She did not feel
that respect for the institutions introduced at St. Simeon's by Mr.
Glidden that Aunt Louise felt, and did not hesitate to say so. But
anything inaugurated by the rector of her church she did respect.

"If Dr. Angell is offering the prize, certainly Emmy Lou will try. A
rector's, not a Willie Glidden prize, is a different thing. It will be
something for her to esteem and value all her life. I am sorry it is for
texts." Evidently the word had the same associations for Aunt Cordelia
that it had for Dr. Angell. "I have trouble enough as it is in making
her want to stay to church."

Aunt Louise explained. "The prizes are for the weekly texts heading the
Sunday school lessons. They have no connection with church or the
sermon."

"Well, maybe not," Aunt Cordelia conceded, "but if she is going to take
a prize from Dr. Angell for texts, and I shall see to it that she does,
it is no more than she ought to be willing to do, to listen cheerfully
to his sermons. I have been too lenient in excusing her from church."

On this same Sunday afternoon Emmy Lou went around to talk the matter
over with Hattie, and found Sadie there.

Emmy Lou and Hattie had been estranged, their first misunderstanding,
Emmy Lou, with St. Simeon's back of her, having taken one stand, and
Hattie another.

Emmy Lou spoke of kneeling at her church to pray and standing to sing
and Hattie corrected her. "Who ever beard of such a thing? You mean
stand to pray and sit down to sing."

Emmy Lou didn't mean anything of the kind and said so.

Hattie faced her down. "Don't I go to church? Doesn't Sadie go?" turning
to this person as referee. "Don't we know?"

Sadie was obliged to qualify her support. "We don't _stand_ to pray, we
lean our foreheads on the next pew."

Emmy Lou refused to be coerced. "I don't stand to pray, or lean forward
either. I kneel down."

"Then," said Hattie, "it must be because you are what my father calls a
bigoted Episcopalian, that you don't. Everybody else stands up or leans
forward."

Emmy Lou had faced the chancel of her church for four years. "St. Paul
doesn't. He's kneeling above our chancel."

"Then he must be a bigoted Episcopalian too," said Hattie with feeling,
and went home.

But today Hattie and Sadie, if anything, were envious of Emmy Lou's
opportunity. A rector's prize!

Hattie, to be sure, with the books of the Bible in her memory as were
David's pebbles in his scrip, once had felled the giant, Contest, and
won the banner for the girls over the boys at her Sunday school. For
which act of prowess her teacher had rewarded her with a little gold
pin.

And Sadie had a workbox, a little affair complete, scissors, thimble,
and all, a recognition of faithfulness at large, from her Sunday school
teacher, the same delivered to her by the superintendent before the
assembled Sunday school. And as she pointed out, the calling of her name
and the walk up and down the aisle to receive the gift were no small
part of the reward.

It did stagger them both that Emmy Lou should have to stay to church.
"Still," argued Hattie, "it will be worth it, a rector's prize. Though
why you don't say preacher!"

"Or minister," said Sadie.

"My brother once got a silver dollar for a prize that wasn't a dollar at
all but a watch made to look like a dollar," said Hattie.

"But not from church," Sadie reminded her.

"No, from the President Dollar Watch Company for guessing the pictures
of the presidents. But still it was a prize."

Sadie could supplement this. "My mamma heard of a little girl who sold
tickets for a picnic and won a locket on a chain."

Emmy Lou went home cheered. Aunt Cordelia had put the emphasis on the
texts whereas Hattie and Sadie had put it on the prize.

"A silver dollar that wasn't a dollar but a watch, and a locket on a
chain," said Uncle Charlie, overhearing her tell about it. "Well, well!"

A rector's prize should indeed be something worth the working for.
Fifty-two pink tickets standing for fifty-two correctly recited texts,
and attendance at church for fifty-two Sundays!

For Aunt Cordelia was as good as her word. The next Sunday she and Uncle
Charlie on their road to St. Simeon's met Emmy Lou returning from Sunday
school. Hitherto on these weekly encounters it was a toss-up whether she
should be allowed to proceed, or must return to church.

With Emmy Lou, face and eyes uplifted to Aunt Cordelia, mutely
interceding for herself, while Uncle Charlie articulately interceded for
her, it was a stand-off whether or not she should be required to go. And
when the worst happened and she must turn about and accompany Aunt
Cordelia, the propinquity of Uncle Charlie in the pew beside her had
helped her through. Until recently he had slipped smoothly rounded
peppermints banded in red from his vest pocket to her, or, the supply
running low, passed her his pencil and an envelope to amuse herself. But
she was a big girl now and Aunt Cordelia no longer permitted these
indulgences.

"Sermons in pencils too, perhaps, Cordelia," Uncle Charlie pleaded, "and
good in peppermints."

But in vain. "Charlie!" Aunt Cordelia but remonstrated, shocked.

Nor was Emmy Lou to be excused today. Aunt Cordelia, plump and comely
in her furs and ample cloak and seemly bonnet, and Uncle Charlie in his
top-coat, gray trousers, silk hat, and natty cane, brought up short on
meeting her. Not that she, in a chinchilla coat suitable for the big
girl she was, and a gray plush hat, with her hair tied with scarlet
ribbons, had much hope herself.

"I see you have your pink ticket in your hand, a good beginning," said
Aunt Cordelia. "I'm glad you walked to meet us. You can do so every
Sunday; the change and relaxation will do you good. Now, Charlie, not a
word. From now on, while she is trying for Dr. Angell's prize, she will
go back with us to church."

Emmy Lou found herself there within a very few minutes, the
parallelograms of pews about her filled with the assembled congregation,
she in her place between Aunt Cordelia and Uncle Charlie.

And at home, where she now would be had Aunt Cordelia relented, what?
Her children doomed to sit in a wooden row against the baseboard until
she arrived to release them. The new book, for Emmy Lou is reading now,
left where one begins to divine that the white cat in reality is a
beautiful lady. Also at home on Aunt Cordelia's table that Sunday
institution never forgotten by Uncle Charlie, the box of candy, from
whose serried layers Emmy Lou may take one piece in Aunt Cordelia's
absence. Furthermore at home the realm of the kitchen with its rites of
Sunday preparation, Aunt M'randy its priestess, and delectable odors and
savory steam arising from its altar, the cooking-stove.

And in the stead for Emmy Lou a morning spent in church. Still she can
settle down and think of the prize which as reward for all this
faithfulness will be hers. Think of Hattie's gold pin, and Sadie's
work-basket, of the silver dollar which in reality was a watch, and the
locket on the chain.

Aunt Cordelia touches Emmy Lou, and, brought to herself, she stands up.
Aunt Cordelia finds the place and hands her a prayer book. Church has
begun.

Amid form without meaning, and symbol without clue, the mind of Emmy Lou
wanders again, this time to that puzzle, the adult, no less impenetrable
to the mind of nine than the shrouded mystery of ancient Egypt to the
adult. For adults, Aunt Cordelia for one, here beside her in the pew,
love to go to church. The proof? That they of their own volition, since
the adult acts of himself, are here.

Aunt Cordelia touches Emmy Lou. She and Aunt Cordelia and Uncle Charlie
and the congregation of St. Simeon's, Hattie to the contrary, kneel
down.

But the mind continues to wander. The adult is here because it wants to
be here, whereas Emmy Lou is here because Aunt Cordelia says she must
be. Her eyes, too, will travel ahead on the prayer book page to the
amen. What amen? Any and all, since amens wherever occurring signify the
end of the especial thing of the moment, whether said, sung or prayed.
The thought sustaining one being that, amen succeeding amen, the final
and valedictory one is bound to come in time.

"Get up for the Venite," whispers Aunt Cordelia, and Emmy Lou who has
lost herself on her knees gets up, pink with the defection. Not that the
Venite has any significance to her which brings her to her feet, but
that to find herself in the wrong situation at church, or anywhere, is
embarrassing.

This pitfall of ritual is called the service, though it might be worse
since the more service the less sermon. As nearly as Emmy Lou can grasp
it, at Hattie's church, beyond a sparse standing up to pray, and
sitting down to sing, it is all sermon.

Aunt Cordelia has to speak to her by and by again: "Get up for the
Jubilate," Emmy Lou having lost herself during the second lesson.

And yet? And yet? Can it be there is more in this business of church
than an Emmy Lou suspects? The congregation now going down on its knees
for that matter called the Litany, a tear presently splashes on the
glove of Aunt Cordelia kneeling beside Emmy Lou, her head bowed above
the big, cross-emblazoned prayer book that she always uses.

Aunt Katie and Aunt Louise wear white gloves or gray or brown as the
case may be, and feathers and flowers, and their dresses are varied and
cheery. But Aunt Cordelia still wears black in memory of Emmy Lou's
mother who went away when Emmy Lou was four. The tear falling on her
black glove and sliding off to the book makes a stain tinged with
purple from the kid.

Then Emmy Lou remembers this is the anniversary of the day her mother
went forever, and understands why the prayer book in Aunt Cordelia's
hand is open at the flyleaf bearing the name of its first owner, Emily
Pope McLaurin.

Are we nearer our dead at church? And being nearer, are we comforted?
For when Aunt Cordelia arises from her knees her face is happy.

"The four hundred and ninety-fourth hymn," she whispers. "Find the
place." Then in refutation of Hattie, "Stand up."

And Emmy Lou, finding the hymn for herself, stands up and with Aunt
Cordelia and Uncle Charlie and the congregation, sings heartily:

    "The Church's one foundation
     Is Jesus Christ her Lord----"

While the service thus drags its length along, the hymn which Emmy Lou
both can find for herself and can sing heartily being the only oasis in
the desert of her morning, there is worse ahead. Between two uprising
peaks of the amens, one of which is reached with the close of the hymn,
lies that valley of dry bones called the sermon.

Dr. Angell is beginning it now. "'Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a
light unto my path.'"

This seems a reasonably clear and definite statement even to Emmy Lou,
not quite nine and slow to follow. But no.

"The Psalmist was given to imagery, which is to say, was an Oriental,"
begins Dr. Angell. And so one goes down with him into the valley of dry
bones.

The mind wanders anew. How can it help wandering? Albert Eddie Dawkins
is across the church in a side pew with his big sister, Sarah. She has
decided that he shall try for a rector's prize too. He is low in his
mind about it, and said so to Emmy Lou coming out of Sunday school this
morning.

Joe Kiffin made a proposition to him that he could not accept, Joe being
the big boy who drove the wagon and delivered for the Dawkins grocery.

"He said he would take me and another boy this morning to a place where
we can get all the honey locusts we want. A place where the ground is
covered with 'em. But we both had to come to Sunday school and stay to
church, and Joe says we can't expect him to take us in the afternoon
when it's the only afternoon he's got. You know honey locusts?"

Emmy Lou was compelled to admit that she did not.

"Well," a little anxiously, "I don't either. But if I and the other boy
could have gone with Joe, I'd have found out."

[Illustration: "With one pink ticket in hand, fifty-one yet to be
achieved for texts."]

The other boy was at church too. By turning her head the least bit Emmy
Lou could see him. His name was Logan. But he wasn't trying for a prize.
He said they might make him stay to church--"they" meaning the grown
persons in the pew with him--but they couldn't make him try for pink
tickets, or walk up an aisle to get a prize he mightn't want anyway.

Mightn't Logan want it? Was there any chance that Emmy Lou would not
want hers? Fifty-two--no, fifty-one--Sundays now to come, and with one
pink ticket in hand, fifty-one yet to be achieved for texts.

Dr. Angell is ending his sermon. ". . . and so it comes that the words of
the Psalmist occurring in the liturgy of our service, are a lamp unto
our feet, and a light unto our path." And he and his congregation come
up out of the valley of dry bones.

And yet? And yet? Emmy Lou's eyes, fixed on Dr. Angell, are registering
on the retina of her mind for all time a figure which for her shall be
a type, dominant in its attitude of beneficent authority, hands
outspread above its people, rumpled hair white, beard white, robes
white, a shaft of light from a common window into heaven shared with him
by St. Paul, the bigoted Episcopalian, searching him out where he
stands.

As void of meaning to her, these gettings up and these sittings down,
these venites, jubilates, and amens, as the purpose of Dr. Angell in his
chancel. Yet who shall say at what moment Emmy Lou in her pew,
struggling along in the darkness though she is, shall sense the symbol
of the one, and behold in the other the office and the appointment?

And the adult who is here of self-actuated volition? The Aunt Cordelia
ever in her place in the family pew? Emmy Lou's eyes turn to this
person, and behold, her face is touched as by a light, too, and her eyes
are shining.

"Get up," she whispers as she herself arises, "it is the benediction."

Uncle Charlie is jocular on the way home. "And what did you think of the
sermon?" he asks Emmy Lou.

She does not know that he is jocular, nor that she too, unwittingly, is
the same in her reply. "I thought I understood the text until Dr. Angell
began to explain it, and then I lost it."

Fifty-one more Sundays, fifty-one more sermons, fifty-one more texts
between Emmy Lou and her reward! The next Sunday and there would be
fifty, and the next forty-nine!

As the weeks went by Emmy Lou discussed the prize with Aunt Cordelia,
and incidentally with Uncle Charlie who overheard the conversations.

"When Albert Eddie's mamma won a prize for catechism in England where
she lived when she was little, it was tea to take home to her mother,
and a flannel petticoat for her grandma, and she cried."

And again. "Sadie says it's an awful thing when your name is called, to
get up and walk up the aisle, but Hattie says that you don't mind it so
much if you keep thinking about the prize."

       *       *       *       *       *

Papa came down once a month from his home city a hundred miles away, to
stay over Sunday and see Emmy Lou. "I was going to propose," he said on
one of these visits, "that the next time, you and Aunt Cordelia and
Uncle Charlie get on the train and come up to visit me. But it's no use,
I see."

"Not until I get my prize," said Emmy Lou. "I have forty-one pink
tickets in Aunt Cordelia's bureau drawer, and today will make
forty-two."

"I am almost sorry I let her try," Aunt Cordelia told her brother-in-law
and Uncle Charlie. "She begins to study the text for the next Sunday as
soon as she gets home on this."

Aunt Louise, as the allotted Sunday drew near, brought home news of a
tiff between Dr. Angell and Mr. Glidden.

"Mr. Glidden told Dr. Angell today that he had been looking over a
printed list of Sunday school prizes sent to superintendents, and had
noticed some excellent suggestions. Dr. Angell was ruffled and said, 'If
I'm fool enough to come to prizes, bribes for duty, I'm nevertheless
still capable of providing them.' I'm afraid he is getting old."

"Old," retorted Uncle Charlie. "It's being goaded by Willie Glidden.
Drive even a saint too far and he will show his manhood."

"Hattie's is a little pin," remarked Emmy Lou, even irrelevantly, "and
Sadie's is a workbox, and that other little girl's was a locket on a
chain."

The morning of the fifty-third Sunday came. "I don't know which she is
the more, proud, or alarmed, at thought of walking up the aisle this
morning for her prize," said Aunt Cordelia after Emmy Lou left the
breakfast table. "There are only three children who have come through
successfully in the whole Sunday school, Charlie. A little girl named
Puggy Western, according to Emmy Lou, she herself, and Albert Eddie
Dawkins. Two of the three are thanks to Sarah and myself, if I do say
it."

       *       *       *       *       *

The moment was come. The Sunday school--Bible Class, Big Room, and
Infant Class--was assembled. Mr. Glidden, with Dr. Angell beside him,
had arisen.

"One at a time, Puggy Western, Emily Louise McLaurin, and Albert Edward
Dawkins come forward and receive their prizes."

Puggy Western went up first, in a brand-new hat and coat for the
occasion, and came back.

Emily Louise McLaurin went up next in a next-to-new coat and hat and
dress, and came back.

Albert Edward Dawkins, in a new suit and his first high collar, went up
and came back. A hymn, and Sunday school was over, and all ages and
sizes crowded around the three to see their similar rewards.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Aunt Cordelia and Uncle Charlie on their road to church met Emmy
Lou this morning, her eyes, like her late accumulation of tickets, were
pink. She to whom tears came hard and seldom had been crying.

"And how about the prize?" asked Uncle Charlie.

Emmy Lou, tears stoutly held back, handed it to him. He looked it over,
opened it, read her name in inscription within, then lifted his gaze to
her.

"Well, I'll be doggoned!"

"Charlie!" from Aunt Cordelia.

"I surely will. The same to the other two?"

Emmy Lou nodded. There are times when one cannot trust oneself to speak.

And when Uncle Charlie handed back the volume stoutly bound in cloth,
stamped with a golden sun in a nimbus of rays, and bearing for title,
"Rays From the Sun of Righteousness," the nimbus surrounded, not a
golden sun, but a silver dollar held in place by Uncle Charlie's thumb.

"A dollar that is only a dollar, and not a watch," he explained
regretfully. "But somewhere in the week ahead we may be able to overtake
a locket on a chain." Then to Aunt Cordelia, "I'll decide it this
morning, Cordelia. Emmy Lou is excused for today from anything further
in the nature of sermons."

The next Sunday Albert Eddie Dawkins was absent from Sunday school. He
had run off, so his sister Maud explained, and could not be found.

Emmy Lou heard more about it later on from Albert Eddie himself. She
also found out what a honey locust is, though she had had to wait a year
to do so.

"I told Joe Kiffen if he'd take us to that honey locust place now, that
he said he would last year, I'd stay away from Sunday school. And he
did. And here's one for you."

Emmy Lou took the pod and bit into it. As solace and recompense she
could have wished for something more delectable.



VIII

STERN DAUGHTER OF THE VOICE OF GOD


HATTIE'S rule of life was simple, but severe. She set it forth for Emmy
Lou. "Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and you have to draw the line
between. And when you've chosen which side you're on, you have to stand
by your colors."

She went on to diagram her meaning. "I heard my father tell my brothers
what it means to stand by your colors. He said they couldn't be too
careful in their associates. That now they've joined the League for the
Right they must show their faith by their works. You and I can't
associate with anyone who chooses the other side either. If Lisa Schmit
will go to Sunday picnics, she's wrong, and you and I have to show our
colors and tell her so."

Emmy Lou hesitated at such consignment of Lisa to the limbo defined as
wrong, but Hattie said she didn't dare hesitate. She even showed a
disposition to take Emmy Lou's right of election into her keeping,
saying if she felt this way about it she'd speak for her.

"No, we won't come into your game of prisoner's base," she told Lisa and
Yetta at recess; "we're going to have a game of our own."

The contumely for the unfriendly act nevertheless fell on Emmy Lou who
knew them best. "She's getting to be stuck up," Lisa said bitterly to
her own group, with a jerk of her head toward Emmy Lou standing by
Hattie. "She won't play with Yetta and me any more because our papa
keeps a grocery."

"No such thing!" said Hattie. "She won't play with you because you go to
picnics on Sunday."

Was this true? Or was it because Hattie had told her she must not play
with them because they went to picnics on Sunday?

Hattie called this bringing of Lisa and Yetta to judgment "drawing the
line." It was a painful process to the rejected. Lisa went off with her
face suffused and Yetta who followed her was crying.

Next followed the case of Mittie Heinz whose mamma kept a little shop
for general notions, a stock that Emmy Lou never had been able to
identify, often as she had been there to buy needles or thread or
cambric for Aunt Cordelia.

Mittie read her storybook on the steps of the shop on Sunday and Hattie
explained to her that this made it impossible to include her in a game
of catcher.

"Right's right, and wrong's wrong," she said. "If we are going to draw
the line we have to draw it."

"I read my books on Sunday," expostulated Emmy Lou, for Mittie's
startled face showed surprise as she turned away, and her eyes looked
reproach at Emmy Lou.

"But they are books you get out of your Sunday school library, and don't
count anyway because you say you don't like them," from Hattie.

This lamentable and unhappy knowledge of good and evil was forced on
Emmy Lou when in the ascending scale of years she simultaneously reached
her ninth birthday, the Fourth Reader, and the estate of bridesmaid to
Aunt Katie.

Life from this eminence appeared broad-spread and beautiful, and
diversified by variant paths within the sweep of a far horizon until now
never suspected. But Hattie, youthful Virgil to her youthful Dante,
permitted personally conducted excursions only, and these along a
somewhat monotonous because strait and narrow path--all other roads,
whether devious or parallel, flower-bedecked or somber, ascending or
descending, leading but to questionable ends.

The first travelers pointed out by Hattie as trudging these alien roads
were Lisa, Yetta, and Mittie, as has been shown. The second group
journeying on an upland, flowery way paralleling the strait and narrow
path in general direction, at least, were Alice, Rosalie, and Amanthus.
Charming names! Enchanting figures!

School opened early in September. Alice, Rosalie, and Amanthus, who were
newcomers, were given desks across the aisle from Emmy Lou. Alice,
seeing her earnestly scrubbing her desk each morning before school and
arranging it for the day, laughed in her eyes. Amanthus, seeing her test
her pen and try her ink for the coming ordeal of copybook, laughed in
her dimple. And Rosalie, asking her what she was hunting on the
outspread page of her geography, laughed aloud when Emmy Lou replied
that it was Timbuctoo, and that she could find it easier if she knew
whether it was a country, or a mountain, or a river. On which they all
came across the aisle and hugged her.

"You said in class that the plural of footnote was feetnotes," said
Rosalie.

"You said, when the teacher held you down about the spelling in your
composition, that a dog didn't have fore-feet but four feet," said
Amanthus.

"It's so funny and so dear," said Alice.

"What?" asked Emmy Lou.

"You," said Amanthus, and they all kissed her.

"Come and see us," said Rosalie; "we're your neighbors now. We've moved
in the white house with the big yard on your square, and Alice, our
cousin, and her mother have come to live with us. We've never been to a
public school before. You live in a white house at the other end of the
square. We saw you in the yard."

"I'll come this afternoon," said Emmy Lou, "and I'll bring Hattie. I'll
get her now so she'll know you."

But Hattie declined to come. She shook her head decidedly. "They've
light dispositions and I've not. My mamma said so about some other
little girls I couldn't get along with. I don't want to come, and
besides I'm not sure I want to know them."

Which would imply that light dispositions were undesirable apart from
Hattie's inability to get along with them! Hattie could be most
disturbing.

Towards noon a sudden shower fell, and the class was told to remain in
its room for recess and eat its luncheons at its desks.

Across the aisle on the other side of Emmy Lou sat Charlotte Wright.
She, too, had shown every disposition to be friendly but Hattie
discouraged this also. She leaned from her desk now. "Will you have a
piece of my homemade hickory-nut candy?" She spoke with pride. "My mamma
let me make it myself on the grate."

On the grate? Why not in the kitchen on the stove? Still that was
Charlotte's own affair. More showy than tidy in her dress, she seemed
one of those detached and anxious little girls hunting for friends. The
kindly impulse was to respond to overtures, Emmy Lou knowing a past
where she had needed friends. And besides there was the candy.
Hickory-nut candy does not have to look tidy to look good. She had a
liberal lunch outspread on the napkin upon her desk, but she had no
candy.

But Hattie leaving her desk and approaching, held her back. "No, she
won't have any candy," she said, and gathering up Emmy Lou's lunch in
the napkin and thus forcing her to follow, walked away.

Whereupon Rosalie and Amanthus, arising and going around to Charlotte,
flung back their curls as they crowded into her desk, one on either side
of her, and _asked_ for a piece of her candy.

"I don't say it wasn't hard to do," said Hattie, flushed and even
apologetic. "But I had to. She's not your kind, and she's not mine."

Yet Rosalie and Amanthus were sharing Charlotte's desk and her candy.
Was she their kind?

Hattie's voice had dropped and was even awe-struck as she explained.
"Charlotte's papa and her mamma don't live together. I heard my mother
and my aunt say so. She and her mother live in a boarding house next to
the confectionery."

In a boarding house? Charlotte through necessity making her candy on a
grate, therefore, and not in the kitchen! And proof indeed that she was
not their kind, even to Emmy Lou, in a day when the home, however small,
was the measure of standing and the rule!

Yet Alice has arisen and is looking across at Charlotte. Emmy Lou loves
Alice. Light disposition or not, she is drawn to her. Her hair is a pale
gold while the curls of her cousins are sunny, and her smile is in her
reflective eyes while theirs is in lip and dimple. Of the three she
loves Alice. Why? She has no idea why. Alice moves forward suddenly and
going around to Charlotte leans to her and kisses her.

"Is Charlotte their kind?" Emmy Lou asks Hattie who also was watching.

"Ask them; they ought to know," tersely. "We can't afford to care, even
if it does make us sorry. My father said people have to stand by their
colors."

Later as school was dismissed and the class was filing out, Rosalie
called to Emmy Lou, "If you will go by for Charlotte, she says she will
come this afternoon, too."

Emmy Lou went home disturbed. Charlotte's father and mother did not live
together, and because of this Charlotte was not their kind.

Marriage then is not a fixed and static fact? As day and night, winter
and summer? Would she yet learn that the other family relations as
brother and sister, parent and child, are subject to repudiation and
readjustment, too?

Emmy Lou was just through serving as bridesmaid for Aunt Katie, in a
filmy dress with a pink sash around what Uncle Charlie said was by
common consent and courtesy her waist, whatever his meaning by this, and
carrying a basket from which she earnestly scattered flowers up the
aisle of St. Simeon's in the path of the bride, and incidentally in the
path of Mr. Reade, the bridegroom, and had supposed she now knew
something about marriage.

The sanction of St. Simeon's was upon the bride, crowned with the veil
and orange blossoms of her solemn dedication, or so the bridesmaid had
understood it.

    "Behold, whiles she before the altar stands,
     Hearing the holy priest that to her speakes,
     And blesseth her with his two happy hands!"

Such in substance was the bridesmaid's understanding of it, if not in
just these words.

To be sure the occasion held its disappointment. The concentration of
gifts upon the bride would argue that others shared with Emmy Lou a
sense of the inadequacy of the bridegroom in his inglorious black
clothes.

There was a steel engraving above the mantel in the dining-room called
"The Cavalier's Wedding," at which Emmy Lou glanced again today as she
came in, and in which the bridegroom has a hat in his hand with a
feather which sweeps the ground, and wears a worthy lace-trimmed coat.

At the dinner-table she repeated the news which had so dismayed and
astounded her.

"There's a little girl in my class named Charlotte Wright whose papa and
mamma don't live together."

"Dear, dear!" expostulated Aunt Cordelia, "I don't like you to be
hearing such things."

This would seem to ratify Hattie's position. "Then I mustn't play with
her?"

"Why, Emmy Lou, what a thing for you to say!"

"Then I can play with her?"

"The simple code of yea, yea, and nay, nay," said Uncle Charlie.

"Charlie, be quiet." Then to Emmy Lou, "You mustn't pin me down so; I
will have to know more about it."

"I fancy I know the case and the child," said Uncle Charlie. "The father
worked on my paper for a while, a fine young fellow with a big chance to
have made good." Then to Emmy Lou, "Uncle Charlie wants you to be as
nice to the little girl as you know how, for the sake of the father who
was that fine young fellow."

Emmy Lou was glad to get her bearings. Hattie would be glad to get them
too. The status is fixed by a father and they could play with Charlotte.
One further item troubled. "What are light dispositions?" she inquired.

"Leaven for the over-anxious ones," said Uncle Charlie. "If you meet
any, pin to them."

Emmy Lou turned to Aunt Cordelia. "May I get Charlotte, then, and go to
see Alice Pulteney and Rosalie and Amanthus Maynard? They've just moved
on our square?"

"Agree, Cordelia, agree," urged Uncle Charlie as he arose from the
table. "If we are to infer they have light dispositions, drive her to
see Alice, Rosalie, and Amanthus."

Emmy Lou started forth by and by. The shower of the morning was over and
the September afternoon was fresh and clear. It was heartening to feel
that she was standing by her colors, by Charlotte, and going to see her
new friends.

The boarding house was unattractive and the vestibule where Emmy Lou
stood to ring the bell embarrassed her by its untidiness. As Charlotte
joined Emmy Lou at the door, her mother who had followed her halfway
down the stairs called after her. She was almost as pretty as Aunt
Katie, though she was in a draggled wrapper more showy than tidy, and
she seemed fretful and disposed to blame Charlotte on general
principles.

"Now do remember when it's time to come home. Though why I should
expect anybody to remember in order to save me----"

Rosalie and Alice and Amanthus were waiting at their gate and led them
in, not to the house, but across the clipped lawn gleaming in the
slanting light of the mid-afternoon, to a clump of shrubberies so old
and hoary that beneath their branches was the spaciousness of a room.
Here the ground was heaped with treasure, a lace scarf, some trailing
skirts, a velvet cape, slippers with spangled rosettes, feathers, fans,
what not?

"I am the goose-girl waiting until the prince comes," said Amanthus.

"I am the beggar-maid waiting for the king," said Rosalie.

"I am the forester's foster-daughter lost in the woods until the prince
pursuing the milk-white doe finds her," said Alice.

"Then in the twinkling of an eye our rags will be changed to splendor,"
said Amanthus. "There is a skirt for everyone and a feather and a fan.
Who will you be?" to Emmy Lou and Charlotte.

They were embarrassed. "I never heard of the goose-girl and the others,"
said Emmy Lou. Nor had Charlotte.

Dismay ensued and incredulous astonishment.

A lady came strolling from the house across the lawn. She was tall and
fair, and as she drew near one saw that her smile was in her quiet eyes.
Emmy Lou felt promptly that she loved her.

"Mother," cried Alice.

"Cousin Adeline," cried Rosalie and Amanthus.

"Emmy Lou and Charlotte never have heard of the goose-girl and the
beggar-maid----"

"May we have the green and gold book that was yours when you were
little, to lend them?"

Alice's mother, who was Mrs. Pulteney, smiled at the visitors. "And this
is Emmy Lou? And this is Charlotte? Certainly you may get the book to
lend them."

Emmy Lou felt that one not only did well to love Mrs. Pulteney but might
go further and adore her.

It was agreed that Charlotte should take the book first. She kept it two
days and brought it to Emmy Lou, her small, thin face alight. "I read it
in school and got a bad mark, but I've finished it. It all came right
for everybody."

She left an overlooked bookmark between the leaves at the story of the
outcast little princess who went wandering into the world with her
mother.

Emmy Lou in her turn finished the book. Charlotte got one thing out of
it and she got another. For Charlotte it all came right. Emmy Lou
entered its portals and the glory of understanding came upon her.
Looking back from this land which is that within the sweep of the far
horizon, to the old and baffling world left behind, all was made plain.

Even as Hattie drew a line between those who are right and those who are
wrong, so a line is drawn between those who have entered this land of
the imagination and those who are left behind. One knew now why Alice
flits where others walk, why the hair of Amanthus gleams, why laughter
dwells in the cheek of Rosalie, why the face of Charlotte is
transfigured. And one realizes why she instinctively loves Mrs.
Pulteney. It is because she owned the green and gold book when she was
little!

Emmy Lou also felt that she understood at last why Mr. Reade made so
poor a showing as a bridegroom. It is because while every goose-girl,
beggar-maid, princess or queen may be and indeed is a bride, there is
nothing less than a prince sanctioned for bridegroom, in any instance,
by the green and gold book!

The glory of the green and gold book upon her, Emmy Lou went to Hattie.
But she declined the loan of it, saying she didn't believe in fairy
tales. She had not believed in Alice, Rosalie, and Amanthus at first,
either, though she had accepted them now.

Emmy Lou took this new worry home. "Hattie doesn't believe in fairy
tales."

"She will," from Uncle Charlie confidently.

"When?"

"When she gets younger, with time, like us, or when she overtakes a
light disposition looking for an owner. But I wouldn't be hard on her.
Keep up heart and coax her along."

Hard on Hattie? Her best friend? Coax her along? When were she and
Hattie apart?

At Thanksgiving, Mrs. Maynard, the mother of Amanthus and Rosalie, a
close rival herself to Aunt Katie in prettiness, gave a party for her
two little daughters, a party calling for white dresses and sashes and
slippers.

"Hattie doesn't want to go, but I've coaxed her," Emmy Lou reported at
home.

"Doesn't want to go?" from Aunt Cordelia. "Why not?"

"She says she hasn't got a disposition for white dresses and slippers,
she'd rather go to parties with candy-pulling and games."

Christmas came, with a Christmas Eve pantomime at the theater, which was
given, so Uncle Charlie said, because so many of what he called the
stock company were English.

Mrs. Pulteney gave a party to this pantomime for Alice and her friends,
and though Uncle Charlie had asked Emmy Lou to go with him, in the face
of this later invitation he withdrew his.

"You may give our tickets to Hattie and Sadie if they are not already
going."

Hattie had to be coaxed again. She said she didn't believe in theaters
and felt she had to stand by her colors. Her papa who chanced along at
the moment helped her decide. "There's such a thing as making a nuisance
of your colors," he said, and took the tickets for her from Emmy Lou.

A dreadful thing happened at school the day before the Christmas
holidays. A little girl got mad at Alice. "We've all known something
about you and wouldn't tell it," she said, while the group about the two
stood aghast. "Your papa and your mamma don't live together, and that's
why you live with Rosalie and Amanthus. And it's true because it was all
in the paper."

Emmy Lou hurried home all but weeping and told it.

"Hush, my dear, hush," said Aunt Cordelia. "For the sake of Alice's
brave mother we must forget it. I hoped you would not hear it."

Alice's brave mother? Now the status is fixed by a mother. Life is
perplexing. One must explain to Hattie.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Christmas pantomime! Emmy Lou had been to the theater before. Aunt
Cordelia had taken her to see "Rip Van Winkle."

"Uncle Charlie wants you to be able to say you have seen certain of the
great actors," she had said, but Emmy Lou did not grasp that she was
seeing the actor until it was explained to her afterward. She had no
idea that a great actor would be a poor, tottering old man, white-haired
and ragged, who brought tears to the onlooker as he lifted his hand to
his peering eyes, standing there bewildered upon the stage.

Aunt Louise took her to another play called "The Two Orphans." She
understood this less. "The name on the program is _Henriette_. Why do
they call it 'Onriette'? Is it a cold in their heads?" She was cross and
spoke fretfully because she was bothered.

But the pantomime! Christmas Eve, the theater brilliant with lights and
garlands, evergreens wreathing the box wherein she sat in her new
crimson dress with Alice, Rosalie, Amanthus, and Charlotte, and Mrs.
Pulteney just behind--fair and lovely Mrs. Pulteney who, like the mother
of Charlotte, did not live with her husband, though Emmy Lou is doing
her best to forget it.

The lights go down, the curtain rises, the pantomime is beginning!

Can it be so? Palace and garden, an open market-place, the public
fountain, the shops and dwellings of a town, and threading the space
thus set about, a crowding, circling throng, jugglers, giants, dwarfs,
fairies, a crutch-supported witch, a white-capped baker! It is the world
of the green and gold book!

The goose-girl is here, about to put her teeth into an apple. The
beggar-maid and her king are recognized. A princess and a prince,
kissing their finger-tips to the boxes, are the center of the stage.

No, _Harlequin_ in his parti-colored clothes with his dagger, whoever
_Harlequin_ may be, is that center, causing the baker at a touch to take
off his head and carry it under his arm, striking the apple from the
lips of the goose-girl, tipping the crown from the head of the prince,
twitching the scepter from the fingers of the princess.

Clownery? Buffoonery? _Grotesquerie?_ Emmy Lou never suspects it if it
be. Rather it is life, which with the same perversity baffles the
single-hearted, bewilders the seeker, and juggles with and decapitates
the ideas even as _Harlequin_ dismembers the well-meaning and
unoffending baker. With this difference, that in the world Emmy Lou is
gazing on all will be made right before the end.

The play moves on. Who are these who now are the center of the scene?
Emmy Lou has not met them before? Sad and lovely _Gabriella_ at her
wheel in her woodland cottage, in reality a princess stolen when in the
cradle, and _Bertram_ her husband, forester of the ignoble deeds, whose
hands have wrung the white doe's neck in wantonness.

And who are these as the play moves on? _Florizel_, once high-hearted
prince, forced to dig in the nether world for gold to replace that
forever slipping through the unmended pocket of _Gonderiga_ his wife,
standing by, princess of the slovenly heart, who is no princess in truth
at all, but a goose-girl changed in the cradle.

The play moves on to its close. The curtain falls, the lights come up,
the pantomime is over.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hattie and Sadie joined the box party at the door of the theater and all
went home together on the street car. It was Christmas Eve and the
shops and streets were alight and crowded. As the car reached the
quieter sections the lights of the homes shone through the dusk.

Charlotte left the car at her corner which was reached first, to go home
to her mother in the boarding house. Mrs. Pulteney and her group of
three said good-bye at the next corner. At the third, Hattie, Sadie, and
Emmy Lou got off together.

Hattie detained the others ere they could go their separate ways. Her
voice was awed.

"Maybe Charlotte's father was like _Florizel_, once high-hearted
prince----"

Emmy Lou and Sadie gazed at Hattie. They caught the point. No wonder
Hattie was awed.

"--and maybe Mrs. Pulteney is beautiful _Gabriella_----?"

       *       *       *       *       *

That night after supper Emmy Lou paused before the picture of "The
Cavalier's Wedding." She was far from satisfied with Aunt Katie's
choice.

"Why did Mr. Reade wear those black clothes?" she asked.

"What are you talking about?" from Aunt Cordelia.

But Uncle Charlie seemed to comprehend in part, at least. "Those were
the trappings and the suits of woe."

"Woe?"

"Certainly. He was the bridegroom."

       *       *       *       *       *

Hattie came around the day after Christmas. Stern daughter of the voice
of God in general, today she was hesitant. "If you haven't returned that
book of fairy tales, I'll take it home and read it."



IX

SO BUILD WE UP THE BEING THAT WE ARE


AUNT CORDELIA stood behind Emmy Lou who was seated at the piano with
"Selections From the Operas, for Beginners," open on the rack. She
paused in her counting. "Now try it again by yourself. You have to keep
time if you want harmony."

Harmony? The mind of the performer dwelt on the word as she started over
again. What is harmony?

Aunt Cordelia relaxing her attention for the moment turned to speak to
Uncle Charlie who was reading his paper by the droplight. "It's no easy
thing to bring up a child, Charlie." As it happened, she was not
referring to the practicing. "Louise thinks Emmy Lou ought to be
confirmed. She says now that she is eleven years old she surely ought to
know where she stands."

It is no easy thing to be the child brought up either, as Emmy Lou on
the piano-stool could have rejoined. Life and Aunt Cordelia might perch
her on the stool but, as events were proving, that did not make her a
musician. Would going up the aisle of St. Simeon's to kneel at the rail,
she had watched the confirmation class for some years now, make her----?

What was it supposed to make her? An Episcopalian? What is an
Episcopalian? Did she want to be one? Or did she want to be what Papa
is?

"Repeat, repeat," said Aunt Cordelia behind her. "Don't you see the dots
at the end of the passage?"

Emmy Lou repeated, came to the end of her selection, and, to the relief
of herself, at least, got down. She was thinking about Papa.

She had gathered from somewhere that when Mamma after marriage left her
church and went with Papa to his church, there was feeling.

Emmy Lou adored Papa. Aunt Cordelia had a brother and two sisters to go
with her to St. Simeon's. Surely there should be someone to go with
Papa? But where? What was he?

Emmy Lou had asked this question outright a good while ago. Papa was
paying her a visit at the time. Unknown to her he had looked over her
head at Aunt Cordelia and laid a finger on his lips. Considering the
extent and the nature of his obligation to Aunt Cordelia, possibly his
idea was there must be no more feeling, though Emmy Lou could not know
this.

Having thus communicated with Aunt Cordelia, he answered the question.
"Had my two grandfathers elected to be born on one side of the Tweed
and not the other, I probably would have been an Episcopalian," he said.

"Tweedledee, in other words, instead of Tweedledum," said Uncle Charlie.

All of which meant that Papa was not an Episcopalian. What was he? Emmy
Lou, eight years old then and eleven now, was still asking the question.

At bedtime Aunt Cordelia spoke again about confirmation. "Think it over
for the rest of the week and then come tell me what you have decided."

Emmy Lou was glad to be alone in bed. At eleven there is need for
constant adjustment and readjustment of the ideas and also for
pondering. The relations of one little girl to Heaven and of Heaven to
one little girl call for pondering. People assort themselves into
Episcopalians, Methodists, and the like. Rebecca Steinau is a Jew, Katie
O'Brien is a Dominican, Aunt M'randy in the kitchen is an
Afro-American, her insurance paper entitling her to one first-class
burial says so. Mr. Dawkins' brother is a Canadian; Maud and Albert
Eddie say their father sometimes is sorry he's not a Canadian, too.

Is each of these assortments a religion? Or all the assortments
religion? Has God a special feeling about having Emmy Lou an
Episcopalian when Papa is something else? Is it not strange that He
never, never speaks? In which case she could ask Him and He would tell
her.

When Emmy Lou arrived at the grammar school the next morning, for she is
thus far on the road of education now, Sadie and Hattie had something to
tell her.

There is a pupil in the class this year named Lorelei Ritter. Emmy Lou
has heard it claimed by some that she can speak French, by others that
she speaks German. The fact is self-evident that she speaks English.
She is given to minding her own affairs and in other ways seems
sufficient to herself. Miss Amanda, the teacher, is pronouncedly cold to
her; they do not seem to get along.

"Where is the Rio de la Plata River, and how does it flow?" Miss Amanda
asked her in the class only yesterday.

Lorelei had hesitated a moment. She was plainly bothered.

"I thought _Rio_ was river----?" she began, and stopped. Miss Amanda's
face was red.

"Go to your seat," she said.

For what? How had Lorelei offended? The class had no idea.

Miss Amanda had shown steady disapproval of Lorelei before this, and
this morning Sadie and Hattie knew why.

"A girl in a class upstairs told us," said Sadie. "Her name is Sally
White and she lives near Lorelei. She says Miss Amanda lives next door
to Lorelei and they play the piano at Lorelei's house all day Sunday
with the windows wide open."

"Tunes," Sadie went on to qualify. "It isn't even as if it were hymns."

"Or voluntaries," said Hattie. Voluntaries were permitted at Hattie's
church before service and Sadie did not approve of them.

Sadie was continuing. "Sally said the neighbors sent word to the Ritters
that it was a thing a Christian neighborhood couldn't and wouldn't put
up with, but the Ritters go right on playing."

This was more painful to Emmy Lou than Sadie could know. Papa who comes
to see her once a month keeps the piano open on Sunday, and plays what
Sadie and Hattie differentiate as "tunes" as opposed to hymns and
voluntaries, often as not dashing into what he explains to Uncle Charlie
is this or that from this or that new opera.

He plays at any and all times on Sunday, dropping his paper or magazine
to stroll to the piano to pick and try, strum and hum, or jerking the
stool into place, to fall into sustained, and to Emmy Lou who herself is
still counting aloud, breathless and incredible performance.

She is aware that Aunt Cordelia does not willingly consent to this use
of the piano on Sunday, and she also is aware of a definite stand taken
by Uncle Charlie in the matter, to which Aunt Cordelia reluctantly
yields.

In the past Papa has been Papa, personality with no detail, accepted and
adored, just as Aunt Cordelia has been and is Aunt Cordelia, supreme and
undisputed. But now Papa's personality is beginning to have its details.
He still is Papa, but he is more. He is tall and slight and has quick,
clever hands, and impatient motions of the head, together with oddly
regardful, considering, debating eyes, fixed on their object through
rimmed eye-glasses.

Papa is "brilliant," vague term appropriated from Uncle Charlie who says
so. If he were not a brilliant editor he would have been a brilliant
musician. Uncle Charlie says this also.

And today at school Emmy Lou hears from Sadie that piano playing on
Sunday is a thing a Christian neighborhood can't and won't put up with!

"Aren't the Ritters Christians?" she asked anxiously.

"How can they be when they play all day Sunday?" Sadie returned.
"Lorelei told Sally that her father, Signor Ritter, was _Fra Diavolo_ in
an opera once. And Sally says they are proud of it and can't forget it.
Every one of the family plays on some instrument and they take Sunday
when they're all home to play _Fra Diavolo_ till the neighbors can't
stand it. Sally asked Lorelei what _Fra Diavolo_ means, and she said
Brother Devil."

This again was information more painful to Emmy Lou than Sadie could
know. Papa on his visits, while dressing in the mornings, or later when
wandering about the house or running through the contents of some book
picked up from the table, breaks into song, palpably familiar and
favored song even if absently and disjointedly rendered. Emmy Lou has
heard it often as not on Sunday. Uncle Charlie in speaking of it once
said it was "in vogue"--another term appropriated by Emmy Lou--when Papa
was a young man studying in Paris.

The song favored thus ended with up-flung and gayly defiant notes and
words that said and resaid with emphatic and triumphant finality, "_Fra
Diavolo_"! Though what the words meant Emmy Lou had no idea until now.

"If the Ritters are not Christians, what are they?" she asked.

Sadie had information about this. "Sally says the neighbors say they are
Bohemians."

Unfortunately Emmy Lou has heard this term before, though she had not
grasped that it was a religion. Aunt Cordelia frequently worries over
Papa.

"He's a regular Bohemian," she frets to Uncle Charlie.

Before school was dismissed on this same Friday, there were other
worries for Emmy Lou. When in time she arrived home, full of chagrin,
Papa was there for his usual visit and wanted to hear about the chagrin
and its cause.

Words are given out in class at grammar school, as Papa knows, to be
defined and illustrated by a sentence. One may be faithful to the
meaning as construed from the dictionary, and lose out in class too.

"A girl in the class named Lorelei Ritter laughed at my sentence, and
then the rest laughed too."

"What was the word?" inquired Papa.

"Concomitant."

"And what did you say?"

"'A thing that accompanies.' He played the concomitant to her song."

Uncle Charlie shouted, but Papa's laugh was a little rueful. "Poor
little mole working i' the dark. Will the light never break for her,
Charlie, do you suppose?"

What did he mean, and why is he rueful? Is the trouble with her who
would give all she is or hopes to be in adoring offering to Papa? Can
he, even in the light of what she has heard today, be open to criticism?
Certainly not. Papa may be a Bohemian, and a Bohemian may not be a
Christian, but what he is that shall Emmy Lou be also.

To decide is to act. Papa went down town after dinner with Uncle
Charlie, and Emmy Lou took her place at the piano. Ordinarily she is
loath to practice, going through the ordeal because Aunt Cordelia
requires it. But today she goes about it as a practical matter with a
definite purpose.

Papa brought her the "Selections From the Operas" some while back, with
the remark that a little change from exercises to melody might introduce
cheer into a melancholy business all around. But so far this had not
been the result, "Selection No. 1--Sextette from Lucia," reducing her to
tears, and "Selection No. 2--I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls,"
doing almost as much for Aunt Cordelia.

But now that Emmy Lou had a purpose, the matter was different. There was
a table of contents to the "Selections From the Operas," and a certain
title therein had caught her eye in the past. Seated on the piano-stool,
leaning over the book on her lap, she passed her finger down the list.

Selection 13. She thought so. She found the page and replaced the open
book upon the rack. _Fra Diavolo_. She set to work. What Papa is that
will she be also.

She desisted by and by long enough to go and ask a question of Aunt
Cordelia.

"If I were to be confirmed at St. Simeon's could I practice my
selections on Sunday?"

"Practice them on Sunday?" Aunt Cordelia had enough trouble getting her
to practice on week-days to be outdone with the question. "Why do you
ask such a thing? You know you could not."

That night Emmy Lou asked Papa a question a little falteringly: "Are you
a Bohemian?"

"Instead, the veriest drudge you ever knew," he said. "There's too much
on me, making a living for us both, to be so glorious a thing."

Then what was Papa?

She went around to ask a question of Sadie the next morning. She had
been to Sadie's church often enough to know that she liked to go. The
prayers were long but the singing was frequent and hearty. No one need
mark the time at Sadie's church, the singing marking its own time warmly
and strongly until it seemed to swing and sway, and Sadie sang and Emmy
Lou sang and everybody sang, and Emmy Lou for one wasn't sure she did
not swing and sway too, and her heart was buoyant and warm. She loved
the songs at Sadie's church; what matter if she did not know what they
meant?

    "Oh, there's honey in the Rock, my brother,
     There's honey in the Rock for you,
     Leave your sins for the blood to cover,
     There is honey in the Rock for you, for you."

She could wish that Papa might be a Methodist. It hardly was likely, all
things considered, but one could make sure.

"Would 'Selections From the Operas' be allowed by your church on
Sunday?" she asked Sadie.

Sadie not only was horrified but, like Aunt Cordelia, was outdone. "Why,
Emily Louise McLaurin, you know they would not be!" she said
indignantly.

Emmy Lou had no such desire for Papa to be a Presbyterian. She had been
with Hattie often enough to know that the emphasis is all on the sermon
there. Hattie knew her feeling and when inviting her to go put the
emphasis on the voluntary of which she was proud.

This very Saturday afternoon she came around full of information and
enthusiasm. "Our soprano has done so well with her new teacher, he is
going to play our organ tomorrow by request and she is going to sing a
solo during the collection. I want you to come from Sunday school and
go."

She had other news. "I asked Lorelei Ritter yesterday after school if
she was a Bohemian and she got mad. She said no, she wasn't, she was a
Bavarian."

Aunt Louise spoke to Aunt Cordelia that night. "Emmy Lou must decide in
the next day or two if she is going to enter the confirmation class this
year; I have to report for her."

The next day was Sunday, and Emmy Lou heard Papa humming and singing in
his room as he dressed, _Fra Diavolo_ the burden of it.

The chimes at Sadie's church two squares away, were playing,

    "How beauteous are their feet
     Who stand on Zion's hill,
     Who bring salvation on their tongues
     And words of peace reveal!"

From afar the triple bells of St. Simeon's flung their call on the
morning air. Nor Methodist nor yet Episcopalian would be singing _Fra
Diavolo_ on Sunday morning as he dressed. What was Papa?

What was he? As he and Emmy Lou went down the stairs together to
breakfast, she caught his hand to her cheek in a sudden passion of
adoring. What Papa was, she would be!

She hurried from Sunday school around to Hattie's church on Swayne
Street. Hattie defended the absence of a bell by saying they didn't need
a bell to tell them when to go to church; they knew and went.

It was a brick church, long built, and a trifle mossy as to its
foundations, discreet in its architecture, and well-kept.

Hattie was waiting for Emmy Lou at the door. Her very hair-ribbons, a
serviceable brown, exact and orderly, seemed to stand for steadiness and
reliability in conviction.

What did Emmy Lou's blue hair-ribbons stand for? Blue is true, and she
would be true to whatever the conviction of Papa.

"The strange organist is going to play the voluntary too," Hattie
explained. "It's almost time for him to begin. Hurry."

As they went in, she told another thing: "Lorelei and her mother are
here, sitting in a back pew."

There were two points of cheer in the service at Hattie's church as Emmy
Lou saw it, the voluntary and the collection. She had referred to this
last as the offertory on a visit long ago, but never would make the
mistake again, so sharply had Hattie corrected her.

Hardly were they settled in their places in the pew with Hattie's father
and mother, when a large man with black hair and shaggy brows made his
way to the organ in the loft behind the minister, and the voluntary
began.

This the voluntary that along with hymns is advocated for Sundays? This
that stole over the keys hunting the melody, to find it here and lose
it there, with a promise that baffled and a familiarity which eluded, to
overtake it at length and proffer it in high and challenging measure
that said gayly and triumphantly above the thunderous beat supporting
it, in all but words, _Fra Diavolo_!

Hattie's face was shining! And the faces of her mother, of her father,
and of the congregation around, radiated approval and satisfaction!

And in time the soprano of Hattie's church arose in the loft above the
minister, supported by the choir. It was the collection.

It was more. It was "Selection No. 1--Sextette from Lucia"! Though the
words did not say so!

Hattie, then, had not been blaming Lorelei but defending her? It was
Sadie who disapproved of voluntaries and Lorelei?

Emmy Lou with heightened color, resolute face, and blue bows, arrived
at home. She went straight to Papa just returned from Uncle Charlie's
office and strumming on the piano.

"You're a Presbyterian," she said.

"It sounds like an indictment," said Uncle Charlie. "But he will have to
own up. Admit your guilt, Alec. How did you find it out?"

"Presbyterians play and sing 'Selections From the Operas' on Sunday, and
so does he."

"You look ruffled, Alec," from Uncle Charlie, "But so does someone else.
Your cheeks are hot," to Emmy Lou. "Something else is disturbing; out
with it."

"The girl named Lorelei Ritter who laughed at me Friday in class was at
church and spoke to me coming out."

"What did she say?"

"She said did I know it was her father who played the concomitant to the
soprano's song?"

"Invite her round, and urge her to be friendly," begged Uncle Charlie
when he stopped shouting. "We need her badly. Besides I'm sure I'd like
to know her."

Aunt Cordelia came downstairs that night after seeing Emmy Lou to bed.
"Whatever is to be done with the child? Has she talked to you, Alec? She
says she can't be confirmed because she is going to be a Presbyterian.
And then she cried bitterly. They stand up to pray and sit down to sing,
she told me desperately. That if it was right--which it wasn't, of
course,--she'd wish people didn't have to be Episcopalians or Bohemians
or Presbyterians, but just Christians. I told her I thought we would
drop the question of confirmation until next year."



X

SO TRUTH BE IN THE FIELD


A YEAR later Sarah, the sister of Albert Eddie Dawkins, saw him through
the six weeks of the confirmation class, up the aisle of St. Simeon's
and confirmed. The next day she started to England to visit her mother's
people who had prospered.

"In a way I can feel he is safe now," she said to Aunt Louise at Sunday
school on the day of his confirmation. "I wasn't easy about him before,
if he is my brother. If he'll only go ahead now, he'll do."

Aunt Cordelia saw Emmy Lou through the same class of preparation, up the
aisle and confirmed, and then came home and had a hearty cry. She who
always claimed she was too busy seeing to meals, the house, and those
within it, to give way!

"I am sure she is where her mother would have her," she said to Aunt
Louise through her tears. "And her father would not hear to the
alternative when I offered to discuss it. If only I can feel that in
time she will be _what_ her mother would have her!"

This seemed to put the odium on Emmy Lou in the event of failure. She
would be thirteen years old in another month, her cheek-line was
changing from round to oval, she was preparing for the high school, and
her waist, according to Miss Anna Williams, the seamstress who made her
confirmation dress, is coming round to be a waist.

She looked in distress at Aunt Cordelia who was drying her eyes in vain
since the tears were continuing, and who seemed far from reassured that
she will be what her mother would have her. There was nothing for it in
the face of the implication but for Emmy Lou to throw herself into Aunt
Cordelia's lap and cry too. After which the atmosphere cleared, the
normal was resumed, and everybody felt better.

Sarah, who spoke with more flattering certainty about the future of
Albert Eddie, wore her hair coiled on her head now, and her skirts were
long. Capable, dependable, and to the point as ever, she was a young
lady.

When Aunt Cordelia, accompanied by Emmy Lou, went to do her marketing
the Saturday before Sarah left for England, her mother called her down
to say good-bye.

"It's a long journey for you at eighteen, Sarah," said Aunt Cordelia,
"and we will be glad when we hear you have reached its end safely."

"I can trust Sarah; I always could," said her mother. "If anything goes
wrong she'll just have to remember what her grandmother, my mother, used
to say to her when she was a wee 'un, and prone to fret when matters
snarled and she found she couldn't right 'em, 'When you get to wit's end
you'll always find God lives there.'"

Aunt Cordelia shook hands with Sarah, but Emily Louise, as many persons
now called her, went up on her toes and kissed her.

"You must ask the prayers of the church for the preservation of all who
travel by land and by water," Aunt Cordelia said to Mrs. Dawkins, "and
we ourselves must remember her in our prayers. We will miss you, Sarah,
in the singing of the hymns on special days and Wednesday evenings when
we haven't a choir. I'm glad you went to the organist and had those
lessons. A fresh young voice, sweet and strong and sure, like yours, can
give great comfort and pleasure."

Hattie was a member of her church now, and Sadie of hers. Rosalie,
Alice, and Amanthus were making ready for confirmation at St. Philip's
which was high church. All had gone their ways, each to the portal of
her own persuasion, as it were, and knocked and said, "I am informed
that by this gate is the way thither."

And in answer the gate which is the way thither, according to the
understanding of each, had opened and taken the suppliant in and closed
behind her.

Which, then, is the gate? And which the way? Each and all so sure?

Time was, before the eyes of Emmy Lou were opened, when she supposed
there was but one way. She even had pictured it, sweet and winding and
always upward.

This was at a time when Sarah gathering Maud and Albert Eddie and Emmy
Lou around her in the sitting-room above the grocery, about the hob,
which is to say the grate, sang them hymns. It was from one of these
hymns that Emmy Lou had pictured the way.

    By cool Siloam's shady rill
      How fair the lily grows,
    How sweet the breath beneath the hill
      Of Sharon's dewy rose.

According to Sarah's hymns there were two classes of travelers on this
sweet and goodly way.

    Children of the Heavenly King,
    As ye journey sweetly sing!

These Emmy Lou conceived of first. Later she saw others of whom Sarah
sang, less buoyant, less tripping, but with upturned faces no less
expectant.

    And laden souls by thousands meekly stealing
    Kind Shepherd turn their weary steps to Thee.

Emmy Lou listening to Sarah's hymns even saw these welcomed.

    Angels of Jesus,
    Angels of light,
    Singing to welcome
    The pilgrims of the night.

But that was time ago. There is no one and common road whose dust as it
nears Heaven is gold and its pavement stars. Each knocks at the portal
of his own persuasion and says, "I am informed that by this gate is the
way thither."

But Albert Eddie, having entered his portal, was in doubt. "What is it
she wants me to do now I'm in?" he said to Emmy Lou, by "she" meaning
Sarah, and by "in," the church of his adoption. His question began in a
husky mutter of desperation and ended in a high treble of exasperation.
Or was it merely that his voice was uncertain?

For to each age its phenomena, as inevitable as inexplicable. Albert
Eddie's voice these days was undependable. Emmy Lou felt an
uncharacteristic proneness to tears. Rosalie said it would be wisdom
teeth next for everybody all round.

But if Albert Eddie seemed baffled and hazy as to what his duties were
following confirmation, Aunt Louise left no doubt with Emmy Lou. The
confirmation had been in May, and now a week later lawns were green and
lilacs and snowballs in bloom.

"Now that you are a member of the church you can't begin too soon to
take your place and do your part," Aunt Louise told her. "The lawn fête
is Thursday night on the Goodwins' lawn. I am going to give you ten
tickets to sell, and send ten by you to Albert Eddie since Sarah is not
here to give them to him."

Emmy Lou took the tickets prepared to do the best she could. She had had
experience with them before. It is only your friends who take them of
you, as a necessity and a matter of course, a recognized and expected
tax on friendship, as it were.

Associates who are not intimates decline. One named Lettie Grierson, in
declining Emmy Lou's tickets now, voiced it all.

"Why should I buy tickets from you? You never bought any from me."

Hattie took one and said she'd go home and get the money and bring it
round.

When she arrived that afternoon she brought a message from home with the
money. "Mamma says to tell you our church is going to have a lecture on
the Holy Land on the twenty-fifth."

Sadie was present, having come to pay for her ticket. "Our Sunday school
is going to have a boat excursion up the river in June. The tickets will
be twenty-five cents," she told Emmy Lou.

Rosalie arrived a bit later with the money for her ticket. "Alice and
Amanthus can't go. They went to Lettie Grierson's church concert last
week and I didn't. I can go if I may come and go with you from your
house."

These three tickets thus disposed of, Emmy Lou's own, and the three
taken by Uncle Charlie for the rest of the household made a fairly
creditable showing.

Albert Eddie had less luck. Maud, his sister, so he explained, had been
ahead of him, and wherever he might have gone, she had been.

"Joe Kiffin, our driver, took one, though he won't go, and the other one
I've sold is for myself."

He seemed worried. "I tried," he said. "I promised Sarah I'd try every
time it was put up to me."

It was arranged that not only Rosalie but Hattie and Sadie should come
and go with Emmy Lou. When they arrived, on the day, about five o'clock,
each had her ticket and her money.

A lawn fête for the church is no unmercenary matter. Your ticket only
admits you to the lantern-hung grounds, which is enough for you to
expect, and once within you have to buy your supper. That it is paid for
and eaten largely by those whose homes have donated it has nothing to do
with the matter, Aunt Cordelia having been notified that her
contribution would be beaten biscuit, a freezer of ice-cream and
chickens.

In this case there must be carfare also, the Goodwins and their lawn
being half an hour's ride by street car from the center of things.

Aunt Cordelia came to the door with Emmy Lou to meet the three. "Go
ahead," she said. "Louise is already there and will look after you. Eat
your suppers when you prefer. Charlie and I will come later and bring
you home."

The four found Albert Eddie at the corner waiting for the car. His hair
was very, very smooth, and his Sunday suit was spick and span as if
Sarah were home to see to it instead of well on her way to England, her
rules and regulations evidently being of a nature to stay by one.

Perhaps it was an ordeal for Albert Eddie to have four girls descend on
him, for he turned red and cleared his throat as though forced into
declaring himself in maintaining his ground. Emmy Lou was his friend,
and ignoring the others he addressed her.

"Maud went ahead with some friends of her own," he explained. "She said
they wouldn't want me."

The obvious thing was to ask him to go with them. Had Emily Louise been
speaking for herself alone, she would have done so, Albert Eddie being
her friend and going to her Sunday school. On the other hand, his father
kept a grocery at the corner just passed, and lived over it with his
family. He wasn't the friend of her three companions and he didn't go
to their Sunday school. Emily Louise understood many things which Emmy
Lou wot not of. Would they want him?

Verging' on thirteen, one has heard this nature of thing and its
distinctions discussed at home.

Aunt Louise objected to certain associates of Emily Louise not long ago.
"It's why I am and always have been opposed to the public school for
her. She picks up with every class and condition."

"And why I have opposed your opposition," returned Uncle Charlie, "since
it is her best chance in life to know every class and condition."

"I'm sure I don't know why she should," Aunt Louise had said.

"An argument in itself in that you _don't_ know," from Uncle Charlie.

Fortunately for Emily Louise in the present case of Albert Eddie, twelve
verging on thirteen was yet democratic. "We'll all go together," said
Hattie as a matter of course, and the others agreed.

Hattie, as ever, was marshal and spokesman. They boarded the car and sat
down. "Fifty cents all around to begin with," she stated after fares
were paid and the common wealth displayed. "Five cents put in for
carfare. Forty-five cents left all around. Five cents to come home on,
five cents to spend, and thirty-five cents for supper just makes it."

Church creeds and nomenclatures may vary but the laws of church fêtes
and fairs are the same. As the five left the car and approached the
Goodwins' home, Whitney and Logan were patrolling the sidewalk outside
the gate and the lantern-hung yard from whence arose the hustle and
chatter of the lawn fête.

Logan wore a baker's cap and carried a tray hung from his neck and piled
with his wares, which a placard set there among proclaimed to be
"Homemade Caramel Taffy, Five a Bag." Whitney was assisting Logan to
dispose of his wares.

The two stopped the five. "We haven't a show against the girls on the
inside to sell anything," they said. "Buy from us."

"Five cents for a bag all around and forty cents left, five cents to get
home and thirty-five cents for supper," from Hattie the calculator, who
liked to keep things clear.

Five bags were being exchanged for five cents all around when an elderly
gentleman came along. Negotiations with the five being held up while he
was pressed to buy candy, he brusquely replied that he had no change.

Neither had Logan or Whitney, business having been brisker than they
admitted. But they did not let that deter them from cornering the
gentleman into a showdown. Nor did a two-dollar bill, when produced,
bother them.

Whitney had heard the financial status of the five just outlined by
Hattie, and did some creditable calculating himself. Like Hattie he was
good at figures.

"You have five forties between you," he said. "You take the bill and let
us have the change. You'll get it fixed all right when you get your
suppers."

The party of five was loath but saw no way out of it. Held up, as it
were, they reluctantly gave over their forty cents around and pinned
their gazes anxiously on the two-dollar bill in the hand of the elderly
gentleman.

He seemed no better pleased than they, showing indeed a degree of temper
unbecoming under the circumstances and using language somewhat heated
for a church fair.

"What in heaven's name do I want with caramel taffy without a tooth in
my head that's my own?"

He thrust the bill at Albert Eddie who took it hastily, and the five
moved on.

"Who was it?" Sadie asked Emmy Lou and Albert Eddie, since this was
their lawn fête. "He's coming in the gate behind us. Do you know?"

Unfortunately they did. It seemed to detract from that cordiality of
welcome they would prefer to associate with their lawn fête.

"It's Mr. Goodwin," Emily Louise told them. "It's his house and yard. He
must just be getting home."

One's friends are loyal. Hattie covered the silence. "His wife must have
said they could have it here before she asked him. I've known it to
happen so before."

"We'll go get our suppers," said Albert Eddie anxiously. "That way we'll
each get our carfare back and it'll be off our minds."

They found Emmy Lou's Aunt Louise under a grape-arbor, dishing ice-cream
from a freezer into saucers on the ground around it. A great many
things are in order at a church fête that would not be tolerated at
home.

"Go get your suppers," she said to the group. "I'm busy and will be;
don't depend on me for anything."

The party of five took their places about a table a few moments after.
Two of them were familiar figures in the Big Room at St. Simeon's Sunday
school. The three young ladies who rushed up, tray in hand, to wait on
them, were far, far older--eminent representatives of that superior
caste of St. Simeon's Sunday school, the Bible Class.

It was a friendly rivalry that was on among the three, each waitress of
the evening endeavoring in her earnings to outstrip and eclipse all
other waitresses and so carry off the glory of the occasion. In the
present instance the swiss apron and cap with the yellow ribbons won
out, and the other two waitresses withdrew with laughter and
recrimination of a vigorous nature, leaving the party of five
overwhelmed by the notice from the surrounding tables and the publicity
thus brought upon them.

The wearer of the swiss apron with the yellow ribbons was an arch and
easy person, overwhelming her five charges further with offhand and
jocose remarks indicative of condescension as she brought five suppers,
substantial, lemonade, ice cream and cake, put them down, and, as it
were, got through with it.

Even to the payment. And as Albert Eddie produced a two-dollar bill and
she took it, she was easily, superlatively, meaningly arch as she said,

"We don't give change at church fairs to gentlemen."

       *       *       *       *       *

Uncle Charlie, with Aunt Cordelia, taking the party home, paid
everyone's carfare but Albert Eddie's. When the time came for leaving
he could not be found.

"We lost him right after supper," Hattie explained.

"As soon as he heard us say you were coming to get us," from Emmy Lou.

"He didn't eat any supper, just pretended to," from Sadie. "He was
trying not to cry."

"Sadie!" from Rosalie.

"We never, never should tell it if he was," from Hattie.

"Logan and Whitney said he left early," said Rosalie, "that he told them
he would have to walk home."

Uncle Charlie deposited the members of the party at their several homes
and then, being the editor of a newspaper, went back downtown.

Emmy Lou, oftener than she could enumerate, had waked in the past to
hear him on his return in the late, or, to be exact, the early hours,
stop at Aunt Cordelia's door with news that the world would hear the
next morning.

She waked at his return tonight. He did more than tap at Aunt Cordelia's
door, he went in. Hearing Aunt Cordelia cry out at his words, Emmy Lou
went hurriedly pattering in from her adjoining room. As she entered, the
door on the opposite side of the room opened and Aunt Louise came in,
slipping on her bedroom wrapper.

The light was on and Aunt Cordelia was sitting up in bed with tears
running unrestrainedly down her face.

Uncle Charlie, about to explain to Aunt Louise, looked at Emmy Lou and
hesitated.

"No, go on," Aunt Cordelia told him. "She is a big girl and must hear
these things from now on with the rest of us."

Uncle Charlie, reflective for a moment, seemed to conclude she was right
and went on.

"The ship on which Sarah Dawkins crossed foundered on the rocks off the
Irish coast in a heavy sea this morning and went to pieces against the
cliffs in the sight of shore. The dispatches report only three persons
saved, and tell of a cook who went about with pots of coffee, and of a
girl named Sarah Dawkins who gathered some children about her and whose
voice could be clearly heard by those on shore in the lulls of the storm
singing hymns to them to the end."

Something happened to Uncle Charlie's voice. After finding it he went
on. "I hurried right home. It's past twelve, Cordelia, but don't you
think you had better dress and let me take you up to Mrs. Dawkins at
once?"

Emmy Lou crept into Aunt Cordelia's bed as Uncle Charlie went out and
Aunt Cordelia got up and began to dress hastily.

Strange tremors were seizing Emmy Lou, but she must not weep, must not
detain or distract Aunt Cordelia. She was a big girl and must hear and
bear these things now with the rest.

"The child, the poor, poor child, alone on that great ship without kith
or kin!" said Aunt Cordelia as she fastened her collar, still weeping.
Then she came and kissed Emmy Lou.

"I may be gone some time. Stay where you are and I'll leave the light."

Did the tears come before or after Aunt Louise kissed and soothed her
and then went back to bed? Emmy Lou rather thought they came after she
was gone. And after the tumult of tears had spent themselves?

A picture arose in her mind, unbidden and unexpected, of Albert Eddie,
hurt, mortified, and outraged, walking home block after block from the
lawn fête because church fairs do not give any change.

"What is it she wants me to do now I'm in?" he had asked following his
confirmation.

And what was it that Sarah did want of Albert Eddie? Sarah who saw him
confirmed and left next day? Sarah assembling the children on the ship
and singing hymns to them to the end?

And suddenly Emmy Lou, twelve years old verging on thirteen, saw for the
first time!

Sarah dependably mixing the Saturday baking in the crock, Sarah looking
after her younger sister and brother as best she knew how, Sarah singing
hymns to them sitting about the hob, which is the grate, was being made
into that Sarah who could gather the children about her on the sinking
ship and sing to them to the end. Not Sarah mixing the baking in the
crock, but Sarah _dependably_ mixing the baking in the crock. Herein
came the light.

And all the while Emmy Lou had thought the digit on the slate in its day
was the thing, and later the copybook, and only yesterday, the
conjugation of the verb. Whereas Sarah now had shown her what nor home,
nor school, nor Sunday school, nor confirmation class had made her see,
that the faithfulness with which the digit is put on the slate, the
script in the copybook, and the conjugation of the verb on the tablets
of the mind, is the education and the thing!

This, then, is the gate? This the way that leads thither? The sweet and
common road along which the children of the Heavenly King are
journeying? Faithful little Sister from the alley of so long ago, gentle
and loving Izzy of that same far-gone day, Hattie helping a schoolmate
comrade over the hard places? This is the road whereon those older,
laden souls are stealing? The road, if once gained by the pilgrim,
whether he be Episcopalian, Bohemian, Presbyterian, or Afro-American, on
which he will go straight onward. The path where, like bells at evening
pealing, the voice of Jesus sounds o'er land and sea.

Sea? Prayers of the church were asked that Sarah be preserved from the
perils of land and water! And Sarah was lost!

Lost? Was Sarah lost?

"We'll miss your voice, so sweet and strong and true, in the hymns,"
Aunt Cordelia had told Sarah.

Would her voice be missed? Her voice singing to the children to the end?
It came with a flash of sudden comprehension to Emmy Lou, lying there in
Aunt Cordelia's big bed waiting for her return, that Sarah's voice would
not be missed but heard forever, singing hymns to the end to those
little children of the King.

"What does she want me to do now I'm in?" asked Albert Eddie. Sarah had
answered him. Make himself ready for whatsoever part should be his.

"The child, the poor, poor child, alone on that great ship without kith
or kin!" Aunt Cordelia had said, weeping.

Was she thus alone? "When you get to wit's end you will always find God
lives there," her grandmother had told her when she was a wee 'un. Had
not Sarah given proof that when she got to wit's end God did live there?

Emmy Lou was weeping no longer. She lay still. A wonder and an awe
suffused her. To the far horizon the landscape of life was irradiated.
She was tranquil. The Silence had spoken at last.

       *       *       *       *       *

Aunt Louise remarked to Aunt Cordelia a few days later, "Did I tell you
that we made a hundred and fifty dollars at the lawn fête?"

"By fair means or foul?" asked Uncle Charlie, overhearing. "I must say,
Louise, in the name of the church I stand for, I don't like your
methods."

Perhaps Uncle Charlie and Emily Louise were seeing the same thing,
Albert Eddie, hurt, mortified, and outraged, walking home in the night
because St. Simeon's lawn fête didn't give change to gentlemen.

Aunt Cordelia spoke after Emmy Lou went up to bed. "She brought home her
report of the final examinations from school today. She got through!"

"By the skin of her teeth as usual?" from Uncle Charlie.

"Just that. She works so hard to so little end, Charlie. I don't
understand it. But at least she is always faithful."

    Some said, John, print it; others said, Not so:
    Some said, It might do good; others said, No.
                          --_The Pilgrim's Progress._



    "_The Books You Like to Read
    at the Price You Like to Pay_"


    _There Are Two Sides
    to Everything_--

--including the wrapper which covers every Grosset & Dunlap book. When
you feel in the mood for a good romance, refer to the carefully selected
list of modern fiction comprising most of the successes by prominent
writers of the day which is printed on the back of every Grosset &
Dunlap book wrapper.

You will find more than five hundred titles to choose from--books for
every mood and every taste and every pocketbook.

_Don't forget the other side, but in case the wrapper is lost, write to
the publishers for a complete catalog._

    _There is a Grosset & Dunlap Book
    for every mood and for every taste_

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Repeated chapter titles were removed. Text uses both "Heaven" and
"heaven," "Sally" and "Sallie." Text uses the archaic spelling of
"strait" for "straight."

Page 125, "diagramed" changed to "diagrammed" (Bob diagrammed)

Page 170, "nebulae" changed to "nebulæ" (of nebulæ for support)

Page 292, "thereamong" changed to "there among" (placard set there
among)





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